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SGEUOGH B. 'IlVIS,
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The Baldwin Library
"*ONE SABBATH THE SUNSET WAS PECULIARLY MAGNIFICENT,"
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CHAPTER I.-THE PRESENTS ARRIVE................... 3
II.-THE SWEETMEATS AND THE NEW
III.-THE COLOUR-BOX AND STORY-
BOOK OPENED ........................17
"ONWARDS AND UPWARDS" ...........18
"THE CONQUERED ENEMY".............40
"THE POWER OF INDUSTRY ".........58
VIII.-THE TURQUOISE NECKLACE.............75
X.-THE END OF THE STORY-BOOK .........93-
"A LEGEND OF THE WEST "............95
THE PRESENTS ARRIVE.
I HAD never before looked forward so earnestly
to any birthday as I had done to my sixth,
which fell on the 14th February 18-. I could
scarcely account for it.
How very old I felt in the idea of the number
of years I could then reckon; and how young I
considered my brother Charlie, who was not yet
quite four years old! Perhaps my interest was
excited by the number of presents I had been
promised, or at least expected, on that happy
day; especially my highest earthly ambition
then, a wax-doll that could open and shut its
eyes. For about a full week I could scarcely
settle to anything; and the night before, I was
hardly able to sleep.
It seemed, however, as if only a single
minute of unconsciousness had- elapsed, when
nurse stole into the room in the early morning
4 MY BIRTHDAY-BOOL
light, and hurriedly whispered to me: "Get up,
quick, quick Miss Bella, your doll's come!" I
needed no more words to wake me thoroughly,
and assisted at my simple toilet with un-
wonted alacrity, varying the operations with
"Is it a jointed doll?"
"Yes; it can move all over!"
Can it open its eyes ?"
"Yes; it can open its eyes and shut them
What colour are they ?"
"Has it got hair?"
"Only a little, but we will get more put on
"Then it has not curls?"
Has it clothes to come off and on ?"
"Yes-every kind of dress. Night-dresses,
and caps, and walking-dresses too!"
"Oh! nurse, tell me, is there a bed for
"And blankets, and pillows, and curtains ?"
"Yes, Miss Bella; the doll has blankets,
pillows, and curtains."
You can scarcely imagine the joy I felt. All
other thoughts of fun or visions of presents
were forgotten in this one-this long-hoped for,
MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK. 5
And when did it come, nurse ?"
Very early this morning."
"Were you up when it came ?"
"Yes; before it came, Miss Bella."
"Why did you not wake me ?"
"Because your mamma thought it would be
as well to let you get your sleep out."
By this time I was quite dressed; so I
exclaimed: "Where is it ? let me see it !"
"It is in mamma's room; but be quiet, for
she is sleeping now."
So the door was softly opened; and nurse and
I, with the gentlest steps, entered the room.
There was a good fire in it, and beside it sat an
elderly woman I had sometimes seen before; she
had something white in her arms, which I never
once looked at; but asked again in the loudest
of all possible whispers: "Where is my doll?"
She rose, went to the light; and taking off an
outer covering, shewed me a little figure robed
in white. It opened a pair of unmeaning blue
eyes upon me, it thrust up a little doubled
fist in my face, it raised a cry unlike any-
thing a wax-doll could utter. The illusion
had vanished-my eyes were opened, and with
the deepest mortification I exclaimed, forget-
ful of all promises of silence: "It's only a
SI left the room and ran back to my own with
the keen pang of disappointment mingled with
the bitter feeling of having been deceived, rank-
6 MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK.
ling in my breast, and-must I confess it-I was
baby enough myself to burst into tears. I could
not speak to Charlie for vexation when he
came to kiss me, and to wish me a happy
birthday. I drove away my favourite pussy-
cat angrily when it came, as- usual, to beg
its breakfast from me. I was so cross. And
when nurse asked me why I gloomed so,
I only exclaimed: The ugly little red
thing! What a shame!" and then began to
The day brightened up to me, however, as the
sun rose higher. Mamma's warm kiss, as I
carried her a cup of tea on a small tray, seemed
more than usually precious; there seemed to
me something peculiar in her touch, and in her
earnest, "God bless you, and help you, my child!"
And to crown all, she put a beautiful little
Bible into my'hands, like the one of Cousin
Emily's that I had admired so much. Meeting
her mild eyes, feeling her tender touch, and
hearing her loving words, I became so thoroughly
ashamed of my behaviour in the morning, that
I could not but confess to her tearfully all about
it, and resolve to try never to behave so foolishly
and naughtily again.
With God's help, I hope you may be able to
do so," said she tenderly; "and I hope that my
dear Bella will never feel or act unkindly to the
little sister that God has sent her to-day. Her
mamma loves it dearly, and hopes that Bella
MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK. 7
will do so too. Do not think of its helplessness
and dulness just now, but remember that you,
too, were once just the same-just a little ugly
red thing,' as you called her !"
"I did not mean it; indeed, I do not mean it,
and I will never say so again," sobbed I. "I
know I will love it, and ought to love it, for
isn't it God's birthday-gift to me?"
"Yes, dear! And she will soon be able
to notice and return your affection. You
must always try to teach her rightly, and
set her a good example, even when she is
ever so young a child-for I think that even
very little babies notice how their friends
behave, and learn when they grow up to act
"I 'll try, then, very hard, mamma!" said
I, drying up my tears, and running off to
shew the pretty clasped Bible to Charlie and
nurse. And yet, after all, a doll did arrive
that day-I am sure it was from papa, though
he would hardly confess to it-a real wax-doll
that could open and shut its eyes, and didn't
cry It had beautiful and perfect clothes too,
in a little trunk accompanying it. Nothing was
forgotten; a pocket with a little handkerchief
in it, a muff, and a collar, and everything that
even a young lady would require. And papa
was so kind to us. He always played a good
deal with us on our birthdays, and that made
them pass so cheerfully; and in this evening, we
8 MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK.
were invited to Aunt Emily's house, to a party
she had given to celebrate my birthday. With
great delight Charlie and I prepared ourselves
for it, brimful of 'the -news of the presents
and of the new baby." Aunt came to me the
instant I arrived, and. after wishing me all
manner 'of happiness, presented me with a
beautiful turquoise necklace, with my name on
the clasp. Just as I was trying to thank her,
Cousin Emily came in too, and kissing me
affectionately, slipped a pretty little story-book
into my hand; Only fancy, I was six years
old, and could not read a bit; and yet I could
guess it was nice from the very look of it,
and from the nice pictures in it! Even little
George did not forget me, but had a kind wish,
and a gay-coloured package of sweetmeats for
his Darling Cousin Bella." And what a pleasant
evening we had! We had such quantities of
fun, that I almost forgot there was such a thing
as home or sleep, even when the clock struck a
full hour later than our usual retiring time.
But the pleasantest of evenings must have an
end, and so had that one; and we parted in the
happiest mood imaginable. I amsure that if all
the kind wishes and merry hopes that were
expressed that night had any power, I should
have been an uncommonly happy little girl for
the ensuing year at least.
- And when we came home, behold, lying on
the hall-table, was the loveliest of envelopes
MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK. 9
addressed to me! I was sure it must be a
valentine, and for some time could scarcely
find courage to break the beautiful seal At
last, however, I did so-and you never saw
such a beauty! It was all covered with
flowers, and angels, and lace, and gold letters.
It was very thoughtful and kind in the person
who sent it, though I never could find out
who that somebody was. And a brown paper-
parcel, too, was waiting for me from Uncle
Edward, which proved to be an elegant box
filled with water-colours, and brushes, and
pencils, and everything ready to draw and paint
with. What a delightful present! I almost
thought it rivalled my wax-doll in my affec-
tions; and certainly it was Charlie's favourite.
.Nurse, too, gave me a beautiful bright new
shilling to spend just as I liked-wasn't it kind
of her? So I put it in my doll's pocket, and
said it'should be her fortune. Thus my birth-
day was passed even more brightly and pleas-
antly than my dreams had imagined; and I
could hardly close my eyes for thinking it all
over, and wondering what I should do with
my treasures. Still, after rising to take one
more peep at my beautiful wax-doll, by the
bright light of the moon, I sank gently and
unconsciously into the "land of nod."
THE SWEETMEATS AND THE NEW SHILLING.
THE next morning, after rearranging and
again admiring my precious gifts, I took them
into mamma's room, to shew them to her. She,
too, admired them very much, and thought my
valentine very beautiful I asked her why "she
never got any valentines?" to which she
replied: "Your little baby-sister is my valen-
tine, dear!" I could not help laughing at the
idea, and then said to it: "Oh you dear little
thing, how can you be mamma's valentine, and
my birthday-present, and my little sister, all at
once?" How much prettier it looked to-day;
but mamma said I was just looking through
different-coloured eyes. Such wandering blue
eyes it had, and such dear little hands, just like
the delicate rosy shells that, Charlie and I
prized so much. Nurse put her into my arms
for a minute, and I am sure that the little thing
was lighter than my wax-doll. Nor could I
fancy Charlie and I ever were so very little
Nurse would not let us stay long in mamma's
MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK. 11
room, for she wanted us to dress and go out for
a walk with her. We lived at that time in a
nice house quite in the country; at least, we
were a mile from the village, and nearly three
from the nearest town; then, of course, we
had such pleasant walks about when we tired
of our nice large garden. Ours was indeed
a pretty home even in winter. But this day,
we went down one of the roads leading to the
village; and as nurse allowed me to take
my doll with me, I felt quite delighted and
proud. It was fresh and cold, but we enjoyed
the quick walk very much, and were trying
to guess how long it would be before the flowers
and the warm days would come again, when
we saw a poor girl seeking for something
among the damp grass. "She will be looking
for flowers," exclaimed Charlie, 'but she is
too early! They won't be there for a long,
long time!-" But when we noticed that
she was crying, we stopped, and nurse asked
her what was the matter. "Ah, ma'am, I've
lost my. shilling. I've taken such a long while
to earn it. I dropped it about here, and I
cannot find it. Oh! what shall I-what shall
I hurried up to nurse, and whispered: "May
I give her mine I"
"No, Miss Bella-not just yet." Then
turning to the girl, she said: "What were you
going to do with it?"
12 MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK.
"Oh! please, my mother's very poor, and
my only sister is very ill, and they say she's
dying! Ah!"--and she burst forth into a
passionate flood of tears-"and mother works
hard, and so do I, but we have to nurse sister
too, and so-and so-we have so little money
and so little food, and can't get any nice things
for her. She can't eat poor things like mother
and I, for she's so ill; but oh, she's so good,
and she never grumbles. I've worked an hour
earlier in the morning for a fortnight to get
this shilling, and was going to the town to buy
some good things for her, and I've lost it,and
what shall I do?"
"But we will help you to look for it," said
nurse cheerily, "and some of us will be sure to
"I'll give her mine some time, at anyrate,
for her sick sister," said I quietly to nurse;
then laying my precious doll upon a stone, I
joined the rest in an energetic search, nurse all
the time cheering the poor girl up, and asking
her questions about her mother and sister and
What a long search it seemed, and what joy
did I feel, when, going a little further back
than the rest, I saw its little white face laugh-
ing up to the sun! And what a happy girl
was Jane Wilkie, as she called herself. She
thanked me warmly, and was running away,
when I remembered that I had the larger portion
MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK. 13
of my package of sweetmeats in my pocket. I
had brought them out to divide amongst us
three, but both Charlie and nurse were quite
glad that I should send them to Jane's sick
sister. And very grateful she did seem when I
gave her them-far more, I am sure, than if
she had got anything for herself
Now, nurse had to go to the village to buy
some things for mamma,- but neither she nor
we remembered that it was the fair-day. What
a crowd it was, to be sure-horses and cattle,
and men and boys! Charlie. and I felt quite
frightened for them as we went down the High
Street, and held close by nurse; yet our
timidity did not prevent us from looking at the
gay stands, and merry-go-rounds, and swings
and shows, but above all, I longed to see a
menagerie, the entrance to which lay just in
our way. I besought nurse most earnestly to
take us in; and the man at the door noticing
us, began to discourse more eloquently than ever
of'its beauties, ending with crying out: "Only
sixpence each, and threepence for little people!"
"That will only cost a shilling! Do, nurse,
take us in!"
"Not to-day; we will go home and ask
mamma, and come to-morrow forenoon."
"Positively the very last day! Splendid
success! Great engagements! Only sixpence
each, and threepence for little people!" cried
out the man again.
14 MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK.
Do, nurse, take us in! I know mamma
would allow us if she were here."
"I know she would; but I have no money of
my own here; and I would not spend any of
your mamma's without her liberty."
"Then here is my shilling."
"But, Miss Bella, you know your mamma
wishes you to keep your pocket-money for any
little extra enjoyment."'
"Well, this is the greatest enjoyment I could
have, and I know Charlie would like it; and
two threepences make a sixpence, and sixpence
added to that make a shilling-papa told me;
so this is quite enough. Let us go," besought
"Are you quite sure, my dear Miss Bella,
there is no other way you would like better
to spend your money? Think a moment."
"No, no-nothing I would like so much to
see in all the world as the menagerie; and so
would Charlie, wouldn't you ?"
"Yes, Bella ; very, very much; best!"
At last, with much difficulty, we got nurse per-
suaded to take us in; but I did not enjoy myself
half so much as I expected. The beasts were
ugly, and dirty, and disagreeable, and not the
least like the pretty painted pictures I had seen
of them strolling or reclining under pleasant
trees. The place was dark and close, and the
people in it coarse and rough. A dreary
unsatisfied feeling came over me from the thought
MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK. 15
of my self-will and determination, and the dis-
approbation I knew my conduct would receive
from mamma. I thought, too, that I would
have no pleasant accounts or stories to tell
papa at dinner-time, as I usually had, after any
treat. I had evidently pained nurse also; and
then all at once returned to my mind, in a
climax of self-reproach, the recollection of my
inward promise and intention-to spend this
shilling upon Jane's suffering sister. I thought
of Jane's self-denying behaviour, and the con-
trast of mine; I thought of how many nice things-
it might have purchased her, while it had been
expended on what was to me now of no value;
I thought of the real pleasure it would have
given me and so many others had I recollected
myself in time, instead of this aching sense of
self-reproach and unhappiness. I felt the tears
come to my eyes, but could not speak of the
cause of my trouble. I was glad to hurry nurse
away, and walk silently and sullenly home. It
seemed as if no one welcomed me; even papa
and mamma seemed colder than they were
yesterday. Whether the evil lay in my own
breast or not, I could not then say; but if it did,
I locked it in there; locked it in all day until
nurse gave me for my evening-text, It is more
blessed to give than to receive," and told us a
story to illustrate its meaning. Then, when I
had retired to my evening-prayers, did my full
heart burst out in tears. I thought how, even
16 MY BIRTHDAY-BOOL
in this one day, I had felt the comparison in my
own heart; so I confessed everything to "Him
who seeth in secret;" and, as if a burden had
been lifted off my spirit by these few minutes
alone, I went into the nursery, and openly spoke
of my sorrows to our kind nurse. She did not
excuse me, but said that I had indeed behaved
badly to every one since I had come home; but
that she had guessed the reason, and did not
wish to speak of it till my conscience had been
... isburdened. But she did what was far better
4fan. smoothing over a fault-she counselled me
for the future, and with a cheering smile and a
kindly kiss bade me good-night.
THE COLOUR-BOX AND STORY-BOOK OPENED.
"WHAT a rainy gloomy day the next was Far
*too rainy and cold for us to go out; so we
were obliged to amuse ourselves in the house.
We were only allowed a short time into mamma's
room, to see her and the new baby; and then
we were sent back to the nursery, and told to
"play quiet games." So we dressed and undressed
"my new baby" a dozen of times, and made it
open and shut its eyes, and bow and curtsy;
and we played at a house with it and its baby-
things, till we were quite tired.
Then I got out my new paint-box, and
Charlie and I sat down to paint some of our
picture-books. And how pleasant it was to
have every colour of my own, and just to put
out my hand to any one of the neatly-labelled
little divisions, and get the exact one I wanted !
And it was so pleasant, too, to have little saucers
and cups, and every convenience, all waiting for
us as soon as we opened the lid of the box;
instead of going trotting about and begging
18 MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK.
colours from papa, and brushes from mamma,
and cups and plates from nurse. Charlie's and
my favourite colours were lake and emerald-
green-they were so beautiful! In fact,
Charlie liked them so well, that he wanted to
colour houses and trees, and men and fairies,
just with the two. I took down my Cousin
Emily's new .present, called Dare and Do, by
Rosie Rustica. There. were a number of
pictures in it, several in every story, and some
pretty ornamental-work on the front-pages,
which I coloured too. Nurse said that we both
were painting very well, but some way or other,
we got'tired of that employment also, and asked
her to read us a story out of my book, with
some beautiful pictures of palm-trees in it. But
nurse thought it would be better to begin at the
first one, and read right through, and then we
would come to the palm-trees by and by. So.we
both came and sat very near her, while she read
aloud Dare and Do-a Book for Children, -by
Rosie Rustica, commencing at
ONWARDS AND UPWARDS
Rising right out of the barren plain of Igno-
rance, towers the noble and stupendous Castle of
Knowledge. Within, it has many chambers,
richer and fairer far even than its outer walls;
so fair, that oft the inhabitants of the plain
below will rest upon their clumsy. spades, and
gaze with open-mouthed wonder at the gorgeous
MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK. 19
.glimpses they might catch through its many
windows. One day, a child, who watched his
father gaze thus, asked him: "Father! what is
it you see there ? "
Why, can't you see those fine things through
the windows ? "
"No, father, I am not tall enough; but do
tell me of them."
"I can't tell you. They're things neither
you nor I understand about, and don't need to,"
and he stooped to his work again.
Then, father, why don't you ever go straight
into the castle, and see them rightly ? "
Me go into the castle!" exclaimed he laugh-
ing; "that's a good joke. Who could put that
notion into the boy's head? Never one of my
fathers or friends ever entered it, and I don't sup-
pose I need any more than them. Besides, I don't
want to go, it's just a mighty stock of trouble."
And the man muttered on to himself as he struck
his spade into the clods of his mother-earth.
Father !" said the boy timidly.
"Would you let me go over there, then ?"
"No, I tell ye. Howcanyou? I've no time
to work for bread for a great boy like you; you
must labour for yourself now. They're a bad
lot up there Theyjust stuff your head full of
high and mighty notions, and make a good-for-
nothing of you. I never saw a person come out
of these gates that was fit to handle a spade
20 MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK.
"But, maybe, father, they may learn to do
something better; won't you let me try ?"
"And why, forsooth, should you set yourself
up to be better than your father and your
mother, and your father's father and your
mother's father, and "-
"Oh, father! I don't," exclaimed the boy
"Then let me hear no more about that non-
sense. Hold your tongue; stick to your delving;
and if ye be busy, lad, I'll give you a good
supper for your pains."
And busy the boy was, but not for his supper,
his brain went faster even than did his hands;
and for the first time it ached with thought.
"I am not tall enough even to peep in at the
windows; but when my work is done, I must
go and find out more about that wondrous
So when he laid the spade away, he hurried
towards the door of the castle. He was afraid
even to look through it, but crouched in a dark
corner outside of the porch, and watched the
people going out and in. Sometimes he would
almost think his father had been right, for he
saw so many giddy, and vain, and foolish
figures pass before him in the crowd. But ever
and anon he would mark some noble, heaven-
raised forms, and would catch fragments of
their speech, that thrilled the boy's inquiring
mind with a tremulous emotion. Soon, also,
MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK. 21
he heard, what at first he did not discern, that
the very trees of the garden caught up their
words, and echoed and whispered them among
their leaves, then sent them away on the breezes
to fall in dew upon the earth. The boy listened
intently, till he had caught up the words of one
complete sentence; then hurried home with it,
lest it should be forgotten or confused, and for
hours through the night he lay awake, repeating
to himself: "Where there's a will, there's a
way !" It seemed difficult to him-very diffi-
cult to comprehend; but at length a concep-
tion of its meaning and intention was formed in
his mind, and he fell asleep, to dream of great
things doing at the castle, and he the actor.
He was up early next morning, to get
through, his work, and enable him to go to the
castle that evening also. At the same place,
he crouched down, and watched and listened
intently, and heard many things he could
neither understand nor impress upon his memory.
He stayed much later that night, till the stars
began to appear amid the red shadows; and
as he rose reluctantly, almost in tears, from
the burden of strange feelings, he heard a
whisper: Common clay to its mother-earth, all
nobleness heavenward." "Common clay! that
is where father and I dig out there," exclaimed
he, looking to the plain that now stretched as a
dark level line against the starlit horizon.
"Heavenward!" hq asked wonderingly. "That
22 MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK.
must be up through the castle there! It's the
only thing I see that looks heavenward." And
the boy wandered slowly home. "All nobleness
heavenward !-How ?" Then the words floated
back he had heard the previous evening: "Where
there's a will, there's a way!" In a flood of
tears he exclaimed: "Indeed, indeed, I have
the will, but where is the way ? "
A third evening came, and the boy was again
at his post. Again did he repeat that question:
"Where is the way?" And as in answer to it
came the murmur of the whispering trees:
"Onward and Upward ever!" "Onward and
upward ?-That must lie through the castle. I
must venture!" And he went timidly forward
towards the door. The porter noticed him, and
asked him kindly what he feared, and why he
was so timid; for he had seen him there three
evenings, and had wished him to come forward
that he might speak with him. The boy burst
Cheer up, my boy, what is it troubles you ?"
I want to find the way upward and onward,
and I cannot"
"I'll help you to the way, if you have the
"Will you-will you indeed shew me the
way? That's what I've all along been
wanting !" exclaimed the boy eagerly.
"That I will, if you will heed what I say.
My name is Industry, and without my help you
MY BIRTIIDAY-BOOK. 23
could not even cross the threshold of this palace;
and supposing you were in, you could not
proceed a step, or see one of its beauties. But
with my help you can do anything, if you have
a true honest manly will!"
That I have; and it is all I have, for I
"So much the better! You have begun at
the right season. But you wish to become an
inmate, or at least a visitor here ?"
"I do most earnestly! "
"Have you the keys of the apartments ?"
"Then you must make them, for every one
must have his own keys, no others will fit."
"How and when can I do so? I have no
time but the hours between sunset and
"That is enough, with patience and perse-
"I will find patience, then; but who will
shew me the way?"
Poor boy have you no one to teach you ?"
Then you must do the double work yourself:
be your own teacher, your own scholar: it may
take longer time, but in the end it will be as
well, nay, better for you."
"When can I begin ? "
"To-night !" and the porter shewed him the
pattern of the keys.
24 MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK.
"God bless you for your cheer!" the boy
muttered as he bowed and took leave of him.
And late into the night he sat; and from the
very rubbish in his father's poor cot he extracted
some of the materials necessary to form these
mysterious keys. At all times his mind was
dwelling on them, and adding some tiny particle
to his little stock, during his hard work and his
short meals; in passing through the hamlet, or
in his sleepless hours upon his hard couch;
from every cottage-door, and from every talka-
tive acquaintance, he reaped something. And
every evening found him at the castle-gate
conversing with the porter; and every night
saw him come home cheered and exhilarated, to
bend to work anew; for he never left without
some comforting help, some precious idea, some
glimpse of the beauties in store for him. At
last, he came to the porter in dancing joy. I
have finished the keys! I may enter now!"
And smilingly the porter bowed and led the
way, talking cheerfully: "I once led a little
prince through this passage, when he, too, came
to claim the reward for forging the keys; all
his life afterwards he used them, and used them
so well and so faithfully, that when he came to
be king, he was called 'the Good.' Hundreds
of youths in every age have begun like him;
but many have not followed his steps on to the
end, and have come to a sad fate. Beware,
young friend "
MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK. 25
What danger can beset me here," cried
the boy wonderingly, "where all is beautiful,
and good, and true ? "
The porter shook his head. "No danger
from the castle itself, but in the heart of him
who enters, and from the enemies that are ever
lurking in odd corners to waylay and beset
Tell me of them, if it please you ?"
There is Indolence, a most softly-plumed but
most deceitful imp. The power she possesses is
wonderful, and that power is always exerted in
keeping people from proceeding 'onward and
upward.' You may know her by that. I have
seen people enamoured of the beauties of this
palace, yet she would keep them lying in the
garden, pleasantly looking at it, and listening to
the whispering of the leaves, yet never stirring
a step towards it, or improving their desire."
So might I have done had you not spoken
to me so comfortingly."
And even when people have been driven or
led through the gate, and proceeded some
distance in their ascent, I have known her over-
come them. The surest charms to keep her off,
is the watchword Love and Duty,' towards the
sovereign of'this shrine. Another of a similar
character always accompanies her, named Self-
conceit; and the two induce in their victim a
disease called Self-consciousness (generally
accompanied by large swellings of Arrogance and
26 MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK.
Pride), which is of a most disgusting appearance
to other people, but has a mysteriously soothing
and stupifying effect upon the sufferer. It is
very difficult to cure, principally from that
cause; and even 6ur good physicians, Common-
sense and Duty, have often acknowledged
themselves to be powerless in treating it.
Rashness and Impertinence are two others
that may try to bewilder you, and lead you into
dangerous whirlpools. So beware, young friend !"
"Not here, surely-not here !" answered the
boy dreamily, as with his key, that fitted
perfectly, he flung open a spacious apartment
that seemed to have no boundaries.
"Where have you been to-night !" asked the
porter, as the boy repassed him on the way out.
"In the Saloon of History. How my heart
leaped, and my soul stirred in viewing the great
things the soul of man has conceived, and the
power of man has worked out; while over all
and through all, we watch the 'golden thread'
of' God in history!' I thank you, good porter!"
And the boy went home to dream on the
thoughts that shook his waking mind, and woke
to work, still dreaming of the tales; and struck
his hand more proudly on the spade, as he
thought that even there he followed in the
track of kings.
Evening came on again; he sought the castle,
and went through the gates with a kindly grasp
of the porter's hand, and a bright smile in his
MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK. 27
Where were you roaming to-night ?" asked
he, as the boy returned with flushed cheek and
From viewing tokens of the power of man
in expressing other lives in marble or in canvas,
as the case may be; of imprisoning dreams; of
casting a spell on nature; of creating thoughts
for himself to live when he is gone. God be
thanked for directing me here !"
Another night, another day, another day's
work, another evening, and the boy with eager
eye and dancing step hurried through the
portico. More slowly he returned; his brow
was compressed-his eye upon the ground. To
the porter's question he returned: "I have
entered the shrine of Numbers; it has some
limits; there can be no correction, no improve-
ment there; it seems alone complete. Must it
not, then, be perfection?" And he paced
Time passed on; changes came over him;
home became dreary to him, his work a
drudgery, his position galling. In the castle
alone did he seem to live and act; there, old
inhabitants bowed their heads to him in token
of fellowship and encouragement, and younger
ones in proof of their admiration and respect.
In leaving the castle one night, on the porter's
kind inquiry as to what had engaged him so
long, his hurried and harsh-toned answer was,
"Philosophical research!" and off he darted to
28 MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK.
follow humbly in the train of one of the mag-
nates of the place. The next day, he was not
seen at his work, and his mother fretted, and
his father fumed to no avail. He let them
know he had got a post in the castle which set
him free from hand-labour; and the old people
tried to satisfy themselves with the honour, but
found it far too poor to compensate for the loss
of their son. And long did they miss their
child; and soon all his friends and acquaint-
ances even at the castle missed him, and sought
him for some time in vain. At last his friend
the porter came upon him, at that end of the
gallery of Philosophy where it unites with the
shrine of Poesy, lying supine in a dreamy stupor,
all wrapped up in himself, and fancying he
worked as he watched the ever-shifting shadows
wreathe round the figures on the wall. He
dreamed his life was all the higher, that
thus it was shut out from all of earth, and
angrily shook away the porter as he tried to
wake him from his dangerous sleep; and the
wise physicians, Common Sense and Duty,
attempted to rouse him all in vain, for they
perceived he had caught the disease the porter
warned him of, and that the little imps he
spoke of were busy in his breast. So, sadly
they left him.
Erelong his pleasing tyrants led him forth
into the garden, to revel in its luscious sweets.
He went submissively; but when he would
MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK. 29
return into the castle, he was not invited, nay,
was excluded when he presented himself. He
had neglected his friend the porter when in
prosperity, and now, when he would have sought
him, he was not to be found. He caught
glimpses of rare things going on within, and
heard faint echoes of its sounds; but all un-
heeded then were his meanings as he lay alone
at the door, feverishly beating it with his hands,
and bitterly crying for help and admittance,
till evening sunk and night came on-till heavy
rain poured on him, and lightning flashed
above him, shut out alike from the castle and
the cottage. Then he was half-awaked; 'and
still the trees whispered strange echoes that
dreamily murmured down into his soul, such as
"A little learning is a dangerous thing.
Drink deep, or taste not, the Pierian spring.
A shallow draught intoxicates the brain;
But drinking largely sobers it again."
"No man liveth to himself alone," muttered an
ivy; "Learn to unlearn what has been learned
amiss," whispered a young vine; "Never too
late to learn," said an oak; "Love and Duty,
Onward and Upward," said a fir-tree.
The lonely one crept home-back to the
simple home which he himself had called the
shrine of Ignorance; yet all dependant on that
ignorance for comfort, and help, and kindness;
when, from the chill his frame and his heart
alike had received, he was laid helpless on a
30 MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK.
feverish couch. Gone were the pretended
friends who had lulled him in health and pros-
perity; his humble parents and the physicians
from the castle alone frequented his pillow.
A new desire sprung up in his breast, watered
by tears, and fanned by sighs. A wondrous
talisman had been put into his possession; and
when life and health and strength returned, he
bent his steps back again to the castle. Back
again-unopposed by his parents, who had
learned to love and know their boy in a new
light since he had dwelt with them during his
illness; back again-tearfully and humbly to
make friends with the porter Industry, who
smilingly clasped his hand and whispered: "Be
strong in humility, and never despair;" back
again-to go over the old ground, to reascend
the old steps from which he had fallen by his
What is thine aim now?" said the porter.
"The very summit! and though I may
fall short of it, the very uprising of my eye
towards it ever, will help me 'onward and
"Dost thou know how many angles of the
building Knowledge unite to form that pinnacle
"I know it-
In heads replete with thoughts of other men;
Wisdom, in minds attentive to their own.
Knowledge, a rude unprofitable mass,
MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK. 31
The mere materials with which Wisdom builds,
Till smoothed and squared, and fitted to its place,
Does but encumber whom it seems t' enrich.'
But God helping me, I have the will."
"You have that Talisman now that you did
not own before; it will help you to 'know your-
self,' and to proportion your exertion to your
power," said the porter.
"There are many obstacles in the way,"
whispered the envious imp Indolence; "the
winds and the tides are all against you."
"I know it; but what of that? 'Tis but a
springless body that will be beat back by them.
Know ye not that the greater the force you
apply to dash an elastic substance to the
ground, the higher will be its rebounding. I
dare-I defy all difficulties!"
"But are you aware of the slippery steeps
and perplexing mazes that cross your path?
You may lose your way," whispered Fear.
"Be to the best thou knowest ever true!"
exclaimed the porter.
"I care not for them. Were there no diffi-
culty, where would be conquest? My greatest
difficulty is my own self; God help me in
Indolence left him in despair; the good
porter swore unending friendship.
The toil commenced in earnest, and the
youth fought on, and precious thoughts fell
from his lips, that, creeping to the outer air,
32 MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK.
hung whispering on the trees, to speak to
other spirits, as his had been spoken with. His
father and mother, too, instead of wishing him
back to their level, longed to rise to his, and
the height of his aim drew them also upwards.
They had themselves forged the keys, and often
came to visit him at his labour. And, behold a
wonder! the low mud hut where he and they
had dwelt had disappeared, and in its stead rose
a rock-founded edifice, built after the pattern
of the Monarch of the Plain; and the youth
would often cast his eyes lovingly upon it from
the high windows before which he sometimes
paused a moment in his toil. "Love and Duty"
was his watchword ever. Years fled. His
father and his mother had passed away from
before him. He had done Ill he dared do. He
had ascended ever, and for one moment he knelt
faint and wearily upon the summit of earthly
aspirations. But for one moment, for all things
grew dark around to him, save what lay
upward. To that brightness, then, his eyes
were raised; to that glory, then, his spirit fled;
and leaving the "common clay to its mother-
earth," "all nobleness heavenward" mounted
"on the wings of the wind ""onward and
Nurse closed the book suddenly, and Charlie
started up, evidently from a dose, though
he denied energetically that he had been
MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK. 33
"That is just the kind of story I like," said I,
"though I don't quite understand it. I know
about the castle, and the plain, and the porter
Industry; but what are the keys ?"
"The letters, I suppose; because unless you
know them, you can't read; and unless you can
read, you can't study all those fine things he
"I see," said I slowly. "And what trouble
was that he fell ill with ?"
"It would be Self-conceit; for when people
have learned a little, they are very apt to think
they know enough and that they are better
than others; and that makes them arrogant,
and indolent, and vain, and disagreeable to their
And what would the Talisman mean "
"I am not very sure: it may either mean
the Bible, or love, or humility, or truth, or the
effects of sufferings and trials."
"And why was he only for a moment on the
pinnacle of the castle, after having spent his
whole life in reaching it ?"
Because no man can live there; indeed, the
spirit is wisest just before it leaves this earth;
the great and good thing for him lay in a high
aim, for that lifts the soul high. I have
If what shone afar so grand
Turn to nothing in the hand,
On again, the virtue lies
In the struggle, not the prize.'"
34 MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK
I was silent for a few minutes, and then
exclaimed: "Nurse, I too would like to do
something! I too would like to enter the castle!
Can you shew me how to forge the keys ?"
"I can, and will, most cheerfully; but do
you remember that boy had no one to teach him
"That's what his first difficulty was? I
"Yes, there have been many such, who, albeit
unencouraged, and without ordinary means, or
help, or time, have taught themselves not only
to read, and to forge the keys, but have made a
most wondrous use of them. I see there are
some stories on the subject in this book, and I
will read you them as soon as possible."
"But I must learn to read for myself, and I
shall. I am six years old, and have done nothing,
but mean to learn the letters now. I do not know
more than three or four. Will you help me?"
"Yes, I will be very glad, if you secure the
friendship of the good porter Industry. Be
thankful you have so few of the difficulties
which 'that boy' had to conquer before he
could even enter the castle."
"I'll be in Soon, too!" said I, nodding my
head. "But who was the little prince ?"
"Don't you remember? I once read to you
about him-King Alfred."
"Ah! I know"-
MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK. 35
"But do come, Bella, and just hate one game
with me before papa comes home," said Charlie.
So I went; and the evening passed away as
usual, except with a more fixed determination
growing in my mind that I, too, should possess
THE next day, nurse asked mamma's leave to
take us with her to see Jane's sister, and got a
great number of little comforts and luxuries to
carry to the poor invalid. Oh, how my thought-
less and selfish heart stung me as I remem-
bered that I had nothing of my own to give!
I could not even bear to look at the outside of
the menagerie as we passed it on our way
through the village.
The poor girl was very ill; her fingers were
so thin, and slender, and white, that I almost
fancied I could see through them; and her
face was so pale, and her eyes so hollow and
bright, that I understood nurse's half-expressed
whisper: "There is no hope, then!" But she
seemed so happy and loving, and spoke so
kindly to Charlie and me, that I seemed better to
understand the text we had learned the night
before: "Let me die the death of O righteous,
and may my latter end be like his." Mrs Wilkie
seemed very much affected when she spoke to
MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK. 37
her or about her, and I observed a tear or two
trickling down her thin wrinkled cheeks. "For
though Jane is a good girl, and kind, yet it is
hard to let her go-even to her Saviour; at
least it seems so to my frail, selfish nature.
God grant me strength when the hour of trial
does arrive! "
How very grateful did she seem for the
things nurse took her; it made me doubly
repent my dear-paid pleasure !
"Surely God sent you!" the widow said,
"for I was just longing for these things for
my poor daughter. He has seen fit to drive
pride out of my heart too, and for her I would
accept anything now; it was not always so.
'God moves in a mysterious way.' "
"He does," said nurse; "and it is something
cheering to his children, as it must be terrible
to his enemies, the thought that at all times he
sees us, and is watching over our every thought
and action. I do not think any of us realise
that enough, either as a comfort or a warning.
But good-bye, Mrs Wilkie; as soon as possible
we will come and see how your daughter is
"We were all very quiet on the way home;
but after nurse had taught me something more
about my letters, or "my keys," as I called
them, the feeling of release made me quite
enter into Charlie's desire for some "real fun."
So we set ourselves quietly to ransack my
38 MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK.
drawers, and bring out my birthday-presents.
It never had struck me that my valentine had
been half so beautiful as it really was, and' I was
standing admiring it, when I caught a glimpse
of Charlie making my doll's eyes open and shut
with unnatural rapidity. Alarmed for the fate
of my darling, I rushed forward and rescued it
after some difficulty, and Charlie and I rose
laughing from our struggle.
"I'll singe off your doll's curls!" he said
merrily, running forward with a piece of crumpled
paper to the fire.
Ere it had touched the flame, I cried out:
"My valentine my valentine! but it was too
late; for Charlie, thinking that I was continuing
my fun, had lit it, and dropped it blazing at my
feet. How angrily then did I stamp the black-
ened ashes till not a spark remained-how
bitterly I upbraided Charlie-how spitefully
I struck him! I felt nurse come up and
separate us; I heard her speak to me in
reproachful tones; but I could not listen to her.
I crouched sullenly on the chair where nurse
placed me, and would not speak to any one.
"And is it then the case, Bella, that you
loved a bit of gilded paper better than your
brother Charlie ?"
"I don't love Charlie!" I exclaimed angrily.
"'He who hateth his brother is a murderer.'
You are as bad as Cain, who killed his brother,
for it was just in a fit of passion he raised his
MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK. 39
hand and slew him! I once knew a little boy
that killed his sister so. He had been working
with histools,and in his rage he threwhis hammer
at her; it struck her temples, and she died.
You may guess that boy's life-long repentance,
Bella; be thankful God was kinder to you !"
Still I did not speak, though I could not help
revolving that dreadful thought, "what if I had
killed Charlie!" and then I heard him go up
to nurse, and whisper for some time; but all I
heard was: "I am so very, very sorry. I wonder
if it was all burned, nurse." And I heard
him working among the burned ashes, and
going back to nurse.
"Here is a little bit with some writing on it;
what is it, nurse?"
"I love you !"
Then I heard his steps slowly come near me,
and with a timid little voice he said: "I am so
sorry, Bella, that your pretty valentine is
burned; but when I am a big man, I will send
you a far prettier one; and here's the best bit
left, Bella-'I love you!"' I couldn't help it,
but we had a hearty cry together, and I felt
resolved to try very hard never to be angry
with such a dear little brother again. Nurse
forgave me too, but I felt I could hardly forgive
myself, more especially when Charlie, who, I
knew, did not care much for stories himself,
entreatingly asked: "Do, nurse, read a story
out of Bella's new book; I am sure she would
40 MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK.
like it !" And nurse immediately laid down her
knitting, and after turning the pages, began-
THE CONQUERED ENEMY.
"Now remember," said mamma to her little
daughter, "you must watch and weed that
garden of yours very carefully, and keep out
any evil beast from it. For though these wild
animals and coarse weeds may seem small
to you just now, they grow faster than you do,
and by and by will be able to conquer you, if
you leave them alone."
" "But can't you keep them out?"
"No, dear; we must all attend to our own
gardens. I will give you my advice and help,
but you must tend it yourself."
"But, mamma, I cannot do it all myself."
"No, darling, I know you cannot; neither
can I. I have my own garden to attend to,
and can understand your difficulties."
"What shall I do, then?"
"Well, there is a great, and wise, and good
Prince, who has descended from all His grandeur
and power for the purpose of doing good, and
assisting helpless ones like you. Ask Him to
come and help you."
"But, mamma, how would a.great Prince ever
think of even speaking to me ?"
"Because He loves you, and would protect
and assist you even with His life. Truly, His love
MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK. 41
is wonderful. He has promised to come to every
one that will ask Him; indeed, He is so anxious
to be of use to needy ones, that He will stand
knocking at their doors, waiting to come in if
they would only open to Him. He is so good
Himself, that He is able to spend His whole time
in helping other people with their tasks !"
"" But, mamma, how could I ever find courage
to ask such a good Prince to come into my
shabby little garden ?"
Because He is only willing to come into such
places as require His improvement. He does
not go where people think they are strong
enough to do without Him, but loves to be with
weak ones who feel their weakness; and He
strengthens their weary hands, and invigorates
their drooping spirits, and enlightens their
perplexed thoughts; and their work seems to
be so easy while He is by their side, for they
cannot help feeling that the better they do it,
the better they please Him who loved them.
It is the greatest honour you can pay Him,
to ask Him to come to you. It is like saying:
'I am weak, but you are powerful. Will you
help me? I am wicked, but you are so good
that I cannot help loving you, and wishing you
near me. Will you come?' Why should you
be afraid to do that, my child?"
"I will go and ask Him to-morrow."
"No, dear; He would be better pleased if
42 MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK.
you' asked Him immediately. He is always
telling those who wish to come to Him, to Come
to-day;' to 'Come now;' to 'Come at once;'
and not to put off."
" "Then I will do what I can to please such a
kind friend, and call upon Him now!"
And the child called on Him, and the Prince
answered: I have heard thy cry, and listened
pleasantly to thy voice, and I come unto thee.
I will never leave thee nor forsake thee; but
will protect, and strengthen, and cherish thee
for ever. But be not afraid, nor fancy thyself
alone because at times thou canst not see me.
Ofttimes thy vision may be obscured by the
mists that rise from the soil; but, nevertheless,
I am ever near, though invisible, and watch and
help thee always !"
And the child went forth cheered into her
garden to her toil. But she wandered through
the sunny paths, and forgot her daily duty, and
let the weeds grow around her, in her mirth
among the pretty flowers. And there were
many wild animals in that child's garden,
though she did not as yet know half their
fierceness, and wickedness, and power. There
was a gloomy growling bear, a lazy self-willed
sloth, a snarling quarrelsome cur, a deceitful
serpent, a vain self-praising peacock, a greedy
grasping wolf, an obstinate untamable zebra,
and many snails and slimy things that should
not have been seen there. They were all young,
MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK. 43
however, and would not require half the trouble
to get rid of them now, as they would in a few
years, for they not only get larger and stronger
themselveS, but they bring so many others like
them into heir home, that sometimes it
requires a most desperate and life-long battle to
get rid of them. But the child thought not
of all that as she went among them; and if she
accidentally saw any of their wicked heads
peering out from behind her fast-growing weeds,
she thought that her new friend the Prince
would soon destroy them all for her, and she
need not care. But at last the animals crowded
on her, and overcame her, and "wounded her;
and when she looked round and saw no protector
or deliverer near, she sunk upon the ground,
weeping bitterly. And now her mother came to
her and soothed her; and a voice that she knew
belonged to her protector, fell on her ears,
saying: "I will save my darling from the power
of the lions, and they that put their trust in me
shall never be ashamed !"
But the child exclaimed wildly: "Mother!
He has deceived me, He has not saved me from
those wild animals I "
"No, darling, no! He will never deceive
you. He did not say He would drive them out,
and leave you idle; that would be doing your
work for you, which is no blessing. He only
promised to help you, and if you did nothing,
neither could He do anything."
44 MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK.
"Then what is the use of His help at all?
If I must do it myself, I can as well do it
without as with Him !"
"No, my child. It is He that puts the very
resistance into your thoughts; that gives you
strength' and encouragement, and directs you
and guides you; that keeps the enemies back
that they should not attack you too fiercely;
and that soothes and refreshes you after the
"He is not here, then, mamma !"
"You do not see Him, for He is invisible;
but He sent me to you! He 'moves in a
mysterious way,' but be assured,.He is always
listening to those that cry unto him. Did you
call out, 'Save me, or I perish,' when you were
"Then how did you expect to conquer, if you
neither fought yourself, nor called on Him to
fight for you. Remember, you must always do
both; and never let any doubts of His presence,
His power, or His love come into your heart."
But, mamma, how can I keep from it ? "
"By learning to know Him better, and by
knowing to love Him better. By asking Him
often to dwell beside you, and to speak with
you; never let a day pass without thinking of
Him, and of the words He has spoken to you, as
well as the words He has spoken to your friends,
which are always remembered, and repeated,
and delighted in."
MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK. 45
".Yes, mamma, He told me He 'would never
leave pie,' and I forgot that, or doubted His
word; will He ever care for me again ?"
"Oh, yes.! Nothing chills His love. It may
grieve Him, but the moment you turn again
sorrowfully and repentantly to Him, He is ready
with open arms to receive you, and loves you as
well as ever though your love grows cold. And
remember, that the more you fight against these
wild animals, the better you please Him; for
your garden and mine is a part of His kingdom,
and therefore you are purging His property by
so doing. Then let it be a proof of your love
and gratitude to Him; and the very thought
that it is so will strengthen your hands. He
has kept me all my life in every difficulty, and
be assured that He will keep you. And more
than that, He loves you and me, and the rest of
His people so well, that even amid the glories
of the capital city of His kingdom, He would
not be happy without us. His Father said we
were too untidy, and ragged, and wicked to be
there, but He shed His own blood, to cleanse us,
and to make us white and pure ; and He will put
His own garments on us; and He is so perfectly
"good, that He can spare His goodness to be
counted to our share. You cannot but love
Him. We love Him, because He first loved us;
and will love us to the last. And if we love
Him, and prove our love by doing what He bids
us, and trying to turn like Him, He will take
46 MY BIRTHDAY-BOOL
us with Him after a time to His glorious city,
where there shall be no fighting nor wild beasts,
for 'there the wicked cease from troubling, and
the weary are at rest. "
"Mamma, leave me I must call upon Him,
and would be with Him alone. My soul loveth
And a voice spoke in her ear, ere she was
done speaking: Behold, I am with you always,
even unto the end of the world! Whoever over-
cometh, shall be clothed in white raiment, and
shall sit with me in my throne, even as I over-
came and sat down with my Father on His
throne; and I will wipe away all tears from
their eyes, and shall lead them by living waters;
I shall never be ashamed of them, but they
shall live with me in love for ever !"
And the child went forth into her garden
refreshed and enlightened. And day after day,
she toiled; but the task was a labour of love.
And when she found the enemies grow strong
around her, she knew she had called to her
friend for help; for the call always brought
relief. Long years brought experience with it;
and she was enabled, from the flourishing state
of her own things, to look on the things of
others; and help and direct those who were nigh
despairing, to go also like her to the Fountain of
Strength and be filled. The term of her proba-
tion had nearly passed, and she was looking
forward with joy and desire to meeting her
MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK 47
faithful friend and Master face to face, and
going with Him to his kingdom. But in
a dark and unsought corner of the garden she
found another enemy-the last she had to
conquer, it is true; but in being the last, more
terrible than all the rest. Though unable to
keep her garden perfectly free, the Prince, her
friend, pleasantly had acknowledged: She
hath done what she could;" but this fierce,
frowning enemy seemed too much for her, and
as if about to destroy her at the last. But in
her hour of direst need, she felt the strong arm
of her friend round her; she saw Him pluck the
flaming sting from the jaws of that fierce beast,
and dash it behind her, she clung closely to
Him as they passed the monster, amid darkness
and flames and terrible voices. But the moment
they had passed it, she found herself without
her own garden-wall, and in the kingdom of her
dear Sovereign. A bright dazzling light shone
round her, but as she timidly raised her eyes to
His, He lifted her up, saying: Well done, good
and faithful one, come into the joy of thy lord "
Thousands of shining forms around re-echoed His
words, and she clung to Him, joyfully repeating,
"I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine!
I have entered into my rest!"
Nurse paused. "Do you understand it ?" she
48 MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK.'
"I think I do. Are not the gardens our
hearts, and the Prince, Jesus Christ ?"
"Yes, and the wild beasts are our evil
thoughts and passions; and this capital and
throne is in heaven, where we shall have
rest from all our enemies." Nurse did not
say anything about my bad behaviour, but
I know she thought of it, and I know
I thought of it too, and repented it deeply.
Charlie was near me, and I could not help
kissing him, and saying: "Indeed, I love you,
Charlie!" And I put the half-burned relic
of my birthday-valentine into my little
work-box; and laid by my doll and other
toys as nurse bade me; and then went
away to a room alone, and called upon this
great Prince, this loving friend, this faithful
protector to be with me, and to protect
and help me. I besought Him earnestly,
humbly, and repentantly; and I know He
heard me, child as I was.
AND weeks and months rolled on, unmarked
except by the baptism of the little sister, who
had come as my birthday-present, and who was
called Bertha. We often went to see poor Anne
Wilkie, who seemed to get more fragile and less
earthlike every day; and nurse, and mamma,
and papa had so energetically assisted me in
forming "my keys," that I was soon able to
read many a pleasant page by her bedside. She
always seemed so grateful for the slightest
kindness, and so affectionate and amiable, that
I am sure she had driven nearly all the wild
beasts out of her garden, except that last terrible
one, the contest with which would be the closing
I began to be able to help mamma about the
house, and to keep baby Bertha; so, with my
lessons, and my walk, and a little romping with
Charlie, my time was pretty well filled. But I
seldom was so busy but that I found time (on
fine days) to visit "my study," as I called it-
50 MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK.
an old quarry opening to the south, with a clear
spring and pleasant bushes in it, making it cool
It was a very lovely spot, situated upon ah
eminence, so that through the openings of the
trees that rose before it, I had a sweet view,
fading into the distance. I used to think
that I understood everything better there than
I did indoors, and thither, accordingly, would
I often take my books. I daresay I was
not far wrong, if it were not, that it sometimes
happened that I fell into a state of mind that
older people would have called a day-dream,
or a reverie, but which proved very prejudicial
to intense study. I had heard papa once repeat
And look through nature up to nature's God."
and I took a peculiar pleasure in going
there on Sunday evenings, and trying to
look up to Him through His gifts of beauty.
It always made me think how inexpressibly
lovely heaven must be, when He made this
earth so very beautiful. And it seemed the
words of my Bible always sounded more
nearly to my heart when I read them there; for
by this time I was able to read almost all the
Bible for myself. How many a beautiful text
and psalm did I learn in that shady spot; how
many a comfort, even in childish troubles, did I
receive from them! One Sabbath, the sunset
MY BIRTIDAY-BOOK. 51
was peculiarly magnificent; it thrilled my
young heart with feelings beyond description
of the might, and wisdom, and love of that
Being who had yet condescended to call us
"Behold the amazing gift of love
The Father hath bestowed
On us, the sinful sons of men,
To call us sons of God."
My very voice, in singing the hymn, seemed
profanation, as I stood and washed the red
rays of the departing orb till they sank in
silence into the night. It was nearly dark
when I came home. I was chided for being
late, and was hurried to bed; and next morning
I discovered that I had left my Bible in the
quarry. At the earliest opportunity I hurried
to seek for it; but my most careful search proved
fruitless, nor was any one able to give me the
slightest information. So I was obliged to
confess my carelessness to mamma; who, though
not in the least angry with me, but rather
sympathising, yet said I would require to return
to the use of my shabby old Bible, for some
time at least. This incident somewhat mortified
my pride, especially at church; but I have no
doubt it was good for me.
In the autumn, poor Anne Wilkie died. Her
mother and Jane appeared -quite resigned and
calm, but we knew how much they felt.
Mamma became much interested in the sor-
52 MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK.
rowing survivors, and shortly after, provided
some regular work for Mrs Wilkie, and took
Jane into her service. We all liked her very
much, and no wonder, she was so gentle, and
grateful, and trustworthy. To get Jane up
for an evening into the nursery, was an especial
treat we all looked forward to, and received as a
reward for good-behaviour. I would dress my
doll in its best clothes, to do her honour; and
Charlie would get out all his broken toys to be
mended, for she was so clever at these things.
Even baby Bertha tried to shew her childish
love in her own innocent ways.
On my next birthday, which, as my little
friends already know, was Bertha's also, we had
a merry holiday, and a great many presents,
but no party. Nurse was from home, and
Jane played with us all day. I never saw
a better playfellow than Jane was; Charlie
insisted that "she knew so many games, she
must have been taught them." Charlie and
I received a special invitation to dine and
take tea with papa and mamma; and when we
went up stairs afterwards, Jane had got Bertha
asleep, and was ready for a game. We enjoyed
ourselves very much, even more than if there
had been a party; and when Jane had begun
to undress Charlie, I brought out my story-
book, and felt quite proud to be able to offer to
read them a story myself. My keys had fitted,
though that imp, Indolence, had more than once
MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK. 53
harassed me very much, and hindered me sadly.
It was a very nice story, and Charlie closed his
eyes to dream about it.
Then Jane helped me to undress, and said:
" Now, shall I read you a story from my book-
a Bible story?"
"Yes, do, Jane," I said.
So she brought her Bible, and read me such
beautiful chapters. I do not remember any one
who was so clever as she was in finding out such
nice ones. I said to her, when she had ended:
"How nicely you read the Bible, Jane; you
make me feel it "
That is because I feel it myself, I do so love
it; and I love this very book for my poor
"Was it hers ?"
"There's a kind of story about it. She had
only a very old, and tattered, and dirty Bible,
that she could not hold up to read easily, and
mother and I could not afford to buy her one.
One Monday morning, as I was going to some
work I had over the hill, I was trying to devise
some plan or other to get a new strong Bible
for Anne. I went into an old quarry by the
side of the path to pray; and in my prayer I
earnestly asked God to help me to get one.
When I arose from my knees, almost the first
thing I saw was a beautiful clasped Bible
lying upon the ground! I felt almost
frightened at the time, so strange and direct
54 MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK.
seemed the answer to my prayer; but with a
few words of thanks, and a petition for direction
in the use of it, I clutched it up, and ran home
with it, forgetting the hour for my work and
everything else. You should have seen Anne's
face when I told her of it. We tried, in every
imaginable way, to find the owner, but failed.
It had a clear good type, and every day Anne
had it by her, reading as long as her poor weak
eyes and hands would allow her; then clasping
it to her bosom, she would repeat the sweetest
passages from it. She just had it for about a
month before she died. John, my brother, came
home from sea in time to see her for a day
or two. He was a hard, gruff boy, but he could
not help being softened by her gentle ways;
and when she died, she bade him take this
Bible with him for her sake, and read it every
day, and pray over it, remembering that her
prayers encompassed him. And when he
returned from his next voyage, he was to give
it to me, for she knew that if he used it prayer-
fully all that time, he could not want it, but
would buy one for himself. He did so-at first
pleased and proud of its handsome binding,
which he displayed among his mates; but
afterwards he loved it for a far deeper and
more noble reason. He was home again for
a day about a month ago; and, oh! Miss Bella,
what a changed and happy young man he is
now! My mother exclaimed, in the fulness of
MY BTRTHDAY-BOOK. 55
her heart: 'It hath pleased the Lord to take
from me a daughter, but He hath given me a
son, blessed be the name of the Lord!' He
seems so dear to me now. We do not know what
human love is, till we see it in the light of the
love of God. And he gave me the Bible
with a hope that it would be as much to
me as it had been to him. He had already
bought himself another one, plainer than this,
but accompanied with some useful notes, which
were of especial help to him. He had covered
Anne's Bible, in case he should destroy it, for
"An idea had been rambling through my head
for the last few minutes, which made me
suddenly exclaim: Where did you say you
found the Bible ?"
"On the old quarry, in the Fir Hill, where
the Trout Burn springs!"
"Let me see it."
And in an instant I knew it, more especially
when I turned to a blank page, on which were
written, the words: "To Rosabella, with her
mother's best love and most earnest prayers
-14th February !"
"It was mine!" I exclaimed. "Mamma
gave it me on my last birthday! I lost it there
one Sunday evening!"
Jane started, was silent for a time, and then
said entreatingly: Ah, Miss Bella, Miss Bella,
you will not take it from me now-I love it so
56 MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK.
DearJane,I neverwould think of such a thing!
I can get another, and any other would make
me as happy, while it would not do so to you."
"Oh thanks, dear Miss Bella! yet I know I
should return it. I made every effort at the
time to do so; but I never heard you called
Rosabella, and I never thought any of you
strayed about the old quarry."
"I always went there to read when I wanted
to be quiet, and one Sunday evening I forgot it,
and though I sought it everywhere, I could
never hear of it again till now. It is a strange
story. But now I am not sorry I lost it! And
don't trouble yourself, for I do not want it back.
Strange answering of prayer! God must have
meant you to have it, Jane."
She did not say anything more that night,
but next day, she asked leave of mamma .to
go to town. I told mamma about the strange
story of my Bible, and got her permission to bid
Jane keep it freely. But when she returned,
she came to the nursery; and as I was about to
repeat mamma's promise, she handed me a
small, neatly-folded parcel, and hurried out of
the room. Only fancy what she had done: she
had spent a great part of her small wages in
buying me a Bible exactly like my own lost
gift! I did not know whether to be angry or
pleased with her, so I ran and told mamma,
who said I "ought to keep it, for that Jane-
would lose nothing for it."
I MUST now leap over about two years
before I find anything worth mentioning even
connected with my birthday-gifts. In the
meantime, Charlie and Bertha and I were
growing taller and stronger, and a very little
wiser. Charlie and I had caught very severe
colds-some kind of ulcerated sore throat-for
some time being confined to bed, and for a
longer period to the house. Both mamma and
Jane were very attentive to us, but we could
not help being very weary of our sickness. The
first day we were allowed to rise up and dress
ourselves, of course all our possible home amuse-
ments were resorted to, and my pretty colour-
box received wondrous attention. We ransacked
our book-case for all the volumes that possessed
an uncoloured illustration, and were most assi-
duous in supplying the deficiency. Really we
had improved a good deal in that line since I
had received this present, especially Charlie,
who would sometimes now draw things for him-
58 MY BIRTHDAY-BOO1.
self, and then colour them, till they looked
almost as pretty as the book-pictures. Among
the books which we had by our search recalled
from oblivion, was my birthday-gift, Dare and
Do. We had never quite finished reading it;
at least, we had missed some stories which did
not seem so interesting, and read the last one
about "the palm-trees." But this day, after
correcting and improving the colouring thereof,
we thought we would finish the book completely,
and asked Jane to read one of the neglected
stories, while we were going on with our work.
So Jane, with her usual kindness, consented,
and forthwith commenced to read-
THE POWER OF.INDUSTRY.
"Art is long, and time is fleeting!" ay, so
long is art, that when a certain great painter
was asked how long he had taken to complete
a famous picture, he answered: "A lifetime!"
-a lifetime of learning, and patience, and pro-
gressive labour Yet hundreds of lives, even in
our own land, have rejoiced in spending and
being spent in the service of that glorious
mistress-Art. No matter how generously nature
may have supplied the artistic faculties-with-
out industry and perseverance, these gifts are
left dormant and useless; their very labours,
their very difficulties, are their best teachers.
As John Hunter wisely remarks: "Is there one
MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK. 59
whom difficulties disheartened-who bends to
the storm ? He will do little. Is there one
who will conquer? That kind of man never
fails." These bounds are so limited, that I may
but give you one instance of the kind of men"
that "will conquer;" and even that instance
less fully exemplifies it than I would wish.
James Sharples was one of thirteen children of
a working iron-founder, so poor, that he was
quite unable to give his boys any school-educa-
tion whatever, but sent them to work as soon
as they were able. James began to work in the
foundry when he was ten years of age, where he
was engaged in hard labour from six in the
morning till eight at night; yet, fatigued as he
was with his work, he managed to pick up a
little information during the evenings, or other-
wise amused himself with drawing the designs
of boilers in chalk upon his mother's floor. His
friends, poor as they were, encouraged him,
especially his elder brother, who spent his leisure
time in mechanical drawings. His only copies
were lithographs, not the most improving for a
beginner. He worked diligently, however, and
became an expert copyist, though he remained
ignorant of the principles of light and shade,
and of the rules of perspective. When about
sixteen, he joined the Bury Mechanics' Insti-
tution; and attended the drawing-class once a
week for three months. The teacher was only
an amateur-artist, a barber by profession, but he
60 MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK.
nevertheless helped James on considerably; and
recommended him to take from the library
Burnet's Practical Treatise on Painting, which
he did, but found himself unable to read fluently
enough to study it alone. To a self-helping
and energetic mind like his, this was a keen
deprivation; so, taking the right course, he
gave up his drawing-class next quarter, and
devoted his whole energy to learning to read
and write at home. He improved in this so
rapidly, that the succeeding quarter, when he
took out Burnet's volume a second time, he
was not only able to read it, but to take full
notes for future use. So earnest was he, that
he would rise at four o'clock in the morning to
read and copy out passages; after which, he
went to the foundry at six, working till six,
but more frequently till eight in the evenings,
returning to study Burnet again, which he
often did to a very late hour. He some-
times varied his occupation with drawing-
often continuing at it all night, as he
did in copying Leonarda da Vinci's "Last
Supper." He next tried to paint in oil, for
which purpose he bought some common canvas,
stretched it, coated it over with white-lead,
and began by using house-painters' colours.
It proved a complete failure, for the canvas
was rough and knotty, and the paint would
not dry. In his distress, he applied to his
old teacher, from whom he first heard that
MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK. 61
prepared canvas could be had, as well as pecu-
liar colours and varnishes for the purpose of oil-
painting. As soon as additional hard work had
procured him sufficient money, he bought the
smallest possible quantities of the necessary
articles, and began afresh. He soon excelled
S his teacher. His parents were too poor to help
him at all, and the only funds he could secure
for his treasured studies, were what he could
make by working overhours. With this hard-
earned supply, he bought a Shilling Guide to
Oil-painting, his paint, brushes, and canvas.
Even for these he had to walk to and
from Manchester in the evenings, returning
almost at midnight from an eighteen-mile
walk, sometimes completely drenched and
exhausted, but borne up through all by
hope and unconquerable determination. With
his own hands, and at intervals snatched from
his daily toil, he made for himself an easel,
palette, palette-knife, and paint-chest. His
first painting was a copy from an engrav-
ing called "Sheep-Shearing," afterwards sold
for half-a-crown. In his own words: "The
next pictures I painted were-a Landscape by
Moonlight, a Fruit-piece, and one or two others;
after which, I conceived the idea of painting
'The Forge.' I had for some time thought
about it, but had not attempted to embody the
conception in a drawing. I now, however,
made a sketch of the subject upon paper, and
62 MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK.
then proceeded to paint it on canvas. The
picture simply represents the interior of a large
workshop such as I have been accustomed to
work in, although not of any particular shop.
It is therefore, to this extent, an original concep-
tion. Having made an outline of the subject,
I found that, before I could proceed with it
successfully, a- knowledge of anatomy was indis-
pensable, to enable me accurately to delineate
the muscles of the figures. My brother Peter
came to my assistance at this juncture, and kindly
purchased for me Flaxman's Anatomical Studies;
a work altogether beyond my means at the
time, for it cost twenty-four shillings. This
book I- looked upon as a great treasure, and I
studied it laboriously, rising at three o'clock in
the morning to draw after it, and occasionally
getting my brother Peter to stand for me as a
model at that untimely hour. Although I
gradually improved myself by this practice, it
was some time before I felt sufficient confidence
to go on with my picture. I also felt hampered
by my want of knowledge of perspective, which
I endeavoured to remedy by carefully studying
Brook Taylor's Principles; and shortly after I
resumed my painting. While engaged in the
study of perspective at home, I used to apply
for and obtain leave to work at the heavier
kinds of smith-work at the foundry, and for this
reason-the time required for heating the
heaviest iron-work is so much longer than that
MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK. 63
required for heating the lighter, that it enabled
me to secure a number of spare minutes in the
course of the day, which I carefully employed
in making diagrams in perspective upon the
sheet-iron casing in front of the hearth at which
About a year and a half after his apprentice-
ship had ceased, he painted a portrait of his
father, which attracted considerable notice in
the town. Still more praise and admiration
did he receive, when, shortly afterwards, he
produced his picture of "The Forge." This
applause brought him a commission from the
foreman in the foundry, to paint his family in a
group for eighteen pounds. This picture pleased
so well, that the young artist not only received
the price but thirty shillings additional. This
employment took up his time so fully, that
while engaged in it, he ceased to work at the
foundry, and even thought of giving up his
occupation altogether, and devoting himself to
painting. With this view, he painted several
pictures, the principal of which were an original
conception of the head of Christ, life-size, and
a spirited view of Bury. But as he did not
obtain sufficient employment, he had the good
sense to resume his occupation as a black-
smith, employing his leisure hours in studies
connected with his worshipped art. A Man-
chester picture-dealer, to whom he had shewn
his picture of "The Forge," having mentioned
64 MY BIRTHDAY-BOOL
that it would make a good print, James deter-
mined to engrave it himself, though altogether
ignorant of the art. His determined persever-
ance in overcoming difficulties is here described
in his own words.
"I had seen an advertisement of a Sheffield steel
plate-maker, giving a list of the prices at which
he supplied plates of various sizes; and fixing upon
one of suitable dimensions,I remitted the amount,
together with a small additional sum, for which
I requested him to send me a few engraving
tools. I could not specify the articles wanted,
for I did not then know anything about the
process of engraving. However, there duly
arrived with the plate three or four gravers, and
an etching-needle; the latter I spoiled before
I knew its use. Whilst working at the plate,
the Amalgamated Society of Engineers offered
a premium for the best design for an emble-
matical picture, for which I determined to
compete, and I was so fortunate as to win the
prize. Shortly after this, I removed to Black-
burn, where I obtained employment at Messrs
Yates', engineers, as an engine-smith; and
continued to employ my leisure time in.drawing,
painting, and engraving, as before. With the
engraving, I made but very slow progress, owing
to the difficulties I experienced from not possess-
ing proper tools. I then determined to try to
make some that would suit my purpose; and
after several failures, I succeeded in making
MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK. 65
many that I have used in the course of my
engraving. I was also greatly at a loss for
want of a proper magnifying-glass, and part
of the plate was executed with no other assist-
ance of this sort than what my father's
spectacles afforded, though I afterwards suc-
ceeded in obtaining a proper magnifier, which
was of the utmost use to me. An incident
occurred while I was engraving the plate,
which had almost caused me to abandon it
altogether. It sometimes happened that I
was obliged to lay it aside for a considerable
time, when other work pressed; and in order
Sto guard it against rust, I was accustomed to
rub over the graven parts with oil But on
examining the plate after one of such intervals,
I found that the oil had become a dark sticky
substance, extremely difficult to get out. I
tried to- pick it out with a needle, but found
that it would almost take as much time as to
engrave the parts afresh. I was in great despair
at this, but at length hit upon the expedient of
boiling it in water containing soda, and after-
wards rubbing the engraved parts with a tooth-
brush; and, to my delight, found the plan
succeeded perfectly. My greatest difficulties now
were over, patience and perseverance were all
that were needed to bring my labours to a
successful issue. I had neither advice nor
assistance from any one in finishing the plate.
If, therefore, the work possesses any merit, I can
66 MY BIRTHDAY'-BOOK.
claim it as my own; and if, in its accomplish-
ment, I have contributed to shew what can be
done by persevering industry and determination,
it is all the honour I wish to lay claim to."
This work took up his entire leisure hours
during five years; and it was only when he
took the finished plate to the printer, that he
saw, for the first time, an engraved plate done by
another man. The merits of The Forge" have
been cordially recognized by the art journals
and papers of the day. His is a grand example
of how poverty, ignorance, disappointment, and
other obstacles can be overcome through un-
daunted application and determination.
Jane stopped. "I do not like that one so
well as the rest," I exclaimed.
It's a different style, but there's a grand
lesson in his brave, hopeful spirit! What do
you think of it, Master Charlie ? "
Charlie had dropped his brushes, and had
been sitting very quietly with his elbows on
the table, and his hands clasped over his eyes;
but when thus addressed, he rose up and
proudly said: "What do I think? That I
will be a painter too-I will !"
So the very next day he sat down and began
to try to read the story for himself, which, with
a little help at the long words, he did. Charlie
never had been much of a scholar, but after this
he became very attentive to his lessons. "I
MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK. 67
must have 'my keys,' I must have 'my keys,'
you know, Bella!" he would say. Once I
suggested to him: "James Sharples had to
forge his own keys-no one helped him."
Charlie's face became blank. "Do you think
I should not let any one help me, but should
get over all the difficulties myself ? Would it be
better so I"
"No, no," I said.
No, no," answered Jane. God has ordered
everything for the best; and if He sees fit that
no difficulties-or rather none of the same
kind, for we have all difficulties in our path-
should retard our progress, it would not be
right to place them there with our own hands."
"But, then, it seems as if I have no difficul-
ties, and everybody helps me. And it seems as
if I could not get on properly without doing
more for myself!"
"Think," said Jane, "have even you no
difficulties ? Your fondness for play, your love
of change, your dislike to hard study-are
these not all difficulties in your way? And
must they not all be conquered if you would
really be a great artist ?"
I see," said Charlie, slowly but pleasantly;
"it's all right. But, Bella, will you lend me
your colour-box often ?"
"I'll give you it altogether, dear, good
Charlie!" exclaimed I, in a sudden fit of
68 MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK.
"Oh, that is too much by far; keep it rather
"Not a bit! I am not going to be an artist;
and you 'U lend me it whenever I want it, and
that won't be very often !"
"But are you sure you won't repent, Bella,
or grudge me it ?"
Quite sure !"
"Won't Uncle Edward be angry ?"
"How can he be, when he gave it to me to do
what I liked with ?"
And you are sure that you mean it ?"
Quite sure!" And we shook hands, and
sealed the bargain with a kiss.
"Oh, it's so kind of you, Bella, and I'11
never forget it !" he said, as he slowly gathered
up all the pencils and brushes, and laid them
carefully in their place; and, indeed, I may as
well confess to a leetle pang of regret, though
it was accompanied by no desire to withdraw
We had long known that Charlie was fond of
drawing and painting; but we were hardly
prepared for the energy with which he devoted
himself to it after reading this story. It seemed
to be the one slight impulse necessary to urge
him on. He read all through my little book,
Dare and Do, several times, and vowed "it did
him good;" he became very attentive to his
lessons, and soon learned to read well enough
Sto be able to peruse some of papa's library
MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK. 69
volumes on his favourite subject; he spoke to
papa about what he wished to do, and though
I thought I saw papa smile, he brought him
copies, and helped him, and encouraged him
on. Indeed, so engaged was he with his new
studies, that he would have spent all his time
over them, had he not been ordered out both
for walk and play. Yet even these hours he
improved, for I would hear him often exclaim:
"What a beautiful sketch that corner would
make!" or, "What a fine old tree for a
picture!" or, "If I could only be able to paint
such clouds as these!" And, by and by, the
colour-box, that was once mine, came into
I WAs almost forgetting to tell you about
my doll. It had been. a constant source of
amusement, not only to me, but privately to
Charlie, and openly to Bertha. We had dressed
it, and undressed it, put it to sleep, and awaked
it again, hundreds of times, and still my doll
was in existence. But its waxen face and neck
were very dirty and gray, and its curling locks
sadly tangled. Charlie, in the very heyday of
his enthusiasm for painting, and gratitude to
me for his implements, determined to make my
doll fresh coloured again, and to repaint its face.
He first tried to wash the wax; but, alas for his
success, it only made it worse! Then with a
delicate penknife he endeavoured to scrape off
the soiled outward coating. But his patient
labour and rising hopes were again doomed to
disappointment; so he tried a third experiment,
by holding it near enough the fire to soften it a
little, and then smoothing down the soft wax
MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK. 71
with his fingers. But in vain were all his
endeavours-his painting, his rubbing, and
everything else; from bad to worse it grew,
till my wax-doll became a perfect fright. I
had got over "my first love" for my lifeless
baby, and therefore was neither so angry nor
so disappointed as might have been expected.
Charlie was deeply mortified at his failure, and
made many apologies and condolences, which I
laughed at, assuring him I did not care. Finally,
Charlie read out of one of papa's books: "We
learn wisdom from failure much more than from
success; we often discover what will do by
finding out what will not do; and probably he
who never made a mistake, never made a
discovery." And then closing it, continued:
"I know it is right to try things; and I know
we should not be disheartened by failure; but
I am very vexed, Bella, that in my failure I
should have destroyed your doll. When I am
a big man, I shall work hard, though, and buy
you one twice as pretty !"
"But I'll be a big woman too, and won't care
for dolls then !"
"Neither you will!" said Charlie sorrowfully.
"Never mind, Charlie," said I; "I'm getting
too old for a doll, and I know Bertha would
be delighted to have it, even as it is; so I'll
present it to her. I won't grudge it, even when
she knocks it about or lets it fall, so it won't
matterfa bit, Charlie; besides, it wasn't your
72 MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK.
fault that it was spoiled, and it was not very
much better before !"
"It's an ill wind that blows nobody good,"
laughed Jane; "Bertha will be delighted with
what the breeze has blown her." And so -she
was. She was a strange, still child, caring little
for the usual noisy mirth of childhood, but
delighting in dolls, and flowers, and pictures. I
sometimes heard people say she was too good
and too beautiful to live; and I felt a some-
thing indescribable rising in my throat as, with
a similar conviction, I looked at her tenderly.
I loved her dearly, for was she not my darling
sister-my living doll-my birthday-gift? I
loved her with a peculiar love, such as I never
had for any other being-and I think our whole
family shared in my feeling; there was some-.
thing so unearthlike, so spiritual, so pure about
our Bertha. We never thought of playing
much with her; but we would gather flowers
and wreathe them for her, and tell her little
stories of the bees, and the butterflies, and birds,
that would make her large wistful eyes grow
larger, as she wonderingly listened. "Beautiful
blue" was her favourite colour, and we used
to fancy her eyes lent to everything their
own ethereal tint. Blue flowers, blue butter-
flies, blue skies, were her delight. "Beautiful,
beautiful blue!" she would often sigh amid
her posies. And when I gave her my-faded
doll, its blue eyes and blue dress were the
MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK. 73
first things she rejoiced in. "My own, own
doll! My beautiful blue-blue eyes-blue
frock!" How she treasured it, the darling-
making me feel so selfish in never having
thought of giving it before-never until it was
half destroyed !
Bertha was clever too, very clever, and picked
up her letters and even reading wonderfully
quick; and she used often to sit by mamma's
knee, and try to spell out the simple verses in
the big picture Bible, which Charlie and I would
prop upon a stool before her. She was queer,
too, in her little ways and thoughts. She
would talk for hours alone with her doll, as if
it were a real person, and would insist that she
saw angels among the white clouds in the
blue sky,.and would kiss her little hand to
them with a smile. Insensibly, her little
sayings were treasured up and remembered, as
if they were indeed a part of her whom we
all loved so tenderly.
The last winter she passed on earth, she
asked mamma suddenly, upon coming from a
walk: "Mamma, tell me exactly where God
God lives everywhere, my love; not only in
heaven, but within you and me, and around us !"
"Does He live in the sea and in the earth ?"
"Yes, my sweet one, he lives everywhere."
"I was sure of that-I was sure He must be
under the ground too, else where would the
74 MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK.
snowdrops come from, and the other flowers?"
She never forgot that, and often spoke to the
flowers about God in her childish way, as if
she knew their language. And she never could
see any one angry, or do anything wrong, with-
out whispering: "'Member, God is in you, and
doesn't like bad things !" And she tried so
earnestly to keep her own little shrine pure
and holy, that God must have loved to dwell
Many strange expressions and ideas did our
tiny Bertha give utterance to-sometimes
making her listeners start and feel that surely
she was not one of us, but of some higher and
more ethereal race of beings.
THE TURQUOISE NECKLACE.
AT last recovering from our protracted colds,
the doctor ordered change of air for Charlie and
me. After some doubt and hesitation as to
the whereabouts, we accepted an invitation
from Uncle Edward. We felt a little afraid, as
he was a stern and correct man, and though of
a thoroughly good heart, was not very indulgent
to children; but he seemed so delighted with
the bent of Charlie's inclination towards paint-
ing, and so anxious to help him a little, and to
watch his improvement, that we never thought
a moment of refusing. Art was his only comfort,
and occupation, and amusement, and he was
pleased that his gift of a colour-box should in
any way be connected with the fortunes of a
"rising artist," as he insisted on calling Charlie,
who was as yet only eight years old. I well
remember that visit. Jane, who was one of
the party, attended and looked after us, and we
never thought of disobeying her. Charlie was
rejoicing on the way in the prospect of help in
76 MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK.
his drawing and painting; but as he got near the
house, he sunk into my state of nervous timidity,
for our recollections of Uncle Edward were not
the most encouraging. He was a widower, and
his wife and only child had died so long ago,
that it was no wonder that he appeared what
people generally thought him-a crusty old
bachelor. Yet his welcome was kind and
affectionate, if not encouraging; and the interest
he took in Charlie's drawing and my reading,
together with the liberty he gave us as regarded
his own possessions, soon made us feel very
happy in our new abode. He really took a
great deal of trouble with us, taking us to all
the fine walks and picturesque scenery in the
neighbourhood, and teaching us with the
greatest pains whatever we had a mind to learn.
And in order to find us some more cheerful and
useful companions, he made a children's party
for us. It was one of the greatest wonders
heard of in the country, yet, perhaps for that
very reason, one of the most successful and
delightful that possibly could have been. Even
our sober uncle himself, when our young friends
had departed, confessed to having enjoyed him-
self very much, and complimented Charlie and
me upon our creditable behaviour. He must
previously have judged all children from the
specimens he saw at play in the village street,
one would think, to hear him talk. As
Jane came to call us upstairs, he was admir-
MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK. 77
ing my dress and necklace, the former of
which was a plain white muslin, and the latter,
That is a beautiful necklace !" he exclaimed,
".and as valuable as it is beautiful! It is
surely too handsome for a child like you to
"Aunt Emily gave me it for a birthday-gift
the same year that you sent me my paint-box,
uncle," said I, taking it off to let him examine
it more carefully.
"It is just like her; she always gives us
handsome presents, and tasteful too. But good-
night, Miss Bella-Jane is waiting; and a
sound sleep to you both after your fatigues
We left him with the necklace still in his
hand. On the way to our room, Jane and I
went into Charlie's, and amidst the course of
brushing and tidying, we carried on a most
enthusiastic conversation upon the events of
the evening. Suddenly we stopped, as we
thought we heard uncle's step' passing the
door. Then we went quietly to our own
rooms, and fell wearily asleep.
At breakfast next day, I asked my uncle if
he could give me my necklace; to let Jane put
"Your necklace did you not get it ?"
"No, uncle, I left it here with you last
78 MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK
I know that, Bella; but I took it up to
your room myself."
"I did not see you."
"You were in-Charlie's room."
"Where did you lay it, please, dear uncle ?"
On the toilet-table."
Directly after breakfast, I ran to tell Jane,
and to assist her to seek it; but no necklace
could we find. Nobody had entered the room
but our two selves since the lost trinket had
been left there; but the most patient and
minute search proved all in vain.
At dinner-time, my uncle said: "By the by,
Bella, did you find your necklace ?"
I blushed painfully, and stammered: "No."
That is very strange! I laid it down to the
right end of the toilet-table-a little towards
"I will look again, uncle."
"Yes; but you ought not to have been so
careless, as to have delayed the search so
"-We did look, I do assure you, uncle," said I,
"Who did look ?"
"Jane and I, and Charlie too."
He was silent for a while, and then said:
"Now listen, look carefully for it to-night; and
if you cannot find it, tell me."
We were very silent the rest of the time we
spent together that evening; and very silent,
MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK. 79
too, when in my own room we sought, and
sought, and could not discover any trace of it.
Jane seemed greatly distressed; and when I
asked her why, she said:
"I feel as if, somehow oi other, it were all
my fault, Miss Bella; and as if I would be
blamed for carelessness; and, indeed, I never
saw it, or knew it was there."
"I daresay not, Jane, it was no carelessness
of yours; and you must not be sorry for what
you can't help. I would not care if we had only
lost it at home, or any place but Uncle
"I cannot tell you how grieved I feel, Miss
But you must not let it trouble you too
much And now, since we have done all we
can, I think we'll have a fairy tale to cheer us
up," said I, taking up a beautiful volume that
uncle had given us.
So I read, and Charlie and Jane listened to
me. But surely I had chosen the wrong story,
for when I had finished, Jane seemed more
troubled than ever. Silently she went with
Charlie to his room, and silently she came to
assist me to undress. When I lay down, I asked
her to read me some chapters aloud, which she
did. As she finished, I exclaimed:
Do you remember, Jane, one night long
ago, I read you a story (my first attempt), and
then you read me some chapters, I think the
80 MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK.
very same as you read to-night; and when
you had done, we found out about my lost
Bible ? Now, I wonder if we '11 find out anything
connected with my necklace to-night ?"
But the night passed, and when morning
came, a renewed search after my unfortunate
necklace proved fruitless. It was in vain, too,
that I endeavoured to parry every allusion to
the lost necklace-for uncle asked me pointedly:
" Have you found it ?" Then I had to confess;
while, half in palliation of the charge of careless-
ness, and half from want of anything else to say,
I enlarged upon my own earnest searching,
and Jane's interested and fruitless endeavours,
winding up with her evident distress and sorrow.
Much to my astonishment, my uncle, instead
of being pacified, seemed to get more angry
at every word I said, till he exclaimed:
"I was sure of it! Indeed, it can be no one
else I charged her with it this morning, and
she had the effrontery to deny it to my face!"
"Charged her with what?"
"Stealing your necklace!"
Stealing! Jane steal! Jane a thief!-
No wonder she was distressed when you could
charge her with such a crime! Shame,
He seemed a little taken aback with my
sudden and unexpected energy, but continued:
"Nonsense, child. The proofs are so positivethat
I have given directions to a constable!"
MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK. 81
"Uncle!" I exclaimed, "are you mad?
What could have put such an idea into your
"Very simple reasoning. The very night
she first discovered, from our conversation, the
great value of your necklace, she finds it on
your table-you believe I still have it-the
temptation proves too strong. She is startled
next morning by the search, and the pointed
facts which come out. No wonder she is
distressed. I can swear to having placed it
there with my-own hand-no other person than
you and she hdd entered the room up to the
time it was missed. She trusts to her previous
good character; but my servants have good
characters too. In short, she leaves the house
to-morrow for "-
Not to prison ?" said I passionately.
"For prison !" was my uncle's reply.
And in vain were my petitions and explana-
tions, my tears and threatening. He was a
hard man, and was made now still more hardened
by what he considered my obstinacy and un-
reasoning wilfulness, till I remember rising and
saying bitterly in my despair: "Stop, uncle, I
can hear no more. I despise you, as you will
do yourself yet !"
He left the room. It was long before I could
calm myself sufficiently to go to Jane; for not
all the readings from her precious Book could
at that moment keep my heart from rising into
82 MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK.
an angry dislike towards my uncle. And even
then, I thought, what could I say to her; for
everything seemed so perplexing and unfortu-
nate, I knew not what to do. But with a calm
determination I sat down by her, and putting
my hand on hers, murmured:
"Dear Jane, I am so grieved; but God will
set it all right soon! Remember your prayer
for your sister's Bible, and the speedy answer!"
Then she burst into tears-" Thank you,
Miss Bella! I do remember Him and His
goodness; but it does seem so hard !"
We did not converse very much that day, and
the next she was gone. I only got leaveto see
her once again, and tried to comfort her; but
they only who can imagine themselves in her
position, can feel how trifling my comforting
I was perfectly miserable; Charlie was un-
happy and restlessly idle; uncle was gloomy
and morose, until papa, and mamma, 't
Bertha arrived to lighten the house. They had
set off from home as soon as they heard the
news about Jane. They were very much grieved
and perplexed; but I was glad to see that they
believed the appearances of guilt no more than
I did. Papa got her out of prison on bail,
promising that she should appear when the
court called for her. Yet it seemed to me, that
though most grateful for his kindness, she
would rather have remained in her cell, alone
MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK. 83
with God and her own soul, than come back
amongst known people, with kind, pitying, con-
scious glances, or hard, contemptuous, pitiless
ones. She avoided every one, and even seemed
uncomfortable with Charlie and me; Bertha
being the only one she seemed at ease with.
She was evidently suffering severely from her
inward struggle and anxiety, and what could we
do for her? It was on the evening before the
expected trial, that she shewed most plainly
her distress to me in our own room. I tried to
soothe her with the Bible, but the very words
stuck somehow in my throat. It was in tears I
bade her good-night; and it was in tears that
I lay down and fell asleep. Suddenly I woke
with a start; the lamp was still burning, and
Jane was kneeling by the table, with her head
laid on her Bible. She started up too, and
then the cry from without was repeated:
"Fire! fire!" 1 rose, and at the same mo-
ment a lurid light flashed through the window.
Jane snatched up Bertha, and rushed for the
door. The passage was in flames, and we
ran back to the window. How stiff it
seemed, and how long of opening to our united
efforts! At last it yielded, and, thank God,
we found a ladder being placed against it, to
rescue us. A man was by us in a moment-
Jane placed Bertha in his arms-and when he
had reached the ground, she bade me follow
him. I did so, and she was coming too,
84 MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK.
when I heard a voice. I knew it, even in my
giddiness, to be mamma's. "My Charlie, my
boy! They have forgotten him; oh, save
him!" Jane disappeared. Some men went to
the window of Charlie's room, but the flames
were so fierce that they could not venture in.
They tried to throw in buckets of water, but it
seemed in vain. Mamma and I stood together
in our night-dresses on the cold ground, with
only some shawls loosely thrown round us. Yet
neither of us felt the cold, nor did Bertha,
whom mamma clasped close to her bosom,-We
all three gazed at that window, the very centre,
as it seemed, of all the flames, in tearless,
speechless agony. Mamma held my hand,
and at times grasped it so fiercely that at
another time I would have cried out with pain.
And all the dreadful scene went on in a breath-
less silence, till a cry from the window that had*
been ours, turned our fixed eyes and thoughts
towards it once more: Quick, quick-here save
him, I cannot!" Charlie was there, senseless,
clasped in Jane's arms, and both of them almost
hidden in flames. The ladder was instantly
raised, and Charlie carried down, but Jane had
sunk behind the sill, unable to move any further.
The man ran up the ladder again, and finding
her so helpless among the flames, sprang in, tore
down the crackling and brittle window-sill that
impeded his efforts, and throwing her over his
shoulder, again reached the ground exhausted
MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK. 85
by his exertions. By and by, the flames were
being subdued, and a covered wagon had
arrived to carry the rescued to a place of shelter.
Charlie and Jane were still insensible. What a
night-what a morning-what a sleep-what a
waking that one was It is in vain to attempt
to describe it; you who read only need to fancy
yourselves in our situation.
We who were able went over in the morning to
see the result of the last night's fire. The house
looked dreary, and blackened, and ghastly, and
yet was not so much ruined as might have
been expected. In fact, the fire had been almost
entirely confined to the one end of the house
which contained Charlie's room and ours. Look-
ing up at the gaping opening which had been
the window of our room, I observed papa
shudder all over; I could well guess the cause.
Suddenly, he struck his foot against something
which made him look down again; I saw his
eye, as it were, fascinated there also; then,
with a hurried exclamation, he stooped. Uncle
and I stooped also; he was extricating from the
charred panels of the rent window-sill my lost
turquoise necklace! How simple it all seemed
then! In a moment the mystery had vanished,
and we saw plainly how it had been. Not being
aware of the necklace having been left there,
Jane or I must have accidentally knocked it
over the back of the table, and upon falling, it
had rolled into one of the many crevices between
86 MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK.
the wood-panelling and the flooring. By good
chance, or, I should rather say, by God's guid-
ance, it had got wedged in that portion that
Jane's deliverer had torn down to assist her.
Contrast my joy with my uncle's feelings at
that moment! My first cry was: "Do, papa,
let me run home with it myself immediately
to Jane." She was just awakened from a
troubled sleep as I entered, and had tried to
rise, only to be made aware of her pains and
bruises and helplessness. She did not speak
when I shewed her it, but I knew the full mean-
ing of that upturned glance, and the burden of
the unspoken words that moved her lips. I
knew all the gratitude that was expressed in
the warm grasp of the hand I had laid upon
hers. I sunk down by her bedside for some
time silent as she was, and then I exclaimed:
"Jane, dear, I could not help thinking as I
ran along just now, about the verse in Corin-
thians--' Every man's work shall be made
manifest; for the day shall declare it, because
it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall
try every man's work of what sort it is!'"
With the greatest care the invalids were
moved back to the habitable portions of my
uncle's house. He was subdued and quiet, and
most liberally kind to every one. Charlie soon
recovered; he had received no other injury than
a partial suffocation, and a few slight burns.
Jane was much slower in her recovery; she had
MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK 87
received several serious bruises, which, along
with her excited feelings, had caused a high
fever, which clung to her for some time. How
anxious over her, and how kind to her, every
one was now! Neither did poor little Bertha
improve much, and I knew by mamma's face
that she was anxious about our darling; but
she said little, and did all she could for her.
We discovered the cause of the fire. Charlie
had been in the habit of sitting up at night
reading books about his beloved art; but on
that night, something had put it into his head
that he might make himself of some use to
Jane, by ascertaining the law regarding her case.
No sooner did the thought cross his mind, than
he put it into execution, and creeping carefully
into the library, selected the books he thought
most suitable, and returned to his own room.
But even his anxiety and affection were not
enough of themselves to counteract the drowsy
effect of those long law-papers, so he fell asleep
over them; and when next he awoke, he was
in the wagon, rumbling away from the blazing
house. It is supposed that he must have
knocked over the candlestick in his sleep, for
it was evident that the fire had begun in his
room. So my necklace had, as it were, been
the cause of the fire, as the fire was the
cause of its discovery!
SOME time passed; we thought Bertha was
getting better, and she was taken quietly home.
We all went together, as Jane had recovered,
and uncle had to leave his house under repair.
Summer-days became long and pleasant, and
still he stayed on. He was quite changed-had
become so genial and frank that a stranger
would scarcely have recognized him. I think
the baby-life and baby-love of little Bertha had
shed a new summer into his heart; at least I
know that they two loved each other very
much. Bertha was getting thinner and paler
every day; but I never for a moment allowed
the thought to cross my mind that she was
really leaving us, and going to the angels
that she talked so much about. She could not
walk, but her great pleasure was to be carried
out and laid on the grass, and allowed in silence
to gaze up into the summer sky, and to trace
the. clouds that she said were the "angels'
cloaks." And she would often talk about
MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK. 89
them too, startling mamma with her strangely
"Mamma," she once said when I was beside
her, "are the angels all young ?"
"I do not know, dear. Why do you ask ?"
Because I saw an old man cripple and blind,
and he was so good that I knew he would be
an angel; and I wondered if he would not get
young, and strong, and able to see again."
"Well, my .dear, I suppose so; for there God
shall wipe away every tear from the eye, and
take away all cause for sorrowing!"
"And besides, mamma, I was wondering
whether I would grow tall and old after I
was an angel, and whether you would be able
to know me when you come up too. I would
know you, I am sure; but I wonder if age will
change me much there!"
Mamma wept silently, but she would not let
Bertha see it, so she turned her face away, and
answered quietly: "We know little about
heaven, darling, and all our guesses and thoughts
do not increase our knowledge. But this thing
we know, that we shall be made perfectly happy,
and that all things will be made conducive to
our happiness. We shall be in the presence of
' Him who loved us unto the end,' and 'who will
do all things well' for us."
"Yes, mamma, I remember what you once
read to me: 'The Lamb, which is in the midst
of the throne, shall feed them, and shall lead
90 MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK.
them unto living fountains of waters; and God
shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.' You
won't be sorry or afraid, mamma, to trust me
there, where the Lamb will take care of me ?"
Mamma could not answer. "I know I will be
happy, but it will be strange at first, for I'11
miss you so sadly, mamma. But God will make
up for it, for 'eye hath not seen nor ear heard'
what is to be in heaven. And He will bring
you up soon too, mamma, and I won't be long
0 my darling-my darling!" burst out
mamma in a bitter agony. I did not know
what to do; so I ran home, and locked myself
into my own room, and prayed to the Lord for
One day in June-it was the time of the
speedwell and other veronicas-Charlie and
Jane and I went for a picnic into the woods.
"We had little baskets with us, to bring home
wild-flowers for Bertha; and knowing her pre-
ference for blue and white over any other colour,
our posies were made up principally of forget-
me-nots, wild hyacinths, blue-bells, and wood-
anemones. Short-lived as were these wildlings,
their intended recipient, our darling sisterBertha,
was doomed to fade before them, her calm spirit
having passed away even while we sojourned in
Soon she was consigned to her early grave-
our Bertha, our darling, our tender nursling!
MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK. 91
A fair white marble headstone marked the
spot where lay, sleeping in death, all of her
that could fade, and on it was traced, "A
new name shall be given her." I used often to
go and sit by the little grave, and plant flowers
on it-the flowers she loved. Our grief was
bitter, but, like all other pains, time blunted
The business of life pressed on us once again,
and engaged us in it. A month or two after
Bertha's death, we got another little sister, and
Charlie and I would have it said that it was
Bertha sent back to us, because she would not
be separated; and indeed, she grew so like her
in her baby-ways and her baby-face, that
strange mixed feelings would rise up when we
looked upon her. We wished to call her Bertha,
but mammi would not have it so, because our
sister Bertha lived still, though in another
home; and so we called her Mary. My uncle
remained with us very long. Strangely softened
was his nature and his heart to every one, and
to none more than the little stranger, baby
Mary; he said she reminded him of his own lost
Willie too. So the days rolled on, and we still
lived and could smile even without our Bertha!
In the next spring-time, our faithful Jane
was married, and, strange to say, to the very
man who had so bravely saved her when uncle's
house was in flames. He had come to settle in
our village, and they had a nice little cottage,
92 MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK.
where she brought her old mother, Mrs Wilkie.
I am sure Jane well deserved to be happy, and
I believe she was. We were all at the wedding;
and Charlie and I bought her a large Family
Bible with our own money, in remembrance of
the connection she had always had in our
minds with that blessed book. Mamma gave
her all her china cups and saucers, and dinner-
plates, and sets of that kind, and papa and
uncle also gave her handsome presents, for
they all felt they owed Jane something. She
begged mamma to give her a beautiful white
rose-bush that Bertha had called her own, as a
remembrance of the dear little one who had loved
her so well. Mamma, of course, at once sent it
down, and it was set in her garden, where it
grew and flourished-a souvenir of Bertha !
THE END OF THE STORY-BOOK
YEARS have gone since Bertha died, and
Mary has all but supplied her place. She has
grown up a healthy rosy child. It is now twelve
years since Bertha came-on that memorable
morning when I received those other birthday-
presents, whose simple little tales I have been
My doll is long since consigned to oblivion,
though I often see some traces of it in washed-
up frocks and petticoats among Mary's baby-
My Bible Jane still has, safe as when she
snatched it up on the night of the fire; yet
soiled by the events of that same night. She
tells that story sometimes now to her own little
ones, who love her and obey her as such a
mother should be loved and obeyed.
To Mary I gave my turquoise necklace on her
sixth birthday, and she often wears it now
with her white dress.
My colour-box has gone away with Charlie
94 MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK
to the great city, where he is now attending
the classes of an eminent master. He is coming
into notice, and rising, by patient industry,
towards great perfection in the art to which he
has given his life. I am dull and lonely with-
out him, and miss him sadly, even though I
have mamma and Mary by me, and his affec-
tionate, hopeful, frequent letters. I sit in the
same room where he and I have so often played
in childhood; and I conjure him up and those
old days to my loving fancy. I have still the
little motto from my burned valentine that he
gave me so long ago; and he has kept its
promise all his life-" I love you!" Then
Mary comes to me with some of'her childish
toys, and begs me to play with her, or to tell
her a story-a story about the little sister
Bertha, who died so long ago, being always
acceptable; but after a few words about her,
my eye is caught by a few tattered leaves and a
solitary picture hanging loosely together, among
Mary's toys. It seems to have some associations,
for I take it up dreamily, and Mary goes away
despairing of my attention, to try to amuse
herself. It is the very story, and one of those
very pictures of the "palm-trees" that Charlie
and I had spent so much of our united labour
and skill in painting and admiring. How the
rough colours on the little plate bring back the
thoughts of other years! The boards of the
book are off, and all the stories of Daring and
MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK. 95
Doing torn or gone, except this one; and for
the sake of old times, I cannot choose but read
it. It is entitled
A LEGEND OF THE WEST.
Don Inica Feros da Branca had met his love,
the beautiful Claribel, amid the rustic shades
around his father's ruined castle. She had
strayed from her sire's domains, pursuing the
upward course of a bright streamlet, and had
entered his. He, in his hunting-garb, pursued
the game, which had fled to the same spot.
They saw each other-they spoke not then; but
they met again, not once nor twice. And the
course of their united lives and thoughts ran
brighter and more gaily than the clear dance of
that little streamlet by whose side they roamed.
They never thought upon the name of love, till
an awakening came, and they were separated;
and then they knew it all. Don Inica went
madly to her father-the proud, the wealthy,
the cold; went, and was scorned; went, and
came back despairing. He had never thought
till then of what others might say or think-of
that hard-actual life that will wake lovers from
their fairy dream. Enough-he knew it now,
and she too!
Then he went home and wandered by the
paths where he had been with her; and dwelt
96 MY BIRTHDAY-BOOK.
on each fond memento of her love, until his
life grew morbid and stagnant in its single,
changeless thought. He did not spurn his
young brother Fernando's warm affection, but
he sought not for it; and then scarce seemed
to value it; he went ever alone. Then the
memory came back of what had been the great
day-dream of his life, until he met with her;
and coming back, it clung to him. And through
its dangers, and its shadows, and its mists, there
arose a hope to him. 'Twas an old thought of
his, caught from his books and from his science,
for Don Inica, even in those times, was a learned
man, and had worked himself up by his own
clear genius. The hope had risen on his
boyhood; and so wild and daring then it seemed,
that he gloried in it for the very risk; it had
grown upon his youth with the rising power of
wealth and fame; it had faded before her smile,
to be renewed again by her father's frown-for
Don Inica's house was faded and fallen, and
he deemed he could snatch treasures from the
West to rear it up once more. Friendless,
unknown, and poor, his own soul confessed he
was no worthy mate for the great man's only
child; though his own soul knew its full equality
and deep sufficiency for Claribel herself.
He felt she was lost to him, as it was; and
though he died upon this wild voyage, it would
make his loss no greater, and would but shorten
his term of grief! If he conquered, she was his;