Citation
Sweet flowers

Material Information

Title:
Sweet flowers
Creator:
Mackarness, Henry S., 1826-1881
Evans, Edmund, 1826-1905 ( Engraver )
George Routledge and Sons ( Publisher )
Bradbury, Agnew and Co ( Printer )
Place of Publication:
London ;
New York
Publisher:
George Routledge and Sons
Manufacturer:
Bradbury, Agnew & Co.
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
1 v. (various pagings), [2] leaves of plates : col. ill. ; 16 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Children's stories ( lcsh )
Children's stories -- 1875 ( lcsh )
Publishers' advertisements -- 1875 ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1875
Genre:
Children's stories ( lcsh )
Publishers' advertisements ( rbgenr )
novel ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London
United States -- New York -- New York
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )

Notes

General Note:
Date of publication based on binding indicating publication in the 1870's.
General Note:
Each part has separate pagination.
General Note:
Publisher's advertisements follow text.
General Note:
Chromolithographed frontispieces, signed by E. Evans.
Funding:
Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
Statement of Responsibility:
by Mrs. Mackarness ; with coloured illustrations.

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:
026724928 ( ALEPH )
ALG8004 ( NOTIS )
71436682 ( OCLC )

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““* Who's child are you? where do you live?’ ”*

NAGGED ROBIN.






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By Mrs. tieabm

AUTHOR OF “A TRAP TO CATCH A SUNBEAM.”

MAY. RAGGED ROBIN.
COLUMBINE. OLD SPEEDWELL.

THE IRIS. o THE DEADLY NIGHTSHADE;

WITH COLOURED ILLUSTRATIONS.

LONDON AND NEW YORK:
GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND SONS.

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ah.
TING Hes :









holding in the skirt of her little clean frock four
young rabbits.”? -

’

1 entered,

"A chil

MAY



MAY.



MAY..

—_—p~—

Tr was very peculiar the way that Miss
Jemima Brown had of calling her sister’s name.
Peculiar, because it expressed so much her own
disposition, that a stranger hearing her call
“ Meria ” would have been sure she was one of
those unhappy beings, who, having been a peevish
child, has become a fretful woman with a con-
tinual grievance. It was the more to be regretted
in this instance because Jemima was so kind-
hearted. All suffering touched her with an

infinite pity, and an earnest desire to relieve it

if possible; but in the instance when she had



6 MAY.

been successful in doing go, it had served her as
a subject for complaint, and a sort of grievance
ever after. |
There had been a third Miss Brown, a pretty,
shy, fair, childish thing, who had married, at
sixteen, a young fellow, but a year or two older,”
and died early, leaving a little girl to the mercy
of her sisters, for the young father was too
heartbroken and bewildered to know what to do
with a small child who could scarce lisp his
name, and stared at him with large scared blue
eyes as though he was some ogre, who would
eventually make a meal of her, so Miss Jemima
‘ Brown. proposed to her sister to take the poor
baby and bring it up themselves. Somewhat
unwillingly she consented, for she felt sure what
continual worry and anxiety it would prove to
her sister; but finally the little motherless
thing came to live in the red brick house, with

its white steps, and brass knocker, in the centre



. MAY, 7

of the High street, in the little village of
Craysford..

To indulge every whim of this poor little
child, to.be its slave night and day, to have no
thought for anything but the comfort and
happiness of the little thing thus cast upon her,
was poor Jemima’s life-work; and it was really
touching to see her, and yet strange enough to
wake a smile—seated at the table with a toy
farm playing as May directed, or dressed up in
shawls and anti-macassars as her little girl.

Of course poor Jemima was thin — what
fretful person was ever fat; and she was plain
and tall, with iron grey hair, and dark eyebrows,
and was dressed always in sad dingy coloured
garments ; looking all unfit to. be the playmate
of the bright fairy thing, who ruled her with
childish tyranny, and who was, notwithstanding,
the one bright light in her dull and monotonous

existence.



8 MAY.

“Some day, Jemima, you'll think of my
words, and rue your neglect of them, when too
late: you’re spoiling that child.”

7 “Oh! Meria, it 7s unkind to say so; why
only yesterday I gave her bread and jam
instead of pudding, because she would not say
‘ please.’ ”

“A very severe punishment, which I am sure
she will never forget,” said ‘Meria’ with a half
smile. “You should never have undertaken
the charge of the child: we are not learned in
such matters, and she would have been better at
a good school or orphan home.”

“What! Amy’s child turned adrift,—oh!
Meria, I wonder at you”—and whilst she
wondered, the door burst open and a child
entered, holding in the skirt of her little clean
frock four young rabbits. Her hat had fallen
from her head, and was hanging by its elastic

round her throat, her hair was all in golden



MAY. 9

tangles and her little cheeks scarlet with excite-
ment. She looked, it must be owned, a very
picture as she stood there, the sunshine gleaming
on her through the vine leaves which clambered
round the window; but Miss Jemima had not
long dressed her in her clean frock and bid her
play at some quiet game that would not make
it dirty. What was the use of this injunction ?
alone in the little garden, with only dumb Dolly
for a companion, whom she often shook, because
she would not answer her, she was easily tempted
from the stool under the mulberry tree, by a
voice calling her name.

It was the little boy next door; he had
lovely young rabbits to show her, could she
clamber over the wall if he helped her? Of
course she could—the clean frock was forgotten.
What were clean frocks or stockings, or Aunt
Jemima’s gentle remonstrance to the excitement

of this moment.



10 , MAY.

Young rabbits to see! over the wall she
scrambled, and was soon standing before the
hutch surveying the little soft white things with
their red eyes, beside their proud little owner.

With a burst of childish generosity, seeing -
her delight, he said,—

“You may have them, if you like.”

“What, all of them? how nice! I'll take
them now;’’ and without the formality of
thanks, they were all expressed in the joyous
face—in the eager acceptance of the offer, she
held her frock to have them put in—with diffi-
culty scrambling over the wall thus laden, and
hurried to Aunt Jemima with her treasure.

“Oh, my dear child, how are we to keep
them; you must take them back,” was Aunt
Jemima’s first exclamation.

“No, no,” said the child, stamping her little

~~ * foot. “Gerald gave them to me.: they are mine,

/ my very own.”



MAY. 11

“But where are you going to keep them,”
mildly interposed Aunt Maria.

“Tn a hutch.”

“But where’s the hutch ?”

“ Well, I s’pose there’s hutches: Gerald’s got
one,” answered the child, defiantly.

-“There are hutches at the carpenter’s, May,
but they have to be paid for; and there is no
occasion to go to that expense: go and take
the rabbits back to Gerald.” ,

“ But he gave them to me, and I want them;
itis a shame. - Aunt Mima, mayn’t I have
them?” said May, bursting at once into a
passion of tears. |

“ Come with me, dear, and I’ll see.” Oh! she
dreaded those tears as nervous people dread a
storm, and would at any personal inconvenience
to herself have prevented them.

It ended with the rabbits bemg consigned to

their owner for the present, with a promise to



12 “MAY.

~ get the gardener to knock up an old box and
convert it into a hutch as soon as possible; and_
it is as well perhaps to state, that a week after
the little animals had been in May’s posses-
sion, they were. all dead; first, because they were
‘too young to be taken from their mother’s care,
and, secondly, because for one whole day May
_ forgot to feed them. Her aunt had consented
to let the garden boy clean them, but May .
was to feed them, as she tried hard, poor
thing, to teach her little charge all that
was right, and told her that if she kept
-pets she must really take the trouble of
them, and see they were fed and warm and
comfortable—

“Suppose I forgot to give you your dinner,
May, what would you do °” she asked,

“Be very hungry at tea,” answered. the little
maid, which sharp answer was unhappily thought

so clever by Aunt Jemima that the lecture



MAY. 13

ended in a laugh, and the rabbits died—May
consoling herself with the ungrammatical but
philosophic remark,—

“Well, I daresay you would have eated them
if they hadn’t died.”

Her next pets were a miserable little pair of
white mice, which she cried to buy of a little
organ-boy, who came one day into the little
village street, and, attracted by the child’s face
at the window, stopped before the house,
and with his bright Italian smile, showing his
white teeth, he offered the little creatures for
sale. wae

“So pretti, le picciole: buy, very sheap: un —
soldo, ni madre, ni padre, per pieta.”’

“Buy them, auntie do, he’s hungry; that’swhat
he says; I’m sure I want them, see how they run
over his hand—oh! they are pretty, I do want
them, I will be so happy, so good.” And so the
white mice left the little owner’s hands they had



oo aeetth

14 MAY.

run over so long, and lived in a twirling cage for
some time, till May grew tired of seeing the per-
petual movement, and took them out to dressthem
in some little frocks she made them, and gave
them bread and milk out of the doll’s cups and
saucers ; this was successful twice, but the third
time the mice escaped from her, and signally
failing to catch them herself, the cat volunteered
her services, and so thus ended the briof life of
these second pets.

Auntie said she should really have no more,
until at least she was older, she continued, seeing
the ominous-clouds gathering in the face which
always preceded the storm of tears; when she
was older she should have a little dog, a nice
little dog that would run about after her—* and
bite her,” said a severe voice from the corner of
the room.

“No, no, we'll have a nice little good-natured

dog, won’t we, May? Meria you shouldn’t dis-



MAY. 15

courage her when she was taking comfort so
good temperedly,” said poor Jemima.

“JT haven’t common patience,” muttered
“ Meria,” impatiently twitching her knitting.

“No, dear, you haven’t—that’s it ; you see if
you had, the dear child would not worry you:
but really it makes my life very trying—to
- please her and please you requires two such
opposite treatments, that really I am torn in
halves.” :

“TY wonder you’re alive to tell the tale,”
gruffly replied her sister; “but any worry that
you have serves you right; you know I warned
you about it, I knew the child would be too
much for you, for either of us,

Jemima only gave a heavy sigh. She knew
argument was useless and sat down to her
work.

What uninteresting work hers always looked :
some ‘women have pretty baskets lined with



16 MAY.

blue or rose silk, in which there is muslin and
lace and bright coloured riband, or some fine
delicate cambric, or soft white flannel—as. the
fabric they are working on—elegant shaped
bright scissors, and silver chased thimbles— -
all seeming to speak of the gentle feminine
delicate-minded owner; but poor dear Jemima
had a large wooden box, lined with some paper,
which a century ago might have been blue—
filled with tapes and cottons and buttons all in
_a wonderful heap together, and her work seemed
always a very faded sage green stuff gown —
she was lining, or a brown-looking black she
was re-trimming — her thimble, a large dis-
coloured metal one, and her scissors large enough
for shears,—she called them her “ cutting out”
scissors, they must have been singularly useless
to her, for she never cut out anything. They
had a married servant living near, and when it

was necessary to make any garments for herself



MAY. 17

or May, she went immediately to her, to “ poor

Susan.”

Why oor no one knew, for she was
very happily married to a most respectable man;
but Jemima was always full of pity for all who
were married: “they brought such cares on
them, my dear,”’ she would say.

So “poor Susan” invariably made her
appearance after the arrival of Mr. Caley’s
“younggman” with a parcel done up in black
glazed calico, and took up her station in the
dining-room, the table in which was duly cleared
for her operations upon the newly imported calico
and flannel.

What a day this was!—Aunt Maria generally
went out—for as Jemima wished very much to
superintend and watch Susan, May was more
than usually anxious for her to come and play
with her; so that the cryimg and the coaxing,
and general confusion, was something too much

for Miss “ Brown’s philosophy.”



1S MAY.

“Tl be Susan, and cut out, to-day,” May _
suggested ; and so, perched up on her high chair
by the table, she took the pieces Susan had
given her, and stripped them into the smallest
possible fragments; and when the operation was
over, she proceeded to continue the same on a
breadth of flannel Susan had let fall; “it was
on the ground, it was, and I thought was no
use,” she sobbed, as Susan violently reproached
her, and implored Miss Jemima to send her out
of the room, for she “ was enough to worrit the
hair off Agnes’s head—she was.”

Poor little girl! no wonder she was trouble-
some: the life was so unnatural, with no one to
play with of her own age; no occupation that
interested her; no change in the daily round;
the child’s mind thirsting for information—hun-
gering for the brightness, and joy, and cheerful-
ness, which are the natural elements in which

we should live, sought to satisfy the craving in



MAY, 19

her own way, and the result was constant disap-

pointment to herself, constant irritation to her
- aunt. It is true Jemima played with her; but,

kind as she was, and earnestly desirous to please

her, she could not be really a child, poor thing;

nor had she the happy tact which some have of
appearing really to enjoy the games as much as

the child itself; therefore, the real zest was

wanted, and May would often as soon have

played alone. ,

She was getting into her sixth year, when
Aunt Maria suggested one day that May should
begin her education.

«Teach her yourself, if you can, Jemima, or
send her to school; but do let her have an edu-
cation of sothe kind,” she said; “last time her
~ father came to see her, he said he thought it
was high time she knew something.”

“Yes, I was thinking so myself. Iwill buy
her a box of pretty letters, and try to teach her

C2



20 MAY.

that way. Tm afraid they will be hard to hor
~ at school.”

Do hera great deal of good, too,’ muttered
_ Aunt Maria; “you’re making a nice rod for
your own back.”

So the letters were bought, and, while the
novelty lasted, May was surprisingly good;
and, being naturally quick, she speedily mas-
tered the names of the letters, and knew them
by sight in books. But Jemima had so im-
pressed her that A was for apple, B for ball,
C for cat, etc., according to the pictures on the
cards, that she could not, or it might be would
not, speak of them in any other way ; therefore,
to teaéh her to read appeared impossible. In
vain auntie pointed to “cat.” She only per- |
sisted in saying : “Cadt, apple, top. Dog was °
“doll,” “orange,” “ goose ;” and so in despair poor
Jemima determined to go and talk to Mrs.

Green, who kept a day-school close by, and in-



MAY. 21

quired whether she would take her for an hour
a day. .

She went for a week, and then came back
one day with a small note, from Mrs. Green, to
say that she really could not let Miss May
come there any more, for she disturbed the
whole school. And then there was another lull
in the education, while Jemima considered what
was next best to be done.

Whilst she was considering and bemoaning
herself on the trouble the poor dear child was,
she one morning received. a letter from Mr.
Farmer, which she read with blanched face,
and carried it with tearful eyes to her
sister.

“ What's the matter now?” she demanded;
the sight of Jemima in tears was nothing new,
and her sister only expected to hear that the
cook had given warning, or the kitchen chimney

was on fire.



22. MAY.

‘Read this, Meria. Oh dear! however shall
I bear it.”

“My dear Jemima,” ran the letter, “with
many, many thanks for all your kindness to my
little girl, I am going to ask you to send her
back to me. The fact is, Tam going to be
married again; and the lady I have chosen
will, I am sure, make an admirable mother to
my dear child, and it will be a pleasure to me
to have her with me. We are to be married
next Tuesday; and, after a tour of three weeks,
shall be ready for our little girl. I propose
coming with my wife to fetch her, and, at the
same time, make you acquainted with my bride.

« Again thanking you for all your kindness,

“T am your affectionate

“ Broruen.”

“ Well, and a very good job, too,” said Miss
Brown. “TI shall be heartily glad when the



MAY. 238

child is gone to its natural protector, and your
mind is at rest.”

«How I shall miss her, no one knows,” said
poor Jemima.

“Yes, you will miss her—miss the everlast-
ing anxiety, the perpetual care which has
ended in:a total failure, and there may be some
hope of something being done with the child.”

“Ah! Meria, you don’t know my feelings.
How will the poor child bear the parting? I
dread to tell her.”

“Don’t alarm yourself, my dear Jemima,
she'll be delighted.” And in the course of the
_ day Maria took occasion to say. to the child,
before Jemima — -

“You must be very good and obedient,
May, for the next few weeks, for you are
going to have a great treat. “You are going
home to papa; but you must be ery good, or

-you cannot go,”



24, MAY.

The child jumped up from the ground, on
which she was seated, employed in teaching the
cat to beg, and said, with a very bright face and
voice— |

“Oh! how jolly—I like papa—he’s got a

| jolly face, and gave me sixpence.”
This difficulty so far got over, Jemima be-
came a little less distressed. Her unselfish love
for the little creature made her feel the parting
less bitter, if 16 was joy to the child; if it were
to be only her sorrow she could bear it; and
yet, with the inconsistency of human nature,
she could not help feeling a pang of disappoint-
ment that she was glad to go.

Té wanted but a week of the time that Mr.
Farmer was to fetch his child. And as each
day closed, and it drew nearer the dreaded
parting, poor Jemima looked at the bed in
which lay the little charge which had been her

treasure so long. The ready tears starting to



MAY. 25

think how she should feel when it was empty.
The one thing gone which, in her checrless lifo,
had aroused all the better feeling of her nature
which beyond mother, father, or sister she had
loved.

She had to buy a few new things for the
full equipment of the child, whom she deter-
mined should go to the new mother properly
fitted out. And at the close of a hot sum-
mer day, she prepared to go out for this
purpose. It was so warm that she had given .
May leave to stay up a little longer, and
play in the garden, but sccing Jemima with
her bonnet on, she requested to go with
her.

“No, dear, not to-night. Aunt Maria is
going with me, and it’s too late. Play in the
garden till I come home.”.

The clouds gathered instantly.

“Well, look here, ducky, I will bring you



26 MAY.

back some sweets—won’t that be nice ?—if
you'll stay in the garden.”

May gave a grumbling assent, and went :
back into the garden; but changing her mind
before she had been many minutes alone she
started off in pursuit of her aunts, feeling sure
that if she made great lamentation, Aunt
Jemima would relent, and take her.

But she had reckoned this time without her
host.

And Maria quietly said, if the child came
with them, she ‘should not go; and so, as
Jemima especially wanted her advice, she was
obliged to consent to send the child back.

“Run back, there’s a dear, now,” she said,
kissing her, “and take Dolly in the garden,
then. T’Il. come, and bring you such a lot of
‘ sweeties.’ ”

May looked up for a moment in her aunt’s

face, and somehow noticing with a child’s quick- —



MAY. 27

ness that tears would now be unavailing, she
turned round, and ran back as fast as her legs
could carry her.

She was out of sight in a moment.

There, you see, Jemima, if you would be
firm with her, and not give in to all her wishes,
you would manage ever so much better.”

But Jemima sighed; she had noticed an ex-
pression in the child’s face which was not
tranquil obedience, it was anger and defiance,
and she dreaded the storm she should encounter
on her return.

They were gone more than an hour. The’
sun had set, and the evening star had “set its
_ watch in the sky,” before they reached the
High street.

«“ Dear, it is late; how tired May will be—
come along, dear. May, May! where are you,
dear,” called Aunt Jemima.

Not in the garden, nor the yard, nor in the



28 MAY,

old coach-house



wvhere she often liked to play.
She called the servants, anxiously, where was
Miss May P

“Why, she went after you, mum,” said cook. —

“Yes; but I sent her back.”

“She's never come back then, mum; at lcast,
I ain’t seen her. Jane, you hain’t scen Miss
May?”

“No; not since she went out with missis.”’

“Oh, Meria! what shall I do?” cried poor
Jemima. “ Why did you make me send her
back? She’s lost! she’s lost!”

“Don’t, pray, be such an idiot. Lost—non-
sense! he’s playing on the common with
some of the village children—let us go and sce.”

Tt was close by the large breezy common, and
a group of schoolboys were playing cricket, and
children were scattered all over it; but no May
was there. Had she gone to any shop? They

inquired in every one. No, No one had seen



MAY. 29

her. The light grow fainter, and the moon :
rose. And still the two women, both anxious .
and frightened, now walked about in their vain
search, calling her name aloud, returning to
the garden, searching behind each bush, telling
her that they would not scold her if she would
only come out from her hiding-place. The
servants had been, too, down the lane, near the
house, in the cottages, at the next neighbout’s,
where lived her little friend, Gerald; but they
could give them no account of her, and he, the
boy, joined in the search, and one by one others
came to offer their services. Could she have
strayed away to the cliffs, “and fallen over?”
suggested one.

A cry of horror broke from poor Aunt
Jemima’s white lips.

“Jemima do not be so silly; why the child
could not walk so far,” said Maria; “she’s

hiding somewhere.”



30 MAY,

“But every place has been searched, I tell
you. The girls have emptied the big cupboard
to look for her, and searched wine cellar, and
beer cellar, and coal cellar.”

“Go to the police station and give notice
about her, ma’am—lI'll go,” said a kindly neigh-
bour.

«And let’s get some lanterns and go out a
large party along the high road, and into
Deerhurst Park,’ said another.

And so a party started on the quest, and the
two aunts sat down in the little parlour. When
the supper was laid they could not eat, but sat
in silence, save the sobs from Aunt Jemima, and
the occasional assurance from Maria that crying
would not find the child; and the cook stood at
the front door talking to knots of people, who

came to hear what all the trouble in the town

"was about.

Presently a loud ery startled the two ladies,



MAY. bl

and a damsel ran across the room overhead,
and downstaus, and the parlour door was
thrown open, and Jane exclaimed,—

“T’ve found her—oh! ma’am, would you be-
lieve it, she’s in her own bed—smothered up
_ Vight under the clothes, in all her things, even
her hat and boots, ma’am. And, oh! she’s that .
hot; but fast asleep.”

Naughty May! with her little heart full of
anger and indignation, she had run home, in at
the back door, and straight upstairs, into bed,
when, drawing the clothes over her head, she
had cried herself to sleep! It was the last of
her escapades. Her father, and his nice bright
little wife carried her away a day or two after,
to poor Aunt Jemima’s bitter grief, and Aunt
Maria’s intense relief. But years after, when
May had grown up into a clever, sensible,
observing girl—thanks to the judicious care of |

her stepmother—and had a pretty home of her



3B . MAY.

own, in gratitude and payment for the love
which had protected her early days, she took
to live with her the lonely aunt, who had lost
“Meria,” and who with inevitable tears, but
tears of joy, now took possession of the pretty
room assigned to her; and losing none of the
love for her first darling, took into her heart
one morc—May’s little May.

BRADBURY, AGNEW, & CO., PRINTERS, WIITEFRIARS,



COLUMBINE

THERE was an organ playing in the road, a
broad open road, on one side of which was a long
range of barracks, from the windows of which
the soldiers were lounging out listening to the
music and tossing halfpence to the player. The
bright spring sunshine glittered on the young
on leaves, and a light breeze wafted the scent
of lilacs and hawthorns from the gardens near,
and shook gently down the petals from the
pink blossoms of the almond trees. The
thrushes, and larks, and linnets, in their

cages, hanging outside the barrack windows,



6 COLUMBINE, ~°

among the pots of scarlet geraniums, stocks,
and mignonettes, swelled their little throats
into song, answering the notes of the wild
free birds amongst the trees; and near the
organ a group of ragged children stood staring
at it, running to pick the halfpence up, and give
them to the man. One amongst them, a girl,
stood listening, beating her foot in time to the
music; then suddenly, as the air changed, she
flung her arm round another child standing near,
and broke into a quick graceful dance, so grace-
ful and joyous that loud plaudits broke from
the men lounging out of the barrack windows,
and passers-by “stood to watch in wonder-
ing admiration, the rapid movements of the
supple ‘Limbs, the little head so well set on her
shoulders, with its masses of rich black hair,
the dark eyes flashing with merriment, the

little brown ears, in which large gold ear-



COLUMBINE. 7

rings hung, and the dress, poor and coarse,
but picturesque as her little bright self. It
was of some coarse dark cloth, very short, show-
ing her small feet in heavy shoes, that it was
a wonder she could move so quickly and so
lightly at all, in such things.

A. scarlet handkerchief was knotted round
her neck, and a clean white linen apron longer
than her frock was caught up at one corner
under the waistband; her head had no
covering but her glorious hair, and she danced
there beneath the sunshine, unmindful~of the
admiring éyes which watched her movements,
enjoying the pure excitement of the exercise
for its sake alone. A man stopped to watch
her as, after a moment’s pause, she resumed
her dance, changing her time according to
the tune, from the short rapid steps of the

polka to the more undulating graceful



8 COLUMBINE.

_Mazourka; half closing her dark liquid eyes
she threw her head back on the shoulder of the
strong rough girl she had chosen to dance with,
and with a kind of sentiment, as though she
would cxpross some deep and tender feeling, she
moved with gentle grace to the music. Then,
suddenly breaking from her companion, and
whirling round several times on one foot with
astonishing rapidity, she threw her arms over her
head, with a bright loud laugh and flew away
with the speed of an antelope down the long road,
stopping once to turn and drop a graceful curtsey,
for the plaudits which greeted her performance,
to the soldiers who leaned out of the windows to
watch her as far as they could sec her.
The man, the moment she sprung away,
had followed her, but he had to walk rapidly
to keep in sight the child, who, laughing and

singing, sprang on before him. She turned



COLUMBINE. 9

presently down a court, in which there was
no thoroughfare, and stopped before a house
the door of which was open, and across the
sill was a low board over which hung a flaxen-
haired baby, scratching up the dirt with its
little brown fingers, watched by another
child, a year older, with shoeless and stocking-
less fect, who occasionally fulfilled what it
considered its duty by saying: “Dirty, adone,
baby! oh, your mother will just slap you!”
But baby scratched on, unheeding the remon-
strance, and the small brother, finding the
remonstrance and the threat equally unavail-
ing, left baby to continue his amusement.

“Ah, here’s Nita, coming at length,”
said the boy, with a sigh of relief at this
shifting of the responsibility which had
devolved on him in her absence. “He will

keep on scratching the dirt, Nita.”



10 COLUMBINE.

“Will he?” said the child, listlessly; “I
suppose I must take him up then. Oh, you
dirty little horror!” she continued, lifting him
up from the floor, and receiving for reward
for her attention, a smart slap from baby’s
dirty hands in her face. But she only laughed,
and carried him kicking to a back room, where
was a bedstead with apparently but little
clothing on it, a broken chair, and a_ box,
on which stood a large yellow basin, and a
small wooden bowl, in which was a piece
of soap, and at this apology for a wash-
stand, she wiped the dirt from the baby’s
hands and face. And then turning to the
boy who had stood leaning against the door
watching her, told him he might go out to play
now, if he liked. The boy readily took advan-
tage of the permission, and the girl put the

baby down on the floor and began dancing



COLUMBINE. 11

to it in the same wild graceful fantastic
fashion with which she had charmed the
soldiers.

She thought baby was her only audience,
till a shadow seemed to fall on the floor, and,
turning round, she saw a man standing in
the doorway.

“Who do you want?” she asked, advancing
to him.

“ You,” said the man, smiling.

“What for?” she asked, looking at him
with ‘her fine fearless eyes.

“To make your fortune,” said the man.
She laughed, and turned to pick up baby, who
cried to be noticed.

“Ts that your little sister ? ””

“Tt’s a boy, and it’s not my sister.”

“ Have you a mother and father ?”

“People I call so,” she answered. “ Are



12 COLUMBINE,

fortunes made by answering questions?” she
said saucily.

‘Sometimes, child,” said the man, smiling
ai her sharpness. “Who taught you to
dance P”’

“No one; I taught myself.”

“And is this your home? what is your
name P”

“Does it matter to you? What if I don’t
choose to tell you?” she said defiantly.

“J shall wait till your mother comes in, and
ask her.”

“Ha! ha! how long you'd have to. wait,
wouldn’t he, Bab?” and she tossed the child
above her head with her strong young arms and
laughed again. At this moment a woman
entered, a pale, worn, weary-looking woman
who stared to see a stranger in her house,

‘and askéd him did he want her.



COLUMBINE., 138

“T want your little girl, ma’am,” he said,
“if yowre inclined to spare her; my name
and occupation you will read here.” And he
handed a somewhat dirty, greasy card to her.
“T saw her dancing just now in the road, and
T see she has talents which might be turned
to account. I'll give you money down for
her, and so much a week to-the child. Will
you let her go?”

The woman stared at the card and at the
man, and then said,—

“T don’t mind, I’m sure, I’d like Nita to
do what she likes best; she does not belong to
‘me, you know. What say, Nita, will you go
with this gentleman P”

“What for—to dance in the streets for
coppers? No, thank you, I'll stay here.”

“ Ts not in the streets, my fine little maiden ;

I have a small theatre, and want a little dancer



14 COLUMBINE,

like you. Come, strike a bargain. Is she no rela-
tive to you?” he said, turning again to the woman.

“None at all, sir. Her mother—at least a
a woman—a foreign woman brought her here
when she was quite a baby, and begged a
lodging. She looked scarce fit to drag one
leg behind the other. I gave her that little
room for a trifle a week, and there she died,
leaving the poor child alone; I did not like to
send her to the work’us, poor thing, so she’s
grubbed along with mine ever since, doing.
a little to help with the little ones; but me
and my man have often wondered what was
to become of her.”

“A theatre, a real theatre, is it?” 4
the child, who had been thinking seemingly of
the man’s last words.
«A yeal theatre;” he answered,. “it’s: a

movable one, you know. I travel about.”



COLUMBINE, 15

“No, no, thank you, I'd rather stay here.
Do you want me to go, though?” she said,
turning suddenly to the woman.

“No, no, child, I don’t want you to go, you
ain’t in my way; one mouth more, you see, sir,
makes but little odds, you don’t feel it.”

‘No, perhaps not now, but she is growing
daily bigger, a strong, sturdy little wench, and
will make a great hole in the bread and butter
soon.”

“T can’t help that, sir, I shall never send
her away,” said the woman, with a patient
sigh; ‘her mother left her here.”

“Well, I’m very sorry; it’s a pity. The child
is full of genius. If you, or she, repent before the
end of the week that is my address, you know,
on that card. Good morning, little lady,—yes,”
he said, looking at her, and speaking half to
himself—“ and it is little ‘lady,’ too, I



16 COLUMBINE,

believe. was?” he asked, turning to the woman.

“Yes; from Spain some said,” she answered.
“She spoke English—pretty fair, so as I could
understand her well enough, but when she
nursed and played with the baby, she ran on
in a jargon I could make nothing on. I’ve saved
her big ear-rings she wore, and a large silver
ring, against the little one grows up. But
what few things else she had, and God knows it
wasn’t much, I’ve sold at times to help keep her.
I’ve tried hard to keep these trinkets, though
my master often says I’d ought to sell em; and
sometimes when he’s had a drop too much, he
swears at her, and says he don’t see why he
should keep another woman’s brat; but he’s
very good-hearted my Jim is, when he’s all
right, and then he’s pleased enough with

her.”



COLUMBINE. 17

“ She’s clever, isn’t she, in every way?”

“Oh! lor bless you, yes—sharp as a needle,
and she’s got little proud ’perious ways as
pleases my man—he often calls her little
duchess.”

She stood the child whilst they talked of her
leaning against the open doorway, in the
golden sunlight, shaking a piece of coloured
glass to catch the rays of light for the baby’s
amusement, whom she had seated on the ground
at her feet, the round well-shaped arm holding
up the glass in the sun, the little head leaning
against the doorway, one foot crossed over the
other with a sort of indolent giace which made
her always a study. Her interest in the con-
versation seemed to have ended with her
refusal to accept the stranger’s offer, and as he
passed out wishing her “ good-by” she moved
her head slightly in acknowledgment as a

G



18 COLUMBINE.

young princess might have done, and still
' stood flashing the glass before the eyes of the
happy baby, expressing no more interest in him
or looking after him as he passed down the
court, though he turned back often and
stood for a moment at the end to look again
at her.

The monotonous days went on, the poor
woman going out to her wretched day’s “char-
ing,” or in default of that sitting at home mend-
ing up the ragged clothing of the children,
and Nita dog anything she could to help,
principally employed with the baby, dancing
her wild fantastic dances to.it, or tossing it
in her arms, singing the burdens of the songs
she heard in the streets or the airs played on
organs, in a bright ringing voice; sometimes,
seated on the floor with it in her lap, its fingers

tangled in her long thick hair, submitting to °



COLUMBINE. 19

have it pulled with all baby’s force, all
indifferent to the pain it might cause. And
yet she did not appear to be moved by
either love or gratitude especially in all she
did for the little thing. “Mind baby!” she
was told, and so realismg that that meant
“don't let him be hurt, nor let him cry,”
she fulfilled the duty to the letter—he never
did cry whilst she “minded” him, for her
bright, continual movements, her merry
musical voice, with the gleaming smile that
parted her full red lips displaying her white
even teeth, all had an endless fascination for
the boy. She kept him clean too for her
own sake—because whatever was in her. of
higher, purer culture seemed to show itself in
an innate cleanliness, a dislike to all that
was uncleanly or essentially low. The
wretched children in the court she never

o 2

ma



20 * COLUMBINE.

played with or talked to when they were not
clean, nor would let the elder boy if she
could prevent him. She deplored his shoe-
less feet, but she kept him clean as well as
she knew how, and scolded him if words
passed his lip that were unfit for him to
use, with a strange sense of right born in
her, not taught, for education she had none.
To love the sun, the trees and flowers, such
as grew in the neighbourhood where she had
lived her little life; music; all things bright
and beautiful, was her nature; to hate all things
coarse and ugly and unlovely was her nature too,
but to love and worship Him who made the
things she loved, she had not been taught, nor save
in horrid oaths ever heatd His name mentioned.

It might have been a week or more since
the visit of the stranger, when the man Stevens

came home very late and tiot sobei

wee te



COLUMBINE, 21

His wife had waited tea for him and supper
—the latter meal was still on the table when
he came in, she only said,—

“How late you are,” in her meek voice
and with her poor heavy eyes—heavy with
sorrow and unrest—raised to his, but he had no
pity, no love in his heart for his wretched
weary wife, and he only uttered bitter ornel
words and stumbled into a chair with a horrid
threat to kill her if she spoke again. And
then turning he saw the child Nita lymg on
the mat before the small fire, her arm sup-
porting her head, some flowers beside her
-—Immortelles—she had been making into
wreaths. A neighbour had offered her a few
halfpence to help her make them; but it was
late and she was tired, and she had flung
down her flowers and was lying there idly

when he entered. His manner, his cruel



22 COLUMBINE,

wicked words stirred the passion in the child’s
heart, which from her look had been so diffi-
cult to keep in control—a kind of grandeur in
her nature prevented her from ever displaying
it to the weak, weary, tender woman who had
tried to fill a mother’s place to her, or to the
little children she nursed, but the man and some
of the neighbours had seen often the tempest
raised, her eyes gleaming with anger, the veins
standing out on her broad forehead, the little
fists clenched and the whole form convulsed
with anger, and now his degraded state, his
cruel unkindness to the patient wife made her
blood boil, and in her fierce eyes he read her
scorn and indignation.

Knowing well enough what had caused it—
sufficiently himself to know how well he
deserved it, and enraged to be thus as it were
rebuked by a child—he staggered to his feet,



COLUMBINE, 23

and seizing her by the arm dragged her up
and shook her violently, while a storm of
hideous words and oaths broke from his dry
parched lips.

The poor mother screamed to him to desist,
but he rested not till he flung her from him on
the ground and then rushed out of the house.
The poor woman raised her im her arms and
carried her to bed, bathed the swollen arm
where the cruel grip had been, but never a
word said either of them. The Immortelles lay
on the floor and the moon’s rays came in
through the small window and fell on them
and on the pale face of the child, awake in
her miserable little bed. No tears or cries
had the man’s cruelty wrung from her proud
heart, but she would bear it never more, that
was the settled determination which seemed

to speak in- her glowing eyes, wide open there



24 COLUMBINE.

in the pale moonlight and on her close-shut
lips. *%- % * * *

Seated in a clergyman’s study, in a large
old-fashioned vicarage house in a small country
town in the south of England, sits a man in
earnest conversation with the Vicar.

He is evidently a foreigner, his appearance
would betray that without the foreign accent
which marks his speech.

“T have sought her so long sorrowing with
tears,” he has said as he clasped his trembling
hands together, “and for ever just when I think
to clasp her in my arms she escapes—the dream
passes, the vision fades—and my hope is gone.”

“YT think from what you tell me that you
are certainly on the right track now. The
troupe only left the town yesterday, and I
know they were bound to Wilchester. J

should advise your at once proceeding there.”



COLUMBINE, Q5

. “Yes, yes, I am so a stranger that I shall
not know my way, but I shall find it, [ make
not doubt; if I could keep hope, fatigue and
trouble would be naught to me. My poor
beautiful Juanita. Oh! I have felt to hate
all Inglis for his sake that took her from
the orange groves and the sweet scented fruits
and blue skies of her own. fair land, and
from the father that loved her, to bring her
here to your fogs and your dull streets, and
leave her to die with no care, no love. I
knew he was bad, with his smooth tongue,
his fair face—he lured her away and left her
to die in a strange land, the villain, wicked
man.”
“You traced her to a street in London, you
a and learned that she died there, sir?”
asked the clergyman.

“Yes, Senor, yes, I got this letter what I .



26 COLUMBINE,

show you, these few sad lines of suffering,
and I came at once to fetch her. When I
came to arrive there she was not. I have so
much trial to make myself my explanations,
and still worse to recetve them of others, that
I found it a work of many days to discover
any trace of my sweet girl and any hope even
to find her more; but at length with my hard
work I find she had got—and that he the villain
had left her, and she is somewheres alone with
one little baby striving to make a life for her-
self with her dancing. I seek and I seek, but
nowheres can I find her, and with a great
heayy heart I go home to my own land; of
course I had my ‘affaires’ to attend to and
I must be there. I leave a friend to kindly
watch for mo, but the years go by and I hear
noting. At last I got this oder letter what I

show you to tell me he my friend think he



COLUMBINE, Q7

have got a trace, a link of her, that he has
found all that is left of my child—her little
one. I fly to England—I seek the poor
miserable place where they say she was, and
lo, she is gone—runned away—they say, what
to them was it—only one burden the less to
bear. They had been good; I gave them
money of which I see they had great need,
and again pursue my search.”

“ You are satisfied then that it is your grand-
child.” ~

“Oh! yes, I have here the ear-rings and
her ring and some letters,” he said eagerly,
producing a pocket-book from which he took
the things, “which quite assures me. But
I shall no longer keep you. JI will go on my
way, for if she is above ground I shall found
my little girl.”

“She inherits her mother’s talent of dancing,



28 COLUMBINE.

certainly,” said the Vicar, “for I hear she is
quite wonderful, the most perfect columbine
ever seen, and worthy of a much higher rank
in her profession; but it is a sad life for a
young innocent girl.”

“Oh! it is too sad, too pitiful, but I shall
find her and take her home to the sunny land,
and she shall want never more, never more.
And now I will bid you farewell. You will
think of the poor Espagnol in his weary search
and bid him God speed.”

“JY will, I do, and I shall be most interested
in your success, I wish I could better have
helped you.”

“You have helped me much, I thank you.

Depend on me to repay you the little loan, it

32



is a great cost this long search:
“Papa, who is your foreign friend?” said

a bright young voice, and a merry face peeped



COLUMBINE. 29

in at the window which opened into the
garden.

“Ah! Miss Curiosity, I thought you’d want
to know.”

“Mamma wants to know, she sont me. What
an age he has been here; do come and tell us
all about it,” and springing into the room she
put her arm through her father’s and laugh-
ingly dragged him on to the lawn where
beneath the trees his wife sat working.

“Tt is a very romantic story,” he said, sitting
down on the turf beside her; ‘‘the little dancing
girl who has made such a sensation is a Spanish
donzella. That poor old man is her grand-
father ; his daughter ran away from him with
a scampish Englishman who deserted her, and
she died in some miserable lodging in London.
The poor people with whom she lodged kept
her poor baby till it grew up to twelve years



30 COLUMBINE.

old and then tempted, they suppose, by the
offer of a strolling company of players to join
them, she ran away from these poor protectors.
Now, after years of searching inquiry, the
old man has learnt her fate and has traced
her to this town —he came to me for
advice.”

“ And assistance; of course, Richard. You
have given him money, and he'll turn out an
arrant swindler,” said his wife, laughing.

“T own I have lent him some money; but I
am not frightened; the man is honest enough.”

“Oh! Richard, what a dear, silly, good-
natured darling you are. I wouldn’t have
lent him a farthing.”

“No, my dear, you would have given him a
pound.”

“Yes, that mamma would,” ~- said Lucy,

laughing. “TI think you are both alike.”



COLUMBINE. 3h

“ Better trust all and be deceived, and mourn that trust and
that believing,

Than doubt one heart which, if believed, would make the

joy of that believing.”

“T always think of those lines, Lucy; we
had better be deceived twice than doubt un-
justly once.”

Where the sweet orange groves fill the air
with their scented blossoms, the deep intense
blue of the sky reflected in the fair waters of
the Guadalquiver, in her Spanish home walks
with stately grace the poor child who once
danced to please the audience of a travelling
theatre and “minded” a half-starved baby for
the poor guerdon of her hard fare.

Her life is bright now; she is the idol of
the old man who had searched for her with
such patience and devotion, and he has
rewarded the trust reposed in him by the good

Vicar who had so readily lent him money to |



82 COLUMBINE,

pursue his search, by not only returning the
sum but adding another to it to be expended
on the poor of the parish in token of his grati-
tude to Heaven for giving him back his child
and taking her from the hard life which in
her despair and desolation she had chosen as—
a travelling

“ CoLUMBINE.”

BRADBURY, AGNEW, & CO.; PRINTERS, WHITEFRIARS,



THE IRIS.

—~—

“Ox! go on telling, Peter; you know lots
more, and it is not near time to go home.”

“Yes; and when you gets home late, you'll
tell “your ma old Peter kept you with his
yarns.”

“She won’t mind; she knows I’m to be a
sailor, and she likes me to love the profession,—
like you would make me do with your grand old
stories, if I had not before. Since I was ever
such a little chap, I’ve wanted to be a sailor ;
and when Uncle George said he’d manage it
for me, oh! I was just glad. Why, there can be

nothing like it in this world, to be riding over

those waves in the bright sunlight, or under



6 THE IRIS.

“the moon—to see the sunsets—the great big
iccbergs—the waves mountains high; to swing
up to the top of those great masts, and look
over all that quantity of sea, feeling, J should
think, like a great big grand bird up there, to
see, oh! ever so many wondrous sights that poor
landsmen never dream of.”

“ Ah, true, my lad, those that go down to
the sea in great ships, they see the wonders of
the Lord.”

“Oh! yes, I should think so; and the
beautiful clean big ship, with the blue sky
above you, the green sea beneath,—think of
that, compared to a high stool in a musty, fusty
warehouse! No; give me the sea, the sea!
‘Home is home, where’er it be, but the gallant
vessel’s deck for me;’ that’s my song, old salt,”
said the boy, bringing his hand down on the

old man’s shoulder.



THE IRIS. 1

“Ha! ha! you're a boy, and no mistake ;
and so Uncle George has got you your com-
mission ?””

“Yes. He’s not my-real uncle, you know;
he’s a great friend of mamma’s, and we call him
uncle. J don’t mind telling you, Peter, because
I tell you everything—you’re my friend, you
know; I believe he’ll be my papa, some day:
you know mother is quite a little young thing.
Now a fellow oughtn’t to say anything against
his own father, I suppose, but’ when I think
about mine I feel as if I wish I'd been a man,
and not his son, for ten minutes;” and the boy
cut a piece of wood off the boat he was carving,
with a sharp petulant action, as though it was a
relief to his feelings to punish something.

“ Heyday!” said the old sailor, “ why what
have you got against him in the log,—eh ?”

“Cruelty, and neglect of my sweet, gentle,



8 THE IRIs.

loving, little mother. Oh! can’t I remember
her crying, till I wonder she did not wash all
the blue out of her dear eyes. I was only a
little rat of a thing then; so I only knew how
to comfort her, by clinging to her, and crying
too, to keep her company; and now, when old
Sally Crampton sits and tells me what mother
used to go through from him, I am ashamed
to think I carry the name of such a man.”
«And more shame for old Sally Crampton,”
said Peter; “bad deeds are best laid away in
the graves with them as did them. You see,
there ain't no conditions with the command,
‘Honour your father and mother:’ it don’t say —
anything about their characters, you know.
My boy, your sailing orders is plain enough:
honour them—that is as I read it—mind them,
be respectful to them, and so hide their faults

that no one else shall have aught to say against



THE IRIS. 9

them. And now you take an old man’s advice ;
forget all this about him whose gone; don’t go
listening to old Sally’s yarns, but be a good son
to your mother, and a honest man,_true to your-
self, so shall your father’s name be honoured
through you.”

“Peter, youre a regular old brick: I think
Til try. I shall often think of you when I’m
miles away, over the sea, and all your stories
of great men. I say, tell us one more story of
Nelson: why you ought to be shown as a sight
yourself for having had a father who served
with so great a man.”

“Well, yes, it’s a pleasant thought; and of
winter nights, when I sits by my fire, and the
wind’s a-howling and a-roaring outside, I goes
_ back to them times—and thinks over the tales
my father used to tell me. Well, I can tell

you one more story of him: it was that same



10 THE IRIS.

expedition as I was a-speaking to you about, with
Captain Phipps to the North Pole. They was
laid up amongst the ice-floes, and Nelson and
another young chap started off in pursuit of a
bear; athick fog came on, and they got afraid about
the youngsters. Towards morning the fog lifted a
little, and they could see them a long distance off
attacking a huge animal, big enough to swallow .
‘em both whole.

at once; for, of course, they were thought too

young and inexperienced for such an encounter.

But do you think he was a-going to give inP

His musket had missed fire; their ammunition |
was all gone, and a large chasm in the ice, by

a blessed providence, divided them from the

animal; but, in spite of all that the other lad

could do, Nelson stood there, saying,—

“*Let me but get a blow at him with the

butt-end of my musket, and we shall have him.’



THE IRIS. 11

The captain, however, could stand the sight no
longer—that little stripling a-standing up to
show fight with a monster like that; so he
ordered a gun. to be fired from the ship, which
frightened the bear, and so Nelson came back.
Of course he had a word or two from the captain,
who wanted to know what a youngster like him
wanted bear-hunting.

“¢T wanted to carry the beast’s skin home to
my father,’ he said, with a sort of a pout he
had when he was put out; and the captain, he
could not say much more to him; bless you, he
never could. Something in the brave daring of
the boy seemed to prevent anyone a-interfering
much with him. To the last day of his life he was
the same, and carried out the old saying, ‘The

boy is father of the man.’ ’”’*

' * This anecdote of Nelson is told in a book-called, ‘‘ The
Boy makes the Man.”



12 THE IRIs.

“ Yes, that is such a prime story of him,” said
the boy, who had left off cutting his little boat,
and sat with his large blue eyes fixed on the old
man, “when his grandmother asked him why
hunger and fear didn’t drive him home, and he
said,-—

“«T never saw fear, grandmother; what is
it?’ Oh! that was fine.”

“Yes, yes, that’s the stuff fine fellows are
made of, my lad; and yet he was tender as a
woman. To think of that brave man, who’d seen
and done so much, saying as his last words,
‘Kiss me, Hardy;’ why I can’t now think of
that without getting dim about my eyes.”

“No, it’s beautiful. Well, I suppose I really
must go now. Good-by, Peter: I shall see you
to-morrow.”

“ Good-by, sir, good-by;” and the lad went
slowly up the beach, and through the steep,



THE IRIS. 138

narrow, little high strect of the fishing village
where he and his widowed mother lived, till he
came to a small wooden cottage, through the
latticed window of which looked out the bright
baby face of a little girl about five years old.

“Come and let me in, Ida,” he said; and
when the door opened, and the small child
appeared, he tossed her on to his shoulder, and
she nestled her sweet face against him, and he
carried her into a small room where sat his
mother at work.

“ Ah! pets,” she said, “I was just wondering

“where you were. Walter, I think it is past tea-

* time.”

“Yes, mother dear, I’ve been listening to old

Peter’s yarns, as usual.”

“ All right, my boy; go and brush that wild

hair and come to tea,—what a mat it is!” she

said, passing her long white fingers through the



14 THE IRIS,

boy’s thick curls, as he bent down to kiss her,

, “Uncle George has been,”

she said; “and he
"will dine here to-morrow, for he hopes he shall
have news for you.”

“The appointment,—oh! mother, how lovely!
Hurrah! a second Nelson in embryo;” and
away the boy ran, and the little girl nestled
closer to her mother, for to both of them the
idea of Walter’s departure had in it more of
sorrow than of joy.

The news came all too soon for them ;- but the
boy was mad with delight. How well he looked
in his clothes! what joy it was to send for old
Peter to see him dressed in them; and even Ida
forgot her sorrow, for the time, in her pride and
admiration.

- “Uncle George” was to take him to his ship:
he was to come to breakfast in the morning, and -

take the boy after. Walter was up and about



THE IRIS, 15

almost as soon as it was light, and out, in that
bright summer morning, in the little garden
rich with roses and lilies, on which the dew was
now glittering—the little garden he would not
see for so long, it might be never again. But
“Uncle George” had told him he must be brave
for “her” sake—the gentle little mother, who
had shown no sign to the boy of what an agony
it was to let him go, what a bitter grief this
choice of a profession had been to her. What
would she have done without the strong, tender
man, who, taking so sensible and practical a
view of the case, had managed so beautifully to
prevent any morbid grief or unreasoning sorrow
distressing her. From the moment it was
decided that the boy was to go to sea, he had
talked of it to her continually, told her how
much better men got on when they followed the

bent of ‘their inclinations, put before her



16 THE IRIS.

constantly the men who had made their lives
great on the deep waters, lived to fine old ages,
dying honoured with historic names; how
many a time storms must have threatened
destruction to them, and yet intheix own homes,
tended by living care, they had passed away,
whilst others exposed to no constant danger had
died some fearful deaths; spoke of how each
life came here with its destiny—all the minute
incidents pre-ordered, pre-arranged—and that
the most loving mother as she kissed her boy to
send him to his daily labour, in a city ware-
house, a country town, or on an ocean voyage,
had no real cause to feel any difference, any
more or less anxiety; the accidents and trials
of the life would be the same, the chance ever to
meet again the same. “Do not let, your tears,
then;” he said, “damp the boy’s ardour, or

weaken his resolution ;” and so she had tried to



THE IRIS. 17

see it allas he saw it, and had bidden. Ida to
try and forbear from tears, for the sake of the
little brother she loved; “and for my sake too,
Ida,” she said, “you will help me to be brave:
my little girl must be son and daughter, too, to
me now, till Walter comes home.”

And so Walter in the garden, that sweet
summer morning, was trying, too, to let no sad
thoughts mar the brightness of his face, to make
the parting more bitter to his mother. He had
chosen his profession for himself, and knew that
he should love it; and so he must not let her
suffer through his choice, if he could help it. But
somehow the tears would keep welling up into
his eyes, as he stood in the sunny garden,
listening to the song of the thrushes and black-
birds, the busy hum of the bee, smelling the sweet
fragrant flowers, and thinking how far, far away
he should soon be from his pretty little home,

¢

9g



18 3 THE IRIS.

and that dear, dear mother he had never felt to
love so much as now. He snatched a rose and |
a piece of jasmine, and thrust them into his
jacket, as a step behind him made him turn, and
Uncle George stood beside him.

“Up betimes; that’s right, my boy,” he said in
his cheery, but gentle, low voice, so curiously
contrasted with his large powerful form and
unusual height. “This bright glorious sun will
gild the waves for you, and you will think with
Childe Harold that ‘He, that has sailed on the
dark blue sea, has viewed at times a full fair
sight. You have not seen your mother this
morning yet, I suppose?” ,

«No, uncle.”

«You are going to be a brave boy, for her sake.”

“Yos, uncle.”

He could not speak, poor Walter, much, save

in monosyllables.



THE IRIS. . 19

“ Look here, Walter,” said his friend, placing
his hand on the boy’s shoulder, and looking down
in his face. ‘I am going to tell you something
to help to comfort you. When you come back
to us, I shall not want you to call me ‘ unele,’ but
‘father.’ You smile: did you expect this?”

“Yes.”

“Well, I shall come back here this evening
—tell your mother how bravely you went off—
and then I shall ask her to let me earn the right
never to leave her again. So to-night do not,
when you turn into your hammock, think of her
as sad and lonely, but happy in a new gladness,
which I pray may have power to soothe and
soften all sorrows for the rest of her dear life.
You will not be jealous of me, Walter; she will
never forget her boy, however happy she may
be. But I have set great restraint on myself
not to tell her what I feel, on purpose that it

o 2



20. THE IRIS.

might help to cheer her on this day. And now
here is just a little trifle that may be of use to
you,” he said, putting a little packet in Walter’s
hand, “which you must accept from your——”

“Father,” said the boy, grasping the kindly
hand held out to him.

“Thank you; it is nice to have your hearty
approval. Ah! her window opens; she too is
up and dressed. Good morning,” he said,
cheerfully, as the sweet face bent forward from
the window, with a tender wistful look at her
boy, in her large blue eyes.

“Good morning,” she said, cheerfully too;
“what a nice morning you have, Walter love.”

“Yes, mother, awfully jolly.”

«Toss me a rose all wet with dew.”

Quickly he gathered one, and threw it up
to her: she stretched out her hand and

caught it,



THE IRIS. Q1

“There, you ought to ery, ‘ Well caught,
indeed!? No cricketer could have done it
better.”

“True, Mary, if was famously caught,” said
Uncle George. “Is breakfast ready ? Are we
to come in?”

“Yes, I think so. I am coming down now
to make the tea,” and she went from the window,
kissed the rose her boy had thrown her, and
placed it in a little glass on her table. Many
years after, it was found amongst her treasures,
carefully dried and placed between the fly-
leaves of a favourite book of poetry, written
under, “From my boy, the day he went to
sea.”

The breakfast was got over— one could
scarcely say eaten, their hearts were too full;
and then came the dreadful sound—dreadful to

those brave hearts, heavy with tears, striving so



22 THE IRIS.

hard to prevent them welling to their eyes-—of
the wheels of the vehicle which was to bear the
boy away. Ida gave one glance at her mother,
and then getting down from her chair, said
quickly, with an imnocent childish effort to be
bright, and restrain her tears—

“T shall go in the garden and see that beau-
tiful pony what’s going to drive my Walter; ”
and away she flew.

Uncle George rose quietly, and taking Mrs.
Langley’s hand in his, held it tenderly but
firmly, and said,—

“Now, Walter, time and train wait for no
man; kiss your mother, and let’s be off”’

“Good-by, my precious,—write as often as’
you can ;” she said it quite firmly, quite brightly,
though he who held her hand could feel its
grasp tighten upon his. Walter said never a

word, kissed her with one long kiss, and then



THE IRIS. : 28

turning quickly away, hurried from the room, .
calling Ida; and ‘“ Uncle George” bent over
the sweet white face, and whispered,—

“ Courage, I will be back with news of hin’
this evening;” put her tenderly into a chair, and
followed Walter.

An old servant stood at the door, her apron
covering her face, crying bitterly.

“Don’t be silly, Sarah, pray don’t make a.
scene.”

“Oh! but think of my boy,” she sobbed,
“ voing on to that hawful sea. I’m sure I shall
lay awake a-thinking of him a-drowning cvery
windy night.”

“Then you will be a very ridiculous old
woman. For goodness sake go and shut yourself
up somewhere out of sight of your mistress; ”
and he passed out into the garden down the little
path, where at the gate stood Ida, sobbing



24 THE IRIS.

bitterly now: she had seen Sarah’s tears and
that had been too much for her. Walter was
up in the dog-cart, his eyes turned from the
cottage, and from the little sister, for fear of en-
countering the sweet pale face of his mother
watching from the window. Uncle George
jumped up beside him, and away they went;
and Ida ran in to her mother, and flinging her
arms round her neck, said—

“T couldn’t help a little bit, mamma; but I
won’t any more, indeed. I’m going to begin now
_ to count the days till he comes back, with bits of
paper, you know.”

“That’s right, Ida; we promised Uncle
George to be brave and wise, and we will,” said
her mother, kissing her. “ Now come and help
me put away his things carefully: it is the best
cure for sadness to be busy, Ida.”

“What is the name of Walter’s ship,



THE IRIS, 25

_ mamma?” she asked as she followed her mother
upstairs. “I always forget.’

“The Tris.”

“ Ah! I know, the yellow flowers that grow
on the edge of that deep pool in the meadows,
great, big, tall beauties.” .

“Yes, love.”

“‘T’m glad his ship has such a pretty name, I
will go, after dinner, with Sarah and gather you
some ; and we will have them always—won’t we,
mamma.”

“Yes, love.”

“Now, mamma, you musn’t,” she said, taking
some things of Walter's from her, her love
making her quite womanly and authoritative over
her mother ; “there come all the naughty tears.
Don’t let us do this room to-day. Oh! I
know; come and gather the flowers with me

now: we will get a beautiful large bunch and



26 THE IRIS.

put them in water. I shall not let you stay
in this room: we promised Uncle George to be
brave and wise.”

The mother smiled through her tears, and
submitted to be led away by her little daughter;
for she felt she was right, that that first day was
almost too much for her to meddle with all the
little belongings that spoke so plainly of her
boy.

Mr. Westmeath was back again just in time
for tea. Mrs. Langley stood watching for him
and for Ida, whom she had sent out for a walk.
When the child came home, Uncle George took
her in his arms and said—

“Kiss papa;” and she looked wondering at
her mother, at the bright blushing face, a smile
shining through tears like the sunny rays on
rain-clouds, and said—

“T thought you was my uncle.”



THE IRIS. 27

“Yes, Ida, and I liked my litle niece so
much that I wanted to have her for my
-daughter, and mamma says I may—only that I
must have her for a wife; so I love you so
much that I have even consented to that/ Are
you glad or sorry P”

“Glad; because you will never go away any
more then, will you?”

“ Never.”

And so they sat down to a happier, brighter
meal than the morning one, talking of Walter,
and how bravely he had borne himself, of his
nice ship, and his pleasant cheery captain ; and
the evening wore away, and Ida went to bed
full of all bright thoughts of the wedding that
was to be, dreaming that Walter was going to
be married to her best doll, and that mamma
and Uncle George had sailed away from the

garden-gate in a big ship which was like her



28 THE IRIS.

Noah's ark, only Walter’s old-rocking horse, with
awreath of Iris round his neck, was harnessed to it.
And in a few weeks from that time, in the .
small village church, with the music of the
waves outside, a quiet wedding was solemnized,
and Mary Langley was changed to Mary West-
meath, to be the petted, cherished wife of him
who had so long and truly loved her, known
her from her birth, and seen with bitter erief
the cruel usage of the man she had married,
and which he prayed now he might make her
forget by his own devoted love and care.
Cheerful letters came from Walter. He liked
the life quite as much as he thought. He was
rather queer for a day or two, but was all right
again now; and the Captain was an “awfully
jolly” fellow. That was the first to his mother ;
then followed one to “My dear father” to the
ci-devant Uncle George’s great delight; and _



THE IRIS. 29

then one to Ida, the first letter she had ever
had, and if came, as she triumphantly assured
Sarah, “off a big ship on the sea all the way
to her;” there were messages in it to all—to
Sarah and old Peter; and Ida was to be sure
to tell him there was a boy on board—the cabin-
boy—who said Peter was his uncle.

That was charming !—to have to go down the
village with this news to the old man; and she
could hardly eat her breakfast from anxiety to
go and carry the message to the old man.

She was allowed to go that little way by her-
self. They had not moved from the pretty little
home. Mr. Westmeath’s business was carried
on in the town, a few miles off; and at Mary’s
request he had consented to make the house
larger and more commodious, and keep another
servant. That was all the change.that Walter

was to find when he came home: when he came



30 THE IRIS.

home! how often those words were on their
lips. And so little Ida soon found herself at
Peter's door; it was open, and she walked im.
He was standing with his hat on, and his back
to her, when she entered; at sight of her he
gave a little cry and said—

“Oh! my dear, I was coming up to your
cottage. Is—is Mr. Westmeath gone to busi-
ness P”

“No, not when I came out; he’s just going
though: but I came in a hurry to tell you I’ve
had a letter from Walter—I, my own self; and
your uncle,—or yowre his uncle—is on board
Walter’s ship.”

The old man made no answer, but sat down
in his chair, and passed his hand across his
eyes.

“ Ain’t you glad, Peter?” said little Ida.

“Yos, my déar, yes; go home—and—and—



THE IRIS. , jl

' I'll come presently. Ask Mr. Westmeath not to
go till I come—I want to speak to him so very .
much. Run on, there’s a dear.”

Wonderingly Ida turned to go, sadly disap-
pointed that her news had produced so little effect.

Mr. Westmeath was just going out of the gate
as Ida came up and delivered old Peter’s mes-
sage.

“Tl walk that way, then,” he said; “it will
not make much difference.”

“Gone down! all hands lost!”

Yes, that was the fatal news Peter had to tell.
His sister had had a paper sent her with the
news, by some one who knew she had a relation
on board.

How was he to tell her? Walter was to have
been home in a month, and now never more—
never more. But it might not be true; there

was that hope. He would go to London, and



82 , THE IRIS,

strive-to find more certain information. Ah!
it was too true—the Jvis had foundered at sea,
and all hands were lost. So he went home
praying God to help him tell fer. What does
he see? Is he mad or dreaming? She stands at
the gate with her arm about the neck of Walter!

“T learned the secret of your journey too late
for it to trouble me,” she cries. “He-came, my
boy himself, to tell me how his poor vessel was
lost; but he himself preserved by what then
seemed. sad to him—a_ severe illness which
kept him on shore between life and death; so
the vessel sailed without him, and he is home
here safe in my arms. Oh! George, think of
that other mother.”

“Yes; to praise and bless Him who has saved
you from like suffering. ‘Our darling, who did

not die; is clasped in our arms again.’ ”



BRADBURY, AGNEW, & CO., PRINTERS, WHITEFRIARKS~



RAGGED ROBIN.

“Ou! don’t throw stones at the poor little
ducks, boy,—that zs cruel, and you’ll have the |
farmer after you too, m a moment.”

The small personage addressed raised a large
saucy pair of brown eyes to the speaker's face,
and said laughing,— .

“T bean’t a-shying at the ducks. I only
hauls the stones in the water to fright ’em.”

“Well, but why should you frighten them,

poor things? And you might accidentally hit
. one, you know, and break its leg.”

“Ah! sir, J am glad you’re talking to that
child,” said a little old woman coming up at the



6 RAGGED ROBIN.

moment; “he’s the most. daring—most—most,
well really, sir, I haven’t a word to express what
he is—what a dreadful character.”

The gentleman smiled, and looked down at
the very small specimen of humanity, who was
condemned so severely, and who certainly, in
spite of his. remonstrance, was still shying
stones in the water.

“Who is he ?—who’s child are you? where
do you live?” he said, putting his hand on the
boy’s arm.

“T’m nobody’s child,.and I live nowheres,”
said the boy, with a mischievous grin.

“Well, sir, I believe it’s right what he says,”
said the old lady; ‘he’s a poor little miserable
vagrant, who ought to be in the workhouse—
he'll be in prison some day, if he don’t mind.
He sleeps in the Ship stables, sir, and goes |
errands sometimes, and holds horses just for a
mouthful of food, and he’s a very naughty,

idle, bad boy,” she continued, shaking her green



RAGGED ROBIN. 7

parasol in the child’s dirty face, who, the while
she scolded, stood with the broadest, merriest grin
on his face, as if listening to some excellent bit of
fun, with which he had nothing to do personally.

“Tm speaking to the new doctor, am I not
sir?” said the old lady.

“You are, madam,” answered the gentleman;
with a kindly smile, revealing the most perfect
set of teeth—a smile which made the good-
looking face positively handsome.

“T thought so, sir. I hope I shall have the
honour of seeing you—not professionally, oh!
dear, no,” she said with a little giggle, “but as a
friend. And Mrs.—Mrs.——

“Mrs. Mapleton—my mother—does not go
out much—she is a great invalid, but I am sure

she will be pleased to make. the acquaintance of
any of her neighbours who will favour her with
a call.”

“T certainly will do myself that pleasure. My

name is Miss Allen, and I live at that little



8 RAGGED ROBIN.

humble cottage opposite, and if you would look
in, I shall be very pleased. A few serious-minded
friends often come to my little homely tenement,
to talk over our Christian experiences, and to
deplore and endeavour to remedy the evils
surrounding us. We are a small community, but
we strive earnestly to drive from the village
such objects as that,” she said, poimting at the
boy with her green parasol, “to purify from
dross, as it were, our little parish; and we have
been successful in many instances. Why, sir, the
fatal influence of such a plague-spot as that,”
again pointing the green parasol at the little
brown, laughing, dirty boy, “is fearful.”

The doctor laughed as he answered, “It’s a
very small spot, easily wiped out, I should say.
Here, you little rascal, follow me home; I'll see
if I can find a job for you, and some shoes and
stockings,” he said, looking down at the dirty
little feet, with no vestige of covering on them:
“come along. Good day, Miss Allen.”



RAGGED ROBIN. 9

“Good day, sir, but I implore you not to
encourage that wicked little boy, but send him
to a Reformatory ; that’s the proper thing,” and
with a sweeping bow the little old lady moved
away, and the poor, sad, little vagrant on whom
she had expended so much indignation twisted
his comic little face into a hideous grimace, ex-
pressive of the utter contempt he entertained for

her opinion, and an evident determination to go on
in his evil courses in spite of her remonstrances.

He followed the doctor, as he desired him, to
the pretty rose-covered cottage where he. lived
with his mother.

* Come in, little man,” he said, opening the
garden gate, which swung back against the
large sermga bush, scattering the petals of its
scented blossoms on the ground, “come in. I'll
speak to my man about you?

Slowly up the neat gravelled path, between
rows of standard rose trees, the child followed

his new friend into a stable yard exquisitely



10 RAGGED ROBIN.

neat and clean, but quite small, matching so
well the little cottage, which looked itself like
an exquisite doll’s house, and calling his man
from the stable, he said,

“ Look here, Manly, take this little chap and
find him a job, can youP”

“Why, yes, sir, I dare say I can. It’s little
Ragged Robin, ain’t it ?”

The boy nodded.

“Oh! you know him, then, do you?” said.
Mr. Mapleton.

“Yes, sir, by seeing of him about the place.
He does a odd job or two at the Ship; but he’s
so small he ain’t up to much, you see.”

“He might do a bit of weeding, or something.
Give him a job of some kind, and then tell cook
to give him a bit of bread and meat. Where
does the child sleep and live?”

“Well, nowheres, in particular; I think,
sometimes one place and sometimes another. He

was some poor tramp’s child, who died here at the



RAGGED ROBIN. il

George, more nor a year ago; and Mrs. Smith,
she said she wouldn’t send him to the
‘ work’us’’—she would keep him, and make him
useful; she hadn’t no children of her own. But
she died a month or two ago, and he’s been a
loafing about at the Ship since. I don’t know as
he’s one as you can do much with,” said the
man, looking with a knowing good-tempered
glance on the small child, who during this
history of himself had been twirling off the
solitary button left on his tattered jacket.

“Well, I don’t suppose he’s had a very good
chance ; let us give him one. Here, come in with
me a moment, youngster. Ill send him back to
you presently, Manly ;” and the dovtor, taking
the child’s dirty little hand in his, led him
towards the cottage, and up to the open French
window of the drawing-room.

“ Mother,” he called, “can you come to the
window ? I have some one to show you.”

“Yes, my son, certainly,” was the read
2



12 RAGGED ROBIN.

answer; and a fair, fragile, graceful woman,
looking more like the doctor’s sister than his
mother, came to the window.

“Look, here’s a strange little customer I’ve
brought you. Can you do anything in the way
of clothes for him P”

“Why, you poor mite,” she said, looking
down at the child, who stared up at her with
big wondering eyes. “ What am I to do, love?
—yours won’t fit him,” she said, laughing.

“Not exactly,” answered the doctor, “so I
brought him to you for advice. I don’t know
what's to be done with him.” .

“A bath first, I think,” she whispered,
“would not be amiss. Stay, I have a thought—
take him round to the kitchen, and send Susan
to me.”

“He's going to do a job of work for Manly,
so I will send him to him, whilst you arrange
for his outfit. I suppose cook may give him

some food?”



RAGGED ROBIN. 13

“Decidedly; take him to Manly, and come
back and tell me all about him. I will ring for
Susan.”

When the doctor returned to the drawing-
room, his mother said she had sent Susan to
a certain Mrs. Skinner, a woman with a large
number of children, and one little boy about the
size of this child. And she had suggested if she
could at once set him up with a suit of her son
John’s clothes, she would give Johnny a new suit.

«You see, we must have something without -
delay for this poor little mortal,” she said, “and

_I think it better to give new clothes to a respect-
able boy, like little Skinner, than to this poor
little ragamuffin. Now tell me where did you
find him P—who is he?”

“T found him in the road, throwing stones at
Farmer Brooks’s ducks.”

“And so you thought he deserved a suit of
clothes,” said Mrs. Mapleton, laughing.

“Well, not on the score of merit; but the



14 RAGGED ROBIN.

very small naked feet somehow kicked at my
heart, and I knew they would at yours. He’s
nobody’s child, too—a poor little waif and stray,
and I want to save him if I can from goal; for
that’s where I believe he must end, if he goes
on in this way.” oe

“Well, what can we do? Can-we keep him
employed? There is so little to do in these tiny
premises.”
©Yes; but I thought on Saturday he might
come to do odd jobs, and I would arrange with
some tidy woman in the village to give him a
decent bed and board, and send him to school,
poor little chap.”

“That would be the best thing, certainly.
Where is he sleeping now ?”

“Tn the stable at the Ship.”

“Oh! poor little child. How old is he?”

“JT have not an idea—six, I should fancy.”

“Twill give him the schooling, Douglas, if
you will find bed and board.”



Full Text



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““* Who's child are you? where do you live?’ ”*

NAGGED ROBIN.



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By Mrs. tieabm

AUTHOR OF “A TRAP TO CATCH A SUNBEAM.”

MAY. RAGGED ROBIN.
COLUMBINE. OLD SPEEDWELL.

THE IRIS. o THE DEADLY NIGHTSHADE;

WITH COLOURED ILLUSTRATIONS.

LONDON AND NEW YORK:
GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND SONS.

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holding in the skirt of her little clean frock four
young rabbits.”? -

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MAY
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—_—p~—

Tr was very peculiar the way that Miss
Jemima Brown had of calling her sister’s name.
Peculiar, because it expressed so much her own
disposition, that a stranger hearing her call
“ Meria ” would have been sure she was one of
those unhappy beings, who, having been a peevish
child, has become a fretful woman with a con-
tinual grievance. It was the more to be regretted
in this instance because Jemima was so kind-
hearted. All suffering touched her with an

infinite pity, and an earnest desire to relieve it

if possible; but in the instance when she had
6 MAY.

been successful in doing go, it had served her as
a subject for complaint, and a sort of grievance
ever after. |
There had been a third Miss Brown, a pretty,
shy, fair, childish thing, who had married, at
sixteen, a young fellow, but a year or two older,”
and died early, leaving a little girl to the mercy
of her sisters, for the young father was too
heartbroken and bewildered to know what to do
with a small child who could scarce lisp his
name, and stared at him with large scared blue
eyes as though he was some ogre, who would
eventually make a meal of her, so Miss Jemima
‘ Brown. proposed to her sister to take the poor
baby and bring it up themselves. Somewhat
unwillingly she consented, for she felt sure what
continual worry and anxiety it would prove to
her sister; but finally the little motherless
thing came to live in the red brick house, with

its white steps, and brass knocker, in the centre
. MAY, 7

of the High street, in the little village of
Craysford..

To indulge every whim of this poor little
child, to.be its slave night and day, to have no
thought for anything but the comfort and
happiness of the little thing thus cast upon her,
was poor Jemima’s life-work; and it was really
touching to see her, and yet strange enough to
wake a smile—seated at the table with a toy
farm playing as May directed, or dressed up in
shawls and anti-macassars as her little girl.

Of course poor Jemima was thin — what
fretful person was ever fat; and she was plain
and tall, with iron grey hair, and dark eyebrows,
and was dressed always in sad dingy coloured
garments ; looking all unfit to. be the playmate
of the bright fairy thing, who ruled her with
childish tyranny, and who was, notwithstanding,
the one bright light in her dull and monotonous

existence.
8 MAY.

“Some day, Jemima, you'll think of my
words, and rue your neglect of them, when too
late: you’re spoiling that child.”

7 “Oh! Meria, it 7s unkind to say so; why
only yesterday I gave her bread and jam
instead of pudding, because she would not say
‘ please.’ ”

“A very severe punishment, which I am sure
she will never forget,” said ‘Meria’ with a half
smile. “You should never have undertaken
the charge of the child: we are not learned in
such matters, and she would have been better at
a good school or orphan home.”

“What! Amy’s child turned adrift,—oh!
Meria, I wonder at you”—and whilst she
wondered, the door burst open and a child
entered, holding in the skirt of her little clean
frock four young rabbits. Her hat had fallen
from her head, and was hanging by its elastic

round her throat, her hair was all in golden
MAY. 9

tangles and her little cheeks scarlet with excite-
ment. She looked, it must be owned, a very
picture as she stood there, the sunshine gleaming
on her through the vine leaves which clambered
round the window; but Miss Jemima had not
long dressed her in her clean frock and bid her
play at some quiet game that would not make
it dirty. What was the use of this injunction ?
alone in the little garden, with only dumb Dolly
for a companion, whom she often shook, because
she would not answer her, she was easily tempted
from the stool under the mulberry tree, by a
voice calling her name.

It was the little boy next door; he had
lovely young rabbits to show her, could she
clamber over the wall if he helped her? Of
course she could—the clean frock was forgotten.
What were clean frocks or stockings, or Aunt
Jemima’s gentle remonstrance to the excitement

of this moment.
10 , MAY.

Young rabbits to see! over the wall she
scrambled, and was soon standing before the
hutch surveying the little soft white things with
their red eyes, beside their proud little owner.

With a burst of childish generosity, seeing -
her delight, he said,—

“You may have them, if you like.”

“What, all of them? how nice! I'll take
them now;’’ and without the formality of
thanks, they were all expressed in the joyous
face—in the eager acceptance of the offer, she
held her frock to have them put in—with diffi-
culty scrambling over the wall thus laden, and
hurried to Aunt Jemima with her treasure.

“Oh, my dear child, how are we to keep
them; you must take them back,” was Aunt
Jemima’s first exclamation.

“No, no,” said the child, stamping her little

~~ * foot. “Gerald gave them to me.: they are mine,

/ my very own.”
MAY. 11

“But where are you going to keep them,”
mildly interposed Aunt Maria.

“Tn a hutch.”

“But where’s the hutch ?”

“ Well, I s’pose there’s hutches: Gerald’s got
one,” answered the child, defiantly.

-“There are hutches at the carpenter’s, May,
but they have to be paid for; and there is no
occasion to go to that expense: go and take
the rabbits back to Gerald.” ,

“ But he gave them to me, and I want them;
itis a shame. - Aunt Mima, mayn’t I have
them?” said May, bursting at once into a
passion of tears. |

“ Come with me, dear, and I’ll see.” Oh! she
dreaded those tears as nervous people dread a
storm, and would at any personal inconvenience
to herself have prevented them.

It ended with the rabbits bemg consigned to

their owner for the present, with a promise to
12 “MAY.

~ get the gardener to knock up an old box and
convert it into a hutch as soon as possible; and_
it is as well perhaps to state, that a week after
the little animals had been in May’s posses-
sion, they were. all dead; first, because they were
‘too young to be taken from their mother’s care,
and, secondly, because for one whole day May
_ forgot to feed them. Her aunt had consented
to let the garden boy clean them, but May .
was to feed them, as she tried hard, poor
thing, to teach her little charge all that
was right, and told her that if she kept
-pets she must really take the trouble of
them, and see they were fed and warm and
comfortable—

“Suppose I forgot to give you your dinner,
May, what would you do °” she asked,

“Be very hungry at tea,” answered. the little
maid, which sharp answer was unhappily thought

so clever by Aunt Jemima that the lecture
MAY. 13

ended in a laugh, and the rabbits died—May
consoling herself with the ungrammatical but
philosophic remark,—

“Well, I daresay you would have eated them
if they hadn’t died.”

Her next pets were a miserable little pair of
white mice, which she cried to buy of a little
organ-boy, who came one day into the little
village street, and, attracted by the child’s face
at the window, stopped before the house,
and with his bright Italian smile, showing his
white teeth, he offered the little creatures for
sale. wae

“So pretti, le picciole: buy, very sheap: un —
soldo, ni madre, ni padre, per pieta.”’

“Buy them, auntie do, he’s hungry; that’swhat
he says; I’m sure I want them, see how they run
over his hand—oh! they are pretty, I do want
them, I will be so happy, so good.” And so the
white mice left the little owner’s hands they had
oo aeetth

14 MAY.

run over so long, and lived in a twirling cage for
some time, till May grew tired of seeing the per-
petual movement, and took them out to dressthem
in some little frocks she made them, and gave
them bread and milk out of the doll’s cups and
saucers ; this was successful twice, but the third
time the mice escaped from her, and signally
failing to catch them herself, the cat volunteered
her services, and so thus ended the briof life of
these second pets.

Auntie said she should really have no more,
until at least she was older, she continued, seeing
the ominous-clouds gathering in the face which
always preceded the storm of tears; when she
was older she should have a little dog, a nice
little dog that would run about after her—* and
bite her,” said a severe voice from the corner of
the room.

“No, no, we'll have a nice little good-natured

dog, won’t we, May? Meria you shouldn’t dis-
MAY. 15

courage her when she was taking comfort so
good temperedly,” said poor Jemima.

“JT haven’t common patience,” muttered
“ Meria,” impatiently twitching her knitting.

“No, dear, you haven’t—that’s it ; you see if
you had, the dear child would not worry you:
but really it makes my life very trying—to
- please her and please you requires two such
opposite treatments, that really I am torn in
halves.” :

“TY wonder you’re alive to tell the tale,”
gruffly replied her sister; “but any worry that
you have serves you right; you know I warned
you about it, I knew the child would be too
much for you, for either of us,

Jemima only gave a heavy sigh. She knew
argument was useless and sat down to her
work.

What uninteresting work hers always looked :
some ‘women have pretty baskets lined with
16 MAY.

blue or rose silk, in which there is muslin and
lace and bright coloured riband, or some fine
delicate cambric, or soft white flannel—as. the
fabric they are working on—elegant shaped
bright scissors, and silver chased thimbles— -
all seeming to speak of the gentle feminine
delicate-minded owner; but poor dear Jemima
had a large wooden box, lined with some paper,
which a century ago might have been blue—
filled with tapes and cottons and buttons all in
_a wonderful heap together, and her work seemed
always a very faded sage green stuff gown —
she was lining, or a brown-looking black she
was re-trimming — her thimble, a large dis-
coloured metal one, and her scissors large enough
for shears,—she called them her “ cutting out”
scissors, they must have been singularly useless
to her, for she never cut out anything. They
had a married servant living near, and when it

was necessary to make any garments for herself
MAY. 17

or May, she went immediately to her, to “ poor

Susan.”

Why oor no one knew, for she was
very happily married to a most respectable man;
but Jemima was always full of pity for all who
were married: “they brought such cares on
them, my dear,”’ she would say.

So “poor Susan” invariably made her
appearance after the arrival of Mr. Caley’s
“younggman” with a parcel done up in black
glazed calico, and took up her station in the
dining-room, the table in which was duly cleared
for her operations upon the newly imported calico
and flannel.

What a day this was!—Aunt Maria generally
went out—for as Jemima wished very much to
superintend and watch Susan, May was more
than usually anxious for her to come and play
with her; so that the cryimg and the coaxing,
and general confusion, was something too much

for Miss “ Brown’s philosophy.”
1S MAY.

“Tl be Susan, and cut out, to-day,” May _
suggested ; and so, perched up on her high chair
by the table, she took the pieces Susan had
given her, and stripped them into the smallest
possible fragments; and when the operation was
over, she proceeded to continue the same on a
breadth of flannel Susan had let fall; “it was
on the ground, it was, and I thought was no
use,” she sobbed, as Susan violently reproached
her, and implored Miss Jemima to send her out
of the room, for she “ was enough to worrit the
hair off Agnes’s head—she was.”

Poor little girl! no wonder she was trouble-
some: the life was so unnatural, with no one to
play with of her own age; no occupation that
interested her; no change in the daily round;
the child’s mind thirsting for information—hun-
gering for the brightness, and joy, and cheerful-
ness, which are the natural elements in which

we should live, sought to satisfy the craving in
MAY, 19

her own way, and the result was constant disap-

pointment to herself, constant irritation to her
- aunt. It is true Jemima played with her; but,

kind as she was, and earnestly desirous to please

her, she could not be really a child, poor thing;

nor had she the happy tact which some have of
appearing really to enjoy the games as much as

the child itself; therefore, the real zest was

wanted, and May would often as soon have

played alone. ,

She was getting into her sixth year, when
Aunt Maria suggested one day that May should
begin her education.

«Teach her yourself, if you can, Jemima, or
send her to school; but do let her have an edu-
cation of sothe kind,” she said; “last time her
~ father came to see her, he said he thought it
was high time she knew something.”

“Yes, I was thinking so myself. Iwill buy
her a box of pretty letters, and try to teach her

C2
20 MAY.

that way. Tm afraid they will be hard to hor
~ at school.”

Do hera great deal of good, too,’ muttered
_ Aunt Maria; “you’re making a nice rod for
your own back.”

So the letters were bought, and, while the
novelty lasted, May was surprisingly good;
and, being naturally quick, she speedily mas-
tered the names of the letters, and knew them
by sight in books. But Jemima had so im-
pressed her that A was for apple, B for ball,
C for cat, etc., according to the pictures on the
cards, that she could not, or it might be would
not, speak of them in any other way ; therefore,
to teaéh her to read appeared impossible. In
vain auntie pointed to “cat.” She only per- |
sisted in saying : “Cadt, apple, top. Dog was °
“doll,” “orange,” “ goose ;” and so in despair poor
Jemima determined to go and talk to Mrs.

Green, who kept a day-school close by, and in-
MAY. 21

quired whether she would take her for an hour
a day. .

She went for a week, and then came back
one day with a small note, from Mrs. Green, to
say that she really could not let Miss May
come there any more, for she disturbed the
whole school. And then there was another lull
in the education, while Jemima considered what
was next best to be done.

Whilst she was considering and bemoaning
herself on the trouble the poor dear child was,
she one morning received. a letter from Mr.
Farmer, which she read with blanched face,
and carried it with tearful eyes to her
sister.

“ What's the matter now?” she demanded;
the sight of Jemima in tears was nothing new,
and her sister only expected to hear that the
cook had given warning, or the kitchen chimney

was on fire.
22. MAY.

‘Read this, Meria. Oh dear! however shall
I bear it.”

“My dear Jemima,” ran the letter, “with
many, many thanks for all your kindness to my
little girl, I am going to ask you to send her
back to me. The fact is, Tam going to be
married again; and the lady I have chosen
will, I am sure, make an admirable mother to
my dear child, and it will be a pleasure to me
to have her with me. We are to be married
next Tuesday; and, after a tour of three weeks,
shall be ready for our little girl. I propose
coming with my wife to fetch her, and, at the
same time, make you acquainted with my bride.

« Again thanking you for all your kindness,

“T am your affectionate

“ Broruen.”

“ Well, and a very good job, too,” said Miss
Brown. “TI shall be heartily glad when the
MAY. 238

child is gone to its natural protector, and your
mind is at rest.”

«How I shall miss her, no one knows,” said
poor Jemima.

“Yes, you will miss her—miss the everlast-
ing anxiety, the perpetual care which has
ended in:a total failure, and there may be some
hope of something being done with the child.”

“Ah! Meria, you don’t know my feelings.
How will the poor child bear the parting? I
dread to tell her.”

“Don’t alarm yourself, my dear Jemima,
she'll be delighted.” And in the course of the
_ day Maria took occasion to say. to the child,
before Jemima — -

“You must be very good and obedient,
May, for the next few weeks, for you are
going to have a great treat. “You are going
home to papa; but you must be ery good, or

-you cannot go,”
24, MAY.

The child jumped up from the ground, on
which she was seated, employed in teaching the
cat to beg, and said, with a very bright face and
voice— |

“Oh! how jolly—I like papa—he’s got a

| jolly face, and gave me sixpence.”
This difficulty so far got over, Jemima be-
came a little less distressed. Her unselfish love
for the little creature made her feel the parting
less bitter, if 16 was joy to the child; if it were
to be only her sorrow she could bear it; and
yet, with the inconsistency of human nature,
she could not help feeling a pang of disappoint-
ment that she was glad to go.

Té wanted but a week of the time that Mr.
Farmer was to fetch his child. And as each
day closed, and it drew nearer the dreaded
parting, poor Jemima looked at the bed in
which lay the little charge which had been her

treasure so long. The ready tears starting to
MAY. 25

think how she should feel when it was empty.
The one thing gone which, in her checrless lifo,
had aroused all the better feeling of her nature
which beyond mother, father, or sister she had
loved.

She had to buy a few new things for the
full equipment of the child, whom she deter-
mined should go to the new mother properly
fitted out. And at the close of a hot sum-
mer day, she prepared to go out for this
purpose. It was so warm that she had given .
May leave to stay up a little longer, and
play in the garden, but sccing Jemima with
her bonnet on, she requested to go with
her.

“No, dear, not to-night. Aunt Maria is
going with me, and it’s too late. Play in the
garden till I come home.”.

The clouds gathered instantly.

“Well, look here, ducky, I will bring you
26 MAY.

back some sweets—won’t that be nice ?—if
you'll stay in the garden.”

May gave a grumbling assent, and went :
back into the garden; but changing her mind
before she had been many minutes alone she
started off in pursuit of her aunts, feeling sure
that if she made great lamentation, Aunt
Jemima would relent, and take her.

But she had reckoned this time without her
host.

And Maria quietly said, if the child came
with them, she ‘should not go; and so, as
Jemima especially wanted her advice, she was
obliged to consent to send the child back.

“Run back, there’s a dear, now,” she said,
kissing her, “and take Dolly in the garden,
then. T’Il. come, and bring you such a lot of
‘ sweeties.’ ”

May looked up for a moment in her aunt’s

face, and somehow noticing with a child’s quick- —
MAY. 27

ness that tears would now be unavailing, she
turned round, and ran back as fast as her legs
could carry her.

She was out of sight in a moment.

There, you see, Jemima, if you would be
firm with her, and not give in to all her wishes,
you would manage ever so much better.”

But Jemima sighed; she had noticed an ex-
pression in the child’s face which was not
tranquil obedience, it was anger and defiance,
and she dreaded the storm she should encounter
on her return.

They were gone more than an hour. The’
sun had set, and the evening star had “set its
_ watch in the sky,” before they reached the
High street.

«“ Dear, it is late; how tired May will be—
come along, dear. May, May! where are you,
dear,” called Aunt Jemima.

Not in the garden, nor the yard, nor in the
28 MAY,

old coach-house



wvhere she often liked to play.
She called the servants, anxiously, where was
Miss May P

“Why, she went after you, mum,” said cook. —

“Yes; but I sent her back.”

“She's never come back then, mum; at lcast,
I ain’t seen her. Jane, you hain’t scen Miss
May?”

“No; not since she went out with missis.”’

“Oh, Meria! what shall I do?” cried poor
Jemima. “ Why did you make me send her
back? She’s lost! she’s lost!”

“Don’t, pray, be such an idiot. Lost—non-
sense! he’s playing on the common with
some of the village children—let us go and sce.”

Tt was close by the large breezy common, and
a group of schoolboys were playing cricket, and
children were scattered all over it; but no May
was there. Had she gone to any shop? They

inquired in every one. No, No one had seen
MAY. 29

her. The light grow fainter, and the moon :
rose. And still the two women, both anxious .
and frightened, now walked about in their vain
search, calling her name aloud, returning to
the garden, searching behind each bush, telling
her that they would not scold her if she would
only come out from her hiding-place. The
servants had been, too, down the lane, near the
house, in the cottages, at the next neighbout’s,
where lived her little friend, Gerald; but they
could give them no account of her, and he, the
boy, joined in the search, and one by one others
came to offer their services. Could she have
strayed away to the cliffs, “and fallen over?”
suggested one.

A cry of horror broke from poor Aunt
Jemima’s white lips.

“Jemima do not be so silly; why the child
could not walk so far,” said Maria; “she’s

hiding somewhere.”
30 MAY,

“But every place has been searched, I tell
you. The girls have emptied the big cupboard
to look for her, and searched wine cellar, and
beer cellar, and coal cellar.”

“Go to the police station and give notice
about her, ma’am—lI'll go,” said a kindly neigh-
bour.

«And let’s get some lanterns and go out a
large party along the high road, and into
Deerhurst Park,’ said another.

And so a party started on the quest, and the
two aunts sat down in the little parlour. When
the supper was laid they could not eat, but sat
in silence, save the sobs from Aunt Jemima, and
the occasional assurance from Maria that crying
would not find the child; and the cook stood at
the front door talking to knots of people, who

came to hear what all the trouble in the town

"was about.

Presently a loud ery startled the two ladies,
MAY. bl

and a damsel ran across the room overhead,
and downstaus, and the parlour door was
thrown open, and Jane exclaimed,—

“T’ve found her—oh! ma’am, would you be-
lieve it, she’s in her own bed—smothered up
_ Vight under the clothes, in all her things, even
her hat and boots, ma’am. And, oh! she’s that .
hot; but fast asleep.”

Naughty May! with her little heart full of
anger and indignation, she had run home, in at
the back door, and straight upstairs, into bed,
when, drawing the clothes over her head, she
had cried herself to sleep! It was the last of
her escapades. Her father, and his nice bright
little wife carried her away a day or two after,
to poor Aunt Jemima’s bitter grief, and Aunt
Maria’s intense relief. But years after, when
May had grown up into a clever, sensible,
observing girl—thanks to the judicious care of |

her stepmother—and had a pretty home of her
3B . MAY.

own, in gratitude and payment for the love
which had protected her early days, she took
to live with her the lonely aunt, who had lost
“Meria,” and who with inevitable tears, but
tears of joy, now took possession of the pretty
room assigned to her; and losing none of the
love for her first darling, took into her heart
one morc—May’s little May.

BRADBURY, AGNEW, & CO., PRINTERS, WIITEFRIARS,
COLUMBINE

THERE was an organ playing in the road, a
broad open road, on one side of which was a long
range of barracks, from the windows of which
the soldiers were lounging out listening to the
music and tossing halfpence to the player. The
bright spring sunshine glittered on the young
on leaves, and a light breeze wafted the scent
of lilacs and hawthorns from the gardens near,
and shook gently down the petals from the
pink blossoms of the almond trees. The
thrushes, and larks, and linnets, in their

cages, hanging outside the barrack windows,
6 COLUMBINE, ~°

among the pots of scarlet geraniums, stocks,
and mignonettes, swelled their little throats
into song, answering the notes of the wild
free birds amongst the trees; and near the
organ a group of ragged children stood staring
at it, running to pick the halfpence up, and give
them to the man. One amongst them, a girl,
stood listening, beating her foot in time to the
music; then suddenly, as the air changed, she
flung her arm round another child standing near,
and broke into a quick graceful dance, so grace-
ful and joyous that loud plaudits broke from
the men lounging out of the barrack windows,
and passers-by “stood to watch in wonder-
ing admiration, the rapid movements of the
supple ‘Limbs, the little head so well set on her
shoulders, with its masses of rich black hair,
the dark eyes flashing with merriment, the

little brown ears, in which large gold ear-
COLUMBINE. 7

rings hung, and the dress, poor and coarse,
but picturesque as her little bright self. It
was of some coarse dark cloth, very short, show-
ing her small feet in heavy shoes, that it was
a wonder she could move so quickly and so
lightly at all, in such things.

A. scarlet handkerchief was knotted round
her neck, and a clean white linen apron longer
than her frock was caught up at one corner
under the waistband; her head had no
covering but her glorious hair, and she danced
there beneath the sunshine, unmindful~of the
admiring éyes which watched her movements,
enjoying the pure excitement of the exercise
for its sake alone. A man stopped to watch
her as, after a moment’s pause, she resumed
her dance, changing her time according to
the tune, from the short rapid steps of the

polka to the more undulating graceful
8 COLUMBINE.

_Mazourka; half closing her dark liquid eyes
she threw her head back on the shoulder of the
strong rough girl she had chosen to dance with,
and with a kind of sentiment, as though she
would cxpross some deep and tender feeling, she
moved with gentle grace to the music. Then,
suddenly breaking from her companion, and
whirling round several times on one foot with
astonishing rapidity, she threw her arms over her
head, with a bright loud laugh and flew away
with the speed of an antelope down the long road,
stopping once to turn and drop a graceful curtsey,
for the plaudits which greeted her performance,
to the soldiers who leaned out of the windows to
watch her as far as they could sec her.
The man, the moment she sprung away,
had followed her, but he had to walk rapidly
to keep in sight the child, who, laughing and

singing, sprang on before him. She turned
COLUMBINE. 9

presently down a court, in which there was
no thoroughfare, and stopped before a house
the door of which was open, and across the
sill was a low board over which hung a flaxen-
haired baby, scratching up the dirt with its
little brown fingers, watched by another
child, a year older, with shoeless and stocking-
less fect, who occasionally fulfilled what it
considered its duty by saying: “Dirty, adone,
baby! oh, your mother will just slap you!”
But baby scratched on, unheeding the remon-
strance, and the small brother, finding the
remonstrance and the threat equally unavail-
ing, left baby to continue his amusement.

“Ah, here’s Nita, coming at length,”
said the boy, with a sigh of relief at this
shifting of the responsibility which had
devolved on him in her absence. “He will

keep on scratching the dirt, Nita.”
10 COLUMBINE.

“Will he?” said the child, listlessly; “I
suppose I must take him up then. Oh, you
dirty little horror!” she continued, lifting him
up from the floor, and receiving for reward
for her attention, a smart slap from baby’s
dirty hands in her face. But she only laughed,
and carried him kicking to a back room, where
was a bedstead with apparently but little
clothing on it, a broken chair, and a_ box,
on which stood a large yellow basin, and a
small wooden bowl, in which was a piece
of soap, and at this apology for a wash-
stand, she wiped the dirt from the baby’s
hands and face. And then turning to the
boy who had stood leaning against the door
watching her, told him he might go out to play
now, if he liked. The boy readily took advan-
tage of the permission, and the girl put the

baby down on the floor and began dancing
COLUMBINE. 11

to it in the same wild graceful fantastic
fashion with which she had charmed the
soldiers.

She thought baby was her only audience,
till a shadow seemed to fall on the floor, and,
turning round, she saw a man standing in
the doorway.

“Who do you want?” she asked, advancing
to him.

“ You,” said the man, smiling.

“What for?” she asked, looking at him
with ‘her fine fearless eyes.

“To make your fortune,” said the man.
She laughed, and turned to pick up baby, who
cried to be noticed.

“Ts that your little sister ? ””

“Tt’s a boy, and it’s not my sister.”

“ Have you a mother and father ?”

“People I call so,” she answered. “ Are
12 COLUMBINE,

fortunes made by answering questions?” she
said saucily.

‘Sometimes, child,” said the man, smiling
ai her sharpness. “Who taught you to
dance P”’

“No one; I taught myself.”

“And is this your home? what is your
name P”

“Does it matter to you? What if I don’t
choose to tell you?” she said defiantly.

“J shall wait till your mother comes in, and
ask her.”

“Ha! ha! how long you'd have to. wait,
wouldn’t he, Bab?” and she tossed the child
above her head with her strong young arms and
laughed again. At this moment a woman
entered, a pale, worn, weary-looking woman
who stared to see a stranger in her house,

‘and askéd him did he want her.
COLUMBINE., 138

“T want your little girl, ma’am,” he said,
“if yowre inclined to spare her; my name
and occupation you will read here.” And he
handed a somewhat dirty, greasy card to her.
“T saw her dancing just now in the road, and
T see she has talents which might be turned
to account. I'll give you money down for
her, and so much a week to-the child. Will
you let her go?”

The woman stared at the card and at the
man, and then said,—

“T don’t mind, I’m sure, I’d like Nita to
do what she likes best; she does not belong to
‘me, you know. What say, Nita, will you go
with this gentleman P”

“What for—to dance in the streets for
coppers? No, thank you, I'll stay here.”

“ Ts not in the streets, my fine little maiden ;

I have a small theatre, and want a little dancer
14 COLUMBINE,

like you. Come, strike a bargain. Is she no rela-
tive to you?” he said, turning again to the woman.

“None at all, sir. Her mother—at least a
a woman—a foreign woman brought her here
when she was quite a baby, and begged a
lodging. She looked scarce fit to drag one
leg behind the other. I gave her that little
room for a trifle a week, and there she died,
leaving the poor child alone; I did not like to
send her to the work’us, poor thing, so she’s
grubbed along with mine ever since, doing.
a little to help with the little ones; but me
and my man have often wondered what was
to become of her.”

“A theatre, a real theatre, is it?” 4
the child, who had been thinking seemingly of
the man’s last words.
«A yeal theatre;” he answered,. “it’s: a

movable one, you know. I travel about.”
COLUMBINE, 15

“No, no, thank you, I'd rather stay here.
Do you want me to go, though?” she said,
turning suddenly to the woman.

“No, no, child, I don’t want you to go, you
ain’t in my way; one mouth more, you see, sir,
makes but little odds, you don’t feel it.”

‘No, perhaps not now, but she is growing
daily bigger, a strong, sturdy little wench, and
will make a great hole in the bread and butter
soon.”

“T can’t help that, sir, I shall never send
her away,” said the woman, with a patient
sigh; ‘her mother left her here.”

“Well, I’m very sorry; it’s a pity. The child
is full of genius. If you, or she, repent before the
end of the week that is my address, you know,
on that card. Good morning, little lady,—yes,”
he said, looking at her, and speaking half to
himself—“ and it is little ‘lady,’ too, I
16 COLUMBINE,

believe. was?” he asked, turning to the woman.

“Yes; from Spain some said,” she answered.
“She spoke English—pretty fair, so as I could
understand her well enough, but when she
nursed and played with the baby, she ran on
in a jargon I could make nothing on. I’ve saved
her big ear-rings she wore, and a large silver
ring, against the little one grows up. But
what few things else she had, and God knows it
wasn’t much, I’ve sold at times to help keep her.
I’ve tried hard to keep these trinkets, though
my master often says I’d ought to sell em; and
sometimes when he’s had a drop too much, he
swears at her, and says he don’t see why he
should keep another woman’s brat; but he’s
very good-hearted my Jim is, when he’s all
right, and then he’s pleased enough with

her.”
COLUMBINE. 17

“ She’s clever, isn’t she, in every way?”

“Oh! lor bless you, yes—sharp as a needle,
and she’s got little proud ’perious ways as
pleases my man—he often calls her little
duchess.”

She stood the child whilst they talked of her
leaning against the open doorway, in the
golden sunlight, shaking a piece of coloured
glass to catch the rays of light for the baby’s
amusement, whom she had seated on the ground
at her feet, the round well-shaped arm holding
up the glass in the sun, the little head leaning
against the doorway, one foot crossed over the
other with a sort of indolent giace which made
her always a study. Her interest in the con-
versation seemed to have ended with her
refusal to accept the stranger’s offer, and as he
passed out wishing her “ good-by” she moved
her head slightly in acknowledgment as a

G
18 COLUMBINE.

young princess might have done, and still
' stood flashing the glass before the eyes of the
happy baby, expressing no more interest in him
or looking after him as he passed down the
court, though he turned back often and
stood for a moment at the end to look again
at her.

The monotonous days went on, the poor
woman going out to her wretched day’s “char-
ing,” or in default of that sitting at home mend-
ing up the ragged clothing of the children,
and Nita dog anything she could to help,
principally employed with the baby, dancing
her wild fantastic dances to.it, or tossing it
in her arms, singing the burdens of the songs
she heard in the streets or the airs played on
organs, in a bright ringing voice; sometimes,
seated on the floor with it in her lap, its fingers

tangled in her long thick hair, submitting to °
COLUMBINE. 19

have it pulled with all baby’s force, all
indifferent to the pain it might cause. And
yet she did not appear to be moved by
either love or gratitude especially in all she
did for the little thing. “Mind baby!” she
was told, and so realismg that that meant
“don't let him be hurt, nor let him cry,”
she fulfilled the duty to the letter—he never
did cry whilst she “minded” him, for her
bright, continual movements, her merry
musical voice, with the gleaming smile that
parted her full red lips displaying her white
even teeth, all had an endless fascination for
the boy. She kept him clean too for her
own sake—because whatever was in her. of
higher, purer culture seemed to show itself in
an innate cleanliness, a dislike to all that
was uncleanly or essentially low. The
wretched children in the court she never

o 2

ma
20 * COLUMBINE.

played with or talked to when they were not
clean, nor would let the elder boy if she
could prevent him. She deplored his shoe-
less feet, but she kept him clean as well as
she knew how, and scolded him if words
passed his lip that were unfit for him to
use, with a strange sense of right born in
her, not taught, for education she had none.
To love the sun, the trees and flowers, such
as grew in the neighbourhood where she had
lived her little life; music; all things bright
and beautiful, was her nature; to hate all things
coarse and ugly and unlovely was her nature too,
but to love and worship Him who made the
things she loved, she had not been taught, nor save
in horrid oaths ever heatd His name mentioned.

It might have been a week or more since
the visit of the stranger, when the man Stevens

came home very late and tiot sobei

wee te
COLUMBINE, 21

His wife had waited tea for him and supper
—the latter meal was still on the table when
he came in, she only said,—

“How late you are,” in her meek voice
and with her poor heavy eyes—heavy with
sorrow and unrest—raised to his, but he had no
pity, no love in his heart for his wretched
weary wife, and he only uttered bitter ornel
words and stumbled into a chair with a horrid
threat to kill her if she spoke again. And
then turning he saw the child Nita lymg on
the mat before the small fire, her arm sup-
porting her head, some flowers beside her
-—Immortelles—she had been making into
wreaths. A neighbour had offered her a few
halfpence to help her make them; but it was
late and she was tired, and she had flung
down her flowers and was lying there idly

when he entered. His manner, his cruel
22 COLUMBINE,

wicked words stirred the passion in the child’s
heart, which from her look had been so diffi-
cult to keep in control—a kind of grandeur in
her nature prevented her from ever displaying
it to the weak, weary, tender woman who had
tried to fill a mother’s place to her, or to the
little children she nursed, but the man and some
of the neighbours had seen often the tempest
raised, her eyes gleaming with anger, the veins
standing out on her broad forehead, the little
fists clenched and the whole form convulsed
with anger, and now his degraded state, his
cruel unkindness to the patient wife made her
blood boil, and in her fierce eyes he read her
scorn and indignation.

Knowing well enough what had caused it—
sufficiently himself to know how well he
deserved it, and enraged to be thus as it were
rebuked by a child—he staggered to his feet,
COLUMBINE, 23

and seizing her by the arm dragged her up
and shook her violently, while a storm of
hideous words and oaths broke from his dry
parched lips.

The poor mother screamed to him to desist,
but he rested not till he flung her from him on
the ground and then rushed out of the house.
The poor woman raised her im her arms and
carried her to bed, bathed the swollen arm
where the cruel grip had been, but never a
word said either of them. The Immortelles lay
on the floor and the moon’s rays came in
through the small window and fell on them
and on the pale face of the child, awake in
her miserable little bed. No tears or cries
had the man’s cruelty wrung from her proud
heart, but she would bear it never more, that
was the settled determination which seemed

to speak in- her glowing eyes, wide open there
24 COLUMBINE.

in the pale moonlight and on her close-shut
lips. *%- % * * *

Seated in a clergyman’s study, in a large
old-fashioned vicarage house in a small country
town in the south of England, sits a man in
earnest conversation with the Vicar.

He is evidently a foreigner, his appearance
would betray that without the foreign accent
which marks his speech.

“T have sought her so long sorrowing with
tears,” he has said as he clasped his trembling
hands together, “and for ever just when I think
to clasp her in my arms she escapes—the dream
passes, the vision fades—and my hope is gone.”

“YT think from what you tell me that you
are certainly on the right track now. The
troupe only left the town yesterday, and I
know they were bound to Wilchester. J

should advise your at once proceeding there.”
COLUMBINE, Q5

. “Yes, yes, I am so a stranger that I shall
not know my way, but I shall find it, [ make
not doubt; if I could keep hope, fatigue and
trouble would be naught to me. My poor
beautiful Juanita. Oh! I have felt to hate
all Inglis for his sake that took her from
the orange groves and the sweet scented fruits
and blue skies of her own. fair land, and
from the father that loved her, to bring her
here to your fogs and your dull streets, and
leave her to die with no care, no love. I
knew he was bad, with his smooth tongue,
his fair face—he lured her away and left her
to die in a strange land, the villain, wicked
man.”
“You traced her to a street in London, you
a and learned that she died there, sir?”
asked the clergyman.

“Yes, Senor, yes, I got this letter what I .
26 COLUMBINE,

show you, these few sad lines of suffering,
and I came at once to fetch her. When I
came to arrive there she was not. I have so
much trial to make myself my explanations,
and still worse to recetve them of others, that
I found it a work of many days to discover
any trace of my sweet girl and any hope even
to find her more; but at length with my hard
work I find she had got—and that he the villain
had left her, and she is somewheres alone with
one little baby striving to make a life for her-
self with her dancing. I seek and I seek, but
nowheres can I find her, and with a great
heayy heart I go home to my own land; of
course I had my ‘affaires’ to attend to and
I must be there. I leave a friend to kindly
watch for mo, but the years go by and I hear
noting. At last I got this oder letter what I

show you to tell me he my friend think he
COLUMBINE, Q7

have got a trace, a link of her, that he has
found all that is left of my child—her little
one. I fly to England—I seek the poor
miserable place where they say she was, and
lo, she is gone—runned away—they say, what
to them was it—only one burden the less to
bear. They had been good; I gave them
money of which I see they had great need,
and again pursue my search.”

“ You are satisfied then that it is your grand-
child.” ~

“Oh! yes, I have here the ear-rings and
her ring and some letters,” he said eagerly,
producing a pocket-book from which he took
the things, “which quite assures me. But
I shall no longer keep you. JI will go on my
way, for if she is above ground I shall found
my little girl.”

“She inherits her mother’s talent of dancing,
28 COLUMBINE.

certainly,” said the Vicar, “for I hear she is
quite wonderful, the most perfect columbine
ever seen, and worthy of a much higher rank
in her profession; but it is a sad life for a
young innocent girl.”

“Oh! it is too sad, too pitiful, but I shall
find her and take her home to the sunny land,
and she shall want never more, never more.
And now I will bid you farewell. You will
think of the poor Espagnol in his weary search
and bid him God speed.”

“JY will, I do, and I shall be most interested
in your success, I wish I could better have
helped you.”

“You have helped me much, I thank you.

Depend on me to repay you the little loan, it

32



is a great cost this long search:
“Papa, who is your foreign friend?” said

a bright young voice, and a merry face peeped
COLUMBINE. 29

in at the window which opened into the
garden.

“Ah! Miss Curiosity, I thought you’d want
to know.”

“Mamma wants to know, she sont me. What
an age he has been here; do come and tell us
all about it,” and springing into the room she
put her arm through her father’s and laugh-
ingly dragged him on to the lawn where
beneath the trees his wife sat working.

“Tt is a very romantic story,” he said, sitting
down on the turf beside her; ‘‘the little dancing
girl who has made such a sensation is a Spanish
donzella. That poor old man is her grand-
father ; his daughter ran away from him with
a scampish Englishman who deserted her, and
she died in some miserable lodging in London.
The poor people with whom she lodged kept
her poor baby till it grew up to twelve years
30 COLUMBINE.

old and then tempted, they suppose, by the
offer of a strolling company of players to join
them, she ran away from these poor protectors.
Now, after years of searching inquiry, the
old man has learnt her fate and has traced
her to this town —he came to me for
advice.”

“ And assistance; of course, Richard. You
have given him money, and he'll turn out an
arrant swindler,” said his wife, laughing.

“T own I have lent him some money; but I
am not frightened; the man is honest enough.”

“Oh! Richard, what a dear, silly, good-
natured darling you are. I wouldn’t have
lent him a farthing.”

“No, my dear, you would have given him a
pound.”

“Yes, that mamma would,” ~- said Lucy,

laughing. “TI think you are both alike.”
COLUMBINE. 3h

“ Better trust all and be deceived, and mourn that trust and
that believing,

Than doubt one heart which, if believed, would make the

joy of that believing.”

“T always think of those lines, Lucy; we
had better be deceived twice than doubt un-
justly once.”

Where the sweet orange groves fill the air
with their scented blossoms, the deep intense
blue of the sky reflected in the fair waters of
the Guadalquiver, in her Spanish home walks
with stately grace the poor child who once
danced to please the audience of a travelling
theatre and “minded” a half-starved baby for
the poor guerdon of her hard fare.

Her life is bright now; she is the idol of
the old man who had searched for her with
such patience and devotion, and he has
rewarded the trust reposed in him by the good

Vicar who had so readily lent him money to |
82 COLUMBINE,

pursue his search, by not only returning the
sum but adding another to it to be expended
on the poor of the parish in token of his grati-
tude to Heaven for giving him back his child
and taking her from the hard life which in
her despair and desolation she had chosen as—
a travelling

“ CoLUMBINE.”

BRADBURY, AGNEW, & CO.; PRINTERS, WHITEFRIARS,
THE IRIS.

—~—

“Ox! go on telling, Peter; you know lots
more, and it is not near time to go home.”

“Yes; and when you gets home late, you'll
tell “your ma old Peter kept you with his
yarns.”

“She won’t mind; she knows I’m to be a
sailor, and she likes me to love the profession,—
like you would make me do with your grand old
stories, if I had not before. Since I was ever
such a little chap, I’ve wanted to be a sailor ;
and when Uncle George said he’d manage it
for me, oh! I was just glad. Why, there can be

nothing like it in this world, to be riding over

those waves in the bright sunlight, or under
6 THE IRIS.

“the moon—to see the sunsets—the great big
iccbergs—the waves mountains high; to swing
up to the top of those great masts, and look
over all that quantity of sea, feeling, J should
think, like a great big grand bird up there, to
see, oh! ever so many wondrous sights that poor
landsmen never dream of.”

“ Ah, true, my lad, those that go down to
the sea in great ships, they see the wonders of
the Lord.”

“Oh! yes, I should think so; and the
beautiful clean big ship, with the blue sky
above you, the green sea beneath,—think of
that, compared to a high stool in a musty, fusty
warehouse! No; give me the sea, the sea!
‘Home is home, where’er it be, but the gallant
vessel’s deck for me;’ that’s my song, old salt,”
said the boy, bringing his hand down on the

old man’s shoulder.
THE IRIS. 1

“Ha! ha! you're a boy, and no mistake ;
and so Uncle George has got you your com-
mission ?””

“Yes. He’s not my-real uncle, you know;
he’s a great friend of mamma’s, and we call him
uncle. J don’t mind telling you, Peter, because
I tell you everything—you’re my friend, you
know; I believe he’ll be my papa, some day:
you know mother is quite a little young thing.
Now a fellow oughtn’t to say anything against
his own father, I suppose, but’ when I think
about mine I feel as if I wish I'd been a man,
and not his son, for ten minutes;” and the boy
cut a piece of wood off the boat he was carving,
with a sharp petulant action, as though it was a
relief to his feelings to punish something.

“ Heyday!” said the old sailor, “ why what
have you got against him in the log,—eh ?”

“Cruelty, and neglect of my sweet, gentle,
8 THE IRIs.

loving, little mother. Oh! can’t I remember
her crying, till I wonder she did not wash all
the blue out of her dear eyes. I was only a
little rat of a thing then; so I only knew how
to comfort her, by clinging to her, and crying
too, to keep her company; and now, when old
Sally Crampton sits and tells me what mother
used to go through from him, I am ashamed
to think I carry the name of such a man.”
«And more shame for old Sally Crampton,”
said Peter; “bad deeds are best laid away in
the graves with them as did them. You see,
there ain't no conditions with the command,
‘Honour your father and mother:’ it don’t say —
anything about their characters, you know.
My boy, your sailing orders is plain enough:
honour them—that is as I read it—mind them,
be respectful to them, and so hide their faults

that no one else shall have aught to say against
THE IRIS. 9

them. And now you take an old man’s advice ;
forget all this about him whose gone; don’t go
listening to old Sally’s yarns, but be a good son
to your mother, and a honest man,_true to your-
self, so shall your father’s name be honoured
through you.”

“Peter, youre a regular old brick: I think
Til try. I shall often think of you when I’m
miles away, over the sea, and all your stories
of great men. I say, tell us one more story of
Nelson: why you ought to be shown as a sight
yourself for having had a father who served
with so great a man.”

“Well, yes, it’s a pleasant thought; and of
winter nights, when I sits by my fire, and the
wind’s a-howling and a-roaring outside, I goes
_ back to them times—and thinks over the tales
my father used to tell me. Well, I can tell

you one more story of him: it was that same
10 THE IRIS.

expedition as I was a-speaking to you about, with
Captain Phipps to the North Pole. They was
laid up amongst the ice-floes, and Nelson and
another young chap started off in pursuit of a
bear; athick fog came on, and they got afraid about
the youngsters. Towards morning the fog lifted a
little, and they could see them a long distance off
attacking a huge animal, big enough to swallow .
‘em both whole.

at once; for, of course, they were thought too

young and inexperienced for such an encounter.

But do you think he was a-going to give inP

His musket had missed fire; their ammunition |
was all gone, and a large chasm in the ice, by

a blessed providence, divided them from the

animal; but, in spite of all that the other lad

could do, Nelson stood there, saying,—

“*Let me but get a blow at him with the

butt-end of my musket, and we shall have him.’
THE IRIS. 11

The captain, however, could stand the sight no
longer—that little stripling a-standing up to
show fight with a monster like that; so he
ordered a gun. to be fired from the ship, which
frightened the bear, and so Nelson came back.
Of course he had a word or two from the captain,
who wanted to know what a youngster like him
wanted bear-hunting.

“¢T wanted to carry the beast’s skin home to
my father,’ he said, with a sort of a pout he
had when he was put out; and the captain, he
could not say much more to him; bless you, he
never could. Something in the brave daring of
the boy seemed to prevent anyone a-interfering
much with him. To the last day of his life he was
the same, and carried out the old saying, ‘The

boy is father of the man.’ ’”’*

' * This anecdote of Nelson is told in a book-called, ‘‘ The
Boy makes the Man.”
12 THE IRIs.

“ Yes, that is such a prime story of him,” said
the boy, who had left off cutting his little boat,
and sat with his large blue eyes fixed on the old
man, “when his grandmother asked him why
hunger and fear didn’t drive him home, and he
said,-—

“«T never saw fear, grandmother; what is
it?’ Oh! that was fine.”

“Yes, yes, that’s the stuff fine fellows are
made of, my lad; and yet he was tender as a
woman. To think of that brave man, who’d seen
and done so much, saying as his last words,
‘Kiss me, Hardy;’ why I can’t now think of
that without getting dim about my eyes.”

“No, it’s beautiful. Well, I suppose I really
must go now. Good-by, Peter: I shall see you
to-morrow.”

“ Good-by, sir, good-by;” and the lad went
slowly up the beach, and through the steep,
THE IRIS. 138

narrow, little high strect of the fishing village
where he and his widowed mother lived, till he
came to a small wooden cottage, through the
latticed window of which looked out the bright
baby face of a little girl about five years old.

“Come and let me in, Ida,” he said; and
when the door opened, and the small child
appeared, he tossed her on to his shoulder, and
she nestled her sweet face against him, and he
carried her into a small room where sat his
mother at work.

“ Ah! pets,” she said, “I was just wondering

“where you were. Walter, I think it is past tea-

* time.”

“Yes, mother dear, I’ve been listening to old

Peter’s yarns, as usual.”

“ All right, my boy; go and brush that wild

hair and come to tea,—what a mat it is!” she

said, passing her long white fingers through the
14 THE IRIS,

boy’s thick curls, as he bent down to kiss her,

, “Uncle George has been,”

she said; “and he
"will dine here to-morrow, for he hopes he shall
have news for you.”

“The appointment,—oh! mother, how lovely!
Hurrah! a second Nelson in embryo;” and
away the boy ran, and the little girl nestled
closer to her mother, for to both of them the
idea of Walter’s departure had in it more of
sorrow than of joy.

The news came all too soon for them ;- but the
boy was mad with delight. How well he looked
in his clothes! what joy it was to send for old
Peter to see him dressed in them; and even Ida
forgot her sorrow, for the time, in her pride and
admiration.

- “Uncle George” was to take him to his ship:
he was to come to breakfast in the morning, and -

take the boy after. Walter was up and about
THE IRIS, 15

almost as soon as it was light, and out, in that
bright summer morning, in the little garden
rich with roses and lilies, on which the dew was
now glittering—the little garden he would not
see for so long, it might be never again. But
“Uncle George” had told him he must be brave
for “her” sake—the gentle little mother, who
had shown no sign to the boy of what an agony
it was to let him go, what a bitter grief this
choice of a profession had been to her. What
would she have done without the strong, tender
man, who, taking so sensible and practical a
view of the case, had managed so beautifully to
prevent any morbid grief or unreasoning sorrow
distressing her. From the moment it was
decided that the boy was to go to sea, he had
talked of it to her continually, told her how
much better men got on when they followed the

bent of ‘their inclinations, put before her
16 THE IRIS.

constantly the men who had made their lives
great on the deep waters, lived to fine old ages,
dying honoured with historic names; how
many a time storms must have threatened
destruction to them, and yet intheix own homes,
tended by living care, they had passed away,
whilst others exposed to no constant danger had
died some fearful deaths; spoke of how each
life came here with its destiny—all the minute
incidents pre-ordered, pre-arranged—and that
the most loving mother as she kissed her boy to
send him to his daily labour, in a city ware-
house, a country town, or on an ocean voyage,
had no real cause to feel any difference, any
more or less anxiety; the accidents and trials
of the life would be the same, the chance ever to
meet again the same. “Do not let, your tears,
then;” he said, “damp the boy’s ardour, or

weaken his resolution ;” and so she had tried to
THE IRIS. 17

see it allas he saw it, and had bidden. Ida to
try and forbear from tears, for the sake of the
little brother she loved; “and for my sake too,
Ida,” she said, “you will help me to be brave:
my little girl must be son and daughter, too, to
me now, till Walter comes home.”

And so Walter in the garden, that sweet
summer morning, was trying, too, to let no sad
thoughts mar the brightness of his face, to make
the parting more bitter to his mother. He had
chosen his profession for himself, and knew that
he should love it; and so he must not let her
suffer through his choice, if he could help it. But
somehow the tears would keep welling up into
his eyes, as he stood in the sunny garden,
listening to the song of the thrushes and black-
birds, the busy hum of the bee, smelling the sweet
fragrant flowers, and thinking how far, far away
he should soon be from his pretty little home,

¢

9g
18 3 THE IRIS.

and that dear, dear mother he had never felt to
love so much as now. He snatched a rose and |
a piece of jasmine, and thrust them into his
jacket, as a step behind him made him turn, and
Uncle George stood beside him.

“Up betimes; that’s right, my boy,” he said in
his cheery, but gentle, low voice, so curiously
contrasted with his large powerful form and
unusual height. “This bright glorious sun will
gild the waves for you, and you will think with
Childe Harold that ‘He, that has sailed on the
dark blue sea, has viewed at times a full fair
sight. You have not seen your mother this
morning yet, I suppose?” ,

«No, uncle.”

«You are going to be a brave boy, for her sake.”

“Yos, uncle.”

He could not speak, poor Walter, much, save

in monosyllables.
THE IRIS. . 19

“ Look here, Walter,” said his friend, placing
his hand on the boy’s shoulder, and looking down
in his face. ‘I am going to tell you something
to help to comfort you. When you come back
to us, I shall not want you to call me ‘ unele,’ but
‘father.’ You smile: did you expect this?”

“Yes.”

“Well, I shall come back here this evening
—tell your mother how bravely you went off—
and then I shall ask her to let me earn the right
never to leave her again. So to-night do not,
when you turn into your hammock, think of her
as sad and lonely, but happy in a new gladness,
which I pray may have power to soothe and
soften all sorrows for the rest of her dear life.
You will not be jealous of me, Walter; she will
never forget her boy, however happy she may
be. But I have set great restraint on myself
not to tell her what I feel, on purpose that it

o 2
20. THE IRIS.

might help to cheer her on this day. And now
here is just a little trifle that may be of use to
you,” he said, putting a little packet in Walter’s
hand, “which you must accept from your——”

“Father,” said the boy, grasping the kindly
hand held out to him.

“Thank you; it is nice to have your hearty
approval. Ah! her window opens; she too is
up and dressed. Good morning,” he said,
cheerfully, as the sweet face bent forward from
the window, with a tender wistful look at her
boy, in her large blue eyes.

“Good morning,” she said, cheerfully too;
“what a nice morning you have, Walter love.”

“Yes, mother, awfully jolly.”

«Toss me a rose all wet with dew.”

Quickly he gathered one, and threw it up
to her: she stretched out her hand and

caught it,
THE IRIS. Q1

“There, you ought to ery, ‘ Well caught,
indeed!? No cricketer could have done it
better.”

“True, Mary, if was famously caught,” said
Uncle George. “Is breakfast ready ? Are we
to come in?”

“Yes, I think so. I am coming down now
to make the tea,” and she went from the window,
kissed the rose her boy had thrown her, and
placed it in a little glass on her table. Many
years after, it was found amongst her treasures,
carefully dried and placed between the fly-
leaves of a favourite book of poetry, written
under, “From my boy, the day he went to
sea.”

The breakfast was got over— one could
scarcely say eaten, their hearts were too full;
and then came the dreadful sound—dreadful to

those brave hearts, heavy with tears, striving so
22 THE IRIS.

hard to prevent them welling to their eyes-—of
the wheels of the vehicle which was to bear the
boy away. Ida gave one glance at her mother,
and then getting down from her chair, said
quickly, with an imnocent childish effort to be
bright, and restrain her tears—

“T shall go in the garden and see that beau-
tiful pony what’s going to drive my Walter; ”
and away she flew.

Uncle George rose quietly, and taking Mrs.
Langley’s hand in his, held it tenderly but
firmly, and said,—

“Now, Walter, time and train wait for no
man; kiss your mother, and let’s be off”’

“Good-by, my precious,—write as often as’
you can ;” she said it quite firmly, quite brightly,
though he who held her hand could feel its
grasp tighten upon his. Walter said never a

word, kissed her with one long kiss, and then
THE IRIS. : 28

turning quickly away, hurried from the room, .
calling Ida; and ‘“ Uncle George” bent over
the sweet white face, and whispered,—

“ Courage, I will be back with news of hin’
this evening;” put her tenderly into a chair, and
followed Walter.

An old servant stood at the door, her apron
covering her face, crying bitterly.

“Don’t be silly, Sarah, pray don’t make a.
scene.”

“Oh! but think of my boy,” she sobbed,
“ voing on to that hawful sea. I’m sure I shall
lay awake a-thinking of him a-drowning cvery
windy night.”

“Then you will be a very ridiculous old
woman. For goodness sake go and shut yourself
up somewhere out of sight of your mistress; ”
and he passed out into the garden down the little
path, where at the gate stood Ida, sobbing
24 THE IRIS.

bitterly now: she had seen Sarah’s tears and
that had been too much for her. Walter was
up in the dog-cart, his eyes turned from the
cottage, and from the little sister, for fear of en-
countering the sweet pale face of his mother
watching from the window. Uncle George
jumped up beside him, and away they went;
and Ida ran in to her mother, and flinging her
arms round her neck, said—

“T couldn’t help a little bit, mamma; but I
won’t any more, indeed. I’m going to begin now
_ to count the days till he comes back, with bits of
paper, you know.”

“That’s right, Ida; we promised Uncle
George to be brave and wise, and we will,” said
her mother, kissing her. “ Now come and help
me put away his things carefully: it is the best
cure for sadness to be busy, Ida.”

“What is the name of Walter’s ship,
THE IRIS, 25

_ mamma?” she asked as she followed her mother
upstairs. “I always forget.’

“The Tris.”

“ Ah! I know, the yellow flowers that grow
on the edge of that deep pool in the meadows,
great, big, tall beauties.” .

“Yes, love.”

“‘T’m glad his ship has such a pretty name, I
will go, after dinner, with Sarah and gather you
some ; and we will have them always—won’t we,
mamma.”

“Yes, love.”

“Now, mamma, you musn’t,” she said, taking
some things of Walter's from her, her love
making her quite womanly and authoritative over
her mother ; “there come all the naughty tears.
Don’t let us do this room to-day. Oh! I
know; come and gather the flowers with me

now: we will get a beautiful large bunch and
26 THE IRIS.

put them in water. I shall not let you stay
in this room: we promised Uncle George to be
brave and wise.”

The mother smiled through her tears, and
submitted to be led away by her little daughter;
for she felt she was right, that that first day was
almost too much for her to meddle with all the
little belongings that spoke so plainly of her
boy.

Mr. Westmeath was back again just in time
for tea. Mrs. Langley stood watching for him
and for Ida, whom she had sent out for a walk.
When the child came home, Uncle George took
her in his arms and said—

“Kiss papa;” and she looked wondering at
her mother, at the bright blushing face, a smile
shining through tears like the sunny rays on
rain-clouds, and said—

“T thought you was my uncle.”
THE IRIS. 27

“Yes, Ida, and I liked my litle niece so
much that I wanted to have her for my
-daughter, and mamma says I may—only that I
must have her for a wife; so I love you so
much that I have even consented to that/ Are
you glad or sorry P”

“Glad; because you will never go away any
more then, will you?”

“ Never.”

And so they sat down to a happier, brighter
meal than the morning one, talking of Walter,
and how bravely he had borne himself, of his
nice ship, and his pleasant cheery captain ; and
the evening wore away, and Ida went to bed
full of all bright thoughts of the wedding that
was to be, dreaming that Walter was going to
be married to her best doll, and that mamma
and Uncle George had sailed away from the

garden-gate in a big ship which was like her
28 THE IRIS.

Noah's ark, only Walter’s old-rocking horse, with
awreath of Iris round his neck, was harnessed to it.
And in a few weeks from that time, in the .
small village church, with the music of the
waves outside, a quiet wedding was solemnized,
and Mary Langley was changed to Mary West-
meath, to be the petted, cherished wife of him
who had so long and truly loved her, known
her from her birth, and seen with bitter erief
the cruel usage of the man she had married,
and which he prayed now he might make her
forget by his own devoted love and care.
Cheerful letters came from Walter. He liked
the life quite as much as he thought. He was
rather queer for a day or two, but was all right
again now; and the Captain was an “awfully
jolly” fellow. That was the first to his mother ;
then followed one to “My dear father” to the
ci-devant Uncle George’s great delight; and _
THE IRIS. 29

then one to Ida, the first letter she had ever
had, and if came, as she triumphantly assured
Sarah, “off a big ship on the sea all the way
to her;” there were messages in it to all—to
Sarah and old Peter; and Ida was to be sure
to tell him there was a boy on board—the cabin-
boy—who said Peter was his uncle.

That was charming !—to have to go down the
village with this news to the old man; and she
could hardly eat her breakfast from anxiety to
go and carry the message to the old man.

She was allowed to go that little way by her-
self. They had not moved from the pretty little
home. Mr. Westmeath’s business was carried
on in the town, a few miles off; and at Mary’s
request he had consented to make the house
larger and more commodious, and keep another
servant. That was all the change.that Walter

was to find when he came home: when he came
30 THE IRIS.

home! how often those words were on their
lips. And so little Ida soon found herself at
Peter's door; it was open, and she walked im.
He was standing with his hat on, and his back
to her, when she entered; at sight of her he
gave a little cry and said—

“Oh! my dear, I was coming up to your
cottage. Is—is Mr. Westmeath gone to busi-
ness P”

“No, not when I came out; he’s just going
though: but I came in a hurry to tell you I’ve
had a letter from Walter—I, my own self; and
your uncle,—or yowre his uncle—is on board
Walter’s ship.”

The old man made no answer, but sat down
in his chair, and passed his hand across his
eyes.

“ Ain’t you glad, Peter?” said little Ida.

“Yos, my déar, yes; go home—and—and—
THE IRIS. , jl

' I'll come presently. Ask Mr. Westmeath not to
go till I come—I want to speak to him so very .
much. Run on, there’s a dear.”

Wonderingly Ida turned to go, sadly disap-
pointed that her news had produced so little effect.

Mr. Westmeath was just going out of the gate
as Ida came up and delivered old Peter’s mes-
sage.

“Tl walk that way, then,” he said; “it will
not make much difference.”

“Gone down! all hands lost!”

Yes, that was the fatal news Peter had to tell.
His sister had had a paper sent her with the
news, by some one who knew she had a relation
on board.

How was he to tell her? Walter was to have
been home in a month, and now never more—
never more. But it might not be true; there

was that hope. He would go to London, and
82 , THE IRIS,

strive-to find more certain information. Ah!
it was too true—the Jvis had foundered at sea,
and all hands were lost. So he went home
praying God to help him tell fer. What does
he see? Is he mad or dreaming? She stands at
the gate with her arm about the neck of Walter!

“T learned the secret of your journey too late
for it to trouble me,” she cries. “He-came, my
boy himself, to tell me how his poor vessel was
lost; but he himself preserved by what then
seemed. sad to him—a_ severe illness which
kept him on shore between life and death; so
the vessel sailed without him, and he is home
here safe in my arms. Oh! George, think of
that other mother.”

“Yes; to praise and bless Him who has saved
you from like suffering. ‘Our darling, who did

not die; is clasped in our arms again.’ ”



BRADBURY, AGNEW, & CO., PRINTERS, WHITEFRIARKS~
RAGGED ROBIN.

“Ou! don’t throw stones at the poor little
ducks, boy,—that zs cruel, and you’ll have the |
farmer after you too, m a moment.”

The small personage addressed raised a large
saucy pair of brown eyes to the speaker's face,
and said laughing,— .

“T bean’t a-shying at the ducks. I only
hauls the stones in the water to fright ’em.”

“Well, but why should you frighten them,

poor things? And you might accidentally hit
. one, you know, and break its leg.”

“Ah! sir, J am glad you’re talking to that
child,” said a little old woman coming up at the
6 RAGGED ROBIN.

moment; “he’s the most. daring—most—most,
well really, sir, I haven’t a word to express what
he is—what a dreadful character.”

The gentleman smiled, and looked down at
the very small specimen of humanity, who was
condemned so severely, and who certainly, in
spite of his. remonstrance, was still shying
stones in the water.

“Who is he ?—who’s child are you? where
do you live?” he said, putting his hand on the
boy’s arm.

“T’m nobody’s child,.and I live nowheres,”
said the boy, with a mischievous grin.

“Well, sir, I believe it’s right what he says,”
said the old lady; ‘he’s a poor little miserable
vagrant, who ought to be in the workhouse—
he'll be in prison some day, if he don’t mind.
He sleeps in the Ship stables, sir, and goes |
errands sometimes, and holds horses just for a
mouthful of food, and he’s a very naughty,

idle, bad boy,” she continued, shaking her green
RAGGED ROBIN. 7

parasol in the child’s dirty face, who, the while
she scolded, stood with the broadest, merriest grin
on his face, as if listening to some excellent bit of
fun, with which he had nothing to do personally.

“Tm speaking to the new doctor, am I not
sir?” said the old lady.

“You are, madam,” answered the gentleman;
with a kindly smile, revealing the most perfect
set of teeth—a smile which made the good-
looking face positively handsome.

“T thought so, sir. I hope I shall have the
honour of seeing you—not professionally, oh!
dear, no,” she said with a little giggle, “but as a
friend. And Mrs.—Mrs.——

“Mrs. Mapleton—my mother—does not go
out much—she is a great invalid, but I am sure

she will be pleased to make. the acquaintance of
any of her neighbours who will favour her with
a call.”

“T certainly will do myself that pleasure. My

name is Miss Allen, and I live at that little
8 RAGGED ROBIN.

humble cottage opposite, and if you would look
in, I shall be very pleased. A few serious-minded
friends often come to my little homely tenement,
to talk over our Christian experiences, and to
deplore and endeavour to remedy the evils
surrounding us. We are a small community, but
we strive earnestly to drive from the village
such objects as that,” she said, poimting at the
boy with her green parasol, “to purify from
dross, as it were, our little parish; and we have
been successful in many instances. Why, sir, the
fatal influence of such a plague-spot as that,”
again pointing the green parasol at the little
brown, laughing, dirty boy, “is fearful.”

The doctor laughed as he answered, “It’s a
very small spot, easily wiped out, I should say.
Here, you little rascal, follow me home; I'll see
if I can find a job for you, and some shoes and
stockings,” he said, looking down at the dirty
little feet, with no vestige of covering on them:
“come along. Good day, Miss Allen.”
RAGGED ROBIN. 9

“Good day, sir, but I implore you not to
encourage that wicked little boy, but send him
to a Reformatory ; that’s the proper thing,” and
with a sweeping bow the little old lady moved
away, and the poor, sad, little vagrant on whom
she had expended so much indignation twisted
his comic little face into a hideous grimace, ex-
pressive of the utter contempt he entertained for

her opinion, and an evident determination to go on
in his evil courses in spite of her remonstrances.

He followed the doctor, as he desired him, to
the pretty rose-covered cottage where he. lived
with his mother.

* Come in, little man,” he said, opening the
garden gate, which swung back against the
large sermga bush, scattering the petals of its
scented blossoms on the ground, “come in. I'll
speak to my man about you?

Slowly up the neat gravelled path, between
rows of standard rose trees, the child followed

his new friend into a stable yard exquisitely
10 RAGGED ROBIN.

neat and clean, but quite small, matching so
well the little cottage, which looked itself like
an exquisite doll’s house, and calling his man
from the stable, he said,

“ Look here, Manly, take this little chap and
find him a job, can youP”

“Why, yes, sir, I dare say I can. It’s little
Ragged Robin, ain’t it ?”

The boy nodded.

“Oh! you know him, then, do you?” said.
Mr. Mapleton.

“Yes, sir, by seeing of him about the place.
He does a odd job or two at the Ship; but he’s
so small he ain’t up to much, you see.”

“He might do a bit of weeding, or something.
Give him a job of some kind, and then tell cook
to give him a bit of bread and meat. Where
does the child sleep and live?”

“Well, nowheres, in particular; I think,
sometimes one place and sometimes another. He

was some poor tramp’s child, who died here at the
RAGGED ROBIN. il

George, more nor a year ago; and Mrs. Smith,
she said she wouldn’t send him to the
‘ work’us’’—she would keep him, and make him
useful; she hadn’t no children of her own. But
she died a month or two ago, and he’s been a
loafing about at the Ship since. I don’t know as
he’s one as you can do much with,” said the
man, looking with a knowing good-tempered
glance on the small child, who during this
history of himself had been twirling off the
solitary button left on his tattered jacket.

“Well, I don’t suppose he’s had a very good
chance ; let us give him one. Here, come in with
me a moment, youngster. Ill send him back to
you presently, Manly ;” and the dovtor, taking
the child’s dirty little hand in his, led him
towards the cottage, and up to the open French
window of the drawing-room.

“ Mother,” he called, “can you come to the
window ? I have some one to show you.”

“Yes, my son, certainly,” was the read
2
12 RAGGED ROBIN.

answer; and a fair, fragile, graceful woman,
looking more like the doctor’s sister than his
mother, came to the window.

“Look, here’s a strange little customer I’ve
brought you. Can you do anything in the way
of clothes for him P”

“Why, you poor mite,” she said, looking
down at the child, who stared up at her with
big wondering eyes. “ What am I to do, love?
—yours won’t fit him,” she said, laughing.

“Not exactly,” answered the doctor, “so I
brought him to you for advice. I don’t know
what's to be done with him.” .

“A bath first, I think,” she whispered,
“would not be amiss. Stay, I have a thought—
take him round to the kitchen, and send Susan
to me.”

“He's going to do a job of work for Manly,
so I will send him to him, whilst you arrange
for his outfit. I suppose cook may give him

some food?”
RAGGED ROBIN. 13

“Decidedly; take him to Manly, and come
back and tell me all about him. I will ring for
Susan.”

When the doctor returned to the drawing-
room, his mother said she had sent Susan to
a certain Mrs. Skinner, a woman with a large
number of children, and one little boy about the
size of this child. And she had suggested if she
could at once set him up with a suit of her son
John’s clothes, she would give Johnny a new suit.

«You see, we must have something without -
delay for this poor little mortal,” she said, “and

_I think it better to give new clothes to a respect-
able boy, like little Skinner, than to this poor
little ragamuffin. Now tell me where did you
find him P—who is he?”

“T found him in the road, throwing stones at
Farmer Brooks’s ducks.”

“And so you thought he deserved a suit of
clothes,” said Mrs. Mapleton, laughing.

“Well, not on the score of merit; but the
14 RAGGED ROBIN.

very small naked feet somehow kicked at my
heart, and I knew they would at yours. He’s
nobody’s child, too—a poor little waif and stray,
and I want to save him if I can from goal; for
that’s where I believe he must end, if he goes
on in this way.” oe

“Well, what can we do? Can-we keep him
employed? There is so little to do in these tiny
premises.”
©Yes; but I thought on Saturday he might
come to do odd jobs, and I would arrange with
some tidy woman in the village to give him a
decent bed and board, and send him to school,
poor little chap.”

“That would be the best thing, certainly.
Where is he sleeping now ?”

“Tn the stable at the Ship.”

“Oh! poor little child. How old is he?”

“JT have not an idea—six, I should fancy.”

“Twill give him the schooling, Douglas, if
you will find bed and board.”
RAGGED ROBIN. 15

“Thank you, dearest mother, you are always
ready to help me. I don’t believe there is, or ever
will be, another woman in the world like you,”
he said, taking her small, thin, white hand in his.

She bent towards him, smiling, and whispered
something in his ear. His face flushed, and a
look of great pain passed over it, and jumping
from his seat he said, “‘ Never breathe that name
again.”

“ My boy, what do you mean ” she asked,
startled and distressed at his sudden changed
manner. ,

“T will telt you some day—whenI can. Oh!
look, here comes Ragged Robin’s suit—thank
you, Susan. Mrs. Skinner’s a trump. I say,
Susan, give him a wash, will you? and dress
him, and bring him in here to show himself.
You shall have a new dress at Christmas for
your trouble.”

‘No trouble, sir. Poor little fellow! YH do
anything I can, I’m sure;” and the good-natured
16 RAGGED ROBIN,

looking girl went off at once with the clothes to
dress the child; and the doctor flung himself
into the chair which was considered especially
his own, and covered his eyes with his hand in
a manner he had when weary in mind and body,
which in his arduous profession he often was.

“Tired, love?” said his mother, coming to
him and laying her cool hand on his head.

“No, not particularly—only feeling a little
silly, as one does when one gets a knock ona
tender spot.”

«“ My dear Douglas; and I am afraid I was.
the unlucky one who struck the blow. I never .
knew it had gone beyond a mere joke.”

7 Say no more, mother dear; it is no joke,
and some day I will tell you all about it.” The
door opened as he spoke, and on the threshold
stood little Robin, so wonderfully trans-
formed by Susan’s washing powers, and the tidy
clothes, which, though poor and coarse, were
clean and whole, that both the doctor and his.
RAGGED ROBIN. 17

mother uttered a cry of surprise. The same
roguish smile was on his face as he stood there, .
but no inducement could get him to step into the
room. Susan kept pushing him, and whispering
to him, but in vain; he clung to the door-post,
resisting all her efforts to get him a step further.
- “Well, never mind, Susan,” said the doctor,
rising and going to him, “let him go now, he
does you great credit; take him to Manly, and
I, mother, will go and see if I can find him a
decent lodging somewhere. Now be a good boy,
and I'll see if I can get you a home, and send
you to school, and make a decent boy of you.”

“Say ‘thank you, sir,’” prompted Susan, who
having been at so much trouble with him, felt a
kind of personal interest in him altogether—
“say ‘thank you.’ ”

But Robin saw no necessity, or, if he did, was
far too shy to speak. And so he was taken
away, very much rebuked by Susan for being
such a “hungrateful, hill-mannered little boy.”

Cc
18 RAGGED ROBIN,

Mr. Mapleton went at once in pursuit of some
place to put the boy, and discovered, at last, a
poor old woman, who had a room she did not
use now her “poor gal” was gone, as she
informed him, with tears, and there Robin
. might be and welcome’; and she’d see he had
his meals comfortable, that she would, poor
lamb, she assured him, and “it were a real
charity of the good gentleman,—that it were.”
Then he went to the school, and paid for him
a week in advance, and returned home to.tell
his mother what he had done, and inspect the
little man at his work.

Robin went to school the next morning, and
for some days the doctor was too busy to see
after him.

On the following Saturday morning, he asked
Manly if he had looked after the boy, and
desired him to come to work again.

“Well, no, sir, I didn’t exactly say he were

to come, for he raly, sir, ain’t of much use,—
3 3
RAGGED ROBIN. 19

he’s quite a baby. Why, sir, he sat down on the
side o’ this ere door, sir, and kept a perpetually
taking off his shoes and stockings, and a-looking
at ’em—setting his shoes afore him, and a-shy-
ing pebbles at ’em; he’s that fond of throwing
stones as is curious. I says to him, ‘Come,
Robin, go on with your work, now look sharp ;’
and he gets up, and begins a little. I set him,
you see, to get the grass up atween these
boulders, sir, and so he just scratches up a few,
then down he is again at them shoes. I think
they crippled his feet like, you see, sir, not
being used to them.”

“Well, yes, probably, but we must try and teach
him to be civilised and industrious; you must
help me, you know, Manly,—it’s a good work.” _

“ Yegs,-sir, no doubt; but I think he’s best at
school a little while fust.”

“On Saturdays, you know, there is no school ;
and I think, then, it is good to let him think
himself useful—to busy him in some way, more

02
90 RAGGED ROBIN.

profitable than shying stones. I shall just go
and look after him, and send him here. If he
only watches you at work, Manly, he will be
taking a lesson.”

“Yes, sir, true. Oh! send him, sir, by
all means. There,” he said to himself, as his
master turned away, and he stood looking after
him, the bit he was cleaning, in his hand,
“that man’s too good ever to be rich in this
world; he'll spend all he earns on somebody
else, and get continually took in. But, however,
I suppose there’s a extra good place set apart
for them as is always considering others afore
themselves. There had ought to be, it seems
to me; in other world, for there is but poor
encouragement in this. Well, never mind,
Jacob Manly, it’s no business of yours,” he said,
dabbing the leather into the brick dust, which stood
on the ledge of the stable window, and rubbing
hard at the bit; “you work by your lights, and
let the master work by his: if you’re both in
RAGGED ROBIN. 21

earnest, I dare say youll come right at the end.
But what's the use o’ that there little ’un
a-coming here, to shy stones at his shoes, I’m
hanged if I can see,” he added, as he hung the
bit up in its place in the harness-room, and,
gome to the tool-house, took rake, and broom,
and spade, to go and sweep and weed, and put
the little garden in order for Sunday.

Mrs. Mapleton stood by the roses as he came
into the garden.

“Well, Manly, are you come to make me
smart for Sunday ? ”

“Yes, ma’am, Ibe. How do you find. your-
self to-day, ma’am P”

“T’m much as usual, thank you, Manly; not
over brave, but nothing to complain of much.
You see, I am surrounded by such comforts that
T should be so ungrateful to murmur.”

“Yes, ma’am, but it is not everyone as argys
like that. What do you think o’ this ’ere rose,

maam ?”
22 RAGGED ROBIN.

“Beautiful, Manly, the finest we have had,
I think! How I love them; they seem to do
me good to look at them.”

“Yes, I believe you; they’re a sort of encour-
agement like, now ain’t they, ma’am P”

“They are, indeed, Manly, an assurance of
the Love that never fails. And how-about that
lazy under-gardener ?—where is he P”

“Robm ?—ah! master’s gone after him.
You see I didn’t tell him to come; I’d nought
particular to set him to; and he’s a little idle
rascal—won’t never be no good, I doubt.”

“ Poor little man, he is too young to condemn
utterly: we must have patience, Manly. How’s
your poor old mother?”

“Bout as common, ma’am, thank’ee, a poor
doddering old gal.”

“Tell her to come for some dinner to-morrow.
It is long since she has been up.”

“T will, ma’am, and thank you kindly. Lord,
what a couple they are!” he said, as Mrs. Maple-
RAGGED ROBIN. 23

ton moved slowly towards the house. “Why, one
might a’most fancy you see’d the wings a-grow-
ing out o’ her shoulders, with her sweet gentle
speech, her patience with her own trouble, and
her thought for all others. I never see her like
afore, and of such is the kingdom of heaven ;”
and thus summing up his opinion of his gentle
mistress, he began busily to sweep the walks,
so absorbed in his occupation that he did not
hear the gate open, and started to find, on
suddenly looking up, Robin beside him.

“Oh! you're come back to work, then, are
you P” he said,

The boy nodded.

“Well, you can put this here rubbidge in the
wheelbarrow.”

He worked with a good will for. a few
moments, then stopping, said—

.“T can shy a stone right across de common,

T can.”

“Oh! can youP Well, youd best not
24: RAGGED ROBIN,

practise it; it’s aidle dangerous game, and you'll
be getting yourself took up. Come, go on work-
ing: you'll have the master after you in a
minute,” said Manly.

On he worked again; then another pause.

“T can ride Jom Shepherd’s grey mare, I
can, and she is just a kicker. She’s pitched off
a’most every one, but she can’t me; it is a lark
sticking to her!”

“Oh!” said Manly, taking a snail off .a rose
tree and crushing it with his heel.

“What did you kill that ere for?” asked the
child. .

“Because it’s a-domg harm. Go on with your
‘work; talk when you’ve done. Now, I am a-go-
ing to fetch my hoe; don’t you touch the flowers;
and I shall expect you to have cleared all this
’ere up when I come back.”

But when he came back, Robin was seated on
the heap of rubbish, his shoes and stockings off,
the stockings in his pocket, and the shoes in the
RAGGED ROBIN. 25
wheelbarrow—marks for his favourite amuse-
ment of shying.

Manly, assuring him if he caught him at it
again he would give him a cuff of the head,
made him put them on again, and tried once
more to make him go to work.

In the drawing-room sat the doctor with his
mother, giving her an amusing account of
Robin’s first days at school, which he had
learned from the master.

“He's a dreadful handful: I think I shall
have to get him into a ragged school after all,
mother. Who do you think was teaching his
class when I went in to school, yesterday P”

“T don’t know, my dear; any one I know ?”

“Emily,” said the doctor, rising and going
to the window.

“Emily! Then she is staying with the
Andersons again, I suppose.”

“Yes. Il tell you, mother—I always tell
you everything,” he said suddenly, turning to
26 RAGGED ROBIN,

her. “I saw her one day walking with that
impudent puppy, Harvey, laughing and. looking
so bright and happy. She did not. see me, and
the next time I met her I passed her with only
a bow, and so when she came down here she cut
me—cut me, mother—dead! What am I to doP
I had meant never to speak to her again; but
she looked so nice and gentle and good, teach-
ing the children so patiently, that somehow I
think I have been a fool.”

“Yes, my Douglas,” said his mother, gently
smiling, “ ‘but it is the wise man who knoweth
himself one.’ You are human, dear, and so not
quite perfect; and you know, and I know too,
what is the blot on your bright nature. Go and
make it up with Emily.”

“Shall I? Well, so I will. She is more like
you than any woman~I ever saw, and the only
one I shall ever wish to call you ‘ mother.’”

“Then secure her if you can, love. It is

much better for a medical man to be married; and
RAGGED ROBIN. 27

I can have a little room near you for the short
time I shall trouble you,” she said, smiling.

“Mother, that is not kind.”

“ My dear Douglas, if you knew how full of
joy that thought is to me, you would forgive me
for sometimes speaking of it. I only wish to
linger here for you: if there was some one to
love and care for you, it would be only joy to
~ go home, Douglas.”

Her son made no answer, but taking the de-
licate hand in his own two kissed it reverently.

A few days afterwards Mrs. Mapleton was
called upon to welcome her new daughter, a
fair, gentle, lady-like girl, who seemed very
fond of Douglas, and that was recommendation
enough to Mrs. Mapleton.

“There can be little amiss, Douglas,” she
said, “ when the love is true and sincere. Weak-
nesses, and faults, and whims you may both
have; but, if you love truly, even the faults will
lose half their annoyance, because -they are
28 RAGGED ROBIN,

part, as it were, of the one who makes life so
bright to us. It is not wise to think those we
love faultless, but to be sure we love them in
spite of their faults.”

And so beneath the roof of the rose-covered
cottage often came the young girl, who—never
having had a daughter of her own to love—grew
soon very dear to the gentle invalid. And
many peals of laughter often sounded in the
pretty drawing-room at Emily’s account of
Robin at school—at his hopeless defiance of
rules—the difficulty of making him comprehend
the difference between wrong and right; and
the inveterate love of “shying,” which evi-
denced itself by little pellets of paper flymg
across the school-room, sent by Robin after some
unfortunate fly on the wall, or on to the slate
of some studious boy striving to master com-
pound addition.

Emily was making a long stay in the village, —

with some relatives of her mother’s; and ac-
RAGGED ROBIN. a9

customed, as a clergyman’s daughter, to make
herself useful in her own parish, she was
thoroughly at home at the school, teaching and
visiting ; and as it soon spread that she was to
be the wife of the new doctor, she was most
warmly welcomed in every cottage. Thoy had
liked Mr. Mapleton for his kindly, courteous
manner; and now his gooduess to the poor little
child, who had excited the compassion of all in
the village, save Miss Allen’s little community,
had made him quite a hero in their eyes. But

poor Mr. Mapleton had put a charge on him-
self : daily, almost hourly, came some com-
plaints somewhere about poor Robin: he «would
take his shoes off in church; he sould talk to
the boys in school, and make faces when he was
told not; he would play truant for whole days,
and be discovered at last with his naked feet in
the stream, and his new clothes all mud, trying
to catch eels; and, finally, was discovered in the

flagrant act of exchanging his waistcoat with a
30 RAGGED ROBIN.

boy for a pocket-knife. But Mr. Mapleton
bore it all with exemplary patience; declared
that a boy who was so troublesome at that early
age had something in him, and that he only
wanted help and direction. And when one day
he found that, unable to buy or make an ex-
change for a knife, he had borrowed one, and
taking a piece of rough wood, whilst his master
was engaged, had made from it, roughly, an
exquisite little model, to the master’s intense
astonishment, he was perfectly delighted, set
him up with a perfect little tool-box, and pro-
mised him a turning-lathe for a month’s regular
and proper attendance at school. The boy’s
keen eyes glistened at this promise, and it was
wonderful to see the effect it produced—how
hard he tried to be attentive to read the uninte-
resting statement that “the dog barks,” “the
cat mews,” to make any legible kind of letters
on his slate, to refrain from “shying” at any-
thing, to keep those wretched shoes on all
RAGGED ROBIN. bl

through church and school, in short, to win such
praise as should obtain for him the coveted pos-
session. .

And he won it, too; and then who so happy
as he? The old woman where he lodged said he
was another child, carving and cutting and
turning ; he was contented for hours. And as
Mr. Mapleton kindly talked to him, and told
him how much better he could turn this taste to
account if he learned also to read and write, and
how, if he was not good and diligent at school,
he should feel obliged to take his treasure from
him, little Robin soon became restored to the
master’s favour, and the kind doctor had less
constant complaints of his protégé. But, alas!
he himself was entirely banished from Miss
Allen’s good opinion. After all her warnings, to
have thus cherished a viper! All the little boys
in the village would now think that they had
“but to be as naughty, and mischievous, and

dirty as possible to be instantly made heroes of
32 RAGGED ROBIN.

by this misjudging person. But somehow or
other the village boys did not deteriorate much ;
and when in after-years Robin, a prosperous and
eminent architect, came to see his early patron
and preserver, Mr. Mapleton thanked God for
the good deed he had been permitted to do, and
for the happimess of seeing the seed he had
sown yield such a harvest.

There are many such little ragged Robins
who, thirsty, like the spring flower which
bears that name, for love and tenderness and
care, only want them to bear a good crop of
blossoms.

Let them not wither in the dry and dusty
road, but out of your abundance give to them,

or even in your need, pity and befriend them.

BRADBURY, AGNEW, & CO., PRINTERS, WHITEFRIARS,
OLD SPEEDWELL.

— oo

On the borders of a wild heath among the
Surrey Highlands there lived an old man and
his widowed daughter. The daughter had
married early and lost one by one the little
children born to her, of the same complaint
which carried off their father, and so she came
back to her childhood’s home to keep her old
father’s house with the patient meekness with
which persons of her class, it seems to me, more
especially, bear these afflictions. The poor old

man had earned a scanty living by selling
6 OLD SPEEDWELL.

hearth-stones in the village and the scattered
neighbourhood—hearth-stones and Bath-bricks
which were carried on his long journeys by a
small cart drawn by a large dog. This dog he
had saved from drowning when he was a much
younger man—he had seen some cruel boys
tying a stone round the struggling puppy’s
neck and about to throw it over the bridge
which went across the small stream on the
village green. He had given them sixpence
for the poor thing’s life, and brought it home
to the child who, widowed now, had come back
to live with him.

Did the dog know he owed his life to
him? at any rate he showed more gratitude
to his master than many Christians do ; for
he served him with untirig devotion, and
looked love at him out of his large soft brown

eyes till the tears would often come into his’
OLD SPEEDWELL. 7

master’s as he stooped to pat his glossy head
and say: -

“Ah! old man, I shall never want a friend
whilst you live, shall I ?”

He loved the children too, it seemed, for his
master’s sake; he followed two of them to the
grave and went to the daughter’s bridal—
knew her when she came back a lonely widow,
and running to the arm-chair stood wagging
his tail beside it and uttering little sharp yelps
as though inviting her to take her seat in the
most honoured place and be mistress of the
little home. It was about this time that old
Speedwell began to weary of his load, and it
was suggested to him to get a cart and harness
the dog to it, and so carry his wares to his far-
off customers.

Ponto objected at first, but at last after

a look into his master’s face as if to find out
8 OLD SPEEDWELL.

if he really wanted him to do it, of was
only playing with him, he consented and
quietly trotted along, content to know his
master was beside him and, with a faith
worthy of a higher nature, believing that
that master would impose on him nothing he
could not do, nothing that was not good for
him to do.

Old Speedwell was a character in his way ;
he had never been twenty miles from bis native
village nor had any desire to go, but he had
none of the narrow-minded prejudices which so
often, nay, almost always affect those who live
in one place and with one round of ideas for
ever. He had had a fair education at the
village school and was very fond of books,
especially books of travel, and had been all
over the world in imagination. He had a great

interest in nature,—flowers, birds, insects, and
OLD SPEEDWELL. 9

especially astromony, possessed for him an
infinite charm.

He knew the medicinal properties of the wild
flowers that grew about, and had an old book
which he had given a few pence for to some
old body who could not read, which told him
how much the wild flowers were valued once,
and he would tell his daughter Mary over and
over again that the Speedwells were once
esteemed by the Dutch and called ‘Honour and
Praise.’

“Think of that, my dear,” he would say,
“we must keep up the name ‘Honour and
Praise,’ that’s fine.”

He liked to read to her from his old book, in
the evening while she worked, about the flowers
which he so loved, and she loved them too, for
never was the little sittimg-room seen without

a few flowers in a jug standing on the table.
10 OLD SPEEDWELL.

He would read to her how Linnssus-—and
stop to tell her, he was a “learned sort of a
chap that lived in those far away countries
where it was so precious cold,’—that he had
knelt before the golden gorse when first he

saw ib upon our heaths, thanking God for its

beauty ; of how the Rest Harrow, whose long
tough roots stop the progress of the plough and
so give it its name, was in the days of good
Queen Bess used as a pickle; how the Agri-
mony was a great medicine, and used for dress-
ing leather and making dye—fed sheep and
‘goats too—and the Fever Few and the Corn
Blue Bottle, all the common flowers she knew
so well he would read of in his book and tell of
their use.

“You see, Mary,” he would say, taking off his
spectacles and laying them on his open book,

“there’s nowt that God has made but what’s
OLD SPEEDWELL. 11

some sort o’ use for summat, and there is one
thing as we don’t sufficiently consider; why
supposing, Mary, I’d a made every mortal thing
in this here room, why you’d have said, ‘Bless
you, Fayther, why you are clever,—there’s
everything as I wants for use!’ but think,
Mary, God ’s filled the large world with every-
thing everybody wants. We walk out of our
own doors and there in the hedgerows, where
rich and poor can help theirselves, is food and
physic, beauty and use, all mingled together ;
there’s not a tiny flower blowing m the world
anywhere but brings with it its own duty and
fulfils it faithfully—it strikes me that’s a grand
thought, Mary.”
“Yes, father,” would answer the patient
widow, her thoughts, even as she spoke, away
in the land where she hoped her treasures had

been gathered; but he loved to talk to some
12 OLD SPEEDWELL.

one, and he needed but little answering; he
would have read the book to Ponto and com-
mented on it, had he been alone.

There was one who came often to see the old
man, and who, he used to say, made the
little room as bright as though the sun had
entered it—how he looked and watched for her
visits. She was the Vicar’s little daughter, a
sweet, bright thing like the fair blossoms he
loved; he called her by them all in turn, some-
times his Golden Celandine, his Daffodil, Rose,
Eglantine, all he could think of fairest and
sweetest. She loved to sit at the old man’s
feet and make him tell her the names and
properties of the wild flowers she brought him
in her little basket, after a morning spent in
gathering them, and he looked down at the
bright face and the shining golden hair, and the
little white fingers handling the flowers with
OLD SPEEDWELL, 13

a sort of reverent love that was curious to
see. She liked the patient widow too, and
felt for her so much pity, that her voice had
‘always a tenderer, softer sound when sho
spoke to her, which brought to the sad quiet
face .a little smile of gratitude; she knew the
altered tone came of her great pity, that the
happy bright girl in the fresh sunshine of her
life, surrounded by loving friends, felt so
deeply for one, left alone in the autumn time
of hers, and she felt refreshed by the young
girl’s presence, and seemed to brighten under
it as the drooping flowers are brightened by
’ the sun.

Her name somehow seemed exactly suited to
her fair sweet presence, her simple purity—
Angel Fairchild,—it was a singular name to
give her, but it was an old family name and

she was the first and only girl—after many
14 OLD SPEEDWELL,

boys had been born to them—and so the mother
felt that she came like an angel to her, and so,
after her great-grandmother, she was thus
christened. oe

Ponto loved her as well as all the rest, and
‘ wagged his tail violently at her approach, and
testified in every way his satisfaction at her
arrival. She would bring him biscuits, and
sugar ; and when she took her place at the old
man’s feet, he would come and lay his cold nose
on her knees, and never leave her whilst she sat
there.

One warm summer morning Speedwell had
travelled with his little cart, to the farthest point
where his customers lived, and coming home he
perceived with sorrow, that poor old Ponto had
trouble to get home; his tongue hung out of his
mouth dry and white; he panted and stopped,

and laid down at every few paces, looking the
OLD SPEEDWELL. 15

while in his master’s face with sad piteous eycs
that went to the old man’s heart.

“Why, take courage, Ponto, man,” he said,
“we're well nigh home now, you'll be all right
in a minute, let’s find some water—here—here,
boy—here’s some,” he said, drawing the poor
animal to the side of the road, down which ran
a little bright stream of water from a spring at
the top of the hill. .

The dog took a little, and appearing somewhat
refreshed, made another effort to get on, but it
was sad work, and when the top of the hill was
reached, Old Speedwell unharnessed him from
the cart, and sitting down called him to lie
down beside him. The hill came up to the
heath—but they had nearly to cross it before
they reached home. The purple heather and
golden gorse were in their prime, and grandly

beautiful it looked in the summer sunshine.
16 OLD SPEEDWELL.

Splendid groups of trees were dotted about,
studies for an artist—beneath their deep
shadows cattle stood to shelter themselves from
the hot sun—and bees buzzed in and out
amongst the heath and ling, and the Sphinx
and Hawk Moth with their long tongues
gathered honey from the long tubular flowers of
the honeysuckle clinging to the bushes of
hawthorn. The grey smoke of some wood fire
of a gipsy encampment curled up to the clear
blue sky, and .a little naked-legged urchin
belonging to the tribe, was amusing himself
with throwing stones at a donkey tethered
near.

Poor Old Speedwell with his tired dog beside
him, sat gazing at it all, as at a beautiful
picture, and then as he gazed a thought struck
him; if he could manage. to get a donkey

and give poor dear old Ponto a rest, and
OLD SPEEDWELL. 17

let him pass the remainder of his days in
happy idleness, he might have a bigger cart,
and carry a few faggots, perhaps, as well,—“he’d
talk to Miss Fairchild, that he would—she’d
help him get a ’scription up, to buy him a
donkey and cart, he lay; why he never had
asked nothing of the Parish so long as he'd
lived in it, man and bey over sixty year—that’s
what he’d do, he’d never see his poor little
friend knocked up like this again;” and he
rose up from his seat with fresh vigour, and re-
harnessed Ponto, and what with pushing behind
and cheering him on, and resting once again,
they reached home at last, and found Mary
watching at the cottage door, for dinner had
been ready, she said, this long time, and she
wondered where they were.

Ponto seemed pretty bright again after his
night’s rest, and managed his short journey

Co
18 OLD SPEEDWELL.

very well; but still Speedwell continued to
think over his new plan. It was some time
since Angel had been to visit him, and he was
thinking he must go to the Vicarage and seek
her, when a low tap at the door, and the start
of Ponto from his sleep, with ears erect, gave
notice of the approach of a visitor, and before
he could rise from his chair, the door opened
and a fresh young voice said,

“May I come in, Speedwell ?”

“May the sun come in—I should think
so; why I’ve been wishing and wishing for
you.”

“T have been away a little while, up to
town,” said Angel, taking her old place on the
little wooden stool. “How d’ye do, Mrs.
Winter, how d’ye do, my doggy, are you all
pleased to see me back?”

>

“Of course we are,” said the old man, “take
OLD SPEEDWELL. 19

off your hat, and let’s be sure they haven’t
robbed ye of your gold im Lunnen.”

Angel laughed and tossed off her hat, which
Mary” quietly took from-her—and then she |
said,

“Tye brought you a present from London;
you like quaint old ‘books, and so I bought you
one—which tells, as your old book does—of how
in olden times, flowers and herbs were valued
and made useful. I know you will like the
book, it is innocent and simple, and wise lke
you, Master Speedwell—see, now let me read
you a bit—’” and she opened the book and
read,

*«« Accordingly for salves, the Parson’s wife
seeks not the city, but prefers her garden and
fields before all outlandish Gums—and surely
Hyssop, Valerian, Mercury, Adder’s tongue,
Verrow, Melitot and St. John’s Wort, made him .

G2
20 OLD SPEEDWELL.

a salve, and Elder, Camomile, Mallow, Camphry,
and Smallage, made into a poultice, have made
many great and rare cures.’

“There now, is not that charming, I shall
grow quite a Herb doctor, and my fame will be
far and near.”

“Well, well, thank you Missy, this is a book!
I’ve heard tell of good George Herbert, but I
never read his book afore—thank you kindly—
lor, to think now,” he said, gazing at her over
the spectacles through which he had been
examining his present—“to think of you a
bothering your head with an old buffer like
me, when you was up in London. I do believe
yowre the sweetest and best little lady in all
the world ’—and he laid his hand tenderly on her
shining hair, as she laughingly answered,

“Do you think so, Master Speedwell ?—how

nice.’
‘OLD SPEEDWELL. 21

“T do, and because I believe it I’m agoing to
ask you a favour—you see this dear old thing,”
he said, pointing to the dog, “he’s like his
master, a wearing out, and ve bethought me
that if I could have a donkey to draw the goods
about, Ponto might have an easy time of it for
the rest of his life. Now do you think the good
Master would see about a ’scription for it for
me, if you were to ask him—you see I’ve never
been nowt expense to the Parish, I’ve a worked
all my life and brought up my family decent on
my own earnings.”

“ And I am a burden on his hands again now,
Miss,” spoke Mary.

“Mary, lass, hold your tongue, you know
that’s agin all rules—she’s now a taking care of
me, Miss, that’s what she’s a-doing—burden,
stuff and nonsense; but about this donkey, what
dye think ?”
a2 OLD SPEEDWELL.

“T think it is a very good plan, and I
am sure Papa will do all he can,” said Angel,
jumping up from her seat. “I must really
go now, and I'll ask Papa directly, and come
and let you know to-morrow. I say, Master
Speedwell,” she said, and a_ little - bright:
flush tinted her cheek, “I am going to bring
some one to see you some day, soon; may
La

“Why in course you may, my dear.”

“He says,” she. continued, lifting up and
down Ponto’s long ears with her little foot,
“he wants to see you, because you are so fond
of me,—isn’t that silly ?”

“Oh, oh! it’s a ‘he, is it?” chuckled- the
oldman. “If I didn’t think so. I’ve been a look-
ing after him for. ever. so. long; well, well, you
run and let me. see if I think him fit for you.

I shall be mighty particular, I can tell you.. My
OLD SPEEDWELL. 23

pretty woodbine must have a fine good tree to
cling round.”

“Ah! I tell him he is not half good enough
for me, and that I know you'll say so, but I don’t
mean it, you know,” she said laughing, as she
bent down to kiss Ponto on his glossy black head ;
“goodbye, I must go, I daresay he’s waiting about
somewhere now, the silly,” and away she went,
peeping in at the window as she passed to call
out good-bye again, and down the lane she
went with a quick step, which led to the pretty
vicarage, all embowered in trees, and half
way down she saw a figure standing, sketch-
book in hand, making a drawing of the house,
and the old ivied church tower, which rose up
behind it.

She stopped a moment, with a merry light
in her eyes; and then running up the bank,

she crept through a gap in the hedge, and stole
24 OLD SPEEDWELL.

softly along a cornfield on the other side, till
she came to the spot where the young man
stood ; it was much higher than the road, and so
she was considerably above him, as he stood
still quietly drawing.

She gathered a corn blue-bottle, which was
gleaming with its bright blue blossom among
the wheat, and dropped it on to his drawing;
he looked up suddenly, and seeing the sweet
laughing face above him over the hedge, he
sprang up the bank beside her.

“You never saw me coming,” she said.

“T did, you puss, I knew you, baby thing, you,
you were going to hide and bounce out at me,
or some such childish thing; so I wouldn't
pretend to see you, that you might not be
disappointed.”

“Maurice, what a fib,” she said; “I am

shocked at you, you never saw me at all.”
OLD SPEEDWELL. 25

“Well, I knew by instinct you were there
then, will that do? Now when am I to make
a sketeh of your old favourite ?”

“There now, I never asked him; never
mind, Ive got to go to-morrow about the
donkey, you'll have to help about that, come in
now with me, and we'll talk to Papa, and you'll
give a lot, won’t you, and I shall turn out my
money box for him, poor old thing, because it
would be so nice for him; you will now, won’t
you?” she said, putting her arm through his,
and looking beseechingly at him.

“You know I would do anything you wish
me,” said her companion, “ especially when you |
look at me like that; but what am I to do, what
donkey is it you are so interested in P”

“No donkey, you silly boy—Old Speed-
well.”

“Well, my dear girl, you never named him;
26 OLD SPEREDWELL,

your speech was truly most confusing. I
thought you wanted to build a new stable for
a donkey, or get him into some refuge for
asinine quadrupeds, where he might peacefully
pass the rest of his days.”

“You do think such silly things, dear; you
know I’m only interested in one——” she said,
pausing with a sly, saucy glance at him.

«Yes, I know what you're going to say of |
me very well; I don’t mind, I’m so satisfied with
having gained the interest that I don’t mind
bearing the name.”

“There’s a good boy, now let us go quickly |
home, and you’re not to speak a single word
whilst I explain all about Speedwell as we
go along.” Whether she ever succeeded in
making him understand is not known, anyway
they did not arrive at home very quickly, so

he must have wanted a great deal of explanation.
OLD SPEEDWELL. Q4

Mr. Fairchild, of course, readily consented to
help Speedwell, and a subscription was at once
set on foot.

A few days after this visit, Angel fulfilled
her promise of taking Maurice to see her
old friend, and he preferred his own re-
quest to be allowed to paint him with Angel
beside him,

Speedwell was delighted at the idea, and
accordingly a day was fixed. Maurice, busily
erouping them, insisting on Mary and Ponto
being included, winning the old man’s heart
by his bright, courteous, gracious manners,
and his evident warm love for the little thing,
whom he thought was not to be equalled on
earth.

The sketch was most successful, and’ to
Speedwell’s great delight and pride, Angel

came one day to tell him the picture had gone
28 OLD SPEEDWELL,

up to London and was in the Academy, under
the name of “The Favourite Visitor.”

“And that’s me, you know,” said Angel.
“T am your favourite visitor, now ain’s 12”

“You are, my dear, you are; and now how
goes the donkey ’scription ? ” |

“Famously. Papa has gone so far as to
speak to Peterson about his donkey: he wanted —
to sell it the other day, and I think you'll get.
it; it’s such a jolly little fat thing, quite young
and strong.”

“Well, that’s brave; and then, my poor old
dog, you shan’t do an ounce more work,” he
said, patting Ponto, who came and put his head
on his knee as though he wished to take a
share in the conversation.

A. week or two elapsed, and the days grew
hotter, and the corn was ripe to harvest, and

each day poor old Ponto seemed less able to do
OLD SPEEDWELL. 29

his work. The sight of one eye was going, and

his tecth broke off, so that he could eat but
. little, which made the poor old animal of course
much weaker, and Speedwell began to grow
uneasy about the donkey, wondering what he
should do if it did not come, for he himself could
never carry the load as faras Deep Dean, and
so he should lose one of his best customers.

One day, after Ponto had been less able than
ever to drag the cari home, and was lying down
on his mat panting and exhausted, Mary called
eagerly to her father to come quickly, some one
wanted him, and there, before the door, stood,
harnessed to his little cart, the sleekest, fattest
little donkey. At its head stood Mr. Maurice
Winthrop and Angel Fairchild, her face
aglow with pleasure. “Fetch the old man,
Mrs. Winter,” she had said; “ here’s a present
for him.”
380 OLD SPEEDWELL.

He was delighted, poor old man, he had no
words to thank them, but shook their hands
over and over agai, and bid God bless them.
But neither he nor they were prepared for the
effect that would be produced on Ponto by this
new addition to the family. He showed his
teeth, rather, at the quiet little donkey, when he
was led into the shed—where he too slept—
which Speedwell then told him was_inhospit-
able; but in the morning, when the cart was
brought out, and the donkey harnessed to it,
the goods heaped up in it, and Speedwell took
down his hat and stick and prepared to start,
poor Ponto, who had watched the whole pro-
ceeding with intense interest—and with astonish-
ment and anger as plainly evidenced as it could
be in a dog,—made one spring from the door,
where lying crouched like a tiger he had seen it

all, and on to the poor little donkey’s back, and
OLD SPEEDWELL. bl

tore and bit him with all the ferocity of a wild
beast. In the sudden dismay and terror for the
poor animal, Speedwell took his stick and
violently beat the dog until he loosened his hold
and fell half-stunned on the ground; then
lifting his dim eyes to his master’s face in a look
of penitence, and love, and reproach all mingled,
he crawled to his feet and died. The poor
little donkey survived him but a few hours: it
was a curious and almost unheard-of case of the
bitter jealousy of an animal. He could not bear
to see another doing his master the service it
had been for many years his pleasure to do, and
thus he had revenged himself.

The story made a great stir in the village,
and Speedwell, dreadfully distressed, refused to
have either the dog or donkey replaced, but
carried his wares on his own back, as far as he

could manage; yet wanting never up to the last
32 OLD SPEEDWILL,

moment of his life any comfort or necessity, for

his good Angel never deserted him.*'

* This anecdote of a dog’s jealousy is a fact.

BRADBURY, AGNEW, & CO., PRINTERS, WHITEFRIARS
THE DEADLY NIGHTSHADE.

Pen

THERE is a sudden rush, and a sudden joyous
shouting :—

“Papa, papa, here we come!” and down the
staircase of a small house in the suburbs of
London, race three children, and bound into a
room in which a gentleman has just entered
and thrown himself into an armchair. They
had heard him, of course; had they not been
loitering outside the nursery-door, peeping oven
the banisters to see how far that tiresome late
dinner was progressing, Johnny acting as

scout—telling his little sisters, “the meat is
6 THE DEADLY NIGHTSHADE,

gone—the pudding’s come out—now the cheese
. —hurrak, girls! he’ll only be a few minutes
now.”” :

“ And you won’t hear the story at all, Master
Johnny,” said nurse, “if you take and pitch
- yourself over the banisters.””

.“Of course I shan’t, Mrs. Grim Griffin,”
answered Johnny with school-boy wit, “but
I’m not going to be such a muff as that—cheese
out—and there he goes,” and down they rushed.

It was Mr. Teignmouth’s pleasure and
_ principle to have his children every day, after
‘his dinner, down in his study for one hour’s

amusement. They did for that hour exactly what

they liked, chose their own entertainments, and
he would sit in his easy chair with his dressing-
gown and slippers, watching them and enjoying

it all'as much as the children; at the end of the
THE DEADLY NIGHTSHADE. 7

time, he unlocked a cupboard and produced a
box well known to the cager little ones, which
was always kept filled with sugar plums for
their conclusion of the entertainment. Ques-
tions on Geography, Arithmetic, History, etc.,
properly answered, were rewarded by so many
bonbons, and the child who got the most had
a ticket, seven of which purchased a larger
one at the end of the week, and fifty-two
of those a prize on New Year's Day. No

wonder that hour was so longed for, so counted

on. ‘The questions were so funny he asked, too, “:

not a bit like lessons, as Alice said. Then he
thought of such lovely games, and sometimes
told them such lovely stories, that they would
have sacrificed any pleasure party to stay that
-one hour with “ Papa.” |

They were all over him now in a minute, as...
8 THE DEADLY NIGHTSHADE,

he said, like a swarm of bees, and when they
had kissed him to their heart’s content, he asked
what the programme iwas to be.

“Oh! a story, papa, it’s so long since we
had a story,” said Alice.

“Yes a story, a story,” chimed in the others.

“My dear children, I've told you every story
I can think of”

“Tell us all again then.”

‘No, no, a new one,”

said Johnny; “now,
papa, while we are quite quiet, or play at some- °
thing softly, think of something, and you call
us when you're ready.”

“T always go to sleep when I think, so you'll
see I shall be off in five minutes, and then I
shall talk in my sleep.” And putting his feet

on a stool and throwing himself back in his

chair, Mr. Teignmouth shut his eyes close.
THE DEADLY NIGHTSHADE, 9

“Its only papa’s fun,” whispered Johnny,
“you be quiet, he’ll begin presently, he’s laughing
at the corner of his mouth, hush ! sit here, let’s
be quite still.” And so they were for a few
moments, sitting close together, bursting into
little ripples of laughter every now and then,
till at length a voice from the chair made them
all look up with eager expectation.

“Once upon a time there was a little man
who had two dark hairs, an abundance of shiny
nose, several legs, and no body.”

“Papa is talking in his sleep, really,” said
grave little Marion, “ because that’s nonsense.”

“Hush ! listen,” said Johnny, “he’s awake
enough.”

«This little man lived in a turn-up bedstead,
that never turned down.”

“Oh, papa, what did he do?”
10 THE DEADLY NIGHTSHADE.

“T don’t know what he did do, I only know
| _ What he didn’t.”

Go on, Pa dear, don’t, please girls, inter-
rupt,” said Johnny, “it’s beautiful, like Alice in
Wonderland.”

“Only much better,” said Alice.

Of course; if papa had written a play or a
‘poem, Shakespeare, Byron, Sheridan, Pope,
would have paled before him.

“ And so, papa, he lived in a turn-up bed-
stead,” prompted Johnny.

“Yes, a turn-up bedstead, and lived upon
nothing, which was brought him every day in a
clean plate. He never played, he never sang,
he never walked, he never ran, he never worked,
he never slept, and yet there was no family for
miles round who, when an accident happened,

did not find out that he had done it. He ate
THE DEADLY NIGHTSHADE. LL

jams, he spoilt books, he broke crockery, he
smashed windows, all things lost or missing he
quickly took possession of. So that the turn-up
bedstead must have been frightfully full of other
people’s property.” \

“Oh, papa,” said little Marion, aici,
“this cannot be a true tale.”

“Who said it was?” said Johnny. “Do be :
quiet, Marion; we don’t care about its being
true. Jack the Giant-Killer isn’t true, stupid,
is 1?”

“And did the policemen never come after
this strange, naughty little man 2” asked Alice.

“Oh dear yes, very often; but they could
never see him anywhere.”

“T suppose they never thought of looking in
the turn-up bedstead ? ” asked Johnny. |

“Oh yes, they looked there of course, but he


“
i2 THE DEADLY NIGHTSHADE.

was never there—in one family in particular he
was a great nuisance; there was a little girl
there who was frightened to death at him.”

“Well, I’m sure I should be if I ever a
him, fancy a man with two hairs, heaps of
noses, two legs, and no body—why I should be
frightened,” said Marion.

“Frightened? nonsense; I shouldn’t,”’ said
Johnny. “I should like to see such a rum-
looking chap awfully.” »

“Yes, but this little girl never did see him,”
continued papa. |

“How could she be frightened then of him?”
said Alice.

« Ah, that’s what she never could explain.”

“T suppose it was hearing of him and think-
ing she should see him, that*frightened her,”

answered Marion.
THE DEADLY NIGHTSHADE. 18

“Tt is impossible to say what frightened her,
but everyone thought it was very tiresome; she
was no sooner in bed than she began to scream
and cry, and mamma and nurse ran up as hard
as they could, and there was no one to be seen,
though the light was taken into every corner ;
sometimes the little girl said he made a noise
like a frightful cat, sometimes like a fierce cow,

sometimes like a terrific sparrow. You will -



acknowledge these noises were enough to ~ “2s.

frighten any child.”

Marion’s face grew red, and she said, quickly,
. “I’m sure I don’t mind the sparrows twittering,
now.” /

Mr. ‘Teignmouth did not answer this inter-
ruption, but continued,—

“Tn vain mamma said that the sparrows had

gone to roost, and that cows and cats were not
- 14, THE DEADLY NIGHTSHADE,

carnivorous, still the child tormented herself and
others with the nightly alarms occasioned by
these visits, and laid awake staring into the
darkness to see this dreadful being who uttered
these dreadful noises. A light was then put in
* the room, and. the poor little girl told to ring
the bell the moment the dreadful man appeared ;
but he never came, I suppose, for she never
rang, and the cats and the cows and the
sparrows were all quite silent after the room was
kept light. I suppose he objected to light, this
odd little man, and so nothing more was heard
of him in that house for a long time.

“ But in the next house, a little way off, he
began to play his pranks. One night, the lady,
a quiet innocent maiden lady, who kept only
two servants, heard a strange noise downstairs

in the kitchen; she went down to ask about it,
THE DEADLY NIGHTSHADE. 15 -

the servants had heard nothing, only the cat in

the cupboard—they certainly had heard her,
| she was turned out at once, but in the morning
the plate was nearly all gone, and Jane,
the cook, affected to have seen this awful
being going up the ‘airy’ steps, with a load
on his back; she was that frightened she
couldn’t scream, and before she came-to he
was gone.

“Tn another house the food kept going in the
strangest manner, the baker’s and butcher’s
bills got bigger and bigger, and yet the people
in the house did not eat one bit more, and as
to the poor cook, ‘she hadn’t have had,’ as she
said herself, ‘a ounce of appetite for ever so
long,’ and the housemaid, ‘what she lived on
were a miracle, for she never eats meat nor

bread, only a little mouthful just at dinner,
16 THE DEADLY NIGHTSHADE,

to keep life in her,’ but still the loaves dis-
appeared in a frightful manner, and the meat
too; it must be the little man. So at last it was
determined by all the principal families in the
neighbourhood to hold a meeting, discuss the
several ways in which this mysterious and odious
little being annoyed them, and arrange some
way of getting rid of him.

“Some members of each family were called
upon to attend.

“Mr. Caustic, a very unpleasant looking man,
arrived first, then Mrs. Grub, a cross, dirty-
looking woman, short, fat, and untidy, then
Miss Simper the old maid, who heard the strange
noises in the kitchen, with a continual smile on
her face, then Mr. and Mrs. Dismal came to-
gether, looking very dark and very sad ; old is.
Crosspatch, and Mr. Merriman, completed the

ges
THE DEADLY NIGHTSHADE. 17

numbers. They all assembled at the house of
Mrs. Lovechild, the lady whose little girl had
been such a dreadful martyr to this most aggra-
vating little being, and, when all had taken
their places, Mrs. Lovechild asked them if they
would each, in turn, state their grievances, and
in like manner, each in turn should suggest
a, remedy. Mr. Caustic rose first, and thus
addressed them in a sharp loud voice, chopping
up his words as if he were chopping hay.
«<(Tve got a garden, and a hothouse, and I
grow vegetables, and fruit, and night after
night, and day after day, I lose both; my
gardener accuses this little man, or fiend, or
bogie, or whatever he is. I spend a fortune on
my garden, for him to reap the benefit, that’s
mygeomplaint, T’ve nothing more to say,’ and

down he sat.”
1S: THE DEADLY NIGHTSHADE.

Roars of laughter from Johnny, Alice,
“and even grave little Marion greeted “ Mr.
Caustic.”

“Oh, papa, how lovely,” said Alice, “ you did
not look a bit like yourself.”

“ And was it lovely, because it was not like
me—oh ! Alice.”

“No, no, papa. I mean clever, you know,
when I say lovely.”

“Oh! I see, all right.”

“Then, who speaks next, oh! go on papa,’
said Johnny.

“Tdo want to know what this little man
was, will it tell us in the end, papa?” asked
Alice.

“TI believe I know,” said Johnny, looking
very wise.

“What, Johnny ? a fairy, I suppose.”
THE DEADLY NIGHTSHADE. 19

“Oh! no, but don’t talk now, go on, papa,
dear.”

“Well, then, up rose Mrs. Grub.

“Mis. Grub had a lisp, and a sort of slobber-
ing way of talking, which was very unpleasant
to hear, she said;—

«That really the had heard evethy evening,
thome one come up her garden at the thame
time and heard dithtinctly a rough kind of a voith

at the back door, and yet her thervant declared

there wath no one there. I never allow anyone:

to vithit my thervant, I know ith no friend of
herth, and ith too late for tradeth people. When
J mentioned it to Mrth. Dithmal, the thaid, ‘why
ith the little man.’ My thervant heareth step,
and the yoith, but there’s no one ever to be
theen, the thays.’ .

“Up jumped Miss Simper, who spoke very

c 2
20 THE DEADLY NIGHTSHADE.

gently in a high treble voice with a running
accompaniment of a giggling laugh.

“«*My case,’ she said, ‘is—is really most
ridiculously unpleasant—because not only have
such strange—such strange noises been heard,
but my plate has been taken away, and the
police could make no discovery as to the thief ;
my cook describes seeing a most extraordinary
figure go up the area steps, with a load on his
back, and says she was too frightened to scream
—but what you will admit is more extraordinary,
is that the next morning it was all found in its
own place again, after the great trouble the
poor policemen have had. I was really quite
cross, and you know it may happen again; one
is never safe, both bolts and bars are quite
unavailing, it seems so very ridiculous, and—

and annoying.’
THE DEADLY NIGHTSHADE, mua

«Miss Simper has much to complain of,
certainly, but no case can be so distressing as
mine,’ said Mr. Dismal, in his sad, gloomy
tones. ‘I have a young nephew residing
with me who is studyimg hard for the legal
profession, but, poor youth! he is driven
distracted by the mischievous pranks of”
this hated individual. Sometimes he fills the
poor boy’s room with tobacco smoke, till his
head aches, and he is well-nigh choked; at
another time, he sings loud boisterous comic—
comie songs, to distract him from his grave
studies, and I assure you, you would fancy
there were two or three people singing there
together. I, and Mrs. Dismal, have becn
nightly disturbed from our rest, and our poor
student has unlocked his door and called

to us in piteous accents to know if we
22 “THE DEADLY NIGHTSHADE’

heard the noise, and what he had better
do. I consider this the most remarkable case.’

“We searched the house in every part,’
interrupted Mrs. Dismal in a weak tremulous
treble.

“«T¢ is unnecessary to mention that, my love,
said Mr. Dismal in his quadruple bass; ‘ every
one will be sure we did so before we complained.’

“You may call yours the worst case,’ said
old Mrs. Crosspatch, starting up in her turn,
‘but I should say that to have four cats all
put in a row dead on your door-step is about
the most dreadful thing that can happen,—
four favourite cats. I can only say that if this
being, whoever it is, comes in my sight he
shall rue it—ugh! Ill stick him through

>

with my crotchet needle ;’ and with a savage

glare on the company round, as though they
THE DEADLY NIGHTSHADE, 23

were all in league with this dreadful monster,
she sat down.

“Then up rose Mr. Merriman.

“«Tadies and gentlemen,’ he began in a nice,
bright, genial voice and a merry twinkle in his
eyes, ‘I have really nothing to complain of,
and so I do not know that I have any right to
be here. This strange little man has never
given me the slightest inconvenience, and I
cannot understand the matter at all, but I
shall be most happy to assist in making any
suggestions that may facilitate others in ridding
themselves of this terrible nuisance. So please,
Mr. Caustic, will you commence to make a
suggestion.’

* He'd nothing to suggest; if he had known
what to do he should have done it; he’d come

there to be told;’ this was all he would say ;
24: THE DEADLY NIGHTSHADE.

all said much the same, and unanimously
begged that Mr. Merriman would give his
suggestion.

“¢Well then,’ he said, ‘I venture to suggest
that Mr. Caustic should discharge his gardener,
Mrs. Grub her two servants, Mr. Dismal should
- send his nephew into a lawyer’s office, who
would prevent any mysterious person from
filling his room with smoke, and Mrs. Cross-
patch should have a man-trap set in her
garden, so that she might be able to show this
strange and wonderful being to the world on
his next expedition after her pet cats.’

“Mrs, Lovechild, who had not yet spoken, but
had sat smiling at the others as each made their
statement, rose at this and said,—

“
same opinion in this matter. The creature
THE DEADLY NIGHTSHADE. 25

who has so alarmed my little girl, is too often
accused of the sins of others, and it would be
a more difficult task to catch him than you
ean think.’

«We has never been seen by mortal eye, has
he, Mr. Merriman ?’

“Then he is!’ exclaimed the company,
with a cry, starting to their feet—‘he is——’
and that’s the end of the story.”

“Oh! papa, what a shame; what is he, what
was it?” exclaimed the two little girls. “You
ought to tell us.”

“But how can J, I never saw him.”

“T know, don’t I, pa?” said Johnny.

“T don’t know, Johnny, that you know, I’m

”



sure, L
“Well, may I say?” -

“ Certainly.”
26 THE DEADLY NIGHTSIADE,

“Tt was ‘Nobody. It is just what the
servants say when there’s an accident,—Nobody
did it, can’t think how it got done. Foolish
babies are frightened at ‘Nobody’ in the dark,
and so I know that’s it, isn’t it, papa?”

“ Well, Johnny, perhaps it is; but now the
hour is more than up, I’m tired, and we have
had no questions.”

“No more we have, we must have a double
lot to-morrow.”

«You must, indeed, I have a very grave and
serious lot of questions to ask you. There are
six sugar plums each on account; the rest must
be made “up to-morrow: good night, God bless
you! You will be sure to see the little man
going upstairs, Marion.”

“T daresay I shall, but I’m not.a bit afraid,

because I know now what you mean, papa, that
THE DEADLY NIGHTSHADE, Q7

we lie awake and fancy silly noises and things,
and that there really is no one to hurt us. I
shall amuse myself now when I am going to
sleep by thinking of Mr. Caustic and Miss
Simper and Mr. and Mrs. Dismal, and all
those foolish people, and never think any more
of being frightened of nothing and ‘Nobody.’ ”
“That’s right, Marion, you know,” said Mr.
Teignmouth, drawing his little girl towards him.
“Papa tells all these foolish stories and talks
this nonsense, not only to pass an hour plea-
santly with his little ones, but to try and teach
them some useful lesson at the samo time, and
I would have you learn how foolish it is to
indulge in imaginary fears. I want you to put
your trust in Him who lets nothing happen to
you but that which is wisest and best, who

makes all things work together for good to
28 THE DEADLY NIGHTSHADE,

those who love Him, and give you that con-
fidence in His watchful care which will’ make
you believe that the ‘light and the darkness to
Him are both alike,’ and that you are always
safe in His most gracious care. Now, my little
ones, to bed.” ‘With a loving kiss to their good
father the children took their leave of him,
Johnny saying that as he always liked a name
for papa’s stories and wrote them down in his
pocket-book, he should call this one, being the
story of something which frightened people in

the night, the
“DEADLY NIGHTSHADE.”

Marion. thought this an excellent name, and
as I too cannot think of any better or more

appropriate one, I shall adopt Johnny’s sug-

gestion, and call this little tale by the name of
THE DHADLY NIGHTSHADE. 29

the graceful but poisonous plant, which cur
little ones must learn to be aware of, gleam-
ing in the hedges with its bright berries, which
allures only to deceive, and which is indeed, like
many pleasures of youth, a “ Bitter Sweet.”
May the poisons of doubt, fear, and mistrust
be kept far from our little ones, and walking
along the straight and narrow path in steady
hope and trust may they learn to fear only in

the right way—“ Nobody.”

BRADBURY, AGNEW, & CO., PRINTERS, WHITEYRIARS,






GEORGE ROUTLEDGE & SONS’
JUVENILE BOOKS.

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Every Boy’s Bod A New Edition. Edited by8 6

Epmunp Routiepce. A Complete Cyclopedia of Sport and
Recreation, With roo Illustrations and 9 Coloured Plates,

In gto, cloth, and royal 8vo, gilt and gilt edges, price 7s. 6d. each,
Iflustrated by the best Artists,

Homes and Haunts of the British Poets. By7 6
Wititram Howitt. With many Illustrations.

Little Barefoot. A Domestic Tale. By BrerTuoLp
AvERBACH, With many Illustrations,

Household Tales and Fairy Stories. With 380
lllustrations by J. D. Watson, Harrison Werr, and others,

Christmas Carols. Set to Music. With Original
Illustrations by the Brothers Dauzre.

Bonnechose’s. France. A New Edition, brought
down to September, 1871.

The Language of Flowers. By the Rev. RoBERT
Tyas. With r2 pages of Coloured Plates by KronHEIM,

Longfellow’s Poetical Works. With Plates by
Jounx Girpert. Author’s Complete Edition. Demy 8vo, cloth,
gilt edges.

National Nursery Rhymes. Set to Music by J. W.

Etuiot. With Orxiginal Lliustrations, engraved by DatzreL
Brothers.

Naomi; or, The Last Days of Jerusalem. By Mrs.
Webs. With Steel Plates. Post 8vo, cloth, gilt edges.

Poets’ Corner. A Collection of the Best Poetry.
Edited by J. C. M. Bertew. 920 pages, demy 8yvo, cloth. {

Routledge’s Coloured Scrap-Book. With many

pages of Plates printed in Colours, folio, cloth,










4 George Routledge & Sons’ Juvenile Books.

g DEVEN-AND- SIxrenny Booxs—continued.
7 Danie Divine Comedy. Translated by H. Ww.

LoncFettow. 1 vol., crown 8vo, cloth.

The Poetical Works of Lord Lytton. With Fron-
tispiece and Vignette. Fcap. 8vo, cloth.

Hogg on the Microscope. With 500 Illustrations and
8 Coloured Plates.

Andersen’s Stories for the Household. 8vo, cloth,
gilt edges, with 240 Illustrations.

Robinson Crusoe, With 110 Plates by J. D. Wat-

SON.

In cloth, gilt edges, 6s. each,
6 oRoutledge’s Every Boy’s Annual. Edited by Epmunp

RourLteoce, With many Illustrations, and beauti“ul Coloured”
Plates.

Shipwrecks ; or, Disasters at Sea. By W. H. G.

Kincsron, With more than roo Illustrations.

The Adventures of Robinson Playfellow, a Young
French Marine. With 24 Plates, and many Woodcuts, ;

More Bab Ballads. By W.S. Gitprrr. With Il-

lustrations by the Author.
Travelling About. By Lady BARKER. With 6 Plates
and 5 Maps.
Ridiculous Rhymes. Drawn by H, 8. Marks,
Printed in Colours by VinceNT Brooxs. 4to, fancy cover,
Pepper’s Boy’s Play-book of Science. 400 Plates.
D’Aulnoy’s Fairy Tales. Translated by PLANCHE,
Planche’s Fairy Tales. By PeRrravutt, &c.

Pepper’s Play-book of Mines, Minerals,-and
Metals. With 300 Illustrations. Post 8vo, gilt.

Motley’s Rise of the. Dutch Republic. Crown
8vo, cloth, gilt.

An Ulustrated Natural History. By the Rev. J. G. -
Woop, M.A. With seo Illustrations by WiLtLiam Harvey, and
8 full-page Plates wy WVoLtr and Harrison Weir. Post 8vo,
cloth, gilt edges.

Lord Lytton’s Dramatic Works. Crown 8vo, cloth,
gilt edges.



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