Citation
Midsummer at Hay-lodge

Material Information

Title:
Midsummer at Hay-lodge
Series Title:
Chambers's library for young people
Creator:
Lamb, Ruth, b. 1829 ( Author, Primary )
William and Robert Chambers
Dalziel Brothers
Place of Publication:
London
Edinburgh
Publisher:
William and Robert Chambers
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
[3], 144 p., [1] leaf of plates : ill. ; 15 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Uncles -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Country life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Brothers and sisters -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Summer -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Baldwin -- 1870
Genre:
novel ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London
Scotland -- Edinburgh
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )

Notes

General Note:
Illustration engraved by Dalziel.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Ruth Buck.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections (special@uflib.ufl.edu) with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
ALH3156 ( NOTIS )
026840404 ( AlephBibNum )
56903632 ( OCLC )

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Full Text







CHAMBERS'S
‘ LIBRARY FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

SECOND SERIES









HAREBY WOOD.



CHAMBERS’S LIBRARY FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

Second Series

MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE

BY

RUTH BUCK



WILLIAM AND ROBERT CHAMBERS
LONDON AND EDINBURGH

1870,



Edinburgh :
Printed by W. & R. Chambers.



CONTENTS.

PAGE

CHAPTER I—THE INVITATION ACCEPTED, AND
“THE PARROT AND THE MAG-
PIE,” 5 ; : 1
Il—A WET DAY, AND “WHAT THE
RAINDROPS DID,” 5 cee)
III.—HAREBY WOOD, AND “ THE STORY
OF GRAY DICK,” , 5 Va)
IV.—THE LAST LOAD OF HAY, AND
“THE TWO LITTLE BUDS AND
THE LIGHTNING,” . aA
V.—BERNARD’S FAULT, AND “THE
HOLE IN THE WINDOW,” . 66
VI—UNCLE PAUL'S BIRTHDAY ; “‘ MAG-
GIE’S DAISIES, OR THE VALUE
OF A GIFT;” AND “LITTLE
FLORELLA, OR THE WISHING-
TEMPLE,’ : . 99
CONCLUSION,—BERNARD’S RETURN TO SCHOOL, 141



MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

CHAPTER I.

Tue Invitation Accrerrep, anp “THE Parrot
AND THE Maapre.”

“Tur postman will not be here yet, Marian, so
you and Kate had better come to breakfast,”
said Mrs Ingram, addressing her two children,
who stood at the window, watching eagerly
for the arrival of the red-coated messenger, in
the hope that he would bring a letter from
“Brother Bernard.’ And Mrs Ingram herself
looked scarcely less anxious, for Bernard was
the “only son of his mother, and she was a
widow.”

The boy had been six months absent at

school, and midsummer was just at hand. As
A



2 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

it was his first half-year from home, no wonder
Marian and Kate, his two sisters—to say
nothing of mamma—were counting the very
hours which must pass before Bernard could
arrive.

Just after Mrs Ingram had summoned the
gitls to the breakfast-table, the postman’s knock
was heard in the street. Marian ran into the
hall, to be ready to take the letter out of
the box without a moment’s delay, and soon
returned, exclaiming: “Two letters, mamma,
and one is from Bernard!” Who doubts
which was first opened and read by the loving
mother !

Her voice trembled, and her eyes were
dimmed for a moment with glad tears, as she
told Marian and Kate that Bernard would
come to-morrow.

Little Kate clapped her hands, and fairly
danced round the room in her glee. Ah! she
guessed that, in some snug corner of Bernard’s
trunk, there would be a whole pile of small
treasures hoarded up, bit by bit, for the little
sister at home.

Bernard was turned thirteen years old, and
boys of his age can, if they choose, fashion a



9

MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. oe

great many pretty toys to please a little girl
of six, yet without spending much of their
pocket-money either. And Bernard always
did like, and had contrived new pleasures
for Kate, oftener than she could tell. But
the child did not reckon on her brother's
coming home just for the sake of what he
might bring; and, to do the little maiden
justice, Bernard’s gifts were valued far more
because they were his, than for their own worth
or beauty.

Kate was just a little spoiled. She was a
very lovely child, with dark eyes, and clusters of
soft brown curls. And visitors too often spoke
of her beauty, and mamma was apt to give her
rather more than her due share of love, because
of the child’s likeness to the dear husband and
father, who died soon after the youngest darling
was born.

Marian was not beautiful; but she had a
good honest face, and was obedient to her
mother, and very loving to little Kate and her
brother Bernard.

' It was Marian who called her mother’s
attention to the second letter,,on which Mrs
Ingram did not at first bestow a glance, so



4A MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

much was she occupied with the one from her
son.

This second letter was an odd-looking affair,
as Marian remarked to her mother. It
was not enclosed in an envelope, but folded
in the old-fashioned style, and it had a seal
neatly ,as large as a. half-crown, which Kate
admired greatly, and declared she should
beg of mamma, if it could only be preserved
unbroken.

Marian was very much puzzled to guess
where the queer letter came from, and began to
wish that her mother would not spend quite so
long a time upon Bernard’s. But Mrs Ingram
was not at a loss; for as soon as she examined
the handwriting, she exclaimed: “ Why, it is
from Uncle Paul!”

The children had often heard their mother
speak of her uncle, Paul Parker, who was a
young man when she was a little girl; but they
had never seen him, and they were very curious
to know what he had written about. So,
after the seal had been carefully cut round,
‘and handed whole to Kate, Mrs Ingram
read the letter, first to herself, and afterwards
aloud to the children.



MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. _)
And this was what the letter contained:

“* Way-Loper, June 17.

“My DEAR Niece—After long years of wandering in many

lands, I have at length begun to find out that Iam not so young
as I was, and that at sixty-five I am not so strong as I used to be
ten years ago. I have therefore resolved to stay at home for the
future, or, ab anyrate, not to travel far.
, “T daresay you often wonder whether Uncle Paul—who used
sometimes to pet, but more generally to tease you, when you
were a little girl—has quite forgotten you. He writes now to
tell you that he has not, and that he should be glad to see you
and your dear children under the roof which he has purchased as
a shelter for his gray hairs.

“Uncle Paul feels himself a very old man now, dear niece, and
is quite weary of wandering to and fro on the earth. But,
though he is likewise a childless man, he is anxious to hear the
sound of young voices in his home, and perhaps to preach a little
—as old men will sometimes do—to the owners of those voices.
So, if you would like to spend midsummer with one who
always loved you, and if you think your youngsters will have
patience to listen sometimes to an old man, come as soon, and
stay as long as you can, with

Your affectionate uncle,
PAUL Parker.

“P.S—Tell the young folks that we shall have haymaking
directly, and that I have quite a little farm. Bernard must bring
his fishing-rod and tackle ; and if the girls love flowers, I can suit
them finely, for I have both a garden and a green-house.”

Marian and Kate were loud in their expres-
sions of delight when the queer-looking letter
was read, as what. city-born children would not ?



6 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

and they said to each other: “Oh! won’t this
be a pleasant surprise for Bernard, if dear Ma
will only consent to let us all go?”

Marian was rather doubtful as to mamma’s
power to promise; for she was older, and
knew more of money-matters than her little
sister did. She knew that their widowed
mother’s income had to be managed with great
care and economy, and that the cost of Bernard’s
education was a serious matter, which obliged
Mrs Ingram to deny herself many little comforts
for her son’s sake.

But Marian had not seen a piece of paper
enclosed in the queer letter, and with Paul
Parker’s name in good bold handwriting at the
corner; and so she did nof know that Uncle
Paul had not only given the invitation, but also
sent money to pay their expenses to Hay-Lodge ;
for he was aware that his widowed niece’s
income was not large enough to meet the
cost, so he kindly provided the means himself.
It was therefore a pleasant surprise to Marian,
when her mother replied: “ Yes, my dears, all
being well, we shall go to Uncle Paul’s in three
or four days after Bernard comes home.”

On the following afternoon, Mrs Ingram and



MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 7

her daughters joyously welcomed Bernard home.
Nor was little Kate disappointed when his
trunk came to be opened; and mamma and
Marian, too, found that, amid all the varied
occupations of school, and though surrounded
by new companions, the boy had not forgotten
them. Then Uncle Paul’s letter was read
again, and Bernard asked innumerable ques-
tions about this, as yet, unknown relative.
But mamma herself could tell very little, for
many years had passed since she last saw her
uncle. “Only,” said she, “I remember he was
very full of fun, and used to tell tales to me when
I was a child, and sat on his knee to listen.”

“Then he is sure to know plenty of stories
now,” said Bernard, “for he has travelled for
years in different countries.”

“T shall ask him to tell me some nice stories,”
said Kate.
“Take care,” replied her mother with a smile,
“that Uncle Paul does not make a story about

you, Kate.”

But as the little lassie did not know Uncle
Paul quite so well as her mother did, she shook
her head, as much as to say that he would be
puzzled to do that.



8 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE,

What a bustle there was, to be sure, for the
next three days! The girls and Mrs Ingram
required but a very short time for preparation ;
but Bernard had grown out of his clothes,
and there was quite hard work for mamma and
Marian in making him ready by the appointed
day. However, at last they were all com-
fortably seated in the railway-carriage, and on
the way to Hay-Lodge, very much delighted at
the prospect of spending midsummer amongst
country scenes and sounds; but just a little
afraid of this unknown uncle whom they were
going to visit.

“That must be Uncle Paul!” said Mrs Ingram,
as the train stopped at the pretty country
station, and she caught sight of an elderly
gentleman upon the platform.

He had heard the exclamation, and at once
stepped forward, saying: “Yes, I am Uncle
Paul; and here, I suppose, are Bernard, Marian,
and Kate, who, with their mother, I am glad to
welcome to Hay-Lodge.”

Then followed a great deal of hand-shaking ;
and Kate, rather doubtful of the propriety of
the thing, was kissed by her stranger uncle,
whose face she scanned very curiously indeed.



MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 9

It was a pleasant face, though it had been
browned by the sun in a warmer country than
England, and it looked rather odd, in conse-
quence of being surrounded with white hair
and whiskers, while the eyebrows were still
black, and the eyes very dark and keen.

Perhaps Uncle Paul guessed that all the
youngsters were trying. to read his character in
his face, and were taking a good survey of him
for the purpose. At anyrate, though he glanced
kindly at them now and then, and held little
Kate’s hand in his, he talked only to Mrs
Ingram during the drive to Hay-Lodge.

The children were nearly wild with delight
at the sight of Uncle Paul’s pretty house and
grounds; and while their mother rested, they,
unwearied with the journey, rambled through
the large garden, looked at the poultry, and
admired the flowers in the green-house and
conservatory. Moreover, the children had quite
decided among themselves, that this new-found
uncle was a person to be loved and trusted.

When they were at length satisfied to rest
quietly in the house for the remainder of the
evening, Kate required no invitation from
Uncle Paul, but climbed upon his knee, and



10 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

even pulled his white whiskers, to bring his ear
closer to her own rosy lips. Kate had a great
deal to tell him—about Bernard’s presents,
their city-home, and of an intended new dress
for her doll. Uncle Paul listened with pro-
found attention. He might have been a doll’s
nurse all his life, to hear how he discussed
with Kate whether flaxen hair or black was the
prettiest ; and how he finally decided in favour
of dark curls, because the little girl’s own were
brown. Kate became more and more con-
fidential, and told Uncle Paul that she loved
him very much indeed, and that she intended
to ask him to tell her a story the next day.

“What!” said he, “has your mother been
telling you about the stories I used to invent to
please her when she was a little girl? A nice
task I shall have to satisfy you all!” And he
pretended to frown at mamma for betraying
him; but somehow the frown turned into a
laugh, and spread from face to face, until they
all laughed together. And Kate, who appeared
determined to expose her mother’s conduct
further, informed Uncle Paul that she had .
been warned to take care lest he should make
a story about her own self.



MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 1]

“JT will tell you a fable this very minute,
Kate,” said he; “so listen, and, when it is
finished, you must be off to bed, or you will be
sleepy in the morning, when I want you to go
and see the mowers in the hayfield.”

And without further preface, Uncle Paul
began the story about—

THE PARROT AND THE MAGPIE

« A magpie one day saw a parrot in a gilded
cage, and, being struck with the wonderful
beauty of the foreign bird’s plumage, determined
to make its acquaintance. The parrot—a new-
comer to the house—was not particularly
pleased at seeing the magpie approach, for
Mag was dressed in a sober suit of half-mourn-
ing—black and white—you know; and this
dress looked draggled, and a good deal the
worse for wear; while the parrot’s feathers
were of all the colours of the rainbow, and
glistened beautifully in the sun.

“But Poll was at a loss for society, and so
she thought to herself: ‘I will put up with this
shabby-looking person’s intrusion for the present.
He appears to be at home here, and can probably



12 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

tell me a good deal about the neighbour-
hood. It is lucky that I have no acquaintances
at hand, for I should be dreadfully annoyed if
any of my well-dressed friends saw me talking
with him. However, I can get as much infor-
mation as I want, and then have nothing more
to say to him.’ The parrot, you see, had just
knowledge enough to be very selfish, but was
not so wise as to understand that we should
judge people by their good qualities, and not
by the colour of their coats.

“When the magpie came up, and bowed
politely, the parrot was extremely gracious,
made remarks on the weather, and complained
of the coldness of the climate, in comparison
with that of her own native land. ‘ Indeed,’
said she, ‘I should not have left my own
country, but for the urgent solicitations of a
gentleman, who declared that he could not bear
to come home without me.’

“ Polly did not think it necessary to mention
that the reason the gentleman would not come
home without her, was because he had bought
and paid for her. It is sometimes unpleasant
to own that we have been compelled to under-
take a sea-voyage whether we would or not.



MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 13

The magpie had a pretty good guess how
matters stood; but he was too civil to hint at
such a thing. He therefore owned his ignorance
of foreign lands, and said he had never travelled
far from his native place. Like the parrot, he
did not tell the reason he had travelled so little;
but the truth was, his wings were clipped, and
he could no more take a long journey than she
could help doing it. The parrot laughed rather
contemptuously, and hinted that it was hardly
likely her new acquaintance would be pressed
to leave his native place, as his external
appearance was not very attractive.

‘Do not judge me by my looks,’ said the
magpie; ‘I am not valued for them, or, I am
aware, I could claim no merit.’

‘I thought people were estimated on account
of their looks,’ replied she, conceitedly surveying
her fine feathers, ‘ or J should not be here.’

‘They are partly. J was handsome myself
once, though perhaps you would scarcely think
it, to see me now.’

“The parrot could not conceal her amusement
at the very idea of this ragged stranger’s
notions of beauty. But when she had recovered
her gravity, she asked whether the magpie’s



14 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

company was still valued on the score of good-
looks.

“By no means,’ he replied.

‘What, then, may I ask?’ said the parrot.

‘I can converse with men in their own
language,’ answered the magpie. ‘I was very
carefully instructed by my present master while
I was young, and as I did my best to profit by
his lessons, I soon acquired this power; and I
can assure you it is no mean accomplishment
for a bird.’

‘It is one Jf shall never take the trouble to
acquire, returned the parrot. ‘I have some
notion that the individual at whose house I am
staying would like me to do so; but he will
never be gratified; though I could speak if I
chose.’

‘I am sure I should advise it, replied the
magpie, who was far wiser than this vain
travelled stranger, and knew that mere good-
looks soon lose their charm.

“The parrot quite despised his advice, and was
almost offended at the magpie’s presumption in
offering it unasked. When the master of the
house approached shortly afterwards, and began
to talk to the foreign bird, she answered him



MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 15

only with a discordant scream, and obstinately
refused to profit by his lessons; nay, more,
she was ungrateful enough to peck at and
bite his finger, and declare in her own
tongue that she would not be teased by him.
In this conduct she persisted for a long time;
but she still retained her place in the gilded
cage, and boasted to the magpie that no person
could be persuaded to part with so lovely a
creature as herself, let her mental qualities be
what they might. The magpie shook his head,
tried to reason with the foolish and ungrateful
beauty, and was laughed at for his pains.
But the time came when the parrot regretted
that she had disdained his advice. Disease
attacked her; she lost her fine feathers;
and like a person dressed in tawdry and
shabby finery, she looked all the worse amidst
the remains of her once gay coat. Her master,
finding she had lost the only attraction she
ever possessed, and weary of her harsh voice
and ill-temper, turned her out of the fine
gilded cage, which was bestowed on a more
amiable individual of her species. So the
parrot, exposed to the severity of the climate,
and unused to seek her own livelihood, perished



16 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

miserably of cold and hunger, while the magpie’s
homely coat was never noticed because of his
talents and obliging disposition.”

Little Kate clapped her hands and laughed
when Uncle Paul finished his story; then
turning to her mamma with a triumphant look,
she said: “This tale is not about me, however,
for I am neither a magpie nor a parrot. Am I,
Unele Paul?”

Her uncle stroked back her soft curls, and
said: “ Certainly not.”

But there was a merry expression on his face,
and Mrs Ingram asked: “Are you quite sure,
Kate, that there are no little girls who are like
the parrot in thinking they need only to be
pretty to be beloved, and that it is of no use
trying to be good and wise?”

Kate had not thought of that, and her face
became grave at the idea her mother’s words
suggested. Poor little lassie! She did not guess
what a good use Uncle Paul made of those keen
dark eyes of his, or how much he had already
noticed the characters of his young relatives.
But bedtime had come, and active as the
children were, they began to yield to the feelings



MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 17

of weariness which stole over them, so they
were not sorry to say good-night to Uncle Paul,
after exacting a promise that they should be
called early, to go to the hayfield.

CHAPTER IL.
A Wert Day, ayp “Wuat tur Ratnprops Dip.”

TuE morning brought disappointment with it:
it rained, so there was no chance of going into
the fields for that day at least. The children
stood at the window watching the falling drops,
and regretting the change in the weather.

At last Bernard said: “It is of no use watch-
ing, Marian, for even if the rain were to cease,
the ground would be too wet for walking; so I
shall read.”

Assisted by his uncle, Bernard hunted out a
large book on botany, of which the boy was very
fond, and went off with it into the green-house ;
then Uncle Paul undertook to provide Kate

with amusement, and the two were soon deep
B



18 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

in pictures of gay-coloured birds and insects.
Uncle Paul asked Marian if she would like a
book also, but she said: “No, thank you,
uncle;” and continued to watch, in an idle
listless way, the falling raindrops, and to listen
to their pattering upon the leaves and window-
panes. :

Marian was one of those people who, if disap-
pointed in a little matter, take a long time to
forget it, and make up their minds to do some-
thing else. The very fact of not being able to
obtain her wish, made her only wish the more.
Uncle Paul did not interfere with his elder
niece, but amused. himself with Kate and her
picture-books, to the intense delight of the
child, who was in perfect raptures at the tales
he told her about real birds and beasts which
he had seen in far-away lands. He glanced
now and then at Marian, and after a while
closed the book, saying: “Now, Kate, you
shall have another story about—

WHAT THE RAINDROPS DID.

“Very early one morning, all the raindrops
in a big cloud held a consultation to consider



MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 19

what answer should be returned to a petition
they had just received. This petition was from
the flowers, who begged that the raindrops
would favour them with their company as soon
as possible, for if they delayed visiting them
much longer, they—the petitioners—would soon
disappear from the face of the garden altogether.

“One of the raindrops was for refusing the
invitation. ‘No doubt,’ it said, ‘the flowers
will be much the better for our visit, but we
shall not; beside, the sun will have to fetch us
back again by degrees, and we trouble him so
often. I should prefér remaining where I am.’

‘But the flowers will die!’ said a considerate’
little raindrop, just ready to flutter off by
itself on an errand of mercy.

‘That would not affect us!’ said the first
speaker, who thought only of its own conve-
nience, and did not care a straw for the
flowers.

‘But think again, how grateful the flowers
are! They distil their sweetest scents as a
token of welcome, and put on their gayest
dresses in our honour. Beside, think that it
will do them good, and it is always a true
pleasure to confer a benefit on grateful people.’



20 MIDSUMMER AT TAY-LODGE.

“Tere a third raindrop began to speak. ‘I
am doubtful whether, after all, we shall not do
more harm than good. There is the hay, which
does not want us, to say nothing of the hay-
makers and the children who are longing to be
in the fields. Ifwe once start, we cannot stop
ourselves, but must fall on more than the
flowers, or I should be quite willing to visit
them. :
‘Oh, the sun will put the hay to rights
again!’ said the cheerful little raindrop; and
away it went, and dropped plump on the very
nose of a poor widow woman, who was just off
-to the hayfield, instead of falling, as it intended
to do, on the rose-bush under the cottage-
window.

‘O dear, dear, what a pity!’ said the poor
woman. ‘I do believe it is going to rain. If it
should begin, what will the children do? We
have bread for the week—thanks to Him who
does not forget the fatherless and the widow;
but I thought to get clothes with my earnings,
for, without new ones, the poor things will soon
be naked. Oh, if the rain had but come two
or three days later, I should have earned the
stuff to make these clothes of! Then a wet day



MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 21

would not have troubled me, for I could have
sewed at home, instead of losing my time, as I
shall to-day.’

‘I wish I had not come,’ thought the rain-
drop; ‘for here, instead of doing good, I am
likely to do harm. Towever, I did it for the
best, and perhaps none.of my companions will
follow me.’

“They did though, patter, patter, one after
another, as hard as they could pelt; and after
giving the poor widow woman a hint that they
wished to visit the plants, and not herself, she
was fain to go back into her cottage and shut
the door. No chance for haymakers that day.
It is all very well to watch the raindrops
when people might do something else, if they
liked; but it is not quite so pleasant when they
are wishing to work, but cannot, for want of
materials. However, the poor widow was one
who tried to make the best of things, and she
considered that there would be plenty of work
after the rain was over, for everybody would be
anxious about the hay. And even while she
sat mending her children’s poor bits of ragged
clothing as well as she could, she was unselfish
enough to think of those other children who



22, MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

would be disappointed. of their ramble amongst
the new-mown hay, though, to be sure, it had
inconvenienced her far more than it had them.

“The raindrop that had first objected to
coming down to the ground held out as long as
it could; but as the others rushed that way, it
was borne onwards with them, and fell just under
a window, where a young girl was standing,
regretting that she was kept a prisoner by the
rain, She was not quite like the poor widow ;
for instead of making the best of things, and
employing herself in some pleasant occupation,
she continued to yearn after what was out of
her reach. The raindrop noticed this, and said:
“You see I was right after all; we should
have stayed where we were, and then the
children might have had a merry day in the
hayfield.’”

When Uncle Paul had reached this part of
his story, he looked at Marian, and observed
that she was no longer watching the raindrops,
but listening to his words. He made a slight
pause, and the young girl, with a blushing face,
left her place by the window, saying: “Uncle
Paul, you are telling that story about me!”



MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 23

“That you are!” cried Kate. “J knew that
ever so long since.”

“Why, I never mentioned a single name,”
said Uncle Paul, pretending to look indignant,
and completely failing in the attempt. “TI have
no doubt there are plenty of little girls watch-
ing the rain beside Marian. Come, let me
finish my story.”

“ May I finish it for you, uncle?” said Marian
smiling.

“To think of that, now!” replied he. “Do
you hear this chit, mamma? Actually going to
take my business out of my hands the very day
after her arrival at Hay-Lodge!”

“Dear uncle,’ said Marian, “I beg your
pardon; I did not mean to take the words out
of your mouth: only I thought”

But Unele Paul laughed; and she saw he
was not really offended, though he did pull her
ear, and declare that he would not finish the
story on any account, and therefore she must.

“Well,” said Marian, “I should tell that by
the time the unwilling raindrop had expressed
his regret for having come down at all, the girl
~ had found out that it was selfish in her to think
. only of her own pleasure and convenience; and





24 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

she made up her mind that, instead of wasting
the rest of her morning in useless longings after
what she could not obtain, she would spend it
in a more profitable manney.”

Marian paused, and Kate said: “Was that
anything like the ending you would have made,
Uncle Paul?”

“Do you suppose I shall tell how I should
have concluded the tale, pussy? But after all,”
he added, with an approving glance at Marian,
“T like the way your sister has finished it, and I
hope the girl will adhere to her resolution, for
Time, my little woman, is a talent too precious
to be wasted on useless repinings and vain
regrets.” ‘

“J should be glad if you will answer me a
question, uncle,’ said Marian. “Is the poor
widow a real person?”

“T never said my story was true, my dear,”
replied her uncle; “but I certainly do know a
poor widow who has two very ragged children ;
and I fancy if we had gone into my hayfield
to-day, we should have seen the whole family
there.”

After this, the young girl held a whispered
conversation with her mother, and later in the



MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 25

day, she might have been seen stitching very
rapidly at a small garment, which, from the
homely materials of which it was composed,
could scarcely be intended for dainty little
Kate.

Uncle Paul asked no questions, though his
niece continued her work until bedtime, and
would not be persuaded to take a run round the
garden after the rain was over. The next morn-
ing, Marian’s busy needle went as rapidly as
before, and she could hardly be induced to take
time for her meals. Even the hayfield seemed
to have almost lost its attraction for that day,
though, when the children came back after a
visit to it, Marian resumed her work, and Uncle
Paul was taken into her confidence, and told
what it was for.

The little garment at which the girl was
sewing was destined for one of the widow’s
children; and Marian declared she should not
rest until she had made, with her own hands, a
complete suit of under-clothing for each of them.
Uncle Paul thought this was a very good
idea; but both he and Mrs Ingram advised
Marian to be moderate even in her work, yet
careful to finish what she had begun. Marian



26 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE,

looked quite confident in her own powers, and
soon had the pleasure of taking two little articles
of clothing to the poor widow, and of receiving
her grateful thanks, which the young girl found
quite as delightful as the perfume that the
flowers gave in gratitude for the visit of the
raindrops.

In the first flush of her pleasure, she told the
widow what more she intended to do, and of
the pile of small garments which lay ready cut
out at home. The widow’s eyes filled with tears
of gratitude; again and again she thanked
Marian; and the girl returned to Hay-Lodge,
very happy in the thought that she had made
another so by means of a little industry and
self-denial.

But there are a great many stitches in two
complete suits of under-clothing, even though
the garments be of small size, and more than a
little self-denial would be requisite in order to
finish them. In the first warmth of a good
resolution, Marian worked very hard indeed—
almost too hard, thought both her mother and
Uncle Paul, though neither of them interfered
with her movements. So when Marian had
presented the two first finished articles to



MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 27

Widow Jones, she decided on taking a rest
before she commenced any more; and it hap-
pened that she spent an hour or two amongst
the plants with Bernard, and a similar time
with Kate and the chickens. Then Uncle Paul
took Mrs Ingram and the children to see a
lovely little waterfall in the neighbourhood ;
so that, what with one thing and another, the
whole day slipped away without a single stitch
being taken by Marian.

The following morning was as fine as possible,
and Marian said: “I don’t think I shall sew
to-day, mamma, for all the birds and flowers are
inviting me out of doors. And how deliciously
the hay smells! the scent comes in at the
window like a nosegay.”

“Your uncle has arranged for a picnic to
Hareby Wood to-morrow, Marian,” replied Mrs
Ingram, “and the day is therefore already
condemned. Would it not be better for you to
work for an hour or two this morning? Remem-
ber you have promised, of your own accord, to
help in clothing those fatherless children.”

“ And cans, mother, you do not think I shall
break my promise?” said Marian, ‘looking rather
hurt at the idea,



28 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

“T am sure you do not intend to break it,
Marian.”

“And you will see it fulfilled, mother, if I
live; but: you know we all came to Hay-Lodge
for a holiday, and I cannot always be at work.”

“Well, my dear, you shall do as you please.
You undertook this labour of your own will,
or I should not have advised you to promise so
much, because I well knew how many things
would combine to tempt you to lay it aside.”

Marian turned away, feeling scarcely satisfied
with herself, and thinking that perhaps it would
be better to devote an hour or two to work, in
fulfilment of her promise. But Kate came at
the moment to coax Marian into the fields,
and Marian persuaded herself that it would
be unkind to refuse her little sister. To be
sure, if she could have read her own thoughts
clearly, she would have found, as Uncle Paul
would say, that they were “speaking one
word for Kate, and two for herself” No
wonder that, with such a pleader as Inclina-
tion to second her words, Kate trudged off
triumphantly, with Marian by her side, to join
Bernard and Uncle Paul in a fishing-excursion.
No wonder, either, that it was late in the



MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 29

evening when they returned, for, unknown to
the children, that provident uncle had contrived
that they should find.an ample lunch in the
basket which he carried. And, lo! at tea-time,
they arrived at a pretty cottage on the bank,
and found there not only a very superior meal,
but mamma herself, ready to make tea for them.
So they were quite tired when they reached
Hay-Lodge, and went off to bed to get a long
sleep before to-morrow’s picnic.

CHAPTER IIL

Harezsy Woop, anp “Tre Story or Gray Dick.”

THE picnic was to be different from most such
parties, for Uncle Paul was to furnish ald the
dainties, and the young guests to bring only
themselves. Mamma was to be the one grown-
up lady present, and that on condition that she
would not be above riding in a great wagon
with the children and provisions, and would sit
upon a hamper, with some hay on the top, by



30: MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

way of a cushion. To these conditions mamma
good-humouredly consented, and took her place
on the large hamper, with a little one for a
footstool, lest her toes should suffer amongst so
many restless fect, which kept beating-time to
the music of their owners’ glad hearts.

It was the most delightful mode of convey-
ance—rather slow, for there was a heavy load ;
but the wagon was on springs, and the distance
only three miles. Mamma said it carried her
a long way back, even over five-and-twenty
years, and made her once more a child amongst
children.

As to Uncle Paul, he joked and rattled on so
as to put everybody in the best possible humour
during the journey to Hareby Wood. Then
mamma was first handed down from “the four-
wheeled carriage,” as the youngsters called it,
and afterwards the little folks, the wagon being
drawn up under a great tree, and the horses
taken out.

Uncle Paul’s loving temper proved infectious,
and a spirit of kindliness, not always to be
found amongst children out for a holiday,
reigned amongst his guests. There were no
little toddlers left behind to cry after those who



MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. él

were fleeter of foot, no disputes about the place
in which they should dine; and when Mrs
Ingram and Uncle Paul were led. to the chosen
spot, they each and all declared it was charm-
ingly suited for the purpose. It was a circular
hollow, in a beautiful part of the wood. Its
sides were fringed with trees high enough to
shelter them from the heat, but not to shut out
the sun’s bright rays. At the bottom was a
little rise, which might have been made for a
fairy-table, it answered so capitally for that
piece of furniture.

Then, before dinner, away went the children
to seek for flowers and gather wild-straw-
berries, which seemed ever so much sweeter
than those brought from home, because gathered
at some cost of time and trouble.

Often the children startled the hares, which
bounded off at their approach, fleet as the wind ;
or squirrels, which darted up the trunk of a tree,
and leaped from bough to bough, almost as fast
as a bird flies. The air, too, teemed with music,
and not the least pleasant part in dear Uncle
Paul’s ears was the sound of the children’s
merry voices ringing through the wood. And,
to be sure, at dinner-time the good things



32 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

did disappear fast from that grassy table!
After dinner, while the children rested, it was
unanimously voted that Uncle Paul should tell
a tale, and, a donkey happening at that moment
to bray, Uncle Paul said: “That reminds me
that I have a story to tell you about a donkey,”
and thus began—

THE STORY OF GRAY DICK.

“Everybody said that Gray Dick was by far
the handsomest donkey at Beacham. Instead
of being of a dingy, grizzled brown colour, as
most of the other donkeys were, Dick was a
beautiful light-eray, and his coat was smooth,
and almost silky looking. To tell the truth
about it, Ais sides had not been battered by
attendant-boys as theirs had; neither had
he, as yet, been nearly run off his legs by
carrying people on his back from ‘early morn
to dewy eve’ like the others, at the rate of
sixpence an hour, which the master got,
while the poor donkeys had not so much as
an extra thistle all the summer through.
But Gray Dick was a new-comer ‘just out,’
and quite a youngster. It was his very first



MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE, 33

season by the sea-side, and he was rather proud
of his new brown Holland housings, bound with
brightest scarlet ; of bearing the very best of
Beacham saddles; and of being. placed in the
most conspicuous position on ‘the stand,’ as
the very prince of Beacham donkeys. Such a
position was a temptation, and calculated to
turn the head of any young donkey.

“Dick was proud of his sleek skin and new
clothing, and gave himself many needless airs
in consequence. He even taunted some of his
elder and less attractive companions because
they obtained so little notice in comparison
with himself. However, he soon began to find
out why his neighbour, ‘Brown Jerry,’ shook his
long ears in that sagacious way without a word
of reply to his sneers; and what ‘ Old Grizzle, at
his right hand, meant when she advised him to
wait a little while before he began to bray over
other people, as though he were the only hand-
some donkey in existence. Gray Dick found
out that there were penalties which donkeys
must pay for the privilege of occupying a dis-
tinguished position, as ald persons of rank do
discover, sooner or later. He never had a

minute’s rest. From daylight to dark, he was
C



34 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE,

always at work, in consequence of his being
young, strong, and handsome. All the boys and
gurls, when they came to the stand to choose
a donkey for an hour’s ride, wanted Gray
Dick; so the poor fellow was nearly worked
to death, because people liked him the best.
Sometimes, he resolved he would not bear it
any longer, and he threw himself down, and
rolled on the sands heels uppermost. Then he
found that the attendant-boy paid no respect to
his handsome coat, but just hit him as hard and
with as thick a stick as if he were the oldest
and ugliest donkey at Beacham. So poor
Dick was fain to get up and trudge on again,
though his legs were fit to break with weariness.
After all, it is of no use fighting against
necessity. If we have duties to do which are
hard and disagreeable, it is always the best
way to work as steadily, and do as much and
as well'as we can, instead of struggling against
what we cannot help; because, you know, then
we have a quiet conscience,

“Before Dick was quite exhausted, the weather
began to grow cold, and the company gradually
left the sea-side; but, to the very last, he had
cause rather to regret his good-looks; for so



MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 85

long as any person was left to take an hour’s
ride, Dick was the donkey called for to carry
him or her, as the case might be.

The longest day must have an end, and
so must the longest summer. Dick had just
begun to rejoice that his troubles were over for
the present, and that he should have a long rest,
when another cause of uneasiness came into his
mind: how was he to be fed during the winter ?
He overheard his master say, that he did not
know how to keep all those donkeys, now they
were earning nothing,

“Tf Dick dared to have spoken his thoughts
in donkey-language, he would have said:
‘Master, be pleased to remember how hard
I worked during the summer. Then, I and
my companions earned enough to support you
and all your family, and I know you have
some money put by in the old square tea-caddy
for a rainy-day.’ But Dick dared not speak,
and his master was unfortunately one of those
persons who are apt to forget past benefits if the
least thing goes contrary to their present wishes.

“Luckily for Dick, but unfortunately for his
master, one of the man’s children fell sick.
The doctor was called in, and happened to



36 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

hear the father grumbling because his donkeys
cost so much and earned so little during the
winter. Now, the doctor had a field with
nothing in it, so he said: ‘If you like to send
one of your asses to me, I will keep him during
the winter; only my little boys will want a ride
sometimes.’

‘Come and choose which you will have,’
said the man, quite delighted at the doctor’s
proposal.

“Who doubts that Gray Dick was the donkey
selected, the very instant he came in sight?
That same evening, he was sent to his new
quarters, with his master’s compliments, and
the young gentlemen need not be afraid to
ride the gray ass, as he was strong, and
very well-behaved in general. It was a good
change for Dick, who was put into a large
field, and a horse sent to bear him company.
At first, he was quite delighted with the
improvement in his prospects, but, after a
time, he began to grumble because the horse
was put into a stable at night, and he was
only allowed to shelter himself in an enclosure
without a roof. This was a far more comfort-
able place than his late companions of the



MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 387

stand were in. They were turned out on a
bare common near the sea-shore, and, let the
weather be what it might, had no shelter at all.
Dick ought to have considered how much
worse off others were than himself; instead
of that, he only thought of those who were
still better off, and envied them their good-
fortune.

“Dick, in prosperity, was by no means humble;
he complained bitterly to his neighbour, the
horse, of the manner in which he was treated,
instead of being grateful for his position and
comforts. The horse was a good-natured
creature, and, when he had heard his com-
panion’s doleful tale, he very politely said: ‘Do
step into my stable; there is room for us both.’
In walked Dick; but when the groom came to
give the horse his supper, he turned him out
again without the least ceremony, to the intense
mortification of the donkey.

“Dick sulked the next day, and made up his
mind not to let the doctor’s little son have a
vide on his back; but when he found that
if he persisted in such conduct, he would be
exchanged for another donkey, and sent to
take his chance with his brethren on Beacham



38 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

Common, he wisely gave in. Still, it was only
out of consideration for himself that he yielded,
which was not a very good motive, for we ought
to have a kindly feeling for the convenience of
others also.

“Soon after, Dick’s companion, the horse, was
taken away from the field, and he felt very
lonely indeed. The horse had been very kind
to him, and, like all well-bred persons, never
boasted of his superior position in society, or
looked down upon Dick, in order to make him
feel his inferiority, This ought to have been
a lesson to his little gray friend; but it was
not, for, some weeks afterwards, when a cow
was put into the field, Dick affected to consider
her beneath him. When, at length, his longing
for society In a manner forced him to make
friends with the cow, he was always boasting
of the company he had kept, as though his
having been with the horse had raised him
above the generality of donkeys. The cow—
good, homely body!—listened quite admir-
ingly to Dick’s tales, not only about his
late companion’s regard for him, but also
respecting the manner in which he was sought
after at Beacham, while he occupied the



MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE; 389

first place on the stand there during the
past summer.

“ When Dick had an opporttinity of giving his
opinion of the cow to any passing acquaintance
that chanced to walk elose beside the palings,
he always lamented that he was doomed to

_have such a companion ; ‘for, as he remarked,

‘how ean a dull creature like Brindle enter
into my feelings, or form an idea of fashionable
life? If she could but spend a season at the
sea-side, it would be an excellent thing for her,
and would improve her manners and intellect.’
So the foolish donkey went on, pretending
to despise the cow, while in his own secret
heart he was very glad indeed to have her
company; but far too proud to own that
honest Brindle eeuld be of consequence to a
person of such importance as he fancied
himself to be.

“One day, Gray Dick heard the click of the
gate, and, on looking round, saw a man with a
blue linen coat on. He imagined the stranger
was come to call upon him; but no—Brindle
was wanted, not Dick, though he tried to push
himself before the cow, and attract the visitor's
notice. If he had known all, he would not



40 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

have been so anxious to make this man’s
acquaintance.

“ At first, Brindle appeared inclined to get out
of the way, but the blue-coated man held a piece
of cake, and she was induced to follow him
quietly. When Dick saw she was nearing the
gate, he determined to go too, for he remem-
bered his lonely days, and dreaded being left
by himself again. This was not allowed. A
smart blow over poor Brindle’s flank made her
‘spring forward, and a stroke from a stick
drove Dick back. The gate swung to, and the
donkey was sole tenant of the field once more.
He was not ashamed to shew his feelings
then. He battered the gate with his hoofs,
poked his head over the palings, and never
heeded when their sharp points hurt him; but
it was of no use. He could not open the gate,
or bring back poor patient Brindle, who received
more than one blow because she kept turning
to look at Gray Dick, and to low a farewell in
answer to his impatient bray, that begged her
to return as soon as possible.

“That very evening, as Dick was looking over
the palings, hoping to see his companion on her
way back, he caught sight of the blue-coated



MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 4q

man wheeling a barrow. On this lay something:
that made Dick’s blood run cold; it was
either poor Brindle’s skin, or that of a cow very
like her. Taking all things into consideration,
there could be very little doubt of Brindle’s fate.
And at that very moment Dick was making
good resolutions. The absence of his humble-
minded friend had rendered him sensible of her
merits. All her patience, gentleness, and good-
will had struck him as things most desirable
in a companion. He felt sorry that he had
often been contemptuous, conceited, and short-
tempered, and was determining on a different
course of conduct, when he found out that, so
far as she was concerned, the opportunity was
gone for ever.”

Uncle Paul looked round at his little hearers,
and added: “Gray Dick was a good deal like
many people, both young and old—they do not
value the kindness, love, and patience of those
who are their everyday companions until they
are deprived of them ; and often, when it is too
late, they begin to make good resolutions. Still,
if they Aave done wrong in one instance, they
may be careful not to commit the same fault in
another.”



42 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE,

“But what became of Gray Dick?” asked
quite a chorus of young voices, whose owners
wanted something like a positive ending to
Uncle Paul’s story of the donkey.

“Why, after spending some weeks without so
much as a sheep to bear him company, he was
sent back to Beacham, to the fashionable society
about which he used to talk in boastful lan-
guage. Being still strong and good-looking, he
retains the favour of the public, but would most
gladly exchange it for the quiet pasture, and
the society of such another friend as poor
Brindle. Dick is not so proud as he used to be,
though, and has even owned to Brown Jerry and
Grizzle—this is of course in confidence—that
he was a very foolish fellow in his young days,
and did not know when he was really well-off

“ And now, then, away with you for another
scamper through the wood, children!” said
Uncle Paul. “ Yet do not forget the moral of
Gray Dick’s story: Be thankful for all the
blessings you possess, but do not boast of them;
and use them well, for fear they should be taken
Srom you; if you neglect so doing.”

The youngsters thanked kind Uncle Paul;
and then away they went in various directions



MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE, 43

to seek flowers, and make the wood ring again
with their laughter.

When the children all returned to the place
which had served as a dining-room, they were
enchanted to find that tea was to be prepared
also out of doors, and that a kettle was to be
slung and water boiled in true gipsy fashion. It
was new work for them to gather sticks to keep
up the fire, and to assist in getting tea ready.
It seemed quite a pity when it was all over, and
the dew upon the grass gave warning that they
must return home. Then mamma was mounted
upon the hay-cushioned hamper, now lightened of
its contents ; and in good-humour, but very tired,
they rode back to Hay-Lodge in the great wagon.

Uncle Paul would not tell any stories on
the way home, for, he said, if he were to begin,
they would all go to sleep, and then it would be
a tale wasted. The children promised to keep
awake, and laughed and coaxed, but it was to
no purpose; and when they reached Hay-Lodge,
it was found that more than one little sleeper
had to be roused. As to Kate Ingram, she was
fast asleep on Uncle Paul’s knee, with her arms
round his neck, and her curly head resting on
his shoulder. But everybody, old and young,



44 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

declared that no day had ever been spent more
pleasantly than that at Hareby Wood; and no
carriage was ever better fitted for conveying
people to a picnic than Uncle Paul’s great wagon.

CHAPTER IV.

Tue Last Loap or Hay, anp “Tur Two Litrie
Bups anp tue LIGHTNING.”

Wuitt these pleasant rambles and excursions
were going on, of course there was no time for
sewing. Marian’s working-materials were all
put out of sight, and so were those little
garments which she intended to make for the
poor widow’s children. For two or three days
after the visit to Hareby Wood, there were no
long rambles, and the young people amused
themselves at home; so that had Marian been
inclined to bestow even a portion of her leisure
upon the work she undertook—voluntarily, in
the first instance—she might have made great
progress.



MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. AS

It is the fault of many children, that when
they commence a thing, they work very hard
indeed for a short time, and then, for want of a
little perseverance, it is left unfinished. This
habit of beginning many things and completing
none, was a great failing of Marian’s. When
they were at home, Mrs Ingram took pains to
correct this bad habit in her daughter; and
though she kindly allowed her ample time
and opportunity to consider whether she should
really like to undertake any fresh piece of
work, yet, when once begun, she did not allow .
her to throw it aside until it was finished.
And Marian had been daily expecting a
reminder from her mother respecting those little
garments, which pressed with a very heavy
weight, considering how small they were, upon
the: girl’s mind. But not a word was said,
either by her or Uncle Paul, although Marian
had found out that he was very keen-sighted
with regard to the faults of children, though so
gentle in his rebukes, and anxious to make the .
young happy.

Now, Marian felt that she was doing wrong in
neglecting to complete her undertaking; she
knew that she was allowing a bad habit to gain



46 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

more ground upon her, yet she lacked resolu-
tion to conquer the disinclination to resume her
labours. Often when she went into the fields, she
quite dreaded a meeting with the poor woman or
her children, lest their looks should appear to ask
why she was so tardy in fulfilling her promise.
But nothing of the kind happened. Mamma
and Uncle Paul never uttered a word on the
subject; and Marian, while wishing that she
had. never talked about what she meant to do,
began to think at last that her pledge to the
poor widow was forgotten by everybody. She
missed the pile of little garments, too, from the
top of the work-basket, but she did not ask
for them then. She thought to herself: “The
first rainy-day that comes I will begin to sew
again, and it will be time enough to inquire
when I want them. If I say anything now,
perhaps I shall have to stay in doors, and
this is such a lovely afternoon, I must enjoy it.
Beside, it is good for my health to be out in
this fresh pure country air,”

Whenever people want very much to follow
Inclination instead of Duty, they generally find
out some way of shewing that it will benefit
them either in mind or body, and poor Marian



MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 47

-was no exception from this rule. Thus the time
wore on very pleasantly in a general sense,
but still Marian could not help a feeling of self-
reproach that came in the quiet hours, and
reminded her of her unfulfilled promise to the
poor widow, and of her unfinished work.

One lovely afternoon, just after dinner, Uncle
Paul said: “Children, the last loads of hay
will be brought home to-night, and there will
be a little rejoicing amongst the work-people.
Nothing like a harvest-home, you know; but
still it is the fashion, in this part of the country,
to deck the last wagon with green-boughs,
and then the youngsters ride into the stack-
yard amongst them, and shout and hurrah.
Now, as I have you young visitors, I should like
you to go into the field, and when the last load
is safely in the stack-yard, I daresay you will
have no objection to distribute a few hot buns
and some milk to the haymakers’ children.
They will come in their holiday-frocks and
pinafores to-day.”

Kate and Bernard vowed they should like
much to attend to the wants of Uncle Paul’s
poorer guests, and thanked him for giving them
the opportunity ; but Marian’s face was red and



43 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE,

hot, and she remained silent. She was think-
ing: “Ah, if I had only given a little time, and
deprived myself of an hour or two’s amusement
each day, the poor widow’s children might have
had neat new clothes! As it is, they are all
unmade, and for the present useless.” :

Most likely Uncle Paul noticed the expression
of his niece’s face, but he made no remark
about it. He only added: “ Make haste, then;
get on your bonnets, and we will go to the field
directly, that we may have one more rest under
the sweet-scented haycocks, before the last is
put upon the wagon, and brought home into the
stack-yard.”

Marian was very silent on the way to the field,
but all the rest were as full of spirits as possible.
They chose a pleasant spot to sit in; and the
hay was piled so nicely in the form of seats, that
mamma declared it made the most delightful
of cushions. Bernard and Kate then ran off
towards the work-people, but Marian sat still
with her mother and Uncle Paul, though she
was longing to take a fork and help like them
to gather up the hay that remained.

An hour afterwards, Bernard came bounding
towards them. “You have lost your chance of



MIDSUMMER AT ITAY-LODGE. / 49

-any more haymaking for this year, Marian,” he
said; “the wagon is just off with this load, and
the remainder, which will not fill it again, will
be the last. I suppose you will come, by and
by, to help to stick the green-boughs on the
children’s bonnets-and hats, for they all intend
to be decorated, I can tell you.”

“ Bring Kate here, then,” replied Uncle Paul ;
“and while the wagon is away, I will tell you
just a short story,”

The announcement of a tale from Uncle Paul
was always sufficient to bring Kate to his side
as soon as she could get there. She needed no
second summons to take her place on the
scented heap of hay, and then Uncle Paul told
them all about—

THE TWO LITTLE BUDS AND THE LIGHTNING

“T think I shall live to see another day’s
sunshine!’ said a large blue convolvulus, as she
watched the sun sinking in the west. ‘It cannot
be true that a flower so beautiful and perfect as
I am, can be intended to last only a single day!
To be sure, all the other flowers, my companions
that are still open, tell me that they have lived



50 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

no longer than myself. That is likely enough,
though; and as we all opened together this morn-
ing, most probably we shall close at the same
time, to re-open when the sun comes round
again to the place in which I first saw him. If
I thought £ were going to fade and die, I would
say a few warning words to these young buds
that I see around me. But it cannot be. I shall
have -an opportunity of talking with them
to-morrow: another day’s experience will give
more weight to my warnings.’

“Just then the evening breeze blew rather
chilly across the flower, and she felt herself
beginning to shrink inwards with an involun-
tary motion. The movement was a warning,
to tell her that life was nearly ended for her.
‘I am going to sleep!’ said she. She’ did not
believe it could be Death so close at hand, and
she so young and beautiful. Alas that it should
be so! The young and the beautiful dic as well
as the old and withered. The convolvulus saw
all around her the shrivelled forms of numbers
of other kindred flowers, and yet she thought
within herself that death would not touch her.
The sun was all the while sinking slowly,
and the breeze blew colder and colder round



MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 51

the frail flower, making the corolla shrink
again,

‘Ah!’ said she, ‘this going to sleep is not
a pleasant sensation. Perhaps I feel it the
more, because it is my first time of closing up.
I shall be stronger and better able to bear it
to-morrow.’

“She talked of to-morrow, though she felt
that the light of day was going away from her,
and that she was beginning to look like those
other withered-up forms around her, which
were a few hours before as beautiful as herself.
So that it was only at the last moment of her
life that she began to imagine it possible that
death, and not sleep, had seized upon her fair
form, and faded her lovely hues.

“Then in a voice like a faint sigh—which
the wind was obliging enough to carry to the
two buds respecting which she was solicitous—
she said: ‘When the sun shines upon you
next, you will know what life is. You will
enter into its full enjoyment, but your exist-
ence depends upon his presence. When he
disappears, you will die as I am dying now, and
your beauty will be gone, never to return. I
ought to have known what to expect, from what



52 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE,

has happened to others of my race, but I have
lived my short life as if it were never to end. If
the time were to come again, I would ’

“Here the good-natured zephyr, which had
hovered round the dying flower in order to fulfil
her last wishes, and deliver the message with
which she charged him, began to sigh and
moan as he wandered in and out of the leaves.
The convolvulus was dead! Faithful to his
trust, the wind told the buds all that their
departed relative had said. It was quite
dark while they listened to his sad story;
and after they had thanked him, they asked
him to describe the appearance of this life-
giving sun, whose presence would bring the
power to see him to themselves.

‘What is the sun like?’ asked one of the
buds. The wind thought it was a queer ques-
tion, for as the bud had never yet been opened,
it could not know what anything was like.

‘He is like nothing else, replied the wind softly.
“You will see him shine out bright and glorious,
high up in the sky. His rays will warm you;
and you will gradually increase in strength and
beauty, so long as he shines upon you. Yet do
not forget that your existence depends upon his





MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 53

presence, and that when you lose sight of him,
you will die.’

‘What a sad fate!’ said both the little buds
together. - ‘Oh, if we might live a little longer
than one short day !’

“The night-dew which lay upon their leaves
dissolved into round drops, and fell as if the
plant were in tears at the praspect of death;
and the little buds murmured again, as they
swayed themselves to and fro, to think that
they were not longer lived.

‘Take comfort, said the zephyr kindly;
‘you are more fortunate than you think; you
know exactly how long you have to live, and
can prepare accordingly. I can assure you
that few are so favoured, though all know they
must die some time.’

‘What! will all the roses, lilies, pansies, and
other flowers whose scent you have brought
us, die too 2’ asked the buds.

‘Every one!’ replied the zephyr. ‘More-
over, they are very liable to die violent deaths.
Only this very day, I saw numbers of them
severed from their. parent-stems by the
gardener’s hand, and I know they must die
the sooner for it. He passed all the flowers



54 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

of your kind without taking one, because, he
said, they would close so soon, it was not worth
while to take them. Thus, you see, the very
thing you regret has its advantages. Every
station has some peculiar to itself, if we only
take pains to find them.’

‘But this death must be so terrible !’

‘Not always,’ replied the zephyr. ‘I have
passed in at windows into the habitations of
men, and though I must confess that I have
seen many who were afraid to meet it, I have
known others who rejoiced at its approach.
Take comfort, little flowers! In your short
life, you may gladden some eye and heart by
your beauty; and if you are the means of
doing that, or of leading any to think of the
Great Hand that made you, you will not have
lived in vain. At the worst, remember you
share the common lot. The beasts and birds,
worms and insects, all die. The stately oak
may live a thousand years, but must yield at
last; and there are even some amongst the
children of men who die as young as the frailest
flower of the field’ The little buds were greatly
cheered and comforted by the words of the
zephyr, and they thanked him very heartily



MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE, 55

‘I am glad if I have been of service, the
zephyr replied ; ‘and now I must away.’

“The buds begged him to stay longer, at least
till they could shew their gratitude by opening
their azure cups for him to drink the morning
dew from them. It could not be. The zephyr
was obliged to go.

‘Iam a great traveller, and roam the earth
over,’ answered he. ‘It is not often that I stay
eric so long as I have done with you;
but I am in a soft mood to-night. I must be
many a mile away before morning.’

“He sighed as he left them; but duty called,
and, whatever his inclinations might be, he
would not allow them to interfere with what
was right. He bade the little buds ‘ good-
night ;’ said that a brother of his from the
East was about to pay them a visit, but he
hoped they would not see much of him, as he
was scarcely to be deemed a desirable acquaint-
ance. Their gentle friend had scarcely made
his exit, when the two little buds became
sensible of the arrival of another member of
the same family—a boisterous individual, who
saluted them so rudely, that he knocked them
one against the other without the least



56 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

ceremony. They very heartily wished him a
thousand miles away; and no wonder, considering
their peculiar circumstances. The rain began
to fall next in very large drops, which half-
drowned the poor little buds, and were nearly
knocking them off their stems. How anxiously .
they looked for the appearance of the bright
sun! for they began to fear that, if they were
long exposed to such rough usage, they should
not survive to see the light of day. All at
once, a brilliant light shone out upon the poor
trembling buds.

‘This is surely the sun!’ cried they, for the
light was so bright and dazzling, that it darted
down the centre of their corollas. Before the
exclamation had all escaped them, they were
again left in total darkness; but a hollow
rumbling sound, which shook the very earth
in which they stood, next alarmed them more
than the glare had done. Then one little bud
began to doubt whether that could have been
the sun, '

‘There was light enough, to be sure,’ it said,
‘but warmth there was none. It dazzled for a
moment, and then disappeared so very sud-
denly, that I only felt the darkness the more.’



MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 57

‘Beside,’ replied the other, ‘when the sun
comes, it will remain as long as our life lasts,
and we have not yet grown into perfect life.’
At this moment, both the buds were startled
by another bright flash, and then another. The
pouring rain fell heavily on their tender forms,
and the rumbling noise increased in loudness.
The buds shook and trembled with terror.
They knew not what to think, for they had
not been forewarned, and they could not help
imagining that if the sun’s presence were to
be ushered in thus awfully, they should dread
instead of hoping for his coming. A rose that
was near at hand, and had overheard the con-
versation, now bowed her queenly head—for
she pitied the frail buds—to explain matters to
them.

‘These flashes of light,’ she said, ‘are not
caused by the sun’s rays. His presence brings
warmth and comfort; but Lightning, as these
flashes are called, often brings destruction. I
have seen it dart through a great tree, and
cleave it quite in two, leaving the halves
black, scorched, and withered. But do not be
frightened. I cannot say that I ever knew it
attack such humble individuals as yourselves:



58 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

that great tree is in far more danger,’ and
she bent towards an oak in the neighbour-
hood.

“The little buds thanked her humbly for the
information, and began to feel the truth of what
the zephyr had previously told them—namely,
that every station has: its advantages as well as
trials. They heard the rumble of the thunder,
and saw the lightning without fear, and, after
a time, both ceased entirely. The boisterous
wind took its departure, and was followed by a
gentler brother from the South, whose company
was a very pleasant change for them.

“By and by, a soft but continuous light
reached them, and they felt constrained to
open their corollas to greet it. Then they saw
the sun, and felt its warm rays shining upon
them. The south wind waved them lightly to
and fro, and thus shook off the heavy drops
which still clung to them; and as the sun rose
higher, he dried up the rest with his kindly
beams. The buds were now fully expanded into
flowers, as perfect as those which had decked
the plant the day before. The rain had done
them no harm, but rather good, and they
turned themselves towards the source of light,



MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 59

conscious of what they owed to him, and resolved
to rejoice in the good they possessed while it
was theirs, yet prepare themselves to resign
life without a murmur when called upon.
The flowers were in the full pride of their
beauty still, though it was far past noon, and
the sun was beginning to decline, when two
young girls entered the garden, and advanced
towards them.

‘See,’ said one of the girls, ‘what a lovely
colour! This blue is like a reflection from the
sky.’ As she spoke, she bent over the twin-
flowers in turn, and seemed to be drinking in
joy at the sight of their beauty.

‘They are lovely,’ replied her companion ;
‘and, as you say, they are as a reflection
from the sky, for the same God that made
them, spread that glorious firmament over our
heads.’

‘How perfect they are!’ said the first
speaker, still stooping over the blossoms. ‘Is
it not wonderful that these flowers, which are
but to last a single day, and then to die, are
endowed with such marvellous beauty ?’

‘It is indeed,’ was the answer. ‘ And surely
Ile who made them had a purpose in thus



60 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

forming them. Surely, we may learn a: lesson
from them also.’

‘What! to admire the wisdom of their
Creator and ours 2’

‘Everything we see teaches that. But does

it not seem, sister, that these flowers especially
remind us that, even as our Creator has finished
with equal pains the stately oak, and the blossom
which lives and dies within a day, so should
we perform those duties which are comparatively
trifling in our eyes with as much zeal as we
give to the greater ones.’
— ‘Doing with our might whatsoever our hand
findeth to do,’ added the other sister softly.
‘Thanks, little flowers, for the lesson you have
taught us!’ The two girls passed their hands
tenderly over the bright convolvuluses once more,
and then left them, tremulous with delight.

‘Ah,’ said they both together, ‘what joy it
is to think we have not lived in vain! But
this morning, we were lamenting at the thought
of coming death; now, we shall give up life
with such different feelings, for we know that
a remembrance of us will remain in the hearts
of the gentle and good! We have done all we
could do; we have sown the seed of a right



MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 61

thought, and who knows what good actions may
spring from it 2’

“Calmly and quietly, the twin-flowers waited
for death; and when the sun sunk in the west,
they closed for ever, gladdened by the know-
ledge that they had not lived in vain.”

As Uncle Panl ceased, he saw that Bernard’s
face was grave, and that down Marian’s checks
the tears were trickling fast, while Kate clung
more closely than common to his side. The
story had brought solemn thoughts to them all,
but sad ones to Marian only.

“T did not wish to make you unhappy, my
darlings,” said Uncle Paul tenderly. “ But is
it not as well to look at both sides of the
picture? Death is as certain to overtake each
of us as it is the little flower which lives but for
a day. And yet, while we love to look at all
which belongs to life, we shrink from looking at
what is every night brought a day nearer to
each of us. Uncle Paul is growing old, my
darlings; his hair is white. It is summer here
now, but for all that, he is in the winter of life.
He does not know whether the season will be a
short or a long one; but he knows it is the



62 MIDSUMMER AT IAY-LODGE.

last of the four, and that his spring, summer,
and autumn are gone already. He looks back on
them, and often wishes that he had done more
and better than he has. So he preaches to you,
children, that you may begin to work while it is
yet your spring-time, and have the less to regret
should you live until life’s winter.”

There was no answer in words when Uncle
Paul finished speaking; but Kate kissed his
cheek again and again, and passed her little
fingers lovingly through his white hair; while
Bernard pressed his hand, as if by way of pledge
that his words should not be thrown away.
Down Marian’s cheeks the tears now flowed like
rain, and Uncle Paul guessed that conscience
was reminding her of a neglected duty. So
putting Kate aside, after a loving caress, he
passed his kind arm round Marian, and said:
“ Dear child, I have a word or two to say to you
in particular. Shall I send these others away,
and whisper them in your ear only ?”

He waited for her reply, and Marian answered
in a low voice: “ No, dear Uncle Paul; let them
hear what you say to me. Then we shall all
learn something more from your story.”

“T was thinking, my darlings,” said Uncle



MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 63

Paul, “that when we do a single kind act, from
the mere impulse of a moment, and not habitu-
ally because it is right, we are like the flash
of lightning, which dazzles for a moment, but
makes the darkness scem all the greater when
it is gone. For instance, Marian here worked
very hard for a little while to perform an act of
kindness. Her gift to the poor widow’s children
came upon them as unexpectedly as the flash of
lightning, and her promise of further help raised
a degree of hope in their minds, which, not
having been fulfilled, must have caused far
greater disappointment than the mere absence
of the promised comforts could have occasioned.
The disappointment was thus the greater dark-
ness that followed the flash of light and hope.
Now, the true and steady charity which springs
from the habitual feeling and principle of
right, is just like the bright sun, whose course
is continued, to cheer and bless, from year to
year, and whose mode of acting is only varied
for the benefit of what it shines upon.

“Uncle Paul has done preaching now, chil-
dren,” added the dear old man; “and see, here
comes the empty wagon, in good time, to fetch
the last load of hay!”



64 MIDSUMMER AT IIAY LODGE.

Marian dried her tears, and they all rose
from the ground to go and meet the merry
group of children who had come in the wagon.
Amongst them Marian distinguished the forms
of the poor widow and her little folks, and she
whispered to her uncle: “I am so sorry I have
been lazy and forgetful of my promise, Uncle
Paul. I shall be punished by the sight of those
children, who might have had their new clothes,
if I had worked in my spare hours half as hard
as I did at first.”

«They are not ragged, though, Marian,” said
her uncle.

To the young girl’s great astonishment, she
saw that the widow’s children were dressed in
new frocks and pinafores of the very same stuff
as she had chosen. “One would think, Uncle
Paul,” she remarked, “that some good indus-
irious fairy had taken pity on them, and
finished my work.”

“Tt was some one who is both good and
industrious, but no fairy, Marian.” Uncle Paul
glanced towards Mrs Ingram as he spoke, and
Marian knew the truth.

“Oh, mother,” said she, “I know now why
you have spent an hour or two every day shut





MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE, 65

up in your own room. You were doing the
work which my hands ought to have finished.”

“Yes,” interposed her uncle, “mamma has
acted the part of the good fairy this time, and I
hope the lesson will not be lost upon you, my dear.
For, remember, through using up the fragments
of her time only, she has been enabled to confer
a great benefit on these poor people. She has
joined us in all our excursions and rambles, yet
the remnants of leisure, well used, have sufficed
for this work. You may cast aside fragments
of anything else you please, and pick them up
afterwards, but time once thrown away, ls gone
for ever.”

There was no more preaching—as Uncle Paul
ealled his kind warnings—after this. Bernard,
Marian, and Kate found enough to do in deco-
rating the little children with flowers, and the
wagon with green-boughs; and when the small
remaining portion of hay was put into it, the
youngsters all rode home together in triumph.
When they reached Hay-Lodge, the large
kitchen was quite a sight. Long tables were
set out, and covered with white cloths, and large
cups placed on them. These the three children

filled with new milk, and as soon as the
E



66 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

spice-buns were drawn hot from the oven, all the
young guests were seated at table, and liberally
supplied with them, to their great satisfaction,
by Bernard, Marian, and Kate. After the meal,
they had a hearty romp on the lawn; and at
eight o’clock each child was supplied with
another bun, and sent home in high glee, and
very grateful to Uncle Paul for the treat he
had given them. Only city-children, like the
little Ingrams themselves, can understand how
delightful these country scenes are.

CHAPTER V.

Brrnarp’s Faurr, anp “Tue Hore im
THE WINDOW.”

Unctz Pavn was extremely fond of flowers,
and had a particularly choice collection of foreign
plants, which he had gathered at great cost and
pains during his travels. ,In his green-house
and conservatory were many flowers of rare
beauty, and in these. Bernard took very great



MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 67

delight. He and his uncle watched with almost
equal interest for the opening of the buds ; and
so careful had the boy been in his movements
amongst the plants, that to him was intrusted
the daily watering of some of the very choicest
of all the floral-stock. The day after the hay
was gathered in, Uncle Paul and Bernard were
in the green-house together. They were both
quite absorbed in admiration of a beautiful plant
which was just bursting into bloom.

«This will be quite fully opened by to-
morrow,” said Uncle Paul. ‘I am very glad of
it; for two ladies, neighbours of mine, have
long been curious to see a flower of this species,
and this of mine is a very uncommon variety.
You will be sure to take particular care not to
injure it, for the stem is as fragile as the flower
is lovely.”

“JT will take care, uncle,” replied Bernard.
“Shall I carry it into the conservatory this
afternoon ?”

“Either this evening or to-morrow morning
will do, Bernard. But do you think you are
sufficiently experienced to handle such a delicate
affair as this? Never mind,’ he added quickly
and kindly as he saw the boy’s colour rising at



68 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

the question; “I place reliance in your care,
Bernard.”

“Thank you, uncle,” was the reply; “I will
do my best.”

Uncle Paul then left the green-house ; and
Bernard, quite proud of the trust reposed in
him, proceeded to perform his daily duties
there. Afterwards, he attended to the whole of
the plants in the conservatory, for the gardener
had obtained three days’ leave of absence
from his post, that he might visit an invalid
brother.

It happened that Bernard had made arrange-
ments toaccompany some youths, whoseacquaint-
ance he had made at the picnic, on a fishing-
excursion that day. He had just completed his
task in the conservatory, when they came to
call for him, so he made great haste to pre-
pare himself, and in a few minutes was ready to
set out with them. It was dusk in the evening
when the boys returned, and much later than
Bernard had calculated on being absent from
Hay-Lodge.

After displaying the fruits of his excursion to
the admiring eyes of Marian and Kate, he
threw himself upon a seat, saying: “ How tired



MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 69

Iam! Ithink I never in my life felt so weary
as I do to-night!”

A moment afterwards, he remembered that
some of the sashes in the green-house had been
left open to admit air, and he hastened to shut
them at once, feeling uneasy lest any of the
plants might have suffered from exposure to the
night-air. Uncle Paul he knew to be from
home, and likely to be detained till rather late.
The evening was very warm and mild, and
the moon shone brightly in as he entered the
green-house. He hoped no harm was done, and
eagerly but cautiously he stepped up to the
place where the plant stood respecting which
his uncle was so anxious.

How beautiful it looked in the soft light!
How the now full-blown flower bowed the deli-
cate stem, while half-opened buds around it
gave the one perfect blossom additional charms !
Bernard could scarcely admire it sufficiently,
and he quite longed to see it reigning the very
queen of the conservatory.

After having fastened the sashes, he lifted
the pot containing the plant, in order to place
it in its new abode. Uncle Paul and he had
arranged what position it should occupy in the



70 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE,

morning, and, as Bernard thought, there was
nothing in the way; but when he reached the
conservatory, the door was shut, and he was
obliged to place the pot on the ground whilst
he opened it. As he raised it again, he
stumbled slightly, and bruised the stem of the
plant between his arm and the door-post. Much
alarmed, he hastened to place it in the appointed
spot, .and then examined the stem to see if it
were injured, and if so, to what extent. To
Bernard’s great regret, he found that the
stem was partially crushed, but so far the flower
and buds were untouched. Hoping that the
injury it had received would not spoil its appear-
ance, he left the conservatory, feeling anything
but comfortable, and joined his mother in the
drawing-room. Only a few minutes afterwards,
Bernard heard his uncle’s voice in the hall, and
soon the kind old gentleman entered.

Uncle Paul asked his nephew how he had
enjoyed his day on the water, and then inquired
if the sashes in the green-house were closed.

“Yes,” replied Bernard ; “I attended to them
as soon as I came in; but it was rather later
than I expected it would be before I returned.”

“The air is so warm and mild that it has



MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 7]

done them no harm, I am sure, Bernard,” said
his uncle. “And how did the plant look? You
know it stands first in my favour at present,
and I hope it will not disappoint me to-morrow.”

“It was full out, uncle, and looked very beau-
tiful,” returned Bernard in rather a low voice.
Most heartily did he echo the hope that the
plant would retain its beauty, and be none the
worse for the accident; but he greatly feared
the contrary.

“Did you move it into the conservatory?”
asked Uncle Paul.

“Yes, uncle, since I eame home.”

Uncle Paul rose from his seat. “I will just go
and have a peep at it,” said he. “Thank you,
my dear niece,” he added, addressing Mrs
Ingram, who offered him a light, “I shall not
take a candle. My beautiful plant will look all
the more lovely in the pale moonlight. Come,
Bernard, and share my pleasure, keen florist
that you are.”

For the first time during his visit, Bernard
felt reluctant to obey his uncle’s summons; but,
unwilling as he was to enter the ee
he was still more unwilling to refuse, and he
rose instantly and followed.



72 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

Uncle Paul’s eyes, though they looked so dark
and keen, had seen a great many years of hard

service, for he had not gone through life with -

them shut, in any sense of the word. When he
stood opposite to his favourite plant, he did not
observe the bruised stem, though the injury was
quite visible to Bernard, who knew all about
the cause of the hurt; he only noticed how
beautiful and perfect the shape of the flower
was, and how admirably it was placed to display
its loveliness, and then he turned to leave the
conservatory with his nephew, who locked the
door, and handed him the key.

During the few moments they had been there,
Bernard was several times on the point of men-
tioning the accident to Uncle Paul; but his
courage failed him, and he remained silent,
fervently hoping that all would be well, and
that no confession would be necessary. But he
did not rest very comfortably that night, though
he was so weary with his long day out of doors.
Anxiety of mind, and the thought that he had
not dealt frankly with his kind uncle, over-
powered even his fatigue, and kept him from
resting until daylight.

Tt was in vain that Bernard tried to stifle his



MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 73

inward monitor, Conscience, by saying to him-
self: “I told my uncle nothing but the truth.”
Conscience always answered promptly: “ Yes,
but you did not tell the whole truth.” In vain,
too, did Bernard argue that Uncle Paul was
so just and kind, that he would not be angry
at the effects of what was really an acci-
dent. His heart quite sank within him when
he recalled the pleasure which Uncle Paul took
in his floral-treasures, and particularly in the
injured plant. So the morning came, breakfast-
time passed, the carriage of Uncle Paul’s visitors
was heard on the gravel, and Bernard had not
yet said one word about the bruised stem.

“Where is the conservatory-key?” asked
Uncle Paul, as he was about to lead his guests
thither.

“You have it yourself, uncle,” said Bernard.
“Do you not remember I gave it to you last
night?”

“To be sure you did, my boy.” Then turning
to his guests, he said: “The flower of which
I spoke to you is now fully blown; I saw it by
moonlight; but you will, I doubt not, find it
exquisitely lovely this morning.” With eager
step he advanced to the spot—and, lo! the stem

By



74 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

was bent down, and the flower half-withered.
It would be hard to describe his disappointment
and regret as he pointed out the mischief.

“The stem has been crushed,” said one of the
ladies, as she examined the plant; “but there
are still sufficient proofs left to shew how
very beautiful a perfectly fresh flower must
be.”

She and her companion continued to examine
and praise the wreck of the lovely bloom;
but, for a few moments, poor Uncle Paul was
unable either to speak or to listen, and Bernard’s
cheeks were wet with tears.

“Who can have done the mischief?” said

‘ one of the ladies.

The kind old gentleman’s face brightened,
as he answered: “No one, my dear lady.. And
this is to me a great source of comfort under
what is to a florist a serious disappointment.
My nephew and I came together late last night
to look at this plant, and left it all right,
From that time until we entered the conser-
vatory, no one can have been here, for the key
has not been out of my own possession. Bernard
and I are equally disappointed; but, after all,
it is so pleasant that there is no person to blame.



MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 75

The stem must have been diseased, or eaten by
some insect.”

When Uncle Paul knew that anything could
not be amended, he never indulged in useless
lamentations or murmurs respecting it; and
thus, on this occasion, though he certainly cast
a regretful look or two towards his favourite
plant, he did not grumble and fret over it. On
the contrary, he guided his visitors through
the conservatory and green-house, accompanied.
also by Mrs Ingram, with a face as cheerful
and good-humoured as though his hopes had
been all fulfilled. There was still an abundance
of attractions, and when all the choice plants
had been examined, the two ladies had almost
forgotten the spoiled flower in their admiration
of those around them, so sclect was Uncle Paul’s
stock of floral-beauties. They left Hay-Lodge
quite delighted with their visit, and enriched
by the gift of several plants from their kind
entertainer’s own. store.

Bernard, however, was by no means happy.
He knew that his uncle did not for a moment
suspect that he had had any hand in injuring
the plant, and was convinced, too, that he could
not discover the cause of its altered appearance.



76 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

But conscience would not let him rest. This
thought was continually present: “I ought to
have told my uncle the whole truth. Though I
have not spoken a falsehood, this allowing him
to remain under a false impression is the same
thing. How I wish I had told him all about it
last night!” Poor Bernard! he was just expe-
riencing the truth of the words: “The longer we
_ defer a duty, the more difficult it is to perform ;”
and when that duty is to confess a fault, the
difficulty is increased many-fold by every hour’s
delay.

Uncle Paul could not fail to observe Bernard’s
grave face and sorrowful looks, and he fancied
the boy was grieving over the loss of what had
been for some time past an object of interest to
him also; so he kindly said: “You must not
let the loss of the flower grieve you, Bernard ;
it would only have been a thing of a day, after
all, and we saw it in perfection. Beside, there
are two more plants of the same kind to flower,
though they are not so forward as the fading
one; and if the first should open while you are
here, we will go ourselves and present it to the
young ladies who were here to-day.”

Bernard gave a sickly sort of smile. His



MIDSUMMER AT IAY-LODGE. 77

uncle’s words were far harder to bear than
reproaches would have been. He was indeed
thinking about the flower, and wishing that he
could either summon courage to tell his uncle
all about it, or forget it altogether.

“Now, we must turn the conversation. Who
will talk about something else?” cried Uncle
Paul cheerfully, yet just as though he could not
find another word to say.

“Turn it yourself, uncle, if you please, with
another story,” said Marian.

“What! you want Uncle Paul to begin
preaching again, do you? I thought you must
have had enough of my stories. You have all
been such good children lately, that I seem to
have nothing to preach about. Still, for fear
you should take it into your heads to be
naughty in order to furnish me with a subject,
I will tell you a tale about—

THE HOLE IN THE WINDOW.

“The stone had gone through, sure enough,
and left a round hole in the pane, and the boy
who had thrown the stone, startled by the
crash, stood for a few seconds quite still upon



78 MIDSUMMEK AT HAY-LODGE.

the road, gazing at the result of it. It was
wonderful how many thoughts went through
the lad’s mind in that short time. He had
very often been warned not to throw stones,
because it was an idle, mischievous, and likely
to be also a destructive habit. As he stood, his
mother’s very words seemed ringing in his ears
—words which she had said that morning but
an hour before. Yet the warning had been
unheeded, the mother’s command disobeyed,
and there stood Arthur Franklin, as if rooted
to the spot, gazing at the hole in the window.
“Tt was not avery large hole. The stone had
been sent through with such force, that it had
only just made a passage for itself, and the
remainder of the pane was very little cracked.
Arthur looked round, but there was no
person within sight. The sound of the broken
glass had not attracted the attention of the
inmates, and the cottage stood by itself. The
fractured pane was in one of the front windows,
and Arthur thought that, most likely, the good
woman who was the mistress of the house was
somewhere in the back-garden. He had often
seen her there, and she had said good-morning
to him many a time as he passed on his way to



MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 79

school. He felt very sorry that he had broken
her window, and if he had had any money in
his pocket then, he would have tried to
find her, in order to pay for the mischief.
But Arthur’s pockets were quite empty; he
had not a single penny to call his own; for he
was rather an improvident individual, and when
he received his monthly allowance, always
spent it directly, saving nothing for a time of
need, He knew that in order to act justly, he
ought to find the good woman of the cottage,
point out the damage he had caused, and then
own his fault to his parents, and ask them to
give him money to have it repaired.

‘But,’ argued Arthur within himself, ‘I know
that my mother and father will both be so
much displeased at my disobedience, that, if
even I escape any other punishment, I shall be
obliged to pay back the price of the broken
pane out of my own pocket-money; and I
want to buy so many things for myself’

“These thoughts passed very quickly through
Arthur’s mind, far more quickly than I can tell
them, for they occupied but a few moments ;
and selfishness conquered justice, as it too often
does. After making quite sure that nobody



80 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE,

was near, he ran away from the spot as fast
as he could, leaving behind him, as the only
trace of his visit to the neighbourhood, that
hole in the window.

“Arthur had another motive for wishing to
receive his pocket-money untouched: the yearly
fair was just at hand, and what boy does not
like to have something in his bank at such a
time? Still Arthur ought to have done what
was right first of all, though it might cost him
some striving against self. Yet, although he
had counted what he would have had to pay for
taking a straightforward course, he had not
calculated what would be the cost of wrong-
doing. That was to come; and he found that,
though no mortal eye had seen him, Conscience,
stern taskmaster, took him to task, and accused
him continually.

“The morning after Arthur broke the window,
he was obliged to pass it on his way to school.
He felt very uncomfortable as he neared the
place in company with two or three other boys,
but he did not turn his head to see whether
the mischief had been repaired, though he was
very anxious to know.

‘Just look!’ cried one of his companions ;



MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 81

‘somebody has broken a pane in that window.
What a round hole! It might have been
cut out.’

“ Arthur was thus in a manner forced to look ;
for if he had refused, he might have been sus-
pected. He did not feel better satisfied with
himself when a second lad said: ‘The people
who live there are very poor. The man is
often ill, and there is a large family. I dare-
say he cannot afford to have the window
mended.’

‘And it must have been broken from the
outside,’ remarked the first speaker, ‘for there
is no glass on the road. If anybody has done
it, and not paid the poor people, what a shame
it is! Isn’t it, Franklin?’ Arthur could not
help answering in the affirmative, though it was
no very pleasant task thus to confirm with his
lips the sentence which his conscience had
already pronounced against him.

“For a whole fortnight, Arthur passed the
broken window four times each day on his
way to and from school. At first, it was a very
hard matter, but it became less so by degrees.
Three days before the fair, Arthur’s grand-
father came to pay a visit to his parents, and



82 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

when he went away, he presented his grandson
with half-a-crown.

‘You will manage to get rid of this at the
fair, Arthur,’ said the old gentleman with a
pleasant smile. ‘There will be the wild-beasts
to visit, and I know not what beside. I shall
give your cousin Frederic the same, and you can
spend the money as you think good.’

‘Thank you, grandfather, said Arthur in
high glee.

‘But can you keep your half-crown untouched
until the fair, do you think, Arthur?’ asked
his mother.

“Now, Arthur had not intended to keep the
whole of the half-crown to spend at the fair.
Though he had thought less about that hole
in the window of late, conscience would not
let him quite forget it. So, when the silver
coin was placed in his hand, his first thought
had been: ‘Now, as I have received this
present of money which I did not expect, I
will at once devote a part of it to the mending
of that window. It will not cost me more
than one-and-sixpence, perhaps not so much.
I shall have a shilling left, which, with my
month’s allowance, will be quite enough to



MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 83

spend at the fair; and I shall have what is
better still—a quiet conscience.’

“Mrs Franklin’s remark was rather an unfor-
tunate one. Arthur felt himself bound to shew
that he could keep his half-crown untouched
until the fair-day, unless, indeed, he were to tell
his mother to what purpose he meant to devote
a part of the money. To the latter course he
could not make up his mind, so he replied: ‘I
can keep my half-crown whole, grandfather, as
my mother shall see, for I will shew it to her
on the fair-day morning.’

“THis mother still looked rather doubtful,
and she laughed as she answered: ‘If you do,
Arthur, it will be the first time that you have
ever accomplished such a feat.’

“ Arthur was rather afraid lest he should
spend the money, after all his resolutions, so,
for fear of yielding to temptation, he locked it
up in his little treasure-box, quite determined
not even to touch it again until the appointed
time. As he passed the hole in the window,
he thought, with no small pleasure, that in two
more days he should repair the damage, for,
though he had determined to save his money
for so long, in order to shew that he could do it,



84 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

he had not lost sight of his original plan with
regard to the ultimate disposal of the half-crown.

“Whenever we determine to do right, it is
always best to put our resolution in force at
once. ‘Delays are dangerous,’ as the copy-slips
say, and so Arthur found them. In the first
place, it was very hard to resist the inclina-
tion he felt to take the half-crown out of
the box again, just to shew it to his school-
fellows, that they might know what pleasures
he should be able to purchase at the fair.
However, he did resist that temptation, and
only boasted of his riches, instead of displaying
them.

“The fair-day brought greater trials along
with it, Arthur triumphantly exhibited his
half-crown whole, and received his monthly
allowance besides; but even then he found that
his cousin Frederic had more money than him-
self, because he had saved a little beforehand.
Still the boy thought he would pay for the
broken window, and he put a shilling and six-
pence aside for that purpose; but first one
attraction, and then another, tempted him to
spend. He was habitually prodigal, and he was
dissatisfied when Frederic bought anything for



MIDSUMMER AT IAY-LODGE. 85

himself, unless he followed his cousin’s example.
Thus, before the evening came, he had spent
all the money that was really his own, and he
had not yet been to see the wild-beasts.

‘Now for the show!’ said Frederic, as the
two boys rose to leave the tea-table.

‘I will go with you as far as the market-
place, where all the shows are,’ replied Arthur ;
‘but I think I shall not go in’

‘Oh, nonsense! Why, you have never seen
any wild-beasts, have you ?’ :
‘No, said Arthur; ‘and I should like very

much to go; but it will cost a shilling’

‘To be sure it will; but that is not a great
deal considering ; and you cannot tell when you
may have another chance, if you miss this. I
have thought more about seeing them than any-
thing else; and if I had not had money enough,
I should have spent less this afternoon. Come
along. I know you have eighteenpence left, and
the fair only comes once a year,

“Arthur wished he had spent less; for he
had bought several things he really did not want,
just to be like his cousin. ‘I don’t mind going
with you, Fred,’ said Arthur again, ‘but not
into the show.’ However, Fred was quite



86 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

satisfied with this promise, for he knew
Arthur’s disposition well, and had no doubt
he should have his company, whatever reso-
lutions he might make to the contrary before
they started.

“Truly, Arthur would have found it quite
hard enough work to keep firm to his purpose,
had he stayed at home; but when he reached
the market-place, and heard the music of the
attendant-band, while the roaring of the wild
animals sounded even above the drums—when
he saw several of his school-fellows running up
the steps of the show—and, above all, when
Fred was on the point of leaving him, to follow
their example, all his good resolutions melted
away like snow in the sunshine. The shilling
passed into the hands of the money-taker at
the entrance, and Arthur’s last sixpence was left
in solitude at the bottom of his pocket, though
Frederic had still pence in store with which
to buy cakes for the elephants and nuts for the
monkeys, things which Arthur had entirely
forgotten. | However, his cousin good-naturedly
gave him half of his own store, saying, as he
did so: ‘You must not break into that sixpence,
you know, Arthur, for you will want it by and by.’



MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 87

‘What for?’ inquired Arthur.

‘Why, the beasts will be fed in about half an
hour, and if we want to see them, we must pay
an extra sixpence. Of course, you'll pay. I
shall, for I know that és a sight, and it would
be provoking to turn out just when the best is
to come’

“ Arthur hesitated, knowing he had already
spent too much; but then, thought he to him-
self: ‘Sixpence will not mend that hole in the
window. I shall be obliged to wait another
month before I can pay for the broken pane,
at anyrate. The window will not run away
in the meanwhile, though the shows will be
all gone ; so I may as well see all I can.’

“Thus, once more, selfishness conquered
justice. Arthur did stay; he spent his last
sixpence, and returned home at night very
weary, the possessor of several useless toys, and
still burdened with the thought that he had
committed a wrong action, and neglected
to repair the evil when he had it in his power.
In his own quiet bed, after the excitement
of the day was over, the boy’s conscience again
made itself heard, and, grieved at his folly and
weakness, the lad moistened his pillow with



88 MIDSUMMER AT IIAY-LODGE.

tears, while he wished he had had strength of
mind to keep his resolution, but wished in vain.
All at once, a veiled figure took him by the
hand, and led him out into the open air. Arthur
knew not how he passed over the ground, but,
almost immediately, he found himself in front
of the cottage by the road-side, and gazing at
the broken pane in the window.

‘That was your work!’ said the figure
that still accompanied him, and now pointed
with outstretched finger to the broken pane.
In a trembling voice, Arthur owned the truth.
‘And you have wasted the money which
would have repaired the damage on things
that you did not want.’

“Tt was of no use to deny it. Arthur replied:
‘That he had; that he had intended to pay for
the mending of the window, but’——

“He stopped, and his strange companion
said: ‘I will finish the sentence for you.
You preferred indulging your own selfishness
at the expense of justice.’ These sounded
hard words, but Arthur felt their truth, and
could not utter a syllable in his own defence.
‘It is of no use to make good resolutions,
said the stranger, ‘unless we carry them out,



MIDSUMMER AT IHAY-LODGE. 89

These very resolutions are witnesses against
us, because they prove that we know what is
right, though we do not practise it. Follow
me, and you shall see what you have done
beside breaking the window.’

“Away through the open door into the
cottage went Arthur’s mysterious guide, and the
boy was impelled to follow him, though much
against his will. In front of the fire, in a
rocking-chair, sat the good. woman of the house,
and on her knee she held a baby, whose cries
she was vainly endeavouring to still.

‘Ah, poor baby,’ said the weeping mother,
‘you are in pain, and I do not know how to
relieve you; and it is all owing to that broken
window, which let in the bitter piercing east
wind all the night through. And to think I
never found out that some careless or wicked
boy had broken our bedroom-window while I
was in the garden. And the piercing wind
blew in upon you and your father that night ;
and I never found out what made it so cold till
the morning, when daylight shewed me that
hole in the window.’

‘O dear, dear!’ groaned poor Arthur, ‘what
have I done? I knew I had broken a window,



90 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

but I never thought I had injured any person
by that,’

‘Very likely not,’ replied his guide. ‘It is
not often that people can count the exact
amount of harm they will cause by even a
single wrong action, or a little step on the
path of evil’

“The baby still wailed and cried, and the
mother’s tears fell on its wan face, when a
feeble voice from the inner room cried: ‘ Wife,
will you bring me a drink? My tongue is
parched, and my throat so dry.’

“The woman pressed the poor baby more
closely to her breast, and rose from her seat
in order to supply her husband’s want.

‘We will go with her, and see all that is to
be seen here, Arthur, said his companion. So
they entered the inner room where the father
lay.

“The sick man eagerly drank what his wife
offered—it was but cold water—and then he
said: ‘I wish the poor child would cease crying ;
it keeps me from sleeping, and I think, but
for it, I could rest. The little darling is suf-
fering, like its father, from the terrible cold it
caught by sleeping just under that hole in the



MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 91

window. And you, my dear wife, will be almost
worn out with waiting on us both. It is terrible
to lie here, and think that I ought to be at work,
yet can do nothing!’

“The wife tried to hush the baby ; said a few
kind, comforting words to her husband; exam-
ined the broken pane, to see whether the rag
she had stuffed in to keep out the cold was
still in its place; and then hurried out of the
room again, to weep in silence.

“Come and see what makes her weep,’ said
Arthur’s guide.

‘I suppose it is on account of her husband’s
illness,’ said the boy, while his own tears fell fast.

‘Not altogether,’ was the reply. ‘Come, and
I will shew you more still’

“ Arthur followed the stranger into the pantry.
There was no meat to be seen, nothing but dry
bread on the shelf, and only a scanty supply of
that. Then they looked into the cupboard, and
saw that there were only a few grains of tea in
the bottle, which the poor woman used instead
of a canister; indeed, there was scarcely any-
thing like food in the whole house.

‘Do you know how it is that these shelves are
bare, and the dishes empty?’ asked the guide.



92 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

“ Arthur felt very unhappy, but did not speak.

‘J will tell you,’ continued his companion ;
‘it is because the hands that at the best of
times are not strong enough to earn much, are
now so weakened by pain, that they must be
idle, though that sick man would be glad to
work, And what can the poor weeping mother
do, with the sick husband and child to tend
almost night and day? It will be very hard,
indeed, when morning comes, and she has
nothing at all left but dry bread and cold water.’

“ Arthur thought of times when he had been
ill, and remembered how many dainties were
brought, in the hope of tempting him to eat,
yet all in vain; and he fancied to himself how
hard it would have seemed to him if he had had
nothing but bread and water at such a time.

‘Oh, if I could but do anything!’ he cried
aloud. ‘How I wish I had told the whole truth
at first, and then, though I might have been
punished, these poor people would not have
suffered through my fault.’

“He burst into a passion of tears as he
cried: ‘ What shall I do ?—what shall I do?’

“ At that moment, Arthur lost sight of his
stranger-guide, the cottage and its inmates





MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 93

vanished, and he opened his eyes to find that
he was lying on his own comfortable bed, while
his mother stood beside him.

‘Why, Arthur,’ said she, ‘what is the matter
with you? You cried out so loudly, that I
heard you down stairs, and ran up in haste,
fearing you were ill, and I found you sobbing in
your sleep, as though you were in great trouble.’

“ Arthur sat up in bed with a strange, bewil-
dered look on his face, for he was scarcely awake
yet. It was a great relief to find that he had
been dreaming, and had not really seen the
inmates of the road-side cottage in such
distress.

‘What were you dreaming about?’ said his
mother. ‘I am afraid you have eaten too
many good things to-day,’

‘I was dreaming about the hole in the
window, mother,’ returned Arthur.

“The boy was far too much excited and dis-
turbed to go quietly to sleep, so he at once told
hig mother all about his disobedience, and the
mischief that had been the result of it, as well
as the resolutions he had made to repair the
damage, and the manner in which he had
broken them.



Full Text



CHAMBERS'S
‘ LIBRARY FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

SECOND SERIES






HAREBY WOOD.
CHAMBERS’S LIBRARY FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

Second Series

MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE

BY

RUTH BUCK



WILLIAM AND ROBERT CHAMBERS
LONDON AND EDINBURGH

1870,
Edinburgh :
Printed by W. & R. Chambers.
CONTENTS.

PAGE

CHAPTER I—THE INVITATION ACCEPTED, AND
“THE PARROT AND THE MAG-
PIE,” 5 ; : 1
Il—A WET DAY, AND “WHAT THE
RAINDROPS DID,” 5 cee)
III.—HAREBY WOOD, AND “ THE STORY
OF GRAY DICK,” , 5 Va)
IV.—THE LAST LOAD OF HAY, AND
“THE TWO LITTLE BUDS AND
THE LIGHTNING,” . aA
V.—BERNARD’S FAULT, AND “THE
HOLE IN THE WINDOW,” . 66
VI—UNCLE PAUL'S BIRTHDAY ; “‘ MAG-
GIE’S DAISIES, OR THE VALUE
OF A GIFT;” AND “LITTLE
FLORELLA, OR THE WISHING-
TEMPLE,’ : . 99
CONCLUSION,—BERNARD’S RETURN TO SCHOOL, 141
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

CHAPTER I.

Tue Invitation Accrerrep, anp “THE Parrot
AND THE Maapre.”

“Tur postman will not be here yet, Marian, so
you and Kate had better come to breakfast,”
said Mrs Ingram, addressing her two children,
who stood at the window, watching eagerly
for the arrival of the red-coated messenger, in
the hope that he would bring a letter from
“Brother Bernard.’ And Mrs Ingram herself
looked scarcely less anxious, for Bernard was
the “only son of his mother, and she was a
widow.”

The boy had been six months absent at

school, and midsummer was just at hand. As
A
2 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

it was his first half-year from home, no wonder
Marian and Kate, his two sisters—to say
nothing of mamma—were counting the very
hours which must pass before Bernard could
arrive.

Just after Mrs Ingram had summoned the
gitls to the breakfast-table, the postman’s knock
was heard in the street. Marian ran into the
hall, to be ready to take the letter out of
the box without a moment’s delay, and soon
returned, exclaiming: “Two letters, mamma,
and one is from Bernard!” Who doubts
which was first opened and read by the loving
mother !

Her voice trembled, and her eyes were
dimmed for a moment with glad tears, as she
told Marian and Kate that Bernard would
come to-morrow.

Little Kate clapped her hands, and fairly
danced round the room in her glee. Ah! she
guessed that, in some snug corner of Bernard’s
trunk, there would be a whole pile of small
treasures hoarded up, bit by bit, for the little
sister at home.

Bernard was turned thirteen years old, and
boys of his age can, if they choose, fashion a
9

MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. oe

great many pretty toys to please a little girl
of six, yet without spending much of their
pocket-money either. And Bernard always
did like, and had contrived new pleasures
for Kate, oftener than she could tell. But
the child did not reckon on her brother's
coming home just for the sake of what he
might bring; and, to do the little maiden
justice, Bernard’s gifts were valued far more
because they were his, than for their own worth
or beauty.

Kate was just a little spoiled. She was a
very lovely child, with dark eyes, and clusters of
soft brown curls. And visitors too often spoke
of her beauty, and mamma was apt to give her
rather more than her due share of love, because
of the child’s likeness to the dear husband and
father, who died soon after the youngest darling
was born.

Marian was not beautiful; but she had a
good honest face, and was obedient to her
mother, and very loving to little Kate and her
brother Bernard.

' It was Marian who called her mother’s
attention to the second letter,,on which Mrs
Ingram did not at first bestow a glance, so
4A MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

much was she occupied with the one from her
son.

This second letter was an odd-looking affair,
as Marian remarked to her mother. It
was not enclosed in an envelope, but folded
in the old-fashioned style, and it had a seal
neatly ,as large as a. half-crown, which Kate
admired greatly, and declared she should
beg of mamma, if it could only be preserved
unbroken.

Marian was very much puzzled to guess
where the queer letter came from, and began to
wish that her mother would not spend quite so
long a time upon Bernard’s. But Mrs Ingram
was not at a loss; for as soon as she examined
the handwriting, she exclaimed: “ Why, it is
from Uncle Paul!”

The children had often heard their mother
speak of her uncle, Paul Parker, who was a
young man when she was a little girl; but they
had never seen him, and they were very curious
to know what he had written about. So,
after the seal had been carefully cut round,
‘and handed whole to Kate, Mrs Ingram
read the letter, first to herself, and afterwards
aloud to the children.
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. _)
And this was what the letter contained:

“* Way-Loper, June 17.

“My DEAR Niece—After long years of wandering in many

lands, I have at length begun to find out that Iam not so young
as I was, and that at sixty-five I am not so strong as I used to be
ten years ago. I have therefore resolved to stay at home for the
future, or, ab anyrate, not to travel far.
, “T daresay you often wonder whether Uncle Paul—who used
sometimes to pet, but more generally to tease you, when you
were a little girl—has quite forgotten you. He writes now to
tell you that he has not, and that he should be glad to see you
and your dear children under the roof which he has purchased as
a shelter for his gray hairs.

“Uncle Paul feels himself a very old man now, dear niece, and
is quite weary of wandering to and fro on the earth. But,
though he is likewise a childless man, he is anxious to hear the
sound of young voices in his home, and perhaps to preach a little
—as old men will sometimes do—to the owners of those voices.
So, if you would like to spend midsummer with one who
always loved you, and if you think your youngsters will have
patience to listen sometimes to an old man, come as soon, and
stay as long as you can, with

Your affectionate uncle,
PAUL Parker.

“P.S—Tell the young folks that we shall have haymaking
directly, and that I have quite a little farm. Bernard must bring
his fishing-rod and tackle ; and if the girls love flowers, I can suit
them finely, for I have both a garden and a green-house.”

Marian and Kate were loud in their expres-
sions of delight when the queer-looking letter
was read, as what. city-born children would not ?
6 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

and they said to each other: “Oh! won’t this
be a pleasant surprise for Bernard, if dear Ma
will only consent to let us all go?”

Marian was rather doubtful as to mamma’s
power to promise; for she was older, and
knew more of money-matters than her little
sister did. She knew that their widowed
mother’s income had to be managed with great
care and economy, and that the cost of Bernard’s
education was a serious matter, which obliged
Mrs Ingram to deny herself many little comforts
for her son’s sake.

But Marian had not seen a piece of paper
enclosed in the queer letter, and with Paul
Parker’s name in good bold handwriting at the
corner; and so she did nof know that Uncle
Paul had not only given the invitation, but also
sent money to pay their expenses to Hay-Lodge ;
for he was aware that his widowed niece’s
income was not large enough to meet the
cost, so he kindly provided the means himself.
It was therefore a pleasant surprise to Marian,
when her mother replied: “ Yes, my dears, all
being well, we shall go to Uncle Paul’s in three
or four days after Bernard comes home.”

On the following afternoon, Mrs Ingram and
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 7

her daughters joyously welcomed Bernard home.
Nor was little Kate disappointed when his
trunk came to be opened; and mamma and
Marian, too, found that, amid all the varied
occupations of school, and though surrounded
by new companions, the boy had not forgotten
them. Then Uncle Paul’s letter was read
again, and Bernard asked innumerable ques-
tions about this, as yet, unknown relative.
But mamma herself could tell very little, for
many years had passed since she last saw her
uncle. “Only,” said she, “I remember he was
very full of fun, and used to tell tales to me when
I was a child, and sat on his knee to listen.”

“Then he is sure to know plenty of stories
now,” said Bernard, “for he has travelled for
years in different countries.”

“T shall ask him to tell me some nice stories,”
said Kate.
“Take care,” replied her mother with a smile,
“that Uncle Paul does not make a story about

you, Kate.”

But as the little lassie did not know Uncle
Paul quite so well as her mother did, she shook
her head, as much as to say that he would be
puzzled to do that.
8 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE,

What a bustle there was, to be sure, for the
next three days! The girls and Mrs Ingram
required but a very short time for preparation ;
but Bernard had grown out of his clothes,
and there was quite hard work for mamma and
Marian in making him ready by the appointed
day. However, at last they were all com-
fortably seated in the railway-carriage, and on
the way to Hay-Lodge, very much delighted at
the prospect of spending midsummer amongst
country scenes and sounds; but just a little
afraid of this unknown uncle whom they were
going to visit.

“That must be Uncle Paul!” said Mrs Ingram,
as the train stopped at the pretty country
station, and she caught sight of an elderly
gentleman upon the platform.

He had heard the exclamation, and at once
stepped forward, saying: “Yes, I am Uncle
Paul; and here, I suppose, are Bernard, Marian,
and Kate, who, with their mother, I am glad to
welcome to Hay-Lodge.”

Then followed a great deal of hand-shaking ;
and Kate, rather doubtful of the propriety of
the thing, was kissed by her stranger uncle,
whose face she scanned very curiously indeed.
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 9

It was a pleasant face, though it had been
browned by the sun in a warmer country than
England, and it looked rather odd, in conse-
quence of being surrounded with white hair
and whiskers, while the eyebrows were still
black, and the eyes very dark and keen.

Perhaps Uncle Paul guessed that all the
youngsters were trying. to read his character in
his face, and were taking a good survey of him
for the purpose. At anyrate, though he glanced
kindly at them now and then, and held little
Kate’s hand in his, he talked only to Mrs
Ingram during the drive to Hay-Lodge.

The children were nearly wild with delight
at the sight of Uncle Paul’s pretty house and
grounds; and while their mother rested, they,
unwearied with the journey, rambled through
the large garden, looked at the poultry, and
admired the flowers in the green-house and
conservatory. Moreover, the children had quite
decided among themselves, that this new-found
uncle was a person to be loved and trusted.

When they were at length satisfied to rest
quietly in the house for the remainder of the
evening, Kate required no invitation from
Uncle Paul, but climbed upon his knee, and
10 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

even pulled his white whiskers, to bring his ear
closer to her own rosy lips. Kate had a great
deal to tell him—about Bernard’s presents,
their city-home, and of an intended new dress
for her doll. Uncle Paul listened with pro-
found attention. He might have been a doll’s
nurse all his life, to hear how he discussed
with Kate whether flaxen hair or black was the
prettiest ; and how he finally decided in favour
of dark curls, because the little girl’s own were
brown. Kate became more and more con-
fidential, and told Uncle Paul that she loved
him very much indeed, and that she intended
to ask him to tell her a story the next day.

“What!” said he, “has your mother been
telling you about the stories I used to invent to
please her when she was a little girl? A nice
task I shall have to satisfy you all!” And he
pretended to frown at mamma for betraying
him; but somehow the frown turned into a
laugh, and spread from face to face, until they
all laughed together. And Kate, who appeared
determined to expose her mother’s conduct
further, informed Uncle Paul that she had .
been warned to take care lest he should make
a story about her own self.
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 1]

“JT will tell you a fable this very minute,
Kate,” said he; “so listen, and, when it is
finished, you must be off to bed, or you will be
sleepy in the morning, when I want you to go
and see the mowers in the hayfield.”

And without further preface, Uncle Paul
began the story about—

THE PARROT AND THE MAGPIE

« A magpie one day saw a parrot in a gilded
cage, and, being struck with the wonderful
beauty of the foreign bird’s plumage, determined
to make its acquaintance. The parrot—a new-
comer to the house—was not particularly
pleased at seeing the magpie approach, for
Mag was dressed in a sober suit of half-mourn-
ing—black and white—you know; and this
dress looked draggled, and a good deal the
worse for wear; while the parrot’s feathers
were of all the colours of the rainbow, and
glistened beautifully in the sun.

“But Poll was at a loss for society, and so
she thought to herself: ‘I will put up with this
shabby-looking person’s intrusion for the present.
He appears to be at home here, and can probably
12 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

tell me a good deal about the neighbour-
hood. It is lucky that I have no acquaintances
at hand, for I should be dreadfully annoyed if
any of my well-dressed friends saw me talking
with him. However, I can get as much infor-
mation as I want, and then have nothing more
to say to him.’ The parrot, you see, had just
knowledge enough to be very selfish, but was
not so wise as to understand that we should
judge people by their good qualities, and not
by the colour of their coats.

“When the magpie came up, and bowed
politely, the parrot was extremely gracious,
made remarks on the weather, and complained
of the coldness of the climate, in comparison
with that of her own native land. ‘ Indeed,’
said she, ‘I should not have left my own
country, but for the urgent solicitations of a
gentleman, who declared that he could not bear
to come home without me.’

“ Polly did not think it necessary to mention
that the reason the gentleman would not come
home without her, was because he had bought
and paid for her. It is sometimes unpleasant
to own that we have been compelled to under-
take a sea-voyage whether we would or not.
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 13

The magpie had a pretty good guess how
matters stood; but he was too civil to hint at
such a thing. He therefore owned his ignorance
of foreign lands, and said he had never travelled
far from his native place. Like the parrot, he
did not tell the reason he had travelled so little;
but the truth was, his wings were clipped, and
he could no more take a long journey than she
could help doing it. The parrot laughed rather
contemptuously, and hinted that it was hardly
likely her new acquaintance would be pressed
to leave his native place, as his external
appearance was not very attractive.

‘Do not judge me by my looks,’ said the
magpie; ‘I am not valued for them, or, I am
aware, I could claim no merit.’

‘I thought people were estimated on account
of their looks,’ replied she, conceitedly surveying
her fine feathers, ‘ or J should not be here.’

‘They are partly. J was handsome myself
once, though perhaps you would scarcely think
it, to see me now.’

“The parrot could not conceal her amusement
at the very idea of this ragged stranger’s
notions of beauty. But when she had recovered
her gravity, she asked whether the magpie’s
14 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

company was still valued on the score of good-
looks.

“By no means,’ he replied.

‘What, then, may I ask?’ said the parrot.

‘I can converse with men in their own
language,’ answered the magpie. ‘I was very
carefully instructed by my present master while
I was young, and as I did my best to profit by
his lessons, I soon acquired this power; and I
can assure you it is no mean accomplishment
for a bird.’

‘It is one Jf shall never take the trouble to
acquire, returned the parrot. ‘I have some
notion that the individual at whose house I am
staying would like me to do so; but he will
never be gratified; though I could speak if I
chose.’

‘I am sure I should advise it, replied the
magpie, who was far wiser than this vain
travelled stranger, and knew that mere good-
looks soon lose their charm.

“The parrot quite despised his advice, and was
almost offended at the magpie’s presumption in
offering it unasked. When the master of the
house approached shortly afterwards, and began
to talk to the foreign bird, she answered him
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 15

only with a discordant scream, and obstinately
refused to profit by his lessons; nay, more,
she was ungrateful enough to peck at and
bite his finger, and declare in her own
tongue that she would not be teased by him.
In this conduct she persisted for a long time;
but she still retained her place in the gilded
cage, and boasted to the magpie that no person
could be persuaded to part with so lovely a
creature as herself, let her mental qualities be
what they might. The magpie shook his head,
tried to reason with the foolish and ungrateful
beauty, and was laughed at for his pains.
But the time came when the parrot regretted
that she had disdained his advice. Disease
attacked her; she lost her fine feathers;
and like a person dressed in tawdry and
shabby finery, she looked all the worse amidst
the remains of her once gay coat. Her master,
finding she had lost the only attraction she
ever possessed, and weary of her harsh voice
and ill-temper, turned her out of the fine
gilded cage, which was bestowed on a more
amiable individual of her species. So the
parrot, exposed to the severity of the climate,
and unused to seek her own livelihood, perished
16 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

miserably of cold and hunger, while the magpie’s
homely coat was never noticed because of his
talents and obliging disposition.”

Little Kate clapped her hands and laughed
when Uncle Paul finished his story; then
turning to her mamma with a triumphant look,
she said: “This tale is not about me, however,
for I am neither a magpie nor a parrot. Am I,
Unele Paul?”

Her uncle stroked back her soft curls, and
said: “ Certainly not.”

But there was a merry expression on his face,
and Mrs Ingram asked: “Are you quite sure,
Kate, that there are no little girls who are like
the parrot in thinking they need only to be
pretty to be beloved, and that it is of no use
trying to be good and wise?”

Kate had not thought of that, and her face
became grave at the idea her mother’s words
suggested. Poor little lassie! She did not guess
what a good use Uncle Paul made of those keen
dark eyes of his, or how much he had already
noticed the characters of his young relatives.
But bedtime had come, and active as the
children were, they began to yield to the feelings
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 17

of weariness which stole over them, so they
were not sorry to say good-night to Uncle Paul,
after exacting a promise that they should be
called early, to go to the hayfield.

CHAPTER IL.
A Wert Day, ayp “Wuat tur Ratnprops Dip.”

TuE morning brought disappointment with it:
it rained, so there was no chance of going into
the fields for that day at least. The children
stood at the window watching the falling drops,
and regretting the change in the weather.

At last Bernard said: “It is of no use watch-
ing, Marian, for even if the rain were to cease,
the ground would be too wet for walking; so I
shall read.”

Assisted by his uncle, Bernard hunted out a
large book on botany, of which the boy was very
fond, and went off with it into the green-house ;
then Uncle Paul undertook to provide Kate

with amusement, and the two were soon deep
B
18 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

in pictures of gay-coloured birds and insects.
Uncle Paul asked Marian if she would like a
book also, but she said: “No, thank you,
uncle;” and continued to watch, in an idle
listless way, the falling raindrops, and to listen
to their pattering upon the leaves and window-
panes. :

Marian was one of those people who, if disap-
pointed in a little matter, take a long time to
forget it, and make up their minds to do some-
thing else. The very fact of not being able to
obtain her wish, made her only wish the more.
Uncle Paul did not interfere with his elder
niece, but amused. himself with Kate and her
picture-books, to the intense delight of the
child, who was in perfect raptures at the tales
he told her about real birds and beasts which
he had seen in far-away lands. He glanced
now and then at Marian, and after a while
closed the book, saying: “Now, Kate, you
shall have another story about—

WHAT THE RAINDROPS DID.

“Very early one morning, all the raindrops
in a big cloud held a consultation to consider
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 19

what answer should be returned to a petition
they had just received. This petition was from
the flowers, who begged that the raindrops
would favour them with their company as soon
as possible, for if they delayed visiting them
much longer, they—the petitioners—would soon
disappear from the face of the garden altogether.

“One of the raindrops was for refusing the
invitation. ‘No doubt,’ it said, ‘the flowers
will be much the better for our visit, but we
shall not; beside, the sun will have to fetch us
back again by degrees, and we trouble him so
often. I should prefér remaining where I am.’

‘But the flowers will die!’ said a considerate’
little raindrop, just ready to flutter off by
itself on an errand of mercy.

‘That would not affect us!’ said the first
speaker, who thought only of its own conve-
nience, and did not care a straw for the
flowers.

‘But think again, how grateful the flowers
are! They distil their sweetest scents as a
token of welcome, and put on their gayest
dresses in our honour. Beside, think that it
will do them good, and it is always a true
pleasure to confer a benefit on grateful people.’
20 MIDSUMMER AT TAY-LODGE.

“Tere a third raindrop began to speak. ‘I
am doubtful whether, after all, we shall not do
more harm than good. There is the hay, which
does not want us, to say nothing of the hay-
makers and the children who are longing to be
in the fields. Ifwe once start, we cannot stop
ourselves, but must fall on more than the
flowers, or I should be quite willing to visit
them. :
‘Oh, the sun will put the hay to rights
again!’ said the cheerful little raindrop; and
away it went, and dropped plump on the very
nose of a poor widow woman, who was just off
-to the hayfield, instead of falling, as it intended
to do, on the rose-bush under the cottage-
window.

‘O dear, dear, what a pity!’ said the poor
woman. ‘I do believe it is going to rain. If it
should begin, what will the children do? We
have bread for the week—thanks to Him who
does not forget the fatherless and the widow;
but I thought to get clothes with my earnings,
for, without new ones, the poor things will soon
be naked. Oh, if the rain had but come two
or three days later, I should have earned the
stuff to make these clothes of! Then a wet day
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 21

would not have troubled me, for I could have
sewed at home, instead of losing my time, as I
shall to-day.’

‘I wish I had not come,’ thought the rain-
drop; ‘for here, instead of doing good, I am
likely to do harm. Towever, I did it for the
best, and perhaps none.of my companions will
follow me.’

“They did though, patter, patter, one after
another, as hard as they could pelt; and after
giving the poor widow woman a hint that they
wished to visit the plants, and not herself, she
was fain to go back into her cottage and shut
the door. No chance for haymakers that day.
It is all very well to watch the raindrops
when people might do something else, if they
liked; but it is not quite so pleasant when they
are wishing to work, but cannot, for want of
materials. However, the poor widow was one
who tried to make the best of things, and she
considered that there would be plenty of work
after the rain was over, for everybody would be
anxious about the hay. And even while she
sat mending her children’s poor bits of ragged
clothing as well as she could, she was unselfish
enough to think of those other children who
22, MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

would be disappointed. of their ramble amongst
the new-mown hay, though, to be sure, it had
inconvenienced her far more than it had them.

“The raindrop that had first objected to
coming down to the ground held out as long as
it could; but as the others rushed that way, it
was borne onwards with them, and fell just under
a window, where a young girl was standing,
regretting that she was kept a prisoner by the
rain, She was not quite like the poor widow ;
for instead of making the best of things, and
employing herself in some pleasant occupation,
she continued to yearn after what was out of
her reach. The raindrop noticed this, and said:
“You see I was right after all; we should
have stayed where we were, and then the
children might have had a merry day in the
hayfield.’”

When Uncle Paul had reached this part of
his story, he looked at Marian, and observed
that she was no longer watching the raindrops,
but listening to his words. He made a slight
pause, and the young girl, with a blushing face,
left her place by the window, saying: “Uncle
Paul, you are telling that story about me!”
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 23

“That you are!” cried Kate. “J knew that
ever so long since.”

“Why, I never mentioned a single name,”
said Uncle Paul, pretending to look indignant,
and completely failing in the attempt. “TI have
no doubt there are plenty of little girls watch-
ing the rain beside Marian. Come, let me
finish my story.”

“ May I finish it for you, uncle?” said Marian
smiling.

“To think of that, now!” replied he. “Do
you hear this chit, mamma? Actually going to
take my business out of my hands the very day
after her arrival at Hay-Lodge!”

“Dear uncle,’ said Marian, “I beg your
pardon; I did not mean to take the words out
of your mouth: only I thought”

But Unele Paul laughed; and she saw he
was not really offended, though he did pull her
ear, and declare that he would not finish the
story on any account, and therefore she must.

“Well,” said Marian, “I should tell that by
the time the unwilling raindrop had expressed
his regret for having come down at all, the girl
~ had found out that it was selfish in her to think
. only of her own pleasure and convenience; and


24 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

she made up her mind that, instead of wasting
the rest of her morning in useless longings after
what she could not obtain, she would spend it
in a more profitable manney.”

Marian paused, and Kate said: “Was that
anything like the ending you would have made,
Uncle Paul?”

“Do you suppose I shall tell how I should
have concluded the tale, pussy? But after all,”
he added, with an approving glance at Marian,
“T like the way your sister has finished it, and I
hope the girl will adhere to her resolution, for
Time, my little woman, is a talent too precious
to be wasted on useless repinings and vain
regrets.” ‘

“J should be glad if you will answer me a
question, uncle,’ said Marian. “Is the poor
widow a real person?”

“T never said my story was true, my dear,”
replied her uncle; “but I certainly do know a
poor widow who has two very ragged children ;
and I fancy if we had gone into my hayfield
to-day, we should have seen the whole family
there.”

After this, the young girl held a whispered
conversation with her mother, and later in the
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 25

day, she might have been seen stitching very
rapidly at a small garment, which, from the
homely materials of which it was composed,
could scarcely be intended for dainty little
Kate.

Uncle Paul asked no questions, though his
niece continued her work until bedtime, and
would not be persuaded to take a run round the
garden after the rain was over. The next morn-
ing, Marian’s busy needle went as rapidly as
before, and she could hardly be induced to take
time for her meals. Even the hayfield seemed
to have almost lost its attraction for that day,
though, when the children came back after a
visit to it, Marian resumed her work, and Uncle
Paul was taken into her confidence, and told
what it was for.

The little garment at which the girl was
sewing was destined for one of the widow’s
children; and Marian declared she should not
rest until she had made, with her own hands, a
complete suit of under-clothing for each of them.
Uncle Paul thought this was a very good
idea; but both he and Mrs Ingram advised
Marian to be moderate even in her work, yet
careful to finish what she had begun. Marian
26 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE,

looked quite confident in her own powers, and
soon had the pleasure of taking two little articles
of clothing to the poor widow, and of receiving
her grateful thanks, which the young girl found
quite as delightful as the perfume that the
flowers gave in gratitude for the visit of the
raindrops.

In the first flush of her pleasure, she told the
widow what more she intended to do, and of
the pile of small garments which lay ready cut
out at home. The widow’s eyes filled with tears
of gratitude; again and again she thanked
Marian; and the girl returned to Hay-Lodge,
very happy in the thought that she had made
another so by means of a little industry and
self-denial.

But there are a great many stitches in two
complete suits of under-clothing, even though
the garments be of small size, and more than a
little self-denial would be requisite in order to
finish them. In the first warmth of a good
resolution, Marian worked very hard indeed—
almost too hard, thought both her mother and
Uncle Paul, though neither of them interfered
with her movements. So when Marian had
presented the two first finished articles to
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 27

Widow Jones, she decided on taking a rest
before she commenced any more; and it hap-
pened that she spent an hour or two amongst
the plants with Bernard, and a similar time
with Kate and the chickens. Then Uncle Paul
took Mrs Ingram and the children to see a
lovely little waterfall in the neighbourhood ;
so that, what with one thing and another, the
whole day slipped away without a single stitch
being taken by Marian.

The following morning was as fine as possible,
and Marian said: “I don’t think I shall sew
to-day, mamma, for all the birds and flowers are
inviting me out of doors. And how deliciously
the hay smells! the scent comes in at the
window like a nosegay.”

“Your uncle has arranged for a picnic to
Hareby Wood to-morrow, Marian,” replied Mrs
Ingram, “and the day is therefore already
condemned. Would it not be better for you to
work for an hour or two this morning? Remem-
ber you have promised, of your own accord, to
help in clothing those fatherless children.”

“ And cans, mother, you do not think I shall
break my promise?” said Marian, ‘looking rather
hurt at the idea,
28 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

“T am sure you do not intend to break it,
Marian.”

“And you will see it fulfilled, mother, if I
live; but: you know we all came to Hay-Lodge
for a holiday, and I cannot always be at work.”

“Well, my dear, you shall do as you please.
You undertook this labour of your own will,
or I should not have advised you to promise so
much, because I well knew how many things
would combine to tempt you to lay it aside.”

Marian turned away, feeling scarcely satisfied
with herself, and thinking that perhaps it would
be better to devote an hour or two to work, in
fulfilment of her promise. But Kate came at
the moment to coax Marian into the fields,
and Marian persuaded herself that it would
be unkind to refuse her little sister. To be
sure, if she could have read her own thoughts
clearly, she would have found, as Uncle Paul
would say, that they were “speaking one
word for Kate, and two for herself” No
wonder that, with such a pleader as Inclina-
tion to second her words, Kate trudged off
triumphantly, with Marian by her side, to join
Bernard and Uncle Paul in a fishing-excursion.
No wonder, either, that it was late in the
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 29

evening when they returned, for, unknown to
the children, that provident uncle had contrived
that they should find.an ample lunch in the
basket which he carried. And, lo! at tea-time,
they arrived at a pretty cottage on the bank,
and found there not only a very superior meal,
but mamma herself, ready to make tea for them.
So they were quite tired when they reached
Hay-Lodge, and went off to bed to get a long
sleep before to-morrow’s picnic.

CHAPTER IIL

Harezsy Woop, anp “Tre Story or Gray Dick.”

THE picnic was to be different from most such
parties, for Uncle Paul was to furnish ald the
dainties, and the young guests to bring only
themselves. Mamma was to be the one grown-
up lady present, and that on condition that she
would not be above riding in a great wagon
with the children and provisions, and would sit
upon a hamper, with some hay on the top, by
30: MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

way of a cushion. To these conditions mamma
good-humouredly consented, and took her place
on the large hamper, with a little one for a
footstool, lest her toes should suffer amongst so
many restless fect, which kept beating-time to
the music of their owners’ glad hearts.

It was the most delightful mode of convey-
ance—rather slow, for there was a heavy load ;
but the wagon was on springs, and the distance
only three miles. Mamma said it carried her
a long way back, even over five-and-twenty
years, and made her once more a child amongst
children.

As to Uncle Paul, he joked and rattled on so
as to put everybody in the best possible humour
during the journey to Hareby Wood. Then
mamma was first handed down from “the four-
wheeled carriage,” as the youngsters called it,
and afterwards the little folks, the wagon being
drawn up under a great tree, and the horses
taken out.

Uncle Paul’s loving temper proved infectious,
and a spirit of kindliness, not always to be
found amongst children out for a holiday,
reigned amongst his guests. There were no
little toddlers left behind to cry after those who
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. él

were fleeter of foot, no disputes about the place
in which they should dine; and when Mrs
Ingram and Uncle Paul were led. to the chosen
spot, they each and all declared it was charm-
ingly suited for the purpose. It was a circular
hollow, in a beautiful part of the wood. Its
sides were fringed with trees high enough to
shelter them from the heat, but not to shut out
the sun’s bright rays. At the bottom was a
little rise, which might have been made for a
fairy-table, it answered so capitally for that
piece of furniture.

Then, before dinner, away went the children
to seek for flowers and gather wild-straw-
berries, which seemed ever so much sweeter
than those brought from home, because gathered
at some cost of time and trouble.

Often the children startled the hares, which
bounded off at their approach, fleet as the wind ;
or squirrels, which darted up the trunk of a tree,
and leaped from bough to bough, almost as fast
as a bird flies. The air, too, teemed with music,
and not the least pleasant part in dear Uncle
Paul’s ears was the sound of the children’s
merry voices ringing through the wood. And,
to be sure, at dinner-time the good things
32 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

did disappear fast from that grassy table!
After dinner, while the children rested, it was
unanimously voted that Uncle Paul should tell
a tale, and, a donkey happening at that moment
to bray, Uncle Paul said: “That reminds me
that I have a story to tell you about a donkey,”
and thus began—

THE STORY OF GRAY DICK.

“Everybody said that Gray Dick was by far
the handsomest donkey at Beacham. Instead
of being of a dingy, grizzled brown colour, as
most of the other donkeys were, Dick was a
beautiful light-eray, and his coat was smooth,
and almost silky looking. To tell the truth
about it, Ais sides had not been battered by
attendant-boys as theirs had; neither had
he, as yet, been nearly run off his legs by
carrying people on his back from ‘early morn
to dewy eve’ like the others, at the rate of
sixpence an hour, which the master got,
while the poor donkeys had not so much as
an extra thistle all the summer through.
But Gray Dick was a new-comer ‘just out,’
and quite a youngster. It was his very first
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE, 33

season by the sea-side, and he was rather proud
of his new brown Holland housings, bound with
brightest scarlet ; of bearing the very best of
Beacham saddles; and of being. placed in the
most conspicuous position on ‘the stand,’ as
the very prince of Beacham donkeys. Such a
position was a temptation, and calculated to
turn the head of any young donkey.

“Dick was proud of his sleek skin and new
clothing, and gave himself many needless airs
in consequence. He even taunted some of his
elder and less attractive companions because
they obtained so little notice in comparison
with himself. However, he soon began to find
out why his neighbour, ‘Brown Jerry,’ shook his
long ears in that sagacious way without a word
of reply to his sneers; and what ‘ Old Grizzle, at
his right hand, meant when she advised him to
wait a little while before he began to bray over
other people, as though he were the only hand-
some donkey in existence. Gray Dick found
out that there were penalties which donkeys
must pay for the privilege of occupying a dis-
tinguished position, as ald persons of rank do
discover, sooner or later. He never had a

minute’s rest. From daylight to dark, he was
C
34 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE,

always at work, in consequence of his being
young, strong, and handsome. All the boys and
gurls, when they came to the stand to choose
a donkey for an hour’s ride, wanted Gray
Dick; so the poor fellow was nearly worked
to death, because people liked him the best.
Sometimes, he resolved he would not bear it
any longer, and he threw himself down, and
rolled on the sands heels uppermost. Then he
found that the attendant-boy paid no respect to
his handsome coat, but just hit him as hard and
with as thick a stick as if he were the oldest
and ugliest donkey at Beacham. So poor
Dick was fain to get up and trudge on again,
though his legs were fit to break with weariness.
After all, it is of no use fighting against
necessity. If we have duties to do which are
hard and disagreeable, it is always the best
way to work as steadily, and do as much and
as well'as we can, instead of struggling against
what we cannot help; because, you know, then
we have a quiet conscience,

“Before Dick was quite exhausted, the weather
began to grow cold, and the company gradually
left the sea-side; but, to the very last, he had
cause rather to regret his good-looks; for so
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 85

long as any person was left to take an hour’s
ride, Dick was the donkey called for to carry
him or her, as the case might be.

The longest day must have an end, and
so must the longest summer. Dick had just
begun to rejoice that his troubles were over for
the present, and that he should have a long rest,
when another cause of uneasiness came into his
mind: how was he to be fed during the winter ?
He overheard his master say, that he did not
know how to keep all those donkeys, now they
were earning nothing,

“Tf Dick dared to have spoken his thoughts
in donkey-language, he would have said:
‘Master, be pleased to remember how hard
I worked during the summer. Then, I and
my companions earned enough to support you
and all your family, and I know you have
some money put by in the old square tea-caddy
for a rainy-day.’ But Dick dared not speak,
and his master was unfortunately one of those
persons who are apt to forget past benefits if the
least thing goes contrary to their present wishes.

“Luckily for Dick, but unfortunately for his
master, one of the man’s children fell sick.
The doctor was called in, and happened to
36 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

hear the father grumbling because his donkeys
cost so much and earned so little during the
winter. Now, the doctor had a field with
nothing in it, so he said: ‘If you like to send
one of your asses to me, I will keep him during
the winter; only my little boys will want a ride
sometimes.’

‘Come and choose which you will have,’
said the man, quite delighted at the doctor’s
proposal.

“Who doubts that Gray Dick was the donkey
selected, the very instant he came in sight?
That same evening, he was sent to his new
quarters, with his master’s compliments, and
the young gentlemen need not be afraid to
ride the gray ass, as he was strong, and
very well-behaved in general. It was a good
change for Dick, who was put into a large
field, and a horse sent to bear him company.
At first, he was quite delighted with the
improvement in his prospects, but, after a
time, he began to grumble because the horse
was put into a stable at night, and he was
only allowed to shelter himself in an enclosure
without a roof. This was a far more comfort-
able place than his late companions of the
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 387

stand were in. They were turned out on a
bare common near the sea-shore, and, let the
weather be what it might, had no shelter at all.
Dick ought to have considered how much
worse off others were than himself; instead
of that, he only thought of those who were
still better off, and envied them their good-
fortune.

“Dick, in prosperity, was by no means humble;
he complained bitterly to his neighbour, the
horse, of the manner in which he was treated,
instead of being grateful for his position and
comforts. The horse was a good-natured
creature, and, when he had heard his com-
panion’s doleful tale, he very politely said: ‘Do
step into my stable; there is room for us both.’
In walked Dick; but when the groom came to
give the horse his supper, he turned him out
again without the least ceremony, to the intense
mortification of the donkey.

“Dick sulked the next day, and made up his
mind not to let the doctor’s little son have a
vide on his back; but when he found that
if he persisted in such conduct, he would be
exchanged for another donkey, and sent to
take his chance with his brethren on Beacham
38 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

Common, he wisely gave in. Still, it was only
out of consideration for himself that he yielded,
which was not a very good motive, for we ought
to have a kindly feeling for the convenience of
others also.

“Soon after, Dick’s companion, the horse, was
taken away from the field, and he felt very
lonely indeed. The horse had been very kind
to him, and, like all well-bred persons, never
boasted of his superior position in society, or
looked down upon Dick, in order to make him
feel his inferiority, This ought to have been
a lesson to his little gray friend; but it was
not, for, some weeks afterwards, when a cow
was put into the field, Dick affected to consider
her beneath him. When, at length, his longing
for society In a manner forced him to make
friends with the cow, he was always boasting
of the company he had kept, as though his
having been with the horse had raised him
above the generality of donkeys. The cow—
good, homely body!—listened quite admir-
ingly to Dick’s tales, not only about his
late companion’s regard for him, but also
respecting the manner in which he was sought
after at Beacham, while he occupied the
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE; 389

first place on the stand there during the
past summer.

“ When Dick had an opporttinity of giving his
opinion of the cow to any passing acquaintance
that chanced to walk elose beside the palings,
he always lamented that he was doomed to

_have such a companion ; ‘for, as he remarked,

‘how ean a dull creature like Brindle enter
into my feelings, or form an idea of fashionable
life? If she could but spend a season at the
sea-side, it would be an excellent thing for her,
and would improve her manners and intellect.’
So the foolish donkey went on, pretending
to despise the cow, while in his own secret
heart he was very glad indeed to have her
company; but far too proud to own that
honest Brindle eeuld be of consequence to a
person of such importance as he fancied
himself to be.

“One day, Gray Dick heard the click of the
gate, and, on looking round, saw a man with a
blue linen coat on. He imagined the stranger
was come to call upon him; but no—Brindle
was wanted, not Dick, though he tried to push
himself before the cow, and attract the visitor's
notice. If he had known all, he would not
40 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

have been so anxious to make this man’s
acquaintance.

“ At first, Brindle appeared inclined to get out
of the way, but the blue-coated man held a piece
of cake, and she was induced to follow him
quietly. When Dick saw she was nearing the
gate, he determined to go too, for he remem-
bered his lonely days, and dreaded being left
by himself again. This was not allowed. A
smart blow over poor Brindle’s flank made her
‘spring forward, and a stroke from a stick
drove Dick back. The gate swung to, and the
donkey was sole tenant of the field once more.
He was not ashamed to shew his feelings
then. He battered the gate with his hoofs,
poked his head over the palings, and never
heeded when their sharp points hurt him; but
it was of no use. He could not open the gate,
or bring back poor patient Brindle, who received
more than one blow because she kept turning
to look at Gray Dick, and to low a farewell in
answer to his impatient bray, that begged her
to return as soon as possible.

“That very evening, as Dick was looking over
the palings, hoping to see his companion on her
way back, he caught sight of the blue-coated
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 4q

man wheeling a barrow. On this lay something:
that made Dick’s blood run cold; it was
either poor Brindle’s skin, or that of a cow very
like her. Taking all things into consideration,
there could be very little doubt of Brindle’s fate.
And at that very moment Dick was making
good resolutions. The absence of his humble-
minded friend had rendered him sensible of her
merits. All her patience, gentleness, and good-
will had struck him as things most desirable
in a companion. He felt sorry that he had
often been contemptuous, conceited, and short-
tempered, and was determining on a different
course of conduct, when he found out that, so
far as she was concerned, the opportunity was
gone for ever.”

Uncle Paul looked round at his little hearers,
and added: “Gray Dick was a good deal like
many people, both young and old—they do not
value the kindness, love, and patience of those
who are their everyday companions until they
are deprived of them ; and often, when it is too
late, they begin to make good resolutions. Still,
if they Aave done wrong in one instance, they
may be careful not to commit the same fault in
another.”
42 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE,

“But what became of Gray Dick?” asked
quite a chorus of young voices, whose owners
wanted something like a positive ending to
Uncle Paul’s story of the donkey.

“Why, after spending some weeks without so
much as a sheep to bear him company, he was
sent back to Beacham, to the fashionable society
about which he used to talk in boastful lan-
guage. Being still strong and good-looking, he
retains the favour of the public, but would most
gladly exchange it for the quiet pasture, and
the society of such another friend as poor
Brindle. Dick is not so proud as he used to be,
though, and has even owned to Brown Jerry and
Grizzle—this is of course in confidence—that
he was a very foolish fellow in his young days,
and did not know when he was really well-off

“ And now, then, away with you for another
scamper through the wood, children!” said
Uncle Paul. “ Yet do not forget the moral of
Gray Dick’s story: Be thankful for all the
blessings you possess, but do not boast of them;
and use them well, for fear they should be taken
Srom you; if you neglect so doing.”

The youngsters thanked kind Uncle Paul;
and then away they went in various directions
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE, 43

to seek flowers, and make the wood ring again
with their laughter.

When the children all returned to the place
which had served as a dining-room, they were
enchanted to find that tea was to be prepared
also out of doors, and that a kettle was to be
slung and water boiled in true gipsy fashion. It
was new work for them to gather sticks to keep
up the fire, and to assist in getting tea ready.
It seemed quite a pity when it was all over, and
the dew upon the grass gave warning that they
must return home. Then mamma was mounted
upon the hay-cushioned hamper, now lightened of
its contents ; and in good-humour, but very tired,
they rode back to Hay-Lodge in the great wagon.

Uncle Paul would not tell any stories on
the way home, for, he said, if he were to begin,
they would all go to sleep, and then it would be
a tale wasted. The children promised to keep
awake, and laughed and coaxed, but it was to
no purpose; and when they reached Hay-Lodge,
it was found that more than one little sleeper
had to be roused. As to Kate Ingram, she was
fast asleep on Uncle Paul’s knee, with her arms
round his neck, and her curly head resting on
his shoulder. But everybody, old and young,
44 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

declared that no day had ever been spent more
pleasantly than that at Hareby Wood; and no
carriage was ever better fitted for conveying
people to a picnic than Uncle Paul’s great wagon.

CHAPTER IV.

Tue Last Loap or Hay, anp “Tur Two Litrie
Bups anp tue LIGHTNING.”

Wuitt these pleasant rambles and excursions
were going on, of course there was no time for
sewing. Marian’s working-materials were all
put out of sight, and so were those little
garments which she intended to make for the
poor widow’s children. For two or three days
after the visit to Hareby Wood, there were no
long rambles, and the young people amused
themselves at home; so that had Marian been
inclined to bestow even a portion of her leisure
upon the work she undertook—voluntarily, in
the first instance—she might have made great
progress.
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. AS

It is the fault of many children, that when
they commence a thing, they work very hard
indeed for a short time, and then, for want of a
little perseverance, it is left unfinished. This
habit of beginning many things and completing
none, was a great failing of Marian’s. When
they were at home, Mrs Ingram took pains to
correct this bad habit in her daughter; and
though she kindly allowed her ample time
and opportunity to consider whether she should
really like to undertake any fresh piece of
work, yet, when once begun, she did not allow .
her to throw it aside until it was finished.
And Marian had been daily expecting a
reminder from her mother respecting those little
garments, which pressed with a very heavy
weight, considering how small they were, upon
the: girl’s mind. But not a word was said,
either by her or Uncle Paul, although Marian
had found out that he was very keen-sighted
with regard to the faults of children, though so
gentle in his rebukes, and anxious to make the .
young happy.

Now, Marian felt that she was doing wrong in
neglecting to complete her undertaking; she
knew that she was allowing a bad habit to gain
46 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

more ground upon her, yet she lacked resolu-
tion to conquer the disinclination to resume her
labours. Often when she went into the fields, she
quite dreaded a meeting with the poor woman or
her children, lest their looks should appear to ask
why she was so tardy in fulfilling her promise.
But nothing of the kind happened. Mamma
and Uncle Paul never uttered a word on the
subject; and Marian, while wishing that she
had. never talked about what she meant to do,
began to think at last that her pledge to the
poor widow was forgotten by everybody. She
missed the pile of little garments, too, from the
top of the work-basket, but she did not ask
for them then. She thought to herself: “The
first rainy-day that comes I will begin to sew
again, and it will be time enough to inquire
when I want them. If I say anything now,
perhaps I shall have to stay in doors, and
this is such a lovely afternoon, I must enjoy it.
Beside, it is good for my health to be out in
this fresh pure country air,”

Whenever people want very much to follow
Inclination instead of Duty, they generally find
out some way of shewing that it will benefit
them either in mind or body, and poor Marian
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 47

-was no exception from this rule. Thus the time
wore on very pleasantly in a general sense,
but still Marian could not help a feeling of self-
reproach that came in the quiet hours, and
reminded her of her unfulfilled promise to the
poor widow, and of her unfinished work.

One lovely afternoon, just after dinner, Uncle
Paul said: “Children, the last loads of hay
will be brought home to-night, and there will
be a little rejoicing amongst the work-people.
Nothing like a harvest-home, you know; but
still it is the fashion, in this part of the country,
to deck the last wagon with green-boughs,
and then the youngsters ride into the stack-
yard amongst them, and shout and hurrah.
Now, as I have you young visitors, I should like
you to go into the field, and when the last load
is safely in the stack-yard, I daresay you will
have no objection to distribute a few hot buns
and some milk to the haymakers’ children.
They will come in their holiday-frocks and
pinafores to-day.”

Kate and Bernard vowed they should like
much to attend to the wants of Uncle Paul’s
poorer guests, and thanked him for giving them
the opportunity ; but Marian’s face was red and
43 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE,

hot, and she remained silent. She was think-
ing: “Ah, if I had only given a little time, and
deprived myself of an hour or two’s amusement
each day, the poor widow’s children might have
had neat new clothes! As it is, they are all
unmade, and for the present useless.” :

Most likely Uncle Paul noticed the expression
of his niece’s face, but he made no remark
about it. He only added: “ Make haste, then;
get on your bonnets, and we will go to the field
directly, that we may have one more rest under
the sweet-scented haycocks, before the last is
put upon the wagon, and brought home into the
stack-yard.”

Marian was very silent on the way to the field,
but all the rest were as full of spirits as possible.
They chose a pleasant spot to sit in; and the
hay was piled so nicely in the form of seats, that
mamma declared it made the most delightful
of cushions. Bernard and Kate then ran off
towards the work-people, but Marian sat still
with her mother and Uncle Paul, though she
was longing to take a fork and help like them
to gather up the hay that remained.

An hour afterwards, Bernard came bounding
towards them. “You have lost your chance of
MIDSUMMER AT ITAY-LODGE. / 49

-any more haymaking for this year, Marian,” he
said; “the wagon is just off with this load, and
the remainder, which will not fill it again, will
be the last. I suppose you will come, by and
by, to help to stick the green-boughs on the
children’s bonnets-and hats, for they all intend
to be decorated, I can tell you.”

“ Bring Kate here, then,” replied Uncle Paul ;
“and while the wagon is away, I will tell you
just a short story,”

The announcement of a tale from Uncle Paul
was always sufficient to bring Kate to his side
as soon as she could get there. She needed no
second summons to take her place on the
scented heap of hay, and then Uncle Paul told
them all about—

THE TWO LITTLE BUDS AND THE LIGHTNING

“T think I shall live to see another day’s
sunshine!’ said a large blue convolvulus, as she
watched the sun sinking in the west. ‘It cannot
be true that a flower so beautiful and perfect as
I am, can be intended to last only a single day!
To be sure, all the other flowers, my companions
that are still open, tell me that they have lived
50 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

no longer than myself. That is likely enough,
though; and as we all opened together this morn-
ing, most probably we shall close at the same
time, to re-open when the sun comes round
again to the place in which I first saw him. If
I thought £ were going to fade and die, I would
say a few warning words to these young buds
that I see around me. But it cannot be. I shall
have -an opportunity of talking with them
to-morrow: another day’s experience will give
more weight to my warnings.’

“Just then the evening breeze blew rather
chilly across the flower, and she felt herself
beginning to shrink inwards with an involun-
tary motion. The movement was a warning,
to tell her that life was nearly ended for her.
‘I am going to sleep!’ said she. She’ did not
believe it could be Death so close at hand, and
she so young and beautiful. Alas that it should
be so! The young and the beautiful dic as well
as the old and withered. The convolvulus saw
all around her the shrivelled forms of numbers
of other kindred flowers, and yet she thought
within herself that death would not touch her.
The sun was all the while sinking slowly,
and the breeze blew colder and colder round
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 51

the frail flower, making the corolla shrink
again,

‘Ah!’ said she, ‘this going to sleep is not
a pleasant sensation. Perhaps I feel it the
more, because it is my first time of closing up.
I shall be stronger and better able to bear it
to-morrow.’

“She talked of to-morrow, though she felt
that the light of day was going away from her,
and that she was beginning to look like those
other withered-up forms around her, which
were a few hours before as beautiful as herself.
So that it was only at the last moment of her
life that she began to imagine it possible that
death, and not sleep, had seized upon her fair
form, and faded her lovely hues.

“Then in a voice like a faint sigh—which
the wind was obliging enough to carry to the
two buds respecting which she was solicitous—
she said: ‘When the sun shines upon you
next, you will know what life is. You will
enter into its full enjoyment, but your exist-
ence depends upon his presence. When he
disappears, you will die as I am dying now, and
your beauty will be gone, never to return. I
ought to have known what to expect, from what
52 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE,

has happened to others of my race, but I have
lived my short life as if it were never to end. If
the time were to come again, I would ’

“Here the good-natured zephyr, which had
hovered round the dying flower in order to fulfil
her last wishes, and deliver the message with
which she charged him, began to sigh and
moan as he wandered in and out of the leaves.
The convolvulus was dead! Faithful to his
trust, the wind told the buds all that their
departed relative had said. It was quite
dark while they listened to his sad story;
and after they had thanked him, they asked
him to describe the appearance of this life-
giving sun, whose presence would bring the
power to see him to themselves.

‘What is the sun like?’ asked one of the
buds. The wind thought it was a queer ques-
tion, for as the bud had never yet been opened,
it could not know what anything was like.

‘He is like nothing else, replied the wind softly.
“You will see him shine out bright and glorious,
high up in the sky. His rays will warm you;
and you will gradually increase in strength and
beauty, so long as he shines upon you. Yet do
not forget that your existence depends upon his


MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 53

presence, and that when you lose sight of him,
you will die.’

‘What a sad fate!’ said both the little buds
together. - ‘Oh, if we might live a little longer
than one short day !’

“The night-dew which lay upon their leaves
dissolved into round drops, and fell as if the
plant were in tears at the praspect of death;
and the little buds murmured again, as they
swayed themselves to and fro, to think that
they were not longer lived.

‘Take comfort, said the zephyr kindly;
‘you are more fortunate than you think; you
know exactly how long you have to live, and
can prepare accordingly. I can assure you
that few are so favoured, though all know they
must die some time.’

‘What! will all the roses, lilies, pansies, and
other flowers whose scent you have brought
us, die too 2’ asked the buds.

‘Every one!’ replied the zephyr. ‘More-
over, they are very liable to die violent deaths.
Only this very day, I saw numbers of them
severed from their. parent-stems by the
gardener’s hand, and I know they must die
the sooner for it. He passed all the flowers
54 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

of your kind without taking one, because, he
said, they would close so soon, it was not worth
while to take them. Thus, you see, the very
thing you regret has its advantages. Every
station has some peculiar to itself, if we only
take pains to find them.’

‘But this death must be so terrible !’

‘Not always,’ replied the zephyr. ‘I have
passed in at windows into the habitations of
men, and though I must confess that I have
seen many who were afraid to meet it, I have
known others who rejoiced at its approach.
Take comfort, little flowers! In your short
life, you may gladden some eye and heart by
your beauty; and if you are the means of
doing that, or of leading any to think of the
Great Hand that made you, you will not have
lived in vain. At the worst, remember you
share the common lot. The beasts and birds,
worms and insects, all die. The stately oak
may live a thousand years, but must yield at
last; and there are even some amongst the
children of men who die as young as the frailest
flower of the field’ The little buds were greatly
cheered and comforted by the words of the
zephyr, and they thanked him very heartily
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE, 55

‘I am glad if I have been of service, the
zephyr replied ; ‘and now I must away.’

“The buds begged him to stay longer, at least
till they could shew their gratitude by opening
their azure cups for him to drink the morning
dew from them. It could not be. The zephyr
was obliged to go.

‘Iam a great traveller, and roam the earth
over,’ answered he. ‘It is not often that I stay
eric so long as I have done with you;
but I am in a soft mood to-night. I must be
many a mile away before morning.’

“He sighed as he left them; but duty called,
and, whatever his inclinations might be, he
would not allow them to interfere with what
was right. He bade the little buds ‘ good-
night ;’ said that a brother of his from the
East was about to pay them a visit, but he
hoped they would not see much of him, as he
was scarcely to be deemed a desirable acquaint-
ance. Their gentle friend had scarcely made
his exit, when the two little buds became
sensible of the arrival of another member of
the same family—a boisterous individual, who
saluted them so rudely, that he knocked them
one against the other without the least
56 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

ceremony. They very heartily wished him a
thousand miles away; and no wonder, considering
their peculiar circumstances. The rain began
to fall next in very large drops, which half-
drowned the poor little buds, and were nearly
knocking them off their stems. How anxiously .
they looked for the appearance of the bright
sun! for they began to fear that, if they were
long exposed to such rough usage, they should
not survive to see the light of day. All at
once, a brilliant light shone out upon the poor
trembling buds.

‘This is surely the sun!’ cried they, for the
light was so bright and dazzling, that it darted
down the centre of their corollas. Before the
exclamation had all escaped them, they were
again left in total darkness; but a hollow
rumbling sound, which shook the very earth
in which they stood, next alarmed them more
than the glare had done. Then one little bud
began to doubt whether that could have been
the sun, '

‘There was light enough, to be sure,’ it said,
‘but warmth there was none. It dazzled for a
moment, and then disappeared so very sud-
denly, that I only felt the darkness the more.’
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 57

‘Beside,’ replied the other, ‘when the sun
comes, it will remain as long as our life lasts,
and we have not yet grown into perfect life.’
At this moment, both the buds were startled
by another bright flash, and then another. The
pouring rain fell heavily on their tender forms,
and the rumbling noise increased in loudness.
The buds shook and trembled with terror.
They knew not what to think, for they had
not been forewarned, and they could not help
imagining that if the sun’s presence were to
be ushered in thus awfully, they should dread
instead of hoping for his coming. A rose that
was near at hand, and had overheard the con-
versation, now bowed her queenly head—for
she pitied the frail buds—to explain matters to
them.

‘These flashes of light,’ she said, ‘are not
caused by the sun’s rays. His presence brings
warmth and comfort; but Lightning, as these
flashes are called, often brings destruction. I
have seen it dart through a great tree, and
cleave it quite in two, leaving the halves
black, scorched, and withered. But do not be
frightened. I cannot say that I ever knew it
attack such humble individuals as yourselves:
58 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

that great tree is in far more danger,’ and
she bent towards an oak in the neighbour-
hood.

“The little buds thanked her humbly for the
information, and began to feel the truth of what
the zephyr had previously told them—namely,
that every station has: its advantages as well as
trials. They heard the rumble of the thunder,
and saw the lightning without fear, and, after
a time, both ceased entirely. The boisterous
wind took its departure, and was followed by a
gentler brother from the South, whose company
was a very pleasant change for them.

“By and by, a soft but continuous light
reached them, and they felt constrained to
open their corollas to greet it. Then they saw
the sun, and felt its warm rays shining upon
them. The south wind waved them lightly to
and fro, and thus shook off the heavy drops
which still clung to them; and as the sun rose
higher, he dried up the rest with his kindly
beams. The buds were now fully expanded into
flowers, as perfect as those which had decked
the plant the day before. The rain had done
them no harm, but rather good, and they
turned themselves towards the source of light,
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 59

conscious of what they owed to him, and resolved
to rejoice in the good they possessed while it
was theirs, yet prepare themselves to resign
life without a murmur when called upon.
The flowers were in the full pride of their
beauty still, though it was far past noon, and
the sun was beginning to decline, when two
young girls entered the garden, and advanced
towards them.

‘See,’ said one of the girls, ‘what a lovely
colour! This blue is like a reflection from the
sky.’ As she spoke, she bent over the twin-
flowers in turn, and seemed to be drinking in
joy at the sight of their beauty.

‘They are lovely,’ replied her companion ;
‘and, as you say, they are as a reflection
from the sky, for the same God that made
them, spread that glorious firmament over our
heads.’

‘How perfect they are!’ said the first
speaker, still stooping over the blossoms. ‘Is
it not wonderful that these flowers, which are
but to last a single day, and then to die, are
endowed with such marvellous beauty ?’

‘It is indeed,’ was the answer. ‘ And surely
Ile who made them had a purpose in thus
60 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

forming them. Surely, we may learn a: lesson
from them also.’

‘What! to admire the wisdom of their
Creator and ours 2’

‘Everything we see teaches that. But does

it not seem, sister, that these flowers especially
remind us that, even as our Creator has finished
with equal pains the stately oak, and the blossom
which lives and dies within a day, so should
we perform those duties which are comparatively
trifling in our eyes with as much zeal as we
give to the greater ones.’
— ‘Doing with our might whatsoever our hand
findeth to do,’ added the other sister softly.
‘Thanks, little flowers, for the lesson you have
taught us!’ The two girls passed their hands
tenderly over the bright convolvuluses once more,
and then left them, tremulous with delight.

‘Ah,’ said they both together, ‘what joy it
is to think we have not lived in vain! But
this morning, we were lamenting at the thought
of coming death; now, we shall give up life
with such different feelings, for we know that
a remembrance of us will remain in the hearts
of the gentle and good! We have done all we
could do; we have sown the seed of a right
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 61

thought, and who knows what good actions may
spring from it 2’

“Calmly and quietly, the twin-flowers waited
for death; and when the sun sunk in the west,
they closed for ever, gladdened by the know-
ledge that they had not lived in vain.”

As Uncle Panl ceased, he saw that Bernard’s
face was grave, and that down Marian’s checks
the tears were trickling fast, while Kate clung
more closely than common to his side. The
story had brought solemn thoughts to them all,
but sad ones to Marian only.

“T did not wish to make you unhappy, my
darlings,” said Uncle Paul tenderly. “ But is
it not as well to look at both sides of the
picture? Death is as certain to overtake each
of us as it is the little flower which lives but for
a day. And yet, while we love to look at all
which belongs to life, we shrink from looking at
what is every night brought a day nearer to
each of us. Uncle Paul is growing old, my
darlings; his hair is white. It is summer here
now, but for all that, he is in the winter of life.
He does not know whether the season will be a
short or a long one; but he knows it is the
62 MIDSUMMER AT IAY-LODGE.

last of the four, and that his spring, summer,
and autumn are gone already. He looks back on
them, and often wishes that he had done more
and better than he has. So he preaches to you,
children, that you may begin to work while it is
yet your spring-time, and have the less to regret
should you live until life’s winter.”

There was no answer in words when Uncle
Paul finished speaking; but Kate kissed his
cheek again and again, and passed her little
fingers lovingly through his white hair; while
Bernard pressed his hand, as if by way of pledge
that his words should not be thrown away.
Down Marian’s cheeks the tears now flowed like
rain, and Uncle Paul guessed that conscience
was reminding her of a neglected duty. So
putting Kate aside, after a loving caress, he
passed his kind arm round Marian, and said:
“ Dear child, I have a word or two to say to you
in particular. Shall I send these others away,
and whisper them in your ear only ?”

He waited for her reply, and Marian answered
in a low voice: “ No, dear Uncle Paul; let them
hear what you say to me. Then we shall all
learn something more from your story.”

“T was thinking, my darlings,” said Uncle
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 63

Paul, “that when we do a single kind act, from
the mere impulse of a moment, and not habitu-
ally because it is right, we are like the flash
of lightning, which dazzles for a moment, but
makes the darkness scem all the greater when
it is gone. For instance, Marian here worked
very hard for a little while to perform an act of
kindness. Her gift to the poor widow’s children
came upon them as unexpectedly as the flash of
lightning, and her promise of further help raised
a degree of hope in their minds, which, not
having been fulfilled, must have caused far
greater disappointment than the mere absence
of the promised comforts could have occasioned.
The disappointment was thus the greater dark-
ness that followed the flash of light and hope.
Now, the true and steady charity which springs
from the habitual feeling and principle of
right, is just like the bright sun, whose course
is continued, to cheer and bless, from year to
year, and whose mode of acting is only varied
for the benefit of what it shines upon.

“Uncle Paul has done preaching now, chil-
dren,” added the dear old man; “and see, here
comes the empty wagon, in good time, to fetch
the last load of hay!”
64 MIDSUMMER AT IIAY LODGE.

Marian dried her tears, and they all rose
from the ground to go and meet the merry
group of children who had come in the wagon.
Amongst them Marian distinguished the forms
of the poor widow and her little folks, and she
whispered to her uncle: “I am so sorry I have
been lazy and forgetful of my promise, Uncle
Paul. I shall be punished by the sight of those
children, who might have had their new clothes,
if I had worked in my spare hours half as hard
as I did at first.”

«They are not ragged, though, Marian,” said
her uncle.

To the young girl’s great astonishment, she
saw that the widow’s children were dressed in
new frocks and pinafores of the very same stuff
as she had chosen. “One would think, Uncle
Paul,” she remarked, “that some good indus-
irious fairy had taken pity on them, and
finished my work.”

“Tt was some one who is both good and
industrious, but no fairy, Marian.” Uncle Paul
glanced towards Mrs Ingram as he spoke, and
Marian knew the truth.

“Oh, mother,” said she, “I know now why
you have spent an hour or two every day shut


MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE, 65

up in your own room. You were doing the
work which my hands ought to have finished.”

“Yes,” interposed her uncle, “mamma has
acted the part of the good fairy this time, and I
hope the lesson will not be lost upon you, my dear.
For, remember, through using up the fragments
of her time only, she has been enabled to confer
a great benefit on these poor people. She has
joined us in all our excursions and rambles, yet
the remnants of leisure, well used, have sufficed
for this work. You may cast aside fragments
of anything else you please, and pick them up
afterwards, but time once thrown away, ls gone
for ever.”

There was no more preaching—as Uncle Paul
ealled his kind warnings—after this. Bernard,
Marian, and Kate found enough to do in deco-
rating the little children with flowers, and the
wagon with green-boughs; and when the small
remaining portion of hay was put into it, the
youngsters all rode home together in triumph.
When they reached Hay-Lodge, the large
kitchen was quite a sight. Long tables were
set out, and covered with white cloths, and large
cups placed on them. These the three children

filled with new milk, and as soon as the
E
66 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

spice-buns were drawn hot from the oven, all the
young guests were seated at table, and liberally
supplied with them, to their great satisfaction,
by Bernard, Marian, and Kate. After the meal,
they had a hearty romp on the lawn; and at
eight o’clock each child was supplied with
another bun, and sent home in high glee, and
very grateful to Uncle Paul for the treat he
had given them. Only city-children, like the
little Ingrams themselves, can understand how
delightful these country scenes are.

CHAPTER V.

Brrnarp’s Faurr, anp “Tue Hore im
THE WINDOW.”

Unctz Pavn was extremely fond of flowers,
and had a particularly choice collection of foreign
plants, which he had gathered at great cost and
pains during his travels. ,In his green-house
and conservatory were many flowers of rare
beauty, and in these. Bernard took very great
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 67

delight. He and his uncle watched with almost
equal interest for the opening of the buds ; and
so careful had the boy been in his movements
amongst the plants, that to him was intrusted
the daily watering of some of the very choicest
of all the floral-stock. The day after the hay
was gathered in, Uncle Paul and Bernard were
in the green-house together. They were both
quite absorbed in admiration of a beautiful plant
which was just bursting into bloom.

«This will be quite fully opened by to-
morrow,” said Uncle Paul. ‘I am very glad of
it; for two ladies, neighbours of mine, have
long been curious to see a flower of this species,
and this of mine is a very uncommon variety.
You will be sure to take particular care not to
injure it, for the stem is as fragile as the flower
is lovely.”

“JT will take care, uncle,” replied Bernard.
“Shall I carry it into the conservatory this
afternoon ?”

“Either this evening or to-morrow morning
will do, Bernard. But do you think you are
sufficiently experienced to handle such a delicate
affair as this? Never mind,’ he added quickly
and kindly as he saw the boy’s colour rising at
68 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

the question; “I place reliance in your care,
Bernard.”

“Thank you, uncle,” was the reply; “I will
do my best.”

Uncle Paul then left the green-house ; and
Bernard, quite proud of the trust reposed in
him, proceeded to perform his daily duties
there. Afterwards, he attended to the whole of
the plants in the conservatory, for the gardener
had obtained three days’ leave of absence
from his post, that he might visit an invalid
brother.

It happened that Bernard had made arrange-
ments toaccompany some youths, whoseacquaint-
ance he had made at the picnic, on a fishing-
excursion that day. He had just completed his
task in the conservatory, when they came to
call for him, so he made great haste to pre-
pare himself, and in a few minutes was ready to
set out with them. It was dusk in the evening
when the boys returned, and much later than
Bernard had calculated on being absent from
Hay-Lodge.

After displaying the fruits of his excursion to
the admiring eyes of Marian and Kate, he
threw himself upon a seat, saying: “ How tired
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 69

Iam! Ithink I never in my life felt so weary
as I do to-night!”

A moment afterwards, he remembered that
some of the sashes in the green-house had been
left open to admit air, and he hastened to shut
them at once, feeling uneasy lest any of the
plants might have suffered from exposure to the
night-air. Uncle Paul he knew to be from
home, and likely to be detained till rather late.
The evening was very warm and mild, and
the moon shone brightly in as he entered the
green-house. He hoped no harm was done, and
eagerly but cautiously he stepped up to the
place where the plant stood respecting which
his uncle was so anxious.

How beautiful it looked in the soft light!
How the now full-blown flower bowed the deli-
cate stem, while half-opened buds around it
gave the one perfect blossom additional charms !
Bernard could scarcely admire it sufficiently,
and he quite longed to see it reigning the very
queen of the conservatory.

After having fastened the sashes, he lifted
the pot containing the plant, in order to place
it in its new abode. Uncle Paul and he had
arranged what position it should occupy in the
70 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE,

morning, and, as Bernard thought, there was
nothing in the way; but when he reached the
conservatory, the door was shut, and he was
obliged to place the pot on the ground whilst
he opened it. As he raised it again, he
stumbled slightly, and bruised the stem of the
plant between his arm and the door-post. Much
alarmed, he hastened to place it in the appointed
spot, .and then examined the stem to see if it
were injured, and if so, to what extent. To
Bernard’s great regret, he found that the
stem was partially crushed, but so far the flower
and buds were untouched. Hoping that the
injury it had received would not spoil its appear-
ance, he left the conservatory, feeling anything
but comfortable, and joined his mother in the
drawing-room. Only a few minutes afterwards,
Bernard heard his uncle’s voice in the hall, and
soon the kind old gentleman entered.

Uncle Paul asked his nephew how he had
enjoyed his day on the water, and then inquired
if the sashes in the green-house were closed.

“Yes,” replied Bernard ; “I attended to them
as soon as I came in; but it was rather later
than I expected it would be before I returned.”

“The air is so warm and mild that it has
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 7]

done them no harm, I am sure, Bernard,” said
his uncle. “And how did the plant look? You
know it stands first in my favour at present,
and I hope it will not disappoint me to-morrow.”

“It was full out, uncle, and looked very beau-
tiful,” returned Bernard in rather a low voice.
Most heartily did he echo the hope that the
plant would retain its beauty, and be none the
worse for the accident; but he greatly feared
the contrary.

“Did you move it into the conservatory?”
asked Uncle Paul.

“Yes, uncle, since I eame home.”

Uncle Paul rose from his seat. “I will just go
and have a peep at it,” said he. “Thank you,
my dear niece,” he added, addressing Mrs
Ingram, who offered him a light, “I shall not
take a candle. My beautiful plant will look all
the more lovely in the pale moonlight. Come,
Bernard, and share my pleasure, keen florist
that you are.”

For the first time during his visit, Bernard
felt reluctant to obey his uncle’s summons; but,
unwilling as he was to enter the ee
he was still more unwilling to refuse, and he
rose instantly and followed.
72 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

Uncle Paul’s eyes, though they looked so dark
and keen, had seen a great many years of hard

service, for he had not gone through life with -

them shut, in any sense of the word. When he
stood opposite to his favourite plant, he did not
observe the bruised stem, though the injury was
quite visible to Bernard, who knew all about
the cause of the hurt; he only noticed how
beautiful and perfect the shape of the flower
was, and how admirably it was placed to display
its loveliness, and then he turned to leave the
conservatory with his nephew, who locked the
door, and handed him the key.

During the few moments they had been there,
Bernard was several times on the point of men-
tioning the accident to Uncle Paul; but his
courage failed him, and he remained silent,
fervently hoping that all would be well, and
that no confession would be necessary. But he
did not rest very comfortably that night, though
he was so weary with his long day out of doors.
Anxiety of mind, and the thought that he had
not dealt frankly with his kind uncle, over-
powered even his fatigue, and kept him from
resting until daylight.

Tt was in vain that Bernard tried to stifle his
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 73

inward monitor, Conscience, by saying to him-
self: “I told my uncle nothing but the truth.”
Conscience always answered promptly: “ Yes,
but you did not tell the whole truth.” In vain,
too, did Bernard argue that Uncle Paul was
so just and kind, that he would not be angry
at the effects of what was really an acci-
dent. His heart quite sank within him when
he recalled the pleasure which Uncle Paul took
in his floral-treasures, and particularly in the
injured plant. So the morning came, breakfast-
time passed, the carriage of Uncle Paul’s visitors
was heard on the gravel, and Bernard had not
yet said one word about the bruised stem.

“Where is the conservatory-key?” asked
Uncle Paul, as he was about to lead his guests
thither.

“You have it yourself, uncle,” said Bernard.
“Do you not remember I gave it to you last
night?”

“To be sure you did, my boy.” Then turning
to his guests, he said: “The flower of which
I spoke to you is now fully blown; I saw it by
moonlight; but you will, I doubt not, find it
exquisitely lovely this morning.” With eager
step he advanced to the spot—and, lo! the stem

By
74 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

was bent down, and the flower half-withered.
It would be hard to describe his disappointment
and regret as he pointed out the mischief.

“The stem has been crushed,” said one of the
ladies, as she examined the plant; “but there
are still sufficient proofs left to shew how
very beautiful a perfectly fresh flower must
be.”

She and her companion continued to examine
and praise the wreck of the lovely bloom;
but, for a few moments, poor Uncle Paul was
unable either to speak or to listen, and Bernard’s
cheeks were wet with tears.

“Who can have done the mischief?” said

‘ one of the ladies.

The kind old gentleman’s face brightened,
as he answered: “No one, my dear lady.. And
this is to me a great source of comfort under
what is to a florist a serious disappointment.
My nephew and I came together late last night
to look at this plant, and left it all right,
From that time until we entered the conser-
vatory, no one can have been here, for the key
has not been out of my own possession. Bernard
and I are equally disappointed; but, after all,
it is so pleasant that there is no person to blame.
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 75

The stem must have been diseased, or eaten by
some insect.”

When Uncle Paul knew that anything could
not be amended, he never indulged in useless
lamentations or murmurs respecting it; and
thus, on this occasion, though he certainly cast
a regretful look or two towards his favourite
plant, he did not grumble and fret over it. On
the contrary, he guided his visitors through
the conservatory and green-house, accompanied.
also by Mrs Ingram, with a face as cheerful
and good-humoured as though his hopes had
been all fulfilled. There was still an abundance
of attractions, and when all the choice plants
had been examined, the two ladies had almost
forgotten the spoiled flower in their admiration
of those around them, so sclect was Uncle Paul’s
stock of floral-beauties. They left Hay-Lodge
quite delighted with their visit, and enriched
by the gift of several plants from their kind
entertainer’s own. store.

Bernard, however, was by no means happy.
He knew that his uncle did not for a moment
suspect that he had had any hand in injuring
the plant, and was convinced, too, that he could
not discover the cause of its altered appearance.
76 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

But conscience would not let him rest. This
thought was continually present: “I ought to
have told my uncle the whole truth. Though I
have not spoken a falsehood, this allowing him
to remain under a false impression is the same
thing. How I wish I had told him all about it
last night!” Poor Bernard! he was just expe-
riencing the truth of the words: “The longer we
_ defer a duty, the more difficult it is to perform ;”
and when that duty is to confess a fault, the
difficulty is increased many-fold by every hour’s
delay.

Uncle Paul could not fail to observe Bernard’s
grave face and sorrowful looks, and he fancied
the boy was grieving over the loss of what had
been for some time past an object of interest to
him also; so he kindly said: “You must not
let the loss of the flower grieve you, Bernard ;
it would only have been a thing of a day, after
all, and we saw it in perfection. Beside, there
are two more plants of the same kind to flower,
though they are not so forward as the fading
one; and if the first should open while you are
here, we will go ourselves and present it to the
young ladies who were here to-day.”

Bernard gave a sickly sort of smile. His
MIDSUMMER AT IAY-LODGE. 77

uncle’s words were far harder to bear than
reproaches would have been. He was indeed
thinking about the flower, and wishing that he
could either summon courage to tell his uncle
all about it, or forget it altogether.

“Now, we must turn the conversation. Who
will talk about something else?” cried Uncle
Paul cheerfully, yet just as though he could not
find another word to say.

“Turn it yourself, uncle, if you please, with
another story,” said Marian.

“What! you want Uncle Paul to begin
preaching again, do you? I thought you must
have had enough of my stories. You have all
been such good children lately, that I seem to
have nothing to preach about. Still, for fear
you should take it into your heads to be
naughty in order to furnish me with a subject,
I will tell you a tale about—

THE HOLE IN THE WINDOW.

“The stone had gone through, sure enough,
and left a round hole in the pane, and the boy
who had thrown the stone, startled by the
crash, stood for a few seconds quite still upon
78 MIDSUMMEK AT HAY-LODGE.

the road, gazing at the result of it. It was
wonderful how many thoughts went through
the lad’s mind in that short time. He had
very often been warned not to throw stones,
because it was an idle, mischievous, and likely
to be also a destructive habit. As he stood, his
mother’s very words seemed ringing in his ears
—words which she had said that morning but
an hour before. Yet the warning had been
unheeded, the mother’s command disobeyed,
and there stood Arthur Franklin, as if rooted
to the spot, gazing at the hole in the window.
“Tt was not avery large hole. The stone had
been sent through with such force, that it had
only just made a passage for itself, and the
remainder of the pane was very little cracked.
Arthur looked round, but there was no
person within sight. The sound of the broken
glass had not attracted the attention of the
inmates, and the cottage stood by itself. The
fractured pane was in one of the front windows,
and Arthur thought that, most likely, the good
woman who was the mistress of the house was
somewhere in the back-garden. He had often
seen her there, and she had said good-morning
to him many a time as he passed on his way to
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 79

school. He felt very sorry that he had broken
her window, and if he had had any money in
his pocket then, he would have tried to
find her, in order to pay for the mischief.
But Arthur’s pockets were quite empty; he
had not a single penny to call his own; for he
was rather an improvident individual, and when
he received his monthly allowance, always
spent it directly, saving nothing for a time of
need, He knew that in order to act justly, he
ought to find the good woman of the cottage,
point out the damage he had caused, and then
own his fault to his parents, and ask them to
give him money to have it repaired.

‘But,’ argued Arthur within himself, ‘I know
that my mother and father will both be so
much displeased at my disobedience, that, if
even I escape any other punishment, I shall be
obliged to pay back the price of the broken
pane out of my own pocket-money; and I
want to buy so many things for myself’

“These thoughts passed very quickly through
Arthur’s mind, far more quickly than I can tell
them, for they occupied but a few moments ;
and selfishness conquered justice, as it too often
does. After making quite sure that nobody
80 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE,

was near, he ran away from the spot as fast
as he could, leaving behind him, as the only
trace of his visit to the neighbourhood, that
hole in the window.

“Arthur had another motive for wishing to
receive his pocket-money untouched: the yearly
fair was just at hand, and what boy does not
like to have something in his bank at such a
time? Still Arthur ought to have done what
was right first of all, though it might cost him
some striving against self. Yet, although he
had counted what he would have had to pay for
taking a straightforward course, he had not
calculated what would be the cost of wrong-
doing. That was to come; and he found that,
though no mortal eye had seen him, Conscience,
stern taskmaster, took him to task, and accused
him continually.

“The morning after Arthur broke the window,
he was obliged to pass it on his way to school.
He felt very uncomfortable as he neared the
place in company with two or three other boys,
but he did not turn his head to see whether
the mischief had been repaired, though he was
very anxious to know.

‘Just look!’ cried one of his companions ;
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 81

‘somebody has broken a pane in that window.
What a round hole! It might have been
cut out.’

“ Arthur was thus in a manner forced to look ;
for if he had refused, he might have been sus-
pected. He did not feel better satisfied with
himself when a second lad said: ‘The people
who live there are very poor. The man is
often ill, and there is a large family. I dare-
say he cannot afford to have the window
mended.’

‘And it must have been broken from the
outside,’ remarked the first speaker, ‘for there
is no glass on the road. If anybody has done
it, and not paid the poor people, what a shame
it is! Isn’t it, Franklin?’ Arthur could not
help answering in the affirmative, though it was
no very pleasant task thus to confirm with his
lips the sentence which his conscience had
already pronounced against him.

“For a whole fortnight, Arthur passed the
broken window four times each day on his
way to and from school. At first, it was a very
hard matter, but it became less so by degrees.
Three days before the fair, Arthur’s grand-
father came to pay a visit to his parents, and
82 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

when he went away, he presented his grandson
with half-a-crown.

‘You will manage to get rid of this at the
fair, Arthur,’ said the old gentleman with a
pleasant smile. ‘There will be the wild-beasts
to visit, and I know not what beside. I shall
give your cousin Frederic the same, and you can
spend the money as you think good.’

‘Thank you, grandfather, said Arthur in
high glee.

‘But can you keep your half-crown untouched
until the fair, do you think, Arthur?’ asked
his mother.

“Now, Arthur had not intended to keep the
whole of the half-crown to spend at the fair.
Though he had thought less about that hole
in the window of late, conscience would not
let him quite forget it. So, when the silver
coin was placed in his hand, his first thought
had been: ‘Now, as I have received this
present of money which I did not expect, I
will at once devote a part of it to the mending
of that window. It will not cost me more
than one-and-sixpence, perhaps not so much.
I shall have a shilling left, which, with my
month’s allowance, will be quite enough to
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 83

spend at the fair; and I shall have what is
better still—a quiet conscience.’

“Mrs Franklin’s remark was rather an unfor-
tunate one. Arthur felt himself bound to shew
that he could keep his half-crown untouched
until the fair-day, unless, indeed, he were to tell
his mother to what purpose he meant to devote
a part of the money. To the latter course he
could not make up his mind, so he replied: ‘I
can keep my half-crown whole, grandfather, as
my mother shall see, for I will shew it to her
on the fair-day morning.’

“THis mother still looked rather doubtful,
and she laughed as she answered: ‘If you do,
Arthur, it will be the first time that you have
ever accomplished such a feat.’

“ Arthur was rather afraid lest he should
spend the money, after all his resolutions, so,
for fear of yielding to temptation, he locked it
up in his little treasure-box, quite determined
not even to touch it again until the appointed
time. As he passed the hole in the window,
he thought, with no small pleasure, that in two
more days he should repair the damage, for,
though he had determined to save his money
for so long, in order to shew that he could do it,
84 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

he had not lost sight of his original plan with
regard to the ultimate disposal of the half-crown.

“Whenever we determine to do right, it is
always best to put our resolution in force at
once. ‘Delays are dangerous,’ as the copy-slips
say, and so Arthur found them. In the first
place, it was very hard to resist the inclina-
tion he felt to take the half-crown out of
the box again, just to shew it to his school-
fellows, that they might know what pleasures
he should be able to purchase at the fair.
However, he did resist that temptation, and
only boasted of his riches, instead of displaying
them.

“The fair-day brought greater trials along
with it, Arthur triumphantly exhibited his
half-crown whole, and received his monthly
allowance besides; but even then he found that
his cousin Frederic had more money than him-
self, because he had saved a little beforehand.
Still the boy thought he would pay for the
broken window, and he put a shilling and six-
pence aside for that purpose; but first one
attraction, and then another, tempted him to
spend. He was habitually prodigal, and he was
dissatisfied when Frederic bought anything for
MIDSUMMER AT IAY-LODGE. 85

himself, unless he followed his cousin’s example.
Thus, before the evening came, he had spent
all the money that was really his own, and he
had not yet been to see the wild-beasts.

‘Now for the show!’ said Frederic, as the
two boys rose to leave the tea-table.

‘I will go with you as far as the market-
place, where all the shows are,’ replied Arthur ;
‘but I think I shall not go in’

‘Oh, nonsense! Why, you have never seen
any wild-beasts, have you ?’ :
‘No, said Arthur; ‘and I should like very

much to go; but it will cost a shilling’

‘To be sure it will; but that is not a great
deal considering ; and you cannot tell when you
may have another chance, if you miss this. I
have thought more about seeing them than any-
thing else; and if I had not had money enough,
I should have spent less this afternoon. Come
along. I know you have eighteenpence left, and
the fair only comes once a year,

“Arthur wished he had spent less; for he
had bought several things he really did not want,
just to be like his cousin. ‘I don’t mind going
with you, Fred,’ said Arthur again, ‘but not
into the show.’ However, Fred was quite
86 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

satisfied with this promise, for he knew
Arthur’s disposition well, and had no doubt
he should have his company, whatever reso-
lutions he might make to the contrary before
they started.

“Truly, Arthur would have found it quite
hard enough work to keep firm to his purpose,
had he stayed at home; but when he reached
the market-place, and heard the music of the
attendant-band, while the roaring of the wild
animals sounded even above the drums—when
he saw several of his school-fellows running up
the steps of the show—and, above all, when
Fred was on the point of leaving him, to follow
their example, all his good resolutions melted
away like snow in the sunshine. The shilling
passed into the hands of the money-taker at
the entrance, and Arthur’s last sixpence was left
in solitude at the bottom of his pocket, though
Frederic had still pence in store with which
to buy cakes for the elephants and nuts for the
monkeys, things which Arthur had entirely
forgotten. | However, his cousin good-naturedly
gave him half of his own store, saying, as he
did so: ‘You must not break into that sixpence,
you know, Arthur, for you will want it by and by.’
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 87

‘What for?’ inquired Arthur.

‘Why, the beasts will be fed in about half an
hour, and if we want to see them, we must pay
an extra sixpence. Of course, you'll pay. I
shall, for I know that és a sight, and it would
be provoking to turn out just when the best is
to come’

“ Arthur hesitated, knowing he had already
spent too much; but then, thought he to him-
self: ‘Sixpence will not mend that hole in the
window. I shall be obliged to wait another
month before I can pay for the broken pane,
at anyrate. The window will not run away
in the meanwhile, though the shows will be
all gone ; so I may as well see all I can.’

“Thus, once more, selfishness conquered
justice. Arthur did stay; he spent his last
sixpence, and returned home at night very
weary, the possessor of several useless toys, and
still burdened with the thought that he had
committed a wrong action, and neglected
to repair the evil when he had it in his power.
In his own quiet bed, after the excitement
of the day was over, the boy’s conscience again
made itself heard, and, grieved at his folly and
weakness, the lad moistened his pillow with
88 MIDSUMMER AT IIAY-LODGE.

tears, while he wished he had had strength of
mind to keep his resolution, but wished in vain.
All at once, a veiled figure took him by the
hand, and led him out into the open air. Arthur
knew not how he passed over the ground, but,
almost immediately, he found himself in front
of the cottage by the road-side, and gazing at
the broken pane in the window.

‘That was your work!’ said the figure
that still accompanied him, and now pointed
with outstretched finger to the broken pane.
In a trembling voice, Arthur owned the truth.
‘And you have wasted the money which
would have repaired the damage on things
that you did not want.’

“Tt was of no use to deny it. Arthur replied:
‘That he had; that he had intended to pay for
the mending of the window, but’——

“He stopped, and his strange companion
said: ‘I will finish the sentence for you.
You preferred indulging your own selfishness
at the expense of justice.’ These sounded
hard words, but Arthur felt their truth, and
could not utter a syllable in his own defence.
‘It is of no use to make good resolutions,
said the stranger, ‘unless we carry them out,
MIDSUMMER AT IHAY-LODGE. 89

These very resolutions are witnesses against
us, because they prove that we know what is
right, though we do not practise it. Follow
me, and you shall see what you have done
beside breaking the window.’

“Away through the open door into the
cottage went Arthur’s mysterious guide, and the
boy was impelled to follow him, though much
against his will. In front of the fire, in a
rocking-chair, sat the good. woman of the house,
and on her knee she held a baby, whose cries
she was vainly endeavouring to still.

‘Ah, poor baby,’ said the weeping mother,
‘you are in pain, and I do not know how to
relieve you; and it is all owing to that broken
window, which let in the bitter piercing east
wind all the night through. And to think I
never found out that some careless or wicked
boy had broken our bedroom-window while I
was in the garden. And the piercing wind
blew in upon you and your father that night ;
and I never found out what made it so cold till
the morning, when daylight shewed me that
hole in the window.’

‘O dear, dear!’ groaned poor Arthur, ‘what
have I done? I knew I had broken a window,
90 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

but I never thought I had injured any person
by that,’

‘Very likely not,’ replied his guide. ‘It is
not often that people can count the exact
amount of harm they will cause by even a
single wrong action, or a little step on the
path of evil’

“The baby still wailed and cried, and the
mother’s tears fell on its wan face, when a
feeble voice from the inner room cried: ‘ Wife,
will you bring me a drink? My tongue is
parched, and my throat so dry.’

“The woman pressed the poor baby more
closely to her breast, and rose from her seat
in order to supply her husband’s want.

‘We will go with her, and see all that is to
be seen here, Arthur, said his companion. So
they entered the inner room where the father
lay.

“The sick man eagerly drank what his wife
offered—it was but cold water—and then he
said: ‘I wish the poor child would cease crying ;
it keeps me from sleeping, and I think, but
for it, I could rest. The little darling is suf-
fering, like its father, from the terrible cold it
caught by sleeping just under that hole in the
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 91

window. And you, my dear wife, will be almost
worn out with waiting on us both. It is terrible
to lie here, and think that I ought to be at work,
yet can do nothing!’

“The wife tried to hush the baby ; said a few
kind, comforting words to her husband; exam-
ined the broken pane, to see whether the rag
she had stuffed in to keep out the cold was
still in its place; and then hurried out of the
room again, to weep in silence.

“Come and see what makes her weep,’ said
Arthur’s guide.

‘I suppose it is on account of her husband’s
illness,’ said the boy, while his own tears fell fast.

‘Not altogether,’ was the reply. ‘Come, and
I will shew you more still’

“ Arthur followed the stranger into the pantry.
There was no meat to be seen, nothing but dry
bread on the shelf, and only a scanty supply of
that. Then they looked into the cupboard, and
saw that there were only a few grains of tea in
the bottle, which the poor woman used instead
of a canister; indeed, there was scarcely any-
thing like food in the whole house.

‘Do you know how it is that these shelves are
bare, and the dishes empty?’ asked the guide.
92 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

“ Arthur felt very unhappy, but did not speak.

‘J will tell you,’ continued his companion ;
‘it is because the hands that at the best of
times are not strong enough to earn much, are
now so weakened by pain, that they must be
idle, though that sick man would be glad to
work, And what can the poor weeping mother
do, with the sick husband and child to tend
almost night and day? It will be very hard,
indeed, when morning comes, and she has
nothing at all left but dry bread and cold water.’

“ Arthur thought of times when he had been
ill, and remembered how many dainties were
brought, in the hope of tempting him to eat,
yet all in vain; and he fancied to himself how
hard it would have seemed to him if he had had
nothing but bread and water at such a time.

‘Oh, if I could but do anything!’ he cried
aloud. ‘How I wish I had told the whole truth
at first, and then, though I might have been
punished, these poor people would not have
suffered through my fault.’

“He burst into a passion of tears as he
cried: ‘ What shall I do ?—what shall I do?’

“ At that moment, Arthur lost sight of his
stranger-guide, the cottage and its inmates


MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 93

vanished, and he opened his eyes to find that
he was lying on his own comfortable bed, while
his mother stood beside him.

‘Why, Arthur,’ said she, ‘what is the matter
with you? You cried out so loudly, that I
heard you down stairs, and ran up in haste,
fearing you were ill, and I found you sobbing in
your sleep, as though you were in great trouble.’

“ Arthur sat up in bed with a strange, bewil-
dered look on his face, for he was scarcely awake
yet. It was a great relief to find that he had
been dreaming, and had not really seen the
inmates of the road-side cottage in such
distress.

‘What were you dreaming about?’ said his
mother. ‘I am afraid you have eaten too
many good things to-day,’

‘I was dreaming about the hole in the
window, mother,’ returned Arthur.

“The boy was far too much excited and dis-
turbed to go quietly to sleep, so he at once told
hig mother all about his disobedience, and the
mischief that had been the result of it, as well
as the resolutions he had made to repair the
damage, and the manner in which he had
broken them.
94 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

‘For more than a fortnight, mother,’ said
he, ‘I have felt very uncomfortable indeed.
Though nobody saw me break the window, I
have always felt as if a voice were telling
me about it whenever I have passed the
cottage. But I am so glad that last was a
dream !”

‘I am not at all surprised at the feeling of
self-reproach you have experienced, Arthur.
Conscience always will tell us of our faults,
though no human being knows that we have
committed them. It was conscience that was
busy with you to-night, Arthur. It filled your
mind with troubled thoughts, which continued
after you fell asleep.—Now, what shall you do
to mend the hole in the window?’

‘I have not one penny left, mother. I wish
I could sell the toys I bought to-day; I would
take half the money I gave for them. Mother,
will you buy them 2’

‘No, my boy; they would be useless to me.
Beside, I think it will be better for you to keep
them as a remembrance of ill, or rather unjustly,
spent money, and a warning to be wiser and
more just for the future. However, I will,
if you like, advance you enough to pay for the
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 95

mending of the window, and you can repay me
out of your pocket-money.’

“Arthur was very glad to embrace his
mother’s offer, and his mind being so far set
at rest, he was able to sleep quietly during
the remainder of the night. On the following
day, his mother kindly went with him to the
cottage, and explained all to the good dame,
who held up her hands in astonishment.

‘Well, to be sure,’ said she, ‘I never thought
we should find out who broke our window; and
now, after all this time, the young gentleman has
owned to it. Better late than never, they say.
I should have had it mended a long time since,
but I never could spare eighteenpence to pay
for it, for my husband has been out of work.’

‘I am very sorry that I did not tell you
before, said Arthur, ‘but I hope you will
forgive me.’

‘That I will, said the good dame. ‘There’s
not much harm done, except that a hole in the
window doesn’t look very nice stuffed up with
rag—does it, ma’am ?”

“Mrs Franklin said: ‘No, indeed. But I
think it will be a lesson to my son to do what
is straightforward, just, and honest another
96 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

time, for he tells me the sight of this broken
pane has troubled him every day since he first
did the mischief’

‘See that now!’ said the mistress of the
cottage ; ‘ what a thing conscience is! If nobody
knows of what we have done wrong, that always
keeps telling us of it over and over, and will not
let us rest. I should advise you, young gentle-
man, if you want to be at peace, to try and keep
on good terms with your conscience.

“The mother and son then bade the woman
good-morning, and left the cottage. As they
were walking home, Arthur said: ‘Was it not
very strange, mother, that I dreamed what I
did last night? I am very glad I did not find
matters in such a miserable state as I fancied
they were in my sleep.’

‘I do not think it strange you should dream
about what occupied your waking thoughts,
Arthur. But if you would avoid such dreams
for the future, do what is just before you study
your own selfish inclinations, and follow the
good woman’s advice: Try and keep on good
terms with conscience.’ ”

Bernard and his conscience were on anything


MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 97

but good terms when Uncle Paul told this last
story, and the boy was inclined to think that it
was related on purpose for him. “ Uncle,” said
he, “I am obliged to own that in the tale of
The Hole in the Window you have been preaching
to me.”

“You never were more mistaken, Bernard,”
said his uncle. “I had no thought of you. On
the contrary, I related what really happened
to some one I knew when we were boys at
school together. Arthur Franklin himself told
me all that I have just repeated to you many
a long year ago. From what you have said,
Bernard, I am inclined to think ‘that you are
not on good terms with conscience at present;
indeed, I fear few of us are so for long
together.”

“T have been thinking, dear Uncle Paul,”
said Bernard, “how much more it costs us to
conceal than to own a fault. I have been very
unhappy ever since last night; but I will tell
you the cause, and then I shall at least be on
good terms with conscience again.”

So Bernard related in what manner he
accidentally crushed the stem of the plant in

carrying it to the conservatory, and afterwards
Gq
98 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE,

allowed his uncle to remain under a false
impression with regard to the way in which
it had received the injury.

“ Dear uncle,” said he then, “will you forgive
me? I have been very unhappy indeed ever
since the accident occurred.”

“My dear boy,” answered Uncle Paul, “if
you had only told me directly, there would
have been nothing to forgive. As to the
accident itself, that needs not a word of apology.
Which of us can be sure that he will pass
through a single day without any mischance?
Only you ought to have known your old uncle
better, than to fear that he would blame you for
what he knew you would regret as much as he
did himself.”

Bernard was much moved by his uncle’s kind
words, and: they increased his regret for not
having at once told him the truth instead of
remaining silent.

“Yet, Bernard,” resumed the old gentleman,
“JT must blame you for”

Here his nephew interposed. “Dear uncle,
I know for what. I was a cowardly fellow to be
afraid of telling the truth, for, after all, I acted
a falsehood, though I did not speak one.”


MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 99

“T need not, then, say any more, my dear
lad. ‘To be conscious of a fault, is the first step
toward its amendment. May He who ‘requires
truth in the inward parts’ help you to be true
in thought, word, and deed !”

There was a pause and perfect silence in
the room for a time. Who doubts that, in the
mother’s heart, that brief prayer found an echo;
and that as Mrs Ingram sat with her hand on
her son’s shoulder, she commended him, her
orphan-boy, to the care and guidance of that
merciful Being who is a Father to the
fatherless,

CHAPTER VL

Unotz Pavt’s Birtapay; “Macare’s Datstzs,
OR THE VALUE oF a GuirT;” anp “ Lirrie
FuorELia, oR THE WISHING-TEMPLE,’

How fast the hours passed at Hay-Lodge !
Nay, the very days themselves seemed but
like hours, so absorbed were the children in
100 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

the new sights and sounds by which they were
surrounded. But while each day brought with
it so many sources of amusement and satis-
faction, it also brought their visit so much the
nearer to a close. Bernard’s vacation was fast
drawing to an end, and, despite the attractions
of Hay-Lodge, he knew he must soon be at
school again, and hard at work. Mrs Ingram,
too, began to talk of her home in the ereat city,
and to say that she must soon return thither;
but Uncle Paul said, that they could not be
spared until after his birthday, which would be
on the 28th of July. He talked matters over
with Mrs Ingram, and she gladly consented to
stay so long, in compliance with his request.

“ And now,” said Uncle Paul, “I mean to
have a party on my birthday.”

“Jam sure you ought to have one for your-
self, uncle,” said little Kate; “mamma always
lets me have some little girls to tea on mine.”

“And so you think I ought to have little
girls to tea on my birthday, do you?” asked
Uncle Paul, holding her fast by one of her
curls until she answered him.

“No, Uncle Paul; you ought to have grown-
up people, of course—not little girls. Besides,
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 101

we have either had visitors, or gone out every
day since we came. It must be your turn to
have a big party.” Uncle Paul laughed at
the idea of his taking his turn to have a
party, but said he was much obliged to Kate
for not wanting any little girls to be invited
on the occasion.

During the week which preceded Uncle Paul’s
birthday, not only he, but the children in their
turns, had a great deal of whispering, and held
many mysterious conferences with Mrs Ingram.
The children guessed that their uncle was
planning the various arrangements to be made
before the “grown-up party,” as Kate called it,
could take place. For their own parts, they
were contriving what they could offer him as
birthday-presents; and they did the best in
their power to shew their affection for their
kind relative, by denying themselves something
for his sake.

They had not long to prepare their little
offerings, for until Uncle Paul himself spoke of
his birthday, they were not aware that it was
near at hand.

Bernard was at first rather at a loss what to
do. He had never had a large allowance of
102 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE,

pocket-money, but it so happened that at this
particular time he possessed a sum which he
had been accumulating for nearly two years. The
boy was extremely fond of drawing, and even of
carving in wood, but he was often much at a
loss for materials for his work. In order to
obtain a box of colours, some mathematical
instruments, and other little matters, he had
saved during all that time every penny he could
spare; and he had amassed so much, that he
intended to purchase and take back to school
with him the much-wished for articles at the
end of the vacation.

Bernard had enough, but nothing to spare;
and he could only purchase a birthday-gift for
his uncle, by taking a portion of his hoard for
that purpose. He consulted with his mother,
told her what she indeed knew already, and
said: “Dear mamma, what shall I do?”

“Follow your own inclination in the matter,
Bernard,” replied Mrs Ingram. “The money is
your own ; and if you choose to use it for a differ-
ent purpose from that for which you saved it,
the cost will be yours only. But I must remind
you, that I shall not have it in my power to buy
you the colours and instruments; for the cost of
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 103

your education at a distance, and Marian’s at
home, leaves me nothing to spare at present.” —

Bernard hesitated, considered, and decided.

“Mother,” he said, “I believe I shall feel
even more pleasure in the thought that I have
denied myself what I wish for, in order to shew
my affection and respect for dear Uncle Paul,
who has been so good to us, than I should in
the possession of the articles 1 meant to buy.”

And so it was decided.

On the morning of Uncle Paul’s birthday,
when he entered the conservatory to pay his
usual visit, he found, on the shelf where the
injured plant once stood, a beautiful and rare
one of a different species. It was Bernard’s
offering. A little note was fastened to one of
its branches, containing his nephew’s good-
wishes, and begging that Uncle Paul would
allow the new plant to occupy the spot in which
it was then placed.

In the drawing-room, Uncle Paul found
another gift. It was a beautiful leather-work
frame—a monument of the perseverance with
which Marian had learned to labour during the
short time she could devote to it before the
arrival of the important day. It enclosed one
104 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

of Bernard’s drawings, which the boy had given
to his sister on his return from school. Marian
prized it highly as her brother’s gift, but
thought it all the more suitable on that account
to shew her love for Uncle Paul.

Last amongst the children’s offerings came
a little paper-parcel, which lay beside his plate.
In it was a book-marker, by no means a beau-
tiful specimen of workmanship ; but nobody can
guess what an amount of labour it cost little
Kate, who had never attempted to do such a
complicated affair before. Of course, she never
would have completed it at all, but for mamma’s
supervision ; and it would be hard to count how
many times it had been picked out and put in
again. And there was the queerest note along
with it! printed all awry with a lead-pencil,
something like this:

DEAR Dwele Prryr
AGCEPT Try
WE sree covet

I almost think this note had taken as much
printing, and puzzled Kate’s head as much as
many a whole book does its author.
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 105

Uncle Paul was just the person to appreciate
at their full value these gifts from his nephew
and nieces. He knew very well that it is not
by the mere money-value that the worth of a
gift should be estimated. He was aware also
of the actual price of such a plant as Bernard
had purchased for him, and considered that
both he and Marian had shewn not a little
delicacy and judgment in selecting their presents.
The former appeared to be desirous of gratifying
his uncle’s love for flowers, as well as of proving
that he wished to bear in mind the error into
which he had been led in not daring to tell the
truth, though he uttered no falsehood. And
Marian, too, could anything have evinced more
plainly, that she remembered her old bad habit
of beginning but not completing her work, than
the perseverance she must have shewn, and the
industry with which she must have laboured,
to finish the beautiful frame in so short a
time ?

“My darlings,” said Uncle Paul, as he thanked
them warmly for their presents, “I find that
my preaching has been taken in a right spirit,
and has induced you to reduce precept to
practice.”
106 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

As to Kate, the child was delighted to see
with what genuine admiration her uncle looked
at her book-marker and the note with the
queer-shaped letters.

“Tt is a very little thing, uncle,” said the
child, “but I could not do a better.”

She held up her rosy mouth for a kiss, and
when lifted on her uncle’s knee, she caressed his
white hair so lovingly with her plump hands,
that he exclaimed: “O Kate, Kate, I can tell
that you are giving the old man something
better than even all the book-markers in the
world !”

‘What is that, Uncle Paul?” asked she with
wondering face, and eyes wide open.

“The love of a fresh, young, innocent heart,
my little darling!” replied he, as he kissed her
fondly. “O children,” he added, “I shall
find it very hard to become accustomed to lone-
liness again ; I shall miss your cheery voices,
and the sound of your feet in the house! Why
did you twine yourselves so closely round old
Uncle Paul’s heart ?”

Mrs Ingram’s cheeks were wet with glad tears
as she heard him speak thus affectionately of
her children, and they all exclaimed: “Dear
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE, 107

uncle, who could help loving you? It will be
very hard for us to part with you.”

“Well, I shall not make my birthday
miserable by talking about it, so let us think of
my big party. Shall we, Miss Kate? I want to
know where you all intend to put yourselves
when the grown-up ladies and gentlemen come?”

That question had never occurred to the
youngsters, and they looked one at another,
wondering if Uncle Paul really meant to send
them off out of the way of his guests.

He laughed at their perplexed faces, and said:
“After all, I think you must be at my ‘big
party ;’ you will find some guests to talk to.”

It turned out at last that Uncle Paul’s was
indeed a “big party,” as Kate said, but of young
folks like themselves; for he had invited all the
children with whom they had become acquainted
during their stay at Hay-Lodge, to pay them
one more visit» before Bernard went back to
school. There were carriages—no wagon this
' time—to take the youngsters to see a beautiful
ruined abbey, several miles away, and one of
the prettiest places in the neighbourhood.
How they all enjoyed the drive and the
dinner, not forgetting Uncle Paul’s birthday
108 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

plum-pudding—such a monstrous size it was—
when they came back! Then there were games on
the lawn and in-doors. And the children built
up an arbour of green-boughs on a plan of their
own, and decked it with garlands; and one of the
young visitors thought Uncle Paul ought to be
crowned with flowers, as it was his birthday,
to which he consented, professing to be highly
pleased with the intended honour.

With what an air of mock solemnity he
marched to the seat in the new arbour, and
bravely persisted in taking his place there,
though in great doubt as to whether it would
bear his weight; and the doubt became cer-
tainty, for at the very moment when Kate, as the
youngest of the party, was placing on his white
locks the crown of many-hued roses, it gave
way beneath him, and down he went upon the
ground, amid the laughter of the whole of his
merry guests !

He was not hurt in the least, or there would
have been no laughing. He had not far to fall,
and there was the soft daisy-sprinkled turf
below him; so he kept his station upon it,
saying that he was quite borne down by the
weight of his new dignity; but that he could
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 109

now endure any amount that might be imposed
upon him without shrinking. Then he said that
his throne could not be taken from under him ;
andthe children laughedat his old-fashioned jokes,
and thought him the best playmate in the world.

Uncle Paul was equally great at Blind Man’s
Buff, Hunt the Slipper, and all the merry games
that children have played at, one generation
after another, for ages past. Truly, this birth-
day-party was the very gem of the midsummer
fétes at Hay-Lodge.

There was just one little drawback during the
evening: it was when Uncle Paul found Kate
sobbing, with her face buried in the sofa-cushions,
The cause of her grief was soon explained. A
rather spoiled child, who was one of the party,
had been laughing at Kate’s book-marker, and
saying she would not have had it if she had been
Uncle Paul, and she wondered the little girl had
not offered him something better than that.

Then mamma put things right again, by telling
a story herself; and all the children left off their
play to listen to it, though Uncle Paul said it
was “not fair” of Mrs Ingram to take his calling
from him in that manner. Still, as it was his
birthday, and an especial occasion, and as he
110 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

should not like to begin another year of his life
by being angry, he thought he must allow her
to have her own way. But, before she began,
he made her promise that she would be tale-
teller for this “one night only.”

Mamma’s was only a very short tale, called—

MAGGIE’S DAISIES, OR THE VALUE OF A GIFT.

“One very bright summer morning, a group
of children were on their way to school; nearly
all of them had flowers in their hands—pretty
bright blossoms, just freshly gathered from their
gardens, and still moist with dew. The teacher
of these children—a kind and gentle lady, who
dearly loved her young charges—was very fond
of flowers, but she had no garden of her own; so
her pupils made it their care to supply her with
flowers, and as they each brought one or two
every morning, she always had sufficient to fill ,
her vases, a keep the glass-dish on the table
replenished also.

“Often, very often, the good lady used to
thank the children for the floral-offerings, and
tell them that she was more fortunate than she
would be with a garden of her own, because
their contributions made her feel that she had a


MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE, 111

great many; and, oh! such a host of gardeners.
And kind little faces lighted up with pleasure
at her words, and the youngsters vied with each
other in bringing her the best of their flowers,
to gladden her eyes with their beauty. Very
often, only a single rose-bud would be brought,
or it might be a pansy; but little or much,
small or great, the teacher received all with
gladness, because she looked upon them as the
tribute of loving hearts.

“But there was one child in the school who
had no garden, and she lived rather a long way
from the fields. She would have liked to do as
the others did, and often felt sorry to think that
she alone, out of all that number, never had it
in her power to take a single bud to her teacher,
though she knew that none of them loved the
kind lady better than she did. Many a time
did she ponder over the matter, and at last a
bright thought struck her. ‘It is true,’ said she
to herself, ‘that I have no garden to grow lilies
or roses, but I can get some flowers, and I will.’

“The next morning she rose an hour earlier
than usual, and away she went with rapid steps
to the fields, thinking to get several kinds of wild-
flowers from the meadows which were yet uncut;
112 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE,

but how great was her disappointment to hear
the sound of the mower sharpening his scythe,
and to find that nearly all the wild-flowers were
laid low. She was obliged to content herself with
a handful of daisies and butter-cups from the next
pasture, and with these she hastened home.

“When school-time came, she joined several of
her companions who were on their way thither.
They were surprised when they saw Maggie’s nose-
gay, and began to laugh, and ask her what she
was going to do with the daisies and butter-cups.

“Maggie was rather dismayed at finding
herself and her flowers objects of ridicule to her
school-fellows, and at first she felt rather inclined
to throw them away. ‘But no,’ thought she, ‘I
will not. I will offer them to my teacher, for,
though they are common, they are still very
beautiful, and they are from one of what mother
calls God’s own gardens.’ So she carried the
field-flowers to school, and, to the surprise of all
the rest of the pupils, a portion of Maggie’s
daisies and butter-cups were placed in a very
conspicuous position in the centre vase, while
the remainder, tied into a little bunch, were
stuck into their teacher’s belt, and remained
there all the day.


MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 113

“For many days Maggie rose early, in order
to gather her simple nosegay, and she always
had the pleasure of seeing it received with as
much apparent satisfaction as ever. On the
morning of her teacher’s birthday, she went a
much longer way than usual, and obtained quite
a variety of field-flowers. There were pink and
white campions from amongst the growing corn,
wood-bine and meadow-sweet from the hedge-
sides ; there were wild geraniums and the scarlet
pimpernel, with the old-fashioned daisies and
butter-cups, that never failed, together with some
beautiful wild orchises, of which Maggie tried in
vain to find two marked quite alike. She had
great taste in the arrangement of flowers, and
when she had put them together, her nosegay
really looked a handsome and worthy present.

“On that day, several of the pupils brought
very beautiful flowers, some of which were
from hothouse plants. Two of these nosegays
attracted Maggie’s warmest admiration; and
she sighed to think how poor and insignificant
the flowers which she had collected with such
care and pains looked in comparison with
the magnificent scarlet cactus and snowy

arums, the geraniums, heaths, delicate fuchsias,
H
114 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

and others of which she did not know the
names.

‘I don’t think there will be room in the vase for
your flowers this morning, Maggie,’ said one of
the girls, proud of her own splendid collection.

‘Perhaps not,’ replied Maggie; ‘but they
are the best I have, and I walked a long way to
gather them,’

“Yet she thought that, even if her flowers
were denied a place, she could scarcely wonder,
for the others were so very lovely.

“But a place was found for them in spite of
all; and beside the arums and the cactus, the
dainty heaths and pendant fuchsias, Magegie’s
humbler tribute was arranged with no less care
than usual by the same hand. The children
were surprised at this; and some amongst
them ventured to ask whether the teacher
liked daisies so well as heaths and geraniums.

‘I like and value much,’ she replied, ‘the
love which has prompted dear Maggie to take
so much pains in collecting these wild-flowers—
more than even the beautiful flowers themselves.
Do you know, children, how much this daily
nosegay has cost your companion 2’

“They had never thought of that, or of




MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 115

anything save that the flowers were common,
and might be picked up in every field and by
every hedge and ditch-side.

“Then the teacher told them to think
how far Maggie must have walked, and how
early she must have risen every morning to
gather the daisies without anything else at
all. But for such a collection as she had just
presented, she must have travelled a couple of
miles. ‘Ought I, then, to value Maggie’s nosegay
lightly ?? asked she, turning to her pupils.

‘No, indeed!’ cried all the children together.
‘Maggie’s nosegay is the best, and has really
cost the most; for while we had only to go into
our gardens, or to ask for a bunch of flowers,
she has had to rise early, and walk far, to get
them for you.’

“Then the teacher took the trouble to point
out the various parts of the daisy: its white
petals, with a blush on their edges—its dark-
green cup, and its yellow centre, composed of
scores of little flowers, each perfect in itself.
And she repeated the charming lines which
Burns wrote about the daisy, so as to shew them
that this little common flower had inspired a
great poet with a noble song.
116 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

“For the first time in their lives, the children
were led to think that the value of a gift
consists, not in the gift itself, but in the spirit
which animates the giver; and they never
afterwards grudged the best place in the vase
to Maggie’s daisies.”

Mamma’s story had the best effect on Uncle
Paul’s young guests; and little Kate dried her
tears when he told her, that he considered the
book-marker and note as something like Maggie’s
flowers—deserving of a first-rate place in his
treasure-house, because he knew they had cost
her a great deal of labour.

So Kate was comforted, everybody restored to
good-humour, and the game at Blind Man’s Buff
recommenced with greater vigour than before ;
for the dew was on the grass, and the children
were therefore obliged to play in the house only.

What a romp there was, and what a scramble
to catch Uncle Paul, who seemed to be every-
where at once! It mattered not that the
weather was so warm, or that the children them-
selves grew so very hot during their game. Ah!
who does not remember the time when very
red faces, hair disarranged, and even torn frocks


MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 117

were thought of very little consequence in com-
parison with a good bit of fun?

There was quite a nice supper at nine o’clock—
light, cooling, and refreshing, but not calculated
to place any of the youngsters under the doctor's
care on the morrow.

After supper followed another game, and
then all the children sat quietly down to cool
themselves a little before going home, lest they
should take cold by venturing in such a heated
state into the night-air. While they were all
sitting, several of the children sang little simple
airs very sweetly, though without a piano, for
in furnishing his old bachelor’s home, Uncle
Paul had unfortunately omitted to provide
one for his lady-visitors, though he had promised
to supply the deficiency soon.

Then all the children went round the dear
old man, just like a swarm of bees, and said it
was his turn to sing. They pulled him this
way and that, and said, “Do!” and, “It is your
turn!” and, * Please!” and, “You must!” until
he clapped his hands over his ears, and would have
fairly run away, only they held him so fast there
was not the least chance of his making his escape.

Mrs Ingram was almost alarmed for his safety,
118 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE,

but when she saw his laughing-face, she guessed
that Uncle Paul was quite as much delighted as
the children were themselves, and was prolonging
the scene for his own amusement.

In answer to all their cries, he declared that he
could not sing; that if he were to begin, he should
frighten them all away, or else they would all
join in begging him to cease that very moment.

But they remembered Uncle Paul’s talents as
a tale-teller, though nobody could state that he
had ever been heard to sing ; so, finally, a com-
promise was effected, and Uncle Paul agreed to
tell one more tale before the young people separ-
ated, on condition that he should not be asked
to sing on any pretence whatever. This was,
as the newspapers say, “carried unanimously,”
and gave the greatest possible satisfaction.

“ And what kind of a story should you like,
children ?”” asked Uncle Paul, as he seated him-
self with little Kate on her old perch—his knee.

There were no two opinions evidently, for the
answer followed the question as quickly as the
words could be uttered. “A fairy story—a
fairy story !” cried all the children.

So Uncle Paul said: “I think I have just
one of that sort left, and it will be my last


MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE, 119

tale until the Christmas-holidays come. It is
called—

LITTLE FLORELLA, OR THE WISHING-TEMPLE,

“Tt would be hard to say how much little
Florella’s mother loved her. Only a tender
mother could tell what were her feelings towards
her child, and then it would need the heart of
such another mother to understand her meaning.
Not that Florella deserved all this love: the child
was often wayward and disobedient, and apt to
think that she knew better than the tender
parent whose whole heart was bound up in
making her little daughter happy, and who
thought no trouble too great to take for her
sake. But Florella’s mother knew that it is not
by having every wish and whim indulged that
a child is made happy, but by being taught to
practise what is good and right; therefore, in
her very care and love for her child, she was
often obliged to contradict her, and refuse to
grant her many things for which Florella longed,
but which would have done her harm if they
had been granted. Thus, while surrounded
with everything that true love could furnish
her with, Florella was not contented,
120 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

‘Oh,’ thought she to herself, ‘if I could have
whatever I wish for, and not be crossed in this
way continually, how delightful it would be! I
have a great mind to steal away from home,
and never come back to it again. No one would
then have a right to order me to do this or that,
or to refuse me what I have set my mind upon.
If I could only reach the Wishing-Temple that
I have heard people talk about so often !’

“This thought was continually in Florella’s
mind, and it made her more and more dissatis-
fied with everything that was done for her, till
her mother was nearly heart-broken at seeing
the discontented disposition of her child.

‘ Floreila’s grand aim was to find out the way
to the Wishing-Temple, for she knew that if she
could but get there, whatever she might wish
would be granted, no matter how distant the
object might be, or how difficult to attain. But
it was a fairy temple, and a long, long way off;
and she was afraid to ask the way, because she
thought that, if she did, some person would tell
her mother when she stole away from home, and
they would know where to seek her. Florella
never considered the trouble her absence would
cause her mother, or the uneasiness she would
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 121

feel; she only thought how delightful it would
be to have everything the moment she wished
‘for it. So she saved a little of her food every
day for a week, that she might not be hungry
on the road, and then set off on her journey to
find the Wishing-Temple. She chose her time
when her mother was from home, and not likely
to return for some hours, and very fast she ran,
that she might get a long way on the road
before her absence should be noticed.

“ All the day long Florella went onwards, not
in the least knowing whether she was approach-
ing the place of which she was in search, or
going further from it. Over fields she ran,
through hedges she crept, and when she was
thirsty, she drank a little water to refresh her,
and ate a little of her hoarded provisions; but
rest she never took until the sun had sunk out
of sight, and the gray evening began to close
around her. Then, for the first time, Florella
missed her mother, and was inclined to be sorry
she had left her home to take such an uncertain
journey as this. However, she got over this
difficulty: it was the summer-time, and there
was plenty of hay in the fields, Better still,
she found in one a shed which had been used as
122 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE,

a shelter for the cattle, but was without a tenant
during the warm weather, and into it she carried
plenty of hay. This made her a soft bed, and,
weary with her long walk, she threw herself upon
it, and slept as soundly as though she had been on
cushions of down, or in her own pretty chamber.

“The next morning, she started again upon
her journey; and for three days she wandered
on, hiding herself as much as possible from
every person, for fear of meeting with some one
who might take her back before she had gained
the object for which she left home. When the
third night was coming on, Florella was inclined
to wish that she had met such a person; her
feet were blistered and swollen, her clothes torn
with the briers, and her face was so browned with
the hot sun that, when she bent over the water,
and saw it reflected as if in a looking-glass, she
scarcely knew it to be her image that she saw in
the stream. Beside, Florella was suffering from
hunger; her provisions were all eaten, and she
had no kind mother to give her more. She had
tasted nothing since the morning, and there were
no signs of water in her immediate neighbour-
hood either, for the stream in which she saw her
likeness hours before was now a long way off.
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE, 123

All around her, she could distinguish nothing
but bare sands, dry and hot beneath her blistered
feet. No hay to form a bed, no kindly shed was
near to afford a shelter, and, with a sigh, she
thought of her pretty chamber, with the wood-bine
and jessamine climbing round its window, and
everything about it telling of peace and comfort,
and, better still, of a mother’s earnest love.

“ Still, Florella had an idea that she was not
far from the Wishing-Temple, for she had been
told that, in order to deter people from going
thither, the fairies had made the country around
it barren and ugly, while the temple itself was
very difficult to find, because hidden in a forest.
All at once, when Florella was quite tired, and
ready to faint with hunger, she came to the end
of the sandy plain, and found herself on the
border of a thick dark wood. Though it was
summer-time, the wood looked very gloomy ;
and with the shades of evening resting upon it,
it was no very pleasant place to enter, especially
for a child. But Fiorella thought of all the
weary miles which lay between her and home,
and of the purpose with which she had travelled
so far; therefore, after hesitating for a while,
she at length mustered courage to go a few steps
124 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

into the wood. In a moment, she was nearly
deafened by the cawing of an enormous number
of rooks, which all joined in chorus, as if for the
purpose of frightening her away again, while
the flapping of thousands of wings around and
above her almost bewildered the child. She
turned, with the intention of going back, and,
lo! instead of one path, she saw a hundred, and
knew not which to choose. Then great owls
began to take the place of the rooks, and these
last went up into their nests on the tall trees to
roost, as it grew darker.

“Down on the trunk of a tree sat Florella, to
consider what she should do. She was not easily
daunted. ‘After all, said she to herself, ‘the
rooks will not hurt me; I have seen plenty such
birds at home, and they are gone to roost now;
I daresay it was my coming that startled them,
poor things.’ The owls she did not like so well.
But even of these she had heard her mother speak
often enough, and had seen pictures of them in
books. ‘They are only birds,’ said she, by way
of persuading herself into feeling comfortable ;
but she did not succeed very well in the attempt.

‘The worst difficulty Florella still had to
struggle with was hunger. Her last meal had
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 125

been only a piece of bread—very dry, with being
carried so long in her pocket—and a draught
of water from the brook. There was nothing
eatable within sight; no root, or so much as a
wild-strawberry to cool her parched tongue, and
she began to be filled with dread, less on account
of visible than imaginary dangers. She had
heard of the venomous snakes that lurk in the
long grass, of savage beasts that hide in the
deep wood, and of fierce robbers that slay pass-
ing travellers. Poor, little, foolish Florella!
who had so many comforts, such kind hands
to tend her, and yet could not be contented.
She needed not to fear the robbers, because she
had nothing save the poor ragged clothes which
hung about her, and which no robber would
have thought worth the taking; but that fact had
quite escaped her mind. So, afraid to proceed
on her way in the dim twilight, and not knowing
how to retrace her steps, she remained trembling
and miserable on the mossy trunk where she
had first seated herself, quite unable to move.
“She had not been long there before fatigue
proved stronger than either fear or hunger, and
she sank back in a sound sleep, and never awoke
again until the rays of the morning sun, shining
y

126 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

upon her face, roused her to a sense of her
position. If she were hungry the night before,
how much more so was she now, with the fresh
air of morning blowing around her and sharp-
ening her appetite, and that fatigue, which had

made her less conscious of it, all removed by

her long sleep. When‘she rose to pursue her
way, her limbs felt stiff, her feet sore, and she
trembled with weakness, consequent on want of
food. She really would have turned back, instead
of going forward, but the impossibility of choos-
ing out of the many paths which lay behind,
and the thought of the bare sandy plain which
must be recrossed—if she could find it—before
she could reach the habitations of men, decided
her. She wandered on, therefore, but slowly,
and in about an hour she came to the end of the
wood. But along its borders stood a row of fairy
forms clothed in green, and with crowns of scarlet
flowers on their heads. These fairies stood with
linked hands, and barred her further progress.
Florella begged them to let her pass, but they
made a sign that she must apply to their leader,
a stately-looking fairy, who sat on asilver throne,
raised on a little mound of turf, covered with

flowers, and wore a crown of white roses,
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 127

‘Please to let me pass, said Florella; ‘I am
secking the Wishing-Temple; and I have
wandered a long, long way alone.’

“She looked a miserable little figure in her
torn garments, and with her uncombed hair
streaming down her shoulders, and tears down
her cheeks.

‘People must endure much who find the
Wishing-Temple,’ answered the fairy. ‘ Have
you borne fatigue? No one can obtain all le
wishes without that.

“ Plorella shewed her swollen feet, and said:
‘I am so stiff with walking for three days, that
I can scarcely move at all’

‘Then you have fulfilled the first part of
the compact,’ said the stately fairy; ‘you may
pass on.’ She waved her silver wand, and the
green-robed fairies parted, and allowed Florella
to pass on her way unharmed.

“ First, she crossed a pleasant field, and then
she came to another plain of sand and a wood
something like the former; but the paths were
fewer, and did not wind so much, and she found
a few wild-strawberries, and some roots which
were good for food. These refreshed her a
little, though she was still very faint; but,
128 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

owing to her blistered feet, she was obliged to
spend the night in the second wood. In the
morning, she gathered roots and strawberries
for breakfast, and passed on until, on emerging
from the trees, she found another band of
fairies, dressed in white robes, adorned with
silver. Like the former ones, their hands were
clasped, and Florella was again referred to a
stately fairy sitting on a golden throne, and with
a crown of gold and topazes upon her head.

“ Florella lifted her hands in supplication, and |
begged to be allowed to pass this barrier also,
because she had wandered a long way in search
of the Wishing-Temple, and had endured much
fatigue and hunger on the road thither.

‘Have you indeed borne hunger?’ asked the
stately fairy. ‘Those who seek to obtain all
they wish for, must yet needs leave many an
unsatisfied desire on the road thither’

‘Alas! I have indeed,’ said Florella; and she
shewed the fairy how she had become thin and
wan for want of sufficient food, and how her
clothes hung about her as though they had been
made for a far plumper person than herself.

‘Poor little mortal,’ said the fairy kindly, «I
pity you, though I blame you also! It would




MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 129

have been far wiser to stay contentedly at home,
than to endure all these privations. And you
know not for what. Would it not be better to
return, than to continue your journey towards
the Wishing-Temple ?’

‘No, no,’ said Florella eagerly ; ‘I should die
on the way. I am far too little and weak to
bear the same fatigue again. Please, good fairy,
to let me pass on!”

‘But if I will feed and clothe you, and send
you home in a chariot, which shall be carried
through the air by my attendants here, will not
that induce you ?’ as.

“Tittle Florella thought the fairy only wanted
to prevent her from approaching the Wishing-
Temple; it is so hard to believe that people
really mean to do us a kindness when they
oppose our inclinations, yet. very often those
who do oppose them are our truest friends.
The stately fairy in the golden crown did
desire to befriend Florella by keeping her from
the Wishing-Temple, but the child could not
see this, and still pleaded, as before: ‘I am so
tired and hungry !—do let me pass on.’

“The fairy sighed as she answered: ‘We may
not detain you here, if you are quite resolved

I
130 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

on continuing your journey. People may be
advised and invited to take the right and wise
path, but it is out of our power to force them.
Pass on, little mortal—pass on !’

“She waved her golden wand, and all the
linked fairy-hands were loosed, the barrier
broken, and little Florella once more pursued her
way. Again the sandy plain to cross, but there
were beautiful shining stones sprinkled over it.
Florella did not know how precious they were,
and though they looked pretty to her childish
eyes, she wished them away, because they cut
her feet, and made walking more and more
painful at every step; beside, she was too
tired to stoop to pick them up. Her whole
thoughts were bent on reaching the Wishing-
Temple;-and with this one object before her, she
actually passed on the road thither many of the
very objects she had so often longed to obtain.

“ Another night in the wood, with the same
scanty food as before, and once more Fiorella
. pursued her way in the morning to its borders.
A beautiful scene broke upon her view when-
she left the tall trees behind. This last wood
formed a circular fence round a vast garden, in
the centre of which stood the Wishing-Temple.
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 131

She traversed the winding-walks unchecked,
though, surrounded as she was with everything
that was lovely to the eye, she, poor, little,
miserable-looking vagrant, seemed strangely
out of place amongst so much beauty. The
walks were fairly strewn with flowers; trees
laden with fruits, such as Florella had never
before seen, grew on every side; crystal foun-
tains played at every turn, and their falling
waters kept time with the songs of the birds,
while marble figures of the finest proportions
seemed to want only breathing upon to become
alive, so lifelike were they.

“Florella stayed not to look, admire, or listen,
but pressed onward till she came to a golden
palisade, which formed the last barrier that
divided her from the Wishing-Temple. At a
magnificent gate studded with precious stones
sata fairy, clothed in a flowing robe of a soft
blue, which spread around her, light as air. She
wore no gems or ornaments except a wreath of
blue forget-me-nots and white tea-roses round
her head. The sight of this fairy filled Florella
with wonder, it seemed so strange to see her
simple robe in the midst of such wondrous
splendour as was scattered on every side. She
132 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

stopped and gazed around her, expecting to see
a queenly figure, something like the stately
fairies that guarded the woods through which
she had passed on her way; but no other did
she find, and she was about to pass through
the gateway, when the blue-robed fairy placed
a hazel-wand across her path. Slight as was
the boundary, Florella was powerless to pass it,
so she presented her last petition, and begged
to be allowed to enter the Wishing-Temple.
' *Hast thou left friends behind, and given up
human kindred ?’ inquired the fairy queen, for it
was the queen, though she was so plainly clad.

‘That I have, said Florella. ‘I fled from
home and friends. I left my companions to
pursue their plays, and my mother to weep and
lament my loss. Ihave suffered hunger, pain, and
weariness, all to gain entrance to the Wishing-
Temple ; and now I have reached it, I wait only
for your leave to pass within its gates,’

‘ And you have despised the opinions of men,
I see,’ said the fairy queen with a pitying smile,
as she surveyed poor Florella’s miserable rags, the
sole remains of the neat clothes which a mother’s
hands once fashioned with care for her child.

‘I have despised all,’ said Florella, ‘and
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 133

endured, oh, so much! Please to let me enter
the Wishing-Temple.’

‘You have been very unwise, little child of
earth, said the queen of the fairies. ‘ Look
on me, and you will be convinced of this. I
could be clothed in gold, and adorned with the
most costly gems; I have but to wish, and all
I desire is mine; yet, believe me, the very
power I have makes me care little to use it, and
I prefer simple clothes and simple food to any
other. Go back, little child of earth—go back,
if you are wise! ‘You will be very miserable,
indeed, when you have no wish ungratified.’

“ Florella shook her head, and cried: ‘Let me
enter, lady; I have come far and suffered much
—send me not away from the very threshold !’

‘ Little child, said the fairy, ‘should you like to
feed on honey always, and taste no other food ?’

‘No—oh, no!’ answered Florella; ‘ that would
be very unpleasant ; I should not like it at all’

‘Then believe me when I tell you, that to
have all sweets and no crosses, all favours and
no refusals, will be as cloying to the mind as
it would be to the taste to eat honey always.’

“Florella hesitated. There appeared to be
truth and reason in the fairy’s words, and it
134 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE,

might be better, after even all these labours and
pains, not to enter the Wishing-Temple.

“The fairy saw the child’s wavering look,
and said: ‘ Be not afraid of the rough road, the
sandy plains, or the dark forests. You shall be
conveyed home with all tenderness, and shall
bear with you tokens of my good-will also, which
would make amends for the past ; so, answer,
little child of earth. Make your choice’

“The old thought entered Florella’s mind—
‘She does not wish me to enter the temple, for
fear of my gaining the same power as herself.
What does she care for me?’ Her purpose was
confirmed, and she replied: ‘I have decided—I
wish to enter the temple.’

‘I may not prevent you, then,’ said the fairy
queen, raising the hazel-wand. ‘I have done
my duty in advising you for the best; but mortals
cannot be forced into the right path. You have
chosen for yourself. Take what you will’

“Then the queen spread her gossamer-wings,
and flew down from the gateway into the garden,
leaving Florella to enter the temple alone.
What a beautiful place it was on the outside!
It stood on a base of rock-crystal, out of which,
a solid mass, steps were cut, guarded on each side
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 135

by a golden balustrade corresponding with the
railing below. The temple itself was formed
of the same beautiful material, so cut as to.
divide the sun’s rays, and make it appear of
all the hues of the rainbow. Over the door
was an inscription, not, as Florella expected,
an invitation to enter, but words which con-
firmed the advice she had received from the
fairies—
Pause, foolish mortal—
Pause, ere you find

That power without limit
Is not for mankind !

Florella read it, but did not pause. Was it
likely that she who had despised the former
advice would be turned back now? She crossed
the threshold, and found herself in total dark-
ness! This was a great surprise. The outside
was so brilliant, she could scarcely realise the
change. Several times she tried to speak, but
she was afraid to break the dead silence that
reigned around. Then a voice addressed her, and
in stern tones said: ‘Little child of earth, you
have but to speak, and whatever you wish shall
be granted; yet you would have been wiser to
stay outside the temple, which is in itself an
136 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

emblem of many a wish fulfilled—very fair in
the distance, but giving no real joy in the
possession ; for—

Know that our wishes
All die when they’re won,
Melt like the snow-flakes
Beneath the hot sun !’

“Florella mustered courage, and answered:
‘I wish that every future desire of mine may
be fulfilled.’

‘Granted! You have only to wish and to
have whatever fairies can give. Farewell!’

“The voice ceased, and Florella left the
Wishing-Temple. In those few words she had
exhausted all the benefits it could confer, and
she longed to test her new powers. With rapid
feet ae stepped into the fair garden below,
and her first wish was for food. She named all
the dainties she could think of, especially such
as she had been denied, and in an instant they
were by her side. Then she wished for new
clothes, and directly her rags were replaced by
the finery she craved. Next, she desired that
the brownness of her skin might disappear, her
hair fall in soft tresses, her stiff limbs regain
their activity, and her blistered feet be healed.
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 137

“ And all these things were done. She cast a
glance into the crystal fountain near which she
sat, and saw with much satisfaction the change
in her appearance. She ate very heartily of the
dainties she had wished for, thinking with no
small pleasure that there was no one who could
control her in anything now. Afterwards, feel-
ing very uncomfortable, because her hearty meal
had disagreed with her, following, as it did,
such scanty fare, she forgot her new power, and
wished she had not eaten a bit; and the wish
was scarcely uttered, before she was as hungry
as ever again, and had to desire more food to
satisfy her appetite.

“ Florella felt very much inclined to wish her-
self at home, that she might display her powers ;
but somehow she was ashamed to meet the
mother she had grieved. At last, after having
desired“ and cast aside everything she could
think of, she began to find the truth of the
fairy adage—

Power without limit
Ts not for mankind.
Instead of being happier in the possession of
almost unlimited power, she found that all the
precious things in the world could not make up
138 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

for what she had left behind. When unre-
strained indulgence made her ill, the fairies
could not cure her sickness; and though sur-
rounded with grandeur, she could not have a
mother’s kind hands to tend her for the asking.
When she went to the Wishing-Temple, after
vainly desiring for her mother’s presence, she
was told that she had left that behind when she
entered the domains of the fairies.

“So Florella discovered that she had lost a
great deal. Often, too, it had been very
delightful to hope for some little indulgence,
which was all the sweeter when gained if
she had worked for it; but now she knew
not the pleasure of hoping, because she was sure
of having all she could imagine beforehand.
She knew neither fear nor trust for the same
reason ; and having no contradictions to endure,
her mind was indeed cloyed with indulgence,
as the taste would be if fed only on honey.

“ After a time, she grew very tired of having
all her own way, and went to the Wishing-
Temple with the determination to get rid of her
power if possible. The stern voice spoke, and
asked why she came.

‘I come,’ said Florella trembling, and in
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 139

tears, ‘to beg that you will restore me to my
best friend—my mother. I will be contented
with the ordinary lot of mortals, learn wisdom
by degrees, and submit to those who know how
to guide me. I will not desire more than my
share of the sweets of life, but shall enjoy those
that are given me by contrasting them with
the bitters. I will enjoy rest by earning the
right to it. Oh, take from me the power I
craved, and give me back to my mother! I
may return to her, though she cannot come
hither to me.’

“Thus the last of those wishes, which Florella
was sure of obtaining, was granted. In a
moment she found herself at the door of her old
home. She hardly knew how to enter; but at
that moment the door was opened, and a figure
dressed in deep mourning issued from the
house. Could that be her mother? Alas! it
was; but her eyes were dim with weeping, and
her once dark hair was now nearly white.

“Florella knew who had done that, and she
was ready to steal away, overcome with remorse ;
but her mother saw her, and springing forward,
exclaimed: ‘My child is found!’ while her hot
but glad tears fell on Florella’s face.
140 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

“And all was forgiven, though Florella never
forgot her visit to the Wishing-Temple.

“Tam not going to tell you any more, chil-
dren,” said Uncle Paul. “I only meant to shew
you that it is better to deserve what we have,
than to sigh for more; better to labour for good
things in moderation, than to possess all we
ate for. There is nothing in the way of food
that tires us so soon as sweets, and, in like
manner, we should find, that to have all our
own way, would bring us more pain than enjoy-
ment. So do you, dear young folk, be thankful
that you have parents to guide and control you,
and don’t begin to wish that you could find your
way to the Wishing-Temple of the fairies.”

, And now it was time for the young guests to
say good-night. Dear Uncle Paul was almost
overwhelmed with kisses by all the children,
who were full of regret at the thought of
parting with the little Tasca

“Never mind,” said One Paul. “You know
the old proverb: that the best of friends must
part. Let us hope that: all you youngsters will
retain such a pleasant remembrance of Hay-
Lodge, that you may look forward with hope, as
MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 141

I shall, to another mecting, if Uncle Paul should
be spared to see another birthday.”

The youngsters all thanked him, and said in
hearty chorus that they hoped he would live to
see a great many more happy years; and then
they went to their homes full of kindly thoughts
both of Uncle Paul and his relatives, and of
regrets that the happy midsummer-holidays
were over for that year.

CONCLUSION.
Bernarp’s RETURN To ScrooL.

THERE was to be one day’s rest after the party,
and then Bernard was to go back to school.
The boy was not unwilling to be at work again,
but still’ he had a natural feeling of sadness
hanging around him at the thought of leaving
his good mother, Marian, and little pet Kate,
and—though last, not lightly valued—dear
Uncle Paul. His uncle saw the boy’s regret in
his face, and spoke in his usually cheery tone.

“Christmas will soon be here, Bernard, and
time flies all the more quickly when we are fully
142 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGR.

employed, and have no leisure to indulge in useless
wishes. If we had holidays all the year round, it
would be as bad for us as feeding wholly on honey,
or visiting the Wishing-Temple. You would
have had little enjoyment during the vacation,
if you had not first earned it by hard work.”

“Ido not feel sorry to go back to school,
uncle,” replied Bernard ; “ indeed, I am glad of
the opportunity to do so. I am only sorry to
say good-bye. And my dear mother and the
girls will miss me all the more, too, from having
had such a delightful time at Hay-Lodge. Our
city-home is not like this place, though we have
spent many happy days there.”

“And have you not a thought for Uncle
Paul’s loneliness, Bernard? How will he feel
when you are all gone ?”

“Yes, indeed, Uncle Paul. But I hardly
thought we could be of so much consequence to
you as you are to us.”

The boy’s. voice trembled, and Uncle’ Paul
seemed to be troubled with a huskiness in his
throat, for he did not speak very clearly for a
minute or so. “Then,” he said, “I think I
must keep Kate here. Will you stay with Uncle
Paul, to bear him company, little one?”
is

MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE. 143

“T should wish very much, but mamma, will
not like to part with me,” said the child. Uncle
Paul looked quite disconsolate, but after a little
while, a bright idea struck Kate. “Uncle,” she
said, “we will take you home with us, and you
shall stay always.” She clapped her hands in
glee ; but Uncle Paul thought perhaps it would
be better to reverse matters.

“Supposing, mamma,” he said, “that you,
Marian, and Kate stay here instead. Bernard
can go to school, and we will have a governess
to help you to teach these girls. What say you?
Can you love Uncle Paul well enough to stay and
cheer his loneliness? Hay-Lodge is large enough,
and more, Uncle Paul’s heart is large enough
too, to hold you all, and still keep a corner for
Bernard when he comes home at Christmas.”

The widowed mother felt all the goodness
which prompted Uncle Paul’s offer, and, unable
to speak, she took the good old man’s hand in
both hers, and pressed it to her lips, while Kate
clambered on his knee again, and fairly shouted
with delight: “Dear, darling uncle, Iam so glad
I shall stay with you!”

Bernard went to school the next day in high
spirits at the thought of leaving his mother
144 MIDSUMMER AT HAY-LODGE.

and sisters so pleasantly situated. He had
quite forgot what he had given up for
the sake of buying a birthday-gift for Uncle
Paul; but he was reminded of it by finding,
after he reached school, a set of articles of the
very best kind, and such as he had long wished
for, ina snug corner of his trunk. He had no
difficulty in guessing to whom he owed them.

As to Kate, she is every day twining herself
more and more closely round Uncle Paul’s heart,
and so indeed are mamma and Marian. And
Bernard is working very hard at school. He
remembers what Uncle Paul said, that he
would not have enjoyed his rest so much if he
had not first earned it by his steady industry.

So having done with Midsummer for the
‘ present, let us Icave the children to their
pleasant memories, and looking forward next
to spending “ Christmas at Hay-Lodge.”

THE EXD.

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