Citation
The Children in the valley

Material Information

Title:
The Children in the valley
Series Title:
Little Dot series
Creator:
Hughs, ( Mary ) ( Author, Primary )
Knight
Edwards, Mary Ellen, 1839-ca. 1910 ( Illustrator )
Religious Tract Society (Great Britain) ( Publisher )
Place of Publication:
London
Publisher:
Religious Tract Society
Manufacturer:
Kinght
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
64 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 16 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Christian life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Sisters -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Fatherless families -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Mothers and daughters -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Sick -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Social classes -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Description and travel -- Juvenile fiction -- Wales ( lcsh )
Publishers' advertisements -- 1889 ( rbgenr )
Prize books (Provenance) -- 1889 ( rbprov )
Baldwin -- 1889
Genre:
Publishers' advertisements ( rbgenr )
Prize books (Provenance) ( rbprov )
novel ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )

Notes

General Note:
Date of publication from inscription.
General Note:
Some illustrations by MEE and frontispiece printed in colors.
General Note:
Publisher's advertisements on endpapers.
Funding:
Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
Statement of Responsibility:
by the author of "Aunt Mary's tales for boys," 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:
026635853 ( ALEPH )
ALG4263 ( NOTIS )
70822311 ( OCLC )

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VERY SORRY FOR YOU,” SAID VIOLET.





Little Dot Series.



THE

CHILDREN IN THE VALLEY.

BY THE AUTHOR OF

‘* AUNT Mary’s TALES FOR Boys,’ ETC.



THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY:

56, PATERNOSTER Row ; 65, St. Pauw’s CHURCHYARD ;
AND 164, PICCADILLY









CONTENTS.

——+ jf

CHAP. PAGE
I, THE WELSH VALLEY . . . 5
Il. MINNIE AND HER PLAYFELLOWS . 14
1. THE COTTAGE HOSPITAL. . . 23,
Iv. SNOW IN THE VALLEY . . 33
v. GRACE’S CHRISTMAS . : : 44

vi. Lost BUT FouND . . . 53





CHAPTER I.

The Gelsh Ballen.

AVE you ever been in Wales? Do you

“1 know how the little streams dash over
the rocks, and how the mountains rise

round them, and how beautiful is the colouring
of the gorse and the heather on the hillsides
in the summer-timeP No! you have never



6 The Children in the Valley.

been, you know nothing of all this, because,
when you do go out in the holidays, your parents
think it best to take you to the seaside. Then
come with me, and let us have a short trip
together to a Welsh valley, and perhaps you
would like to listen to a story of something
that happened there not long ago.

But, lest you should think you are only going
to hear about mountains and valleys, I had
better begin by saying that three little girls
lived in this particular valley, and that their
names were Alice, Rose, and Minnie Stewart.
There was also another, of whom you will hear
by-and-by, a real Welsh child; the three just
mentioned had not been born in Wales, but had
come to live there after their father’s death. For
their mother was a widow; and I think she was
a wise woman to leave the town where they
had lived, now there was no longer any need
to stay there, to bring up her children in this
beautiful Welsh valley.

It was a very quiet little village that nestled
there; there were no grand streets, neither were
there shops, save a few of the humblest fashion.
The butcher’s was only a wooden shed, where

¢









































































































IN THE VALLEY.






The Welsh Valley. 9

he went to sell his meat for an hour or two in
the morning; while the grocer sold bread and
oatcakes as well as tapes and calico, boots and
shoes, so that you might get your shopping done
very quickly, and without going from one place
to another.

But straight through the village flowed the
river, and that was its glory: in one place
foaming, rushing, and roaring; in another so
calm and placid you never would have thought
it could have been excited, or that it ever could
have raised its voice above the gentlest of
whispers. Here and there two tiny streams
‘came tumbling over the hillsides, making all
the noise they could; they were in such a hurry
to get down and join themselves to the big
river. For the big river would not have been
a big river without the help of the little ones.
Have you not found out yet that the great
things always want the small things, and cannot
get on without them?

The houses in the village were built not of
brick but of slate, that being the material most
easily to be got, for there are slate quarries
almost everywhere in Wales. It looks rather



10 The Children in the Valley.

dark to our eyes, but the folks there are used to
it. On the hillside, howevet, there were plenty
of low white cottages scattered about, and that
made it look bright and cheerful. The poor
people lived in these, and their fathers had lived
there before them.

Mrs. Stewart’s house was built of slate, like
the others round it. It stood a little way back _
from the road, with the hills behind, and in
front there was a drive and a level green lawn.
The grass was not kept close and short, but
allowed to grow on as it does in the fields, and
then it was cut to feed the pony. Beyond the
road was the river, and beyond the river was
the hillside again, for the valley wag narrow.

A ruined castle was perched all by itself on a
steep ascent six hundred feet high, just opposite
the house. As the children played in the
garden of a summer evening, and it stood out
clear and sharp against the sunset sky, they
looked up at it with a sort of reverence, gaunt
and grim as it was, for it seemed to be keeping
kindly watch over them. And the last thing
before they got into bed they would peep out
and nod “good night” to it, and almost fancy



The Welsh Valley. ll

it wanted to nod “good night” to them in
return. It did. not seem quite so stern at that
time, and they said that perhaps it was thinking
how different the children were in those days
when it was young and strong. Yes, though
that was long, long ago, there must have been
boys and girls in the sixth century as well as in
the nineteenth, in which we are now living, must
there not P

On the farther side of the river there was a
range of rocks like cliffs, only that there was no
sea below ; while to the left, following the wind-
ings of the river, you came to the end of the
valley, and it might seem to the end of the
world, for there was nothing to be seen but
mountains rising one above another. Often
had the children longed to be at the top of them,
and see what was on the other side. They
thought if they were up there, it would be like
peeping over a wall; instead of that, they would
only have found a long level stretch of bog and
moor, and not a bit of a view of what was beyond.
So they would have lost their own sweet valley,
and not got a sight of the next one.

Well, we will stop in the valley, at any rate;



12 The Children in the Valley.

and there is one thing I have not told you about,
and that is the heather, which is about as bad
as if I were describing a garden, and left out any
mention of the flowers. For it was a garden ,
up there on the mountains, and such a one as
your head gardener with all bis skill never
planted. The hand of God put it there, and
painted it with the purple which is so brilliant
to look upon. On the lower slopes there were
small meadows bright and green—greener than
green, one might almost say; then there came
the grey rocks with little tufts of heather
springing out of the crevices, getting their
nourishment from we do not know where, and
then up above was the mass of glorious colour
made up of tiny separate bells all blended into
one. Not all purple either, there was some
gold, and that was just as bright; the gorse
mixed with the heather, and the heather with the
gorse in wild confusion, yet in perfect harmony.

You have heard of the hanging gardens of
Babylon? They were counted one of the Seven
Wonders of the World; but here were hanging
gardens extending for miles and miles planted
on purpose for us, and with nothing to pay for



The Welsh Valley. 13

_ looking at them. God might have made the
world all grey and brown, and we might have
had all we really needed, and it might still have
been a happy world. We should not have
known what we had lost. But instead of that,
He has given us not only what we want for
our bodies, but the beauty which our souls
want, for they need feeding too. He puts in
the flowers and the sunshine, the dashing of
the stream and the glory of the mountain, as
weil as the food and the clothing, the corn and
the raiment. And all He asks of us in return
is our hearts.





14

CHAPTER II.

Hinnie and her Plapfellows.



: ‘tick and Rose did lessons

A every morning with their
mother; while Minnie, who
was only eight, spent most
of her time in the garden -
playing with Jack, the little
black terrier. If anybody
‘ wanted her, they knew
pretty well where to find
§ her; her favourite spot
was the garden gate, and
she always managed to run down there. She
never went outside, for she knew she must not
do so without leave, but she liked to peep through
or to climb up the spars and look over. She
could see up and down the village street, and



Minnie and her Playfettows. 15

she would watch the children at their play, and
wonder what they were talking about. For
though the little Welsh children are taught
English in the schools, they speak their own
language amongst themselves, so that Minnie
could not understand it.

Poor Minnie was rather dull sometimes, and
wished she could play with them. Jack was a
pretty good playfellow generally; but now and
then he would not submit to be carried about
like a baby, or be made to walk upon his hind
legs while she held his hands, as she called
them. Then she would look wistfully at the
outer world, and longed very much to be on the
other side of the gate. I do not think she was
right to go so near temptation, do you? for she
might at any time have forgotten her mother’s
wishes and got into trouble.

Mrs. Stewart was very kind to people in the
village, and often went in and out amongst
them. Minnie always went with her to the gate,
and then would wait for her return. Sometimes
she would say, “Minnie, you may take the
paper to Mr. Jones;” Mr, Jones being the
curate, to whom Mrs. Stewart lent the daily



16 The Children in the Valley.

newspaper. Or, ‘‘ Minnie, you may run and tell
the gardener I want him;” and then Minnie
was off like a shot, and did not need to be told
twice. Another thing she liked to do was to
watch the children going to school, and she
learnt to know them all, and used to put names
of her own to them. There was one little girl
who passed every day, and was so clean and
neat, and had such a gentle look upon her face,
Minnie loved her, although she had never spoken -
to her. She knew she must not do that, so she
only nodded and smiled, and then the little girl
would curtsey.
‘““Who is that, Minnie?” asked her mother
one day, happening to come in just as this was
going on. “You know I do not like you to get
acquainted with the children who stand about.”
“Oh yes, mother, I know that,’ replied
Minnie; “but I thought there was no harm in
smiling, that’s not talking, though I should like
to talk to her very much. Does she not look
nice, mother; and not a bit dirty, is she?”
“No, she is a very tidy child, I quite agree
with you, and we must find out something about
her. She must have a careful mother, I am



*

Minnie and her Playfellows. 17

sure, and a good home. I wonder I do not
know who she is.”

Mrs. Stewart, as I have said, was acquainted
with most of her neighbours, and quite intended
to. make inquiries about the little girl, But
being very busy it slipped from her memory till
about a week afterwards, when Minnie reminded
her by saying, “Mother, do you know I have
not seen my little girl since that day you asked
me about her? Do youthink she is ill? I wish
we knew where she lives.”

“J am so sorry, my dear,’ replied Mrs.
Stewart, “that I have not been able to inquire,
nor can I doit today. To-morrow is Sunday,
and on Monday you shall go with me, and we
will try and make her out. I dare say she lives
on the hills somewhere, and that is the reason
we do not know her.” .

Sunday morning came, and it was a very
bright one. We all like a bright Sunday, don’t
we? It is such a help to us even in a town to
see the sun shine, and look up into the clear blue
sky; while in the country-—oh, it does seem as
if everything had got its Sunday clothes on as

well as ourselves, and it is all so still and
o 73



18 The Children in the Valley.

peaceful, and we can lift our hearts to our
Father in heaven, and thank Him for the day
of rest which He has so kindly given. But of
all places a Welsh valley wants a fine Sunday,
because it is rather gloomy when it rains; and
as moreover it very often rains, it is something
to be thankful for when it does not.

“What a nice day!” exclaimed Minnie,
when she came down to the dining-room. “I’m.
so glad. I wonder how it is that everything
looks so like Sunday on Sunday morning !”

“Oh, it’s only because there’s a clean table-
cloth,” said Rose, who was rather matter of fact.

“Never mind, Minnie,” replied her mother,
who saw that Minnie looked rather disconcerted
by Rose’s view of the case. “We know that -
God has set apart the day, and outward things
do seem to us as if they showed it. The flowers
smell sweeter, and the gofse and the heather
look deeper in colour than they did yesterday to.
me as well as to you. If God’s peace is in our
hearts, peace will be on all the earth around us:
too; and there will always be something that
makes Sunday different from other days, because -
He has blessed it and sanctified it.”







A KIND Act.






Minnie and her Playfellows. 21

There were a great many devices in this
household to make the day a happy one, and
the children always looked forward to it as
' “the best of all the seven.” Sometimes they
made Bible-clocks, as no doubt you have learnt
- to do; and Alice and Rose could do them very
neatly, while Minnie helped to find the texts.
Sometimes their mother would draw a picture
in a book they called the Sunday album, They
never knew beforehand what it would be, so
there was always the pleasure of expectation ;
and then they found texts to illustrate the
‘ picture, and wrote them carefully underneath.

The best of all was when they were allowed
to gather flowers, and tie them up in little
bunches for sick people; and to-day, after an
early dinner, Mrs. Stewart said the garden was
‘so gay with roses and geraniums, she thought
they would like to get some for the hospital.
“T will go and get the texts for them, and you
may gather the flowers, and then Alice shall
take them to the Cottage Hospital.”

The nosegays were soon ready. There were
only fourteen beds in the hospital, so it did not
take very long to get that number prettily



22 ‘The Children. in the Valley.

arranged and placed in the basket. Alice was
delighted to go. Kate, the young servant who
waited on the children, going with her, and
Minnie escorting her as usual to the gate.

“T wish I might go. I suppose some day
mother will let me,” she said, wistfully,

“Oh, you must wait a long while yet, Minnie,
for you know mothgr does not think Biase: old
enough, and she is two years ahead of you.”

““ Well, give the sick people my love, and tell
them we helped to gather the flowers.” s

“ All right,” cried Alice, as she turned round .

‘to nod to her little sister; and then Minnie, 7

watched her till she was out of sight. .





23

CHAPTER III.
The Cottage Hospital.

af EELING very important with
\ her basket of flowers, and very
pleased when people turned
round to look at them, Alice
passed along the village street.
Kate would have carried the
basket, but, oh no! of course
she could not trust it to any-
body else. Very bright and
pretty the little bunches looked,
and to each one was tied a card
with a picture and a text written in clear round
hand. So besides the flowers’ message of God’s
love and care, there was another message from
His word to tell-about Jesus and about heaven.
Alice had to cross the river, and she stopped





24 The Children in the Valley.

a minute on the bridge to lcok at the rushing
water below. ‘“Sunddys and working days,”
she said to herself, “it’s all the same to the
river. It never slackens its pace for ‘happy
Sunday,’ nor hurries for ‘busy Monday’ But
then God never fold it to rest as He has done
us. Yet how it sparkles and dances in the
sunshine. It has got a Sunday look about it
in its own way, I do think; though it’s always
going on, instead of standing still.”

“T think, Miss Alice, we had better not stay,”
suggested Kate; and thus admonished, and re-
membering the river would be there to-morrow,
Alice continued her walk.

The Cottage Hospital had only lately been
built by a kind gentleman, and was a neat house
with a small garden in front between it and the
road, not far beyond the bridge and the river.
They went up the little path and knocked at
the door, which was quickly answered by the
matron. “May I come in, please, Mrs. Hughes, .
and give some flowers to the sick people?”
asked Alice. ~

“Yes, sure, miss,” replied Mrs. Hughes,
making way for them to enter. ‘“ We are quite

o



The Cottage Hospital. 25

full, and they will be mighty pleased with them.
There's a little girl, too, has come since you was
here; she'll like them, I know.”

“A little girl? Oh, is she very ill?” in-
quired Alice, with interest.

“No; ’twas an accident, my dear, but she’s
better now ;” and then Mrs. Hughes was wanted,
and had no time to tell more.

Alice had been once or twice before, so she
knew her way, and was soon busily engaged in
giving away the sweet flowers at the bedsides.
The pale faces brightened, and there were many
murmurs of “ Bless you, little miss,” and “ Wo
take it very kind of you to think of us,” and
“ Ah, that’s just the text that fits me.”
~ Tam afraid Alice hurried through the work
more than she usually did, she was so anxious
to get to the little girl, It happened that she
came last, as her bed was in the corner, and a
very quiet corner it was. She smiled and
coloured as Alice reached her, and offered her
the only remaining nosegay in her basket.

“T have kept this on purpose for you,” she
explained, ‘‘ because the flowers all grew in our
own gardens. See, here are geraniums and



26 The Children in the Valley.

sweet peas, and some pretty white rosebuds.
Such a nice text, too: ‘I the Lord do keep it;
I will water it every moment; lest any hurt it,
I will keep it night and day’ lewak xxvii. 3).
Don’t you like it P”

“Yes, miss, indeed I do, and thank you.
And I know it’s true too, for I am sure He has
kept me ever since I have been here, and made
everybody so kind to me.”

The little girl looked very white, but her

face was bright and happy. She had flushed
up with pleasure at the sight of Alice, but now
the colour had gone. She was’lying very low
and straight, with a splint on her leg to keep’ it
in one place. Alice asked her if she might sit
down and talk to her a little, and her eyes
eagerly answered “Yes,” as she pointed to a
chair.

“Do please tell me your name,” was Alice’s
first request ; “or I shall not know what to call
you. 2?

“Grace,” replied the little girl softly, ‘‘ Grace
Evans.”

“Well then, Grace, I want to ask you one
thing. Mrs. Hughes said you had had an ac-



The Cottage Hospital. 27

cident, and yet you say God has been keeping
you. Did He forget you just that minute that
you met with it, do you think P”

_ “Ob no, miss; it was not that indeed. You
see, I was walking on the edge of the slate
quarry, and my foot got entangled in some slates,
and I lost my balance, and fell over. But just
* a minute before a waggon had been passing, and
if I had fallen then it would have gone over me
and killed me! But instead of that I only put
out my ankle-bone; so it was God taking care
of me, was it not, miss P”

“But then it must have hurt you badly, did
it not, Grace P”

“ Yes, miss, sure; and some nights at first I
could not help crying with the pain. But then I
thought how much worse it might have been;
and also,” Grace added in a low tone, “I re-
membered how much Jesus bore for me, and

that helped me.”

' Qh, Grace,” said Alice, “I don’t think I
should have been able to bear it.”

“Perhaps you never were ill, miss, and so
you would not know. If people don’t need
comfort, well, I suppose the comfort don’t come.



28 The Children in the Valley.

One night I felt so restless like, and wanted to
move so, and of course I could not with my leg
in the splint, and there was nobody to speak to
me. Then all at once it seemed as if some one
said to me, ‘I will rest you, I will rest you,’ and
I got quite quiet, and very soon I went to sleep.
When I woke I remembered it, and felt sure it
was Jesus said it. Don't you think so, miss?”

Alice was silent. She had been taught about
Jesus from her earliest years, but she had never
felt Him to be her friend as Grace seemed to
do. She had been taught that she was a sinner,
but she had never come to Him as her Saviour.
Grace Evans had ; and that was the reason why
she was happy, though in pain and in a hospital.

“Where did you learn about these things,
Grace?” said Alice, at last.

“ At the Sunday-school, miss; but we’ve lost
our dear teacher now, or she would have been
to see me here.”

“My mother goes to the school Sunday
afternoons. Do you know her, I wonder? Her
name is Mrs. Stewart.”

“T did not know her name, but I have seen
her very often; and I pass your house, miss,

od ima cians





SUNDAY MORNING,






The Cottage Hospital. dl

every day when I go to school. Leastways, I
used to.”
“Oh, Grace, you don’t say so. And where
do you live, then P”
“We live on the mountain, and we turn up
- a path just beyond you to get to father’s cottage.
And there’s a dear little miss as nods to me
' severy day as I go by; maybe it’s your sister,
miss.”

“Oh yes, that’s Minnie; and she has often
talked about you, and she has been wondering
where you were. Now she will be ever so glad
when I go home and tell her; I don’t mean
glad you are ill, but that we have found you out,
and know who you are. Now we shall be
friends, I’m sure. But I have never asked how
old you are, Grace.”

’ «J was eleven last May, miss,” said Grace.

“ And I was twelve last May; so I am just a
year older. Rose is ten, so you come between
us. Shall you be here much longer, do you
think ?”

“Oh yes, it will be some weeks, the doctors
say; but I don’t mind. Once a week mother
comes; and nurse is so good to me, as well as



382 The Children in the Valley.

all the sick people too. And then, miss, I can
hear the river just the same as in our own
cottage, and it does make it seem so home-like.
And, miss, when I am awake at night, and it’s
all still, except the rush going on and on, it is
just like the voice of Jesus whispering that He
is always near.”

But the time for seeing visitors was over
now ; and Kate, who had been talking to a friend
at the other side of the ward, came to say they
must go. Alice reluctantly said good-bye, and
walked home, as may be supposed, full of Grace
Evans.





33

CHAPTER IV.
Snow in the Ballep.

THINK I can hear you
saying, “I thought this
was to be a Christmas
story; instead of that, it
is all about summer time.”
Well, we must not linger
any more over the sweet
summer days. I will not
stay to tell how delighted
2 Minnie was with the dis-

covery ‘anid in the last chapter, nor how
many visits were paid to the hospital during the
weeks that followed. Little Grace got well at
last, and went back to her cottage home; but
her young friends did not forget her, neither did

Mrs. Stewart object to their keeping up their





34 The Children in the Valley.

intercourse with her. Grace was so gentle and
well-behaved, she felt quite. sure she would not
do her children any harm. Besides, she had
found out the secret spring, and .knew that
Grace had learned to love hér Saviour, and had
early given her heart to Him. She did not feel
nearly so sure about her own children, and she
hoped and prayed that Grace’s influence might
be good for them.

And now the heather and the gorse had faded,
and there was neither gold nor purple left on
the hill-side. To be sure, there was the deep
rich brown of the fern, which had ‘come.to take
their place; but though beautiful in itself, that
‘was an aspect. of decay, and a token that. the
summer had departed. So said the robins, as
one after another they began to sing their soft
sweet autumn song. So said the swallows, as
they perched in a row on the roof of Mrs.
Stewart’s house, to make their plans for their
- Journey. :

By-and-by the swallows had gone, and the
robins sang on frdm the leafless boughs, and the
winter was come. Oh, how different was the
valley now! . One thick veil of mist hid all the



Snow in the Valley. 35

tops of the mountains, the air was damp and
cold, and the roads were muddy. Nobody cared
to chmb up to the old castle; indeed, the castle
itself was often behind the clouds. There were
no flowers in the garden, and no journeys to the
hospital; indeed, it was generally too foggy to
get out at all. It was too cold for Minnie to
stand at the gate, so she could only stand at the
dining-room window instead, looking into the
mist, and thinking what a long, long ne it
would be till summer.

The only thing that seemed alive was the
river, and even that was not the same as it used
to be. The constant rain had made it so full
and deep, that it flowed rapidly, but much more
quietly, and did not make half such a noise
about its own concerns as it did a few months
before.

The weeks passed on, and then the frost came,
which hardened the roads and made matters a
little better. That was a good thing, for Christ-
mas was drawing near, bringing life and stir
with it, even to the Welsh valley. Mrs. Stewart
was busy with certain preparations of her own
day after day, and the children were always



36 The Children im the Valley.

knitting comforters or dressing dolls. The fact
was, there was going to be a Christmas-tree, an
unknown creation in these regions. Mrs, Stewart,
as we have said, had a class in the Sunday-
school, and when talking over what little treat
she could give, Alice had eagerly suggested a
Christmas-tree. Then Minnie had followed up
the idea by pleading for Grace Evans to come
too; and after much consultation, and fears on
Mrs. Stewart’s part that the other children
would be jealous—Grace not being in her class
—it had been decided that she was to be asked,
and that Rose and Minnie were to take the
invitation.

This was a pleasure in itself, for they did cet
often go so far by themselves. Grace’s home
was a low white cottage, perched on a ledge of
rock, about a quarter of a mile up the hillside.
The path was very steep, and very dirty where
there was no frost. You would have had to -
jump from stone to stone to avoid the puddles
which were between. They were frozen now;
but Rose and Minnie liked the fun of springing
from one place to another, and clambering over

the rocks which bordered the path, and which



Snow in the Valley. 37

were only a little more rugged than the path
itself.

“What shall you say, Rose?” inquired
Minnie. “Shall you give mother’s compliments,
like you did when she sent us to Mr. Jones’s
the other day ?”

“Oh, no!” said Rose, laughing: “That’s
only for grown-up people and grand people.
Well, I don’t know exactly; but there’s no good
thinking beforehand, because I daresay if I did,
it Would all go out of my head when I got there.
But here we are.”

The cottage was humble, but very clean and
neat, and that makes even a hovel look like
home. Any one might have known by Grace’s
own tidy appearance that she had a careful
mother, and the aspect of the little dwelling told
the same tale. The floor was slate, and so was
the fireplace, and so was the dresser; but each
had been rubbed so well and so often it did not
‘look gloomy, but bright and polished. A piece
of bacon was hanging from the ceiling, and some
plants were in the window. Grace’s father was
a happy man to have such a snug home to come
to, and not merely a roof to shelter him.



38 The Children im the Valley.

Mrs. Evans curtseyed- when she saw the
children, and dusted some chairs for them to sit
down. Then Rose began to wish she ad pre-
pared her speech, for she could not think what
to say. There was nothing for it but to plunge
into the subject at once. “Please, Mrs. Evans,
mother wants Grace to come to tea on Christmas -
Eve, and we all want her to come too.”

“Sure, miss, she shall, if shé be back from
her grandmother’s; but she be going there next
week for a few days.”

“Oh, but she must come back, please, for we
are going to have a Christmas-tree,” said Minnie,
eagerly.

“A what, missP I don’t know what that
may be; but since you be so kind, we'll try and
manage it.”

So the matter was settled; and with many
messages to Grace, who was out on an errand, i
the two little girls ran down the steep path _
rather quicker than they came up it, and were |
soon at home.

Preparations went forward, and now the day
before Christmas day had really come. A little
snow had been falling for some days, and by



eH











































THE INVITATION.






Snow in the Valley. 41

degrees the valley had grown whiter and whiter,
till it was all one wide waste below, with
evidently more in the sky to follow presently.
But it was the proper thing for Christmas, and
nobody minded very much. Mrs. Stewart was

“busy indoors, putting the last touches of adorn-

ment to her Christmas-tree. It was a wonderful
creation. Apples and oranges grew inamarvellous
manner on its drooping boughs. Dolls and
comforters stared forth from behind the branches.
Goodies of most tempting kinds seemed to have

ripened there instead of fir-cones. Then the

whole was hung with tapers, which only waited
for darkness, and for the guests to come, and
they would burst into a blaze of light. Alice
and Rose and Minnie were in a state of great
excitement, and kept walking round and round,
suggesting additions and improvements, till at
last it was the general opinion nothing more
could be done, and that the effect was perfect.
Five o’clock came, and then timid knocks
were heard at the front door. One after another
twelve little girls stepped from the darkness of
the winter evening, and the fast-falling snow,
into the well-lighted hall. They had come



42 The Children in the Valley.

through difficulties; but what did that matter,
when there was a Christmas-tree for the reward?

“ Are we all here?” askéd Mrs. Stewart, as
they took their places at a well-covered tea-table,
and she looked round at their bright and happy
faces, *

“Grace is not here, mother,” replied Minnie,
in a disappointed voice. ‘Shall we not wait
for her?”

“Please, ma’am,” said one of the children,
“Grace Evans is not come back yet from her
grandmother’s. Her mother has been a looking
for her all the afternoon, and she sent down to
our house to tell us, because, you know, ma’am,
we live just below.”

“Not come home?” repeated Mrs. Stewart.
“Surely she is not out on the mountain such a
night as this!”

“Sure, her mother thinks, ma’am, that her
grandmother must have kept her.”

“No doubt, no doubt, so we will not wait;
only we are sorry not to have her.”

“Oh, mother,” exclaimed Minnie, “suppose
she should be out all night in the snow!”

“We will not think of that, my child; and



Snow in the Valley. 43

anyhow, you know who can take care of her.
Jesus will not forget His own lamb, we may be
sure.”

So the tea went on, and after tea came the
treat of the evening. The twelve little girls
* were indeed delighted, and never was Christmas-
tree more admired and appreciated. But to the
Stewart children much of the zest was gone;
there was something wanting, and a shadow
was cast even upon Christmas Eve.





CHAPTER Y.
Grace's Christmas.

ET us now see what Grace was .
doing, and how she was spend-
g@ ing the time which ought to
“ have been passed at Mrs.

Stewart’s.

After a few happy days
with. her grandmother, who
lived about two miles away,
on the other side of the moun-
tain, she was getting ready to
go home on the morning of
the twenty-fourth of December.

“Nay, child,” said the grandmother, “it’s nct
fit for you to go to-day. See how heavy the
sky looks; there’ll be more snow surely, and you

would never find the path across the mountains.”
e





Grace’s Christmas. 45

“Oh, but, granny, I know the way so well,”
pleaded Grace, “and father and mother would
fret for me to be away at Christmas. And then
the little ladies expect me to tea to-night, so I
~ ,must go. At least,” Grace added, recollecting
herself, “I want to go; but I won’t unless you
let me, granny dear; only please say yes.”

Granny had a soft heart, and the little face
looked up into hers so earnestly, she could only
say, ‘J’ let you if the weather will, but we’ll
see in the afternoon.”

About two o’clock the clouds seemed passing
off, and granny did give consent to the start,
though her heart failed her. All she could do
was to wrap Grace up warmly, and repeat her
instructions over and over again to keep the
‘comforter crossed upon her chest, and to make
the best of her way.

“Don’t trouble, granny dear, I’m not a bit
afraid,” said Grace, in a cheery voice; “only I
wish I was not leaving you alone.”

“No, no, dearie, not alone; I’ve got a Friend
who’s always with me, and sure the snow can’t
keep Him out. He be always coming, yet never
going away.”



46 ‘The Children in the Valley.

“ Ah, granny, that’s Jesus, I know; and may
be He’ll draw a bit nearer to you ‘cause it’s
Christmas.”

“Yes, dear, yes ; and now be off.”

Grace gave a parting hug, and bounded down
the path, only turning at the corner to kiss her _
hand to her grandmother.

“Bless her!” said the old woman, as she stood -
watching her till she was out of sight. ‘She is
the Lord’s lamb, and He'll go with her, but it?s
awful cold and dreary for a tender bairn like
her.’ Then she shut the door, shivering, and
sat down by the fireside to knit. ,

Grace got on pretty well for the first quarter
of an hour; the coating of snow was but slight,
and there was no difficulty in tracing the path.
Her heart was full of happy thoughts and ex- ~
pectations, and it is an old story that the heart ~
always helps the heels:

“‘T shall be home by four o’clock,” she said. ©
to herself; “and then I shall have plenty of
time to talk to mother, and play with baby °
before I get ready to go to Mrs. Stewart's to
tea. I wonder what the Christmas-tree will be
like! Miss Minnie said it would be ever so









GRANNY’S COTTAGE






Grace’s Christmas. 49

_ pretty. What a nice Christmas it will be this
~. year. Let me see, 1 had not got my baby
brother last year, so I am better off now; how
kind it was of God to send him to us. I wonder
whether the little babies get a blessing for the
sake of Him who was born at Bethlehem.”

Her thoughts were disturbed by a tall man
coming up the path she was descending; and as
she stopped to let him pass, he looked at her
and smiled pleasantly.

“Where are you going, little maid? ” asked
the tall man, who seemed to be a shepherd, for
he had a dog with him.

.“T’m going home, sir, to my father’s cottage,
-just above the village, the other side of the
mountain.”

“Then you had best be quick, child, for
there's stormy weather coming ; and unless you
look sharp you'll not be home first.”

“Thank you, sir, I'll not be long ; ” and Grace,
_ quickening her pace, hurried on as fast as she
could.

_ The clouds grew darker, and the wind began
to rise in fitful gusts. It seemed to be getting

colder and colder, and drearier and drearier,
EB?



50 Lhe Children im the Valley.

every minute. Grace’s hands were numb, spite
of her warm woollen gloves; and though her
grandmother had tied her hat down over her |
ears, that could not prevent the cold blast from
blowing through them. Then the wind went
down, and a few flakes of snow fell. More
tollowed, faster and faster.

For the first time Grace’s spirits fell too, and
she wished she had not started, or that she was.
safe at home. Still she struggled bravely on;
and as she could trace the path and follow it,
she hoped all would yet be well. But the snow
was making it so slippery, it was very slow work
to get on. But, alas! she saw that the snow

was gradually covering up the pathway alto- BY

gether. Everything began to look strange, and
she strained her eyes after some familiar object
to guide her way. Where was she? She could
not tell, and she sat down for’a moment on a:
piece of rock, not yet covered with snow, to take
breath and think what to do.
Poor little lamb! she was only eleven years
old, and it is no wonder that her courage gave
way in a burst of tears. Then she remembered
what she had said to her grandmother, about



Grace’s Christmas. 51

Jesus being nearest when we wanted Him most ;
she put her cold hands together, and her heart
went out in a prayer like this: “O, Lord Jesus,
I do want Thee now very much, so please come
and show me the way home. And don’t let me
be lost; but put Thine arms round me, and be
nearer to me than thesnow. Amen.” After that
she said to herself “Safe in the arms of Jesus;”
and the words seemed so true, she did not feel
afraid any more. So she wiped her eyes as well
as she could, and thought she should now be
able to find her way.

But darkness was coming on apace; and while
every step was a toil and difficulty, she could
not the least tell whether she was not getting
farther from’home instead of nearer. Once she
fell into a hollow, where the snow had drifted,
and in struggling out hurt her foot against

_a point of rock. She could not see a step
before her, and at last she fairly gave up, and
sat down, as she believed, to die. One thought
‘of her mother and her home rose to her mind,
and then the weary, wandering child was lost
to all outward consciousness.

- Thick and fast the snow fell on; it covered



52 The Children wn the Valley.

her over, as she lay helpless upon the cold, cold
bed; and about the same time as the happy
party gathered round Mrs. Stewart’s tea-table,
the last sign of Grace Evans had disappeared,
and nobody would ever have known that she
was there.
, She will be missed certainly, and they will
search for her, but how can they find her ? Who
will ever tell them that she is buried beneath
the snow ?
So Grace Evans spent her Christmas Eve,
yet “safe in the arms of Jesus” even then.





53

CHAPTER VI.
Lost but Found.



cy ‘7 HE night passed, and morn-
ying, the blessed Christmas
morning, broke. It had
ceased snowing, the sky had
cleared, but it was one wide
waste on every side, save
where the rocks, too steep
for the snow to rest on,
stood up amongst it stern and bare. And the
river too, that was black and turbid and very
dismal, as if it were quite determined noé to
rejoice like the rest of the world at Christmas-
time. Happy children’s voices in many a home
' had given the season a welcome. The bells had
rung out a merry chime; and the early sun-
beams, as they sparkled on the snow, seemed



54 The. Children im the Valley.

but to set forth the same holy words which they
were meant to proclaim, “ Peace on earth, good
will to men.” ‘

Mrs. Stewart looked absent as she returned
her children’s greetings, for she was concerned
for Grace, and her heart was sore for Gracie’s
mother. She had sent the gardener up to the
cottage the first thing, and he had brought back
word she had not returned, though there was
still the chance that her grandmother had
detained her.

And Gracie’s mother? Ah, she had gone to
the door more times than I can tell you, the
previous afternoon, to watch for her child; but
when the snow came on she felt sure, she had
been kept for the night, and that weather per-
mitting she would be home in the morning. At
least she told herself this over and over again,
as we so often do tell ourselves what we wish to
believe. Still she was not very anxious, though
she longed for the morning.

Her husband set off as soon as it was light
for the cottage, thinking and hoping he might
possibly meet Grace on her homeward way.
But it was a difficult task even for him to



Lost but Found. 55

struggle through the snow;—and when he
reached the end of the journey, and found that
Grace had left the day before, we may well
imagine how the father’s heart sank within
him.

Then where was she? Who could say? Sad
indeed was the tale he had to take back to her
expectant mother. Poor Mrs. Evans wrung her
hands in despair, as well she might do. ‘Oh,
my child, my Grace!” she cried, “why did I
let you go? Oh, I must find you, I must!
_ God will help me, He will give you back to me;
you can’t be lost!”

The father stood in mute dismay; he knew
too well how little chance there was of finding
the child alive, even if they found her at all.

Meanwhile, the unconscious child lay asleep
in her cold and lonely bed. There was no
mother’s hand to soothe her slumbers; the snow
her curtain, the snow her coverlet; surely she
will never waken till that sleep has passed into
death. The darkness of the winter's night, the
bright rays of the Christmas morning sunshine,
made no difference, and were alike unfelt. Mid-
day had come and passed, and still she slept.



56 The Children im the Valley.

About this time Elias Roberts, the tall shep-
herd of whom we have already spoken, not being
much used to be kept at home by snow or any-
thing else, thought he would take a walk and
see how the weather looked. He called his dog
Snap, and they went out together; but neither
he nor Snap had any purpose in view, nor did
they care which way they went.

Yet it soon appeared that Snap at any rate
had some object in his mind, for after they had
been strolling over the mountain path some time,
Snap suddenly vanished. His master, who was
wishing now to return, called him, but in vain.
At last he rushed back in a strange excited
state, barking violently. “I don’t understand
thee, Snap, to-day; what’s all this about?
Whatever hast thee found? We will go home
now,” said Elias. But the dog refused to follow
save in one direction, and continued to whine
and howl in most unusual fashion.

“Well, well then, don’t make any more fuss;
T'll follow thee for once,” said Elias again.

He did follow for a short distance, Snap
getting more and more demonstrative as they
went on, till as they turned a corner the dog







































































































FrouND!}






Lost but Found. 59

stopped before a hole he had evidently scratched
in the snow, for he began to scratch again with
all his might. In the hole the astonished shep-
herd beheld the half-disclosed form of the little
girl whom he had seen yesterday.

She just opened her eyes, and looked at him
in great bewilderment; then closed them again
wearily, and the pale pinched face grew paler
than before. Elias Roberts was a kindly man,
and a strong one too. He saw there was no
time to be lost, and he set to work at once,
talking as he did so, partly to himself, partly to
his dog.

“ Poor little lass! And thee has been in the
snow all night! A cold bed, I reckon; and if
it weren’t for my good dog there, thee would
never have known another. Well done, Snap;
it’s the best’ deed thee hast done for many a
day. Now then, scratch away, there’s a good
’un.” At last the man with his stick and the
dog with his paws had removed the snow
enough for the former to lift the little girl out
- of her resting-place and take her in his arms.
It was not more than half a mile from her
home, and they were soon at the door.



60 The Children in the Valley.

‘“‘ Here, missus,”’ said Elias, in his rough way,
“Te brought you a Christmas present, and a
pretty one it is too.”

The mother’s cry of joy at the sight of her |
lost child was changed into one of terror as’ she
caught sight of the closed eyes and rigid features
of her darling.

“ Don’t you take on now,’ goutitiaad ‘lie
honest shepherd ; “she’s right enough. Put her
to bed, and she’ll come to; it’s only the chill
and the snow where she a been. Ah, I’m
glad she be got home;” and without waiting
for thanks he hurried away, though I rather
think a tear, or somethgng like one, fell on
Gracie’s little hand as he put her into her
mother’s arms. :

With a thankful yet still anxious heart, Mrs,
JEvans hastened to do all she could to restore
consciousness. The child was soon wrapped
up in blankets in her own little bed; and after
some time a faint tinge of colour came back to.
her cheek. Then she opened her eyes, gave one
smile to her watching mother, and went off into
a sweet and quiet sleep, her father coming in
meanwhile from his fruitless search, only to find



Lost but Found. 61

his lost lamb safe and snug in its own happy
fold.

After two or three hours’ sleep, Gracie awoke
to see her mother still sitting by her bedside,
with the baby brother in her arms. For a few
minutes she lay without speaking, quietly taking
in the happiness of the sight, and recalling to
her mind all that had gone before. “Yes, it
was very cold,’ she said, with a shudder as she
thought about it, “and yet I did not feel afraid ;
and I don’t remember much till I felt there was
something heavy on my chest, and then I opened
my eyes, and there was a dear dog there with
his paws round my neck, and he was licking my
face. Wasit not good and kind of him, mother ?
I’m sure God sent him, didn’t He?”

“Yes, dear, indeed He did, for He was

. watching over you all the time; now He has
given you back to us, we can never thank Him
enough.”

Grace lay still again for some time, and then
suddenly asked what time it was. Her mother
told her that it was about seven o’clock.

“Oh, then, mother, there is a bit of Christmas
day left. Iam so glad God did not let me sleep



62. The Children in the Valley.

‘quite all through. Now please may I get up a
little while, for I am very well, and it would be
so nice P”

Her mother could not refuse, and so she put
on something warm and carried her downstairs ;
then she sat on her father’s knee, and they had
a cosy time together. I do not think that in all
Wales there was a happier Christmas party.

At last Mrs. Evans thought Grace had had
enough, but before she went she said she should
like to sing a hymn. Her father had a good
voice; and you may be sure his heart was in
tune for a song of praise, Grace joining in,
though with very quavering notes, and the baby
in the cradle adding a little chorus of his own.

“Father,” Grace asked, when they had
finished, “would you mind having prayers
sooner to-night, and please put in a bit for
~ me?”

“Certainly I will, and glad, my child,”
replied her father. “Here, mother, get.me the
Bible.”

Then he read about Jesus being born at
Bethlehem, because, as Grace said, she had not
been to church to-day to hear it. And in



Lost but Found. 63

his prayer afterwards, this was what he ended
with :

“©O God, our Father, we do thank Thee for
loving us so much as to send Thy Son Jesus
Christ to be born a little baby like ours here,
and then to die for us. We thank Thee, Lord
Jesus, for coming, and for being once a little
one, so that Thou mightest know how the little
ones feel. And we do thank Thee, mother and
me, that Thou hast given us back our little one
from the cold snow. She is Thy Lamb, Lord,
and we want Thee to bless her. And we ask
Thee to take our hearts; we'll make room for
Thee there, though there weren’t room for Thee
in the inn, And do Thou make room for ws in
Thy kingdom, and take us there in the right
time. Amen.”

As her father carried her up to bed, Grace
whispered that it had been a happy Christmas
after all. Then as her mother tucked her up,
she gave her a kiss, and was soon asleep.

The news of Gracie’s safety had spread quickly
through the village, and Minnie rushed into the
dining-room with the joyful tidings, which she
had just heard from Kate. ‘“ Mother, mother,



64 The Children in the Valley.

what do you think? Grace has been all night
in the snow, and a clever dog dug her out. Oh,
I wish it had been Jack !”

“Oh, Minnie, but is she alive P Has she not
died with the cold?”

“No, she is quite well, Kate says. May not
we go and see her, mother P”

“Not to-night, my child, certainly,’ replied
Mrs. Stewart, pointing to the darkness outside.
“ Besides, she must be kept quiet; but you shall
go soon.”

Then they gathered round the fire in one of
the pleasant talks which mothers and children
have together, and all agreed that the last bit
of Christmas Day was the nicest.

And at family prayer, before the little girls
went to bed, Mrs. Stewart did not forget to
return thanks to God, that even the cold snow
and the dumb creature had fulfilled His word,
so that the lost was found, and the little life
was spared.

ERE

LONDON: KNIGHT, PRINTER, MIDDLE STREET, E.C,



SIXPENCE EACH.

[rr ee























ens a

> | Setma, the Turkish Captive

Show your Colours.

| True & False Friendship.

Always too Late.

Schoal Pictures drawn from Life.

Soldier Sam

Stephen Grattan’s Faith

| David the Scholar.

| Tired of Home.

A setting out for Heaven.

\ The Stalen Money.

Helens Stewardship

Pat Riley's Friends

led Ulive Crowhurst.

~y The White Feather i

dm Steenie Alloways Adventures. |

gg Angels Christmas.

fog | Cottage Life; its Lights& Shadows f

H The Raven's Feather.

Aunt Millys Diamonds & Our
Cousin from India.

4 My Lady's Prize & Effie's Letter. AG

4 How the Golden Eagle was Caught}

(i irniistroutioea ittaughther |g

| The Adopted Son





56. PATERNOSTER Row, LONDON.



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56, PATERNOSTER Row, LONDON.
CHLA Wie
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Mo. P heck SL
VERY SORRY FOR YOU,” SAID VIOLET.


Little Dot Series.



THE

CHILDREN IN THE VALLEY.

BY THE AUTHOR OF

‘* AUNT Mary’s TALES FOR Boys,’ ETC.



THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY:

56, PATERNOSTER Row ; 65, St. Pauw’s CHURCHYARD ;
AND 164, PICCADILLY






CONTENTS.

——+ jf

CHAP. PAGE
I, THE WELSH VALLEY . . . 5
Il. MINNIE AND HER PLAYFELLOWS . 14
1. THE COTTAGE HOSPITAL. . . 23,
Iv. SNOW IN THE VALLEY . . 33
v. GRACE’S CHRISTMAS . : : 44

vi. Lost BUT FouND . . . 53


CHAPTER I.

The Gelsh Ballen.

AVE you ever been in Wales? Do you

“1 know how the little streams dash over
the rocks, and how the mountains rise

round them, and how beautiful is the colouring
of the gorse and the heather on the hillsides
in the summer-timeP No! you have never
6 The Children in the Valley.

been, you know nothing of all this, because,
when you do go out in the holidays, your parents
think it best to take you to the seaside. Then
come with me, and let us have a short trip
together to a Welsh valley, and perhaps you
would like to listen to a story of something
that happened there not long ago.

But, lest you should think you are only going
to hear about mountains and valleys, I had
better begin by saying that three little girls
lived in this particular valley, and that their
names were Alice, Rose, and Minnie Stewart.
There was also another, of whom you will hear
by-and-by, a real Welsh child; the three just
mentioned had not been born in Wales, but had
come to live there after their father’s death. For
their mother was a widow; and I think she was
a wise woman to leave the town where they
had lived, now there was no longer any need
to stay there, to bring up her children in this
beautiful Welsh valley.

It was a very quiet little village that nestled
there; there were no grand streets, neither were
there shops, save a few of the humblest fashion.
The butcher’s was only a wooden shed, where

¢






































































































IN THE VALLEY.
The Welsh Valley. 9

he went to sell his meat for an hour or two in
the morning; while the grocer sold bread and
oatcakes as well as tapes and calico, boots and
shoes, so that you might get your shopping done
very quickly, and without going from one place
to another.

But straight through the village flowed the
river, and that was its glory: in one place
foaming, rushing, and roaring; in another so
calm and placid you never would have thought
it could have been excited, or that it ever could
have raised its voice above the gentlest of
whispers. Here and there two tiny streams
‘came tumbling over the hillsides, making all
the noise they could; they were in such a hurry
to get down and join themselves to the big
river. For the big river would not have been
a big river without the help of the little ones.
Have you not found out yet that the great
things always want the small things, and cannot
get on without them?

The houses in the village were built not of
brick but of slate, that being the material most
easily to be got, for there are slate quarries
almost everywhere in Wales. It looks rather
10 The Children in the Valley.

dark to our eyes, but the folks there are used to
it. On the hillside, howevet, there were plenty
of low white cottages scattered about, and that
made it look bright and cheerful. The poor
people lived in these, and their fathers had lived
there before them.

Mrs. Stewart’s house was built of slate, like
the others round it. It stood a little way back _
from the road, with the hills behind, and in
front there was a drive and a level green lawn.
The grass was not kept close and short, but
allowed to grow on as it does in the fields, and
then it was cut to feed the pony. Beyond the
road was the river, and beyond the river was
the hillside again, for the valley wag narrow.

A ruined castle was perched all by itself on a
steep ascent six hundred feet high, just opposite
the house. As the children played in the
garden of a summer evening, and it stood out
clear and sharp against the sunset sky, they
looked up at it with a sort of reverence, gaunt
and grim as it was, for it seemed to be keeping
kindly watch over them. And the last thing
before they got into bed they would peep out
and nod “good night” to it, and almost fancy
The Welsh Valley. ll

it wanted to nod “good night” to them in
return. It did. not seem quite so stern at that
time, and they said that perhaps it was thinking
how different the children were in those days
when it was young and strong. Yes, though
that was long, long ago, there must have been
boys and girls in the sixth century as well as in
the nineteenth, in which we are now living, must
there not P

On the farther side of the river there was a
range of rocks like cliffs, only that there was no
sea below ; while to the left, following the wind-
ings of the river, you came to the end of the
valley, and it might seem to the end of the
world, for there was nothing to be seen but
mountains rising one above another. Often
had the children longed to be at the top of them,
and see what was on the other side. They
thought if they were up there, it would be like
peeping over a wall; instead of that, they would
only have found a long level stretch of bog and
moor, and not a bit of a view of what was beyond.
So they would have lost their own sweet valley,
and not got a sight of the next one.

Well, we will stop in the valley, at any rate;
12 The Children in the Valley.

and there is one thing I have not told you about,
and that is the heather, which is about as bad
as if I were describing a garden, and left out any
mention of the flowers. For it was a garden ,
up there on the mountains, and such a one as
your head gardener with all bis skill never
planted. The hand of God put it there, and
painted it with the purple which is so brilliant
to look upon. On the lower slopes there were
small meadows bright and green—greener than
green, one might almost say; then there came
the grey rocks with little tufts of heather
springing out of the crevices, getting their
nourishment from we do not know where, and
then up above was the mass of glorious colour
made up of tiny separate bells all blended into
one. Not all purple either, there was some
gold, and that was just as bright; the gorse
mixed with the heather, and the heather with the
gorse in wild confusion, yet in perfect harmony.

You have heard of the hanging gardens of
Babylon? They were counted one of the Seven
Wonders of the World; but here were hanging
gardens extending for miles and miles planted
on purpose for us, and with nothing to pay for
The Welsh Valley. 13

_ looking at them. God might have made the
world all grey and brown, and we might have
had all we really needed, and it might still have
been a happy world. We should not have
known what we had lost. But instead of that,
He has given us not only what we want for
our bodies, but the beauty which our souls
want, for they need feeding too. He puts in
the flowers and the sunshine, the dashing of
the stream and the glory of the mountain, as
weil as the food and the clothing, the corn and
the raiment. And all He asks of us in return
is our hearts.


14

CHAPTER II.

Hinnie and her Plapfellows.



: ‘tick and Rose did lessons

A every morning with their
mother; while Minnie, who
was only eight, spent most
of her time in the garden -
playing with Jack, the little
black terrier. If anybody
‘ wanted her, they knew
pretty well where to find
§ her; her favourite spot
was the garden gate, and
she always managed to run down there. She
never went outside, for she knew she must not
do so without leave, but she liked to peep through
or to climb up the spars and look over. She
could see up and down the village street, and
Minnie and her Playfettows. 15

she would watch the children at their play, and
wonder what they were talking about. For
though the little Welsh children are taught
English in the schools, they speak their own
language amongst themselves, so that Minnie
could not understand it.

Poor Minnie was rather dull sometimes, and
wished she could play with them. Jack was a
pretty good playfellow generally; but now and
then he would not submit to be carried about
like a baby, or be made to walk upon his hind
legs while she held his hands, as she called
them. Then she would look wistfully at the
outer world, and longed very much to be on the
other side of the gate. I do not think she was
right to go so near temptation, do you? for she
might at any time have forgotten her mother’s
wishes and got into trouble.

Mrs. Stewart was very kind to people in the
village, and often went in and out amongst
them. Minnie always went with her to the gate,
and then would wait for her return. Sometimes
she would say, “Minnie, you may take the
paper to Mr. Jones;” Mr, Jones being the
curate, to whom Mrs. Stewart lent the daily
16 The Children in the Valley.

newspaper. Or, ‘‘ Minnie, you may run and tell
the gardener I want him;” and then Minnie
was off like a shot, and did not need to be told
twice. Another thing she liked to do was to
watch the children going to school, and she
learnt to know them all, and used to put names
of her own to them. There was one little girl
who passed every day, and was so clean and
neat, and had such a gentle look upon her face,
Minnie loved her, although she had never spoken -
to her. She knew she must not do that, so she
only nodded and smiled, and then the little girl
would curtsey.
‘““Who is that, Minnie?” asked her mother
one day, happening to come in just as this was
going on. “You know I do not like you to get
acquainted with the children who stand about.”
“Oh yes, mother, I know that,’ replied
Minnie; “but I thought there was no harm in
smiling, that’s not talking, though I should like
to talk to her very much. Does she not look
nice, mother; and not a bit dirty, is she?”
“No, she is a very tidy child, I quite agree
with you, and we must find out something about
her. She must have a careful mother, I am
*

Minnie and her Playfellows. 17

sure, and a good home. I wonder I do not
know who she is.”

Mrs. Stewart, as I have said, was acquainted
with most of her neighbours, and quite intended
to. make inquiries about the little girl, But
being very busy it slipped from her memory till
about a week afterwards, when Minnie reminded
her by saying, “Mother, do you know I have
not seen my little girl since that day you asked
me about her? Do youthink she is ill? I wish
we knew where she lives.”

“J am so sorry, my dear,’ replied Mrs.
Stewart, “that I have not been able to inquire,
nor can I doit today. To-morrow is Sunday,
and on Monday you shall go with me, and we
will try and make her out. I dare say she lives
on the hills somewhere, and that is the reason
we do not know her.” .

Sunday morning came, and it was a very
bright one. We all like a bright Sunday, don’t
we? It is such a help to us even in a town to
see the sun shine, and look up into the clear blue
sky; while in the country-—oh, it does seem as
if everything had got its Sunday clothes on as

well as ourselves, and it is all so still and
o 73
18 The Children in the Valley.

peaceful, and we can lift our hearts to our
Father in heaven, and thank Him for the day
of rest which He has so kindly given. But of
all places a Welsh valley wants a fine Sunday,
because it is rather gloomy when it rains; and
as moreover it very often rains, it is something
to be thankful for when it does not.

“What a nice day!” exclaimed Minnie,
when she came down to the dining-room. “I’m.
so glad. I wonder how it is that everything
looks so like Sunday on Sunday morning !”

“Oh, it’s only because there’s a clean table-
cloth,” said Rose, who was rather matter of fact.

“Never mind, Minnie,” replied her mother,
who saw that Minnie looked rather disconcerted
by Rose’s view of the case. “We know that -
God has set apart the day, and outward things
do seem to us as if they showed it. The flowers
smell sweeter, and the gofse and the heather
look deeper in colour than they did yesterday to.
me as well as to you. If God’s peace is in our
hearts, peace will be on all the earth around us:
too; and there will always be something that
makes Sunday different from other days, because -
He has blessed it and sanctified it.”




A KIND Act.
Minnie and her Playfellows. 21

There were a great many devices in this
household to make the day a happy one, and
the children always looked forward to it as
' “the best of all the seven.” Sometimes they
made Bible-clocks, as no doubt you have learnt
- to do; and Alice and Rose could do them very
neatly, while Minnie helped to find the texts.
Sometimes their mother would draw a picture
in a book they called the Sunday album, They
never knew beforehand what it would be, so
there was always the pleasure of expectation ;
and then they found texts to illustrate the
‘ picture, and wrote them carefully underneath.

The best of all was when they were allowed
to gather flowers, and tie them up in little
bunches for sick people; and to-day, after an
early dinner, Mrs. Stewart said the garden was
‘so gay with roses and geraniums, she thought
they would like to get some for the hospital.
“T will go and get the texts for them, and you
may gather the flowers, and then Alice shall
take them to the Cottage Hospital.”

The nosegays were soon ready. There were
only fourteen beds in the hospital, so it did not
take very long to get that number prettily
22 ‘The Children. in the Valley.

arranged and placed in the basket. Alice was
delighted to go. Kate, the young servant who
waited on the children, going with her, and
Minnie escorting her as usual to the gate.

“T wish I might go. I suppose some day
mother will let me,” she said, wistfully,

“Oh, you must wait a long while yet, Minnie,
for you know mothgr does not think Biase: old
enough, and she is two years ahead of you.”

““ Well, give the sick people my love, and tell
them we helped to gather the flowers.” s

“ All right,” cried Alice, as she turned round .

‘to nod to her little sister; and then Minnie, 7

watched her till she was out of sight. .


23

CHAPTER III.
The Cottage Hospital.

af EELING very important with
\ her basket of flowers, and very
pleased when people turned
round to look at them, Alice
passed along the village street.
Kate would have carried the
basket, but, oh no! of course
she could not trust it to any-
body else. Very bright and
pretty the little bunches looked,
and to each one was tied a card
with a picture and a text written in clear round
hand. So besides the flowers’ message of God’s
love and care, there was another message from
His word to tell-about Jesus and about heaven.
Alice had to cross the river, and she stopped


24 The Children in the Valley.

a minute on the bridge to lcok at the rushing
water below. ‘“Sunddys and working days,”
she said to herself, “it’s all the same to the
river. It never slackens its pace for ‘happy
Sunday,’ nor hurries for ‘busy Monday’ But
then God never fold it to rest as He has done
us. Yet how it sparkles and dances in the
sunshine. It has got a Sunday look about it
in its own way, I do think; though it’s always
going on, instead of standing still.”

“T think, Miss Alice, we had better not stay,”
suggested Kate; and thus admonished, and re-
membering the river would be there to-morrow,
Alice continued her walk.

The Cottage Hospital had only lately been
built by a kind gentleman, and was a neat house
with a small garden in front between it and the
road, not far beyond the bridge and the river.
They went up the little path and knocked at
the door, which was quickly answered by the
matron. “May I come in, please, Mrs. Hughes, .
and give some flowers to the sick people?”
asked Alice. ~

“Yes, sure, miss,” replied Mrs. Hughes,
making way for them to enter. ‘“ We are quite

o
The Cottage Hospital. 25

full, and they will be mighty pleased with them.
There's a little girl, too, has come since you was
here; she'll like them, I know.”

“A little girl? Oh, is she very ill?” in-
quired Alice, with interest.

“No; ’twas an accident, my dear, but she’s
better now ;” and then Mrs. Hughes was wanted,
and had no time to tell more.

Alice had been once or twice before, so she
knew her way, and was soon busily engaged in
giving away the sweet flowers at the bedsides.
The pale faces brightened, and there were many
murmurs of “ Bless you, little miss,” and “ Wo
take it very kind of you to think of us,” and
“ Ah, that’s just the text that fits me.”
~ Tam afraid Alice hurried through the work
more than she usually did, she was so anxious
to get to the little girl, It happened that she
came last, as her bed was in the corner, and a
very quiet corner it was. She smiled and
coloured as Alice reached her, and offered her
the only remaining nosegay in her basket.

“T have kept this on purpose for you,” she
explained, ‘‘ because the flowers all grew in our
own gardens. See, here are geraniums and
26 The Children in the Valley.

sweet peas, and some pretty white rosebuds.
Such a nice text, too: ‘I the Lord do keep it;
I will water it every moment; lest any hurt it,
I will keep it night and day’ lewak xxvii. 3).
Don’t you like it P”

“Yes, miss, indeed I do, and thank you.
And I know it’s true too, for I am sure He has
kept me ever since I have been here, and made
everybody so kind to me.”

The little girl looked very white, but her

face was bright and happy. She had flushed
up with pleasure at the sight of Alice, but now
the colour had gone. She was’lying very low
and straight, with a splint on her leg to keep’ it
in one place. Alice asked her if she might sit
down and talk to her a little, and her eyes
eagerly answered “Yes,” as she pointed to a
chair.

“Do please tell me your name,” was Alice’s
first request ; “or I shall not know what to call
you. 2?

“Grace,” replied the little girl softly, ‘‘ Grace
Evans.”

“Well then, Grace, I want to ask you one
thing. Mrs. Hughes said you had had an ac-
The Cottage Hospital. 27

cident, and yet you say God has been keeping
you. Did He forget you just that minute that
you met with it, do you think P”

_ “Ob no, miss; it was not that indeed. You
see, I was walking on the edge of the slate
quarry, and my foot got entangled in some slates,
and I lost my balance, and fell over. But just
* a minute before a waggon had been passing, and
if I had fallen then it would have gone over me
and killed me! But instead of that I only put
out my ankle-bone; so it was God taking care
of me, was it not, miss P”

“But then it must have hurt you badly, did
it not, Grace P”

“ Yes, miss, sure; and some nights at first I
could not help crying with the pain. But then I
thought how much worse it might have been;
and also,” Grace added in a low tone, “I re-
membered how much Jesus bore for me, and

that helped me.”

' Qh, Grace,” said Alice, “I don’t think I
should have been able to bear it.”

“Perhaps you never were ill, miss, and so
you would not know. If people don’t need
comfort, well, I suppose the comfort don’t come.
28 The Children in the Valley.

One night I felt so restless like, and wanted to
move so, and of course I could not with my leg
in the splint, and there was nobody to speak to
me. Then all at once it seemed as if some one
said to me, ‘I will rest you, I will rest you,’ and
I got quite quiet, and very soon I went to sleep.
When I woke I remembered it, and felt sure it
was Jesus said it. Don't you think so, miss?”

Alice was silent. She had been taught about
Jesus from her earliest years, but she had never
felt Him to be her friend as Grace seemed to
do. She had been taught that she was a sinner,
but she had never come to Him as her Saviour.
Grace Evans had ; and that was the reason why
she was happy, though in pain and in a hospital.

“Where did you learn about these things,
Grace?” said Alice, at last.

“ At the Sunday-school, miss; but we’ve lost
our dear teacher now, or she would have been
to see me here.”

“My mother goes to the school Sunday
afternoons. Do you know her, I wonder? Her
name is Mrs. Stewart.”

“T did not know her name, but I have seen
her very often; and I pass your house, miss,

od ima cians


SUNDAY MORNING,
The Cottage Hospital. dl

every day when I go to school. Leastways, I
used to.”
“Oh, Grace, you don’t say so. And where
do you live, then P”
“We live on the mountain, and we turn up
- a path just beyond you to get to father’s cottage.
And there’s a dear little miss as nods to me
' severy day as I go by; maybe it’s your sister,
miss.”

“Oh yes, that’s Minnie; and she has often
talked about you, and she has been wondering
where you were. Now she will be ever so glad
when I go home and tell her; I don’t mean
glad you are ill, but that we have found you out,
and know who you are. Now we shall be
friends, I’m sure. But I have never asked how
old you are, Grace.”

’ «J was eleven last May, miss,” said Grace.

“ And I was twelve last May; so I am just a
year older. Rose is ten, so you come between
us. Shall you be here much longer, do you
think ?”

“Oh yes, it will be some weeks, the doctors
say; but I don’t mind. Once a week mother
comes; and nurse is so good to me, as well as
382 The Children in the Valley.

all the sick people too. And then, miss, I can
hear the river just the same as in our own
cottage, and it does make it seem so home-like.
And, miss, when I am awake at night, and it’s
all still, except the rush going on and on, it is
just like the voice of Jesus whispering that He
is always near.”

But the time for seeing visitors was over
now ; and Kate, who had been talking to a friend
at the other side of the ward, came to say they
must go. Alice reluctantly said good-bye, and
walked home, as may be supposed, full of Grace
Evans.


33

CHAPTER IV.
Snow in the Ballep.

THINK I can hear you
saying, “I thought this
was to be a Christmas
story; instead of that, it
is all about summer time.”
Well, we must not linger
any more over the sweet
summer days. I will not
stay to tell how delighted
2 Minnie was with the dis-

covery ‘anid in the last chapter, nor how
many visits were paid to the hospital during the
weeks that followed. Little Grace got well at
last, and went back to her cottage home; but
her young friends did not forget her, neither did

Mrs. Stewart object to their keeping up their


34 The Children in the Valley.

intercourse with her. Grace was so gentle and
well-behaved, she felt quite. sure she would not
do her children any harm. Besides, she had
found out the secret spring, and .knew that
Grace had learned to love hér Saviour, and had
early given her heart to Him. She did not feel
nearly so sure about her own children, and she
hoped and prayed that Grace’s influence might
be good for them.

And now the heather and the gorse had faded,
and there was neither gold nor purple left on
the hill-side. To be sure, there was the deep
rich brown of the fern, which had ‘come.to take
their place; but though beautiful in itself, that
‘was an aspect. of decay, and a token that. the
summer had departed. So said the robins, as
one after another they began to sing their soft
sweet autumn song. So said the swallows, as
they perched in a row on the roof of Mrs.
Stewart’s house, to make their plans for their
- Journey. :

By-and-by the swallows had gone, and the
robins sang on frdm the leafless boughs, and the
winter was come. Oh, how different was the
valley now! . One thick veil of mist hid all the
Snow in the Valley. 35

tops of the mountains, the air was damp and
cold, and the roads were muddy. Nobody cared
to chmb up to the old castle; indeed, the castle
itself was often behind the clouds. There were
no flowers in the garden, and no journeys to the
hospital; indeed, it was generally too foggy to
get out at all. It was too cold for Minnie to
stand at the gate, so she could only stand at the
dining-room window instead, looking into the
mist, and thinking what a long, long ne it
would be till summer.

The only thing that seemed alive was the
river, and even that was not the same as it used
to be. The constant rain had made it so full
and deep, that it flowed rapidly, but much more
quietly, and did not make half such a noise
about its own concerns as it did a few months
before.

The weeks passed on, and then the frost came,
which hardened the roads and made matters a
little better. That was a good thing, for Christ-
mas was drawing near, bringing life and stir
with it, even to the Welsh valley. Mrs. Stewart
was busy with certain preparations of her own
day after day, and the children were always
36 The Children im the Valley.

knitting comforters or dressing dolls. The fact
was, there was going to be a Christmas-tree, an
unknown creation in these regions. Mrs, Stewart,
as we have said, had a class in the Sunday-
school, and when talking over what little treat
she could give, Alice had eagerly suggested a
Christmas-tree. Then Minnie had followed up
the idea by pleading for Grace Evans to come
too; and after much consultation, and fears on
Mrs. Stewart’s part that the other children
would be jealous—Grace not being in her class
—it had been decided that she was to be asked,
and that Rose and Minnie were to take the
invitation.

This was a pleasure in itself, for they did cet
often go so far by themselves. Grace’s home
was a low white cottage, perched on a ledge of
rock, about a quarter of a mile up the hillside.
The path was very steep, and very dirty where
there was no frost. You would have had to -
jump from stone to stone to avoid the puddles
which were between. They were frozen now;
but Rose and Minnie liked the fun of springing
from one place to another, and clambering over

the rocks which bordered the path, and which
Snow in the Valley. 37

were only a little more rugged than the path
itself.

“What shall you say, Rose?” inquired
Minnie. “Shall you give mother’s compliments,
like you did when she sent us to Mr. Jones’s
the other day ?”

“Oh, no!” said Rose, laughing: “That’s
only for grown-up people and grand people.
Well, I don’t know exactly; but there’s no good
thinking beforehand, because I daresay if I did,
it Would all go out of my head when I got there.
But here we are.”

The cottage was humble, but very clean and
neat, and that makes even a hovel look like
home. Any one might have known by Grace’s
own tidy appearance that she had a careful
mother, and the aspect of the little dwelling told
the same tale. The floor was slate, and so was
the fireplace, and so was the dresser; but each
had been rubbed so well and so often it did not
‘look gloomy, but bright and polished. A piece
of bacon was hanging from the ceiling, and some
plants were in the window. Grace’s father was
a happy man to have such a snug home to come
to, and not merely a roof to shelter him.
38 The Children im the Valley.

Mrs. Evans curtseyed- when she saw the
children, and dusted some chairs for them to sit
down. Then Rose began to wish she ad pre-
pared her speech, for she could not think what
to say. There was nothing for it but to plunge
into the subject at once. “Please, Mrs. Evans,
mother wants Grace to come to tea on Christmas -
Eve, and we all want her to come too.”

“Sure, miss, she shall, if shé be back from
her grandmother’s; but she be going there next
week for a few days.”

“Oh, but she must come back, please, for we
are going to have a Christmas-tree,” said Minnie,
eagerly.

“A what, missP I don’t know what that
may be; but since you be so kind, we'll try and
manage it.”

So the matter was settled; and with many
messages to Grace, who was out on an errand, i
the two little girls ran down the steep path _
rather quicker than they came up it, and were |
soon at home.

Preparations went forward, and now the day
before Christmas day had really come. A little
snow had been falling for some days, and by
eH











































THE INVITATION.
Snow in the Valley. 41

degrees the valley had grown whiter and whiter,
till it was all one wide waste below, with
evidently more in the sky to follow presently.
But it was the proper thing for Christmas, and
nobody minded very much. Mrs. Stewart was

“busy indoors, putting the last touches of adorn-

ment to her Christmas-tree. It was a wonderful
creation. Apples and oranges grew inamarvellous
manner on its drooping boughs. Dolls and
comforters stared forth from behind the branches.
Goodies of most tempting kinds seemed to have

ripened there instead of fir-cones. Then the

whole was hung with tapers, which only waited
for darkness, and for the guests to come, and
they would burst into a blaze of light. Alice
and Rose and Minnie were in a state of great
excitement, and kept walking round and round,
suggesting additions and improvements, till at
last it was the general opinion nothing more
could be done, and that the effect was perfect.
Five o’clock came, and then timid knocks
were heard at the front door. One after another
twelve little girls stepped from the darkness of
the winter evening, and the fast-falling snow,
into the well-lighted hall. They had come
42 The Children in the Valley.

through difficulties; but what did that matter,
when there was a Christmas-tree for the reward?

“ Are we all here?” askéd Mrs. Stewart, as
they took their places at a well-covered tea-table,
and she looked round at their bright and happy
faces, *

“Grace is not here, mother,” replied Minnie,
in a disappointed voice. ‘Shall we not wait
for her?”

“Please, ma’am,” said one of the children,
“Grace Evans is not come back yet from her
grandmother’s. Her mother has been a looking
for her all the afternoon, and she sent down to
our house to tell us, because, you know, ma’am,
we live just below.”

“Not come home?” repeated Mrs. Stewart.
“Surely she is not out on the mountain such a
night as this!”

“Sure, her mother thinks, ma’am, that her
grandmother must have kept her.”

“No doubt, no doubt, so we will not wait;
only we are sorry not to have her.”

“Oh, mother,” exclaimed Minnie, “suppose
she should be out all night in the snow!”

“We will not think of that, my child; and
Snow in the Valley. 43

anyhow, you know who can take care of her.
Jesus will not forget His own lamb, we may be
sure.”

So the tea went on, and after tea came the
treat of the evening. The twelve little girls
* were indeed delighted, and never was Christmas-
tree more admired and appreciated. But to the
Stewart children much of the zest was gone;
there was something wanting, and a shadow
was cast even upon Christmas Eve.


CHAPTER Y.
Grace's Christmas.

ET us now see what Grace was .
doing, and how she was spend-
g@ ing the time which ought to
“ have been passed at Mrs.

Stewart’s.

After a few happy days
with. her grandmother, who
lived about two miles away,
on the other side of the moun-
tain, she was getting ready to
go home on the morning of
the twenty-fourth of December.

“Nay, child,” said the grandmother, “it’s nct
fit for you to go to-day. See how heavy the
sky looks; there’ll be more snow surely, and you

would never find the path across the mountains.”
e


Grace’s Christmas. 45

“Oh, but, granny, I know the way so well,”
pleaded Grace, “and father and mother would
fret for me to be away at Christmas. And then
the little ladies expect me to tea to-night, so I
~ ,must go. At least,” Grace added, recollecting
herself, “I want to go; but I won’t unless you
let me, granny dear; only please say yes.”

Granny had a soft heart, and the little face
looked up into hers so earnestly, she could only
say, ‘J’ let you if the weather will, but we’ll
see in the afternoon.”

About two o’clock the clouds seemed passing
off, and granny did give consent to the start,
though her heart failed her. All she could do
was to wrap Grace up warmly, and repeat her
instructions over and over again to keep the
‘comforter crossed upon her chest, and to make
the best of her way.

“Don’t trouble, granny dear, I’m not a bit
afraid,” said Grace, in a cheery voice; “only I
wish I was not leaving you alone.”

“No, no, dearie, not alone; I’ve got a Friend
who’s always with me, and sure the snow can’t
keep Him out. He be always coming, yet never
going away.”
46 ‘The Children in the Valley.

“ Ah, granny, that’s Jesus, I know; and may
be He’ll draw a bit nearer to you ‘cause it’s
Christmas.”

“Yes, dear, yes ; and now be off.”

Grace gave a parting hug, and bounded down
the path, only turning at the corner to kiss her _
hand to her grandmother.

“Bless her!” said the old woman, as she stood -
watching her till she was out of sight. ‘She is
the Lord’s lamb, and He'll go with her, but it?s
awful cold and dreary for a tender bairn like
her.’ Then she shut the door, shivering, and
sat down by the fireside to knit. ,

Grace got on pretty well for the first quarter
of an hour; the coating of snow was but slight,
and there was no difficulty in tracing the path.
Her heart was full of happy thoughts and ex- ~
pectations, and it is an old story that the heart ~
always helps the heels:

“‘T shall be home by four o’clock,” she said. ©
to herself; “and then I shall have plenty of
time to talk to mother, and play with baby °
before I get ready to go to Mrs. Stewart's to
tea. I wonder what the Christmas-tree will be
like! Miss Minnie said it would be ever so






GRANNY’S COTTAGE
Grace’s Christmas. 49

_ pretty. What a nice Christmas it will be this
~. year. Let me see, 1 had not got my baby
brother last year, so I am better off now; how
kind it was of God to send him to us. I wonder
whether the little babies get a blessing for the
sake of Him who was born at Bethlehem.”

Her thoughts were disturbed by a tall man
coming up the path she was descending; and as
she stopped to let him pass, he looked at her
and smiled pleasantly.

“Where are you going, little maid? ” asked
the tall man, who seemed to be a shepherd, for
he had a dog with him.

.“T’m going home, sir, to my father’s cottage,
-just above the village, the other side of the
mountain.”

“Then you had best be quick, child, for
there's stormy weather coming ; and unless you
look sharp you'll not be home first.”

“Thank you, sir, I'll not be long ; ” and Grace,
_ quickening her pace, hurried on as fast as she
could.

_ The clouds grew darker, and the wind began
to rise in fitful gusts. It seemed to be getting

colder and colder, and drearier and drearier,
EB?
50 Lhe Children im the Valley.

every minute. Grace’s hands were numb, spite
of her warm woollen gloves; and though her
grandmother had tied her hat down over her |
ears, that could not prevent the cold blast from
blowing through them. Then the wind went
down, and a few flakes of snow fell. More
tollowed, faster and faster.

For the first time Grace’s spirits fell too, and
she wished she had not started, or that she was.
safe at home. Still she struggled bravely on;
and as she could trace the path and follow it,
she hoped all would yet be well. But the snow
was making it so slippery, it was very slow work
to get on. But, alas! she saw that the snow

was gradually covering up the pathway alto- BY

gether. Everything began to look strange, and
she strained her eyes after some familiar object
to guide her way. Where was she? She could
not tell, and she sat down for’a moment on a:
piece of rock, not yet covered with snow, to take
breath and think what to do.
Poor little lamb! she was only eleven years
old, and it is no wonder that her courage gave
way in a burst of tears. Then she remembered
what she had said to her grandmother, about
Grace’s Christmas. 51

Jesus being nearest when we wanted Him most ;
she put her cold hands together, and her heart
went out in a prayer like this: “O, Lord Jesus,
I do want Thee now very much, so please come
and show me the way home. And don’t let me
be lost; but put Thine arms round me, and be
nearer to me than thesnow. Amen.” After that
she said to herself “Safe in the arms of Jesus;”
and the words seemed so true, she did not feel
afraid any more. So she wiped her eyes as well
as she could, and thought she should now be
able to find her way.

But darkness was coming on apace; and while
every step was a toil and difficulty, she could
not the least tell whether she was not getting
farther from’home instead of nearer. Once she
fell into a hollow, where the snow had drifted,
and in struggling out hurt her foot against

_a point of rock. She could not see a step
before her, and at last she fairly gave up, and
sat down, as she believed, to die. One thought
‘of her mother and her home rose to her mind,
and then the weary, wandering child was lost
to all outward consciousness.

- Thick and fast the snow fell on; it covered
52 The Children wn the Valley.

her over, as she lay helpless upon the cold, cold
bed; and about the same time as the happy
party gathered round Mrs. Stewart’s tea-table,
the last sign of Grace Evans had disappeared,
and nobody would ever have known that she
was there.
, She will be missed certainly, and they will
search for her, but how can they find her ? Who
will ever tell them that she is buried beneath
the snow ?
So Grace Evans spent her Christmas Eve,
yet “safe in the arms of Jesus” even then.


53

CHAPTER VI.
Lost but Found.



cy ‘7 HE night passed, and morn-
ying, the blessed Christmas
morning, broke. It had
ceased snowing, the sky had
cleared, but it was one wide
waste on every side, save
where the rocks, too steep
for the snow to rest on,
stood up amongst it stern and bare. And the
river too, that was black and turbid and very
dismal, as if it were quite determined noé to
rejoice like the rest of the world at Christmas-
time. Happy children’s voices in many a home
' had given the season a welcome. The bells had
rung out a merry chime; and the early sun-
beams, as they sparkled on the snow, seemed
54 The. Children im the Valley.

but to set forth the same holy words which they
were meant to proclaim, “ Peace on earth, good
will to men.” ‘

Mrs. Stewart looked absent as she returned
her children’s greetings, for she was concerned
for Grace, and her heart was sore for Gracie’s
mother. She had sent the gardener up to the
cottage the first thing, and he had brought back
word she had not returned, though there was
still the chance that her grandmother had
detained her.

And Gracie’s mother? Ah, she had gone to
the door more times than I can tell you, the
previous afternoon, to watch for her child; but
when the snow came on she felt sure, she had
been kept for the night, and that weather per-
mitting she would be home in the morning. At
least she told herself this over and over again,
as we so often do tell ourselves what we wish to
believe. Still she was not very anxious, though
she longed for the morning.

Her husband set off as soon as it was light
for the cottage, thinking and hoping he might
possibly meet Grace on her homeward way.
But it was a difficult task even for him to
Lost but Found. 55

struggle through the snow;—and when he
reached the end of the journey, and found that
Grace had left the day before, we may well
imagine how the father’s heart sank within
him.

Then where was she? Who could say? Sad
indeed was the tale he had to take back to her
expectant mother. Poor Mrs. Evans wrung her
hands in despair, as well she might do. ‘Oh,
my child, my Grace!” she cried, “why did I
let you go? Oh, I must find you, I must!
_ God will help me, He will give you back to me;
you can’t be lost!”

The father stood in mute dismay; he knew
too well how little chance there was of finding
the child alive, even if they found her at all.

Meanwhile, the unconscious child lay asleep
in her cold and lonely bed. There was no
mother’s hand to soothe her slumbers; the snow
her curtain, the snow her coverlet; surely she
will never waken till that sleep has passed into
death. The darkness of the winter's night, the
bright rays of the Christmas morning sunshine,
made no difference, and were alike unfelt. Mid-
day had come and passed, and still she slept.
56 The Children im the Valley.

About this time Elias Roberts, the tall shep-
herd of whom we have already spoken, not being
much used to be kept at home by snow or any-
thing else, thought he would take a walk and
see how the weather looked. He called his dog
Snap, and they went out together; but neither
he nor Snap had any purpose in view, nor did
they care which way they went.

Yet it soon appeared that Snap at any rate
had some object in his mind, for after they had
been strolling over the mountain path some time,
Snap suddenly vanished. His master, who was
wishing now to return, called him, but in vain.
At last he rushed back in a strange excited
state, barking violently. “I don’t understand
thee, Snap, to-day; what’s all this about?
Whatever hast thee found? We will go home
now,” said Elias. But the dog refused to follow
save in one direction, and continued to whine
and howl in most unusual fashion.

“Well, well then, don’t make any more fuss;
T'll follow thee for once,” said Elias again.

He did follow for a short distance, Snap
getting more and more demonstrative as they
went on, till as they turned a corner the dog




































































































FrouND!}
Lost but Found. 59

stopped before a hole he had evidently scratched
in the snow, for he began to scratch again with
all his might. In the hole the astonished shep-
herd beheld the half-disclosed form of the little
girl whom he had seen yesterday.

She just opened her eyes, and looked at him
in great bewilderment; then closed them again
wearily, and the pale pinched face grew paler
than before. Elias Roberts was a kindly man,
and a strong one too. He saw there was no
time to be lost, and he set to work at once,
talking as he did so, partly to himself, partly to
his dog.

“ Poor little lass! And thee has been in the
snow all night! A cold bed, I reckon; and if
it weren’t for my good dog there, thee would
never have known another. Well done, Snap;
it’s the best’ deed thee hast done for many a
day. Now then, scratch away, there’s a good
’un.” At last the man with his stick and the
dog with his paws had removed the snow
enough for the former to lift the little girl out
- of her resting-place and take her in his arms.
It was not more than half a mile from her
home, and they were soon at the door.
60 The Children in the Valley.

‘“‘ Here, missus,”’ said Elias, in his rough way,
“Te brought you a Christmas present, and a
pretty one it is too.”

The mother’s cry of joy at the sight of her |
lost child was changed into one of terror as’ she
caught sight of the closed eyes and rigid features
of her darling.

“ Don’t you take on now,’ goutitiaad ‘lie
honest shepherd ; “she’s right enough. Put her
to bed, and she’ll come to; it’s only the chill
and the snow where she a been. Ah, I’m
glad she be got home;” and without waiting
for thanks he hurried away, though I rather
think a tear, or somethgng like one, fell on
Gracie’s little hand as he put her into her
mother’s arms. :

With a thankful yet still anxious heart, Mrs,
JEvans hastened to do all she could to restore
consciousness. The child was soon wrapped
up in blankets in her own little bed; and after
some time a faint tinge of colour came back to.
her cheek. Then she opened her eyes, gave one
smile to her watching mother, and went off into
a sweet and quiet sleep, her father coming in
meanwhile from his fruitless search, only to find
Lost but Found. 61

his lost lamb safe and snug in its own happy
fold.

After two or three hours’ sleep, Gracie awoke
to see her mother still sitting by her bedside,
with the baby brother in her arms. For a few
minutes she lay without speaking, quietly taking
in the happiness of the sight, and recalling to
her mind all that had gone before. “Yes, it
was very cold,’ she said, with a shudder as she
thought about it, “and yet I did not feel afraid ;
and I don’t remember much till I felt there was
something heavy on my chest, and then I opened
my eyes, and there was a dear dog there with
his paws round my neck, and he was licking my
face. Wasit not good and kind of him, mother ?
I’m sure God sent him, didn’t He?”

“Yes, dear, indeed He did, for He was

. watching over you all the time; now He has
given you back to us, we can never thank Him
enough.”

Grace lay still again for some time, and then
suddenly asked what time it was. Her mother
told her that it was about seven o’clock.

“Oh, then, mother, there is a bit of Christmas
day left. Iam so glad God did not let me sleep
62. The Children in the Valley.

‘quite all through. Now please may I get up a
little while, for I am very well, and it would be
so nice P”

Her mother could not refuse, and so she put
on something warm and carried her downstairs ;
then she sat on her father’s knee, and they had
a cosy time together. I do not think that in all
Wales there was a happier Christmas party.

At last Mrs. Evans thought Grace had had
enough, but before she went she said she should
like to sing a hymn. Her father had a good
voice; and you may be sure his heart was in
tune for a song of praise, Grace joining in,
though with very quavering notes, and the baby
in the cradle adding a little chorus of his own.

“Father,” Grace asked, when they had
finished, “would you mind having prayers
sooner to-night, and please put in a bit for
~ me?”

“Certainly I will, and glad, my child,”
replied her father. “Here, mother, get.me the
Bible.”

Then he read about Jesus being born at
Bethlehem, because, as Grace said, she had not
been to church to-day to hear it. And in
Lost but Found. 63

his prayer afterwards, this was what he ended
with :

“©O God, our Father, we do thank Thee for
loving us so much as to send Thy Son Jesus
Christ to be born a little baby like ours here,
and then to die for us. We thank Thee, Lord
Jesus, for coming, and for being once a little
one, so that Thou mightest know how the little
ones feel. And we do thank Thee, mother and
me, that Thou hast given us back our little one
from the cold snow. She is Thy Lamb, Lord,
and we want Thee to bless her. And we ask
Thee to take our hearts; we'll make room for
Thee there, though there weren’t room for Thee
in the inn, And do Thou make room for ws in
Thy kingdom, and take us there in the right
time. Amen.”

As her father carried her up to bed, Grace
whispered that it had been a happy Christmas
after all. Then as her mother tucked her up,
she gave her a kiss, and was soon asleep.

The news of Gracie’s safety had spread quickly
through the village, and Minnie rushed into the
dining-room with the joyful tidings, which she
had just heard from Kate. ‘“ Mother, mother,
64 The Children in the Valley.

what do you think? Grace has been all night
in the snow, and a clever dog dug her out. Oh,
I wish it had been Jack !”

“Oh, Minnie, but is she alive P Has she not
died with the cold?”

“No, she is quite well, Kate says. May not
we go and see her, mother P”

“Not to-night, my child, certainly,’ replied
Mrs. Stewart, pointing to the darkness outside.
“ Besides, she must be kept quiet; but you shall
go soon.”

Then they gathered round the fire in one of
the pleasant talks which mothers and children
have together, and all agreed that the last bit
of Christmas Day was the nicest.

And at family prayer, before the little girls
went to bed, Mrs. Stewart did not forget to
return thanks to God, that even the cold snow
and the dumb creature had fulfilled His word,
so that the lost was found, and the little life
was spared.

ERE

LONDON: KNIGHT, PRINTER, MIDDLE STREET, E.C,
SIXPENCE EACH.

[rr ee























ens a

> | Setma, the Turkish Captive

Show your Colours.

| True & False Friendship.

Always too Late.

Schoal Pictures drawn from Life.

Soldier Sam

Stephen Grattan’s Faith

| David the Scholar.

| Tired of Home.

A setting out for Heaven.

\ The Stalen Money.

Helens Stewardship

Pat Riley's Friends

led Ulive Crowhurst.

~y The White Feather i

dm Steenie Alloways Adventures. |

gg Angels Christmas.

fog | Cottage Life; its Lights& Shadows f

H The Raven's Feather.

Aunt Millys Diamonds & Our
Cousin from India.

4 My Lady's Prize & Effie's Letter. AG

4 How the Golden Eagle was Caught}

(i irniistroutioea ittaughther |g

| The Adopted Son





56. PATERNOSTER Row, LONDON.
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