Citation
The church mouse

Material Information

Title:
The church mouse
Creator:
Griswold, F. Burge ( Frances Burge ), 1826-1900
Bowen, C. E ( Charlotte Elizabeth ), 1817-1890
S. W. Partridge & Co. (London, England) ( Publisher )
Richard Clay and Sons ( Printer )
Place of Publication:
London
Publisher:
S.W. Partridge & Co.
Manufacturer:
Richard Clay & Sons, Limited
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
64 p., [1] leaf of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 15 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Christian life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Mice -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Brothers and sisters -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Children and death -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Children's stories ( lcsh )
Children's stories -- 1890 ( lcsh )
Publishers' advertisements -- 1890 ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1890
Genre:
Children's stories
Publishers' advertisements ( rbgenr )
novel ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London
England -- Suffolk -- Bungay
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )

Notes

General Note:
Date of publication from inscription.
General Note:
Frontispiece printed in colors.
General Note:
Publisher's advertisements follow text.
Funding:
Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
Statement of Responsibility:
by Mrs. F. J. Burge Smith ; and, The young potato-roasters / by the author of "Dick and his donkey."

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:
026962403 ( ALEPH )
ALH8137 ( NOTIS )
173660794 ( OCLC )

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THE CHURCH MOUSE



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SYLVIA STEPHENS AND THE CHURCH MOUSE,





THE CHURCH MOUSE

BY

Mrs. F. J. BURGE SMITH
AND

THE YOUNG POTATO-ROASTERS

BY THE AUTHOR OF “DICK AND HIS DONKEY,”
sO tartare)

Cara D>

LONDON
S. W. PARTRIDGE & CO.
8 & 9 PATERNOSTER ROW







Ricnarp Cray & Sons, Limitrp,
BREAD STREET HILL, E.C.; AND
BUNGAY, SUFFOLK.





:
:
;

fa
(ONTENTS.



THE CHURCH MOUSE.

CHAPTER

I

Il.

Ill.

IV.

MOUSIE AND HER HOME,
THE FUNERAL,
SYLVIA IN TROUBLE,

SYLVIA AND VINNY,

teers: YOUNG POTATO-ROASTERS.

Page 35.

Ss EEE

PAGE:

12
19
26:








THE CHURCH MOUSE:

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+

CHAPTER I.

Mousie and her Home.

"OQ wonder little Sylvia Stephens kept as
still as she could, holding her very
breath, as she looked over the top of

2 Ba} her book and saw a tiny brown mouse
mer ned upon the cushion of the pew, and seeming
to listen to the music.

She was almost glad her brother Frank had not
been able to walk the long distance that morning,
for she was sure he would make a great flutter if
he were there, and frighten the new comer away;
and it was such a strange, funny thing to have a
mouse at church!



7





8 The Church Mouse.

It was an old-fashioned place, and an old-
fashioned time, and up in the choir, instead of an
organ, with its heavy volume of sound, there was
Mr, Grant, with his bass-viol, and a double row of
singers, besides the regular alto, and tenor, and
soprano.

You would look up with surprise if Mr. Grant —
should come back from the “long ago,” and stand in
your church, drawing the bow across the strings of
his singular instrument.

Perhaps you would not call it nice music at all ;
but the good people in the quaint village where
Sylvia Stephens lived thought it “elegant,” and as
for Sylvia herself, she would have had it Sunday
all the week round, if only she could stand and
listen to the old church choir.

It brought the mouse out of its hiding-place,
too. Or, may be it was the little girl’s sweet voice,
for it had been swelling out the glorious notes of
the Old Hundredth to the words—

“ With one consent, let all-the earth
To God their cheerful voices raise.”

Whatever it may have been—whether the tones
of the bass-viol, or the voice of the gentle child—
there sat the little, sleek creature, its coat as glossy
as though it had been brushed for the occasion,
and its black, bead-like eyes shining brightly as it
pricked up its ears to listen.



EE, Oe ee



Mousie and Her Home. 9

There was a rude boy in the gallery, who sat
eating peanuts, and dropping the shells down upon
the heads of the people, and pretending to gaze on
his hymn-book, and be very devout if anybody
looked up at him. He might have learned a lesson
from the little brown mouse, that sat so quietly upon
the cushion during the singing.

When the hymn was finished, and there was the
bustle of sitting down, mousie ran softly along the
bench, and disappeared behind the cushion; but
when the people sang again, he crept forth and
took his old place, to Sylvia’s great delight.

After church, as the congregation were getting
ready to leave, Sylvia raised up the cushion a little,
and there was a small hole behind it, in one corner,
but she could see nothing further. If she could
have followed the mouse, he would have led her
through a narrow passage, and along a beam to a
snug niche in the stone foundation of the building,
where he had heaped together old papers, and bits
of dried grass, and made a warm nest for his winter
quarters.

I don’t know whether you have ever thought
how wonderful is God’s care of these little creatures,
and how wisely He has adapted all things in nature;
but the more you study the little things that God
has made, the more you will see His majesty and
goodness.



* â„¢ tree AOE
,

Io The Church Mouse.

Men are only called grea¢ when they do some
great thing ; but it is the little things that show the
sublimity of our Creator’s power.

Wouldn’t you think, when you hear the gnawing,
gnawing, all night long at the hard wood, that the
friction would wear off the teeth of these little
creatures ?

Ishould. But see what a wise God has done
for them! He has made the roots of the incisor
teeth—these are the front teeth, or cutters—go
down deeply into the jawbone, where they are
nourished by a pulpy substance of which the teeth
are formed, and this adds to the teeth below what
is wasted above, and pushes them up as fast as
they are needed. ‘Then, in order that they may be
kept sharp and chisel-like, the enamel which covers
the front face of these incisors is harder than that
upon the remaining surface, while the dentine,
which makes up the inside, or solid mass of each
tooth, is also harder in front than behind, and
when the mouse is gnawing, the softer enamel and
dentine are worn away much faster than the hard,
and this keeps the chisel sharp.

_ Cutlers, or those who make sharp-edged tools,
have learned their art from these rodent, or gnaww-
ing animals, and make their axes on the same
principle, putting a thin plate of steel between two
thick plates of iron, so that when the axe is used





Mousie and Her Hone. ° 1

n timber the iron wears away and leaves the
late of steel to project and form a sharp-cutting
edge.
| | I read this in the late Rev. J. G. Wood’s
\“ Natural History,” which I hope you will know
all about one of these days. .

Sometimes, when I have been looking through
that book, and have found some new and strange
jthing about God’s creatures, I am so filled with
/admiration and awe at His divine power, that I cry
out, ‘‘ How wonderful are Thy works, O God! In
| wisdom hast Thou made them all.”

Now, you must not think my church mouse is
going to be stupid, dear children, because he tries
to teach you something. It is only little boys and
girls that do not like to be taught that are stupid,
and I am sure you will not skip the latter part of
this chapter just to get to the story.











CHAPTER II

The Funeral.

BHERE was only one hour’s intermission
(i, before it would be church-time again,
&| for nearly all the people were farmers,
. g} and had to come a long distance,
and must be at home in season to care for
their cattle; so they gathered around the red-hot
stove, and ate their lunch, and talked to each
other between the bites. Sylvia did not forget to
crumble some bread and cheese by the mouse hole,
and to leave a little bit in one corner, under the
bench, for the week days ; but there was no need
of that, for the sexton seldom swept, and there
were crumbs enough to keep a score of mice
through the week.

She was a very little girl, only seven years old,
and small for her age too. Her head scarcely
reached to the top of the old-fashioned pew, and
she looked odd enough, with a scarlet cloth cloak

12







The Funeral. 13

and hood, and a quilted bonnet of dark merino,
with a strip of white down around the front and

+ cape. Her mother had taken the fine feathers

from the geese, and sewed them upon muslin, and
the strip looked like a drift of snow rolled upon the
edge of Sylvia’s plain hood.

When her father could not take her to church,
and her mother and Frank were kept at home by

‘sickness, or some other providence of God, one of

the neighbours sometimes caught her up from the
roadside, as she was plodding her way along, and
tucked her down under the soft buffalo, and whirled
her over the ground in a trice. Everybody loved
little “‘Silvy,’—as the farmers called her—she was
such a dear, happy little girl! No pouting of her
red lips when mamma said, “Sylvia, I want you
to hem this napkin before you dress your doll;”
or, “Sylvia, there is a lesson to be learned; then
you may play.” No noisy, boisterous mirth while
her father read the papers, or talked to her mother
of ihe things he had done through the day; but a
gentle step about the room, and a willing obedience
to all her parents’ wishes, and such a bright, merry
face as a good heart must ever bring.

Frank was a great annoyance sometimes, and

‘used to tease his sister, until she would come very

near getting vexed; but he was careful to stop
before it reached so far. and would then make



14 The Church Mouse.

up in goodness to her for all his naughty
teasing.

You know “ boys will be boys,” and sisters must
not expect them to be quite as gentle as their little
lady friends; but I think a good, loving sister can
make a brother almost anything that she wishes
him to be.

She must not fail to set him an example of
patience and kindliness, and it will be sure to have
its influence over him.

“Are you not cold, little daughter?” asked the
minister, going up to Sylvia’s pew, and taking her
tiny hand in his.

The child did not hang aoe her head foolishly,
and make no reply; but she jumped from the seat,
and stood before her good friend, and answered
all his questions about herself, and her mother, and
father, and Frank; and then she wanted to tell
him about her mouse, but her timid little heart
failed her, and so she kept the secret.

At afternoon service out came the little thing
again, as if the singing could never go on without it ;
and it got to be so familiar with Sylvia, that it kept
its place on the cushion until the end of the service.

When the little girl reached home, she sat think-
ing, feeling lonesome without her companion, and
wondering what he would do all the week until
Sunday should come again.



The Funeral. 15

“And so you sat alone to-day?” asked her
mother. ‘“ Why didn’t you go into Mrs, Warner’s
pew?”

“No, not alone,” said Sylvia, half dreaming, and
almost believing that she had really been asleep all
day. ‘Such a cunning little thing?”

“So she is,” said Mrs. Stephens, thinking that
she meant the minister’s little girl.

But Sylvia didn’t tell her what it was, for Frank
sat by her, and she was sure there would be an end
to her mouse if he should know it.

Monday, as she went home from school, she
heard the old bell toll out its solemn strokes.
“Mr. Weed is dead !” said one of the boys, as the
school children halted in their steps, and gathered
together in little silent groups.

“He was a dear old man. I pity his grand-
daughter, poor little thing! Nobody will be like
Mr. Weed toward her. She wasn’t at school to-day.
I was afraid her grandfather was worse,” said
Harriet Morse, leading the way to the church,
which they had to pass, as they went from the

_¢ school-house to the village.

Most of the children stood looking at Peter, the
sexton, as he sat in the open belfry, causing the
dumb tongue to speak sad news to the villagers ;
but Sylvia pushed open the door—the keys were in
it, and Peter had been busy there—and went softly



———

16 The Church Mouse.

in to look for her little friend. There was a noise
over the pulpit, and, as Sylvia looked up, there sat
mousie on the sounding board, that was put to
make the minister’s voice resound through the
church. Twas a funny-looking thing, shaped like
a cabbage-leaf, and fastened to the pulpit by a
rough, iron rod, that was attached to it just where
the stem of a leaf would be. They used to have
these sounding boards in all the old churches.
They were of very light wood, and prevented the
voice from ascending to the ceiling, making it go
out more in a horizontal direction. In some
modern buildings, where it is difficult to hear the
speaker, I have seen them. ‘There is one in
Trinity Church, New York, and it is of a very
ornamental and pretty design.

“ What the little mouse can want up there, I do
not know,” thought Sylvia, “unless he wishes to
take a peep over the church.”

She shut the door softly, for fear the school
children should come in and frighten her little
friend, and then she sat down on a bench, near the
stove, though there wasn’t any fire, to watch him.

Tap, tap, tap, went the tiny feet over the board,
and down the rod came mousie, and over the
pulpit cushion. He nibbled a minute at a torn
corner where some straw was visible; then took
the edge of the ribbon mark that was in the Bible



The Funeral. 17

between his white teeth, and really made himself
quite at home in the Rev. Mr. Everley’s precincts.

“* He doesn’t behave so on Sundays,” said Sylvia
to herself. ‘One would think, to see him sing,
that he was as good as people. Ill just go and
put some supper for him, poor little thing!” And
she opened her lunch basket, and took out a piece
of biscuit that was left, and tiptoed to her pew, and
crumbled it under the seat.

Presently mousie got to thinking it was time to
- go home to his warm nest, and he hopped down
from the high place, and ran down the stairs, and
across the aisle, to Sylvia’s pew.

‘When he saw the little girl sitting there, he
stopped a second at the door; but as she did not
stir, he ventured in, and even paused to feast upon
the fresh biscuit before he went to bed.

Sylvia had got quite to loving him by this time,
_ and she forgot that night was coming on, and that
her father’s house was a long way off, and that her
mother would be very uneasy about her while she
lingered in the old church.

When the mouse had finished the supper which
she gave him and disappeared through the hole,
with a shy good-bye peep at her out of his bright
black eyes, the little girl started up to go to her
own supper.

But the scholars, meantime, were all safely
B



18 The Church Mouse.

housed under their home roofs, and Peter had
finished tolling the bell, and had locked the church
doors, and gone; and when Sylvia tried to turn the
knob, behold, she was fastened in, with no com-
panion near but her little brown mouse, that was
now curled up to sleep in his niche in the stone
wall !





CHAPTER III.

Sylvia in Trouble.





HO be sure Sylvia was frightened at
| first, when she found that she could
not get out of the church; and the

light that was at the windows was
growing dimmer and dimmer every minute.

She looked about her with such a despairing
little face, and was just ready to cry, when she
remembered her mother’s words when she was in
trouble: ‘ Crying will not help it, little daughter.
If it is pain that makes you sorrowful, try to bear
it bravely ; and if it is something naughty that you
have done, be careful not to do it again.” So she
wiped away two great drops that had welled up
into her blue eyes, and thought, “ What is to be
done about it?”

She was in pain, for it was very cold, and her
fingers and feet were tingling with the cold, and
she felt that she had not done exactly right te
19



20 The Church Mouse.

loiter on the way from school, but that she should
have gone directly home, lest her dear mother
should be troubled about her.

“The pain I must suffer for a punishment,” said
she to herself ; “‘and I think I shall never stop to
play on my way again, but run to give mother the
kiss that she is always looking for, and to get the
one she has ready for me.”

Then she went to her own pew, and made
up a nice bed with the cushions, bringing
some from the minister’s to help it out, and she
buttoned the pew door, to make it seem cosy
and secure.

It was getting dark very fast. The pulpit looked
like some strange figure in the gloom, and the wind
made a solemn sound outside the church, and
Sylvia thought of the great blazing wood fire at
home, and her father, and mother, and Frank, at
supper, and the nice little white bed that was
waiting for her in her pretty room.

I believe she would have cried at the thought of
all this but for her prayers. Kneeling down there
in the dimness, she told her Father in heaven all
that was in her little heart: how naughty she felt
herself for stopping there on her way from school,
and how afraid she would be if He were not there
to take care of her just as He would in her own
home, and how really she would try to be a good













SYLVIA PRAYING IN THE CHURCH.

21









Sylvia in Trouble. 23

little girl, and do all that her mother, and father,

and God wanted her to. And then she asked
Him to watch over her there in the lonely old
church, and if she should freeze to death, and not
wake up in the morning to see papa, and mamma,
and Frank, to take her up to His beautiful heaven,
where she wouldn’t ever be naughty, or cold, or
hungry, or sorry any more.

She was a sweet little picture, kneeling there in
the darkness; and God looked down lovingly upon
her, and sent a holy peace into her heart.

She had just cuddled upon the cushions, and
put some of them over her to keep the cold away,
when there came a clatter about the church door.

’ Mousie and she both started up, but the little
animal did not venture from his safe nest, as Sylvia
did from hers, to see what had come.

The first face that looked in at the door, you
may readily guess, was her mother’s. Sylvia saw
it by the light of Peter’s lantern, that shone full
upon it; and such hugging and kissing took place
you never knew, unless you have been at just
such a meeting of a mother and her newly-found
child,

Then there were her father and two or three of
the neighbours, who couldn’t rest till they knew
what had become of the little girl.

See how much trouble and anxiety one little,



24 The Church Mouse.

thoughtless act caused! Sylvia did not mean to
do wrong; but to be thoughtless leads us into as
great errors often, as though we sat down purposely
to plan a naughty deed.

Nurse did not remember to put the guard before
the stairs when baby was creeping in the hall, and
down went the poor little thing on her head, and
had months and months of suffering before she
was well again.

The man at the drawbridge did not think to
shut it, and along rushed the engine at full speed ;
and down into the deep waters fell the railway
carriages, crushing and drowning many a poor
victim

It is wicked not to think, dear children. Think-
ing is watching lest we do wrong, or lest some evil
come. A want of thoughtfulness is the same as
sleeping at our post, and then the enemy steals
suddenly upon us and captures us. ‘Watch and
pray,” is God’s sacred command to both you
and me.

“Were you afraid we would go to our rest, and
leave our little daughter outside somewhere in the
cold all night?” asked Mr. Stephens, holding
Sylvia close to his bosom, and wrapping the warm
shawl about her, as they went joyously home.

“ No, indeed!” said her mother. ‘ Father and
I have had no supper, and Frank is crying his eyes



Sylvia in Trouble. . 25

out in the chimney corner, for fear his little sister
will never come again to make it bright in his
home. ’Tisn’t like mothers and fathers, and
brothers and sisters, to eat and drink and sleep,
and one of the flock wandering in the cold, with
neither table nor bed!”

You remember how it is with the great Father,
dear children. How “ He leaveth the ninety and
nine sheep that are safe, and goeth after the one
that is astray in the wilderness.”

It is very sweet for us to think of this wondrous
love that yearns so after the sinner, and goes out
to seek and restore him. ;

Jesus was not content to rest in the glorious
upper world, until He had come down to this
darksome earth, to make a way for us also to
dwell with Him in heaven.







CHAPTER IV. B

Sylvia and Vinny.



pea TIEN all was quiet again in the church,

i) up ran mousie to see what had been
\ g done. He scarcely knew the pew
possess) where his hole was, and he peeped
Bete among the piled-up cushions where Sylvia
had made her bed, and did not like it at all that
they had been removed from before his door.

It was well for him that Peter did not notice the
hole next day when he went to the church to
make ready for Mr. Weed’s funeral!

If the sexton had been very sharp-sighted, my
little mousie’s door would have been sealed up,
and he would not have been at the funeral to hear
them sing “China” and “Dundee,” and to see
little Malvina Weed crying over her dear old grand-
father, because he could no more gather her to his

26



Sylvia and Vinny. 27

loving breast, and say, “ Bless her little precious
heart!”

And he would not have heard the minister say,
“Death has no sting when sin has been put away,
and a good man lies down to his last sleep. It
comes to us as a welcome deliverer, to set us
free from the prison house—this mortal body—
and to carry us from our dark dungeon to God’s
paradise of beauty and light. My brethren, let
us all so follow the precepts and example of
our divine Master that, when He sends His
messenger to take us from this life, we may hail
His coming with joy, and not look upon Him
with shrinking.”

A great deal happened in the old church that
any wise mouse would have been sorry to miss—
things that made the people feel that God’s Spirit
really dwells in the hearts of His children, and
prompts them to good and holy acts.

Why, what do you think occurred when little
Malvina Weed stood by her grandfather's coffin,
crying as if her little heart would break ?

Mrs. Stephens went to her, and put her arm
around her, and whispered in her ear, ‘‘ Don’t cry,
Vinny, darling; you shall go home with me, and
be my little girl, Sylvia is always asking me to
give her a little sister.”

After that there were two little scarlet cloaks,



28 The Church Mouse.

and two hoods, with snow-drifts on them, in the
pew in the corner; and Sylvia‘and Vinny shared
the secret about the mouse.

_ If Peter had shut our little friend’s door, it would
never have seen Miss King’s wedding, that set the
people wild all the country round. Such a pretty
bride! with her soft, white robes, and the gossamer
veil, wrapping her like a fleecy cloud, and the sweet
odour of orange blossoms perfuming the air as she
walked up the broad aisle! Then the bridesmaids,
in blue and pink, and the bride’s little sisters, like
two fairies, with their simple, white dresses, and
a garland of rose-buds crossed from the left shoul-
der to the belt, and the silver-headed father, who
tottered as he stepped forward to give his beautiful
daughter his blessing, and the gentle mother, who
couldn’t help two pearls dropping from her eyes,
as the minister pronounced the newly-married
“man and wife,” and blessed them “in the name
of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy
Ghost.”

Ah, me! it would Fons me to tell all that our
little mousie saw in the old church from day to day
and from Sunday to Sunday!

"Tisn’t everybody that would like to have me tell
either. People who sleep, instead of attending to
the worship, and disturb the devout by their snor-

ing, do not like to have their neighbours speak °

â„¢







SSS

SSeS





E MOUSE,

G TH

SYLVIA AND VINNY WATCHIN

29







Sylvia and Vinny. 3t

about it; and boys that chew paper and roll it into
little pellets, and throw them at pious men, wouldn’t
like that I should tell their names; and little girls
that make doll babies out of their pocket-hand-
kerchiefs, and whisper, and play all church-time,
and keep their mothers’ minds as well as their
own from their religious duties, would be ashamed
to see themselves in print; but I do not think
Sylvia or Vinny would be afraid to have me
say exactly what mousie saw them do every
Lord’s day.

If we do things that we are ashamed of before
a mouse, what should be our mortification when we
think, ‘“‘Thou God seest me!”

I hope all the boys and girls who read my
“Church Mouse,” know how solemn is the com-
mand, “Keep thy foot when thou goest to the
house of God.”

I want the children for whom I write to have
such a consciousness of God’s presence in His holy
temple, that nothing trifling shall ever enter their
minds, or if it does, that they will try to put it
immediately away. It is not easy to do this by
our own strength, for our hearts are corrupt and
ever inclining us to evil, and Satan stands ready at
our elbows to draw us into greater and greater sin;
but if we silently pray, when tempted to wrong
thoughts, ‘“‘O God, make me a clean heart,



32 The Church Mouse.

and renew a right spirit within me!” I am sure
Jesus will come and make His abode with us,
and drive out all impure thoughts and unholy
desires.

I have seen so much that is frivolous in the
temple of the living God, that it would be scarcely
a surprise to me if He should come, as He did of
old, with His scourge of small cords, and drive out
the sacrilegious people.

I would much rather give up all the churches to
the moles and to the bats than to have men, and
women, and children, with immortal souls, go to
them in a trifling, mocking spirit. Let us strive,
dear little people, to love and to reverence the
place where God’s honour dwelleth.

When we hear the church bells ring, let them be
to us hallowed music, calling us up to the very
“ gate of heaven ;” and as we enter into the sacred
place whence prayer and thanksgiving ascend, let
us so join in the devout worship of God’s people
that we may, by-and-by, be called by sweeter signals
to an eternal worship. ;

Mousie had his home down-in the darkness,
under the old church; but he loved to go into
the light of the sanctuary, and to hear-the voice of
heavenly melody.

And we dwell amid the shadows of this lower
world, dear children; but when the notes of a



Syluta and Vinny. 33.

higher praise’ strike upon our ear, shall we not
hasten from our darksome habitation, to the light
and glory which cometh from above, with at
least as great alacrity as did my little CHurcH
Mouse?









THE POTATO MAN VERY ILL.—/#. 40.





THE

~ YOUNG POTATO-ROASTERS.



SIN the neighbourhood of Hampstead
lived, some years ago, a market-gar
dener of the name of Roger Duncan.

He was, as his name implies, a
Scotchman by birth, but had come to England
as gardener in a gentleman’s family near London.

In the course of a year or two he became attached
to a respectable young woman who was housemaid
in the same family, and having both of them saved
something, they married, and ventured to take
a small cottage, and rent a piece of ground for
vegetables which he intended to cultivate for
Covent Garden market.

All went on well. Roger was a hard-working,
industrious man, and was soon well known to

35





36 The Young Potato-Roasters.

his customers, who were sure to return week after
week to one who always served them honestly and
reasonably. His pleasant, cheerful wife used to
accompany him very often at first, sitting by his
side in the little market-cart, and looking in the
market as bright as any of the flowers there; and
that is no small praise, as any one knows who is in
the habit of paying that place a visit now and then,
and seeing it in its early hours, before the heat and
dust of the day have sullied its freshness.

But after their eldest boy was born, Mary Duncan
had to let her husband go alone to town. It
was very pleasant, however, to watch for his return
in the afternoon, and to sit near him, working at
her needle with her baby on her lap, whilst he
laboured in the garden during the summer evenings.

They were very happy, though somehow they
never seemed to grow at all rich; but they man-
aged to pay their way, and this was perhaps as much
as could be expected, considering that they had not
had much capital to begin with, and, being quite
strangers in that part, had no one but themselves
to depend upon.

A second boy was born in course of time, but the
vegetables seemed to be able to maintain the new
comer, and Roger helped his income by other
means also; so that, as the children grew older,
tne parents were able to send them to school for





The Young Potato-Roasters. 37

some hours every day. On Sundays no scholars
were more regularly seen in their places, in the
youngest class, than the two little brothers, Ken-
neth and Willie Duncan.

Thus things went on till the boys were about ten
and eleven years old, when sudden sorrow broke
upon poor Mary Duncan in a form the most crush-
ing an affectionate wife can know.

Her husband had never been laid up with a
whole day’s illness since she had married him,
though he had sometimes complained of a very
severe pain about the region of the heart.

This had not, however, caused him much uneasi-
ness. He was aware his father had died of heart-
disease, but the poor rarely brood much on such
matters. Dreadful, therefore, was the unexpected
shock to Mary, when, one day, she saw the lifeless
form of her husband carried in. He had been
taken suddenly ill whilst helping to lift some heavy
hampers out of a cart, and had died even before
medical help could be fetched.

Such agony as Mary Duncan’s cannot be
depicted. We will pass it over in its first acute-
ness, and speak of the altered circumstances in
which the little family were now placed.

I am writing for children, and it is difficult for
them to understand how greatly the sorrow death
brings into a house is increased by absolute poverty.





38 The Young LPotato-Roasters.

Probably few who read this have ever experienced
it. I am not speaking of the mere absence of
plenty, when I use the term poverty. I mean by
it the want of the daily necessaries of life, and this
was what now stared Mary Duncan and her child-
ren in the face.

True, in this country, no one is allowed to starve;
but to some minds the idea of entire dependence
on public charity is almost as terrible as starvation,
and this was the case with the newly-made widow
of whom I am writing.

She had, however, two powerful weapons to call
to her aid—-viz., a firm faith in God’s care and love,
and a considerable amount of energy. She had
other comfort, too. Young as was her boy Ken-
neth, she felt she could almost lean on him already,
he was so thoughtful and affectionate, so anxious to
try and console her in her grief.

Willie, also, would steal up and lay his curly
head in her lap when he saw the tears flowing
down her face, stroking her hand, and, by his mute
caresses, almost cheering away her sorrow for the
moment. The neighbours sometimes, when speak-
ing to each other about her, pitied her for being
left with two boys to be provided for; but Mary
felt that with them she could never be really poor,
and thanked God that, though widowed, she was
not childless.











WILLIE LAYING HIS HEAD ON HIS MOTHER’S KNEE,










The Young Potato-Roasters. 41

It was necessary they should at once quit the
house, the rent of which could be no longer
afforded, Mary was an excellent ironer and clear-
starcher, and hoped to be able to get employment
in that way. She considered it better, therefore, to
. remain in her present neighbourhood. ‘There was
a very humble dwelling at the back of the town,
which she thought she might venture to take.

It consisted of three small rooms; but there was
a slip of garden behind it, which she knew the
boys would prize. It stood by itself, too, which
was a great advantage in her eyes; for Mary was
one who had been accustomed to keep a good
deal to herself, and to avoid the gossip that is apt
to go on amongst neighbours when they live so
close that they can run constantly into each other’s
houses. Indeed, she had got the character of
being rather proud, so closely had she and Roger
always kept their boys to themselves; but it was
not really pride. They had only been anxious to
guard them from hearing the bad language and
naughty ways of the young folks whose parents
were less careful of their children than themselves,

It was a sad day to Mary when they left their
old home.

She had parted with a good deal of her furniture,
as there had been more than the new cottage
required, and this had given her some ready



42 The Young FPotato-Roasters.

money. The garden stock and implements also
sold pretty well, so that she found they would be
able to settle themselves in their new home, and
buy irons and an ironing board, and other things
requisite for her intended employment, and yet
have something left in hand for time of need.

Still, as we were saying, it was a sad thing to bid
good-bye to the old place.

She walked round the garden with her lads, and
looked for the last time on the fruit-trees that
Roger had kept so carefully pruned: another hand
would be busy at them in future.

Then they went into the little tool-house, where
all the tools were hung up neatly for the next
owner. She had retained her spade; the rest no
longer belonged to them now. Mary felt she
should give way altogether if she cast another
glance at them, so she hurried out and closed the
door.

Kenneth drew her hand into his tenderly: he
saw the struggle, and said,

‘Mother, we shall always have father’s spade to
look at, so it is not saying good-bye to quite
everything.”

There was yet one more visit to pay, and that
was to Jerry, the old pony, who had so long
carried Roger backwards and forwards to market
in the cart.



The Young Potato-Roasters. 43

The boys felt parting with him more than any
thing. Many a pleasant ride had they had on his
back in an evening on Hampstead Heath.

On Saturday afternoons, when there was no
school, they used to go and meet their father, and
coax him to let them take it in turns to drive
home. But the best fun of all had been when
they could persuade their mother to let them take
her a drive before Jerry was unharnessed from the
cart.

They. were rather young charioteers, but there
was no fear that the good steady old pony would
be up to any pranks.

He had but one naughty trick, and that was
very harmless. Nothing would ever induce him to
pass the well-known tavern called “Jack Straw’s
Castle,” which stood at the corner of the Heath,
without standing stock-still for a few minutes,
turning his head towards the stables, and pricking
up his ears.

The cause of this is easily explained.

Jerry had lived in those stables for some years.
Roger had bought him cheaply from the landlord
because he was no longer youthful enough for his
purposes. Although he had always been a good
servant to his new master, Jerry had never lost his
interest in his old abode, and he showed it in the.
manner we have described. When he had had



44 The Young fotato-Roasters.

his moment or two of recognition, off he
would trot again, nimbly and good-humouredly
enough.

But he was sold now! He had performed his
last service for them that day by carrying the cart
backwards and forwards full of furniture for the
new cottage. Kenneth had rubbed him down and
cleaned the harness, and there he stood ready for
his new owner, who was coming for him almost
immediately.

Kenneth stroked his nose sorrowfully. Willie
clasped his arms round his neck and hid his face
amongst the long rough hair of his mane, and fairly
sobbed aloud.

Jerry little understood what was going on, but
munched away at his hay with a quiet indifference,
which perhaps would not have been so great if he
had known how probabilities were against his falling
into such kind hands again.

Once more Mary hurried away; and_ before
another hour was over they all walked to the
humble quarters awaiting them.

Trouble is soon forgotten by children, and in a
few days Kenneth and Willie were very happy and
busy in the little bit of garden behind the cottage,
which, as it was to be all their own, possessed a
charm to them that not even their father’s larger
one had had.



The Young Potato-Roasters. 45

But the real struggle of life was now to commence
in earnest for their mother.

She succeeded before long in getting regular
employment as a ciear-starcher, but it was scarcely
sufficient for a maintenance.

Kenneth got engaged as errand-boy to one of
the shops for several hours every day. He did not
get very well paid. The chief help was, that he
had a good dinner given him constantly.

As for Willie, all he could do was to run on his
mother’s messages, and to help her in every way
possible.

Things began to look very gloomy as the winter
came on, ‘Mary Duncan had constantly to draw
upon her little money stock, which was melting
away, and never replenished. Thoughts of the
Union even sometimes rose before her, though she
always turned from it in dread, and a prayer to
God that He would enable her to provide for
herself. Kenneth saw with anxiety that care was
weighing down his mother’s health and spirits.
Many a talk he and Willie had together about
what they could do to help her, but it generally
ended in regret that they could think of nothing.

“Our clothes must cost her so much, Kenneth,”
said Willie. ‘I watched her to-day patching your
coat, and she said it must go on a long time yet,
for she could not afford a new one.”



46 The Young Potato-Roasters,

“T don’t care about a new coat, but I wish I
could get some money for her somehow,” said
Kenneth; “but then it is only of an evening I
have any spare time.” It was getting late as the
boys talked thus. Willie had gone to meet
Kenneth on his return from the shop.

They were passing into the main street of the
little town of Hampstead. An old man was
accustomed to stand at the corner every night
selling hot roast potatoes to the passers-by, who
were usually pretty numerous here, as it was the
great thoroughfare to and from London.

As they approached him they observed that he
seemed very ill. He was not attending to the sale
of his potatoes, but was’ sitting down on an old
chair he used to bring with him, and was groaning
as if in pain.

Kenneth ran up to him.

“Ts anything the matter, Mr. Rowland?” said
he; “can I help you?”

The old man was not unknown to the boys, who
had sometimes assisted him to carry his tin roaster,
or his bag of potatoes, when they had met him
going to his corner. In return he had often given
them a smoking-hot potato,—no small luxury to
lads who knew what it was to feel very hungry
towards the evening most days.

“J’m in sore pain,” replied Rowland, in answer



The Young Potato-Roasters. 47










"to Kenneth’s question. ‘Will you have the
‘charity, one of you, to help me home to my poor
“wife, and the other to stop by my stand and sell
‘the potatoes that are now roasting, or else they ‘Il.
be wasted ?”

It was quickly settled that Willie should go home
ith Rowland, whilst Kenneth, as the elder, should
emain in charge of the potatoes.

It was with some difficulty the old man got
ome with Willie’s help. He was really extremely
ill, and his wife begged the boy to go for a doctor.
On his way back to Kenneth he ran to tell his
mother of what had taken place, that she might
mot be alarmed at their absence. She at once put
on her bonnet, and went-to Rowland’s cottage to
see if she could give any assistance, telling Willie
that he and Kenneth must take good care of
Rowland’s things, and bring them back to his
house.

In the meantime Kenneth sold several potatoes.

'—a penny for large ones, and a halfpenny for
-small, They asked after Rowland, for it was a
“most unusual sight to see him absent from his
post.
» Kenneth wrapped up the coppers in a piece of
' paper, and put them into a little box he found.



48 The Young Potato-Roasters.

The charcoal fire was nearly burnt out, and all the
potatoes were sold except two. Willie looked wist-
fully at them, as Kenneth put them away to take
back.

“Don’t you think Mr. Rowland would have
given us those, Kenneth, for helping him ?”

“Yes, I am almost sure he would,” replied
Kenneth.

“Then why not have them? I’m very hungry.”

“So am I,” said Kenneth; “but still I don’t
think we ought to take the potatoes. You know
they are not ours, Willie, so we have no right to
them.”

Poor Willie assented, rather reluctantly it must
be owned, and, gathering the things together, they
set off, carrying them between them. When they
reached Rowland’s cottage they found he was very
ill. Their mother sent the boys home to tea, after
they had given up the things, and said she would
follow them in an hour or so. Poor Mr. Rowland
got no better that night, or the next day. He had
an attack of internal inflammation, which grew
more and more serious. Mary Duncan helped to
nurse him, and her boys often looked in.

He was ill only a week, and then he died. Every
one seemed to know of his illness. He had been
seen sitting at the corner of the street for so long
that he was immediately missed.



The Young Potato-Roasters. 49

He did not die very poor.

His trade seemed to have been a thriving one,
for his widow found herself left with quite enough
to keep her in comfort the rest of her days, which
would not probably be many.

To the astonishment and delight of Kenneth
and Willie, she made them a present of her late
husband’s potato-roaster, together with the little
stock of charcoal he had bought as fuel, and a bag
of potatoes: in fact, everything that Rowland had
himself used.

In reply to the boys’ warm thanks, she said,

“’Twas my old man himself told me to give you
them the night afore he died. ‘Sally,’ said he,
‘give them young lads my roaster and stand, and
what’s left of the charcoal and potatoes. Tell
them if they like to take my place at the corner
they’ll perhaps keep the old customers, and make
a smart thing for themselves: they are kind-hearted
lads, and helped me when I was bad that night.’
Then I told my old man,” continued Sally, “that
you were honest lads, too, for you had brought
home all the coppers, and even the potatoes that
were not sold. So now, boys,” she added, “take
your roaster, and I hope ye may have good success
with it.”

As Kenneth and Willie walked home with their
treasures they felt almost as though they had

D



50 The Young Potato-Roasters.

suddenly become possessed of a great capital
which was to set them up for life.

Their mother did not discourage their anxiety to
make use of the present they had had, though she
rather doubted the plan succeeding. She thought ©
that as it would not interfere with Kenneth’s duties
at the shop, it might be useful to the characters of .
the boys to try and earn something for themselves.

They were both healthy and strong, accustomed
to exposure to all sorts of weather ; and Kenneth
was so perfectly steady, that she did not fear trust-
ing him and Willie out in the evening, particularly
as they would be at no great distance from home.

They were in a great hurry to begin, being afraid
lest any one should come and usurp the corner,
which they looked upon as their own by right of
lecacy from Mr. Rowland. Very proud and con-
sequential they felt when they first lighted their
charcoal fire, and still more so when the first
customer appeared in the shape of a hungry, half-
starved looking boy, a little older than themselves,
who had just begged a penny from a gentleman.

He eagerly clutched the large potato Willie held
out to him, and offered his penny in return.

“Let us give it him,” whispered both brothers to
each other ; “he looks starved.”

“We do not want your penny,” said Kenneth ;
“and here is another potato for you.”



The Young Potato-Roasters. 51

The astonished boy thanked them uncouthly
enough, but with a look of delighted gratitude, as
he pocketed his penny for future use.

There were two spectators to this little scene,
though the lads were at the moment unconscious
of it, One was a man who was standing on the
steps of a chemist’s shop close by, and who said to.
them with a coarse laugh,

“Tf that’s the way you intend to do business,
boys, you will soon have to shut up shop. What
a pair of young simpletons you must be!”

The second looker-on was the gentleman who
had given the boy the penny. He was waiting for
an omnibus to take him to London, and, like the
man on the steps, had seen the transaction by the
light of a bright gas lamp close by.

He heard the remark, and, stepping nearer to
the young potato-roasters, said,

“T think our friend there is mistaken in suppos-
ing you will not prosper because you refused to
take the penny of a boy poorer than yourselves.
He has forgotten that there is a text in the Bible
which says: ‘He that hath pity upon the poor
lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath
given will He pay him again.’ Do you find you sell
many potatoes ?” he asked kindly.

“This is our first evening, sir,” replied Kenneth:
“we have not sold one yet.”



52 The Young Potato-Roasters.

“Then you are only just beginning business for
yourselves ? ”

“Yes, sir: we have had a present of the potato-
roaster, and we hope to be able to help mother by
Ege

“Well, my boys, you have begun well, depend
upon it. Here is a shilling for you to buy more
charcoal with.” So saying, he placed one in
Kenneth’s hand, and the omnibus coming up at
that moment, he jumped into it before the brothers
had recovered from their astonishment.

Several people bought potatoes of them soon
after, and when they went home they surprised
their mother by showing her the result of their
evening’s work.

Except in bad weather, they might always be
seen at their post from this time. Sometimes
they made more, sometimes less, but sufficient
regularly to encourage them to persevere, and to
make them feel they were of real service to their
mother.

As the corner at which they stood was very
draughty, she had given them a large oil-skin,
which used to be thrown over the market-cart on
wet mornings in former days.

This, by means of a little ingenuity and car-
pentering, Kenneth converted into a sort of screen,
which, on cold, windy nights they fixed behind



The Young Potato-Roasters. 53

them in such a way as not to interfere with
passengers, and yet to bea considerable shelter.

One evening there was an unusual number of
people passing to and fro, owing to a large sale |
that had been taking place at a house on the
Heath.

The boys found that they had less to do than
usual, and there was a great deal of confusion in
consequence of the numbers waiting for the omni-
buses for London.

So they began to prepare for returning home.
As Kenneth was about to take down the screen he
found something dark lying curled up at one end
of it, just within where he had been sitting. It
was soft and warm. On stooping to see what it
was, his surprise was great to find it was a little girl
of about five years old!

Kenneth lifted her up and placed her on his
knee. The bright light from the lamp above shone
upon her, showing a face of extreme beauty. Her -
clothes were of the poorest description—the little
hat she wore being almost brimless, and her thin
stuff frock hung in tatters upon her. She seemed
very cold, and nestled close to Kenneth with a
confidingness that made him place his arm round
her almost involuntarily.

He asked her where her friends were ; but could
only get for answer that they had run away from



54 The Young Potato-Roasters.

her, and she was very cold, so she had crept near
the fire in the street that peeped through the holes
in the tin.

“ Are you hungry?” asked Kenneth.

“Yes,” the child said, “very.” She had had
nothing to eat for a long time, and she was sleepy
and tired. Kenneth immediately gave her a
potato, which she devoured ravenously. He was
much perplexed, for she clung closer than ever to
him after he gave her this, and seemed to consider
herself, all at once, as his charge.

“What are we to do with her, Willie?” said he;
“she seems to have lost her parents.”

“ Let us take her to mother,” replied Willie.

“JT will go home with you,” said the child,
putting her little arm more closely round Kenneth’s
neck,

“But your friends will be looking for you,”
replied Kenneth, “and will not know where you
are gone.” ~ :

“They don’t love me,” said the child; “they
beat me very often, and they have gone away on
purpose, I know.”

Feeling as if the little thing was under his pro-
tection for the moment, Kenneth took her by the
hand and led her towards home; but she seemed
so utterly weary, and unable to keep up with him,
that he took her up in his arms and carried her.



a
!

My
i





‘“WHAT ARE WE TO DO WITH HER, WILLIE?”

55






The Young Potato-Roasters. 57

“Mother, look here!” exclaimed both boys, as
they entered; “see what we have brought home;”
and Kenneth tried gently to unclasp the little arms
that were clinging round his neck. ,

But this was no easy matter. The child seemed
well satisfied with the protector she had chosen for
herself, and to dread passing into new hands. It
was not till she heard the tender, soothing tones of
Mary’s voice, that she suffered her to take her in
her lap, and warm the little feet that had no socks,
and only tattered shoes to keep them from the
cold.

She seemed still faint with hunger, and thankful
for the cup of bread and milk that was made for
her.

From the few questions Mary asked, it seemed
as though she had been purposely left in the crowd
by those to whom she belonged, and had overheard
their intention of doing so.

As her eyelids were drooping with want of sleep,
however, she would not excite her to talk, but pro-
ceeded to bathe her wearied limbs with warm water
previous to putting her to bed. She was shocked
to find severe bruises and pinches on her delicate
skin, evidently caused by ill-treatment. And her
heart swelled with indignation, as she laid her in
her own bed, to think that her friends could have
had the barbarity to forsake her, if indeed



58 The Young Potato-Roasters.

such were the case, of which there seemed little
doubt. On examination of her clothes she found
they were not only mere rags, but so few of them,
that they were quite insufficient to keep her warm.
Her motherly heart could not rest till she had
searched amongst her own stores for such articles
as she might spare to cut up for her. Night had
far advanced before her work of love was com-
pleted; but at léngth a little suit of garments
lay ready, made complete by a pair of warm
socks and shoes outgrown by Willie when a little
child.

The next morning their young visitor seemed
entirely refreshed, and ready enough to tell all she
knew about herself as far as she could. She was
in evident dread of her present retreat being dis-
covered, though she persisted in asserting she had
been lost on purpose.

She said she had lived for a long, long time with
cruel people in London, who called her Polly, and
made her stand and beg of ladies and gentlemen in
the street. Sometimes they went with her, and
sometimes they made her stand alone, though they
always watched her at a distance. She often gota
great many pence, which she took to mammy, she
said.

‘“‘T suppose mammy is your mother,” said Mary,

But the child would not allow this, though she



The Young Potato-Roasters. 59

said mammy declared she was, and she was told
always to call the man daddy.

“But then, who do you think are your real
father and mother?” asked Mary.

She did not seem to understand the question
exactly, so Mary tried to find if she could remem-
ber any former home, or whether she had ever
been called by any other name.

She said she was sure it once had been Lucy,
and that she could recollect a lady kissing her, and
a gentleman who used to play with her on his
knee. She spoke, too, of green fields and flowers ;
but whether all this was a dream of the child’s
imagination, or really recollections of infancy, it
was difficult to say. Mary inclined to the latter
opinion, for there was an air of refinement about
her which bespoke a different birth to that of such
people as she had lately come from. Another cir-
cumstance also led her to this supposition. On
taking her, after breakfast, to wash and brush her
hair, she found it a different colour underneath, its
natural hue being apparently a bright golden one,
whereas it had been dyed to a raven black. The
little one said that mammy used to wash it with
black stuff sometimes.

Mary Duncan was much puzzled how to act.
One thing, however, was certain; the child had
been thrown upon their protection for the present,



60 The Young Potato-Roasters.

and she made Kenneth happy before he left home
by promising she would keep her for a time, at all
events. -

Lucy, as they called her, was a most engaging
little creature. It was painfully evident she had
been ill-used, for it was some time before she lost
the-habit of raising her hand to ward off a blow
when any one came near her suddenly. By
degrees, however, the timidity wore away. Even
the short space of one week did much towards
making her a merrier, happier child. To Kenneth
she clung with an affection that probably arose
from his kindness being the first she had experi-
enced on the night she was found. All she could
tell about that circumstance was, that mammy and
daddy had said they didn’t know what to do with
her, and that they must lose her in a crowd; and
that they had walked a long way, and tired her very
much on that evening. Mammy had let go of her
hand, and when she looked for her she was gone,
and daddy too; so she saw the charcoal fire, and
crept into the warm corner where Kenneth dis-
covered her. The boys entreated their mother to
keep little Lucy altogether, and Mary’s own heart
longed to do so, but she dreaded taking another
mouth to feed in their circumstances.

She thought, also, that as there seemed a degree
of mystery about her history, it was her duty to make



~,

‘The Young Potato-Roasters. 62

it known to those who could judge better of the
circumstances than herself, and whether any means
could be taken to restore her to her real parents if
her suspicions of her having been stolen were correct.

Accordingly she went to her clergyman, who
made the case known to the magistrate.

The police were set to work, and every effort
used to ascertain where the little girl had come
from, and to whom she rightfully belonged, but in
vain. No clue could be obtained which would
lead to the discovery of the wicked people who had
abandoned the helpless infant to her fate.

They seemed to have been trampers who never
remained more than a few days in one lodging, and
had perhaps left the country.

If Lucy had been stolen, it must have been for
the sake of softening people’s hearts to give money
to her infantine beauty and helplessness ; and from
the child’s own artless account the scheme had
answered well. No more could be done, and en
offer was made to Mary to place Lucy on the care
of the parish. But she had by this time nestled
herself too closely into the hearts of the family for
them to give her up.

Kenneth declared he would work early and late
to prevent her being any expense to his mother,
who, for her part, was content to believe that He
who had brought the friendless little one to her



x

62 The Young Potato-Roasters.

care would give her the means of supporting her.
So Lucy remained with the Duncans, and was
called by their name. Had she been indeed
Mary’s child, and the sister of her boys, she could
not have found greater love and kindness.

It seemed to them all as though everything
began to look bright from the evening when she
first was attracted by the bright fire peeping
through the openings of the potato-roaster.

Her simple story became known to many benevo-
lent people, who, in consequence, became interested
in the humble friends who had adopted her.

When the black dye had all been extracted, so
that the rich curls of her golden hair came forth in
their natural beauty, and kind treatment and proper
food had taken away her half-starved appearance,
she was more lovely than ever.

Kenneth and Willie’s pride in their sister, as
they always called her, was so great that Mary
Duncan had to watch lest they should spoil her,
for the little one was not slow in learning her
power over them.

As the spring came on, the boys used to take
her to search for violets and primroses in the
haunts well known to the Hampstead children.
These they tied up, and Lucy used to offer them
for sale on the Heath, always accompanied by
Willie, and sometimes by Kenneth.



The Young Potato-Roasters. 63

It was surprising how many penny bunches she
sold. In the summer, ladies supplicd her with
bouquets from their gardens, for the same purpose.
“Tucy, the little flower-girl,” soon became well
known; and so far from Mary feeling her a
burden, she often said she really helped to support
them.

And now, probably, my young readers are fully
expecting that I am going to tell them how, in
course of time, the real parents of little Lucy were
discovered, and she was found to be a rich heiress ;
how Mary Duncan and her children were rewarded
for their kindness; and how, when Lucy grew up
and became a great lady, she never forgot the
friends of her childhood.

We are quite aware all this would make a very
pretty ending to our story, but we must relate
things as they really were ; and the truth is, that
Lucy never did know any more of her own early
history than we have told, for nothing more ever
transpired! It must therefore be left in uncertainty
whether she was by birth a lady or a poor child.
Whether she was stolen by wicked people who
hoped to make money by her, and who forsook
her when she had served their purpose, or whether
they were her real parents who served her thus,
will never be known in this world.

Although she never knew to whom she belonged



64 The Young Potato-Roasters.

by birth, she found a tender parent in her adopted
mother, to whom she grew up the most dutiful and
affectionate of daughters. Although no earthly
riches were showered on Mary because she had
opened her house and heart to the forsaken child
whom God guided to her, she knew that she had
laid up that treasure of which the Bible tells us,
for herself in heaven.

Kenneth and Willie, too, had good cause to
rejoice that they had not turned away from the
little girl who had crept to their charcoal fire for
warmth,



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Full Text



The Baldwin Library

University
re
TNLD rorida


THE CHURCH MOUSE
ee aN
=



SYLVIA STEPHENS AND THE CHURCH MOUSE,


THE CHURCH MOUSE

BY

Mrs. F. J. BURGE SMITH
AND

THE YOUNG POTATO-ROASTERS

BY THE AUTHOR OF “DICK AND HIS DONKEY,”
sO tartare)

Cara D>

LONDON
S. W. PARTRIDGE & CO.
8 & 9 PATERNOSTER ROW




Ricnarp Cray & Sons, Limitrp,
BREAD STREET HILL, E.C.; AND
BUNGAY, SUFFOLK.


:
:
;

fa
(ONTENTS.



THE CHURCH MOUSE.

CHAPTER

I

Il.

Ill.

IV.

MOUSIE AND HER HOME,
THE FUNERAL,
SYLVIA IN TROUBLE,

SYLVIA AND VINNY,

teers: YOUNG POTATO-ROASTERS.

Page 35.

Ss EEE

PAGE:

12
19
26:


THE CHURCH MOUSE:

<
+

CHAPTER I.

Mousie and her Home.

"OQ wonder little Sylvia Stephens kept as
still as she could, holding her very
breath, as she looked over the top of

2 Ba} her book and saw a tiny brown mouse
mer ned upon the cushion of the pew, and seeming
to listen to the music.

She was almost glad her brother Frank had not
been able to walk the long distance that morning,
for she was sure he would make a great flutter if
he were there, and frighten the new comer away;
and it was such a strange, funny thing to have a
mouse at church!



7


8 The Church Mouse.

It was an old-fashioned place, and an old-
fashioned time, and up in the choir, instead of an
organ, with its heavy volume of sound, there was
Mr, Grant, with his bass-viol, and a double row of
singers, besides the regular alto, and tenor, and
soprano.

You would look up with surprise if Mr. Grant —
should come back from the “long ago,” and stand in
your church, drawing the bow across the strings of
his singular instrument.

Perhaps you would not call it nice music at all ;
but the good people in the quaint village where
Sylvia Stephens lived thought it “elegant,” and as
for Sylvia herself, she would have had it Sunday
all the week round, if only she could stand and
listen to the old church choir.

It brought the mouse out of its hiding-place,
too. Or, may be it was the little girl’s sweet voice,
for it had been swelling out the glorious notes of
the Old Hundredth to the words—

“ With one consent, let all-the earth
To God their cheerful voices raise.”

Whatever it may have been—whether the tones
of the bass-viol, or the voice of the gentle child—
there sat the little, sleek creature, its coat as glossy
as though it had been brushed for the occasion,
and its black, bead-like eyes shining brightly as it
pricked up its ears to listen.
EE, Oe ee



Mousie and Her Home. 9

There was a rude boy in the gallery, who sat
eating peanuts, and dropping the shells down upon
the heads of the people, and pretending to gaze on
his hymn-book, and be very devout if anybody
looked up at him. He might have learned a lesson
from the little brown mouse, that sat so quietly upon
the cushion during the singing.

When the hymn was finished, and there was the
bustle of sitting down, mousie ran softly along the
bench, and disappeared behind the cushion; but
when the people sang again, he crept forth and
took his old place, to Sylvia’s great delight.

After church, as the congregation were getting
ready to leave, Sylvia raised up the cushion a little,
and there was a small hole behind it, in one corner,
but she could see nothing further. If she could
have followed the mouse, he would have led her
through a narrow passage, and along a beam to a
snug niche in the stone foundation of the building,
where he had heaped together old papers, and bits
of dried grass, and made a warm nest for his winter
quarters.

I don’t know whether you have ever thought
how wonderful is God’s care of these little creatures,
and how wisely He has adapted all things in nature;
but the more you study the little things that God
has made, the more you will see His majesty and
goodness.
* â„¢ tree AOE
,

Io The Church Mouse.

Men are only called grea¢ when they do some
great thing ; but it is the little things that show the
sublimity of our Creator’s power.

Wouldn’t you think, when you hear the gnawing,
gnawing, all night long at the hard wood, that the
friction would wear off the teeth of these little
creatures ?

Ishould. But see what a wise God has done
for them! He has made the roots of the incisor
teeth—these are the front teeth, or cutters—go
down deeply into the jawbone, where they are
nourished by a pulpy substance of which the teeth
are formed, and this adds to the teeth below what
is wasted above, and pushes them up as fast as
they are needed. ‘Then, in order that they may be
kept sharp and chisel-like, the enamel which covers
the front face of these incisors is harder than that
upon the remaining surface, while the dentine,
which makes up the inside, or solid mass of each
tooth, is also harder in front than behind, and
when the mouse is gnawing, the softer enamel and
dentine are worn away much faster than the hard,
and this keeps the chisel sharp.

_ Cutlers, or those who make sharp-edged tools,
have learned their art from these rodent, or gnaww-
ing animals, and make their axes on the same
principle, putting a thin plate of steel between two
thick plates of iron, so that when the axe is used


Mousie and Her Hone. ° 1

n timber the iron wears away and leaves the
late of steel to project and form a sharp-cutting
edge.
| | I read this in the late Rev. J. G. Wood’s
\“ Natural History,” which I hope you will know
all about one of these days. .

Sometimes, when I have been looking through
that book, and have found some new and strange
jthing about God’s creatures, I am so filled with
/admiration and awe at His divine power, that I cry
out, ‘‘ How wonderful are Thy works, O God! In
| wisdom hast Thou made them all.”

Now, you must not think my church mouse is
going to be stupid, dear children, because he tries
to teach you something. It is only little boys and
girls that do not like to be taught that are stupid,
and I am sure you will not skip the latter part of
this chapter just to get to the story.








CHAPTER II

The Funeral.

BHERE was only one hour’s intermission
(i, before it would be church-time again,
&| for nearly all the people were farmers,
. g} and had to come a long distance,
and must be at home in season to care for
their cattle; so they gathered around the red-hot
stove, and ate their lunch, and talked to each
other between the bites. Sylvia did not forget to
crumble some bread and cheese by the mouse hole,
and to leave a little bit in one corner, under the
bench, for the week days ; but there was no need
of that, for the sexton seldom swept, and there
were crumbs enough to keep a score of mice
through the week.

She was a very little girl, only seven years old,
and small for her age too. Her head scarcely
reached to the top of the old-fashioned pew, and
she looked odd enough, with a scarlet cloth cloak

12




The Funeral. 13

and hood, and a quilted bonnet of dark merino,
with a strip of white down around the front and

+ cape. Her mother had taken the fine feathers

from the geese, and sewed them upon muslin, and
the strip looked like a drift of snow rolled upon the
edge of Sylvia’s plain hood.

When her father could not take her to church,
and her mother and Frank were kept at home by

‘sickness, or some other providence of God, one of

the neighbours sometimes caught her up from the
roadside, as she was plodding her way along, and
tucked her down under the soft buffalo, and whirled
her over the ground in a trice. Everybody loved
little “‘Silvy,’—as the farmers called her—she was
such a dear, happy little girl! No pouting of her
red lips when mamma said, “Sylvia, I want you
to hem this napkin before you dress your doll;”
or, “Sylvia, there is a lesson to be learned; then
you may play.” No noisy, boisterous mirth while
her father read the papers, or talked to her mother
of ihe things he had done through the day; but a
gentle step about the room, and a willing obedience
to all her parents’ wishes, and such a bright, merry
face as a good heart must ever bring.

Frank was a great annoyance sometimes, and

‘used to tease his sister, until she would come very

near getting vexed; but he was careful to stop
before it reached so far. and would then make
14 The Church Mouse.

up in goodness to her for all his naughty
teasing.

You know “ boys will be boys,” and sisters must
not expect them to be quite as gentle as their little
lady friends; but I think a good, loving sister can
make a brother almost anything that she wishes
him to be.

She must not fail to set him an example of
patience and kindliness, and it will be sure to have
its influence over him.

“Are you not cold, little daughter?” asked the
minister, going up to Sylvia’s pew, and taking her
tiny hand in his.

The child did not hang aoe her head foolishly,
and make no reply; but she jumped from the seat,
and stood before her good friend, and answered
all his questions about herself, and her mother, and
father, and Frank; and then she wanted to tell
him about her mouse, but her timid little heart
failed her, and so she kept the secret.

At afternoon service out came the little thing
again, as if the singing could never go on without it ;
and it got to be so familiar with Sylvia, that it kept
its place on the cushion until the end of the service.

When the little girl reached home, she sat think-
ing, feeling lonesome without her companion, and
wondering what he would do all the week until
Sunday should come again.
The Funeral. 15

“And so you sat alone to-day?” asked her
mother. ‘“ Why didn’t you go into Mrs, Warner’s
pew?”

“No, not alone,” said Sylvia, half dreaming, and
almost believing that she had really been asleep all
day. ‘Such a cunning little thing?”

“So she is,” said Mrs. Stephens, thinking that
she meant the minister’s little girl.

But Sylvia didn’t tell her what it was, for Frank
sat by her, and she was sure there would be an end
to her mouse if he should know it.

Monday, as she went home from school, she
heard the old bell toll out its solemn strokes.
“Mr. Weed is dead !” said one of the boys, as the
school children halted in their steps, and gathered
together in little silent groups.

“He was a dear old man. I pity his grand-
daughter, poor little thing! Nobody will be like
Mr. Weed toward her. She wasn’t at school to-day.
I was afraid her grandfather was worse,” said
Harriet Morse, leading the way to the church,
which they had to pass, as they went from the

_¢ school-house to the village.

Most of the children stood looking at Peter, the
sexton, as he sat in the open belfry, causing the
dumb tongue to speak sad news to the villagers ;
but Sylvia pushed open the door—the keys were in
it, and Peter had been busy there—and went softly
———

16 The Church Mouse.

in to look for her little friend. There was a noise
over the pulpit, and, as Sylvia looked up, there sat
mousie on the sounding board, that was put to
make the minister’s voice resound through the
church. Twas a funny-looking thing, shaped like
a cabbage-leaf, and fastened to the pulpit by a
rough, iron rod, that was attached to it just where
the stem of a leaf would be. They used to have
these sounding boards in all the old churches.
They were of very light wood, and prevented the
voice from ascending to the ceiling, making it go
out more in a horizontal direction. In some
modern buildings, where it is difficult to hear the
speaker, I have seen them. ‘There is one in
Trinity Church, New York, and it is of a very
ornamental and pretty design.

“ What the little mouse can want up there, I do
not know,” thought Sylvia, “unless he wishes to
take a peep over the church.”

She shut the door softly, for fear the school
children should come in and frighten her little
friend, and then she sat down on a bench, near the
stove, though there wasn’t any fire, to watch him.

Tap, tap, tap, went the tiny feet over the board,
and down the rod came mousie, and over the
pulpit cushion. He nibbled a minute at a torn
corner where some straw was visible; then took
the edge of the ribbon mark that was in the Bible
The Funeral. 17

between his white teeth, and really made himself
quite at home in the Rev. Mr. Everley’s precincts.

“* He doesn’t behave so on Sundays,” said Sylvia
to herself. ‘One would think, to see him sing,
that he was as good as people. Ill just go and
put some supper for him, poor little thing!” And
she opened her lunch basket, and took out a piece
of biscuit that was left, and tiptoed to her pew, and
crumbled it under the seat.

Presently mousie got to thinking it was time to
- go home to his warm nest, and he hopped down
from the high place, and ran down the stairs, and
across the aisle, to Sylvia’s pew.

‘When he saw the little girl sitting there, he
stopped a second at the door; but as she did not
stir, he ventured in, and even paused to feast upon
the fresh biscuit before he went to bed.

Sylvia had got quite to loving him by this time,
_ and she forgot that night was coming on, and that
her father’s house was a long way off, and that her
mother would be very uneasy about her while she
lingered in the old church.

When the mouse had finished the supper which
she gave him and disappeared through the hole,
with a shy good-bye peep at her out of his bright
black eyes, the little girl started up to go to her
own supper.

But the scholars, meantime, were all safely
B
18 The Church Mouse.

housed under their home roofs, and Peter had
finished tolling the bell, and had locked the church
doors, and gone; and when Sylvia tried to turn the
knob, behold, she was fastened in, with no com-
panion near but her little brown mouse, that was
now curled up to sleep in his niche in the stone
wall !


CHAPTER III.

Sylvia in Trouble.





HO be sure Sylvia was frightened at
| first, when she found that she could
not get out of the church; and the

light that was at the windows was
growing dimmer and dimmer every minute.

She looked about her with such a despairing
little face, and was just ready to cry, when she
remembered her mother’s words when she was in
trouble: ‘ Crying will not help it, little daughter.
If it is pain that makes you sorrowful, try to bear
it bravely ; and if it is something naughty that you
have done, be careful not to do it again.” So she
wiped away two great drops that had welled up
into her blue eyes, and thought, “ What is to be
done about it?”

She was in pain, for it was very cold, and her
fingers and feet were tingling with the cold, and
she felt that she had not done exactly right te
19
20 The Church Mouse.

loiter on the way from school, but that she should
have gone directly home, lest her dear mother
should be troubled about her.

“The pain I must suffer for a punishment,” said
she to herself ; “‘and I think I shall never stop to
play on my way again, but run to give mother the
kiss that she is always looking for, and to get the
one she has ready for me.”

Then she went to her own pew, and made
up a nice bed with the cushions, bringing
some from the minister’s to help it out, and she
buttoned the pew door, to make it seem cosy
and secure.

It was getting dark very fast. The pulpit looked
like some strange figure in the gloom, and the wind
made a solemn sound outside the church, and
Sylvia thought of the great blazing wood fire at
home, and her father, and mother, and Frank, at
supper, and the nice little white bed that was
waiting for her in her pretty room.

I believe she would have cried at the thought of
all this but for her prayers. Kneeling down there
in the dimness, she told her Father in heaven all
that was in her little heart: how naughty she felt
herself for stopping there on her way from school,
and how afraid she would be if He were not there
to take care of her just as He would in her own
home, and how really she would try to be a good










SYLVIA PRAYING IN THE CHURCH.

21



Sylvia in Trouble. 23

little girl, and do all that her mother, and father,

and God wanted her to. And then she asked
Him to watch over her there in the lonely old
church, and if she should freeze to death, and not
wake up in the morning to see papa, and mamma,
and Frank, to take her up to His beautiful heaven,
where she wouldn’t ever be naughty, or cold, or
hungry, or sorry any more.

She was a sweet little picture, kneeling there in
the darkness; and God looked down lovingly upon
her, and sent a holy peace into her heart.

She had just cuddled upon the cushions, and
put some of them over her to keep the cold away,
when there came a clatter about the church door.

’ Mousie and she both started up, but the little
animal did not venture from his safe nest, as Sylvia
did from hers, to see what had come.

The first face that looked in at the door, you
may readily guess, was her mother’s. Sylvia saw
it by the light of Peter’s lantern, that shone full
upon it; and such hugging and kissing took place
you never knew, unless you have been at just
such a meeting of a mother and her newly-found
child,

Then there were her father and two or three of
the neighbours, who couldn’t rest till they knew
what had become of the little girl.

See how much trouble and anxiety one little,
24 The Church Mouse.

thoughtless act caused! Sylvia did not mean to
do wrong; but to be thoughtless leads us into as
great errors often, as though we sat down purposely
to plan a naughty deed.

Nurse did not remember to put the guard before
the stairs when baby was creeping in the hall, and
down went the poor little thing on her head, and
had months and months of suffering before she
was well again.

The man at the drawbridge did not think to
shut it, and along rushed the engine at full speed ;
and down into the deep waters fell the railway
carriages, crushing and drowning many a poor
victim

It is wicked not to think, dear children. Think-
ing is watching lest we do wrong, or lest some evil
come. A want of thoughtfulness is the same as
sleeping at our post, and then the enemy steals
suddenly upon us and captures us. ‘Watch and
pray,” is God’s sacred command to both you
and me.

“Were you afraid we would go to our rest, and
leave our little daughter outside somewhere in the
cold all night?” asked Mr. Stephens, holding
Sylvia close to his bosom, and wrapping the warm
shawl about her, as they went joyously home.

“ No, indeed!” said her mother. ‘ Father and
I have had no supper, and Frank is crying his eyes
Sylvia in Trouble. . 25

out in the chimney corner, for fear his little sister
will never come again to make it bright in his
home. ’Tisn’t like mothers and fathers, and
brothers and sisters, to eat and drink and sleep,
and one of the flock wandering in the cold, with
neither table nor bed!”

You remember how it is with the great Father,
dear children. How “ He leaveth the ninety and
nine sheep that are safe, and goeth after the one
that is astray in the wilderness.”

It is very sweet for us to think of this wondrous
love that yearns so after the sinner, and goes out
to seek and restore him. ;

Jesus was not content to rest in the glorious
upper world, until He had come down to this
darksome earth, to make a way for us also to
dwell with Him in heaven.




CHAPTER IV. B

Sylvia and Vinny.



pea TIEN all was quiet again in the church,

i) up ran mousie to see what had been
\ g done. He scarcely knew the pew
possess) where his hole was, and he peeped
Bete among the piled-up cushions where Sylvia
had made her bed, and did not like it at all that
they had been removed from before his door.

It was well for him that Peter did not notice the
hole next day when he went to the church to
make ready for Mr. Weed’s funeral!

If the sexton had been very sharp-sighted, my
little mousie’s door would have been sealed up,
and he would not have been at the funeral to hear
them sing “China” and “Dundee,” and to see
little Malvina Weed crying over her dear old grand-
father, because he could no more gather her to his

26
Sylvia and Vinny. 27

loving breast, and say, “ Bless her little precious
heart!”

And he would not have heard the minister say,
“Death has no sting when sin has been put away,
and a good man lies down to his last sleep. It
comes to us as a welcome deliverer, to set us
free from the prison house—this mortal body—
and to carry us from our dark dungeon to God’s
paradise of beauty and light. My brethren, let
us all so follow the precepts and example of
our divine Master that, when He sends His
messenger to take us from this life, we may hail
His coming with joy, and not look upon Him
with shrinking.”

A great deal happened in the old church that
any wise mouse would have been sorry to miss—
things that made the people feel that God’s Spirit
really dwells in the hearts of His children, and
prompts them to good and holy acts.

Why, what do you think occurred when little
Malvina Weed stood by her grandfather's coffin,
crying as if her little heart would break ?

Mrs. Stephens went to her, and put her arm
around her, and whispered in her ear, ‘‘ Don’t cry,
Vinny, darling; you shall go home with me, and
be my little girl, Sylvia is always asking me to
give her a little sister.”

After that there were two little scarlet cloaks,
28 The Church Mouse.

and two hoods, with snow-drifts on them, in the
pew in the corner; and Sylvia‘and Vinny shared
the secret about the mouse.

_ If Peter had shut our little friend’s door, it would
never have seen Miss King’s wedding, that set the
people wild all the country round. Such a pretty
bride! with her soft, white robes, and the gossamer
veil, wrapping her like a fleecy cloud, and the sweet
odour of orange blossoms perfuming the air as she
walked up the broad aisle! Then the bridesmaids,
in blue and pink, and the bride’s little sisters, like
two fairies, with their simple, white dresses, and
a garland of rose-buds crossed from the left shoul-
der to the belt, and the silver-headed father, who
tottered as he stepped forward to give his beautiful
daughter his blessing, and the gentle mother, who
couldn’t help two pearls dropping from her eyes,
as the minister pronounced the newly-married
“man and wife,” and blessed them “in the name
of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy
Ghost.”

Ah, me! it would Fons me to tell all that our
little mousie saw in the old church from day to day
and from Sunday to Sunday!

"Tisn’t everybody that would like to have me tell
either. People who sleep, instead of attending to
the worship, and disturb the devout by their snor-

ing, do not like to have their neighbours speak °

â„¢




SSS

SSeS





E MOUSE,

G TH

SYLVIA AND VINNY WATCHIN

29

Sylvia and Vinny. 3t

about it; and boys that chew paper and roll it into
little pellets, and throw them at pious men, wouldn’t
like that I should tell their names; and little girls
that make doll babies out of their pocket-hand-
kerchiefs, and whisper, and play all church-time,
and keep their mothers’ minds as well as their
own from their religious duties, would be ashamed
to see themselves in print; but I do not think
Sylvia or Vinny would be afraid to have me
say exactly what mousie saw them do every
Lord’s day.

If we do things that we are ashamed of before
a mouse, what should be our mortification when we
think, ‘“‘Thou God seest me!”

I hope all the boys and girls who read my
“Church Mouse,” know how solemn is the com-
mand, “Keep thy foot when thou goest to the
house of God.”

I want the children for whom I write to have
such a consciousness of God’s presence in His holy
temple, that nothing trifling shall ever enter their
minds, or if it does, that they will try to put it
immediately away. It is not easy to do this by
our own strength, for our hearts are corrupt and
ever inclining us to evil, and Satan stands ready at
our elbows to draw us into greater and greater sin;
but if we silently pray, when tempted to wrong
thoughts, ‘“‘O God, make me a clean heart,
32 The Church Mouse.

and renew a right spirit within me!” I am sure
Jesus will come and make His abode with us,
and drive out all impure thoughts and unholy
desires.

I have seen so much that is frivolous in the
temple of the living God, that it would be scarcely
a surprise to me if He should come, as He did of
old, with His scourge of small cords, and drive out
the sacrilegious people.

I would much rather give up all the churches to
the moles and to the bats than to have men, and
women, and children, with immortal souls, go to
them in a trifling, mocking spirit. Let us strive,
dear little people, to love and to reverence the
place where God’s honour dwelleth.

When we hear the church bells ring, let them be
to us hallowed music, calling us up to the very
“ gate of heaven ;” and as we enter into the sacred
place whence prayer and thanksgiving ascend, let
us so join in the devout worship of God’s people
that we may, by-and-by, be called by sweeter signals
to an eternal worship. ;

Mousie had his home down-in the darkness,
under the old church; but he loved to go into
the light of the sanctuary, and to hear-the voice of
heavenly melody.

And we dwell amid the shadows of this lower
world, dear children; but when the notes of a
Syluta and Vinny. 33.

higher praise’ strike upon our ear, shall we not
hasten from our darksome habitation, to the light
and glory which cometh from above, with at
least as great alacrity as did my little CHurcH
Mouse?






THE POTATO MAN VERY ILL.—/#. 40.


THE

~ YOUNG POTATO-ROASTERS.



SIN the neighbourhood of Hampstead
lived, some years ago, a market-gar
dener of the name of Roger Duncan.

He was, as his name implies, a
Scotchman by birth, but had come to England
as gardener in a gentleman’s family near London.

In the course of a year or two he became attached
to a respectable young woman who was housemaid
in the same family, and having both of them saved
something, they married, and ventured to take
a small cottage, and rent a piece of ground for
vegetables which he intended to cultivate for
Covent Garden market.

All went on well. Roger was a hard-working,
industrious man, and was soon well known to

35


36 The Young Potato-Roasters.

his customers, who were sure to return week after
week to one who always served them honestly and
reasonably. His pleasant, cheerful wife used to
accompany him very often at first, sitting by his
side in the little market-cart, and looking in the
market as bright as any of the flowers there; and
that is no small praise, as any one knows who is in
the habit of paying that place a visit now and then,
and seeing it in its early hours, before the heat and
dust of the day have sullied its freshness.

But after their eldest boy was born, Mary Duncan
had to let her husband go alone to town. It
was very pleasant, however, to watch for his return
in the afternoon, and to sit near him, working at
her needle with her baby on her lap, whilst he
laboured in the garden during the summer evenings.

They were very happy, though somehow they
never seemed to grow at all rich; but they man-
aged to pay their way, and this was perhaps as much
as could be expected, considering that they had not
had much capital to begin with, and, being quite
strangers in that part, had no one but themselves
to depend upon.

A second boy was born in course of time, but the
vegetables seemed to be able to maintain the new
comer, and Roger helped his income by other
means also; so that, as the children grew older,
tne parents were able to send them to school for


The Young Potato-Roasters. 37

some hours every day. On Sundays no scholars
were more regularly seen in their places, in the
youngest class, than the two little brothers, Ken-
neth and Willie Duncan.

Thus things went on till the boys were about ten
and eleven years old, when sudden sorrow broke
upon poor Mary Duncan in a form the most crush-
ing an affectionate wife can know.

Her husband had never been laid up with a
whole day’s illness since she had married him,
though he had sometimes complained of a very
severe pain about the region of the heart.

This had not, however, caused him much uneasi-
ness. He was aware his father had died of heart-
disease, but the poor rarely brood much on such
matters. Dreadful, therefore, was the unexpected
shock to Mary, when, one day, she saw the lifeless
form of her husband carried in. He had been
taken suddenly ill whilst helping to lift some heavy
hampers out of a cart, and had died even before
medical help could be fetched.

Such agony as Mary Duncan’s cannot be
depicted. We will pass it over in its first acute-
ness, and speak of the altered circumstances in
which the little family were now placed.

I am writing for children, and it is difficult for
them to understand how greatly the sorrow death
brings into a house is increased by absolute poverty.


38 The Young LPotato-Roasters.

Probably few who read this have ever experienced
it. I am not speaking of the mere absence of
plenty, when I use the term poverty. I mean by
it the want of the daily necessaries of life, and this
was what now stared Mary Duncan and her child-
ren in the face.

True, in this country, no one is allowed to starve;
but to some minds the idea of entire dependence
on public charity is almost as terrible as starvation,
and this was the case with the newly-made widow
of whom I am writing.

She had, however, two powerful weapons to call
to her aid—-viz., a firm faith in God’s care and love,
and a considerable amount of energy. She had
other comfort, too. Young as was her boy Ken-
neth, she felt she could almost lean on him already,
he was so thoughtful and affectionate, so anxious to
try and console her in her grief.

Willie, also, would steal up and lay his curly
head in her lap when he saw the tears flowing
down her face, stroking her hand, and, by his mute
caresses, almost cheering away her sorrow for the
moment. The neighbours sometimes, when speak-
ing to each other about her, pitied her for being
left with two boys to be provided for; but Mary
felt that with them she could never be really poor,
and thanked God that, though widowed, she was
not childless.








WILLIE LAYING HIS HEAD ON HIS MOTHER’S KNEE,




The Young Potato-Roasters. 41

It was necessary they should at once quit the
house, the rent of which could be no longer
afforded, Mary was an excellent ironer and clear-
starcher, and hoped to be able to get employment
in that way. She considered it better, therefore, to
. remain in her present neighbourhood. ‘There was
a very humble dwelling at the back of the town,
which she thought she might venture to take.

It consisted of three small rooms; but there was
a slip of garden behind it, which she knew the
boys would prize. It stood by itself, too, which
was a great advantage in her eyes; for Mary was
one who had been accustomed to keep a good
deal to herself, and to avoid the gossip that is apt
to go on amongst neighbours when they live so
close that they can run constantly into each other’s
houses. Indeed, she had got the character of
being rather proud, so closely had she and Roger
always kept their boys to themselves; but it was
not really pride. They had only been anxious to
guard them from hearing the bad language and
naughty ways of the young folks whose parents
were less careful of their children than themselves,

It was a sad day to Mary when they left their
old home.

She had parted with a good deal of her furniture,
as there had been more than the new cottage
required, and this had given her some ready
42 The Young FPotato-Roasters.

money. The garden stock and implements also
sold pretty well, so that she found they would be
able to settle themselves in their new home, and
buy irons and an ironing board, and other things
requisite for her intended employment, and yet
have something left in hand for time of need.

Still, as we were saying, it was a sad thing to bid
good-bye to the old place.

She walked round the garden with her lads, and
looked for the last time on the fruit-trees that
Roger had kept so carefully pruned: another hand
would be busy at them in future.

Then they went into the little tool-house, where
all the tools were hung up neatly for the next
owner. She had retained her spade; the rest no
longer belonged to them now. Mary felt she
should give way altogether if she cast another
glance at them, so she hurried out and closed the
door.

Kenneth drew her hand into his tenderly: he
saw the struggle, and said,

‘Mother, we shall always have father’s spade to
look at, so it is not saying good-bye to quite
everything.”

There was yet one more visit to pay, and that
was to Jerry, the old pony, who had so long
carried Roger backwards and forwards to market
in the cart.
The Young Potato-Roasters. 43

The boys felt parting with him more than any
thing. Many a pleasant ride had they had on his
back in an evening on Hampstead Heath.

On Saturday afternoons, when there was no
school, they used to go and meet their father, and
coax him to let them take it in turns to drive
home. But the best fun of all had been when
they could persuade their mother to let them take
her a drive before Jerry was unharnessed from the
cart.

They. were rather young charioteers, but there
was no fear that the good steady old pony would
be up to any pranks.

He had but one naughty trick, and that was
very harmless. Nothing would ever induce him to
pass the well-known tavern called “Jack Straw’s
Castle,” which stood at the corner of the Heath,
without standing stock-still for a few minutes,
turning his head towards the stables, and pricking
up his ears.

The cause of this is easily explained.

Jerry had lived in those stables for some years.
Roger had bought him cheaply from the landlord
because he was no longer youthful enough for his
purposes. Although he had always been a good
servant to his new master, Jerry had never lost his
interest in his old abode, and he showed it in the.
manner we have described. When he had had
44 The Young fotato-Roasters.

his moment or two of recognition, off he
would trot again, nimbly and good-humouredly
enough.

But he was sold now! He had performed his
last service for them that day by carrying the cart
backwards and forwards full of furniture for the
new cottage. Kenneth had rubbed him down and
cleaned the harness, and there he stood ready for
his new owner, who was coming for him almost
immediately.

Kenneth stroked his nose sorrowfully. Willie
clasped his arms round his neck and hid his face
amongst the long rough hair of his mane, and fairly
sobbed aloud.

Jerry little understood what was going on, but
munched away at his hay with a quiet indifference,
which perhaps would not have been so great if he
had known how probabilities were against his falling
into such kind hands again.

Once more Mary hurried away; and_ before
another hour was over they all walked to the
humble quarters awaiting them.

Trouble is soon forgotten by children, and in a
few days Kenneth and Willie were very happy and
busy in the little bit of garden behind the cottage,
which, as it was to be all their own, possessed a
charm to them that not even their father’s larger
one had had.
The Young Potato-Roasters. 45

But the real struggle of life was now to commence
in earnest for their mother.

She succeeded before long in getting regular
employment as a ciear-starcher, but it was scarcely
sufficient for a maintenance.

Kenneth got engaged as errand-boy to one of
the shops for several hours every day. He did not
get very well paid. The chief help was, that he
had a good dinner given him constantly.

As for Willie, all he could do was to run on his
mother’s messages, and to help her in every way
possible.

Things began to look very gloomy as the winter
came on, ‘Mary Duncan had constantly to draw
upon her little money stock, which was melting
away, and never replenished. Thoughts of the
Union even sometimes rose before her, though she
always turned from it in dread, and a prayer to
God that He would enable her to provide for
herself. Kenneth saw with anxiety that care was
weighing down his mother’s health and spirits.
Many a talk he and Willie had together about
what they could do to help her, but it generally
ended in regret that they could think of nothing.

“Our clothes must cost her so much, Kenneth,”
said Willie. ‘I watched her to-day patching your
coat, and she said it must go on a long time yet,
for she could not afford a new one.”
46 The Young Potato-Roasters,

“T don’t care about a new coat, but I wish I
could get some money for her somehow,” said
Kenneth; “but then it is only of an evening I
have any spare time.” It was getting late as the
boys talked thus. Willie had gone to meet
Kenneth on his return from the shop.

They were passing into the main street of the
little town of Hampstead. An old man was
accustomed to stand at the corner every night
selling hot roast potatoes to the passers-by, who
were usually pretty numerous here, as it was the
great thoroughfare to and from London.

As they approached him they observed that he
seemed very ill. He was not attending to the sale
of his potatoes, but was’ sitting down on an old
chair he used to bring with him, and was groaning
as if in pain.

Kenneth ran up to him.

“Ts anything the matter, Mr. Rowland?” said
he; “can I help you?”

The old man was not unknown to the boys, who
had sometimes assisted him to carry his tin roaster,
or his bag of potatoes, when they had met him
going to his corner. In return he had often given
them a smoking-hot potato,—no small luxury to
lads who knew what it was to feel very hungry
towards the evening most days.

“J’m in sore pain,” replied Rowland, in answer
The Young Potato-Roasters. 47










"to Kenneth’s question. ‘Will you have the
‘charity, one of you, to help me home to my poor
“wife, and the other to stop by my stand and sell
‘the potatoes that are now roasting, or else they ‘Il.
be wasted ?”

It was quickly settled that Willie should go home
ith Rowland, whilst Kenneth, as the elder, should
emain in charge of the potatoes.

It was with some difficulty the old man got
ome with Willie’s help. He was really extremely
ill, and his wife begged the boy to go for a doctor.
On his way back to Kenneth he ran to tell his
mother of what had taken place, that she might
mot be alarmed at their absence. She at once put
on her bonnet, and went-to Rowland’s cottage to
see if she could give any assistance, telling Willie
that he and Kenneth must take good care of
Rowland’s things, and bring them back to his
house.

In the meantime Kenneth sold several potatoes.

'—a penny for large ones, and a halfpenny for
-small, They asked after Rowland, for it was a
“most unusual sight to see him absent from his
post.
» Kenneth wrapped up the coppers in a piece of
' paper, and put them into a little box he found.
48 The Young Potato-Roasters.

The charcoal fire was nearly burnt out, and all the
potatoes were sold except two. Willie looked wist-
fully at them, as Kenneth put them away to take
back.

“Don’t you think Mr. Rowland would have
given us those, Kenneth, for helping him ?”

“Yes, I am almost sure he would,” replied
Kenneth.

“Then why not have them? I’m very hungry.”

“So am I,” said Kenneth; “but still I don’t
think we ought to take the potatoes. You know
they are not ours, Willie, so we have no right to
them.”

Poor Willie assented, rather reluctantly it must
be owned, and, gathering the things together, they
set off, carrying them between them. When they
reached Rowland’s cottage they found he was very
ill. Their mother sent the boys home to tea, after
they had given up the things, and said she would
follow them in an hour or so. Poor Mr. Rowland
got no better that night, or the next day. He had
an attack of internal inflammation, which grew
more and more serious. Mary Duncan helped to
nurse him, and her boys often looked in.

He was ill only a week, and then he died. Every
one seemed to know of his illness. He had been
seen sitting at the corner of the street for so long
that he was immediately missed.
The Young Potato-Roasters. 49

He did not die very poor.

His trade seemed to have been a thriving one,
for his widow found herself left with quite enough
to keep her in comfort the rest of her days, which
would not probably be many.

To the astonishment and delight of Kenneth
and Willie, she made them a present of her late
husband’s potato-roaster, together with the little
stock of charcoal he had bought as fuel, and a bag
of potatoes: in fact, everything that Rowland had
himself used.

In reply to the boys’ warm thanks, she said,

“’Twas my old man himself told me to give you
them the night afore he died. ‘Sally,’ said he,
‘give them young lads my roaster and stand, and
what’s left of the charcoal and potatoes. Tell
them if they like to take my place at the corner
they’ll perhaps keep the old customers, and make
a smart thing for themselves: they are kind-hearted
lads, and helped me when I was bad that night.’
Then I told my old man,” continued Sally, “that
you were honest lads, too, for you had brought
home all the coppers, and even the potatoes that
were not sold. So now, boys,” she added, “take
your roaster, and I hope ye may have good success
with it.”

As Kenneth and Willie walked home with their
treasures they felt almost as though they had

D
50 The Young Potato-Roasters.

suddenly become possessed of a great capital
which was to set them up for life.

Their mother did not discourage their anxiety to
make use of the present they had had, though she
rather doubted the plan succeeding. She thought ©
that as it would not interfere with Kenneth’s duties
at the shop, it might be useful to the characters of .
the boys to try and earn something for themselves.

They were both healthy and strong, accustomed
to exposure to all sorts of weather ; and Kenneth
was so perfectly steady, that she did not fear trust-
ing him and Willie out in the evening, particularly
as they would be at no great distance from home.

They were in a great hurry to begin, being afraid
lest any one should come and usurp the corner,
which they looked upon as their own by right of
lecacy from Mr. Rowland. Very proud and con-
sequential they felt when they first lighted their
charcoal fire, and still more so when the first
customer appeared in the shape of a hungry, half-
starved looking boy, a little older than themselves,
who had just begged a penny from a gentleman.

He eagerly clutched the large potato Willie held
out to him, and offered his penny in return.

“Let us give it him,” whispered both brothers to
each other ; “he looks starved.”

“We do not want your penny,” said Kenneth ;
“and here is another potato for you.”
The Young Potato-Roasters. 51

The astonished boy thanked them uncouthly
enough, but with a look of delighted gratitude, as
he pocketed his penny for future use.

There were two spectators to this little scene,
though the lads were at the moment unconscious
of it, One was a man who was standing on the
steps of a chemist’s shop close by, and who said to.
them with a coarse laugh,

“Tf that’s the way you intend to do business,
boys, you will soon have to shut up shop. What
a pair of young simpletons you must be!”

The second looker-on was the gentleman who
had given the boy the penny. He was waiting for
an omnibus to take him to London, and, like the
man on the steps, had seen the transaction by the
light of a bright gas lamp close by.

He heard the remark, and, stepping nearer to
the young potato-roasters, said,

“T think our friend there is mistaken in suppos-
ing you will not prosper because you refused to
take the penny of a boy poorer than yourselves.
He has forgotten that there is a text in the Bible
which says: ‘He that hath pity upon the poor
lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath
given will He pay him again.’ Do you find you sell
many potatoes ?” he asked kindly.

“This is our first evening, sir,” replied Kenneth:
“we have not sold one yet.”
52 The Young Potato-Roasters.

“Then you are only just beginning business for
yourselves ? ”

“Yes, sir: we have had a present of the potato-
roaster, and we hope to be able to help mother by
Ege

“Well, my boys, you have begun well, depend
upon it. Here is a shilling for you to buy more
charcoal with.” So saying, he placed one in
Kenneth’s hand, and the omnibus coming up at
that moment, he jumped into it before the brothers
had recovered from their astonishment.

Several people bought potatoes of them soon
after, and when they went home they surprised
their mother by showing her the result of their
evening’s work.

Except in bad weather, they might always be
seen at their post from this time. Sometimes
they made more, sometimes less, but sufficient
regularly to encourage them to persevere, and to
make them feel they were of real service to their
mother.

As the corner at which they stood was very
draughty, she had given them a large oil-skin,
which used to be thrown over the market-cart on
wet mornings in former days.

This, by means of a little ingenuity and car-
pentering, Kenneth converted into a sort of screen,
which, on cold, windy nights they fixed behind
The Young Potato-Roasters. 53

them in such a way as not to interfere with
passengers, and yet to bea considerable shelter.

One evening there was an unusual number of
people passing to and fro, owing to a large sale |
that had been taking place at a house on the
Heath.

The boys found that they had less to do than
usual, and there was a great deal of confusion in
consequence of the numbers waiting for the omni-
buses for London.

So they began to prepare for returning home.
As Kenneth was about to take down the screen he
found something dark lying curled up at one end
of it, just within where he had been sitting. It
was soft and warm. On stooping to see what it
was, his surprise was great to find it was a little girl
of about five years old!

Kenneth lifted her up and placed her on his
knee. The bright light from the lamp above shone
upon her, showing a face of extreme beauty. Her -
clothes were of the poorest description—the little
hat she wore being almost brimless, and her thin
stuff frock hung in tatters upon her. She seemed
very cold, and nestled close to Kenneth with a
confidingness that made him place his arm round
her almost involuntarily.

He asked her where her friends were ; but could
only get for answer that they had run away from
54 The Young Potato-Roasters.

her, and she was very cold, so she had crept near
the fire in the street that peeped through the holes
in the tin.

“ Are you hungry?” asked Kenneth.

“Yes,” the child said, “very.” She had had
nothing to eat for a long time, and she was sleepy
and tired. Kenneth immediately gave her a
potato, which she devoured ravenously. He was
much perplexed, for she clung closer than ever to
him after he gave her this, and seemed to consider
herself, all at once, as his charge.

“What are we to do with her, Willie?” said he;
“she seems to have lost her parents.”

“ Let us take her to mother,” replied Willie.

“JT will go home with you,” said the child,
putting her little arm more closely round Kenneth’s
neck,

“But your friends will be looking for you,”
replied Kenneth, “and will not know where you
are gone.” ~ :

“They don’t love me,” said the child; “they
beat me very often, and they have gone away on
purpose, I know.”

Feeling as if the little thing was under his pro-
tection for the moment, Kenneth took her by the
hand and led her towards home; but she seemed
so utterly weary, and unable to keep up with him,
that he took her up in his arms and carried her.
a
!

My
i





‘“WHAT ARE WE TO DO WITH HER, WILLIE?”

55
The Young Potato-Roasters. 57

“Mother, look here!” exclaimed both boys, as
they entered; “see what we have brought home;”
and Kenneth tried gently to unclasp the little arms
that were clinging round his neck. ,

But this was no easy matter. The child seemed
well satisfied with the protector she had chosen for
herself, and to dread passing into new hands. It
was not till she heard the tender, soothing tones of
Mary’s voice, that she suffered her to take her in
her lap, and warm the little feet that had no socks,
and only tattered shoes to keep them from the
cold.

She seemed still faint with hunger, and thankful
for the cup of bread and milk that was made for
her.

From the few questions Mary asked, it seemed
as though she had been purposely left in the crowd
by those to whom she belonged, and had overheard
their intention of doing so.

As her eyelids were drooping with want of sleep,
however, she would not excite her to talk, but pro-
ceeded to bathe her wearied limbs with warm water
previous to putting her to bed. She was shocked
to find severe bruises and pinches on her delicate
skin, evidently caused by ill-treatment. And her
heart swelled with indignation, as she laid her in
her own bed, to think that her friends could have
had the barbarity to forsake her, if indeed
58 The Young Potato-Roasters.

such were the case, of which there seemed little
doubt. On examination of her clothes she found
they were not only mere rags, but so few of them,
that they were quite insufficient to keep her warm.
Her motherly heart could not rest till she had
searched amongst her own stores for such articles
as she might spare to cut up for her. Night had
far advanced before her work of love was com-
pleted; but at léngth a little suit of garments
lay ready, made complete by a pair of warm
socks and shoes outgrown by Willie when a little
child.

The next morning their young visitor seemed
entirely refreshed, and ready enough to tell all she
knew about herself as far as she could. She was
in evident dread of her present retreat being dis-
covered, though she persisted in asserting she had
been lost on purpose.

She said she had lived for a long, long time with
cruel people in London, who called her Polly, and
made her stand and beg of ladies and gentlemen in
the street. Sometimes they went with her, and
sometimes they made her stand alone, though they
always watched her at a distance. She often gota
great many pence, which she took to mammy, she
said.

‘“‘T suppose mammy is your mother,” said Mary,

But the child would not allow this, though she
The Young Potato-Roasters. 59

said mammy declared she was, and she was told
always to call the man daddy.

“But then, who do you think are your real
father and mother?” asked Mary.

She did not seem to understand the question
exactly, so Mary tried to find if she could remem-
ber any former home, or whether she had ever
been called by any other name.

She said she was sure it once had been Lucy,
and that she could recollect a lady kissing her, and
a gentleman who used to play with her on his
knee. She spoke, too, of green fields and flowers ;
but whether all this was a dream of the child’s
imagination, or really recollections of infancy, it
was difficult to say. Mary inclined to the latter
opinion, for there was an air of refinement about
her which bespoke a different birth to that of such
people as she had lately come from. Another cir-
cumstance also led her to this supposition. On
taking her, after breakfast, to wash and brush her
hair, she found it a different colour underneath, its
natural hue being apparently a bright golden one,
whereas it had been dyed to a raven black. The
little one said that mammy used to wash it with
black stuff sometimes.

Mary Duncan was much puzzled how to act.
One thing, however, was certain; the child had
been thrown upon their protection for the present,
60 The Young Potato-Roasters.

and she made Kenneth happy before he left home
by promising she would keep her for a time, at all
events. -

Lucy, as they called her, was a most engaging
little creature. It was painfully evident she had
been ill-used, for it was some time before she lost
the-habit of raising her hand to ward off a blow
when any one came near her suddenly. By
degrees, however, the timidity wore away. Even
the short space of one week did much towards
making her a merrier, happier child. To Kenneth
she clung with an affection that probably arose
from his kindness being the first she had experi-
enced on the night she was found. All she could
tell about that circumstance was, that mammy and
daddy had said they didn’t know what to do with
her, and that they must lose her in a crowd; and
that they had walked a long way, and tired her very
much on that evening. Mammy had let go of her
hand, and when she looked for her she was gone,
and daddy too; so she saw the charcoal fire, and
crept into the warm corner where Kenneth dis-
covered her. The boys entreated their mother to
keep little Lucy altogether, and Mary’s own heart
longed to do so, but she dreaded taking another
mouth to feed in their circumstances.

She thought, also, that as there seemed a degree
of mystery about her history, it was her duty to make
~,

‘The Young Potato-Roasters. 62

it known to those who could judge better of the
circumstances than herself, and whether any means
could be taken to restore her to her real parents if
her suspicions of her having been stolen were correct.

Accordingly she went to her clergyman, who
made the case known to the magistrate.

The police were set to work, and every effort
used to ascertain where the little girl had come
from, and to whom she rightfully belonged, but in
vain. No clue could be obtained which would
lead to the discovery of the wicked people who had
abandoned the helpless infant to her fate.

They seemed to have been trampers who never
remained more than a few days in one lodging, and
had perhaps left the country.

If Lucy had been stolen, it must have been for
the sake of softening people’s hearts to give money
to her infantine beauty and helplessness ; and from
the child’s own artless account the scheme had
answered well. No more could be done, and en
offer was made to Mary to place Lucy on the care
of the parish. But she had by this time nestled
herself too closely into the hearts of the family for
them to give her up.

Kenneth declared he would work early and late
to prevent her being any expense to his mother,
who, for her part, was content to believe that He
who had brought the friendless little one to her
x

62 The Young Potato-Roasters.

care would give her the means of supporting her.
So Lucy remained with the Duncans, and was
called by their name. Had she been indeed
Mary’s child, and the sister of her boys, she could
not have found greater love and kindness.

It seemed to them all as though everything
began to look bright from the evening when she
first was attracted by the bright fire peeping
through the openings of the potato-roaster.

Her simple story became known to many benevo-
lent people, who, in consequence, became interested
in the humble friends who had adopted her.

When the black dye had all been extracted, so
that the rich curls of her golden hair came forth in
their natural beauty, and kind treatment and proper
food had taken away her half-starved appearance,
she was more lovely than ever.

Kenneth and Willie’s pride in their sister, as
they always called her, was so great that Mary
Duncan had to watch lest they should spoil her,
for the little one was not slow in learning her
power over them.

As the spring came on, the boys used to take
her to search for violets and primroses in the
haunts well known to the Hampstead children.
These they tied up, and Lucy used to offer them
for sale on the Heath, always accompanied by
Willie, and sometimes by Kenneth.
The Young Potato-Roasters. 63

It was surprising how many penny bunches she
sold. In the summer, ladies supplicd her with
bouquets from their gardens, for the same purpose.
“Tucy, the little flower-girl,” soon became well
known; and so far from Mary feeling her a
burden, she often said she really helped to support
them.

And now, probably, my young readers are fully
expecting that I am going to tell them how, in
course of time, the real parents of little Lucy were
discovered, and she was found to be a rich heiress ;
how Mary Duncan and her children were rewarded
for their kindness; and how, when Lucy grew up
and became a great lady, she never forgot the
friends of her childhood.

We are quite aware all this would make a very
pretty ending to our story, but we must relate
things as they really were ; and the truth is, that
Lucy never did know any more of her own early
history than we have told, for nothing more ever
transpired! It must therefore be left in uncertainty
whether she was by birth a lady or a poor child.
Whether she was stolen by wicked people who
hoped to make money by her, and who forsook
her when she had served their purpose, or whether
they were her real parents who served her thus,
will never be known in this world.

Although she never knew to whom she belonged
64 The Young Potato-Roasters.

by birth, she found a tender parent in her adopted
mother, to whom she grew up the most dutiful and
affectionate of daughters. Although no earthly
riches were showered on Mary because she had
opened her house and heart to the forsaken child
whom God guided to her, she knew that she had
laid up that treasure of which the Bible tells us,
for herself in heaven.

Kenneth and Willie, too, had good cause to
rejoice that they had not turned away from the
little girl who had crept to their charcoal fire for
warmth,



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