Citation
Jessica's first prayer

Material Information

Title:
Jessica's first prayer
Creator:
Stretton, Hesba, 1832-1911 ( Author, Primary )
Bayes, Alfred Walter, 1832-1909 ( Illustrator )
Religious Tract Society (Great Britain) ( Publisher )
R. Clay, Sons, and Taylor ( Printer )
Butterworth and Heath ( Engraver )
Place of Publication:
London (56 Paternoster Row 65 St. Paul's Churchyard and 164 Piccadilly)
Publisher:
The Religious Tract Society
Manufacturer:
R. Clay, Son, and Taylor
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
92, [4] p. : ill. ; 16 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Conversion narratives ( rbgenr )
Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Intergenerational relations -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Alcoholism -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Runaways -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Clergy -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Adoption -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Christian life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Publishers' advertisements -- 1867 ( rbgenr )
Baldwin -- 1867
Genre:
conversion narratives ( aat )
Publishers' advertisements ( rbgenr )
novel ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )

Notes

General Note:
Illustrations engraved on wood by Butterworth & Heath after Alfred Walter Bayes.
General Note:
Approximate date based on inscription in UCLA copy.
General Note:
Publisher's advertisements follow text.
Funding:
Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
Statement of Responsibility:
by the author of "Fern's Hollow," "fishers of Derby Haven," "Pilgrim Street," etc.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections (special@uflib.ufl.edu) with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
026975021 ( ALEPH )
ALH8585 ( NOTIS )
33157306 ( OCLC )

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:


Full Text




(the Baldwin Tabrary
University

RMB wi
Florida





fe
bio fe

J’ lg
O fbf! 7
Me Pa






JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.













JESSICA’S

FIRST PRAYER.

BY THE AUTHOR OF
“FERN’S HOLLOW,” “FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN,”
“PILGRIM STREET,” ETC.



LONDON:
THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY;
56, PATERNOSTER ROW; 65, ST. PAUL’S CHURCHYARD
AND 164, PICCADILLY.



LONDON:
R. CLAY, SONS, AND TAYLOK, PRINTERS,
BREAD STREET HILL,



CONTENTS.

QT
CHAPTER I, - PAGE
THE COFFEE-STALL AND ITS KEEPER eee ee 9

CHAPTER II.

JESSICA’S TEMPTATION. . .. ... COB

CHAPTER III.

AN OLD FRIEND IN A NEW DRESS. . .. . . 2 1. 27

CHAPTER IV.

PEEPS INTO FAIRY-LAND . . . 1. 2 6 ew ew ee ee 879

CHAPTER V.

A NEW WORLD OPENS . . ee 6 6 ee ee eee AO



viii CONTENTS,

CHAPTER VI. . PAGE:

THE FIRST PRAYER , . 1. ee ew ew ww ee ee A

CHAPTER VII.

HARD QUESTIONS =. 6 ew eee ee ew we ew 5D

CHAPTER VIII.

AN UNEXPECTED VISITOR . . 64
CHAPTER Ix.
JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER ANSWERED . 6 woe ee ee 73

CHAPTER xX.

THE SHADOW CF DEATH . . . 1) ee ee ee 84





JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.
OE
CHAPTER I.
THE COFFEE-STALL AND ITS KEEPER.

gN a screened and secluded corner of one
of the many railway-bridges which span
the streets of London, there could be



seen, a few years ago, from five o’clock every
morning until half-past eight, a tidily. set out
coffee-stall, consisting of a trestle and board,
upon which stood two large tin cans, with a
small fire of charcoal burning under each, so as
to keep the coffee boiling during the early hours
of the morning when the work-people were
thronging into the city, on their way to their
B



£0 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

daily toil. The coffee-stall was a favourite one,
‘for besides being under shelter, which was of
great consequence upon rainy mornings, it was
also in so private a niche that the customers
taking their out-of-door breakfast were not too
much exposed to notice; and moreover, the
coffee-stall keeper was a quiet man, who cared
only to serve the busy workmen, without hin-
dering them by any gossip. He was a tall,
spare, elderly man, with a singularly solemn
face, and a manner which was grave and secret.
Nobody knew either his name or dwelling-place ;
unless it might be the policeman who strode
past the coffee-stall every half-hour, and nodded
familiarly to the solemn man behind it. There ©
were very few who cared to make any enquiries
about him; but those who did could only dis-
cover that he kept the furniture of his stall at a
neighbouring coffee-house, whither he wheeled
his trestle and board and crockery every day,
not later than half-past eight in the morning ;



THE COFFEE-STALL AND ITS KEEPER. rT

after which he was wont to glide away with a
soft footstep, and a mysterious and fugitive air,
with many backward and sidelong glances, as if
he dreaded observation, until he was lost among
the crowds which thronged the streets. No
one had ever had the persevering curiosity to
track him al] the way to his house, or to find
out his other means of gaining a livelihood;
but in general his stall was surrounded by
customers, whom he served with silent serious-
ness, and who did not grudge to pay him his
charge for the refreshing coffee he supplied to
them.

For several years the crowd of work-people
had paused by the coffee-stall under the railway-
arch, when one morning, in a partial lull of his
business, the owner became suddenly aware of
a pair of very bright dark eyes being fastened
upon him and the slices of bread and butter on
his board, with a gaze as hungry as that of a
mouse which has been driven by famine into 2

B2



12 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

trap. A thin and meagre face belonged to the
eyes, which was half hidden by a mass of matted
hair hanging over the forehead, and down the
neck; the only covering which the head or neck
had, for a tattered frock, scarcely fastened to-
gether with broken strings, was slipping down
over the shivering shoulders of the little girl.
Stooping down to a basket behind his stall, he
caught sight of two bare little feet curling up
from the damp pavement, as the child lifted up
first one and then the other, and laid them one
over another to gain a momentary feeling of
warmth. Whoever the wretched child was, she
did not speak; only at every steaming cupful
which he poured out of his can, her dark eyes
gleamed hungrily, and he could hear her smack
her thin lips, as if in fancy she was tasting the
warm and fragrant coffee.

“Oh, come now!” he said at last, when only
one boy was left taking his breakfast leisurely,
‘and he leaned over his stall to speak in a low



THE COFFEE-‘STALL AND ITS KEEPER; 13

and quiet tone, “why don’t you go away, little,
girl? Come, come; you're staying too long, -
you know.”

“I’m just going, sir,” she answered, shrugging
her small shoulders to draw her frock up higher
about her neck; “ only it’s raining cats and dogs
outside; and mother’s been away all night, and
she took the key with her; and it’s so nice to
smell the coffee; and the police has left off
worriting me while I’ve been here. He thinks
I’m a customer taking my breakfast.” And the
child laughed a shrill little laugh of mockery at
herself and the policeman.

“You've had no breakfast, I suppose,” said
the coffee-stal! keeper, in the same low and
confidential voice, and leaning over his stall till
his face nearly touched the thin, sharp features
of the child

“No,” she replied, coolly, “and I shall want
ny dinner dreadful bad afore I get it, I know.
You don’t often feel dreadful hungry, do you,

c



14 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

sir? I’m not griped yet, you know; but afore
I taste my dinner it’ll be pretty bad, I tell you.
Ah! very bad indeed!”

She turned away with a knowing nod, as
much as to say she had one experience in life
to which he was quite a stranger; but before
she had gone half a dozen steps, she heard
the quiet voice calling to her in rather louder
tones, and in an instant she was back at the
stall.

“ Slip in here,” said the owner, in a cautious
whisper; “here’s a little coffee left and a few
crusts. There, you must never come again,
you know. I never give to beggars; and if
you'd begged, I’d have called the police. There;
put your poor feet towards the fire. Now, aren’t
you comfortable ?”

~The child looked up with a face of intense
satisfaction. She was seated upon an empty
basket, with her feet near the pan of charcoal,
and a cup of steaming coffee on her lap; but



THE COFFEE-STALL AND ITS KEEPER. 15

her mouth was too full for her to reply, except
by a very deep nod, which expressed unbounded
delight. The man was busy for a while packing
up his crockery; but every now and then he
stopped to look down upon her, and to shake
his head gravely.

“ What’s your name?” he asked, at length;
“but there, never mind! I don’t care what
it is. What’s your name to do with me, I
wonder ?”

“It’s Jessica,” said the girl: “but mother and
everybody calls me Jess. You’d be tired of
being called Jess, if you was me. It’s Jess
here, and Jess there; and everybody wanting
me to go errands. And they think nothing of
giving me smacks, and kicks, and pinches.
Look here!”

Whether her arms were black and blue from
the cold, or from ill-usage, he could not tell;
but he shook his head again seriously, and the
child felt encouraged to go on,



16 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

“TI wish I could stay here for ever and ever,
just as I am!” she cried. “But you’re going
away, I know; and I’m never to come again, or
you'll set the police on me!”

“Yes,” said the coffee-stall keeper, very softly,
and looking round to see if there were any other
ragged children within sight; “if you’ll promise
‘not to come again for a whole week, and not to
tell anybody else, you may come once more.
I'll give vou one other treat. But you must
be off now.”

“I’m off, sir,’ she said, sharply; “but if
you’ve a errand I could go on, I’d do it all
right, I would. Let me carry some of your
things.’

“No, no,” cried the man; “you run away,
like a good girl; and mind! I’m not to see
you again for a whole week.”

“ All right!” answered Jess, setting off down
the rainy street at a quick run, as if to show her
willing agreement to the bargain; while the



THE COFFEE-STALL AND ITS KEEPER. 17

coffee-stall keeper, with many a cautious glance
around him, removed his stock-in-trade to the
coffee-house near at hand, and was seen no more
for the rest of the day in the neighbourhood of
the railway-bridge.



CHAPTER II,
JESSICA’S TEMPTATION.

essicA kept her part of the bargain
faithfully ; and though the solemn and
silent man under the dark shadow of the
bridge looked out for her every morning as he
served his customers, he caught no glimpse of
her wan face and thin little frame. But when
the appointed time was finished, she presented
herself at the stall, with her hungry eyes fastened
again upon the piles of buns and bread and
butter, which were fast disappearing before the
demands of the buyers. The business was at
its height, and the famished child stood quietly
on one side watching for the throng to melt
away. But as soon as the nearest church clock
had chimed eight, she drew a little nearer to the





JESSICA’S TEMPTATION. Ig

stall, and at a signal from its owner she slipped
between the trestles of his stand, and took up
her former position on the empty basket. To
his eyes she seemed even a little thinner, and
certainly more ragged, than before; and he laid
a whole bun, a stale one which was left from
yesterday’s stock, upon her lap, as she lifted
the cup of coffee to her lips with both her
benumbed hands.

“What’s your name ?” she asked, looking up
to him with her keen eyes.

“Why?” he answered, hesitatingly, as if he
was reluctant to tell so much of himself; “my
christened name is Daniel.”

“ And where do you live, Mr. Dan’el?” she
enquired.

“Oh, come now!” he exclaimed, “if you’re
going to be impudent, you’d better march off.
What business is it of yours where I live? I
don’t want to know where you live, I can tell

you.”



200 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

“T didn’t mean no offence,’ said Jess, humbly ;
“only I thought I’d like to know where a good
man like you lived. You’re a very good man,
aren’t you, Mr. Dan’el ?”

“T don’t know,” he answered, uneasily ; “I’m
afraid I’m not.”

»

“Oh, but you are, you know,” continued Jess.
“You make good coffee; prime! And buns too!
And I’ve been watching you hundreds of times
afore you saw me, and the police leaves you
alone, and never tells you to move on. Oh,
yes ! you must be a very good man.”

Daniel sighed, and fidgeted about his crockery
with a grave and occupied air, as if he were pon-
dering over the child’s notion of goodness. He
made good coffee, and the police left him alone!
It was quite true; yet still as he counted up the
store of pence which had accumulated in his
strong canvas bag, he sighed a;*ain still more
heavily. He purposely let one of his pennies
fall upon the muddy pavement, and went on



JESSICA’S TEMPTATION. 24

counting the rest busily, while he furtively
watched the little girl sitting at his feet. With-
out a shade of change upon her small face, she
covered the penny with her foot, and drew it in
carefully towards her, while she continued to
chatter fluently to him. For a moment a feel-
ing of pain shot a pang through Daniel’s heart ;
and then he congratulated himself on having
entrapped the young thief. It was time to be
leaving now; but before he went he would make
her move her bare foot, and disclose the penny
concealed beneath it, and then he would warn
her never to venture near his stall again. This
was her gratitude, he thought; he had given her
two breakfasts and more kindness than he had
shown to any fellow-creature for many a long
year; and, at the first chance, the young jade
turned upon him, and robbed him! He was
brooding over it painfully in his mind, when
Jessica’s uplifted face changed suddenly, and a
dark flush crept over her pale cheeks, and the



22 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

tears started to her eyes. She stooped down,

"and picking up the coin from amongst the mud,
she rubbed it bright and clean upon her rags,
and laid it upon the stall close to his hand, but
without speaking a word. Daniel looked down
upon her solemuly and searchingly.

“What's this ?” he asked.

“Please, Mr. Daniel,’ she answered, “ it
dropped, and you didn’t hear it.”

“Jess,” he said, sternly, “tell me all about it.”

“Oh, please,” she sobbed, “I never had a -
penny of my very own but once; and it rolled
close to my foot; and you didn’t see it; and I
hid it up sharp; and then I thought how kind
you’d been, and how good the coffee and buns
are, and how you let me warm myself at your
fire; and please, I couldn’t keep the penny any
longer. You'll never let me come again, I
guess.”

Daniel turned away for a minute, busying
himself with putting his cups and saucers into









ey

——

in












JESSICA’S TEMPTATION. 25

the basket, while Jessica stood by trembling,
with the large tears rolling slowly down her
cheeks. The snug, dark corner, with its warm
fire of charcoal, and its fragrant smell of coffee,
had been a paradise to her for these two brief
spans of time; but she had been guilty of the sin
which would drive her from it. All beyond the
railway arch the streets stretched away, cold and
dreary, with no friendly faces to meet hers, and
no warm cups of coffee to refresh her; yet she
was only lingering sorrowfully to hear the words
spoken which should forbid her to return to this
pleasant spot. Mr. Daniel turned round at last,
and met her tearful gaze, with a look of strange
emotion upon his own solemn face.

“Jess,” he said, “I could never have done it
myself. But you may come here every Wed-
nesday morning, as this is a Wednesday, and
there'll always be a cup of coffee for you.”

She thought he meant that he could not have
hidden the penny under his foot, and she went

c



26 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

away a little saddened and subdued, notwith

standing her great delight in the expectation of
such a treat every week ; while Daniel, pondering
over the struggle that must have passed through
her childish mind, went on his way, from time
to time shaking his head, and muttering to him-
self, “I couldn’t have done it myself: I never
could have done it myself.”





CHAPTER III
AN OLD FRIEND IN A NEW DRESS.

FEEK after week, through the three last
| months of the year, Jessica appeared
~ every Wednesday at the coffee-stall, and,
after waiting patiently till the close of the break-
fasting business, received her pittance from the
charity of her new friend. After a while Daniel
allowed her to carry some of his load to the
coffee-house, but he never suffered her to follow
him farther, and he was always particular to
watch her out of sight before he turned off
through the intricate mazes of the streets in the
direction of his own home. Neither did he
encourage her to ask him any more questions;
and often but very few words passed between
them during Jessica’s breakfast time.

Cs






28 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

- As to Jessica’s home, she made no secret of
it,and Daniel might have followed her any time
he pleased. It was a single room, which had
once been a hayloft over the stable of an old inn,
now in use for two or three donkeys, the property
of costermongers dwelling in the court about it.
, The mode of entrance was by a wooden ladder,
whose rungs were crazy and broken, and which
led up through a trap-door in the floor of the
loft. The interior of the home was as desolate
and comfortless as that of the stable below, with
only a litter of straw for the bedding, and a few
bricks and boards for the furniture. Everything
that could be pawned had disappeared long ago,
and Jessica’s mother often lamented that she
could not thus dispose of her child. Yet Jessica
was hardly a burden to her. It was a long time
since she had taken any care to provide her with
food or clothing, and the girl had to earn or beg
for herself the meat which kept a scanty life
within her. Jess was the drudge and errand-



AN OLD FRIEND IN A NEW DRESS 29

girl of the court; and what with being cuffed
and beaten by her mother, and over-worked and
ill-used by her numerous employers, her life was
ahardone. But now there was always Wednes-
day morning to count upon and look forward
to; and by and by a second scene of amazed
delight opened upon her.

Jessica had wandered far away from home in
the early darkness of a winter’s evening, after a
violent outbreak of her drunken mother, and she
was still sobbing now and then with long-drawn
sobs of pain and weariness, when she saw, a little
way before her, the tall, well-known figure of her
friend Mr. Daniel. He was dreésed in a suit of
black, with a white neckcloth, and he was pacing
with brisk yet measured steps along the lighted
streets. Jessica felt afraid of speaking to him,
but she followed at a little distance, until
presently -he stopped before the iron gates of a
large:building, and, unlocking them, passed on
to the arched doorway, and with a heavy key.



30 ' JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

opened the folding-doors and entered in. The
child stole after him, but paused for a few |
minutes, trembling upon the threshold, until the

gleam of a light lit up within tempted her to
venture a few steps forward, and to push a little
way open an inner door, covered with crimson
baize, only so far as to enable her to peep
through at the inside. Then, growing bolder
by degrees, she crept through herself, drawing
the door to noiselessly behind her. The place
was in partial gloom, but Daniel was kindling
every gaslight, and each minute lit it up in more
striking grandeur. She stood in a carpeted
aisle, with high oaken pews on each side, almost
as black as ebony. A gallery of the same dark
old oak ran round the walls, resting upon
massive pillars, behind one of which she was
partly concealed, gazing with eager eyes at
Daniel, as he mounted the pulpit steps and
kindled the lights there, disclosing to her curious
delight the glittering pipes of an organ behind it.




































































































































































































































































































































































































AN OLD FRIEND IN A NEW DRESS. 33

Before long the slow and soft-footed chapel-
keeper disappeared for a minute or two into a
vestry; and Jessica, availing herself of his short
absence, stole silently up under the shelter of the
dark pews until she reached the steps of the organ
loft, with its golden show. But at this moment Mr.
Daniel appeared again, arrayed in a long gown
of black serge; and as she stood spell-bound
gazing at the strange appearance of her patron,
his eyes fell upon her, and he also was struck
speechless for a minute, with an air of amaze-
ment and dismay upon his grave face.

“Come, now,” he exclaimed, harshly, as soon
as he could recover his presence of mind, “you
must take yourself out of this. This isn’t any
place for such as you. It’s for ladies and
gentlemen; so you must run away sharp before
anybody comes. How ever did you find your
way here?”

He had come very close to her, and bent
down to whisper in her ear, looking nervously



34 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

round to the entrance all the time. Jessica’s
eager tongue was loosened.

“ Mother beat me,” she said, “and turned me
into the streets, and I see you there, so I
followed you up. Ill run away this minute,
Mr. Daniel; but it’s a nice place. What do the
ladies and gentlemen do when they come here?
Tell me, and I'll be off sharp.”

“ They come here to pray,” whispered Daniel.

“ What is pray ?” asked Jessica.

“ Bless the child!” cried Daniel, in perplexity.
“Why, they kneel down in those pews; most
of them sit, though; and the minister up in the
pulpit tells God what they want.”

Jessica gazed into his face with such an air of
bewilderment that a faint smile crept over the
sedate features of the pew-opener.

“What is a minister and God?” she said;
“and do ladies and gentlemen want anything?
I thought they’d everything they wanted, Mr.
Daniel.”



AN OLD FRIEND IN A NEW DRESS. 35

“Oh!” cried Daniel, “you must be off, you
know. They’ll be coming in a minute, and
they’d be shocked to see a ragged little heathen
like you. This is the pulpit, where the minister
stands and preaches to ’em; and there are the
pews, where they sit to listen to him, or to go
to sleep, may be; and that’s the organ to play
music to their singing. There, I’ve told you
everything, and you must never come again,
never.”

“Mr. Daniel,” said Jessica, “I don’t know
nothing about it. Isn’t there a dark little corner
somewhere that I could hide in?”

“No, no,” interrupted Daniel, impatiently ;
“we couldn’t do with such a little heathen, with
no shoes or bonnet on. Come now, it’s only a
quarter to the time, and somebody will be here
in a minute. Run away, do!”

Jessica retraced her steps slowly to the crimson
door, casting. many a longing look backwards ;
but Mr. Daniel stood at the end of the aisle,



36 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

frowning upon her whenever she glanced behind,
She gained the lobby at last, but already somie
one was approaching the chapel door, and
beneath the lamp at the gate stood one of her
natural enemies, a policeman. Her heart beat
fast, but she was quickwitted, and in another
instant she spied a place of concealment behind
one of the doors, into which she crept for safety
until the path should be clear, and the policeman
passed on upon his beat.

The congregation began to arrive quickly.
She heard the rustling of silk dresses, and she
could see the gentlemen and ladies pass by the
niche between the door and the post. Onceshe
ventured to stretch out a thin little finger and
touch a velvet mantle as the wearer of it swept
by, but no one caught her in the act, or sus-
pected her presence behind the door. Mr.
Daniel, she could see, was very busy ushering
the people to their seats; but there was a startled
look lingering upon his face, and every now and



AN OLD FRIEND IN A NEW DRESS. 37

then he peered anxiously into the outer gloom
and darkness, and even once called to the police-
man to ask if he had seen a ragged child hanging
about. After a while the organ began to sound,



and Jessica, crouching down in her hiding-place,
listened entranced to the sweet music. She could
not tell what made her cry, but the tears came so
rapidly that it was of no use to rub the corners
of her eyes with her hard knuckles; so she lay



38 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

down upon the ground, and buried her face in
her hands, and wept without restraint. When
the singing was over, she could only catch a
confused sound of a voice speaking. The
lobby was empty now, and the crimson doors
closed. The policeman, also, had walked on.
This was the moment to escape. She raised
herself from the ground with a feeling of weari-
ness and sorrow; and thinking sadly of the
light, and warmth, and music that were within
the closed doors, she stepped out into the cold
and darkness of the streets, and loitered home-
wards with a heavy heart





CHAPTER IV,
PEEPS INTO FAIRY-LAND.

was not the last time that Jessica con-
| cealed herself behind the baize-covered
door. She could not overcome the urgent
desire to enjoy again and again the secret and
' perilous pleasure; and Sunday after Sunday she
watched in the dark streets for the moment
when she could slip in unseen. She soon
learned the exact time when Daniel would be
occupied in lighting up, before the policeman
would take up his station at the entrance, and
again, the very minute at which it would be wise
and safe to take her departure. Sometimes the
child laughed noiselessly to herself, until she
shook with suppressed merriment, as she saw



Daniel star.ding unconsciously in the lobby, with



40 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

his solemn face and grave air, to receive the
congregation, much as he faced his customers
at the coffee-stall. She learned to know the
minister by sight, the tall, thin, pale gentleman,
who passed through a side door, with his head
bent as if in deep thought, while two little girls,
about her own age, followed him with sedate yet
pleasant faces. Jessica took a great interest in
the minister’s children. The younger one was
fair, and the elder was about as tall as herself,
and had eyes and hair as dark; but oh, how
cared for, how plainly waited on by tender
hands! Sometimes, when they were gone by,
she would close her eyes, and wonder what they
would do in one of the high black pews inside,
where there was no place for a ragged, bare-
footed girl like her; and now and then her
wonderings almost ended in a sob, which she
was compelled to stifle.

It was an untold relief to Daniel that Jessica
did not ply him with questions, as he feared,



PEEPS INTO FAIRY-LAND. 4!

when she came for breakfast every Wednesday
morning; but she was too shrewd and cunning
for that. She wished him to forget that she
had ever been there, and by and by her wish
was accomplished, and Daniel was no longer
uneasy, while he was lighting the lamps, with
the dread of seeing the child’s wild face starting
up before him.

But the light evenings of summer-time were
drawing near apace, and Jessica foresaw with
dismay that her Sunday treats would soon be
over. The risk of discovery increased every
week, for the sun was later and later in setting,
and there would be no chance of creeping in
and out unseen in the broad daylight. Already
it needed both watchfulness and alertness to
dart in at the right moment in the grey twilight;
but still she could not give it up; and if it had
not been for the fear of offending Mr. Daniel,
she would have resolved upon going until she
was found out. They could not punish her

D



42 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

very much for standing in the lobby of
chapel.

Jessica was found out, however, before the
dusky evenings were quite gone. It happened
one night that the minister’s children, coming
early to the chapel, saw a small tattered figure,
bareheaded and barefooted, dart swiftly up the
steps before them and disappear within the
lobby. They paused and looked at one another,
and then, hand in hand, their hearts beating
quickly, and the colour coming and going on
their faces, they followed this strange new
member of their father’s congregation. The
pew-opener was nowhere to be seen, but their
quick eyes detected the prints of the wet little
feet which had trodden the clean pavement
before them, and in an instant they discovered
Jessica crouching behind the door.

“ Let us call Daniel Standring,” said Winny,
the younger child, clinging to her sister; but
‘he had spoken aloud, and Jessica overheard












PEEPS INTO FAIRY-LAND. 45

her, and before they could stir a step she stood
before them with an earnest and imploring face.
“Oh, don’t have me drove away,” she cried ;
“Y’m a very poor little girl, and it’s all the
pleasure I’ve got. I’ve seen you lots of times,
with that tall gentleman as stoops, and I didn’t
think you’d have me drove away. I don’t do
any harm behind the door, and if Mr. Daniel
finds me out, he won’t give me any more coffee.”
“Little girl,’ said the elder child, in a com-
posed and demure voice, “ we don’t mean to be
unkind to you; but what do you come here for,
and why do you hide yourself behind the door?”
“T like to hear the music,” answered Jessica,
“and I want to find out what pray is, and the
minister, and God. I know it’s only for ladies
and gentlemen, and fine children like you; but
I’d like to go inside just for once, and see what
you do.” ;
“You shall come with us into our pew,” cried
Winny, in an eager and impulsive tone; but



46 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

Jane laid her hand upon her outstretched arm,
with a glance at Jessica’s ragged clothes and
matted hair. It was a question difficult enough
to perplex them. The little outcast was plainly
too dirty and neglected for them to invite her
to sit side by side with them in their crimson-
lined pew, and no poor people attended the
chapel with whom she could have a seat. But
Winny, with flushed cheeks and indignant eyes,
looked reproachfully at her elder sister.

“Jane,” she said, opening her Testament,
and turning over the leaves hurriedly, “this
was papa’s text a little while ago. ‘For if there
come’into your assembly a man with a gold
ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also
a poor man in vile raiment; and ye have respect
to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say
unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and
say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here
under my footstool; are ye not then partial in
yourselves, and are become judges of evil



PEEPS INTO FAIRY-LAND. 47

thoughts?’ If we don’t take this little girl
into our pew, we ‘have the faith of our Lord
Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of
persons.’ ”

“T don’t know what to do,” answered Jane,
sighing; “the Bible seems plain; but I’m sure
papa would not like it. Let us ask the chapel-
keeper.”

“Oh, no, no!” cried Jessica, “don’t let Mr.
Daniel catch me here. I won't come again,
indeed; and I’ll promise not to try to find out
about God and the minister, if you’ll only let
me go.”

“ But, little girl,” said Jane, in a sweet but
grave manner, “we ought to teach you about
God, if you don’t know him. Our papa is the
minister, and if you’ll come with us, we’ll ask
him what we must do.”

“Will Mr. Daniel see me ?” asked Jessica.

“ Nobody but papa is in the vestry,” answered
Jane, “and he’ll tell us all, you and us, what we



48 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

ought todo. You'll not be afraid of him, will
you?”

No,” said Jessica, cheerfully, following the
minister’s children as they led her along the side
of the chapel towards the vestry.

“He is not such a terrible personage,” said
Winny, looking round encouragingly, as Jane
tapped softly at the door, and they heard a voice
saying “Come in.”





CHAPTER V.
A NEW WORLD OPENS.

SHE minister was sitting in an easy chair
before a comfortable fire, with a hymn-
‘book in his hand, which he closed as the
three children appeared in the open doorway.
Jessica had seen his pale and thoughtful face
many a time from her hiding-place, but she had
never met the keen, earnest, searching gaze of
his eyes, which seemed to pierce through all her
wretchedness and misery, and to read at once
the whole history of her desolate life. But
before her eyelids could droop, or she could
drop a reverential curtsey, the minister’s face
kindled with such a glow of pitying tenderness
and compassion, as fastened her eyes upon
him, and gave her new heart and courage. His





50 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

children ran to him, leaving Jessica upon the
mat at the door, and with eager voices and
gestures told him the difficulty they were in.

“Come here, little girl,” he said, and Jessica
walked across the carpeted floor till she stood
right before him, with folded hands, and eyes
that looked frankly into his.

“What is your name, my child ?” he asked.

“ Jessica,” she answered.

“ Jessica,” he repeated, with a smile; “that is
a strange name.”

“ Mother used to play ‘Jessica’ at the theatre,
sir,” she said, “and I used to be a fairy in the
pantomime, till I grew too tall and ugly. If I’m
pretty when I grow up, mother says I shall play
too; but I’ve a long time to wait. Are you the
minister, sir ?”

“Yes,” he answered, smiling again.

“What is a minister?” she enquired.

“A servant!” he replied, looking away though t-
fully into the red embers of the fire.



A NEW WORLD OPENS. 51

“Papa!” cried Jane and Winny, in tones of
astonishment; but Jessica gazed steadily at the
minister, who was now looking back again into
her bright eyes.

“Please, sir, whose servant are you?” she
asked.

“The servant of God and of man,” he an-
swered, solemnly. “Jessica, ] am your servant.”

The child shook her head, and laughed shrilly
as she gazed round the room, and at the hand-
some clothing of the ministers daughters,
while she drew her rags closer about her, and
shivered a little, as if she felt a sting of the
east wind, which was blowing keenly through
the streets. The sound of her shrill, childish
laugh fade the minister’s heart ache, and the
tears burn under his eyelids.

“Who is God?” asked the child. “When
mother’s in a good temper, sometimes she says
‘God bless me!’ Do you know him, please,
minister ?”



52 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER,

But before there was time to answer, the door
into the chapel was opened, and Daniel stood
upon the threshold. At first he stared blandly
forwards, but then his grave face grew ghastly
pale, and he laid his hand upon the door to sup-
port himself until he could recover his speech and
senses. Jessica also looked about her,scared and
irresolute, as if anxious to run away or to hide
herself. The minister was the first to speak.

“Jessica,” he said, “there is a place close
under my pulpit where you shall sit, and where
I can see you all the time. Bea good girl and
listen, and you will hear something about God.
Standring, put this little one in front of the pews
by the pulpit steps.”

But before she could believe it for very glad-
ness, Jessica found herself inside the chapel,
facing the glittering organ, from which a sweet
strain of music was sounding. Not far from her
Jane and Winny were peeping over the front of
their pew, with friendly smiles and glances. It



A NEW WORLD OPENS. 53

was evident that the minister’s elder daughter
was anxious about her behaviour, and she made
_ energetic signs to her when to stand up and when
to kneel; but Winny was content with smiling
at her, whenever her head rose above the top
of the pew. Jessica was happy, but not in the
least abashed. The ladies and gentlemen were
not at all unlike those whom she had often seen
when she was a fairy at the theatre; and very
soon her attention was engrossed by the minis-
ter, whose eyes often fell upon her, as she gazed
eagerly, with uplifted face, upon him. She could
scarcely understand a word of what he said, but
she liked the tones of his voice, and the tender
pity of his face as he looked down upon her.
Daniel hovered about a good deal, with an air
of uneasiness and displeasure, but she was un-
conscious of his presence. Jessica was intent
upon finding out what a minister and God were.



CHAPTER VI

THE FIRST PRAYER.

SIHEN the service was ended, the minister ~
descended the pulpit steps, just as Daniel
~ was about to hurry Jessica away, and
taking her by the hand in the face of all the
congregation, he led her into the vestry, whither
Jane and Winny quickly followed them. He
was fatigued with the services of the day, and
his pale face was paler than ever, as he placed
Jessica before his chair, into which he threw
himself with an air of exhaustion; but bowing
his head upon his hands, he said in a low but.
clear tone, “Lord, these are the lambs of thy
flock. Help me to feed thy lambs!”
“Children,” he said, with a smile upon his.
weary face, “it is no easy thing to know God.
















THE FIRST PRAYER. 5?

But this one thing we know, that he is our
Father—my Father and your Father, Jessica.
He loves you, and cares for you more than I do
for my little girls here.”

He smiled at them and they at him, with an
expression which Jessica felt and understood,
though it made her sad. She trembled a little,
and the minister’s ear caught the sound of a
~ faint though bitter sob.

“T never had any father,” she said, sorrowfully.

“God is your Father,” he answered, very
gently; “he knows all about you, because he is
present everywhere. We cannot see him, but
we have only to speak, and he hears us, and we
may ask him for whatever we want.”

“Will he let me speak to him, as well as these
fine children that are clean, and have got nice
clothes?” asked Jessica, glancing anxiously at
her muddy feet, and her soiled and tattered
frock..

“Yes,” said the minister, smiling, yet sighing

E



58 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER

at the same time; “you = ask him =
moment for what you want.”

Jessica gazed round the room with large,
‘wide-open eyes, as if she were seeking to see
God; but then she shut her eyelids tightly, and
bending her head upon her hands, as she had
seen the minister do, she said, “O God! I want
to know about you. And please Pa Mr. Dan’el
for all the warm coffee he’s give me.” :

Jane and Winny listened with faces of un-
utterable amazement; but the tears stood in
the minister’s eyes, and he added “Amen” to
Jessica’s first prayer.





CHAPTER VII,

HARD QUESTIONS.

=SvianleEL had no opportunity for speaking
Â¥7| to Jessica; for, after waiting until the
- minister left the vestry, he found that
she had gone away by the side entrance. He
had to wait, therefore, until Wednesday morning,
and the sight of her pinched little face was
welcome to him, when he saw it looking wistfully
over the coffee-stall. Yet he had made up his
mind to forbid her to come again, and to threaten
her with the policeman if he ever caught her at
the chapel, where for the future he intended to
keep a sharper look-out. But before he could
speak, Jess had slipped under the stall, and taken
her old seat opon the up-turned basket.






60 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

“Mr. Dan’el,” she said, “has God cae you
for my sups of coffee yet?”

“Paid me?” he repeated, “God? No.”

“Well, he will,’ she answered, nodding her
head sagely; “don’t you be afraid for your

j

money, Mr. Dan’el; I’ve asked him a many times,
and the minister says he’s sure to do it.”

“Jess,” said Daniel, sternly, “have you been
and told the minister about my coffee-stall ?”

“No,” she answered, with a beaming smile,
“but I’ve told God lots and lots of times
since Sunday, and he’s sure to pay in a dav or
two.” 4

“Jess,” continued Daniel, more gently, “you’re
a sharp little girl; I see; and now mind, I’m
going to trust you. You’re never to say a word
about me or my coffee-stall ; because the folks at
our chapel are very grand, and might think it
low and mean of me to keep a coffee-stall. Very
likely they’d say I mustn't be chapel-keeper any
longer, and I should lose a deal of money.”



HARD QUESTIONS. 6I

“Why do you keep the stall then?” asked
fessica.

“Don’t you see what a many pennies I get
every morning?” he said, shaking his canvas
bag. “I get a good deal of money that way in
a year.”

“What do you want such a deal of money
for?” she enquired; “do you give it to God ?”

Daniel did not answer, but the question went
to his heart like a sword thrust. What did he
want so much money for? He thought of his
one bare and solitary room, where he lodged
alone, a good way from the railway-bridge, with
very few comforts in it, but containing a desk,
strongly and securely fastened, in which was his
savings’ bank book and his receipts for money
put out at interest, and a bag of sovereigns, for
which he had been toiling and slaving both on
Sundays and week-days. He could not remem-
ber giving anything away, except the dregs of
the coffee and the stale buns, for which Jessica



62 JESSICA’S FiRST PRAYER.

was asking God to pay him. He coughed, and
cleared his throat, and rubbed his eyes; and
then, with nervous and hesitating fingers, he took
a penny from his bag, and slipped it into
Jessica’s hand. .

“No, no, Mr. Dan’el,” she said; “I don’t want
you to give me any of your pennies. I want
God to pay you.”

“Ay, he'll pay me,” muttered Daniel; “there'll
be a day of reckoning by and by.”

“Does God have reckoning days?” asked
Jessica. “I used to like reckoning days when
I was a fairy.”

“Ay, ay,” he answered, “but there’s few folks
like God’s reckoning days.”

“But you'll be glad, won’t you?” she said.

Daniel bade her get on with her breakfast,
and then he turned over in his mind the thoughts
which her questions had awakened. Conscience
told him he would not be glad to meet God’s
reckoning day.



HARD QUESTIONS. 63

“Mr. Dan’el,” said Jessica, when they were
about to separate, and he would not take back
his gift of a penny, “if you wouldn’t mind, I’d
like to come and buy a cup of coffee to-morrow,
like a customer, you know : and I won’t let out
a word about the stall to the minister next
Sunday, don’t you be afraid.”

She tied the penny carefully into a corner of
her rags, and with a cheerful smile upon her thin
face, she glided from under the shadow of the
bridge, and was soon lost to Daniel’s sight.





CHACTER Vill.
AN UNEXPECTED VISITOR.

HEN Jessica came to the street into
which the court where she lived opened,
she saw an unusual degree of excitement

among the inhabitants, a group of whom were

gathered about a tall gentleman, whom she
recognised in an instant to be the minister. She
elbowed her way through the midst of them, and
the minister’s face brightened as she presented
herself before him. He followed her up the low
entry, across the squalid court, through the stable,
empty of the donkeys just then, up the creaking
rounds of the ladder, and into the miserable loft,
where the tiles were falling in, and the broken



window-panes were stuffed with rags and paper.
iNcar to the old rusty stove, which served as a














AN UNEXPECTED VISITOR. 64

grate when there was any fire, there was a short
board laid across some bricks, and upon this the
minister took his seat, while Jessica sat upon the
floor before him.

“Jessica,” he said, sadly, “is this where you
live ?”

“Yes,” she answered, “but we’d a nicer room
than this when I was a fairy, and mother
played at the theatre; we shall be better off
when I’m grown up, if I’m pretty enough to
play like her.”

“My child,” he said, “I’m come to ask your
mother to let you go to school in a pleasant place
down in the country. Will she let you go?”

“No,” answered Jessica, “mother says she’ll
never let me learn to read, or go to church; she
says it would make me good for nothing. But
please, sir, she doesn’t know anything about
your church, it’s such a long way off, and she

hasn’t found me out yet. She always gets very
drunk of a Sunday.”



68 JESSICA'S FIRST PRAYER.

The child spoke simply, and as if all she said
was a matter of course; but the minister shud-
dered, and he looked through the broken window
to the little patch of gloomy sky overhead.

“What can I do?” he cried mournfully, as
though speaking to himself.

“Nothing, please, sir,” said Jessica, “only let
me come to hear you of a Sunday, and tell me
about God. If you was to give me fine clothes
like your little girls, mother ’ud only pawn them
for gin. You can’t do anything more for me.”

“Where is your mother?” he asked.
~ “Qut on a spree,” said Jessica, “ and she won’t
be home for a day or two. She’d not hearken
to you, sir. There’s the missionary came, and
she pushed him down the ladder, till he was
nearly killed. They used to call mother the
Vixen at the theatre, and nobody durst say a
word to her.”

The minister was silent for some minutes,
thinking painful thoughts, for his eyes seemed



AN UNEXPECTED VISITOR. 69

to darken as he looked round the miserable
room, and his face wore an air of sorrow and
disappointment. At last he spoke again.

“Who is Mr. Daniel, Jessica?” he enquired

“Oh,” she said cunningly, “he’s only a friend
of mine as gives me sups of coffee. You don’t
know all the folks in London, sir!”

“No,” he answered, smiling, “but does he
keep a coffee-stall ?”

Jessica nodded her head, but did not trust
herself to speak.

“How much does a cup of coffee cost?”
asked the minister.

“A full cup’s a penny,” she answered,
promptly; “but you can have half a cup; and
there are halfpenny and penny buns.”

“Good coffee and buns?” he said, with
another smile.

“ Prime,” replied Jessica, smacking her lips.

“Well,” continued the minister, “tell your
friend to give you a full cup of coffee and a



7° JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

penny bun every morning, and I’ll pay for them
as often as he chooses to come to me for the
money.”

Jessica’s face beamed with delight, but in an
instant it clouded over as she recollected Daniel’s
secret, and her lips quivered as she spoke a
disappointed ney .

“Please, sir,” she said, “I’m sure he couldn’t
come; oh! he couldn’t, It’s such a long way,
and Mr. Daniel has plenty of customers. No,
he never would come to you for the money.”

“Jessica,” he answered, “I will tell you what
I will do. I will trust you with a shilling every
Sunday, if you'll promise to give it to your friend
the very first time you see him. I shall be sure
to know if you cheat me.” And the keen,
piercing eyes of the minister looked down into
Jessica’s, and once more the tender and pitying
smile returned to his face.

“I can do nothing else for you?” he said, in
a tone of mingled sorrow and questioning.



AN UNEXPECTED VISITOR. 71

“No, minister,” answered Jessica, “only tell
me about God.”

“J will tell you one thing about him now,” he
replied. “If I took you to live in my house
with my little daughters, you would have to be
washed and clothed in new clothing to make
you fit for it. God wanted us to go and live at
home with him in heaven, but we were so sinful
that we could never have been fit for it. So
he sent his own Son to live amongst us, and
die for us, to wash us from our sins, and to give
us new clothing, and to make us ready to live
in God’s house. When you ask God for any-
thing, you must say ‘For Jesus Christ’s sake.’
Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

After these words the minister carefully de-
scended the ladder, followed by Jessica’s bare
and nimble feet, and she led him by the nearest
way into one of the great thoroughfares of the
city, where he said good-bye to her, adding,
‘God bless you, my child,” in a tone which sank



72 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

into Jessica’s heart. He had put a silver six-
pence into her hand to provide for her breakfast
the next three mornings, and, with a feeling of
being very rich, she returned to her miserable
home. —

The next morning Jessica presented herself
proudly as a customer at Daniel’s stall, and paid
over the sixpence in advance. He felt a little
troubled as he heard her story, lest the minister
should endeavour to find him out; but he could
not refuse to let the child come daily for her
comfortable breakfast. If he was detected, he
would promise to give up his coffee-stall rather
than offend the great people of the chapel; but
unless he was, it would be foolish of him to lose
the money it brought in week after week.

— EOS



CHAPTER IX.
JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER ANSWERED.

VERY Sunday evening the barefooted

and bareheaded child might be seen
advancing confidently up to the chapel,
where rich and fashionable people worshipped
God; but before taking her place she arrayed
herself in a little cloak and bonnet, which had
once belonged to the minister’s elder daughter,
and which was kept with Daniel’s serge gown,
so that she presented a somewhat more respect-
able appearance in the eyes of the congregation.
The minister had no listener more attentive, and
he would have missed the pinched, earnest little
face if it were not to be seen in the seat just
F





74 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

under the pulpit. At the close of each service
he spoke to her for a minute or two in his
vestry, often saying no more than a single sen-
tence, for the day’s labour had wearied him.
The shilling, which was always lying upon the
chimney- piece, placed there by Jane and Winny
in turns, was immediately handed over, accord-
ing to promise, to Daniel as she left the chapel,
and so Jessica’s breakfast was provided for her
week after week.

But at last there came a Sunday evening
when the minister, going up into his pulpit, did _
miss the wistful, hungry face, and the shilling
lay unclaimed upon the vestry chimney-piece.
Daniel looked out for her anxiously every morn-
ing, but no Jessica glided into his secluded -
corner, to sit beside him with her breakfast on
her lap, and with a number of strange questions
to ask. He felt her absence more keenly than
he could have expected. The child was nothing
to him, he kept saying to himsclf; and yet he



JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER ANSWERED. 75

felt that she was something, and that he could
not help being uneasy and anxious about her.
Why had he never enquired where she lived?
The minister knew, and for a minute Daniel
thought he would go and ask him, but that
might awaken suspicion. How could he account
for so much anxiety, when he was supposed
only to know of her absence from chapel one
Sunday evening? It would be running a risk,
and, after all, Jessica was nothing to him. So
he went home and looked over his savings’
bank book, and counted his money, and he found
to his satisfaction that he had gathered together
nearly four hundred pounds, and was adding
more every week.

But when upon the next Sunday Jessica’s
seat was again empty, the anxiety of the solemn
chapel-keeper overcame his prudence and his
fears. The minister had retired to his vestry,
and was standing with his arm resting upon
the chimney-piece, and his eyes fixed upon the

F 2



0 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

unclaired shilling, which Winny had laid there
before the service, when there was a tap at the
door, and Daniel entered with a respectful but
hesitating air.

“Well, Standring?” said the minister, ques-
tioningly.

“Sir,” he said, “I’m uncomfortable about that
little girl, and I know you’ve been once to see
after her; she told me about it; and so I make
bold to ask you where she lives, and I’ll see
what’s become of her.”

“Right, Standring,” answered the minister ;
“T am troubled about the child, and so are my
little girls. I thought of going aso but my
time is very much occupied just now.’

“T’ll go, sir,” replied Daniel, promptly ; sa
after receiving the necessary information about
Jessica’s home, he put out the lights, locked
the door and turned towards his lonely lodgings.

But though it was getting late upon Sunday
evening, and Jessica’s home was a long way



JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER ANSWERED. 77

distant, Daniel found that his anxiety wouid not
suffer him to return to his solitary room. It
was of no use to reason with himself, as he
stood at the corner of the street, feeling per-
plexed and troubled, and promising his con-
science that he would go the very first thing in
the morning after he shut up his coffee-stall.
In the dim, dusky light, as the summer evening
drew to a close, he fancied he could see Jessica’s
thin figure and wan face gliding on before him,
and turning round from time to time to see if
he were following. It was only fancy, and he
laughed a little at himself; but the laugh was
husky, and there was a choking sensation in his
throat, so he buttoned his Sunday coat over his
breast, where his silver watch and chain hung
temptingly, and started off at a rapid pace for
the centre of the city.

It was not quite dark when he reached the
court, and stumbled up the narrow entry leading
to it; but Daniel did hesitate when he opened



78 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

the stable-door, and looked into a blank, black
space, in which he could discern nothing. He
thought he had better retreat while he could do
so safely; but as he still stood with his hand
upon the rusty latch, he heard a faint, small
voice through the nicks of the unceiled boarding
above his head.

“ Our Father,” said the little voice, “ please to
send somebody to me, for Jesus Christ’s sake,
Amen.”

“1’m here, Jess,” cried Daniel, with a sudden
bound of his heart, such as he had not felt for
years, and which almost took away his breath
as he peered into the darkness, until at last he
discerned dimly the ladder which led up into
the loft.

Very cautiously, but with an eagerness which
surprised himself, he climbed up the creaking
rounds of the ladder and entered the dismal
room, where the child was lying in desolate
darkness. Fortunately he had put his box of



JESSIca’s FIRST PRAYER ANSWERED. . 79

matches into his pocket, and the end of a wax
candle, with which he kindled the lamps, and in
another minute a gleam of light shone upon
Jessica’s white features. She was stretched
upon a scanty litter of straw under the slanting
roof where the tiles had not fallen off, with her



poor rags for her only covering; but as her eyes
looked up into Daniel’s face bending over her, a
bright smile of joy sparkled in them.

“Oh!” she cried, gladly, but in a feeble voice,
“it’s Mr. Dan’el! Has God told you to come
here, Mr. Dan’el ?”



80 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

“Yes,” said Daniel, kneeling beside her,
taking her wasted hand in his, and parting the
matted hair upon her damp forehead.

“What did he say to you, Mr. Dan’el ?” said
Jessica.

“He told me I was a great sinner,” replied
Daniel. “He told me I loved a little bit of
dirty money better than a poor, friendless, help-
less child, whom he had sent to me to see if I
would do her a little good for his sake. He
looked at me, or the minister did, through and
through, and he said, ‘Thou fool, this night thy
soul shall be required of thee : then whose shall
those things be which thou hast provided ?’
And I could answer him nothing, Jess. He
was come to a reckoning with me, and I could
not say a word to him.”

“Aren't you a good man, Mr. Dan’el ?”
whispered Jessica.

“No, I’m a wicked sinner,” he cried, while
the tears rolled down his solemn face. “I’ve



JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER ANSWERED Sr

been constant at God’s house, but only to get
money; I’ve been steady and industrious, but
only to get money; and now God looks at
me, and he says, ‘ Thou fool!’ Oh, Jess, Jess !
You’re more fit for heaven than I ever was in
my life.”

“Why don’t you ask him to make you good
for Jesus Christ’s sake?” asked the child.

“I can't,” hesaid. “I’ve been kneeling down
Sunday after Sunday when the minister’s been
praying, but all the time I was thinking how
rich some of the carriage people were. I’ve
been loving money and worshipping money all
along, and I’ve nearly let you die rather than
run the risk of losing part of my earnings. I’m
a very sinful man.”

“ But you know what the minister often says,”
murmured Jessica. “‘Herein is love, not that
we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent
his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.’”

“T’ve heard it so often that I don’t feel



§2 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER..

it,” said Daniel. “I used to like to hear the
minister say it, but now it goes in at one ear
and out at the other. My heart is very hard,
Jessica.”

By the feeble glimmer of the candle Daniel
saw Jessica’s wistful eyes fixed upon him with a
sad and loving glance; and then she lifted up
her weak hand to her face, and laid it over her
closed eyelids, and her feverish lips moved
slowly.

“God,” she said, “please to make Mr.
Dan’el’s heart soft, for Jesus Christ’s sake,
Amen.”

She did not speak again, nor Daniel, for some
time. He took off his Sunday coat and laid
it over the tiny, shivering frame, which was
shaking with cold even in the summer evening;
and as he did so he remembered the words
which the Lord says he will pronounce at the
last day of reckoning, “Forasmuch as ye have
done it unto one of the least of these my



ESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER ANSWERED. 82
J 3

brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Daniel
Standring felt his heart turning with love to the
Saviour, and he bowed his head upon his hands,
and cried in the depths of his contrite spirit,
* God be merciful to me, a sinner.”





CHAPTER X.
THE SHADOW OF DEATH.

HERE was no coffee-stall opened under

the railway arch the following morning,
"and Daniel's regular customers stood
amazed as they drew near the empty corner,
where they were accustomed to get their early
breakfast. It would have astonished them still
more if they could have seen how he was occu-
pied in the miserable loft. He had intrusted
a friendly woman out of the court to buy food,
and fuel, and all night long he had watched
beside Jessica, who was light-headed and deli-
rious, but in the wanderings of her thoughts
and words often spoke to God, and prayed for





THE SHADOW OF DEATH. &

tt

her Mr. Dan’el. The neighbour informed him
that the child’s mother had gone off some
days before, fearing that she was ill of some
infectious fever, and that she, alone, had taken a
little care of her from time to time. As soon
as the morning came he sent for a doctor, and,
after receiving permission from him, he wrap-
ped the poor deserted Jessica in his coat, and
bearing her tenderly in his arms down the
ladder, he carried her to a cab, which the neigh-
bour brought to the entrance of the court. It
was to no other than his own solitary home that
he had resolved to take her; and when the
mistress of the lodgings stood at her door with
her arms a-kimbo, to forbid the admission of
the wretched and neglected child, her tongue
was silenced by the gleam, of a half-sovereign,
which Daniel slipped into the palm of her
hard hand.

By that afternoon’s post the minister received
the following letter :—



86 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER, |

REVEREND SIR,

“Tf you will condescend to enter under my
humble roof, you will have the pleasure of seeing
little Jessica, who is at the point of death, unless
God in his mercy restores her. Hoping you
will excuse this liberty, as I cannot leave the
child, I remain with duty,

“Your respectful Servant,
“D. STANDRING.
“P.S. Jessica desires her best love and duty
to Miss Jane and Winny.”

The minister laid aside the book he was
reading, and without any delay started off for
his chapel-keeper’s dwelling. There was Jessica
lying restfully upon Daniel’s bed, but the pinched
features were deadly pale, and the sunken eyes
shone with a waning light. She was too feeble
to turn her head when the door opened, and he
paused for a minute, looking at her and at Daniel,
who, seated at the head of the bed, was turning



THE SHADOW OF DEATH. 87

over the papers in his desk, and reckoning up
once more the savings of his lifetime. But when
the minister advanced into the middle of the
room, Jessica’s white cheeks flushed into a deep
red. oa

“Oh, minister!” she cried, “God has given
me everything I wanted except paying Mr.
Dan’el for the coffee he used to give me.”

“Ah! but God has paid me over and over
again,” said Daniel, rising to receive the minister.
“He’s given me my own soul in exchange for
it. Let me make bold to speak to you this once,
sir. You’re a very learned man, and a great
preacher, and many people flock to hear you
till I’m hard put to it to find seats for them at
times ; but all the while, hearkening to you every
blessed Sabbath, I was losing my soul, and you
never once said to me, though you saw me
scores and scores of times, ‘Standring, are you
a saved man?’”

“Standring,” said the minister, in a tone of



88 JESSICA'S FIRST PRAYER.

great distress and regret, “1 always took it for
granted that you were a Christian.”

“ Ah,” continued Daniel, thoughtfully, “ but
God wanted somebody to ask me that question,
and he did not find anybody in the congregation, ©
so he sent this poor little lass to me. Well, I don’t
mind telling now, even if I lose the place; but
for a long time, nigh upon ten years, I’ve kept
a coffee-stall on week-days in the city, and
cleared, one week with another, about ten shil-
lings: but I was afraid the chapel-wardens
would n’t approve of the coffee business, as low,
so I kept it a close secret, and always shut up
early of a morning. It’s me that sold Jessica
her cup of coffee, which you paid for, sir.”

“There’s no harm in it, my good fellow,” said
the minister, kindly; “you need make no secret
of it.”

“Well,” resumed Daniel, “the questions this
peor little creature has asked me have gone
quicker and deeper down to my conscience than



THE SHADOW OF DEATH. 89

all your sermons, if I may make so free as to
say it. She’s come often and often of a morning,
and looked into my face with those dear eyes of
hers, and said, ‘Don’t you love Jesus Christ,
Mr. Dan’el ?? ‘Doesn’t it make you very glad
that God is your Father, Mr. Dan’el ?’ ‘Are we
getting nearer heaven every day, Mr. Dan’el?’
And one day says she, ‘Are you going to give
all your money to God, Mr. Dan’el ?’ Ah, that
question made me think indeed, and it’s never
been answered till this day. While I’ve been
sitting beside the bed here, I’ve counted up all
my savings: 3974. 17s. it is; and I’ve said, Lord,
it’s all thine; and I’d give every penny of it
rather than lege the child, if it be thy blessed
will to spare her life.’”

Daniel’s voice quavered at the last words, and
his face sank upon the pillow where Jessica’s
feeble and motionless head lay. There was a
very sweet yet surprised smile upon her face,
and she lifted her wasted fingers to rest upon

G



90 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER...

the bowed head beside her, while she shut her
eyes and shaded them with her other weak hand.

“Our Father,” she said, in a faint. whisper
which still reached the ears of the minister and
the beadle, “T asked you to let me come home



to heaven; but if Mr. Dan’el wants me, please
to let me stay a little longer, for Jesus Christ’s
sake, Amen.”

For some minutes after Jessica’s prayer there
was a deep and unbroken silence in the room,



THE SHADOW OF DEATH. Ol

Daniel still hiding his face upon the pillow, and
the minister standing beside them with bowed
head and closed eyes, as if he also were praying.
When he looked up again at the forsaken and
desolate child, he saw that her feeble hand had
fallen from her face, which looked full of rest
and peace, while her breath came faintly but
regularly through her parted lips. He took her
little hand into his own with a pang of fear and
grief; but instead of the mortal chillness of death,
he felt the pleasant warmth and moisture of life.
He touched Daniel’s shoulder, and as he lifted
up his head in sudden alarm, he whispered to
him, “The child is not dead, but is only asleep.”

Before Jessica was fully recovered, Daniel
rented a little house for himself and his adopted
daughter to dwell in. He made many enquiries
after her mother, but she never appeared again
in her old haunts, and he was well pleased that
there was nobody to interfere with his charge



92 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

of Jessica. When Jessica grew strong enough,
many a cheerful walk had they together, in the
early mornings, as they wended their way to the
railway bridge, where the little girl took her
place behind the stall, and soon learned to serve
the daily customers; and many a happy day was
spent in helping to sweep and dust the chapel,
into which she had crept so secretly at first, her
great delight being to attend to the pulpit and the
vestry, and the pew where the minister’s children
sat, while Daniel and the woman he employed
cleaned the rest of the building. Many a Sun-
day also the minister in his pulpit, and his little
daughters in their pew, and Daniel treading softly
about the aisles, as their glance fell upon Jessica’s
eager, earnest, happy face, thought of the first
time they saw her sitting amongst the congre-
gation, and of Jessica’s first prayer.



By the same Author.

DE

THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN.

Engravings on toned paper. Feap. 8vo. 2s. cloth boards; 2s. 6d. extra boards,
gilt edges, .



THE CHILDREN OF CLOVERLEY.

Ergravings on toned paper. Fcap. 8vo. 2s. cloth boards; 2s. 6d. extra boards
gilt edges.

ENOCH RODEN’S TRAINING.’
1

Engravings on toned paper. Fcap. 8vo. 2s. cloth boards; 2s. 6d. extra boards}
gilt edges.

FERN’S HOLLOW.

Engravings on toned paper. Fcap. 8vo. 2s. cloth boards; 25, 6d. extra boards,
gilt edges.



Handsome Tlustvaied Gift Books.

Ce

CHRISTIE REDFERN’S TROUBLES.

Crown 8yo. 38. 6d. cloth boards, gilt edges



POMPONIA;
OR, THE GOSPEL IN C/ESAR’S HOUSEHOLD.

By Mrs. Wess, Author of ‘ Naomi,” “Alypius of Tagaste,” &c. Ingravings, ~
4s. bevelled cloth boards, gilt edges.



ALYPIUS OF TAGASTE:
A TALE OF THE EARLY CHURCH.

By Mrs. Wees, Author of “Naomi.” Engravings. 3s. 6d. bevelled cloth boards,
gilt edges,



FROM DAWN TO DARK IN ITALY:
A TALE OF THE REFORMATION IN THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY.

Numerous fine Engravings. 45. bevelled cloth boards, gilt edges.



GOLDEN HILLS:
A TALE OF THE IRISH FAMINE.

By the Author of Cedar Creek.” With Engravings. 3s. 6d. bevelled clcth boards,
gilt edges.

PALESTINE FOR THE YOUNG.

ny the Rev. A. A. Bonar, D.D. With numerous Engravings. 5s. bevelled cloth
boards, gilt edges,



fandsome Illustrated Gift Books.

'

DZ

THE CHRONICLES OF AN OLD MANOR HOUSE
A TALE OF THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY.

In Three Parts. By G. E. Sarcent, Author of “The City Arak,” “Story of a
Pocket Bible,” &c. Engravings. 4s. bevelled cloth boards, gilt edges.

THE FOSTER-BROTHERS OF DOON.
| A TALE OF THE IRISH REBELLION OF 3798.

3y the Author of ‘‘Golden Hiils,” ‘‘Cedar Creek,” &c. Engravings. 4s. bevelled
cloth boards, gilt edges.

BEAUTIES AND WONDERS OF VEGETABLE LIFE

OR, RAMBLES IN PARKS, FORESTS, CONSERVATORIES,
ORCHARDS, GARDENS, FIELDS, AND HEATHS.

With numerous Illustrations. 3s. 6@. cloth boards.

THE PICTURE SCRAP-BOOK;
OR, HAPPY HOURS AT HOME.

In Two Parts. Royal 4to. finely printed on tinted paper. Each Part complete ip
itself, 4s. ; or bound together, in handsome cloth, gilt edges, &s.

I. ScripTuRE SCENES, ETC.
II, Home anp Country Picturgs.



THE PICTURE SCRAP-BOOK.

New Series. In Two Parts, each complete in itself. Consisting of fine Wood
Engravings, 4s. 6d. each Part, bound in cloth, gilt edges; ortoge ef 8s.
J. Tue Szasons anp Home TRAVELLER.
IL. Scriprurs Prinvs AND Orm~y Lancs



Books for the Voung.
Cl

LOUISA FEATHERINGTON,
AND OTHER TALES.

Engravings. 18mo. xs 6d. cloth boards; 2s. extra boards, gilt edzess



LYNTONVILLE ;
OR, THE IRISH BOY IN CANADA.

Engravings. 18mo, 1s. 6d. cloth boards; 2s. extra boards, gilt edges.

GEORGE WAYLAND,
THE LITTLE MEDICINE CARRIER.

By the Author of “Basil,” &c. Engravings. 18mo. xs. cloth boards ; "1s, 6d, ex'ra
boards, gilt edges.



LILIAN :
A STORY OF THREE HUNDRED YEARS AGO.

With Illustrations. x18mo. 1s. 6¢. cloth boards; 2s. extra boards, gilt edges.

PATTY BAILEY ;
OR, WHO KNOWS BEST

With Engravings. x8mo rs, 6c. cloth boards. 2s. extra boards, gilt edges.

JESSIE AND HER FRIENDS.
With Engravings. 18mo. 1s. 6d. cloth boards; 2s. extra boards, gilt edges.

LONDON: THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY;

56, PATERNOSTER ROW} 65, ST. PAUL’S CHURCHYARD; 164, PICCADILLY



BAN \363









Full Text



(the Baldwin Tabrary
University

RMB wi
Florida


fe
bio fe

J’ lg
O fbf! 7
Me Pa
JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.







JESSICA’S

FIRST PRAYER.

BY THE AUTHOR OF
“FERN’S HOLLOW,” “FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN,”
“PILGRIM STREET,” ETC.



LONDON:
THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY;
56, PATERNOSTER ROW; 65, ST. PAUL’S CHURCHYARD
AND 164, PICCADILLY.
LONDON:
R. CLAY, SONS, AND TAYLOK, PRINTERS,
BREAD STREET HILL,
CONTENTS.

QT
CHAPTER I, - PAGE
THE COFFEE-STALL AND ITS KEEPER eee ee 9

CHAPTER II.

JESSICA’S TEMPTATION. . .. ... COB

CHAPTER III.

AN OLD FRIEND IN A NEW DRESS. . .. . . 2 1. 27

CHAPTER IV.

PEEPS INTO FAIRY-LAND . . . 1. 2 6 ew ew ee ee 879

CHAPTER V.

A NEW WORLD OPENS . . ee 6 6 ee ee eee AO
viii CONTENTS,

CHAPTER VI. . PAGE:

THE FIRST PRAYER , . 1. ee ew ew ww ee ee A

CHAPTER VII.

HARD QUESTIONS =. 6 ew eee ee ew we ew 5D

CHAPTER VIII.

AN UNEXPECTED VISITOR . . 64
CHAPTER Ix.
JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER ANSWERED . 6 woe ee ee 73

CHAPTER xX.

THE SHADOW CF DEATH . . . 1) ee ee ee 84


JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.
OE
CHAPTER I.
THE COFFEE-STALL AND ITS KEEPER.

gN a screened and secluded corner of one
of the many railway-bridges which span
the streets of London, there could be



seen, a few years ago, from five o’clock every
morning until half-past eight, a tidily. set out
coffee-stall, consisting of a trestle and board,
upon which stood two large tin cans, with a
small fire of charcoal burning under each, so as
to keep the coffee boiling during the early hours
of the morning when the work-people were
thronging into the city, on their way to their
B
£0 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

daily toil. The coffee-stall was a favourite one,
‘for besides being under shelter, which was of
great consequence upon rainy mornings, it was
also in so private a niche that the customers
taking their out-of-door breakfast were not too
much exposed to notice; and moreover, the
coffee-stall keeper was a quiet man, who cared
only to serve the busy workmen, without hin-
dering them by any gossip. He was a tall,
spare, elderly man, with a singularly solemn
face, and a manner which was grave and secret.
Nobody knew either his name or dwelling-place ;
unless it might be the policeman who strode
past the coffee-stall every half-hour, and nodded
familiarly to the solemn man behind it. There ©
were very few who cared to make any enquiries
about him; but those who did could only dis-
cover that he kept the furniture of his stall at a
neighbouring coffee-house, whither he wheeled
his trestle and board and crockery every day,
not later than half-past eight in the morning ;
THE COFFEE-STALL AND ITS KEEPER. rT

after which he was wont to glide away with a
soft footstep, and a mysterious and fugitive air,
with many backward and sidelong glances, as if
he dreaded observation, until he was lost among
the crowds which thronged the streets. No
one had ever had the persevering curiosity to
track him al] the way to his house, or to find
out his other means of gaining a livelihood;
but in general his stall was surrounded by
customers, whom he served with silent serious-
ness, and who did not grudge to pay him his
charge for the refreshing coffee he supplied to
them.

For several years the crowd of work-people
had paused by the coffee-stall under the railway-
arch, when one morning, in a partial lull of his
business, the owner became suddenly aware of
a pair of very bright dark eyes being fastened
upon him and the slices of bread and butter on
his board, with a gaze as hungry as that of a
mouse which has been driven by famine into 2

B2
12 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

trap. A thin and meagre face belonged to the
eyes, which was half hidden by a mass of matted
hair hanging over the forehead, and down the
neck; the only covering which the head or neck
had, for a tattered frock, scarcely fastened to-
gether with broken strings, was slipping down
over the shivering shoulders of the little girl.
Stooping down to a basket behind his stall, he
caught sight of two bare little feet curling up
from the damp pavement, as the child lifted up
first one and then the other, and laid them one
over another to gain a momentary feeling of
warmth. Whoever the wretched child was, she
did not speak; only at every steaming cupful
which he poured out of his can, her dark eyes
gleamed hungrily, and he could hear her smack
her thin lips, as if in fancy she was tasting the
warm and fragrant coffee.

“Oh, come now!” he said at last, when only
one boy was left taking his breakfast leisurely,
‘and he leaned over his stall to speak in a low
THE COFFEE-‘STALL AND ITS KEEPER; 13

and quiet tone, “why don’t you go away, little,
girl? Come, come; you're staying too long, -
you know.”

“I’m just going, sir,” she answered, shrugging
her small shoulders to draw her frock up higher
about her neck; “ only it’s raining cats and dogs
outside; and mother’s been away all night, and
she took the key with her; and it’s so nice to
smell the coffee; and the police has left off
worriting me while I’ve been here. He thinks
I’m a customer taking my breakfast.” And the
child laughed a shrill little laugh of mockery at
herself and the policeman.

“You've had no breakfast, I suppose,” said
the coffee-stal! keeper, in the same low and
confidential voice, and leaning over his stall till
his face nearly touched the thin, sharp features
of the child

“No,” she replied, coolly, “and I shall want
ny dinner dreadful bad afore I get it, I know.
You don’t often feel dreadful hungry, do you,

c
14 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

sir? I’m not griped yet, you know; but afore
I taste my dinner it’ll be pretty bad, I tell you.
Ah! very bad indeed!”

She turned away with a knowing nod, as
much as to say she had one experience in life
to which he was quite a stranger; but before
she had gone half a dozen steps, she heard
the quiet voice calling to her in rather louder
tones, and in an instant she was back at the
stall.

“ Slip in here,” said the owner, in a cautious
whisper; “here’s a little coffee left and a few
crusts. There, you must never come again,
you know. I never give to beggars; and if
you'd begged, I’d have called the police. There;
put your poor feet towards the fire. Now, aren’t
you comfortable ?”

~The child looked up with a face of intense
satisfaction. She was seated upon an empty
basket, with her feet near the pan of charcoal,
and a cup of steaming coffee on her lap; but
THE COFFEE-STALL AND ITS KEEPER. 15

her mouth was too full for her to reply, except
by a very deep nod, which expressed unbounded
delight. The man was busy for a while packing
up his crockery; but every now and then he
stopped to look down upon her, and to shake
his head gravely.

“ What’s your name?” he asked, at length;
“but there, never mind! I don’t care what
it is. What’s your name to do with me, I
wonder ?”

“It’s Jessica,” said the girl: “but mother and
everybody calls me Jess. You’d be tired of
being called Jess, if you was me. It’s Jess
here, and Jess there; and everybody wanting
me to go errands. And they think nothing of
giving me smacks, and kicks, and pinches.
Look here!”

Whether her arms were black and blue from
the cold, or from ill-usage, he could not tell;
but he shook his head again seriously, and the
child felt encouraged to go on,
16 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

“TI wish I could stay here for ever and ever,
just as I am!” she cried. “But you’re going
away, I know; and I’m never to come again, or
you'll set the police on me!”

“Yes,” said the coffee-stall keeper, very softly,
and looking round to see if there were any other
ragged children within sight; “if you’ll promise
‘not to come again for a whole week, and not to
tell anybody else, you may come once more.
I'll give vou one other treat. But you must
be off now.”

“I’m off, sir,’ she said, sharply; “but if
you’ve a errand I could go on, I’d do it all
right, I would. Let me carry some of your
things.’

“No, no,” cried the man; “you run away,
like a good girl; and mind! I’m not to see
you again for a whole week.”

“ All right!” answered Jess, setting off down
the rainy street at a quick run, as if to show her
willing agreement to the bargain; while the
THE COFFEE-STALL AND ITS KEEPER. 17

coffee-stall keeper, with many a cautious glance
around him, removed his stock-in-trade to the
coffee-house near at hand, and was seen no more
for the rest of the day in the neighbourhood of
the railway-bridge.
CHAPTER II,
JESSICA’S TEMPTATION.

essicA kept her part of the bargain
faithfully ; and though the solemn and
silent man under the dark shadow of the
bridge looked out for her every morning as he
served his customers, he caught no glimpse of
her wan face and thin little frame. But when
the appointed time was finished, she presented
herself at the stall, with her hungry eyes fastened
again upon the piles of buns and bread and
butter, which were fast disappearing before the
demands of the buyers. The business was at
its height, and the famished child stood quietly
on one side watching for the throng to melt
away. But as soon as the nearest church clock
had chimed eight, she drew a little nearer to the


JESSICA’S TEMPTATION. Ig

stall, and at a signal from its owner she slipped
between the trestles of his stand, and took up
her former position on the empty basket. To
his eyes she seemed even a little thinner, and
certainly more ragged, than before; and he laid
a whole bun, a stale one which was left from
yesterday’s stock, upon her lap, as she lifted
the cup of coffee to her lips with both her
benumbed hands.

“What’s your name ?” she asked, looking up
to him with her keen eyes.

“Why?” he answered, hesitatingly, as if he
was reluctant to tell so much of himself; “my
christened name is Daniel.”

“ And where do you live, Mr. Dan’el?” she
enquired.

“Oh, come now!” he exclaimed, “if you’re
going to be impudent, you’d better march off.
What business is it of yours where I live? I
don’t want to know where you live, I can tell

you.”
200 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

“T didn’t mean no offence,’ said Jess, humbly ;
“only I thought I’d like to know where a good
man like you lived. You’re a very good man,
aren’t you, Mr. Dan’el ?”

“T don’t know,” he answered, uneasily ; “I’m
afraid I’m not.”

»

“Oh, but you are, you know,” continued Jess.
“You make good coffee; prime! And buns too!
And I’ve been watching you hundreds of times
afore you saw me, and the police leaves you
alone, and never tells you to move on. Oh,
yes ! you must be a very good man.”

Daniel sighed, and fidgeted about his crockery
with a grave and occupied air, as if he were pon-
dering over the child’s notion of goodness. He
made good coffee, and the police left him alone!
It was quite true; yet still as he counted up the
store of pence which had accumulated in his
strong canvas bag, he sighed a;*ain still more
heavily. He purposely let one of his pennies
fall upon the muddy pavement, and went on
JESSICA’S TEMPTATION. 24

counting the rest busily, while he furtively
watched the little girl sitting at his feet. With-
out a shade of change upon her small face, she
covered the penny with her foot, and drew it in
carefully towards her, while she continued to
chatter fluently to him. For a moment a feel-
ing of pain shot a pang through Daniel’s heart ;
and then he congratulated himself on having
entrapped the young thief. It was time to be
leaving now; but before he went he would make
her move her bare foot, and disclose the penny
concealed beneath it, and then he would warn
her never to venture near his stall again. This
was her gratitude, he thought; he had given her
two breakfasts and more kindness than he had
shown to any fellow-creature for many a long
year; and, at the first chance, the young jade
turned upon him, and robbed him! He was
brooding over it painfully in his mind, when
Jessica’s uplifted face changed suddenly, and a
dark flush crept over her pale cheeks, and the
22 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

tears started to her eyes. She stooped down,

"and picking up the coin from amongst the mud,
she rubbed it bright and clean upon her rags,
and laid it upon the stall close to his hand, but
without speaking a word. Daniel looked down
upon her solemuly and searchingly.

“What's this ?” he asked.

“Please, Mr. Daniel,’ she answered, “ it
dropped, and you didn’t hear it.”

“Jess,” he said, sternly, “tell me all about it.”

“Oh, please,” she sobbed, “I never had a -
penny of my very own but once; and it rolled
close to my foot; and you didn’t see it; and I
hid it up sharp; and then I thought how kind
you’d been, and how good the coffee and buns
are, and how you let me warm myself at your
fire; and please, I couldn’t keep the penny any
longer. You'll never let me come again, I
guess.”

Daniel turned away for a minute, busying
himself with putting his cups and saucers into






ey

——

in






JESSICA’S TEMPTATION. 25

the basket, while Jessica stood by trembling,
with the large tears rolling slowly down her
cheeks. The snug, dark corner, with its warm
fire of charcoal, and its fragrant smell of coffee,
had been a paradise to her for these two brief
spans of time; but she had been guilty of the sin
which would drive her from it. All beyond the
railway arch the streets stretched away, cold and
dreary, with no friendly faces to meet hers, and
no warm cups of coffee to refresh her; yet she
was only lingering sorrowfully to hear the words
spoken which should forbid her to return to this
pleasant spot. Mr. Daniel turned round at last,
and met her tearful gaze, with a look of strange
emotion upon his own solemn face.

“Jess,” he said, “I could never have done it
myself. But you may come here every Wed-
nesday morning, as this is a Wednesday, and
there'll always be a cup of coffee for you.”

She thought he meant that he could not have
hidden the penny under his foot, and she went

c
26 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

away a little saddened and subdued, notwith

standing her great delight in the expectation of
such a treat every week ; while Daniel, pondering
over the struggle that must have passed through
her childish mind, went on his way, from time
to time shaking his head, and muttering to him-
self, “I couldn’t have done it myself: I never
could have done it myself.”


CHAPTER III
AN OLD FRIEND IN A NEW DRESS.

FEEK after week, through the three last
| months of the year, Jessica appeared
~ every Wednesday at the coffee-stall, and,
after waiting patiently till the close of the break-
fasting business, received her pittance from the
charity of her new friend. After a while Daniel
allowed her to carry some of his load to the
coffee-house, but he never suffered her to follow
him farther, and he was always particular to
watch her out of sight before he turned off
through the intricate mazes of the streets in the
direction of his own home. Neither did he
encourage her to ask him any more questions;
and often but very few words passed between
them during Jessica’s breakfast time.

Cs



28 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

- As to Jessica’s home, she made no secret of
it,and Daniel might have followed her any time
he pleased. It was a single room, which had
once been a hayloft over the stable of an old inn,
now in use for two or three donkeys, the property
of costermongers dwelling in the court about it.
, The mode of entrance was by a wooden ladder,
whose rungs were crazy and broken, and which
led up through a trap-door in the floor of the
loft. The interior of the home was as desolate
and comfortless as that of the stable below, with
only a litter of straw for the bedding, and a few
bricks and boards for the furniture. Everything
that could be pawned had disappeared long ago,
and Jessica’s mother often lamented that she
could not thus dispose of her child. Yet Jessica
was hardly a burden to her. It was a long time
since she had taken any care to provide her with
food or clothing, and the girl had to earn or beg
for herself the meat which kept a scanty life
within her. Jess was the drudge and errand-
AN OLD FRIEND IN A NEW DRESS 29

girl of the court; and what with being cuffed
and beaten by her mother, and over-worked and
ill-used by her numerous employers, her life was
ahardone. But now there was always Wednes-
day morning to count upon and look forward
to; and by and by a second scene of amazed
delight opened upon her.

Jessica had wandered far away from home in
the early darkness of a winter’s evening, after a
violent outbreak of her drunken mother, and she
was still sobbing now and then with long-drawn
sobs of pain and weariness, when she saw, a little
way before her, the tall, well-known figure of her
friend Mr. Daniel. He was dreésed in a suit of
black, with a white neckcloth, and he was pacing
with brisk yet measured steps along the lighted
streets. Jessica felt afraid of speaking to him,
but she followed at a little distance, until
presently -he stopped before the iron gates of a
large:building, and, unlocking them, passed on
to the arched doorway, and with a heavy key.
30 ' JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

opened the folding-doors and entered in. The
child stole after him, but paused for a few |
minutes, trembling upon the threshold, until the

gleam of a light lit up within tempted her to
venture a few steps forward, and to push a little
way open an inner door, covered with crimson
baize, only so far as to enable her to peep
through at the inside. Then, growing bolder
by degrees, she crept through herself, drawing
the door to noiselessly behind her. The place
was in partial gloom, but Daniel was kindling
every gaslight, and each minute lit it up in more
striking grandeur. She stood in a carpeted
aisle, with high oaken pews on each side, almost
as black as ebony. A gallery of the same dark
old oak ran round the walls, resting upon
massive pillars, behind one of which she was
partly concealed, gazing with eager eyes at
Daniel, as he mounted the pulpit steps and
kindled the lights there, disclosing to her curious
delight the glittering pipes of an organ behind it.



























































































































































































































































































































































































AN OLD FRIEND IN A NEW DRESS. 33

Before long the slow and soft-footed chapel-
keeper disappeared for a minute or two into a
vestry; and Jessica, availing herself of his short
absence, stole silently up under the shelter of the
dark pews until she reached the steps of the organ
loft, with its golden show. But at this moment Mr.
Daniel appeared again, arrayed in a long gown
of black serge; and as she stood spell-bound
gazing at the strange appearance of her patron,
his eyes fell upon her, and he also was struck
speechless for a minute, with an air of amaze-
ment and dismay upon his grave face.

“Come, now,” he exclaimed, harshly, as soon
as he could recover his presence of mind, “you
must take yourself out of this. This isn’t any
place for such as you. It’s for ladies and
gentlemen; so you must run away sharp before
anybody comes. How ever did you find your
way here?”

He had come very close to her, and bent
down to whisper in her ear, looking nervously
34 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

round to the entrance all the time. Jessica’s
eager tongue was loosened.

“ Mother beat me,” she said, “and turned me
into the streets, and I see you there, so I
followed you up. Ill run away this minute,
Mr. Daniel; but it’s a nice place. What do the
ladies and gentlemen do when they come here?
Tell me, and I'll be off sharp.”

“ They come here to pray,” whispered Daniel.

“ What is pray ?” asked Jessica.

“ Bless the child!” cried Daniel, in perplexity.
“Why, they kneel down in those pews; most
of them sit, though; and the minister up in the
pulpit tells God what they want.”

Jessica gazed into his face with such an air of
bewilderment that a faint smile crept over the
sedate features of the pew-opener.

“What is a minister and God?” she said;
“and do ladies and gentlemen want anything?
I thought they’d everything they wanted, Mr.
Daniel.”
AN OLD FRIEND IN A NEW DRESS. 35

“Oh!” cried Daniel, “you must be off, you
know. They’ll be coming in a minute, and
they’d be shocked to see a ragged little heathen
like you. This is the pulpit, where the minister
stands and preaches to ’em; and there are the
pews, where they sit to listen to him, or to go
to sleep, may be; and that’s the organ to play
music to their singing. There, I’ve told you
everything, and you must never come again,
never.”

“Mr. Daniel,” said Jessica, “I don’t know
nothing about it. Isn’t there a dark little corner
somewhere that I could hide in?”

“No, no,” interrupted Daniel, impatiently ;
“we couldn’t do with such a little heathen, with
no shoes or bonnet on. Come now, it’s only a
quarter to the time, and somebody will be here
in a minute. Run away, do!”

Jessica retraced her steps slowly to the crimson
door, casting. many a longing look backwards ;
but Mr. Daniel stood at the end of the aisle,
36 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

frowning upon her whenever she glanced behind,
She gained the lobby at last, but already somie
one was approaching the chapel door, and
beneath the lamp at the gate stood one of her
natural enemies, a policeman. Her heart beat
fast, but she was quickwitted, and in another
instant she spied a place of concealment behind
one of the doors, into which she crept for safety
until the path should be clear, and the policeman
passed on upon his beat.

The congregation began to arrive quickly.
She heard the rustling of silk dresses, and she
could see the gentlemen and ladies pass by the
niche between the door and the post. Onceshe
ventured to stretch out a thin little finger and
touch a velvet mantle as the wearer of it swept
by, but no one caught her in the act, or sus-
pected her presence behind the door. Mr.
Daniel, she could see, was very busy ushering
the people to their seats; but there was a startled
look lingering upon his face, and every now and
AN OLD FRIEND IN A NEW DRESS. 37

then he peered anxiously into the outer gloom
and darkness, and even once called to the police-
man to ask if he had seen a ragged child hanging
about. After a while the organ began to sound,



and Jessica, crouching down in her hiding-place,
listened entranced to the sweet music. She could
not tell what made her cry, but the tears came so
rapidly that it was of no use to rub the corners
of her eyes with her hard knuckles; so she lay
38 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

down upon the ground, and buried her face in
her hands, and wept without restraint. When
the singing was over, she could only catch a
confused sound of a voice speaking. The
lobby was empty now, and the crimson doors
closed. The policeman, also, had walked on.
This was the moment to escape. She raised
herself from the ground with a feeling of weari-
ness and sorrow; and thinking sadly of the
light, and warmth, and music that were within
the closed doors, she stepped out into the cold
and darkness of the streets, and loitered home-
wards with a heavy heart


CHAPTER IV,
PEEPS INTO FAIRY-LAND.

was not the last time that Jessica con-
| cealed herself behind the baize-covered
door. She could not overcome the urgent
desire to enjoy again and again the secret and
' perilous pleasure; and Sunday after Sunday she
watched in the dark streets for the moment
when she could slip in unseen. She soon
learned the exact time when Daniel would be
occupied in lighting up, before the policeman
would take up his station at the entrance, and
again, the very minute at which it would be wise
and safe to take her departure. Sometimes the
child laughed noiselessly to herself, until she
shook with suppressed merriment, as she saw



Daniel star.ding unconsciously in the lobby, with
40 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

his solemn face and grave air, to receive the
congregation, much as he faced his customers
at the coffee-stall. She learned to know the
minister by sight, the tall, thin, pale gentleman,
who passed through a side door, with his head
bent as if in deep thought, while two little girls,
about her own age, followed him with sedate yet
pleasant faces. Jessica took a great interest in
the minister’s children. The younger one was
fair, and the elder was about as tall as herself,
and had eyes and hair as dark; but oh, how
cared for, how plainly waited on by tender
hands! Sometimes, when they were gone by,
she would close her eyes, and wonder what they
would do in one of the high black pews inside,
where there was no place for a ragged, bare-
footed girl like her; and now and then her
wonderings almost ended in a sob, which she
was compelled to stifle.

It was an untold relief to Daniel that Jessica
did not ply him with questions, as he feared,
PEEPS INTO FAIRY-LAND. 4!

when she came for breakfast every Wednesday
morning; but she was too shrewd and cunning
for that. She wished him to forget that she
had ever been there, and by and by her wish
was accomplished, and Daniel was no longer
uneasy, while he was lighting the lamps, with
the dread of seeing the child’s wild face starting
up before him.

But the light evenings of summer-time were
drawing near apace, and Jessica foresaw with
dismay that her Sunday treats would soon be
over. The risk of discovery increased every
week, for the sun was later and later in setting,
and there would be no chance of creeping in
and out unseen in the broad daylight. Already
it needed both watchfulness and alertness to
dart in at the right moment in the grey twilight;
but still she could not give it up; and if it had
not been for the fear of offending Mr. Daniel,
she would have resolved upon going until she
was found out. They could not punish her

D
42 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

very much for standing in the lobby of
chapel.

Jessica was found out, however, before the
dusky evenings were quite gone. It happened
one night that the minister’s children, coming
early to the chapel, saw a small tattered figure,
bareheaded and barefooted, dart swiftly up the
steps before them and disappear within the
lobby. They paused and looked at one another,
and then, hand in hand, their hearts beating
quickly, and the colour coming and going on
their faces, they followed this strange new
member of their father’s congregation. The
pew-opener was nowhere to be seen, but their
quick eyes detected the prints of the wet little
feet which had trodden the clean pavement
before them, and in an instant they discovered
Jessica crouching behind the door.

“ Let us call Daniel Standring,” said Winny,
the younger child, clinging to her sister; but
‘he had spoken aloud, and Jessica overheard



PEEPS INTO FAIRY-LAND. 45

her, and before they could stir a step she stood
before them with an earnest and imploring face.
“Oh, don’t have me drove away,” she cried ;
“Y’m a very poor little girl, and it’s all the
pleasure I’ve got. I’ve seen you lots of times,
with that tall gentleman as stoops, and I didn’t
think you’d have me drove away. I don’t do
any harm behind the door, and if Mr. Daniel
finds me out, he won’t give me any more coffee.”
“Little girl,’ said the elder child, in a com-
posed and demure voice, “ we don’t mean to be
unkind to you; but what do you come here for,
and why do you hide yourself behind the door?”
“T like to hear the music,” answered Jessica,
“and I want to find out what pray is, and the
minister, and God. I know it’s only for ladies
and gentlemen, and fine children like you; but
I’d like to go inside just for once, and see what
you do.” ;
“You shall come with us into our pew,” cried
Winny, in an eager and impulsive tone; but
46 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

Jane laid her hand upon her outstretched arm,
with a glance at Jessica’s ragged clothes and
matted hair. It was a question difficult enough
to perplex them. The little outcast was plainly
too dirty and neglected for them to invite her
to sit side by side with them in their crimson-
lined pew, and no poor people attended the
chapel with whom she could have a seat. But
Winny, with flushed cheeks and indignant eyes,
looked reproachfully at her elder sister.

“Jane,” she said, opening her Testament,
and turning over the leaves hurriedly, “this
was papa’s text a little while ago. ‘For if there
come’into your assembly a man with a gold
ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also
a poor man in vile raiment; and ye have respect
to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say
unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and
say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here
under my footstool; are ye not then partial in
yourselves, and are become judges of evil
PEEPS INTO FAIRY-LAND. 47

thoughts?’ If we don’t take this little girl
into our pew, we ‘have the faith of our Lord
Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of
persons.’ ”

“T don’t know what to do,” answered Jane,
sighing; “the Bible seems plain; but I’m sure
papa would not like it. Let us ask the chapel-
keeper.”

“Oh, no, no!” cried Jessica, “don’t let Mr.
Daniel catch me here. I won't come again,
indeed; and I’ll promise not to try to find out
about God and the minister, if you’ll only let
me go.”

“ But, little girl,” said Jane, in a sweet but
grave manner, “we ought to teach you about
God, if you don’t know him. Our papa is the
minister, and if you’ll come with us, we’ll ask
him what we must do.”

“Will Mr. Daniel see me ?” asked Jessica.

“ Nobody but papa is in the vestry,” answered
Jane, “and he’ll tell us all, you and us, what we
48 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

ought todo. You'll not be afraid of him, will
you?”

No,” said Jessica, cheerfully, following the
minister’s children as they led her along the side
of the chapel towards the vestry.

“He is not such a terrible personage,” said
Winny, looking round encouragingly, as Jane
tapped softly at the door, and they heard a voice
saying “Come in.”


CHAPTER V.
A NEW WORLD OPENS.

SHE minister was sitting in an easy chair
before a comfortable fire, with a hymn-
‘book in his hand, which he closed as the
three children appeared in the open doorway.
Jessica had seen his pale and thoughtful face
many a time from her hiding-place, but she had
never met the keen, earnest, searching gaze of
his eyes, which seemed to pierce through all her
wretchedness and misery, and to read at once
the whole history of her desolate life. But
before her eyelids could droop, or she could
drop a reverential curtsey, the minister’s face
kindled with such a glow of pitying tenderness
and compassion, as fastened her eyes upon
him, and gave her new heart and courage. His


50 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

children ran to him, leaving Jessica upon the
mat at the door, and with eager voices and
gestures told him the difficulty they were in.

“Come here, little girl,” he said, and Jessica
walked across the carpeted floor till she stood
right before him, with folded hands, and eyes
that looked frankly into his.

“What is your name, my child ?” he asked.

“ Jessica,” she answered.

“ Jessica,” he repeated, with a smile; “that is
a strange name.”

“ Mother used to play ‘Jessica’ at the theatre,
sir,” she said, “and I used to be a fairy in the
pantomime, till I grew too tall and ugly. If I’m
pretty when I grow up, mother says I shall play
too; but I’ve a long time to wait. Are you the
minister, sir ?”

“Yes,” he answered, smiling again.

“What is a minister?” she enquired.

“A servant!” he replied, looking away though t-
fully into the red embers of the fire.
A NEW WORLD OPENS. 51

“Papa!” cried Jane and Winny, in tones of
astonishment; but Jessica gazed steadily at the
minister, who was now looking back again into
her bright eyes.

“Please, sir, whose servant are you?” she
asked.

“The servant of God and of man,” he an-
swered, solemnly. “Jessica, ] am your servant.”

The child shook her head, and laughed shrilly
as she gazed round the room, and at the hand-
some clothing of the ministers daughters,
while she drew her rags closer about her, and
shivered a little, as if she felt a sting of the
east wind, which was blowing keenly through
the streets. The sound of her shrill, childish
laugh fade the minister’s heart ache, and the
tears burn under his eyelids.

“Who is God?” asked the child. “When
mother’s in a good temper, sometimes she says
‘God bless me!’ Do you know him, please,
minister ?”
52 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER,

But before there was time to answer, the door
into the chapel was opened, and Daniel stood
upon the threshold. At first he stared blandly
forwards, but then his grave face grew ghastly
pale, and he laid his hand upon the door to sup-
port himself until he could recover his speech and
senses. Jessica also looked about her,scared and
irresolute, as if anxious to run away or to hide
herself. The minister was the first to speak.

“Jessica,” he said, “there is a place close
under my pulpit where you shall sit, and where
I can see you all the time. Bea good girl and
listen, and you will hear something about God.
Standring, put this little one in front of the pews
by the pulpit steps.”

But before she could believe it for very glad-
ness, Jessica found herself inside the chapel,
facing the glittering organ, from which a sweet
strain of music was sounding. Not far from her
Jane and Winny were peeping over the front of
their pew, with friendly smiles and glances. It
A NEW WORLD OPENS. 53

was evident that the minister’s elder daughter
was anxious about her behaviour, and she made
_ energetic signs to her when to stand up and when
to kneel; but Winny was content with smiling
at her, whenever her head rose above the top
of the pew. Jessica was happy, but not in the
least abashed. The ladies and gentlemen were
not at all unlike those whom she had often seen
when she was a fairy at the theatre; and very
soon her attention was engrossed by the minis-
ter, whose eyes often fell upon her, as she gazed
eagerly, with uplifted face, upon him. She could
scarcely understand a word of what he said, but
she liked the tones of his voice, and the tender
pity of his face as he looked down upon her.
Daniel hovered about a good deal, with an air
of uneasiness and displeasure, but she was un-
conscious of his presence. Jessica was intent
upon finding out what a minister and God were.
CHAPTER VI

THE FIRST PRAYER.

SIHEN the service was ended, the minister ~
descended the pulpit steps, just as Daniel
~ was about to hurry Jessica away, and
taking her by the hand in the face of all the
congregation, he led her into the vestry, whither
Jane and Winny quickly followed them. He
was fatigued with the services of the day, and
his pale face was paler than ever, as he placed
Jessica before his chair, into which he threw
himself with an air of exhaustion; but bowing
his head upon his hands, he said in a low but.
clear tone, “Lord, these are the lambs of thy
flock. Help me to feed thy lambs!”
“Children,” he said, with a smile upon his.
weary face, “it is no easy thing to know God.







THE FIRST PRAYER. 5?

But this one thing we know, that he is our
Father—my Father and your Father, Jessica.
He loves you, and cares for you more than I do
for my little girls here.”

He smiled at them and they at him, with an
expression which Jessica felt and understood,
though it made her sad. She trembled a little,
and the minister’s ear caught the sound of a
~ faint though bitter sob.

“T never had any father,” she said, sorrowfully.

“God is your Father,” he answered, very
gently; “he knows all about you, because he is
present everywhere. We cannot see him, but
we have only to speak, and he hears us, and we
may ask him for whatever we want.”

“Will he let me speak to him, as well as these
fine children that are clean, and have got nice
clothes?” asked Jessica, glancing anxiously at
her muddy feet, and her soiled and tattered
frock..

“Yes,” said the minister, smiling, yet sighing

E
58 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER

at the same time; “you = ask him =
moment for what you want.”

Jessica gazed round the room with large,
‘wide-open eyes, as if she were seeking to see
God; but then she shut her eyelids tightly, and
bending her head upon her hands, as she had
seen the minister do, she said, “O God! I want
to know about you. And please Pa Mr. Dan’el
for all the warm coffee he’s give me.” :

Jane and Winny listened with faces of un-
utterable amazement; but the tears stood in
the minister’s eyes, and he added “Amen” to
Jessica’s first prayer.


CHAPTER VII,

HARD QUESTIONS.

=SvianleEL had no opportunity for speaking
Â¥7| to Jessica; for, after waiting until the
- minister left the vestry, he found that
she had gone away by the side entrance. He
had to wait, therefore, until Wednesday morning,
and the sight of her pinched little face was
welcome to him, when he saw it looking wistfully
over the coffee-stall. Yet he had made up his
mind to forbid her to come again, and to threaten
her with the policeman if he ever caught her at
the chapel, where for the future he intended to
keep a sharper look-out. But before he could
speak, Jess had slipped under the stall, and taken
her old seat opon the up-turned basket.



60 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

“Mr. Dan’el,” she said, “has God cae you
for my sups of coffee yet?”

“Paid me?” he repeated, “God? No.”

“Well, he will,’ she answered, nodding her
head sagely; “don’t you be afraid for your

j

money, Mr. Dan’el; I’ve asked him a many times,
and the minister says he’s sure to do it.”

“Jess,” said Daniel, sternly, “have you been
and told the minister about my coffee-stall ?”

“No,” she answered, with a beaming smile,
“but I’ve told God lots and lots of times
since Sunday, and he’s sure to pay in a dav or
two.” 4

“Jess,” continued Daniel, more gently, “you’re
a sharp little girl; I see; and now mind, I’m
going to trust you. You’re never to say a word
about me or my coffee-stall ; because the folks at
our chapel are very grand, and might think it
low and mean of me to keep a coffee-stall. Very
likely they’d say I mustn't be chapel-keeper any
longer, and I should lose a deal of money.”
HARD QUESTIONS. 6I

“Why do you keep the stall then?” asked
fessica.

“Don’t you see what a many pennies I get
every morning?” he said, shaking his canvas
bag. “I get a good deal of money that way in
a year.”

“What do you want such a deal of money
for?” she enquired; “do you give it to God ?”

Daniel did not answer, but the question went
to his heart like a sword thrust. What did he
want so much money for? He thought of his
one bare and solitary room, where he lodged
alone, a good way from the railway-bridge, with
very few comforts in it, but containing a desk,
strongly and securely fastened, in which was his
savings’ bank book and his receipts for money
put out at interest, and a bag of sovereigns, for
which he had been toiling and slaving both on
Sundays and week-days. He could not remem-
ber giving anything away, except the dregs of
the coffee and the stale buns, for which Jessica
62 JESSICA’S FiRST PRAYER.

was asking God to pay him. He coughed, and
cleared his throat, and rubbed his eyes; and
then, with nervous and hesitating fingers, he took
a penny from his bag, and slipped it into
Jessica’s hand. .

“No, no, Mr. Dan’el,” she said; “I don’t want
you to give me any of your pennies. I want
God to pay you.”

“Ay, he'll pay me,” muttered Daniel; “there'll
be a day of reckoning by and by.”

“Does God have reckoning days?” asked
Jessica. “I used to like reckoning days when
I was a fairy.”

“Ay, ay,” he answered, “but there’s few folks
like God’s reckoning days.”

“But you'll be glad, won’t you?” she said.

Daniel bade her get on with her breakfast,
and then he turned over in his mind the thoughts
which her questions had awakened. Conscience
told him he would not be glad to meet God’s
reckoning day.
HARD QUESTIONS. 63

“Mr. Dan’el,” said Jessica, when they were
about to separate, and he would not take back
his gift of a penny, “if you wouldn’t mind, I’d
like to come and buy a cup of coffee to-morrow,
like a customer, you know : and I won’t let out
a word about the stall to the minister next
Sunday, don’t you be afraid.”

She tied the penny carefully into a corner of
her rags, and with a cheerful smile upon her thin
face, she glided from under the shadow of the
bridge, and was soon lost to Daniel’s sight.


CHACTER Vill.
AN UNEXPECTED VISITOR.

HEN Jessica came to the street into
which the court where she lived opened,
she saw an unusual degree of excitement

among the inhabitants, a group of whom were

gathered about a tall gentleman, whom she
recognised in an instant to be the minister. She
elbowed her way through the midst of them, and
the minister’s face brightened as she presented
herself before him. He followed her up the low
entry, across the squalid court, through the stable,
empty of the donkeys just then, up the creaking
rounds of the ladder, and into the miserable loft,
where the tiles were falling in, and the broken



window-panes were stuffed with rags and paper.
iNcar to the old rusty stove, which served as a





AN UNEXPECTED VISITOR. 64

grate when there was any fire, there was a short
board laid across some bricks, and upon this the
minister took his seat, while Jessica sat upon the
floor before him.

“Jessica,” he said, sadly, “is this where you
live ?”

“Yes,” she answered, “but we’d a nicer room
than this when I was a fairy, and mother
played at the theatre; we shall be better off
when I’m grown up, if I’m pretty enough to
play like her.”

“My child,” he said, “I’m come to ask your
mother to let you go to school in a pleasant place
down in the country. Will she let you go?”

“No,” answered Jessica, “mother says she’ll
never let me learn to read, or go to church; she
says it would make me good for nothing. But
please, sir, she doesn’t know anything about
your church, it’s such a long way off, and she

hasn’t found me out yet. She always gets very
drunk of a Sunday.”
68 JESSICA'S FIRST PRAYER.

The child spoke simply, and as if all she said
was a matter of course; but the minister shud-
dered, and he looked through the broken window
to the little patch of gloomy sky overhead.

“What can I do?” he cried mournfully, as
though speaking to himself.

“Nothing, please, sir,” said Jessica, “only let
me come to hear you of a Sunday, and tell me
about God. If you was to give me fine clothes
like your little girls, mother ’ud only pawn them
for gin. You can’t do anything more for me.”

“Where is your mother?” he asked.
~ “Qut on a spree,” said Jessica, “ and she won’t
be home for a day or two. She’d not hearken
to you, sir. There’s the missionary came, and
she pushed him down the ladder, till he was
nearly killed. They used to call mother the
Vixen at the theatre, and nobody durst say a
word to her.”

The minister was silent for some minutes,
thinking painful thoughts, for his eyes seemed
AN UNEXPECTED VISITOR. 69

to darken as he looked round the miserable
room, and his face wore an air of sorrow and
disappointment. At last he spoke again.

“Who is Mr. Daniel, Jessica?” he enquired

“Oh,” she said cunningly, “he’s only a friend
of mine as gives me sups of coffee. You don’t
know all the folks in London, sir!”

“No,” he answered, smiling, “but does he
keep a coffee-stall ?”

Jessica nodded her head, but did not trust
herself to speak.

“How much does a cup of coffee cost?”
asked the minister.

“A full cup’s a penny,” she answered,
promptly; “but you can have half a cup; and
there are halfpenny and penny buns.”

“Good coffee and buns?” he said, with
another smile.

“ Prime,” replied Jessica, smacking her lips.

“Well,” continued the minister, “tell your
friend to give you a full cup of coffee and a
7° JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

penny bun every morning, and I’ll pay for them
as often as he chooses to come to me for the
money.”

Jessica’s face beamed with delight, but in an
instant it clouded over as she recollected Daniel’s
secret, and her lips quivered as she spoke a
disappointed ney .

“Please, sir,” she said, “I’m sure he couldn’t
come; oh! he couldn’t, It’s such a long way,
and Mr. Daniel has plenty of customers. No,
he never would come to you for the money.”

“Jessica,” he answered, “I will tell you what
I will do. I will trust you with a shilling every
Sunday, if you'll promise to give it to your friend
the very first time you see him. I shall be sure
to know if you cheat me.” And the keen,
piercing eyes of the minister looked down into
Jessica’s, and once more the tender and pitying
smile returned to his face.

“I can do nothing else for you?” he said, in
a tone of mingled sorrow and questioning.
AN UNEXPECTED VISITOR. 71

“No, minister,” answered Jessica, “only tell
me about God.”

“J will tell you one thing about him now,” he
replied. “If I took you to live in my house
with my little daughters, you would have to be
washed and clothed in new clothing to make
you fit for it. God wanted us to go and live at
home with him in heaven, but we were so sinful
that we could never have been fit for it. So
he sent his own Son to live amongst us, and
die for us, to wash us from our sins, and to give
us new clothing, and to make us ready to live
in God’s house. When you ask God for any-
thing, you must say ‘For Jesus Christ’s sake.’
Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

After these words the minister carefully de-
scended the ladder, followed by Jessica’s bare
and nimble feet, and she led him by the nearest
way into one of the great thoroughfares of the
city, where he said good-bye to her, adding,
‘God bless you, my child,” in a tone which sank
72 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

into Jessica’s heart. He had put a silver six-
pence into her hand to provide for her breakfast
the next three mornings, and, with a feeling of
being very rich, she returned to her miserable
home. —

The next morning Jessica presented herself
proudly as a customer at Daniel’s stall, and paid
over the sixpence in advance. He felt a little
troubled as he heard her story, lest the minister
should endeavour to find him out; but he could
not refuse to let the child come daily for her
comfortable breakfast. If he was detected, he
would promise to give up his coffee-stall rather
than offend the great people of the chapel; but
unless he was, it would be foolish of him to lose
the money it brought in week after week.

— EOS
CHAPTER IX.
JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER ANSWERED.

VERY Sunday evening the barefooted

and bareheaded child might be seen
advancing confidently up to the chapel,
where rich and fashionable people worshipped
God; but before taking her place she arrayed
herself in a little cloak and bonnet, which had
once belonged to the minister’s elder daughter,
and which was kept with Daniel’s serge gown,
so that she presented a somewhat more respect-
able appearance in the eyes of the congregation.
The minister had no listener more attentive, and
he would have missed the pinched, earnest little
face if it were not to be seen in the seat just
F


74 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

under the pulpit. At the close of each service
he spoke to her for a minute or two in his
vestry, often saying no more than a single sen-
tence, for the day’s labour had wearied him.
The shilling, which was always lying upon the
chimney- piece, placed there by Jane and Winny
in turns, was immediately handed over, accord-
ing to promise, to Daniel as she left the chapel,
and so Jessica’s breakfast was provided for her
week after week.

But at last there came a Sunday evening
when the minister, going up into his pulpit, did _
miss the wistful, hungry face, and the shilling
lay unclaimed upon the vestry chimney-piece.
Daniel looked out for her anxiously every morn-
ing, but no Jessica glided into his secluded -
corner, to sit beside him with her breakfast on
her lap, and with a number of strange questions
to ask. He felt her absence more keenly than
he could have expected. The child was nothing
to him, he kept saying to himsclf; and yet he
JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER ANSWERED. 75

felt that she was something, and that he could
not help being uneasy and anxious about her.
Why had he never enquired where she lived?
The minister knew, and for a minute Daniel
thought he would go and ask him, but that
might awaken suspicion. How could he account
for so much anxiety, when he was supposed
only to know of her absence from chapel one
Sunday evening? It would be running a risk,
and, after all, Jessica was nothing to him. So
he went home and looked over his savings’
bank book, and counted his money, and he found
to his satisfaction that he had gathered together
nearly four hundred pounds, and was adding
more every week.

But when upon the next Sunday Jessica’s
seat was again empty, the anxiety of the solemn
chapel-keeper overcame his prudence and his
fears. The minister had retired to his vestry,
and was standing with his arm resting upon
the chimney-piece, and his eyes fixed upon the

F 2
0 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

unclaired shilling, which Winny had laid there
before the service, when there was a tap at the
door, and Daniel entered with a respectful but
hesitating air.

“Well, Standring?” said the minister, ques-
tioningly.

“Sir,” he said, “I’m uncomfortable about that
little girl, and I know you’ve been once to see
after her; she told me about it; and so I make
bold to ask you where she lives, and I’ll see
what’s become of her.”

“Right, Standring,” answered the minister ;
“T am troubled about the child, and so are my
little girls. I thought of going aso but my
time is very much occupied just now.’

“T’ll go, sir,” replied Daniel, promptly ; sa
after receiving the necessary information about
Jessica’s home, he put out the lights, locked
the door and turned towards his lonely lodgings.

But though it was getting late upon Sunday
evening, and Jessica’s home was a long way
JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER ANSWERED. 77

distant, Daniel found that his anxiety wouid not
suffer him to return to his solitary room. It
was of no use to reason with himself, as he
stood at the corner of the street, feeling per-
plexed and troubled, and promising his con-
science that he would go the very first thing in
the morning after he shut up his coffee-stall.
In the dim, dusky light, as the summer evening
drew to a close, he fancied he could see Jessica’s
thin figure and wan face gliding on before him,
and turning round from time to time to see if
he were following. It was only fancy, and he
laughed a little at himself; but the laugh was
husky, and there was a choking sensation in his
throat, so he buttoned his Sunday coat over his
breast, where his silver watch and chain hung
temptingly, and started off at a rapid pace for
the centre of the city.

It was not quite dark when he reached the
court, and stumbled up the narrow entry leading
to it; but Daniel did hesitate when he opened
78 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

the stable-door, and looked into a blank, black
space, in which he could discern nothing. He
thought he had better retreat while he could do
so safely; but as he still stood with his hand
upon the rusty latch, he heard a faint, small
voice through the nicks of the unceiled boarding
above his head.

“ Our Father,” said the little voice, “ please to
send somebody to me, for Jesus Christ’s sake,
Amen.”

“1’m here, Jess,” cried Daniel, with a sudden
bound of his heart, such as he had not felt for
years, and which almost took away his breath
as he peered into the darkness, until at last he
discerned dimly the ladder which led up into
the loft.

Very cautiously, but with an eagerness which
surprised himself, he climbed up the creaking
rounds of the ladder and entered the dismal
room, where the child was lying in desolate
darkness. Fortunately he had put his box of
JESSIca’s FIRST PRAYER ANSWERED. . 79

matches into his pocket, and the end of a wax
candle, with which he kindled the lamps, and in
another minute a gleam of light shone upon
Jessica’s white features. She was stretched
upon a scanty litter of straw under the slanting
roof where the tiles had not fallen off, with her



poor rags for her only covering; but as her eyes
looked up into Daniel’s face bending over her, a
bright smile of joy sparkled in them.

“Oh!” she cried, gladly, but in a feeble voice,
“it’s Mr. Dan’el! Has God told you to come
here, Mr. Dan’el ?”
80 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

“Yes,” said Daniel, kneeling beside her,
taking her wasted hand in his, and parting the
matted hair upon her damp forehead.

“What did he say to you, Mr. Dan’el ?” said
Jessica.

“He told me I was a great sinner,” replied
Daniel. “He told me I loved a little bit of
dirty money better than a poor, friendless, help-
less child, whom he had sent to me to see if I
would do her a little good for his sake. He
looked at me, or the minister did, through and
through, and he said, ‘Thou fool, this night thy
soul shall be required of thee : then whose shall
those things be which thou hast provided ?’
And I could answer him nothing, Jess. He
was come to a reckoning with me, and I could
not say a word to him.”

“Aren't you a good man, Mr. Dan’el ?”
whispered Jessica.

“No, I’m a wicked sinner,” he cried, while
the tears rolled down his solemn face. “I’ve
JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER ANSWERED Sr

been constant at God’s house, but only to get
money; I’ve been steady and industrious, but
only to get money; and now God looks at
me, and he says, ‘ Thou fool!’ Oh, Jess, Jess !
You’re more fit for heaven than I ever was in
my life.”

“Why don’t you ask him to make you good
for Jesus Christ’s sake?” asked the child.

“I can't,” hesaid. “I’ve been kneeling down
Sunday after Sunday when the minister’s been
praying, but all the time I was thinking how
rich some of the carriage people were. I’ve
been loving money and worshipping money all
along, and I’ve nearly let you die rather than
run the risk of losing part of my earnings. I’m
a very sinful man.”

“ But you know what the minister often says,”
murmured Jessica. “‘Herein is love, not that
we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent
his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.’”

“T’ve heard it so often that I don’t feel
§2 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER..

it,” said Daniel. “I used to like to hear the
minister say it, but now it goes in at one ear
and out at the other. My heart is very hard,
Jessica.”

By the feeble glimmer of the candle Daniel
saw Jessica’s wistful eyes fixed upon him with a
sad and loving glance; and then she lifted up
her weak hand to her face, and laid it over her
closed eyelids, and her feverish lips moved
slowly.

“God,” she said, “please to make Mr.
Dan’el’s heart soft, for Jesus Christ’s sake,
Amen.”

She did not speak again, nor Daniel, for some
time. He took off his Sunday coat and laid
it over the tiny, shivering frame, which was
shaking with cold even in the summer evening;
and as he did so he remembered the words
which the Lord says he will pronounce at the
last day of reckoning, “Forasmuch as ye have
done it unto one of the least of these my
ESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER ANSWERED. 82
J 3

brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Daniel
Standring felt his heart turning with love to the
Saviour, and he bowed his head upon his hands,
and cried in the depths of his contrite spirit,
* God be merciful to me, a sinner.”


CHAPTER X.
THE SHADOW OF DEATH.

HERE was no coffee-stall opened under

the railway arch the following morning,
"and Daniel's regular customers stood
amazed as they drew near the empty corner,
where they were accustomed to get their early
breakfast. It would have astonished them still
more if they could have seen how he was occu-
pied in the miserable loft. He had intrusted
a friendly woman out of the court to buy food,
and fuel, and all night long he had watched
beside Jessica, who was light-headed and deli-
rious, but in the wanderings of her thoughts
and words often spoke to God, and prayed for


THE SHADOW OF DEATH. &

tt

her Mr. Dan’el. The neighbour informed him
that the child’s mother had gone off some
days before, fearing that she was ill of some
infectious fever, and that she, alone, had taken a
little care of her from time to time. As soon
as the morning came he sent for a doctor, and,
after receiving permission from him, he wrap-
ped the poor deserted Jessica in his coat, and
bearing her tenderly in his arms down the
ladder, he carried her to a cab, which the neigh-
bour brought to the entrance of the court. It
was to no other than his own solitary home that
he had resolved to take her; and when the
mistress of the lodgings stood at her door with
her arms a-kimbo, to forbid the admission of
the wretched and neglected child, her tongue
was silenced by the gleam, of a half-sovereign,
which Daniel slipped into the palm of her
hard hand.

By that afternoon’s post the minister received
the following letter :—
86 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER, |

REVEREND SIR,

“Tf you will condescend to enter under my
humble roof, you will have the pleasure of seeing
little Jessica, who is at the point of death, unless
God in his mercy restores her. Hoping you
will excuse this liberty, as I cannot leave the
child, I remain with duty,

“Your respectful Servant,
“D. STANDRING.
“P.S. Jessica desires her best love and duty
to Miss Jane and Winny.”

The minister laid aside the book he was
reading, and without any delay started off for
his chapel-keeper’s dwelling. There was Jessica
lying restfully upon Daniel’s bed, but the pinched
features were deadly pale, and the sunken eyes
shone with a waning light. She was too feeble
to turn her head when the door opened, and he
paused for a minute, looking at her and at Daniel,
who, seated at the head of the bed, was turning
THE SHADOW OF DEATH. 87

over the papers in his desk, and reckoning up
once more the savings of his lifetime. But when
the minister advanced into the middle of the
room, Jessica’s white cheeks flushed into a deep
red. oa

“Oh, minister!” she cried, “God has given
me everything I wanted except paying Mr.
Dan’el for the coffee he used to give me.”

“Ah! but God has paid me over and over
again,” said Daniel, rising to receive the minister.
“He’s given me my own soul in exchange for
it. Let me make bold to speak to you this once,
sir. You’re a very learned man, and a great
preacher, and many people flock to hear you
till I’m hard put to it to find seats for them at
times ; but all the while, hearkening to you every
blessed Sabbath, I was losing my soul, and you
never once said to me, though you saw me
scores and scores of times, ‘Standring, are you
a saved man?’”

“Standring,” said the minister, in a tone of
88 JESSICA'S FIRST PRAYER.

great distress and regret, “1 always took it for
granted that you were a Christian.”

“ Ah,” continued Daniel, thoughtfully, “ but
God wanted somebody to ask me that question,
and he did not find anybody in the congregation, ©
so he sent this poor little lass to me. Well, I don’t
mind telling now, even if I lose the place; but
for a long time, nigh upon ten years, I’ve kept
a coffee-stall on week-days in the city, and
cleared, one week with another, about ten shil-
lings: but I was afraid the chapel-wardens
would n’t approve of the coffee business, as low,
so I kept it a close secret, and always shut up
early of a morning. It’s me that sold Jessica
her cup of coffee, which you paid for, sir.”

“There’s no harm in it, my good fellow,” said
the minister, kindly; “you need make no secret
of it.”

“Well,” resumed Daniel, “the questions this
peor little creature has asked me have gone
quicker and deeper down to my conscience than
THE SHADOW OF DEATH. 89

all your sermons, if I may make so free as to
say it. She’s come often and often of a morning,
and looked into my face with those dear eyes of
hers, and said, ‘Don’t you love Jesus Christ,
Mr. Dan’el ?? ‘Doesn’t it make you very glad
that God is your Father, Mr. Dan’el ?’ ‘Are we
getting nearer heaven every day, Mr. Dan’el?’
And one day says she, ‘Are you going to give
all your money to God, Mr. Dan’el ?’ Ah, that
question made me think indeed, and it’s never
been answered till this day. While I’ve been
sitting beside the bed here, I’ve counted up all
my savings: 3974. 17s. it is; and I’ve said, Lord,
it’s all thine; and I’d give every penny of it
rather than lege the child, if it be thy blessed
will to spare her life.’”

Daniel’s voice quavered at the last words, and
his face sank upon the pillow where Jessica’s
feeble and motionless head lay. There was a
very sweet yet surprised smile upon her face,
and she lifted her wasted fingers to rest upon

G
90 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER...

the bowed head beside her, while she shut her
eyes and shaded them with her other weak hand.

“Our Father,” she said, in a faint. whisper
which still reached the ears of the minister and
the beadle, “T asked you to let me come home



to heaven; but if Mr. Dan’el wants me, please
to let me stay a little longer, for Jesus Christ’s
sake, Amen.”

For some minutes after Jessica’s prayer there
was a deep and unbroken silence in the room,
THE SHADOW OF DEATH. Ol

Daniel still hiding his face upon the pillow, and
the minister standing beside them with bowed
head and closed eyes, as if he also were praying.
When he looked up again at the forsaken and
desolate child, he saw that her feeble hand had
fallen from her face, which looked full of rest
and peace, while her breath came faintly but
regularly through her parted lips. He took her
little hand into his own with a pang of fear and
grief; but instead of the mortal chillness of death,
he felt the pleasant warmth and moisture of life.
He touched Daniel’s shoulder, and as he lifted
up his head in sudden alarm, he whispered to
him, “The child is not dead, but is only asleep.”

Before Jessica was fully recovered, Daniel
rented a little house for himself and his adopted
daughter to dwell in. He made many enquiries
after her mother, but she never appeared again
in her old haunts, and he was well pleased that
there was nobody to interfere with his charge
92 JESSICA’S FIRST PRAYER.

of Jessica. When Jessica grew strong enough,
many a cheerful walk had they together, in the
early mornings, as they wended their way to the
railway bridge, where the little girl took her
place behind the stall, and soon learned to serve
the daily customers; and many a happy day was
spent in helping to sweep and dust the chapel,
into which she had crept so secretly at first, her
great delight being to attend to the pulpit and the
vestry, and the pew where the minister’s children
sat, while Daniel and the woman he employed
cleaned the rest of the building. Many a Sun-
day also the minister in his pulpit, and his little
daughters in their pew, and Daniel treading softly
about the aisles, as their glance fell upon Jessica’s
eager, earnest, happy face, thought of the first
time they saw her sitting amongst the congre-
gation, and of Jessica’s first prayer.
By the same Author.

DE

THE FISHERS OF DERBY HAVEN.

Engravings on toned paper. Feap. 8vo. 2s. cloth boards; 2s. 6d. extra boards,
gilt edges, .



THE CHILDREN OF CLOVERLEY.

Ergravings on toned paper. Fcap. 8vo. 2s. cloth boards; 2s. 6d. extra boards
gilt edges.

ENOCH RODEN’S TRAINING.’
1

Engravings on toned paper. Fcap. 8vo. 2s. cloth boards; 2s. 6d. extra boards}
gilt edges.

FERN’S HOLLOW.

Engravings on toned paper. Fcap. 8vo. 2s. cloth boards; 25, 6d. extra boards,
gilt edges.
Handsome Tlustvaied Gift Books.

Ce

CHRISTIE REDFERN’S TROUBLES.

Crown 8yo. 38. 6d. cloth boards, gilt edges



POMPONIA;
OR, THE GOSPEL IN C/ESAR’S HOUSEHOLD.

By Mrs. Wess, Author of ‘ Naomi,” “Alypius of Tagaste,” &c. Ingravings, ~
4s. bevelled cloth boards, gilt edges.



ALYPIUS OF TAGASTE:
A TALE OF THE EARLY CHURCH.

By Mrs. Wees, Author of “Naomi.” Engravings. 3s. 6d. bevelled cloth boards,
gilt edges,



FROM DAWN TO DARK IN ITALY:
A TALE OF THE REFORMATION IN THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY.

Numerous fine Engravings. 45. bevelled cloth boards, gilt edges.



GOLDEN HILLS:
A TALE OF THE IRISH FAMINE.

By the Author of Cedar Creek.” With Engravings. 3s. 6d. bevelled clcth boards,
gilt edges.

PALESTINE FOR THE YOUNG.

ny the Rev. A. A. Bonar, D.D. With numerous Engravings. 5s. bevelled cloth
boards, gilt edges,
fandsome Illustrated Gift Books.

'

DZ

THE CHRONICLES OF AN OLD MANOR HOUSE
A TALE OF THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY.

In Three Parts. By G. E. Sarcent, Author of “The City Arak,” “Story of a
Pocket Bible,” &c. Engravings. 4s. bevelled cloth boards, gilt edges.

THE FOSTER-BROTHERS OF DOON.
| A TALE OF THE IRISH REBELLION OF 3798.

3y the Author of ‘‘Golden Hiils,” ‘‘Cedar Creek,” &c. Engravings. 4s. bevelled
cloth boards, gilt edges.

BEAUTIES AND WONDERS OF VEGETABLE LIFE

OR, RAMBLES IN PARKS, FORESTS, CONSERVATORIES,
ORCHARDS, GARDENS, FIELDS, AND HEATHS.

With numerous Illustrations. 3s. 6@. cloth boards.

THE PICTURE SCRAP-BOOK;
OR, HAPPY HOURS AT HOME.

In Two Parts. Royal 4to. finely printed on tinted paper. Each Part complete ip
itself, 4s. ; or bound together, in handsome cloth, gilt edges, &s.

I. ScripTuRE SCENES, ETC.
II, Home anp Country Picturgs.



THE PICTURE SCRAP-BOOK.

New Series. In Two Parts, each complete in itself. Consisting of fine Wood
Engravings, 4s. 6d. each Part, bound in cloth, gilt edges; ortoge ef 8s.
J. Tue Szasons anp Home TRAVELLER.
IL. Scriprurs Prinvs AND Orm~y Lancs
Books for the Voung.
Cl

LOUISA FEATHERINGTON,
AND OTHER TALES.

Engravings. 18mo. xs 6d. cloth boards; 2s. extra boards, gilt edzess



LYNTONVILLE ;
OR, THE IRISH BOY IN CANADA.

Engravings. 18mo, 1s. 6d. cloth boards; 2s. extra boards, gilt edges.

GEORGE WAYLAND,
THE LITTLE MEDICINE CARRIER.

By the Author of “Basil,” &c. Engravings. 18mo. xs. cloth boards ; "1s, 6d, ex'ra
boards, gilt edges.



LILIAN :
A STORY OF THREE HUNDRED YEARS AGO.

With Illustrations. x18mo. 1s. 6¢. cloth boards; 2s. extra boards, gilt edges.

PATTY BAILEY ;
OR, WHO KNOWS BEST

With Engravings. x8mo rs, 6c. cloth boards. 2s. extra boards, gilt edges.

JESSIE AND HER FRIENDS.
With Engravings. 18mo. 1s. 6d. cloth boards; 2s. extra boards, gilt edges.

LONDON: THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY;

56, PATERNOSTER ROW} 65, ST. PAUL’S CHURCHYARD; 164, PICCADILLY
BAN \363