The Baldwin Library
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GLan.Y ANn asEB BROTHaR A.T THE WISaING-TREE,
- I. 4C^ ^ ,.-2!
OR THE SISTER'S
BLACKIE & SON, LIMITED,
LONDON, GLASGOW, EDINBUIGP, AND DUBZIN.
II. HER MOTHER, .
III. HER BROTHER, .
IV. THE WISHING-TREE,
V. THE TROUBLE, .
VI. THE RIDE, .
VII. SOLDIERS, .. ..
VIII. IN EDINBURGH, .
IX. THE WINTER,. .
XI. SEPARATION, .
XII. "CUT SCHOOL," .
XIII. PLAN OF ACTION, .
XIV. WINDING UP, .
. . 13
. . 19
. . 40
. . 50
. . 61
. . 72
. . 86
. . 92
. . 99
. . 107
. . 116
T was noon of a July day, and the sun was
shining in a cloudless -sky. The air was
sultry, the flowers breathed sleepy odours,
the birds were still; it was surely altogether too
hot a day for any living thing to be busy. Why!
the field-workers were dozing under hedges, and
carts on the road moved lazily, the atmosphere
was thick and heavy with dreams.
Whrenly House, gleaming white among its
surrounding dark green, looked peaceful and in
keeping with the day. All the windows stood
open, and awnings shaded them; all around was
stillness, save when some white-capped maid
moved leisurely from one room to another, or
passed the windows drawing the awnings lower,
or stopped to speak. to a footman half asleep in
the hall. But what is this! Here are two win-
dows in the full glare of the sun, upper-storey
windows, with neither awning nor blind! The
sun pours mercilessly through them into a
spacious still room, blazes on the brass grate and
irons, and searches in vain for speck or dirt on
the white uncarpetted floor, or about the old-
fashioned heavy furniture. Everything has a
white, clean character though the heat is intense.
Sitting on the floor of this room, and in the
hottest spot almost that she could have chosen,,
was a little girl of about eight or nine years of
age, whose thick brown hair at present falls over
and hides her face, which is bent low on some
work of an apparently absorbing nature. It is
sewing, and the little red hot fingers fly in and
out untiringly. The article on which she is at
work is a doll's coat, ulster shape, and she seems
to be expending care and pain upon it, uncon-
scious or careless of the heat, for she never thinks
to draw the blinds. Now and then she tosses
back her heavy hair, giving to view for a second
a flushed cheek, and shadowy look as of dark
eyes or eyelashes, and then the head is bent again
more earnestly than ever.
Beside her on the floor are a little work-box,
some shavings of cloth and work things, and a
bird's cage, which however has its awning right
enough; and the wise little inmate has made up
his mind, that watching his mistress occasionally
with one sleepy eye is as much as could possibly
be required of him on a day like this.
The little girl in threading her needles pauses
sometimes to say a few tender words, to which
the bird lazily responds; then again there is still-
The glaring noon passes; for more than two
hours the child sits hard at work, then a heavenly
breath passes through the room, drawing from
her an unconscious sigh of relief. The birds'
voices sound from without in glad chorus, a bell
rings in the distance, then the door opens and a
servant looks in.
"Miss Gladys! Oh, you naughty girl. Sitting
there still, and never moved since dinner-time.
What are you doing?"
"None of your business," is the ungracious re-
tort. "You go along and don't worry."
"Where is your nurse?"
Dunno. Yes I do, though. I think she went
to the farm."
Then the maid disappeared. The girl tossed
back her hair defiantly and went on with her
Presently a child's voice was heard calling-
whistling and shouting. The little girl paused
again, raising her head now with the expectant
air of one listening to a beloved and familiar
sound; her little plain flushed face and beautiful
eyes became glorified by an expression of deep
and powerful love. The shouts and whistling died
away, the look faded, once again she bent over
her sewing. Another half hour passed, and then
the sound of wheels in the gravel raised the busy
head again, but with a very different expression.
"There's Mama," she said; "now I must stop and
go." But though she reiterated this statement
more than once, a full half hour passed before she
made any movement; then the work was finished
and she rose, and at the same moment the door
opened, and a tall woman in cloak and hat
entered, hot and dusty.
"Miss Gladys!" she exclaimed fretfully. "Oh,
you troublesome child. Not ready, and her lady-
ship's bell will ring this moment. What have
you been doing? I never knew such a trouble-
some, naughty girl."
"Are you tired, Nurse? You do look hot. Was it
nice at the farm? is Jenny's leg better? and how
is the little sick cow?" was Gladys' placid answer.
The nurse threw off her bonnet and jerked
down the blinds. The room is like an oven, and
I suppose you have been sitting here since dinner.
What have you been doing?"
"This! Look, it is finished. Isn't it nice?" And
she held up the little ulster, now completed even
to the small tweed buttons and hood, with an
expression of pride. The nurse, a good-natured
creature, looked, and forgot her anger in admira-
"Well, well, and you did all this! You are the
cleverest child with your needle I ever knew.
And little pockets and all, dear me! Did you cut
it out yourself?"
No, Baby's tailor did. It's for Baby's monkey.
I hope he'll like it."
"Like it! He doesn't deserve it. If he don't, it's
my belief you'll spoil him. Take care he doesn't
turn ungrateful, Miss Gladys, and give you small
thanks for your pains."
"Oh rubbish, Nurse. You talk like a goose.
Baby is the best boy ever lived."
"Well, well, so his mother thinks-"
Yes and his sister, and that's enough," said
Gladys with a sharp imperious accent of command,
the more effective with the servants because she
was usually so easy under their frequent attacks.
And now she finished gathering her things, hung
up the bird's cage, and passed into an inner room,
whence issued sounds of splashing and clatter
enough for a whole regiment of soldiers, and in
a short time she reappeared, looking bright and
fresh, in a white dress, silk stockings, and bronze
slippers, her thick brown tangle brushed and
shining, and her poor cheeks and hands carmine.
Oh, Nurse, I wonder will my cheeks and hands
always be so red," she said with a sigh. How I
wish they were white or pretty pink like Baby's
"Hurry down, like a good child," said the
nurse; "her ladyship's bell hasn't rung yet. And
as for red cheeks, my dear, it's an honest healthy
colour, that's my belief."
"Bosh!" was Gladys' retort as she left the
room. Passing along a bare passage she opened
a baize door, and here'the region of uncarpetted
floors and old-fashioned furniture ended. It was
like entering fairy-land. Her small slippers sank
into the rich carpets noiselessly; dim light from
painted windows fell upon her, dying her white
dress with amber and purple, and a great crimson
stain across her little heart; marble statues
answered the wistful question of her eyes with
classic unmoved calm. Down two flights of stairs
she went, then entered a wide hall filled with the
perfume of exotics and the glory of the afternoon
At that moment a bell -rang sharply.
IN one of the cool shaded rooms two ladies sat;
or, rather, one of them lay on a couch, breath-
ing languid rejoicings over the coolness, while
the other, a stylish, cool, breezy-looking young
lady, arranged a dainty tea-service just brought
in, and prepared to pour out tea.
"I saw your boy in the gardens, Gladys," she
said as she did so; "he is a lovely fellow."
"Is he not?" said the other with an expression
of earnestness on her handsome but habitually too
languid face. Oh, every one thinks him lovely.
What should I do without him? Oh, thank you,
Florence. It is too lazy of me to allow you to do
all that; but you are so energetic."
Yes, and lazy people always have to be served
some way," said the young lady laughing. "But
what about your little girl? I have not seen her
Oh," said the mother in a tone of contempt
and indifference, "she is an enfant terrible. I
don't know what to make of her. I dread to
think of the time when she will be grown-up."
Oh, she is so plain, poor thing. So odd, was it
not, Florrie, that I should have a plain child, and
the boy so handsome?"
"But, Gladys, I heard she had a fine figure and
She may have. I never noticed anything but
that she is very plain, and her face and hands
always, my dear Florrie,-always crimson. Had
I known it when she was born I should have had
her called Carmina. It has given me quite a dis-
like to my own name."
Florence glanced at her friend with a good deal
of contempt in her bright eyes.
"Is she fond of the boy?" she asked pre-
"Oh, very, I believe," returned her friend half
grudgingly, half enviously; "but indeed I see al-
most nothing of her except that she comes in and
goes out with the tea-things. I think it refines
children's manners to have them in the drawing-
room occasionally, and she can really serve tea
and behave quite respectably now,"
"Is she shy?"
"Oh, not at all. She says anything, anything
she likes. It gives me palpatations sometimes
really to hear her. She is not a favourite at all;
never will be, I'm sure. Now Baby, every one
dotes upon him."
"I wish he would make his appearance again.
Isn't the cool delicious?"
"Delicious! Oh, that reminds me. Would you
kindly ring, dear, please: the child will be wait-
ing, I daresay."
Florence rang the bell, and at that instant
She came forward and spoke to her mother's
friend, watching her all the time with dark dis-
"Where have you been all day, Gladys?" her
"Up in the nursery."
"Yes. I was sewing."
"A coat for the monkey-Babe's monkey."
Then she helped -herself very calmly to tea
and cake, and took a low chair. Her mother
gave a hopeless little glance at her friend, then
continued: "Where is Baby?"
"I dunno. I heard him about an hour or more
ago. He was shouting around somewhere."
"I wish you had found him and brought him
in for some tea."
"I should have; but you see Nurse says it's
sheer folly giving him tea and heavy cake now.
It spoils his appetite for his supper, she says."
"And how about you?"
"I dunno. She says I'm as strong as a horse."
And thereupon she took another piece of heavy
cake and ate it up rapidly, as though to prove it.
At this juncture one or two gentlemen entered,
hoping they did not intrude. And the lively
young lady helped them to tea, and Lady Whrenly
assured them they did not, and Gladys regarded
them with the distrustful look she had for all her
They sat down and began amusing themselves,
as so many grown-up people do, with teasing the
little girl. But Gladys, with a child's instinct,
felt herself to be the butt of some of her mother's
guests, and retorted with a quick suspicious bitter-
ness, which was sad, because so unchildlike.
"Well, Gladys, and what have you been doing
to-day-eh?" inquired one.
"Working," returned Gladys, polite but laconic.
"Working! In such weather, not really! And
what were you working at-ploughing or mowing
"I was making a coat for a monkey. I think
it would suit you."
There was a hearty laugh at this; but Lady
Whrenly reproved Gladys for rudeness. The
little girl continued her meal perfectly unmoved
by censure or applause.
Another young gentleman attempted a jocular
vein. "Well, Miss Gladys, where have you been
in hiding from all your admirers to-day? and
where is that wild pony I saw you riding last?"
I am thinking of changing it for a donkey,"
said Gladys, "home bred;" and it was impossible
to tell from her manner whether she spoke in
innocence or malice. There was another laugh,
and in the confusion occasioned by her father's
entrance with some guests, Gladys, having finished
her tea, quietly escaped.
This one hour in the afternoon was the only
time her mother ever required her to put in an
appearance, and often the only occasion on which
Gladys saw her mother for days or weeks.
It had never been an hour of any pleasure or
happiness to Gladys; but shehad characteristically
come to look upon it as a matter of business, and
qf course it was always a consoling reflection to
remember the tea and cake. At any other time
of the day she did her utmost to escape meeting
either her mother or such friends as happened to
be staying in the house, knowing well that the
sight of her gave as little pleasure to them as
they gave to her.
She had long known her mother's indifference,
and half words coldly and carelessly dropped in
her presence left her with a pretty correct esti-
mate of what her mother considered her.
"A plain creature, poor thing, with such red
cheeks and hands, and so odd."
There was under all this a strength and sweet-
ness in Gladys which kept these bitter things
from rankling; and which made her, while she re-
venged herself, bear no malice.
And then, as she said to herself, she had Baby.
Was that not enough for anyone!
Later that evening Florence sat in her friend's
dressing-room, idling away a few minutes before
dressing for dinner.
"I think you are quite wrong, Gladys," she
was saying. "She is a very clever child, and I
am almost certain she will grow very hand-
some yet. Why, what numbers of red-faced chil-
dren you see. And then she has beautiful eyes."
"Well, dear, you may be right, but you saw
yourself how odd and sharp she is; not childlike
Oh, that will be wit when she grows up if she
"Well, I am glad it is a long way off yet, and
in the meantime she really is not much in my
"And she seems to be a good child."
"I don't know. I hear her fighting with her
maids sometimes. There, do have done about
her, Florrie. What will you wear to-night.? Sir
Archie is here, remember."
In the meantime Gladys had gone in search of
S HE went swiftly back to the region of carpet-
less floors and old furniture, the only part of
the house that was home to her, and there she
was not long in tossing off her finery, and doing
leather shoes and linen frock. The nursery was
delightfully cool now, and the nurse preparing
tea looked cheerful and good-humoured. "Where
is Baby, Nurse?" Gladys inquired
"Indeed I don't know, Miss Gladys; and here
is his tea almost ready. I wish you would go and
look round for him, my dear."
Gladys seized her sun-bonnet and ran off, down
a little flight of stairs and out by a side door,
across a lawn and away through shrubbery paths,
calling loudly as she went, but receiving no an-
swer. After the confinement all day the evening
breeze was delicious, and the evening sunlight
fair and lovely to the girl's eyes; for Gladys was
gypsy-like, and always happiest under the open
"Baby! Baby! Baby!" her voice sounded
through the grounds, as she emerged from the
shrubbery and ascended a smooth grassy slope,
and cast her keen young eyes around.
There was the house back there, and she could
see the lawn in front of the drawing-room win-
dows, and one or two ladies and gentlemen who
had evidently come through the French windows
to enjoy the air. Could Baby be there? No he
was not. She ran down the other side, and turn-
ing off into a side avenue reached the stables. A
long fruitless search and inquiry left her hot and
breathless, and with but one more -unsearched
Well, Nurse will be in a rage, but I can't help
it," she thought as she turned towards them.
"That stupid Minnie should not have left him;
his supper will be cold."
The gardens were very still, but her first call
was answered by a yell of woe which sent her
flying in its direction, breathless and alarmed.
On the floor of a summer-house she found her
brother, roaring in such distress that for a time
it was difficult to make out what the matter was.
Gladys squatted down beside him, wrapping her
arms around his sobbing form.
"What is it? Baby, why you are crying?"
"I've lost it," said the boy between his sobs,
which were redoubled at sight of a comforter.
"What, dear? What have you lost?"
"My pencil-my little blue one. I was draw-
ing lovely horses with it, an' it dropped," and then
he sobbed again.
Gladys looked around, and soon perceived that
the stone floor of the summer-house was adorned
with sundry blue scratches, faintly resembling
telegraph poles and wires, but which the happy
imagination of childhood had converted into noble
and prancing chargers; but she could see no signs
of the instrument of art by which they had been
Look here, Baby," she then said, "Nurse sent
me out to look for you. Your supper was ready,
and it must be cold now. Won't you come?"
No. I want my pretty blue pencil,"
"But I've made the coat for your monkey so
pretty. Won't you come and see it?"
"No. I want to draw more horses."
"But, Baby, Nurse will be angry. See, if you
come I will give you my little white knife.
Don't cry any more. Do come."
"Oh, but I want it ever so."
"Very well, if you will come now I will come
back and look for it and find it for you."
"Will you? and here for the first time he
ceased his sobs altogether, tossed back his long
golden curls, and raised a tear-stained but most
lovely face, with hope once more lighting two
liquid eyes. "Well, will you carry me on your
"Yes. Get up on the seat."
Then the mourner rose to his feet, and proved
to be almost as tall as his sister but much slighter;
none the less far too .heavy a burden for the
She did not seem to think so. Getting him on
her back, she carried him with surprising ease
over the lawns and through the shrubbery paths
until they reached the nursery wing, then she
put him down on his feet, and they went in at
the little door together.
The nurse and Gladys relieved themselves by
scolding the maid who should have had charge
of the boy during the afternoon; and the baby,
in delighted contemplation of his knife and the
coat for the monkey, forgot his troubles. His
"Dear Sissy!" repeated delightedly two or three
times were sufficient reward to Gladys for her
long day of toil, and much amusement was created
when they got poor "Puck" and fitted on his new
"Won't you take it down to let Mama see it?"
the sister asked. But Baby declared no; he didn't
like the people to stare, and the ladies to say
lovely boy and touch his hair.
"I'd rather have you, Sissy, than all of them."
"Not than Mama!" said Gladys horrified. "Oh!
you mustn't say that, Baby."
"But I do like you best," the boy maintained.
"You do everything for me, and Mama has always
those nasty ladies with her."
Gladys felt this to be treason on Baby's part
when the ladies made so much of him, but she
did not know very well what to say in their de-
fence. "I am going to look for your pencil,
Baby," she therefore changed the subject by say-
ing. "You'll be in bed before I come back, but I'll
come in time to tell you the story before you go
to sleep." And as the nurse led the little boy off
Gladys left the house once more.
It was after nine o'clock now; a dewy misty
night, but beautiful and still. She had little hopes
of finding the pencil, but meant to do her best. As
she went thoughtfully along the shrubbery paths
her nose sniffed cigar smoke, and warned her to get
out of the way. Some of the gentlemen having
an after-dinner stroll. It was no unusual thing
for her to cross them thus in the evening, though
it was always her care not to be seen. She now
withdrew into the thick shrubbery, and so re-
mained easily concealed, while the voices and
steps drew near and passed, and she heard one
voice say: "I only heard it to-day, but I believe
it is a fact. Whrenly didn't like to tell Lady
"A governorship, did you say?"
"Yes, I believe so. In the East Indies some-
where. Croom, I think."
"Will Lady Whrenly go with him?"
"I believe so, but not the children. I have
heard it's a very unhealthy place."
Then the voices and steps died away, and Gladys
came out on the path with a stunned and guilty
feeling. What was this she had heard! Her
father got a governorship in the East Indies!
And her mother and father going away and she
and Baby left behind! It could not be, it seemed
such a strange, unreal thing.
No one could put two and two together so well
as Gladys, and as she thought she did remember
scraps of conversation about its being the thing
her father would like," and "difficulties," and her
mother "not liking the idea." Now these hints
were taking shape and form in this terrible
She reached the summer-house, and sought in
summer light for the bit of treasured pencil, and
more fortunate than she had hoped, found it sunk
between two uneven stones. She put it in her
pocket and went back towards the house. On
some sudden impulse she went to the front before
the drawing-room windows. The room was a
blaze of light; her mother, beautifully dressed,
with other gay ladies, sat and lounged round,
talking, flirting, and fanning themselves.
"She certainly does not know," the child
thought, "or she would not look so. She would
not be sorry to leave me, but oh, poor Mama, what
would she do without Baby!"
Then she went quickly back. to her own
quarters. "Master Bernardin has been watching
for you," said the nurse.
Gladys went into the little boy's room, and
sitting on the edge of his bed held his hand.
"Who was I telling you about, Baby?"
David, what watched the sheep and killed the
"Ah, yes; very well," and in her own childlike
words she told him those wonderful Bible stories,
which ever afterwards were to have for the boy
the mysterious arid magic charm of early and
Oh! long, long afterwards he must remember
the loving dark eyes that watched him, the hand
that held his through childish fears, and all the
untiring care and work.
He was quite right when he said he loved her
best; it was the child after all who was doing
the mother's work.
If fairy tales were true
And fortune were my hap."
BUT even while she was telling of David, and
holding her brother's hand, Gladys' mind
was dwelling upon the words she had overheard.
And when at last the thick dark lashes lay at
rest on the soft cheeks, and the boy's gentle
breathing and meekly folded hands told of child-
hood's blessed rest, the little girl left his bed-side,
and passing into the empty nursery now flooded
with moonlight, went over to the window, threw
it open, and kneeling down before it rested her
elbows on the sill, and looked out at the still
night-land she so dearly loved.
The words had lost their reality for her now,
and seemed like a dream; she could not imagine
their life different from what it had been as far
as she could remember. London in the season,
and sometimes Brighton for autumn and winter,
were the only changes she had ever known.
Once a dread thought came to her, and made her
start to her feet with a cry. "'What if Mama
should take Baby and leave me! Oh! surely,
surely she never, never would." Though she
did not guess it, her rosy cheeks were pale
enough now. It seemed to her if that happened
she could not live. She thought it all over again,
trying to remember all the words she had heard,
which were already fading from her memory.
She must have remained at her window for a
long time, for by and by she heard a clock strike
ten, and rose to her feet. Nurse will be coming
up from her supper in a minute, and will rage,"
Raging was the habitual attitude of the ser-
vants towards her, though in reality they had no
authority over her; and she was well aware that
she ruled. One reason was that the servants
knew how useless it was to make any appeal to
Sir Ralph or Lady Whrenly.' "If they cannot
keep the children in order without annoying me
they must go," was Lady Whrenly's command.
And, secondly, the maids had learned to dread the
days in which "Miss Gladys took it into her
head to be wicked."
So poor Gladys, in spite of her servants, was but
little looked after and got small attention.
Now she went to bed with no loving good-
nights and kisses from dear voices and faces, to
be with her in her dreams.
And certainly she said no prayers.
Next morning the words seemed more dream-
like than ever. She slept rather late, and when
she wakened found the sunlight streaming be-
tween chinks of the blinds, and heard the sound
of Baby's voice from the nursery, where he was
engaged in earnest conversation, not to say alter-
cation, with Nurse.
"I won't go with Minnie-so there! She's
horrid. I ran away from her yesterday when she
was talking to Robert in the yard, and I met a
lady-no, two ones, and she said,' Hadn't I not no
"Naughty, naughty boy," came the nurse's
voice; "you must stay with Minnie to-day. Now
go on and finish your breakfast."
"I sha'n't go with Minnie, I tell you. I'm going
with sister. I'll ask her to take me to the Wish-
ing-tree. I know she will. And I've got a beauti-
ful wish to wish. No, I don't want an egg; take
it away, it's horrid. Give me some honey, please."
"You cannot go to the Wishing-tree to-day;
one of the ladies has asked to have Miss Gladys
with her. So you must be a good boy, and stay
"No I won't," in most decided tones, and with
the banging of a spoon on a plate for emphasis.
" And I'll ask sister not to go with the lady, but
to take me; and I know she will. Is sister still in
bed, Nurse? Wonder why she's not up. Shall I
go and see?"
At this Gladys sprang out of bed, and coming
to the door declared she did not think it was so
late, and she would be in a minute, and then dis-
appeared. And sounds of splashing, and a violent
racket among the furniture, informed all whom
it might concern that she was engaged on her
ablutions; and by and by she appeared, fresh and
rosy, with well-brushed hair and bright eyes, a
by no means unpleasant picture, in spite of Lady
Whrenly's cold and unmotherly opinion.
She was very eager to hear this bit of wonder-
ful news about being invited to go with one of
the ladies. It was so very unheard of a thing;
never had it happened before. Who could have
been so very unwary?
She made immediate inquiries of the nurse,
while Baby, having despatched an excellent break-
fast (his mother thought he was delicate and had
no appetite), listened also, only beginning and
ending with, But Sister isn't going, I know. She
is going to take me to the Wishing-tree. Won't
Now, it must be confessed Gladys was some-
what tempted. It appeared Miss Florence had
taken a fancy to the little girl, and had asked
leave to have her company for the next day in a
riding expedition to some famous ruins. Gladys
rode well, and knew every place round, her mother
It was so charming to poor Gladys to find any-
one wanted her company, and she was delighted
with the idea of acting cicerone, and she loved
riding; altogether it was very tempting. But
Baby's great entreating eyes were on her. "You
won't go, Sister, to leave me?" Her hands were
playing lovingly with his yellow ringlets. "Do
you want to go very much to-day, Baby?"
Oh yes, Sister. I must wish my wish to-day."
"When was I wanted, Nurse?"
"Twelve sharp, Miss Gladys. You were to
take lunch with Lady Crony when you had seen
Still more tempting. Gladys regarded her
brother wistfully; he no less pleadingly watched
"No time for both," she said. "Oh, Baby-"
there was a little pause, her brows were gathered,
then her face cleared. "Very well, dear, we will go
to the Wishing-tree."
"Miss Gladys!" said the nurse horrified. "What
message am I to send to her ladyship?"
"None; I will send a message myself. And you
can send Minnie to the farm about the dairy
things, for I will look after Mr. Bernardin to-day."
Baby gave a jubilant whoop and careered
round. Oh, you good Sister, I do love you!" he
exclaimed. "You're better than anyone else. We
will go to the dear Wishing-tree. I am so glad."
Gladys steadily finished her bread and honey.
Her face was rather sulky, and she made no
answer to Baby's many joyous questions; but we
must remember she was swallowing a great deal
more than honey with her bread.
As soon as her breakfast was finished she went
determinedly out by the baize door, into the
region of fairy-land, and down the soft wide
stairs. In the hall she met a servant.
"Miss Gladys, what are you doing here?"
exclaimed the maid, quite amazed at so unusual
"Mind your own business," retorted Gladys
crossly, "and tell me where are Lady Whrenly
and the other ladies."
"Not down yet, of course, you naughty girl;
and you better run back to your nurseries-bless
the child!" The last exclamation was given in a
tone of alarm as Gladys suddenly darted through
the hall and out at an open glass door.
Through it the child had seen her mother's
friend walking on the lawn, with her little Prince
Charlie gambolling round her feet. Gladys went
up to her with a quiet self-possession which had
nothing of forwardness in it.
Good-morning, Miss Dighton," she said. "I
came to thank you for asking me to ride with
you to-day. I should have liked it very much-
immensely," she added with amusing emphasis.
"Then I hope we will enjoy our ride," said
Florence, smiling at the little girl's earnest face.
"Is your Mama down yet?"
"Oh, I don't know. How should I? I never
come down here except I have some special mes-
sage. I think Jane said breakfast was at ten, or
was supposed to be. What I wanted to say was,
I am so sorry I could not go with you."
You cannot come ?" said Florence, half amused,
"I should have liked it very much," repeated
Gladys, "but Baby wants me to take him to the
"Oh! and could Baby not go with the maid?"
"He doesn't like her; neither do I. She is leav-
"And you would rather go to the Wishing-
Gladys stopped puzzled, she was not accus-
tomed to analyse her actions. "I think I would
rather have ridden," she said slowly; "but you
Florence watched her truthful expressive face
for a moment, then she said kindly:
"Very well, Gladys; then we will ride another
day. Do you think you could come to-morrow?"
Oh yes, I'm sure I could!" exclaimed the little
girl joyously. "You are very kind. You see, if I
have time to make other arrangements for Baby
he will be quite good. Perhaps Mama would have
I will try and manage it," said Florence good-
naturedly. Gladys beamed. "Now, it is not ten
yet, so perhaps we might have a run round to the
garden for flowers."
"Oh, I should like it," said Gladys; then she
suddenlystopped. "No I can't; there's that hateful
Mr. Philips-yes, and Sir Archibald. I'm off."
And she vanished with inconceivable rapidity,
leaving Florence to face the two gentlemen alone,
and somewhat discomfitted at the sudden depar-
ture of her little companion.
Gladys was soon back in the nursery.
"Now, Baby," she said, "we must get every-
thing ready, and our lunch packed. Get on your
thick shoes, and I'll go downstairs and hunt up
something good to eat. Will you take Puck?"
No; but ring for Minnie, please, Sister, to come
and put on my shoes."
In about an hour the two were ready to set out,
Nurse having proved unusually amiable as to
provisions, feeling, in truth, a weight off her mind
with regard to the spoilt heir, who would, she
knew, be all right and good so long as he was
with his sister. Gladys was only two years older
than her brother, but she was many years older
in experience, the boy being childish; so that
while the little girl was allowed to go and come
at will the boy never went unattended, though
Gladys most frequently proved to be the atten-
dant, and that was considered perfectly safe and
So they went into the sunlight hand in hand,
gloriously happy and untroubled, Gladys with
the basket and Baby bearing a stick; and those
vague, unpleasant words had quite vanished from
the little girl's mind.
The Wishing-tree was a good two miles dis-
tant; quite a day's expedition there and back to
the two little people. It stood on a rocky knoll
in the very heart of a great corn-field, belonging
to one of the farms. A splendid tree for climbing;
and wonderful were the stories told about it, and
its power to grant wishes. It was said that when
you crouched in the great hollow of the old trunk,
and wished your wish, the tree-fairies floated
with it up to the topmost twigs among the broad
cool leaves; and when the evening came the air-
fairies came along on the evening breeze, and bore
the wish away to the great fairy who grants all
wishes. Often the children had looked and
peered about for a sight of the wonderful elves,
but always fruitlessly; for you must know that
the fairies only show themselves to those who
have ceased to have any wishes.
The children had the shade of their own
wooded grounds for a good part of the way, then
the dusty road and the burning sun, and then the
cool shady lanes and by-ways, and here they are
at the great field in the midst of which stands
A narrow pathway between two walls of golden,
corn leads to it, and down this alley the two
children go, glad that their journey is so nearly
ended. Great red poppies and corn-flowers stand
out and nod to them, and tall dog-daisies tempt
them to venture a step or two into the thinner
corn. Baby longs to stop, but Gladys pulls
him on and up the little steep rock unto the
grassy knoll, and into the shadow of the Wishing-
Both plump themselves down with great sighs
of relief, and Gladys pulled off her sun-bonnet
and Baby's hat exclaiming, Oh, isn't this delicious
Now we'll have our dinner."
Both were ready for it after their long walk,
and until they had conscientiously emptied the
basket neither alluded to their wishes. Then
Gladys said, Will you go inside and wish, Baby?"
and she rose to her feet and took a survey of the
yellow sea around her, motionless in the burning
"Yes, won't you, Sister?"
"No, I'm going to climb up into the branches
and wish from there."
"Oh!--and have you got a good wish, Sister?"
"I think so-I don't know," Gladys looked a
little uncomfortable here. "Have you?"
"Oh yes, a beauty. I've been thinking of it all
night and day. Do you think I'll get it?"
I don't know. You mustn't tell it to anyone,
or you won't. Now, you wish first."
The little boy rose, a most solemn and impor-
tant expression on his beautiful little face, then
he disappeared into the hollow of the tree, shut
his eyes tight, and wished in tones so audible
that they easily reached Gladys' ear, and alarmed
her with a sense of eaves-dropping and guilt.
"Oh fairies, I want a little puppy dog like
Miss Dighton's, ever so, ever so."
Then he reappeared with the air of having
relieved his mind of a great burden.
Gladys made no remark, and was soon up
among the branches wishing in her turn. Poor
little Gladys, was her wish much wiser?
Oh fairies, I want beautiful white cheeks and
hands like Mama's and Baby's."
Well, she got her wish long afterwards.
They played for an hour under the Wishing-
tree as children play; changing the knoll into a
besieged camp, a lion's den, a nest of safety in a
wilderness of danger, an oasis of rest in a great
land of trouble, and then, when all their games
were played, in the first cool of the afternoon,
and the lengthening of their shadows, they went
Nurse was in the nursery with Baby's supper
ready, and the usual warning for Gladys. Hurry,
my dear. I am glad you have had a nice day, but
hurry and dress; her ladyship's bell will wring
directly. Come now, Master Bernardin, and take
In a short time Gladys came out of her room,
THE WISHING-TREE. 39
dressed in white again, and looking very graceful
in her lace and pretty shoes.
"Oh, Nurse, I am so tired. I wish I might take
my tea with Baby. My arms ached with that
basket. I hope there won't be many horrid
people there to plague."
The ringing of the bell at that moment sent
her off in a hurry, and settled the question.
In the drawing-room she found only Miss
Dighton, and she could not help thinking the
lively young lady looked rather grave. She made
no inquiry after her mother, as her absence was
nothing unusual; but took her tea and answered
Florence's questions as to her day, and then
inquired if they would ride to-morrow.
"I do not know," Miss Dighton answered.
"Your mother is not very well, Gladys, and she
wants you to go to her as soon as you have
finished your tea."
Gladys felt greatly surprised but did not show
it, and some guests entering-just then she was
left alone, and finished her tea in silence. "Where
is Mama?" she then asked of Miss Dighton, and
being told went quietly away to her mother's
As she approached it the sound of voices made
her hesitate. "If it's Papa I won't go in, but if
it's only Jervis I will," she thought, and ap-
proached close and listened for a second to
ascertain. She heard her mother's voice sobbing
REATLY appalled Gladys drew back, con-
U templating a sudden bolt, but before she
had time to execute her purpose the door was
thrown violently open, and her father almost
tumbled over her. He straightened himself, and
cast upon her that look of ludicrous indignation
with which a man will regard even an article of
furniture which has almost caused his downfall.
The child meanwhile looked at him coldly but
fearlessly. There was no affection between them,
and Gladys took more pains to avoid him than
anyone else. On his side the haughty gentleman
had no affection to spare for the little plain girl
he scarcely ever saw; all his affection was given
to his wife, of whose beauty he was extremely
proud, and he had also a certain pride in his son
-as a noble heir, nothing more.
Go to your mother, child," he said hastily,
"she wants you;" and then did what Gladys
wanted to do-bolted, with every appearance of
relief. Then the little girl turned and entered
the room. Here the sight which met her eyes
was so unusual and so terrible that for a few
seconds her presence of mind forsook her, and she
stood bewildered and staring with the door in
her hand. Her mother, her languid, haughty,
cold mother, lay face downward on the couch, in
an attitude which to Gladys' practised eyes be-
spoke what she would have called a "tearing
passion" in anyone but her mother. The face was
hidden in the little white hands, the hair was
lying in beautiful but disorderly profusion over
the pillows, one little shoe was lying in the
middle of the floor (it really looked as though
she had tried to kick someone, and had only
succeeded in knocking off her little shoe). The
whole attitude was quite familiar to Gladys.
Why! was it not Baby's favourite attitude when
Nurse, Minnie, or some other offender had gone
against his lordly will!
But Baby's sobs never had such a ring in them
as these. They smote poor Gladys to her tender
heart. She had never seen her mother cry, never
seen her even deeply agitated that she could
remember, not even when the little fair two-year-
old sister, so like Baby, with such sunny clusters
round her white brows, lay so quietly asleep in
her little coffin; even then Gladys remembered
her mother had been quite calm though very
white. But she was not calm now. She sobbed
and moaned and muttered, angry as well as
sorrowful it would seem; for presently she raised
a tear-stained face, and seeing Gladys said, Oh,
it's you. Are you going to leave that door open,
may I ask?" in such very sharp tones that Gladys
closed the door with more than usual alacrity,
and then went over to the couch.
"Did you want me, Mama? Are you troubled
about anything?" she asked.
"Yes, I want you, sit down. I am very much
troubled; your father has treated me shamefully."
Of course poor Gladys could only stare at this.
Which she did. Her mother after the statement
took refuge in her pillows for a few seconds, then
resumed: Treating me like a child; every one in
my own drawing-room knowing before me. A
wretched, unhealthy, barely civilized place,-oh,
dear! oh, dear!" She turned once more to her
pillows for comfort. Gladys had a strange pang.
She began to feel what might be coming, a vague
memory of the words she had heard the night
before came back to her; she clasped her hands
tight and sat up straight. "But, Mama, what is
it?" she said.
"What is it! I have been treated shamefully,
shamefully; and then when everything was
arranged to the very date of our departure, to
come and tell me, and that I must leave him
behind. It was shameful! shameful!" There was
room for nothing but her own personal trouble
in Lady Whrenly's heart. Gladys felt this in-
stinctively. To ask questions was useless, she
must pick up the news as she could.
"Are we going away, Mama?"
As though it were not bad enough to have to
leave England, and go to that wretched unhealthy
place, but I must leave my boy,"-Gladys' heart
gave a great bound,-" my beautiful boy, the only
thing I care for or love-oh, dear! oh, dear!" Once
more she buried her face, moaning and sobbing,
while her little daughter watched her, puzzling
out what she had heard, and feeling guilty that
her mother's sorrow should give her so much joy.
"I can't help it," she thought. "I could not live
without him, and Mother can. I am sorry for
"No society, no comfort,-all for his wretched
extravagance and getting into debt. And not to
take Baby with me-oh!"
"Where are you going, Mama?"
To the East Indies. A wretched place, a dread-
ful place-Coom or Croom, I don't know and I
don't care which."
What is Papa going there for?"
"He has got a governorship. He doesn't care."
"What are Baby and I to do, Mama?"
How do I know? Don't worry so with ques-
tions," returned her mother with the petulance
which had been charming in the lovely heiress
and only child, but which the world had long
since ceased to see anything of in the cold and
stately Lady Whrenly. Do you think I have no-
thing to do but think of you and where you are
to stay? How selfish people are." Down went
the head again.
Gladys was silenced; and for a long time her
mother did not speak. By and by the sobs grew
fainter and fewer, then stopped altogether. The
little girl sat patiently still, only amusing herself
by glancing round the room, which, though her
mother's, was an unknown land to her.
At last Lady Whrenly rose, and going to the
toilette-table gathered her hair, made use of
various small, sweet-scented bottles, put on her
cast-off shoes, and then came and sat down once
"The reason I sent for you, Gladys," she said,
still with some lingering fretfulness in her tone,
"is because, when I leave, you will be the only
one to look after my darling boy."
From the mother's tone one would have
thought Gladys was twenty; from the child's
face one would have thought she was fifty.
"This house is to be let. Your father-who has
treated me shamefully-thinks it will be better
looked after in every way, let, than with a care-
taker. I intend to leave here at once; at the end
of the week, in fact, if I can get rid of all these
people. We sail for the East Indies in September,
and I will be engaged up to the last moment-
making visits." She spoke as though making
visits was a business of the last importance to
mankind. Gladys could not feel deeply interested,
and was longing for permission to get away for
a last game with her brother, when her mother's
next words brought her into a bolt upright posi-
tion, terror and entreaty in her dark eyes. "I
shall take Baby with me; I will not part from
him till the last moment, my darling boy. Your
father thinks you had better go at once to Edin-
burgh to your aunt, Miss M'Arthur; Baby will go
to you after we have sailed-"
Hush! don't interrupt me. You constantly in-
terrupt me, and it is very rude. I want you to
promise me to take the greatest care of your
brother; he will have no one but you, poor dar-
ling. I believe you are very fond of him, and good
to him, and that is some comfort to me. Stay with
him constantly, allow no one to grieve him; I
trust to you to stand between him and all trouble.
Above all things do not let him forget, me-"
"Oh, yes, Mama, yes; but- "began the child
with trembling eagerness.
"Did I not ask you not to interrupt me?" in-
quired her mother with some asperity. "You have
no feeling, or you would not interrupt me when
my heart is so sorely troubled about the future
of my darling boy. Oh, my darling, how can I
leave you!" Poor Gladys clasped her hands
tight, and struggled to choke back the terrible
lump in her throat, and the great blinding tears
which this second rebuff and the terror in her
heart brought. Lady Whrenly was, of course, too
much engaged with her own thoughts to notice.
" Do not on any account let him forget me. Talk
to him of me, tell him how I love him, show him
my photograph, and when he is old enough-we
may be away some years, I hope they will be few
-teach him to write to me. You will do this,
Gladys?" The mother seemed quite to forget that
she was talking to a mere child, but a few years
older than the boy, to whose childish memory a
year would be a long time, and who could hardly
be expected to remember much, or talk much, of
the mother she so seldom saw. Happily for her-
self these thoughts did not trouble Lady Whrenly,
and of course Gladys felt herself quite capable.
Mama," she said, I will do all you say if only
you will not separate Baby and me. Oh, Mama,
don't, please don't! It would break my heart. Oh
think how dreadful for me to have to go to Edin-
burgh all alone-" The desolate prospect was
too dreadful, and the tears which she had bravely
struggled to master flowed down her cheeks.
Her mother could not remain altogether un-
touched. I don't see how I could take you both.
Your father certainly thought that would be best,"
she said feebly and fretfully. "Don't cry, child.
What is it you want?"
"Don't send me away alone," cried the child.
Take me with you, Mama. I have never been
away from Baby a day-oh!"
"Oh, dear!" cried the mother petulantly. "I
don't know what I'm to do, I'm sure. Your father
certainly thought that would be best. I don't see
how I can take two children with me," and she
looked with peevish and uncomplimentary doubt-
fulness at her little daughter.
As though her good fairies were determined to
do their best for her, Gladys at that moment
raised two dark tear-filled eyes and a pale deso-
late little face to her mother's, Oh, Mama, don't,
please don't, send me away from Baby!" she
"I believe after all Florence was right," her
mother reflected. "If she had not such a high
colour she would be beautiful."
"Mama, I would be no trouble," the child con-
tinued. "You don't know all I could do. You
would not need to bring a second maid, I could
always have Baby ready when you wanted him.
I nearly always dress him; and I know always
what suits him best, I do indeed. I can make
him prettier than anyone, I can indeed, Mama;
and besides," she added naively, "I could coax
him always to go."
Her mother looked at her for a moment, un-
decided and yet touched by the womanly earnest-
ness, and the loving, pleading eyes. "What an
extraordinary child," she thought. "I wonder how
old she is; I quite forget." Then aloud she said,
"Very well, I will speak to your father about it.
He certainly said he thought the other plan best.
Hfowever-gracious!-oh child, don't be so impet-
uous." For Gladys had sprung upon her with a
sudden bound, and got her arms round her neck
willy nilly, and was hugging and kissing her.
" Oh thank you, Mama! I know it's all right now."
Innocently attesting her certain and utter dis-
belief in that convenient appeal to "your father."
"I will be so good, I will never let Baby forget
you, I'll tell him forever how lovely you were,
and how every one said so, and I'll read him all
your letters at his prayers. Oh," cried this odd;
precocious creature, "what a weight you have
taken off my heart!"
Immensely to her own surprise Lady Whrenly
kissed her little daughter before she dismissed
her, light hearted now, to tell Baby the strange
news. She is affectionate," the mother thought
by way of excuse, "and honest, and she will take
care of my boy; and perhaps it is best to take
her with me. How strange if' Florence should
turn out to be right about her looks after all!"
SISSY, Sissy, hurry! Miss Dighton's in the hall
an' the horses is at the door. Miss Dighton's
all ready an' talking' to Sir Archibald. Hurry,
Sissy!" Thus gasped Baby'as he dashed into his
sister's room, where she stood, her body twisted
and bent, h6r cheeks flaming, and the veins swol-
len in her little hands, struggling to fasten the
hooks at the side of her habit.
Anyone else who had interrupted her at this
critical and trying moment would have received
a rather unceremonious answer, but her control
must be very far gone before she spoke impatiently
to Baby. She only straightened herself with a sigh
and said, "I can't help it, Baby. Oh, dear, I am
hot. Why do they put the hooks at the side. See,
Baby, you run for that stupid goose Minnie. Tell
her to come here at once; I've rung for her three
times. She's gossiping most likely with one of the
men. Run and bring her here, dear; I can't get
this hooked," and gathering up the long skirt she
sank exhausted into a chair, while the little boy
bustled off in a great state of excitement and
THE RIDE. 51
Gladys having had time to "prepare the little
boy, he was quite willing she should go with
Miss Dighton; especially as she had left him vari-
ous consolations in the form of coveted treasures
of hers. So he had busied himself since breakfast
by worrying all the men in the yard about getting
the horses ready, and had finally ridden round to
the hall-door in triumph on Gladys' pony, and
thence flown up to tell her all was ready.
In a few moments Gladys heard the shrill
sweet voice scolding in most commanding tones,
and then the little boy entered, followed by the
good-humoured but lazy maid, who soon put the
refractory hooks into the eyes, gave the little
girl's hair a final brush, set on the little cap, and
Gladys, with her gloves and whip in her hands,
hastened down to the hall, Baby attendant, help-
ing her with her skirts in a masterly fashion,
which came near to land her on her nose more
Miss Dighton, looking very handsome in her
dark habit, was sauntering round and round the
gravel with Sir Archibald, and did not seem to
have found Gladys unpunctual, though the groom
who was to ride with them had been more than
five minutes waiting with the horses:
Florence greeted the little girl kindly. Sir
Archie mounted both ladies, and then good-
naturedly placing Baby on his shoulder raced to
a little knoll, from whence they could see them to
the avenue gates, and so waved them a last adieu.
Gladys was too much of a little lady to have
consciously asked her new friend any question
likely to embarass her, but though clever and
precocious beyond her years, she was after all
only a child, and it did not strike her to connect
Sir Archibald in any way with the additional
lovely colour in Miss Dighton's cheeks. Looking
back,therefore, and waving her whip to the exalted
Baby, she remarked: "Oh Miss Dighton, look
back; Sir Archie has Babe on his shoulder and
they're waving good-bye from the mound. I
didn't think he was such a nice man; but he must
be when he's so good to Baby. There, they have
gone and you never looked. Don't you think he
must be, Miss Dighton?"
Must be what, dear?"
"A nice man-Sir Archie, I mean?"
Yes, dear, I think he must." The answer was
given rather hastily. "Now, Gladys, you must be
guide. How pleasant it is. We will have the shade
of the trees, for it is so hot."
It was indeed one of July's loveliest days, and
Gladys, who was extremely fond of riding, was
in the highest spirits, and chattered freely, a rare
thing for her with a stranger. Florence, at first
rather abstracted and dreamy, soon listened
amused to the strangely wise remarks, and odd
little bits of sense which were interspersed through
all the talk.
The news of Sir Ralph and Lady Whrenly's
departure was of course public now, and Gladys
spoke of it, always alluding in the most handsome
terms to her mother. It was amusing and at the
same time touching to Florence, to see how the
little girl's whole heart was full of gratitude for
the kindness which had, as she expressed it, "taken
such a weight off her heart."
"Won't you be very sorry to leave your home?"
the young lady asked.
Oh yes," returned Gladys, "it will be terrible;
but you see it would have been so much worse if
they had sent me away to Scotland at once,
without Baby! But Mama has settled all that,"
loftily, "and that has taken all the dreadfulness
away from it, you know." Her sunny gratitude
left no room for repining. "Baby and I are going
visiting with Mama; and I can look after him, you
know, and give Mama no bother. I really think
Mama is lovely, beautiful! and I don't mean to
let Baby forget her; I can tell you, I don't. I am
going to get all the photos of her I can, and I'll
make Baby kiss them every night, just after his
prayers, and I'll tell him how pretty she is, and
oh! everything," she ended comprehensively, and
gathering up the reins she had rather neglected.
You are to be a little mother to Baby."
Gladys face grew very grave. "Yes," she said
thoughtfully, I must not forget Mama's words.
She said I was to stand between him and all
trouble; and I want to have him beautiful and
good for her when she comes back. Will it be
very hard, I wonder. Sometimes I have a feeling
here, like a big sigh." She smiled a little and
laid her hand on her heart. It was evident to
Florence she had accepted the responsibility in
no shallow childish spirit. She looked with grave
tender eyes at the little puzzled face, for Gladys
found it hard to express her thoughts.
"Who will take care of you?" the young lady
thought. "Who will guide'and soothe you in all
childhood's many little troubles and woes. 'Not
that grumpy old Miss M'Arthur, if I remember
her rightly. Brave little Gladys, I will do what I
can-I will tell you of the Master who helps little
"There!" cried Gladys' voice, joyously breaking
in upon these grave thoughts; there are the ruins
now, Miss Dighton. Let us have a canter on this
turf. We will have to leave the horses with Jay
at the old gate, and then I will tell you all about
the castle. Come."
Gladys proved herself a very able and intelli-
gent guide. Florence wondered where the child
could have learned it all, knowing how seldom
any of her mother's guests took any notice of her.
She had, however, little time for calm reflection;
for Gladys besides being intelligent was terribly
nimble, and made no allowance for Miss Dighton's
maturer years, or the fact that a young lady
cannot bundle her skirts round her waist in the
same ungraceful but easy fashion as a little girl.
She struggled and panted as she tried to follow
her small guide's active and bird-like movements,
and to retain the thread of the narrative which
Gladys continued to pour forth, without appa-
rently any want of breath from her exertions.
"Come along, Miss Dighton," sounded the
cheerful voice from some far height, where Gladys
retained a most uncertain and coggly footing.
"Once you are up here you will be all right.
This way leads to the secret staircase, by which
the young lady, Leline, escaped with her baby.
Very few know the way, -but I can show it you.
"Oh, Gladys!" cried Florence in despair, "I
can't get up to you there. Are you sure you are
quite safe? I could never climb."
"Safe? Oh, it's perfectly safe," returned the
voice. "Can't you climb? You won't get to the
staircase any other way; and once you're at the
top of 'em you have a lovely view. Of course,"
apologetically, "there are one or two stairs miss-
ing; but what can you expect in a ruin? And
then you can make a good spring if you're worth
anything," in an argumentative tone. The in-
ducements, however, were not sufficiently strong
to encourage Florence to make the attempt; and
indeed she was rather anxious about the little
girl, and begged her to come down. After a little
further parley Gladys obeyed, but somewhat re-
luctantly. "It would have been a triumph for
you, you know," she said regretfully, as she stood
once more on the green grass beside her friend,
"because so few of them can manage the stair-
case; and Captain Vandeleur, who was staying
with us last summer, fell and broke his arm
once when he went up."
This seemed to Miss Dighton anything but an
additional inducement. "Then, Gladys," she said,
"do you not think it might be dangerous for
you? Does your mother know?"
"Mama! Oh no; I never gowiththem, you know.
It isn't dangerous, not the least; Captain Vande-
leur was stupid. No one need fall who takes care.
Well, never mind the staircase; if you come I will
show you Sir Ralph's tomb." There was an utter
absence of any boasting tone over her superior
knowledge and courage about the little girl, so
different from the ordinary child, that Florence
was drawn to her more and more.
How did you come to know all this, Gladys?"
she asked when, the pleasant inspection over, they
rested for a short time on a shady bank before
Gladys looked up with the deep soft expression
in her dark eyes, which so often spoke far more
than all her childish powers of expression. "Ah!"
she said, "it was Captain Harry."
"Yes. Perhaps you don't know him. How differ-
ent he was from the others." The contemptuous
tone was certainly not very complimentary to
"the others." "He was here last summer. He
nearly always took me with him. It was he told
me all about every place round, and taught me
to climb. Ah! he was nice." There was great
depth and heartiness here in spite of the words.
Florence watched her as she clasped her hands
round her knees and continued: "He told me
he once had a little sister like me, and she died.
That was very sad. It was lovely to hear him
talk. He taught me to jump on horseback, and
a great lot of things. Mama said he was a fanatic
or a lunatic or something. He always carried about
a little Bible with him, and read it a great lot.
I thought he was braver and grander than any-
one. I want Baby to be like him. He has gone to
India. How sorry I was."
"Did he read you out of his little book?"
"Yes, some. I loved to hear him read, but I
didn't understand much. I was littler then, of
course. Why, I'm nearly nine now."
"Yes, Gladys, you are nearly nine," Florence
said gravely, putting her arm round the little girl,
" and I want to speak to you of some things you
will understand now. Have you a little Bible,
"No, not of my own. I've a little prayer-book
though, and there are lots of Bibles in the house."
Yes, dear; but I want you to have a little one
of your own as Captain Harry had, and I want
you to read out of it as he did. Do you know
what made your Captain Harry so brave and
"No-but he was."
"It was because he loved and obeyed Jesus,
and took him for his first great captain. He was
a soldier of the cross, and he found all his orders
in his little Bible."
There was a little silence, Gladys was listening
very earnestly. "And you, dear," Miss Dighton
then went on, "you are going away-soon-from
your home into a new strange life, and you
have to take care of Baby and shield him from
troubles; but what will you do, Gladys, when the
troubles come to yourself? Even little girls must
have troubles, dear,-little worries, and crosses,
and trials of temper. How will you find out then
to do right and to know what is right ? You must
do as your Captain Harry did. You must take
Jesus for your captain, and find out his orders
from your little Bible. And you must pray to
him, and ask him to help you in all things, and
give him all your troubles, and then your heart
will be light."
"Pray to him! and give him all my troubles!"
"Yes, little one. You know he is always
""Always? Even here-in the sunlight-now?"
"Yes, dear." Instinctively both looked around
at the calm and lovely scene. Through the foliage
they could see glimpses of meadow-land bathed
in sunlight, and beside them the ruins of the old
castle spoke silently and sadly of the past.
"I like it," said the child at last; "it seems
strange, but it is nicer than church." Then she
looked solemnly at her new friend, "Is he your
captain, Miss Dighton?"
It was an innocent question; yet Florence
coloured, then looked gently at the little girl
"It is always easier to teach than to learn, Gladys.
But yes, he is my captain; though I fear I am
not a very good soldier. But you will be one,
will you not?"
"I must think of it all," said the child steadily.
"You see it is strange, not being in church."
Florence smiled at the grave answer. "Yes,
dear," she said, "think of it; and think also of
these words of his which he spoke to his
disciples when they were troubled: 'Lo, I am
with you always' The earnest little face lighted
as at the sound of familiar music. Oh, I remem-
ber, I remember! Captain Harry used to say that.
Yes, it is beautiful."
"Never forget it, Gladys: he is with you al-
It was time to go back to the horses; indeed
they had left themselves but short time to ride
to Lady Crony's, where they were to have lunch.
Gladys was thoughtful, and did not chatter
much on the way. She seemed to be pondering
with more than a child's earnestness on what she
SOME hours later they were riding home at a
smart trot in the cool of the afternoon. "We
will just get home in time for you to dress for
tea, Gladys," Miss Dighton said; "and I have en-
joyed seeing the ruins very much, thanks to you."
I am very glad. I wonder if Baby has missed
me much. But he is always so good when one
has time to prepare him. Mama has so many
.P.C. calls to make I'm sure she would be en-
gaged all day. I hope she won't be tired," said
Gladys, her gratitude prompting her to most un-
wonted solicitude with regard to her mother, and
which sounded comical to Florence when con-
trasted with the little girl's heretofore most
They were, however, a little late. As they rode
up the avenue they saw groups standing in and
out of the French windows, and a second later Sir
Archie hastened forward, followed closely by Baby
with Florence's little dog clasped uncomfortably
tight in his arms, and as Sir Archie dismounted
Miss Dighton, Gladys slipped swiftly to the
ground and rushed to her brother.
Oh, Sissy! I'm so glad you're back. But me and
the little dog an' Sir Archie has been having such
fun. It's a dear little dog-isn't it, Sir Archie?
and haven't we had fun?"
There was a little fuss and talk while the horses
were led away, and then, much to Gladys' surprise,
Lady Whrenly herself appeared at one of the
windows with a tiny cup and saucer in her hand.
"Come, Florie," she said, "and have some tea
first; I'm sure you're thirsty and tired. You had
better come also, Gladys."
Poor Gladys was so overcome at the unusual
compliment, for never before had she been per-
mitted to enter the drawing-room unless dressed,
that her cheeks out-bloomed the roses, and she
had scaicely a retort for one of the gentlemen
who came to tease her as to the day's exploits.
Baby, in blue plush and point lace, with his
golden curls flying, soon came to her with a inul-
titude of questions, and an amount of information
which he expected her to find very interesting.
"What did you see at the roons, Sissy? Sir
Archie took me to town with him; and mother
was in town, and took me visiting Then Sir Archie
came in the carriage with us, and when we got
home he got me Miss Dighton's little dog. Do
you think it's a pretty dog, Sissy? I do. I
wonder if Miss Dighton has a lot of little dogs
like that at her home. Do you know, Sissy?"
And much more of a like nature, until "Sissy"
finished her tea and left the drawing-room; and
the beautiful little figure and gold curls flitted
away in search of the interesting little dog.
"Lo, I am with you always Over and over
again the little girl kept repeating these words,
as she went back to her nursery and changed her
habit for one of her usual cool holland wrappers.
What beautiful strong sweet words they were!
She felt that as they came back to her with
dim memories, which yet grew clearer as she
thought of her loved and honoured friend. True
to her purpose she sat down at her wide open
window, and with the sweet summer fragrance
coming up to her she tried to "think of it all."
But little children as a rule do not think and
reason, and Gladys' "thinking" was chiefly re-
peating to herself words of Miss Dighton's which
had impressed her.
"Pray to him-give your troubles to him-do
as Captain Harry did-and, 'Lo, I am with you
always' But after all was not this very good
"Let him be my captain," she said at last.
"Oh, yes! I will; and I will try to be his little
soldier. But when? Must I wait till next Sunday
in church, I wonder? I will ask Miss Dighton
when I see her." She had been at her window
some time, and now she felt rested and rose.
"Where is Baby,I wonder? I heard the gong some
time ago. I must go and see."
Her search was not far. She found the little
fellow sitting on their door-step, still devotedly
hugging Miss Dighton's little dog; the poor little
animal having given up protesting as a bad job.
I am going to the hill walk to see the sunset,
Baby,-will you come?" she asked. "Let us put
the poor little dog to bed; you couldn't carry it,
and I'm sure it's tired."
"It's such a dear little dog," he said, resigning
it with a sigh.
Gladys, as she took the little dog to Miss Digh-
ton's maid, remembered Baby's wish at the Wish-
ing-tree, and longed with all her heart for power
to give him what he wanted.
"Ask Mama, Baby," she said when she rejoined
him, and hand in hand they started for the hill
together; "perhaps she could get you a little dog
"-Ah! but it wouldn't be such a dear little dog,"
he said despondently; an' it's name wouldn't be
Fiddle." And he sighed at the thought.
"But you could call it Fiddle, couldn't you?"
He shook his head, as one sadly but firmly con-
vinced. "'Twouldn't be the same, Sister."
Well, I'd ask Mama anyhow," said Gladys en-
couragingly. "Now we must hurry, Baby, or we,
won't see the sunset."
Standing on a bank, leaning against the low
branch of a tree, both children watched the sight
which both instinctively loved; the gorgeous
masses of gold and crimson and purple sink
down, leaving the pale blue summer sky and the
faint silvery stars.
And, as she watched, the light seemed to come
from the very sunset into little Gladys' heart, and
all her thoughts became bright and clear, point-
ing one way. For when little children who can-
not reason open their souls to God, he pours in
light, often, as the sun pours light on the up-
turned faces of the flowers, and then they grow-
the flowers and the souls of the children-right
up to God.
"'Lo, I am with you always Here-now.
Then why should I wait for Sunday or church?
I will be his little soldier now."
A certain awe and grandeur seemed to pass
into the child's soul. She straightened her slight
form and clasped tighter the little hand which
she must guide and guard, and then she looked
down into the lovely little face raised inquiringly
What are you thinking of, Sister, that makes
.you seem.so big and tall?"
"I am thinking of Jesus," she answered point-
ing upward, "and how I will be his soldier. And
you too, Baby; we will be soldiers together, and
Jesus will be our captain."
"Soldiers!" said Baby somewhat dubiously.
"Soldiers have got to fight, Sir Archie told me."
Then suddenly brightening up he added briskly,
"Oh yes, but we're both going to be soldiers.
Well, then, you'll do all the fighting, won't you,
How willingly she would if that were in her
power. The dew was on the grass as they went
slowly back to the house, and one soldier-the
one who did not like fighting-was triumphantly
mounted on the back of the other.
Next morning Gladys lay stretched at full length
under the shade of one of the great trees in the
park with a book, the leaves of which she kept
turning over and over, rather as in search of some-
thing than reading. Twice Baby came to her,
and twice she steadily repulsed him. "Sissy's
looking for something, Baby; as soon as ever she
finds it she'll come."
And with this consolation the little boy was
obliged to depart.
Miss Dighton, passing from the garden to the
house, caught sight of a large sailor hat swinging
to a branch, and going over to investigate, she
found Gladys lying under the tree.
"Ah! Gladys, I was wondering if I should see
you. Are you very busy?" she asked.
Gladys sprang up joyfully. "Oh, Miss Dighton,
I was just wondering if I should get a chance to
see you. I thought you had gone out with Mama.
Pray sit down. Here's a shawl, sit on this, Baby
Miss Dighton sat down. "And what were you
Gladys looked up disconsolately. "This is
Nurse's Bible," she began explanatorily in a dole-
ful tone, "and I've been looking and looking for
those words all morning, and I can't find them;
and I thought it would be full of beautiful things,
but I can't find any, and I don't understand it."
Ah! you must not be discouraged, dear. Have
you thought of it all, then? and have you made
up your mind?"
"Yes, I will be his soldier," said the little girl
softly. "But it is not so easy to find the orders as
"What orders did you want, dear?"
Oh, I don't know; and I thought I could find
these words, 'Lo, I am with you.'"
"Come with me, then; I think I can help you.
All the rest will come easy if you have made up
They went into the house together to Miss
Dighton's rooms; the young lady took from a
drawer two books of medium size, beautifully
bound. "This is a little Bible for you, Gladys,"
she said. I want you to read it, and learn to love
it. And this other book is to help you to do that;
it was prepared for. little ones like you. See,
there is a message, a promise, or an order for
every day in the year, for you from your captain:
one for each day that you may think over and
love; and there is a verse beneath each explaining,
and a few words to tell you the meaning of some
words. Will not that make it easier for you, dear?"
Gladys' face beamed. "Oh, Miss Dighton, how
good you are-such beautiful little books! I will
love them and take care of them. You see, in
church I can't hear anything almost, I am so far
back, and the man speaks so funny; but now I
have the orders here for myself."
Yes. And, little one, day by day, as you try to
love Jesus and follow him, all will become clear
to you. But it is not a light thing, Gladys, that
you have undertaken. It will not do only to say
you are his soldier. You must obey him. 'If a
man love me, let him keep my words,' that is
what he said."
"Oh!" cried Gladys, "a funny soldier I should
be if I did not obey orders. I am going to be a
real soldier, not a make-believe."
Florence looked almost wistfully at the earnest,
eager little face. "And some seed fell upon good
ground," she said to herself. "The message seems
to have brought her nothing but joy. I wish my
heart were only as-trustful as hers."
Gladys had no doubts. She looked at her new
Bible with much pride. "Now," she said "I've a
Bible, and a little prayer-book, and a book of
orders, all for myself; I ought to be a good soldier.
Oh, Miss Dighton, will you show me those words
in my own Bible, please?"
Florence found out the words, and Gladys read
them with glad recognition: "'Lo, I am with you
always, even unto the end of the world.' Well, that
is nice: to the very end of the world. After all,
Edinburgh will not seem too far away now." She
put a mark in at the place, then rose and threw
her arms round her friend. It was good of you,"
she said, kissing her with earnest kisses. "And
you must be a soldier, of course; for you are work-
ing for your captain, and getting more soldiers
for him-I will do it too." The little girl never
guessed what words of comfort she had spoken
to the young lady's earnest but doubting heart.
"And now," said Florence in a lighter tone,
"there is something else I want to talk to you
about. You know I am going away to-morrow?"
Yes; I am so sorry. But we are going in a few
"Well, do you know if Baby would like my
little dog Fiddle?"
Gladysblushed. Shewas a sensitive and delicate-
minded little girl, and she had almost a sense of
guilt that her wish and Baby's should have been
so accurately guessed. She did not speak.
But whether Baby had gone to his mother with
his woe, or even given broader and more direct
hints, it was plain Miss Dighton knew her little
dog was a coveted treasure. She went on, I heard
him admiring it immensely, and I know you
would teach him to be good to it. So, Gladys, I
think I will leave Fiddle behind, and you can
give him to Baby. Don't you think he would like
"Oh, Miss Dighton, I know he would. It seems
quite odd you should want to give it to him;
because-but I will tell you all about it."
She related the story of the Wishing-tree, at
which Florence laughed. "Well, poor little fellow,
I am glad he should have his wish," she said.
" We must get a big pasteboard card, Gladys, and
paint Fiddle's name on it. Don't you think he
will like that?"
"Oh, Miss Dighton, how good you are! Dear
little Baby, how delighted he will be to have his
wish come true."
"Very well. Do you think you could get the
card-board and we will print it now, and you will
take care of it?"
Gladys flew on eager wings to Nurse, and soon
returned to Miss Dighton with the required paper,
on which Florence printed in large letters: "Lost,
Stolen, or Strayed. Whoever finds me must take
good care of me. My name is Fiddle."
"That is splendid. Now for a ribbon, and you
can put this round Fiddle's neck after I am gone.
Why, Gladys, there is the gong for lunch, and I
haven't arranged a single flower. Now I must
ONE chill morning in the end of September
Gladys found herself with her brother, her
maid, and their piles of luggage standing in the
Caledonian Station, feeling so fatigued and weary
as scarcely to have strength left to bid the friends
who brought them good-bye. The fine cold rain
which fell depressed them, and. when they -had
been put into the cab, Baby, who was cross as
well as tired, fell heavily against his sister and
started a long list of wailing complaints. Where's
Fiddle, Sissy? Oh dear, Grayson's crushing him;
you take him, Sister. Oh dear, I wonder is'Puck
quite comfortable. Oh dear, I'm so tired. Look at
the horrid rain, Sissy. Oh dear, isn't it ugly?"
The rattling of the cab, the weight of Baby,
and her own weariness almost overcame the little
girl's usually sunny temper under irritations. To
be cross with Baby was, however, an impossibility.
So she put an arm round him and did her best
to soothe him, while the maid made herself com-
fortable and dozed until the cab stopped at one
of the finest houses in Moray Place. The door was
opened, and the children roused themselves, got
their pets, and entered the house with the maid.
They were shown into a morning-room by a
stolid-looking man, and then it seemed as though
they were forgotten. Weary as they were the
time seemed veiy long to them, and the house
terribly silent. Grayson had once more made her-
self comfortable and was half asleep, and Baby
began to cry. Gladys' spirits sank lower and lower.
At last a maid came, who asked them to follow
her as Miss M'Arthur would see them. Gladys
wiped the little boy's tears, begged him to be
brave, and, administering a poke in a very differ-
ent temper to the drowsy Grayson, followed her
aunt's servant out of the room, and up a wide
flight of stairs, and into a large and very hand-
some room. A lady was seated in an arm-chair
at a fire, so bright and clean that it might have
been a painted one, Gladys thought, but for the
warmth and cheerfulness it diffused around.
Miss M'Arthur merely looked up as the chil-
dren entered, and watched them calmly and coldly
as they advanced up the room.. Tired and travel-
stained as they were they walked gracefully, and
Baby looked lovelier than ever. "Handsome
children, both," was the lady's inward comment.
"Spoilt, too, I can tell at a glance; that won't do
here." No it would not, for Miss M'Arthur was
herself a spoilt child thoroughly matured; and
when there is a grown spoilt child in a house the
little growing ones haven't a chance, you know.
Miss M'Arthur, a daughter of Sir Ralph's step-
father, was a lady who for something over fifty
years had been accustomed to consider herself
first and only; and had not been long in arriving
at the conclusion that nothing else in the world
was of any consequence in comparison. She was
not without good qualities. She was very fond of
her father's stepson, and in spite of her dislike
to children was the first to offer to take care of
Gladys and Bernardin when she heard the
Whrenlys were going abroad. But she was very
selfish; and being very wealthy was arrogant and
overbearing, and ruled a very despot in her own
establishment. Now, there must have been a
good deal of all this in her face; for Gladys no
sooner beheld her than she straightened herself
as stiff as a telegraph-pole, clenched one hand and
grasped Baby tightly by the other. But the
stern face had a very different effect on Baby,
who crouched against his sister and once more
began to cry.
"Decidedly spoilt," said Miss M'Arthur. Then
she held out her hand, "How-are you Gladys?
I am glad to see you. Is this your brother?"
"I am quite well, thank you; but we are both
tired. Won't you shake hands, Baby?"
"No," bawled Baby in a pet.
"Why is he crying? What did you call him?"
"His name is Bernardin, but we always call
"Baby! He is much too big for that. Such a
big boy should be called by his name."
Oh, but it isn't like that," said Gladys eagerly.
"It isn't in a baby-way at all. He used to be called
Bernie when he was little, little; and he couldn't
speak plain, and called it Baby and sometimes
Babe. It's from his name, not baby-way at all."
Miss M'Arthur failed to see the distinction.
"It doesn't matter," she returned with a slight
sneer, "he is too big; I don't like boys to be
childish. You must call him Bernard or Bernardin
"Indeed I sha'n't," said Gladys quickly and
not very respectfully. "I shall always call him
"Gladys!" returned Miss M'Arthur in a tone
of great displeasure, "I hope you are not wilful.
There is only one will in this house; my word is
law. You must learn that at once. Bernardin,
come and shake hands and stop crying; that is
babyish at least."
But Baby declined to do either, and Miss
M'Arthur turned from him with a look of con-
tempt and put some questions to Gladys with
reference to their journey, and their father and
mother. Then she rang the bell, and when the
maid came dismissed them, telling Gladys she
would send for her later in the day; and with a
great sense of relief both children found them-
selves in the lobby, and Baby looked up tearfully
and declared vengefully and paradoxically, "I
ain't a baby at all, and I'll always be Baby.
Sha'n't I, Sissy?"
"I hate her, Sissy. Aren't they going to give
us nothing' to eat?"
"Yes, presently. Don't cry any more, dear
Baby," and choking back something dangerous in
her own throat the little girl trudged up another
flight of stairs.
The cold welcome of her new guardian had
greatly hurt and puzzled the child. Such petty
bickering was quite new to her; she had known
nothing of that in the elegance of her old home.
Her father and mother might have been negli-
gent, but at least they had never tried her temper
with trifling and meaningless contradictions and
vexations. That a lady should take exception at
such a trifle as a child's name puzzled her by its
smallnesssof spirit, and hurt her by its unkindness.
"His own name that we all loved to call him at
home; how unkind of her!" thought the little
girl sadly. And then added in another tone, "I
will always call him Baby."
The .nurseries into which they were shown
were pleasant enough-two rooms opening into
one another with fine wide windows and a good
Baby stopped crying at once at sight of the
breakfast-table, at which Grayson was already
busy preparing coffee and bread and butter with
a strange servant, with whom she was engaged
in earnest conversation, apparently, for she was
wide awake now.
Quite at home on the hearth-rug was Fiddle, at
sight of which Baby was so delighted that he
forgot his fatigue and hunger in his surprise.
"Why, Sister, do look! Fiddle hadn't no ugly lady
to go see, so he's quite happy. Dear, sweet, little
Fiddle!" and he squatted beside him and gathered
the reluctant little animal into fond but uncom-
The Scotch girl gazed at him in deep admira-
tion. Did ye ever see the like? They was tellin'
me below stairs what bonny children they was;
but I never saw a child to match that boy-and
the voice of him, too! Bonny wee thing, I'm sure
he's tired to death. And Miss looks tired enough
too; and the mistress I suppose would keep them
talking to her half an hour, when they should
have been getting their breakfasts and into their
beds. Well, here's everything ready now." She
bustled about good-naturedly, getting everything
for the tired little travellers, and afterwards
helped Grayson to put them to bed, where they fell
asleep without loss of time, and travelled in giant
trains, with cross old maids, on stone rails, back
to the old and now deserted home.
Gladys wakened some hours later with a dim
consciousness that some one was talking not far
off; and her second discovery, which was almost
instantaneous with the first, was that she was
now alone in the bed in which she had fallen
asleep with her arm round Baby. She opened
her eyes wide and looked round, too drowsy and
comfortable to do more, and saw that the room
had evidently been put in order, that is to say,
useful order-garments hung behind-the door, the
half open door of a wardrobe showed Gladys
some well-known frocks, the trunks which had
cumbered the floor were gone, and the whole room
had that air of life about it which only habi-
tation can give. Thoroughly wakened now, and
with all her weariness slept away, our heroine
raised herself on her elbow and looked round, and
decided that she liked the room, and then listened
with that keen expression on her face to the
sounds which came through the wide open door
from the adjoining room. Baby was evidently
holding forth in style, and the Scotch girl, who
had helped Grayson to unpack (during which
proceeding much contemporary history had been
exchanged between them), was led completely
captive by his Southern sweetness, and every now
and then called upon Grayson, who was present,
to join her in her admiration.
"I don't like her," came in distinct tones. "I
don't believe she's my aunt, she's ever so ugly."
There was some faint expostulation here, and
some laughing too, and an exchange in an under-
tone between Grayson and Maggie.
"Is Sister sleeping still?" demanded Baby next;
"I want to go and see. Just look at Fiddle, he
ain't been sleeping a bit the whole time. I was so
sleepy; I'm not sleepy now. Is Sister 'wake, I
At this Gladys sprang from the bed, and
laughing ran to the open door. Yes, I'm awake
now, Baby, and just coming. What o'clock is it,
Grayson, I wonder?"
It was well on in the afternoon; and, with the
remark that it felt funny to wake in the afternoon,
Gladys turned back to the bed-room and dressed
She had not quite finished when Grayson
appeared with the information that Miss M'Arthur
had gone out driving, and if they would promise
not to be troublesome Maggie would take them
through the house.
This was a delightful prospect to both children,
restless and unsettled as they were, and in the
shortest possible space of time they were follow-
ing their good-natured cicerone into that land of
wonder, which every new house is to infant minds.
Fiddle, borne aloft in his master's arms, was
evidently quite above being moved by anything
So they went from room to room, lobby to
lobby, upstairs and downstairs, the children draw-
ing comparisons with home, far from favourable to
Moray Place. The furniture was handsome but
heavy and sombre, and an air of gloom pervaded
the empty rooms in spite of their size and
"Oh, how different it is from home!" the
children exclaimed again and again. And Baby
declared he liked the kitchen best.
A clock struck five as they were returning from
the latter region, and Maggie told them they must
hurry, as their tea would be ready and Miss
M'Arthur might be expected any moment. And
sure enough, they had scarcely reached the
entrance-hall when the bell rang loudly, and
Maggie in great terror picked Baby up in her
arms, and, bidding Gladys fly," panted up the
stairs with as much tremor and expedition as
though some monster were at her heels.
Gladys snatched up Fiddle, and stifling her
amusement until she reached the first landing,
paused there, and heard the footman open the
door and then her aunt's voice: "Give the things
to Quivers, Macintosh, and send her to me."
"What a horrid voice!" thought the child, and
she turned and went after Maggie with a sense
of relief at leaving it behind.
Tea was ready in the nursery, and the children
were in good spirits after their travels and race;
but in the midst of their talk and laughter a
damper fell. Quivers appeared, bearing a message
that Miss M'Arthur would see Miss Whrenly
after tea, and Mr. Bernard was to go to bed at
Both Gladys and Baby looked rebellious. The
little boy had not been accustomed to go to bed
so early, and resented such a baby-hour;" and
Gladys was not overjoyed at the prospect of
meeting her aunt again.
So tea was finished very slowly, and it was not
until a second peremptory message had come to
the nursery, that Gladys, accompanied by Baby
as far as the stairs, went down to her aunt's
Miss M'Arthur had taken tea, and was resting
before dressing. Her first remark when Gladys
entered was an inquiry as to why she was not
Gladys apologized, and explained that she only
dressed when she went to the drawing-room.
"In future always dress," said Miss M'Arthur;
" I may send for you or I may not. If I should I
would not like my friends to see you as you are
Gladys made no remark, but she sighed. Miss
M'Arthur continued: "I have engaged a good
governess for you in the meantime. She will
teach you both, and walk with you; but I do not
approve of resident governesses."
Gladys felt sincerely thankful.
"She will be here every morning at nine
o'clock. You will breakfast at eight; to rise early
is the best thing in the world for young children."
Miss M'Arthur herself never breakfasted before
eleven o'clock on any account.
"You must always obey your governess and
nurse. I must hear no quarrelling or disturbance.
I hope you do not quarrel with your brother." At
this Gladys' disdain was so great that she smiled.
"I will not have any quarrelling," continued the
aunt more severely, mistaking the smile. "My
word is law here, and must be obeyed at once.
If Bernard is troublesome there is a cane in the
Up to this Gladys had been sitting watching
her, aunt, with quiet wonder at the orders and
Miss M'Arthur's manner, but now her eyes flashed,
and rising from her seat she exclaimed indig-
nantly: There may be fifty canes in the house,
but no one would dare to touch Baby-no one
And as she stood with clenched hands and
angry eyes fearlessly regarding the wrathful lady,
each recognized in the other an antagonistic
spirit, and the unspoken and, for Gladys, almost
instinctive thought was "Who will be strongest?"
After a pause Miss M'Arthur spoke very sternly:
"I am very much shocked and surprised at
your disrespectful and rude behaviour; and on
the very day of your arrival! I wonder very
much what my brother would say! I see what
you require, and what you shall have-a strict
eye and hand upon you. Go now, and consider
yourself in disgrace until you can apologize for
your rudeness; and remember, you are always to
go to bed at half-past eight." And Gladys went
away with a weight upon her heart which op-
pressed her heavily. Unkindness and neglect she
had known, but then she had recognized it and
made allowances for it in the freedom of her
home; but this was unkindness which called it-
self justice, against which there was to be no
appeal, and from which there was no escape, and
which she was bound to obey. She felt she
could not go back to the nursery, where Baby
was playing with Fiddle and eager for a story.
The tears came to her eyes when she thought of
him. Would anyone dare to touch him; beautiful,
frail Baby, whom she had promised her mother
to shield! Her heart burned as she thought,
SWhat could I do against them all? Oh, I hate
her, I hate her. What would pretty little
Mama think?" "Mama" gained immensely by
comparison with Aunt." "But they would
Tempted by a half open door at the end of the
corridor she entered the room, and shutting the
door after her went over to the window, with
some vague idea of soothing her mind and the
turmoil she was in. With every moment she grew
more spiritless and weary, and her prospects
seemed darker and sadder. Breakfast at eight
and lessons at nine-always to sit in a tight dress
after tea-no pony, or trees to climb, no anything
nice-and that hateful-oh!-but they-she-
never would dare! Such a big dreary house, and
we must never go from our own rooms, and no
one we love, and-ah!"
What was it came through all the complaining
like a ray of sunlight, or a strain of sweet music,
and changed in a moment the expression of the
little girl's face ?.
"'Lo, I am with you always Oh, how could I
forget so soon! Did I not promise to be His soldier!
Won't He take care of Baby!"
With a glad and -trustful smile on her little
face now, she knelt down by the window and
buried her dark head in her hands.
It was nearly an hour later when she went
upstairs. Baby was in bed and asleep, and it was
time for her to go to bed.
She went into the tiny room, a dressing-room
off her own, where her brother lay in his little
bed. She looked tenderly at him, then bent and
"'Lo, I am with you always With you and
with me, Baby. Why should I be afraid?"
A FEW days passed, and the children fell into
their new places and became accustomed
to their new lives as children so quickly learn to
do. The servants, glad to have children in the
house, made much of them, and foolishly, though
unintentionally, rather encouraged them to rebel
against what they called their hardships, instead
of helping them to obey their aunt.
This was especially bad for Baby, making him
more dependent than ever; and Gladys at first,
in her gratitude for all kindness to him, could not
see this. The little girl herself soon found that,
in spite of her many "orders" and "law," Miss
M'Arthur personally troubled herself little about
them as a rule, and when their governess was
gone they could occupy their time pretty much
as they liked.
Miss Anderson the governess was a middle-
aged lady, rather cold and unsympathetic, expect-
ing them always to do their lessons perfectly, and
almost never speaking to them during their mid-
day walk or at meal-times. At first Gladys used
to petition to be taken to the various places of
historical interest of which she had heard. Miss
THE WINTER. 87
Anderson said no; and all the memory Gladys
retained of these walks was "houses and houses
and the gardens of the squares." Only once, and
then by Miss M'Arthur's special command, were
they taken down Princes Street.
Miss Anderson came at nine o'clock in the
morning, and did not leave until five. Day after
day-sums, history, geography, French, walk,
dinner, preparation; and then how thankfully
they saw her depart, and hastened to wash away
ink-stains and tear-stains, and watch, with great
sighs of thankfulness that the long weary day
was over, for Maggie and the consoling tea.
Their life was very dull and quiet, and a hard
change from the light and freedom and gaiety of
their English home. There was a coldness and
calmness about Miss Anderson which chilled
away any thought of merriment in lesson hours;
and once when Baby in a moment of mischievous
exuberance squeezed his wet sponge over his
unfinished sums, and afterwards declined to say
he was sorry, she punished him so severely that
Gladys, with a horrified memory of her aunt's
words, and noticing how strong Miss Anderson
looked, besought him not to do it again, and
strove herself in every way to set him a good
Sunday was if possible a more trying day than
any of the others. Miss M'Arthur, as I said, was
religious-a rigid Presbyterian. She went to
church herself twice every Sunday, and to a meet-
ing in the evening. The children were taken to
church twice, and were made to join a select Sun-
day class; besides which they had long Bible lessons
to learn at home. These Miss Anderson heard on
Being a soldier in these times was hard work
for Gladys. At first she had thought she would
learn, and get help at church, and hailed with
delight the idea of the Sunday-school; but she
did not understand the Scotch service, and fared
little better in the class, and in both places her
mind was kept very anxious lest Baby should
fidget, or lest Miss M'Arthur should see him if he
did. She feared her aunt; but it was not for
But she had the true soldier spirit, and troubles
only made her firmer and stronger and more in-
dependent; and in each of the long and toilsome
days was one happy time, drawn out as long as
possible. This came between Babe's bed-time and
It was not only a pretty sight, but amusing
and instructive, to see how the little girl spent
this hour. When Bernardin with much difficulty
had been got to bed, Gladys with an armful of
photographs, her Bible, and text-book came and
seated herself on his bed.
"Are you sleepy, Baby?"
"No," indignantly. "I hate going to bed so
"Have you said your prayers?"
"And you said 'God bless Mama?'"
"Now you must kiss the photos-'good-night.'"
Some dozen photographs of the beautiful Lady
Whrenly, in all imaginary costumes and attitudes,
were solemnly kissed, and then Baby lay down
once more, and Gladys renewed her catechism.
"You remember Mama, Baby?"
"Wasn't she lovely?"
"Won't you always love her with all your
might, and never forget her?"
"Now I must tell you about her."
At first while her mother was still fresh in
Gladys' memory these anecdotes were veracious
and simple enough; but as the winter months
went on, and Lady Whrenly grew dim in the
minds of her little children, the anecdotes grew
wonderfully, and the mother became in the lov-
ing and somewhat imaginary reminiscences of
the little girl, the most beautiful, tender, loving
mother that ever children had. And thus in the
young mind of the boy a fair and lovely ideal
was formed and grew, and the far and distant
" Mama," became the fairy-mother whose coming
home would make life a dream of joy.
By and by, as he listened to Gladys' flowing
accounts of the dear English home, and the free-
dom and happiness there, and all Mama's" won-
derful deeds, his eyes grew heavy and he drifted
easilyfrom the waking dreams to the sleeping ones,
holding his sister's hand.
Then the ,letters and the photographs were
carefully put away, and the little Bible opened
and read, and then the little guide-book, and lastly,
kneeling beside the sleeping brother, the little
girl prayed her earnest childish prayers that
she might be a true soldier, and know always the
right thing to do.
Then at half-past eight she went quietly to
The winter passed in unbroken monotony.
The children had no share in the Christmas fes-
tivities. They received a number of handsome
presents, and these diverted them for a short
time; and the kindly servants did their best to
give them a treat, and begged leave (and got it)
to take them down Princes Street. This, and the
three days' holidays, made a little break; but after
that the long, long weeks passed solemnly, and
oh so slowly! and all exactly the same.
Watching for the foreign letters was Gladys
one interest, and they were read and re-read to
Baby, with copious comments, until they fell to
At last one day there was no fire in the
nursery, and when Gladys asked for an explana-
tion the maid said, Why, Miss, it's most summer;
you don't need a fire no longer. 'Tisn't cold."
"Neither it is," said Gladys uninterestedly.
"But summer-it doesn't feel like summer, and I
never noticed the spring at all." And she
thought of the long sweet springs in England;
the hunting for first snowdrops, first primroses,
all the firsts of the early flowers. And now it
was almost summer, and she had not even noticed
the leaves come on the trees. She turned away
from the empty grate with a great sigh.
The long winter had told upon her in a way
she never guessed; and had she looked into the
looking-glass with a scrutinizing eye, she would
have noticed a perceptible difference in the colour
of her once so rosy cheeks.
THE summer was spent by the children at
Portobello. They were in lodgings there
with a maid, Miss M'Arthur having gone visiting
in the Highlands.
Baby was perfectly happy, having no lessons,
or indeed anything disagreeable to do; and Gladys
was happy because he was happy. He soon
regained his failing appetite, and his laugh was
as merry as ever; but there was a sad and
subdued look about the little girl which the long
summer of freedom on the yellow sands scarcely
chased away. The truth was, the child-mind
was all puzzled about things right and wrong,
and the shadow of a great fear for Baby's sake
always hung over her, and she had no one to turn
to in her perplexity. Instinctively she felt the
servants, kind as they were, could not understand
or help her. Her little books and her mother's
letters were her great sustainers. If ever a little
girl tried hard to grope her way, through the
mist and twilight of her childish mind along the
path of right, it was Gladys. Often she was very
frightened, very weary, almost despairing, but
she never once thought of turning back. She
had no one to speak cheering and encouraging
words to her; but the beautiful light from God
was in her heart, and she knew that it was light,
and with all her childish strength she strove to
make it shine.
To make Baby happy, to make him forget all
darker memories, to bring back the sweet con-
fident and winning manner which he had lost
under the stern rule of the governess, and, above
all, to write to her mother of him and to tell him
of his mother, these to her were solemn duties,
and she performed them well. Her letters to
Lady Whrenly showed a motherly solicitude
about her brother that was pathetic; there was
hardly ever a word about herself in any of them.
By the end of September they were all back in
town at work again; the anxious look was deeper
on Gladys' little face, and Baby was quiet and
dull. The weather was very cold, and there was
every appearance of a long early winter.
Though the children had now been a year with
their aunt, they felt no more at home with her
than during the first week after their arrival,
Once or twice they had been brought downstairs
to see visitors or old friends of their father; but
as they had both been very much admired, Miss
M'Arthur (though she was not displeased at the
admiration) would not have them often. Admira-
tion was bad for children, she said. They had
also been invited to some juvenile festivities; but
Miss M'Arthur did not approve of this either, and
the invitations were declined. So what wonder
then, when their lives in the beautiful city were
so dull and cheerless, that their hearts went ever
more lovingly to the beautiful English home: to
Baby now a dim but glorious vision, a fairy-land
which the future was to realize.
One morning in October a stately message
came for Gladys. Swift ablutions and a clean
pinafore caused a short delay, and then Gladys
went downstairs to her aunt's morning-room.
The interview was destined to begin with a
calm and end with a storm. Miss M'Arthur was
wont to make the same curious mistake as Lady
Whrenly did, and speak to Gladys as though she
were grown-up. The little girl fully appreciated
this, and her firm and confident answers and bright
determined eyes, whenever she instinctively felt
a contest was coming on, were in the greatest
contrast to her habitually anxious wistful look.
"I have been considering," said Miss M'Arthur,
"whether it would not be a good thing for you
to go to boarding-school this winter." Gladys
showed no alarm; considering was not a danger-
ous word with her aunt. "But I have decided,"
continued the lady, that another winter of home-
life "-she did not in the least mean to be satirical
-" will not be bad for you. Miss Anderson tells
me you are progressing in most branches, and
that you are studious and obedient. I am very
glad to hear it."
These gracious and condescending words were
the first commendation Gladys had ever received
from her aunt, and she was pleased with them.
A beautiful frank smile came to her face, and
Miss M'Arthur seeing it, made a half pause before
"I think, therefore, that another winter with
Miss Anderson will be good for you; but for
She was obliged to pause again, which she did
sternly, for Gladys gave a little start and cry, and
her face changed sadly. Anxiety, anger, fear, and
a terrible sense of helplessness were all there. She
did not speak.
"Bernard," continued Miss M'Arthur, "is not
doing well. Miss Anderson tells me he idles away
his time, and is not making any advance at all.
This is very bad."
Gladys listened on thorns, her startled eyes on
her aunt's face.
"I have therefore decided that school is the
best thing for him, and I will send him shortly;
a good boys' school."
A boys' school for Baby!" cried Gladys now,
in a tone of passionate resistance. It would kill
him! I will not let him go! Mama gave him to
me; I will write to Mama! I will take him away!"
she continued wildly. "He is only seven-a baby,
and not strong! He was always afraid of boys!
Mama never would allow it-never! How could
you think of such a cruel thing?"
"How dare you speak to me in such a way?"
cried Miss M'Arthur, and with all the unreasoning
anger of an old spoilt child she poured forth on
the little girl a storm of utterly irrelevant and
very angry words, which it would serve no good
purpose for me to put down here. Gladys let
the storm fall upon her in silence, but far from
alarmed, and when at last Miss M'Arthur paused
breathless she said firmly, Aunt, Baby must not
go to school. Mama would not allow it if she knew.
He is too young and too delicate, and I know it
will hurt him. Let him stay with me and I will
teach him myself. Oh!" she said, pleading in her
earnestness, "I know he will learn from me, and
it would break his heart and mine if he were sent
Miss M'Arthur ought to have been touched, but
she was not; she was all in arms for her own
insulted dignity, and determined Gladys should
"Nonsense!" she said harshly. "This is the
result of the way you have been spoiled, especially
Bernard. Go back to your lessons now, and send
your brother to me."
"What are you going to do to him?" cried
Gladys, whose mind was in such a confused and
indignant state against her aunt that she would
have believed her capable of anything at that
"Do as you are told," said Miss M'Arthur
sharply; and Gladys, choking with indignation,
left the room.
Her words had their effect upon her aunt, how-
ever, to this extent, that instead of sending the boy
toFettes College or Loretto, as she at first intended,
she concluded to send him to a private school, for
a year at least. Having made up her mind on
this point, she sat frowning and stern awaiting
the little boy's appearance.
He was a long time coming; but at last there
was a bustling outside the door, the subdued sound
of voices, and then the door opened and Bernardin
The tall slight figure in man-o'-war suit, the
abundant silky golden ringlets, the almost perfect
little face, the pathetic little mouth and great
dark eyes, full at present of fear and dislike, all
formed a strikingly beautiful picture.
Why, he is as tall as many boys of ten," said
Miss M'Arthur to herself in a tone of justification.
" And he is too big for all that hair," she added,
with small appreciation of the golden crown.
"Come here, Bernard," she said aloud.
"You are now too old a boy to remain any
longer with a governess, and I am going to send
you to school, where you will be with other boys
and learn to be clever." All this she said in a
rather gracious and conciliatory tone; Baby only
"You will have other nice little boys to play
with, and a nice master to teach you to be a good
boy." Baby frowned. "You will go there in a
few weeks; but you will get home every Saturday
to see your sister, if you are a good boy."
Still the child never spoke, and Miss M'Arthur,
at first pleased, became irritated. "Come, Bernard,
have you lost your tongue? Where are your man-
ners? Why do you not speak?"
There was a brief silence, and then the great
house resounded with yells, which prove abun-
dantly that whether Baby had lost his tongue or
not his lungs were in excellent order. Miss
M'Arthur tried to scold; she might as well have
scolded the hurricane. Then most unwarily she
attempted a little shaking, viciously administered,