Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Title Page
 Sweet spring-time
 "When we were young"
 Lottie's half-sovereign
 Which was the bravest?
 The angel unawares
 Fanny's fancies
 Back Cover

Title: Sweet spring-time
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00081237/00001
 Material Information
Title: Sweet spring-time
Physical Description: 1 v. (unpaged) : ill. (some col.) ; 17 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Miller, Thomas, 1807-1874
Lydon, A. F ( Alexander Francis ) ( Illustrator )
Whymper, Elijah, fl. 1848-1863 ( Engraver )
Friston, David Henry ( Illustrator )
Groombridge and Sons ( Publisher )
Publisher: Groombridge and Sons
Place of Publication: London
Publication Date: [1892?]
Subject: Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Seasons -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Love -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Children's stories   ( lcsh )
Children's stories -- 1892   ( lcsh )
Bldn -- 1892
Genre: Children's stories   ( lcsh )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
Statement of Responsibility: by Thomas Miller ; and other stories.
General Note: Date of publication from inscription.
General Note: Frontispiece, by F. Lydon, printed in colors; other illustrations engraved by E. Whimper (Whymper) after D.H. Friston..
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00081237
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002234366
notis - ALH4785
oclc - 191867831

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Title Page
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Sweet spring-time
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
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    "When we were young"
        Page 53
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    Lottie's half-sovereign
        Page 91
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    Which was the bravest?
        Page 137
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    The angel unawares
        Page 184
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    Fanny's fancies
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    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
Full Text


6ZaUi? d %7/f










I II. I r




I -i:'i- i ,.'1 HILLE R.

;"* .- l,_,:r,., *-,t_,,tl ;- ,.t tiu n,:.l, "I O.

what a pretty place !" had you
only seen it in Sweet Spring-time, when all the orchard
trees were powdered with blossoms, and there was a noise
of rooks high up among the tall elm trees. Then there
was the old hall, which you could see as you looked
through the quaint iron scroll-work of the park gates
which swung on the tall red-brick pillars where two
grim griffins kept watch, and seemed to look down upon
you savagely with their dead, stony eyes, making yov
feel thankful that they were not alive. There was the
church, too, with its strong, square tower, so ancient
that no record remained to tell in what century it was
built, though there were monumental brasses let into the
hoary walls about the altar, that dated as far back as the
days of the Crusaders. Then there was Netherby


Grange, a large, old, rambling farmhouse, which was first
built early in the reign of Elizabeth, and in which the
Lords of the Manor had lived up to the time of George
II., when the last heir was borne to the family vault,
Sthe estate thrown into Chancery, then sold to Squire
i indmarsh, with no better title than what the court
rave. O what delightful reading a good topographical
iork, all about the pretty village of Netherby would be
telling us who lived in the Hall, and who in the Grange,
and who inhabited those old timbered-tenements that
are still standing, and sat in the richly-carved oaken
pews of that ancient church, in the centuries that have
departed. They have gone! and "their place knoweth
them no more for ever," though the pale golden prim-
roses yet bloom, and the deep-dyed bluebells still wave
in the wind, and the purple violets betray their hiding
places by their delicious perfume, in the same spots
where, in Sweet Spring-time, those who are gone once
gathered them. Though the Hindmarshes had been
farmers in Netherby for above three hundred years-as the
old parish registers kept in the iron-bound oaken chest
in the church proved-yet they were never called Squires
until they purchased the Grange estate. The old family,
living at the Hall in the park, had borne the title of
Baronets ever since their ancestor purchased his knight-
hood of King James, who would have sold the same
honour to a chimney-sweep had he brought the purchase-
money, without even washing the soot from his black
hard-working hands. As for the long-since extinct race
of the ancient Netherbys-from whom the village, no
doubt, derived its name-there was no record remaining,
excepting a few monumental brasses, and the ruins of
a castle on the hill, to tell of the good or evil they had


done in the days of their power. Bat it is Squire
Hindmarsh of the Grange-as the wealthy farmer was
called-and his son Harry, to whom we must now turn
our attention.
Everybody who knew him liked Harry Hindmarsh.
There was something so open, and cheerful, and sincere,
about the lad, that all felt in a moment he was just what
he looked. His was one of those countenances that
shine with the light of truth; there is a brightness about
such faces, especially in the eyes, which at a glance pro-
claim that falsehood has no abiding place there. Only
to think a lie, without giving it utterance, would cause
such eyes to droop and become clouded, and cover such
open features with the burning blush of shame. His
father was a stern, cold, upright, proud, and, many said,
unfeeling man. He had never exchanged a word,
good nor bad, with his sister since she married an un-
fortunate young farmer, who was compelled to work as
a common farm-labourer at the period of which we are
writing. Not even when he buried his beautiful young
wife, and he walked side by side with his sister at the
funeral, did Squire Hindmarsh speak to her one word.
He never once objected to her engagement, while all
looked bright and prosperous that surrounded her in-
tended husband; it was because she continued faithful
and married him after the clouds of adversity had drifted
over and darkened his prospects, that caused Squire
Hindmarsh to turn his back on his truthful and devoted
sister. Her husband's father had died suddenly, and
never made known to his son that there was a heavy
mortgage on their little freehold. She might have been
the Lady of Netherby Hall, if she would have accepted
the hand of the young Baronet, but Amy Hindmarsh


refused; then he foreclosed-for his father had advanced
the money-showing his savage white teeth as he passed
her ruined lover, and leaving her, as he said, to marry
a beggar."
Squire Hindmarsh and his L..-:-hearted sister were
married in the same year. She went to the altar with the
man she had pledged her faith to, with only a prospect
of poverty before her, because she believed by doing her
duty she could make him happier than lie ever could be
unless she became a sharer in his troubles. Her brother
led to the altar a beautiful young heiress, who by her
death added twenty thousand pounds to his already
ample fortune, bequeathing half that amount to her son
Harry when he came of age, free from his father's control
in any way, according to her marriage settlement. Harry
Hindmarsh and Jane Hartwell were born in the same
spring-time-the son of the brother the heir of wealth,
the daughter of the sister the child of loving poverty,
and not the less adored because her parents were poor.
During the lifetime of Mrs. Hindmarsh she scarcely ever
allowed a week to pass without visiting Mrs. Hartwell,
her husband's sister, and taking Harry with her, so that
the little cousins became friends from the time they
commenced to run. Whatever objection the wealthy
farmer might have to these visits, he kept to himself;
for he well knew that his wife would have her own way
in matters which she considered to be right and con-
sistent with her duty.
So Harry and Jane-for she was named after Harry's
mother -grew up side by side, played together, and
rambled whithersoever they pleased, as soon as they
were big enough to be trusted out by themselves; for
here was but little danger to fear in the green lanes and


pleasant footpaths that went winding in and out every-
way through the quiet fields around Netherby. By the
time they were eight or nine years of age, they knew
almost every warm and shady nook, and sloping sunny
embankment for three or four miles around the village,
where the flowers peeped out earliest under the primrose-
coloured skies of Sweet Spring-time. They clapped
their little hands with delight when they found the red
dead-nettle in bloom, often before the winter snow had
melted; and as the good curate had presented Harry
with a pretty magnifying-glass, he was able to show
Jane those rich, ruby tints, which lie like jewels on a bed
of velvety down, and soft as the hue of the blush-rose, in
its beautiful flowers, which too many consider only an un-
sightly weed. Then Harry would ask her, as she peeped
through the tiny glass, how she should like a frock of
such bright and gaudy colours, and she would reply
that such a splendid garment would only become the
queen of the fairies." Beautiful, also, did the many-
petalled star-shaped chickweed appear, nestling in its
little green calyx like a bird with its white plumes out-
spread, as it crept timidly from out the last fringe of
snow; and late in the spring theyknew where to search
for the large mouse-ear chickweed, which often bears
blue or crimson flowers, and hangs down gracefully in
long trails when planted in pots, which Jane well knew
how to manage. The good curate, who was their tutor,
had told them how it seeds and flowers six or seven
times in the course of a year, and that though only con-
sidered a simple weed, it belongs to the grand family of
stichworts, that grow so tall, and make quite a light
under the hedgerows with their large white silvery-
looking flowers as spring draws nearer to the flowery


gates of summer. Long before a primrose had opened,
they also gathered the handsome blue periwinkle, that
looks like a convolvulus before its twisted buds unfold;
or this, though a rather scarce wildflower, grew plenti-
fully on the south banks of Netherby Common, and wai
often in bloom before that earliest of all builders, the
raven, began to make its nest.
What a common that was to ramble over! so vast
that you could scarcely see across it; and there a great
battle had been fought in former times, and many a
rusted weapon, used in ancient warfare, had been found
there by the labourers while deepening the drains. Oh,
what a shout Jane gave when she first discovered a large
bed of pale golden celandines, as she called on Harry to
come and look at the great buttercups she had seen;
not then knowing it would be full two months before a
yellow buttercup could be found in flower. What a
summer look the large bright green leaves of the celan-
dine gave to that embankment, for it was only the end
of rainy February when she first saw that bed of golden
bloom, though the gorse had already begun to hang its
thorns with beautifully basket-shaped and bellied flowers.
But the first primrose-buds, just peeping from out their
tiny hoods of green, which they seemed to have drawn
closely around them to keep out the cold, pleased Jane
the most, for she liked the pretty name; and when
Harry told her that he had heard the curate say, if the
stalk was only long enough to push itself out like th-
pretty cowslip, instead of only one flower, the primrose
would be a large truss of bloom on a single stalk like
the polyanthus, which grew in his father's garden. Jano
wished it had grown so, and wondered why it had not;
and Harry did not understand enough of botany to tell


her why it did not carry all its flowers on one stalk, like
the cowslip. Then they examined the leaves of the
primrose through their wonderful glass, and Jane said
they were like a field she had seen covered all over with
molehills, which were green with grass, for such they
really appeared, so filled with hills and hollows, whick
Harry said must be rough travelling for the little insects
that went over them, and which were so small that they
could not be discovered by the naked eye. In low-
lying shady places they came upon great patches of
blue-bells, that almost seemed like another sky, as they
lay beneath the trees, while beyond, the beds of prim-
roses appeared like streaks of sunshine-a blue sky with
golden clouds curtaining the earth, and looking too
beautiful to tread upon. And the first time Harry and
Jane discovered those far-stretching beds of mingled
blue-bells and primroses, they stood silent for some
moments, hand in hand, as if their speaking might
break the charm that seemed to reign in silence over that
enchanted Land of Flowers.
The woodmen, laborers, ploughmen, shepherds,
bark-peelers, and all such as were employed in out,
of-door work around the pastoral neighbourhood ot
Netherby, knew Harry and his pretty cousin Jane, as
well as they knew the road to the village church, and
delighted in telling the children where they had dis-
covered a nest, or come upon a bed of early-blowing
flowers ; so that Harry had only to ask, and they directed
him to secluded places, whexe the first violets were in
bloom, where lilies-of-the-valley hung out their ivory
urns, and whole armies of beautiful anemones nodded
their heads in the March winds.
Mrs. Hindmarsh was an indulgent mother-and


almost as fond of a rural ramble, when the spring days
were mild and warm, as the children-and had many a
time been their companion when they visited the hidden
nooks and secluded corners where the rarest wildflowers
were only to be found. When God had called her away
and numbered her amongst His angels, the appearance
of Harry again recalled her image, as she had moved
noiselessly about among the poor cottagers, holding
him kindly by the hand; for she dealt out her charity
like the rain, which falleth alike on the just and on the
unjust; and her calm forgiving eye could not look on
tearless, and see a poor family starve, through the mis-
conduct of a vicious father. There were drunkards, and
poachers-men who were ever breaking the laws, who
could never forget what she had done for them and
their families, and who would have laid down their lives
for Harry, only for his gentle mother's sake. His father
they feared, for he was never backward in enforcing the
law; and many were bold enough to say, that but for
Harry and Jane, whom everybody loved, he would have
suffered, either in person or property, for having caused
so many of these lawless men to be committed to
prison at one time or another. There was a gipsy
named Black Boswell, who swore a wicked oath, that
when he got out of prison he would carry off Harry; and
there were rough men of Netherby who also vowed, that
if the gipsy ever dared to show his face within ten miles
of the neighbourhood after having uttered such a threat,
they would leave him in such a condition that he would
never quit it again, unless carried off on the shoulders
of his tribe. And they would have kept their word.
Through conversing with such men as these, who
passed their days in the open air, and knew more about


the habits of birds, beasts, and insects, than can ever be
known by the in-dwellers of cities, excepting through
books, Harry became a good naturalist before ho had
attained his fourteenth year. He knew how the birds
lived that ndver quit our island, for he had watched
them in their haunts, before the trees showed a sign of
spring, and while the insects lay wrapped up in their
winter sleep. He had seen them foraging among the
dead grass and the withered bushes, hunting about
among mouldering walls, and in the hollows of decayed
trees; watched the water-wagtail perching about spring-
heads, where a few gnats were on the wing, and seen
the pretty titmouse draw the long straws out of the
thatched roofs of cottages and corn-stacks, to feed upon
the insects that were hiding underneath. From out the
moist moss, from under the sheltering hedges, he had
startled them; had seen the blackbirds and thrushes
dart out of stables, cart-sheds, and cow-houses, when
there was not even a bud on the early elder, nor a sil-
very catkin on the willow, and he knew they visited
these out-houses in search of food. Before March was
a week old, and when only little rounded buds made a
faint show of green on the hedges, he would show Jane
the blackbirds' and thrushes' nests he had found, and if
he could make an opening through the branches, get her
to look at the inside of the nests, that i-ere as round,
and smooth, and hard as a basin; for these early-building
birds make quite a wall of hard cement, so that the
chilly spring-winds cannot blow upon their young, when
they nestle at the bottom of their hard-set nests. Both
Harry and Jane loved to look at the little birds that
remain with us all the winter, such as the tiny wren,
and prettily-marked titmouse, and thought how brave.


hearted they must be to stop here through all the cold
season, when birds six times their size fly away to seek
warmer climates. And when they heard their sweet
voices singing in the spring, long before the birds of
passage had arrived, Jane would say, If I knew what
food they liked best, and could find plenty of it, I would
get all I could to throw to them before the other birds
arrived, for I am sure they deserve it for staying with
us." Nor could the tender-hearted little maiden under-
stand why they did not pick up the bread-crumbs and corn
she threw down for them in the warm spring days, as
they had done a few weeks before, until Harry showed
her what quantities of insects were then humming in
the air, and pointed to where the chickweed and ground-
sel were already in flower, and the early grasses begin-
ning to seed.
They were returning from a long morning stroll in
Sweet Spring-time, and loitering every now and then on
their way home, as they crossed Netherby Common-
watching some old woman in her red cloak as she passed
with a basket on her head, or a shepherd lad driving
his lambs before him, or some light cart, or farmer as
he trotted by, all on their way to the little town, two or
three miles beyond the common, for it was market-day,
-both of them merry and light-hearted-when they
stopped suddenly to listen to the singing of a bird.
That is a blackcap," said Harry, the first we have
heard this spring. Old John King, who knows all
about birds, says it is the first that crosses the sea.
There it is, Jane, on the end of that branch. What a
funny little fellow he looks in that black-wig, which
seems too big for him by half. Look how he shakes his
pretty throat."


What a sweet singer he is !" replied Jane, standing
to listen with her head a little aside. "Don't speak
loud, Harry. Oh! how delicious those low notes sound !
I am sure the nightingale has no notes so low and sweet
as those. I could stand and listen all day to such
music. How happy it seems! How I should like it!
and yet it would be a pity to keep it prisoner in a
While they stood listening so intently to the song
of the blackcap near the guide-post, they paid no re-
gard to the ringing of a horse's hoofs, that came up at r
smart trot, until the rider drew his rein suddenly and
pulled up close beside them.
"What are you doing here, Harry, so far from
home ?" said the horseman, in rather a stern voice.
Harry looked up suddenly, with his open happy face,
and saw it was his father, on his way to the little
market-town. "We have been getting blue-bells and
primroses in the old park closes, father," said Harry,
while Jane hung down her head and blushed.
I think you might be better employed," said Ith
father, "and find plenty of such common flowers as
those nearer home."
But there are none so tall and large as these,
father, anywhere nearer Netherby," replied Harry,
holding up his hand, which was filled with those beauti-
ful wild flowers, many of the blue-bells full a foot long.
"They are very pretty," he replied, coldly. Then,
giving his horse the rein, lie pursued his journey with-
out uttering another word.
Like birds who cease from singing, the instant they
see the broad-winged hawk hovering in the air, so
Harry and Jane moved along slowly, silent and de-


jected, for they both felt the coldness of his manner, and
could not forget the harsh tones in which he first spoke.
Harry turned his head, and seeing the tears coursing
down the rosy bloom, with which the sun and air had
stained Jane's soft cheeks, said, as he took her hand-

- _

* 4-

while he had great difficulty in keeping back his own
tears-" Never mind, don't cry, Jane. Father has met
with something at home that put him out of temper a
little this morning, I dare say, and that was what made
him speak so cross to us."
"But he never spoke to me at all, Harry," said


Jane, now beginning to sob bitterly; "nor hasn't
done for this many weeks, though I never told you be-
fore, and I'm sure I love my uncle almost as much as
I do my mother, and father, and you." And the little
maiden's tears fell like rain, as she sobbed out the
A sudden light flashed into Harry's eyes, while his
face crimsoned as he said, "Don't take it so to heart,
Jane; you know my dear mother said we were always
to love one another, whatever happened, and that I was
to be a brother to you always, and so I will. I would
sooner tend cattle in the lanes, and scare birds from the
corn, and work as hard as little Jack Jobson for a
shilling a week and my victuals, than see you cry. I
would indeed, Jane, and the unkinder father is to you,
the more he'll make me love you. I'll get a place,
I'll- "
Here poor Harry broke down, and began to cry in
earnest-not a still cry like Jane's, only revealed by its
tears, but a downright hearty blubber-with a threat of
\ hat he would do between every sob, if his father was
unkind to his pretty cousin Jane.
Then it was Jane's turn to console him, and she
sealed up the fountain of her tears in a moment, pulled
out her little handkerchief, and wiped his cheeks, and
would have given all she possessed in the world to have
recalled what she had said about her uncle's unkindness,
and she said, I'm so sorry I told you. I didn't want
you to know, but I couldn't help it, when he seemed to
look so cross at me. But it makes me more unhappy to
see you cry, Harry, and I dare say uncle doesn't mean
anything, and has too many things to do and think
about to stop and speak to me. But here's Mr. Booker


1-coming, don't let him see we've been crying. Do look
cheerful, Harry."
Harry rubbed his eyes hard with his knuckles, mak-
ing them redder than they were before, and when the
good curate approached, with his hands behind his back,
enjoying leisurely his morning walk on the common, he
saw at a glance, from Harry's truth-telling face, that
something had gone amiss, and seizing both his hands,
the first words he uttered were, "Why, my dear Harry,
you've been crying. Whatever has happened ?"
Harry hung down his head in silence, and as the
curate caught a glance of the troubled expression of
Jane's countenance, he remembered that Mr. Hindmarsh
had ridden past him just as he was entering the com-
mon, and the suspicion instantly entered his mind that
the father had been speaking unkindly to the boy. So,
turning to Jane, he said, My dear, will you be kind
enough to go on first, and give my love to good Mrs.
Curtis, and if she can spare the paper, be kind enough
to leave it at my lodgings. We shall be home almost as
soon as you." He stooped, parted her hair, which had
blown all about her face, and kissing her fair forehead,
sent her away with a smile on her sweet face.
No sooner had she gone beyond hearing, than lie
turned round, and looking earnestly in the boy's face,
said in his calm, soothing voice, that voice which had
-oothed many a sorrow, Now, my dear Harry, she is
gone, tell me all about it."
What Harry had to tell the worthy curate had long
since known, and had even ventured so far as to tell the
wealthy farmer, that the cold unkindness he showed to
his sister and niece was unworthy of a man professing
to be a Christian, and very unbecoming, supposing even


they were strangers, instead of being allied to him so
closely as they were. But, crying, my little friend," he
said, clapping Harry kindly on the back, "is setting
your cousin Jane a very bad example. Look at that
skylark, how it goes singing, as Shakespere says, 'at
the gates of heaven.' I have no doubt its mate, sitting
on her nest, somewhere near to us, is looking up at it,
and listening with delight to that sweet song. And
that when he soars so high, and carols so loud, it is to
please her, for it must tire both his little wings, and
strain his sweet throat, to ascend to that great height,
and still rain down such a shower of music ; almost as
much as it would you, to run full speed from here to
where Jane is just vanishing out of sight, as she is
entering the village, especially if you were shouting all
the time. So you see, to give pleasure, we must give
up ease and indolence, and even sacrifice our own feel-
ings at times, when we find that by concealing them iwe
spare others from pain."
Harry looked up at the skylark, understood the allu-
sion perfectly, and linking his arm in his tutor's, while
the old happy light again returned to his face, walked
and talked as tranquilly as if nothing had happened, as
they crossed the common, in the sunshine-the gold of
heaven-which God scatters alike on the evil and on the
good. As they passed along the winding footpath,
through a daisied meadow, the curate said, You, re-
member, Harry, my reading a few extracts from our old
English poet, Chaucer, to you a few weeks ago, and tell-
ing you that he lived and wrote nearly five hundred
years ago ? No poet ever wrote such beautiful lines on
the daisy as Chaucer, which he calls the 'eye-of-day,'
and the 'day's-eye.' So great was his love for this


pretty simple flower, he would rise at the first peep
of day to see it open, and walk out again in the fields in
the evening, and lie down beside it, to see it close. He
tells us he knew of a valley 'with daisies powdered
over;' and I believe he was as familiar with the sleep of
plants as Linnmus, though the great botanist has got all
the credit of that discovery, for Chaucer tells us how
'the daisy will go to rest for fear of night;' those are
the very words he makes use of. He also calls its open-
ing in the morning 'its resurrection.' "
He stooped down as he ceased speaking, gathered
one, pointed out the beauty of its silver frill, and open-
ing one of the yellow florets, which forms its golden
crown, showed his intelligent pupil that it was a perfect
compound flower.
On a sunny bank facing the south they found the
germander-speedwell, the prettiest of all our blue flowers,
which for colour can only be matched by those deep
azure openings we see at times in the sky, that seem to
lie in deep chasms far beyond the silvery piles of clouds.
They stopped beside an orchard hedge, behind which the
old trees were beginning to show their white and crim-
son blossoms, to watch the motions of a little wryneck,
which kept continually twisting its neck about, as if it
were impossible for the bird to keep its head still for
many moments together.
"That is the bird," said the curate, "that lays its
eggs in the hole of any tree which suits its fancy, with-
out taking the trouble to make a nest, and if you get
your fingers in to take out the eggs, and the bird is in
the hole, it begins to make an angry hissing noise like a
snake, and many a one has drawn his hand back much
quicker than he pushed it forward, affrighted at that


strange sound. It is a famous ant-eater, and draws its
long glutinous tongue in and out so rapidly, when feed-
ing on those insects, that, watch however narrowly you
imay, it is impossible for the eye to detect the motion,
except by looking at the ants, which seem to be sucked
up in one continuous stream. It is also one of the few
birds that can hop, as if both its legs were tied together,
the same as a sparrow, and also walk like the rook, or
water-wagtail, by putting out one foot before the other.
Listen! that is the wheat-ear singing in the old apple-
tree, and is as curiously marked about the face as if it
had been quarrelling, and some bird had given it a black
eye. How lazily it seems to sing, taking it easily like a
fat bird as it is, as if determined not to put itself at all
out of the way, but just whistling a little low tune to
please itself, and not caring whether any other bird
hears it or not. Like the blackcap and wryneck, it is
one of the earliest of that great band of birds which
are now following each other from over the sea, to sing
in the green orchestras which sweet spring is fitting up
in our trees and hedges."
They had loitered so long on their way to the village,
stopping to listen to a bird here, and to gather a flower
there, and peeping into openings in the edges, or looking
for some stir of insect life in the warm embankments,
that the good curate had succeeded in clearing away
every cloud from Harry's open brow, and restoring him
to his usual happy humour.
They met one of the woodmen in the village-street,
walking along with slow steps, and head bent towards
the ground, as if bowed down by some great trouble.
What is the matter, John ?" asked the curate,
withdrawing his arm from Harry's, and stepping into


the middle of the road, where the woodman was
"Matter bad enough for poor William Hartwell,"
answered the woodman, touching his hat. I have
just been helping him home, your reverence, for he was
so fainty-like, he couldn't walk by himself. We were
felling that big tree by the farm gate, at the park, which
was decayed in the middle, when it came down, before
we had cutf whely through it it without giving us any
warning at all. One of the big branches struck poor
William's right arm, and has lamed him very badly.
It's a great mercy he wasn't killed on the spot. The
doctor's with him now, and he says it will be many a
long day, he's afraid, before William will be able to
use his arm again. But, thank God, his life isn't in
"My poor dear uncle !" exclaimed Harry, turning as
pale as the sprig of blackthorn blossoms he carried in
his hand. "Not able to work for weeks; whatever will
become of aunt and Jane ?"
God tempereth the wind to the.shorn-lamb, Harry,"
said the curate. You go on, and sit down to your
lesson. I will be with you speedily. You had better
not go in with me at present. I will send Jane to you."
With an aching heart Harry parted from his beloved
tutor, at the little wicket-gate that led to his uncle's
lowly cottage, full of grief for the poor sufferer that
lay maimed within; full of sorrow to think of what
Jane must have suffered. when she reached home, only
an hour ago, full of regret that he was not rich enough
to help them in their great distress, for he knew that
they had just struggled through a long, hard winter;
during which his poor Uncle Hartwell had had but little


work. Keeping down his tears, he entered the curate's
lodgings, his heart full to overflowing, his handsome
young face clouded with trouble; entered the little red
brick-floored parlour, which was the school-room, and
sitting down leaned with his elbows on the writing-desh,
his face buried in his hands, and there let loose his
great sorrow.
He heard not that light footstep approach, he had
shut out the light with his hands, as he sat blinded by
his fast-falling tears; the flowers he had gathered, like
the bright hopes he set out with on that sweet spring
morning, were all scattered at his feet, when a pair of
gentle arms enfolded him, and a soft cheek pressed
against his wet with tears; and a low, sad sweet voice,
sorrowful but sweet as the notes of a bird singing a
dirge over the empty nest, from whence its young ones
had been stolen, said, Oh, cousin Harry, it will break
my heart if you go on so; and I left my dear mother cry-
ing, and Mr. Booker said he would stay and comfort
them, and I was to come here, as I should be happier
with you, and now you are so full of trouble for our sake,
and-and I have no one to console me."
Gently, tenderly, brotherly, Harry placed one arm
around her waist, his other hand still covering his falling
tears, and drawing her towards him, said, How we
want my dear mother with us now," and poor Jane only
replied by low, deep sobs, as her arms enfolded him.
Poor children their tender hearts and sensitive feelings
found trouble where hardened and vicious natures would
have remained untouched, and felt no sympathy in the
sorrows which they shared.
Just at that moment, in a beautiful laburnum, that
swung its yellow chains before the open window, where


it stood like an ancient forester in its livery of green and
gold, some newly-arrived bird struck up its joyous song,
and Jane raising her head, and drying her tears, said,
" They say the birds are God's messengers, and He may
have sent this little one to comfort us. Let us do our
lessons. Mr. Booker said our tasks would drive away
sadder thoughts."
Mr. Booker was one of those earnest, hard-working,
honest clergymen, who, not half paid for their arduous
labour, are compelled to take a few pupils to make both
ends meet; for he never allowed one of his poor flock
to starve while lie possessed a single shilling. He lived
in lodgings at a farm-house, having a chamber, a sitting-
room, and a little parlour for his pupils, paying a pound
at week for his board and lodging, and giving away
nearly the whole of the remaining twenty-eight in
charity, for his whole income was but eighty pounds a
year, excepting what he made by his pupils. He sat
down at the same table, and ate the same brown bread
and cheese and bacon, as supplied the farmer and his
family. Yet this poor curate was one of God's true
ministers, who never neglected his duty, who cared both
for the bodies and souls of his poor parishioners, and had
been known to give away his only great coat in winter,
and to go out and brave the cold at midnight, to pray
by some sick bedside, wrapped in one of the farmer's
horsecloths. As old John, the woodman, said, Nc
matter what road he takes, it is always leading him
nearer heaven."
Though they seldom agreed in opinion, Harry's
father could not help feeling a great respect for him.
The wealthy farmer had objected to his giving Jane such
an education as he was bestowing upon her.


"You might be bringing her up for a governess,"
said Mr. Hindmarsh, one evening.
That is what I am doing," replied the curate, and
have no doubt of getting her into some good family
when she is a year or two older. Jane has talent of no
common order, too good to ever become a common
household servant. And as you won't do anything for
your niece, why I must."
"I never said I would'nt do anything for her," an-
swered Mr. Hindmarsh, with some warmth; but I'm
not the man to go down on my knees to my sister, after
marrying so disgracefully as she has done, to ask her to
allow me to do her a favour."
"William Hartwell is a good, downright honest
man," said the curate, and I feel a pride in calling
him my friend. I wish you were as good a man in
heart and soul as he is, and as well prepared for heaven,
Your sister refused the hand of the Baronet. What is he ?
a fellow-for I will not call him a gentleman--who cares
only for his dogs and horses, his wine-bottle, and his
drunken fox-hunting acquaintances, and utterly neglects
his wife and children. Your sister made a wise choice,
and is happier in her poverty than the lady of the park
and hall is with her drunken Baronet."
"Well, I see we shall never agree on these points,"
said Mr. Hindmarsh, and at that moment the servant
came in to inquire if she might serve up supper.
"You will sup with me," he added; "I have got a
brace of the finest partridges I have shot this season."
"No, I thank you," answered the curate, "roast
partridge is too rich a supper for me;" though he
thought to himself, your sister has been ailing for some
time, and has only a poor appetite, if you offered me one


to take to her I dare say she might enjoy a mouthful of
it And so thinking, he walked back to his lodgings,
to make his supper off spring radishes, a slice of brown
bread and butter, and a glass of home-brewed beer, over
which he thanked God for all his blessings."
This interview took place some days before Jane's
father met with the accident that crippled his right arm.
When Harry went home with Jane in the afternoon,
after having finished their lessons, he found his uncle
IIartwell in bed, with his arm bound up, suffering great
pain. As he put out his left hand to shake hands with
Harry, lie said, I was just thinking of the Dutchman,
Harry, who, when lie broke his arm, and his friend who
came to see him said a worse accident could'nt have hap-
pened to him answered, 'Yes it could, it would have
been worse if l'd broken my neck.' "
I'm glad to find you in such good spirits," said
Harry, smiling pleasantly, to see his uncle suffer with so
much good humour and patience. It will be some
time I'm afraid before you'll be able to use your arm
again. You must let me and Jane manage the garden;
we can put in the early peas and sow the onions, and
plant out the cabbages, and such-like things. Aunt will
look on, and see that we do our work properly. Imanage
my own little garden."
"I'm very thankful, Harry, you thought of this,"
replied the uncle; for it's been troubling my mind all
this afternoon, ever since I laid down. There's a many
things that want doing in the garden, and Jane's a capi-
tal one to help. It is pretty well dug, and the potatoes
are all in. But I'm afraid your father would'nt be very
well pleased if he happened to come by, and saw yon
helping Jene to garden."


Just at this moment his aunt came in with a cup of
tea, and said something which diverted her husband's
thoughts from his garden for the moment, and prevented
Harry from saying what he intended regarding his
That Harry's mother must have rendered his aunt
great assistance during her lifetime was pretty clear,
through his uncle giving up the house they lived in after
her death, and taking the little cottage which they still
inhabited. Jane used to visit the Grange in those days,
for whatever Mr. Hindmarsh might think, he could not
very well offer any opposition to his niece accepting his
wife's invitation, though there would no doubt have been
an altercation had Jane's mother and father been included
among her visitors.
But there were sharp tongues in Netherby, and as a
row of little cottages faced the gate that led up to the
Grange, the inhabitants could see everybody who went
in and came out, and were not backward in making their
remarks on whatever they saw. A child soon knows
who is kind to it, and where it is welcome, and Jane
was not long in finding out, after the death of her aunt,
that she was not wanted at the Grange. Her uncle's
sharp "Well Jane!" or "You here again!" made her
hang down her head, and often brought the tears into
her eyes, until at last instead of venturing inside the
gate, she waited outside for Harry.
Do look at that dear, pretty girl, hanging about her
uncle's gate, Mrs. Harrison," said' Betty Barton, as she
stood knitting in the sunshine at the entrance of her
neighbour's doorway. The world has gone hard with
her, poor thing, since she lost her aunt. Ah, she
was a good lady, Nanny, to all of us, and how prettily


she used to dress little Jane when she took her out with
her. She's waiting about for Harry, bless her."
"I should like nothing better than to throw this tub
full of soap-suds over her uncle when he comes out,"
said Nanny Harrison, who was scrubbing away, enve-
loped in steam as she bent over her washing-tub ; "he
ought to be ashamed of himself, so rich as he is, to let his
sister live in such a tumble-down, ruination, ramshackle
dog-hole as she does, and she brought up a lady-and all
because she would marry William Hartwell, who had
sweet-hearted her for years, and happened to come down
a bit in the world. But she was as true to him as the
flowers are to spring, and that's more than her proud,
stuck-up brother's ever been to her. Bless the child,
I would call her in and ask her to rest herself a bit,and tell
her you'll watch for Harry coming out, if I had not got
my washing about, and wet clothes laying on every chair
I've got. For I never forget her mother was a born
"There's Harry coming out, or I would have asked
her in myself," said Betty Barton. Bless her sweet
face; how pleased she is to see him! It does one good,
Nanny, to look on such aface as hers, it's so pleasant and
so innocent, and puts one in mind of the good pictures
we see of angels. And I've often fancied angels must
look just like her when she's singing in the church of a
Sunday, with her blue eyes, looking up to heaven. I wish
I was rich for her sake, she shouldn't wear that common
cotton frock and those heavy boots, only fit for a farm-
house wench. But'our curate's bringing her up to be a
lady some day, and God will bless him for it."
"What a difference this money does make in some
people surely," said Nanny, wringing out a coarse towel,


and twisting her face into almost as many wrinkles as
the cloth in her hands. "I remember when they lived
at the farm on the hill, and William Hartwell first
courted Miss Hindmarsh, that he used to go out with
his dogs and his gun, and keep company with the first
gentlemen in the neighbourhood. And now he's a poor
hard-working man We know that we're born, Betty,
but we none of us know what may happen to us before
we're buried."
That's as true, Nanny, as if our good parson had
said it from the pulpit," remarked Betty.
And Jane's father didn't fall into poverty through
idleness, or drinking, or misconduct, as a many do,"
continued Nanny; but through his father becoming
security to stock a large farm for a good-for-nothing
brother of his, who took to gaming, and horse-racing,
and brought himself to the dogs, and everybody that
belonged to him-more's the pity."
And so these hard-working homely women passed
judgment on their neighbours, talking about who had
got up, and who had gone down, and who had done
well, and who had done ill in the neighbourhood, and
ending with Ned Brown, who, as Nanny said, got into
debt and then run away, which was all she ever knew
him to do."
Meantime, Harry and Jane worked hard at the
garden early and late, and got it into such capital order,
and everything in season in the ground so neatly, that
Mrs. Hartwell said they could hardly have done their
work better if they had served an apprenticeship to
gardening. It had been well dug during the winter,
so that they were spared the hardest part of the labour.
But there was one portion of the garden where a few


hardy greens had stood throughout the winter, and this
Harry said he should dig himself, to plant out the few
lettuces that were standing under a frame. His aunt
stood at the cottage door watching him, with her sew-
ing in her hand, while Jane was busy with her little
flower beds.
Harry began digging at the east end of his bed, and
carried full a dozen spadefuls of the earth he dug out
to the west end, leaving a hole big enough to bury a
baby in at one end, and a little embankment of earth at
the other, scraping his spade clean with a smooth, thin-
edged bit of wood, every time it was clogged heavily
through the earth adhering to it. Into the deep trench he
had made across the bed he threw in the topmost spade-
ful of earth, which did not near fill it; but when he had
dug a spade deeper, and brought up the bottom-earth,
and buried the first spadeful under it, then the trench
was filled up and level, and the ground higher than it
was before, while the earth which had been buried two
spades deep all the year, was now on the top, to be
mellowed and enriched by the sun, air, and rain. So
he went on until he came to the west end of the bed,
where he would have left a deep unsightly hole, had he
not had the little bank of spare earth to fill it up with,
which he had carried in his spade from the other end of
the bed, when he first commenced. So tired was Harry
when he had finished that he was compelled to sit down
and rest himself, while Jane raked the bed after he had
dug it.
While Harry was wiping the perspiration from his
forehead, he saw his father on horseback, gazing fixedly
at him above the garden hedge. Neither his aunt nor
Jane had seen him before, so intently had they been




watching Harry digging, so that none of them kntew
how long he had been there. Ho rode away slowly
with his head down as if in deep meditation. A lad
who will work like that, without any reward for his
labour beyond that of pleasing those he is attached to,
would make his fortune in any quarter of the world
where labour is wanted," thought the wealthy farmer
to himself. I might as well try to silence an echo by
shouting to it, as to separate him from that girl while
they live so near together. Poor Jane! she is a sweet
child, and can no more help her father's faults than
yonder stray lamb can get through that thick fence by its
And dismounting, he threw his bridle over a gate-
post, and drove the lamb lower down the road, where
there was a gap in the hedge, and sent it bleating
happily to its dam, which was making a piteous outcry
in the field. Thinking of Harry and Jane had some-
what softened his proud heart that fine spring morning;
but for that he very likely would have left the pretty
lamb to have strayed whithersoever its silly will
might have led it, unconscious of any danger. It may
be too that the image of gentle Jane was in his mind
when he parted the tangled brambles which had thrust
through the gap, so as to let the little wanderer pass
into the field more easily, for trifles light as air," for
the moment, often carry the mind into strange new
channels of thought on currents over which we seem to
have no control, and by so doing awaken that "still
small voice," which every now and then speaks to us
unaware, warning us against evil, or stirring us up to
do that which is good.
That very afternoon when Harry went out for a walk


with Jane, he saw the same lamb which had strayed in
the morning running a race against another, while the
dam, which had left off grazing, stood on little daisied
mound, as if she had elevated herself on purpose to
see which won, and Harry remarked that "it was the
Grand Stand which overlooked the lamb race-course."
What a noise those rooks are making!" said
Harry. I'm afraid they often quarrel. Old John
the woodman tells me they fight dreadfully at times,
and steal the sticks from one another's nests; and
that he has seen a dozen or more at a time attack
a couple of thieves, and drive them clean away from the
neighbourhood of the rookery."
I like to see them walking along the furrows of a
ploughed field," said Jane, picking up one foot care-
fully after the other, then hopping over the large clods
of earth, just as we jump over a stone-heap in the road.
They used to tell me when I was a very little girl, that
the rooks said their prayers when they got into their
nests at night, and I was silly enough to believe it, and
have often stood under the trees listening to the low
cawing they make when it begins to be twilight."
"I like to hear them of a morning before I am up,"
said Harry, and to see their dark shadows thrown
upon the window blind, just as the sun rises. They say
the old elm trees behind our grange have been a rookery
for two or three centuries."
They went up to a farmer's daughter they knew, who
was singing while she milked a red and white cow
behind a high hawthorn hedge, and who gave them
some warm milk out of her pail that was all of a foam,
and left a froth on their lips after they had drank, like
the creamy mark often seen when any one has been


quaffing from a foaming tankard of ale. TLey listened
to the jingling gear of the ploughman's horse, as he rode
home sitting sideways on the leader, after his day's
labour, with the whip resting idly over his shoulder,
and sometimes humming a stave while the black-
birds and thrushes, from the hidden coverts that
concealed their nests, joined in chorus, as they sang
their evening songs in the golden sunset. They saw
two pretty yellow-hammers wrangling over a head
of grounsel, as they both tugged at the same single
flower, which was the only one in bloom. Jane laughed
at the gritting sound made by the sparrows, who were
busy stripping the thatch from a corn stack, and which
she said put her in mind of a knife-grinder's wheel.
They found the eggs of the painted-lady butterfly on
the leaf of a young nettle, though the plant was only
three or four inches high, for the curate had told Harry
that this was one of the earliest butterflies that come
abroad to lay its eggs in spring. They went out and
returned home with light and happy spirits that sunny
afternoon and evening, for Mr. Hartwell had cheered
them by saying that his arm had never felt so easy as
it had done that day, since he met with his accident.
When any one begins to feel very uneasy, and their
mind becomes troubled, and they do not seem at all
comfortable within themselves, they sit down, question
their own hearts, and try to discover what it is that
troubles them. They must be very hardened indeed
who try to stifle this feeling-to smother the painful
pleading of this inward voice without listening to it,
and hearing all it has to say; for it is conscience that
accuses; and woe be to those who turn a deaf car to
it; for such as do are the hard of heart," and will go


on erring to the end; while that good conscience, which,
like an invisible angel, is ever keeping watch, and
warning us against doing wrong, will become dumb
and depart, and leave only evil behind as an inmate.
It was on the evening of the day he had reined up
his horse, to look at his son working so hard at dig-
ging the garden, that Squire Hindmarsh sat alone in
his large wainscoted parlour, watching the fire-light
flicker and play on the hearth and on the ceiling, and
making bright golden spots here and there as the blaze
flashed upon and was reflected back from the beeswax-
polished furniture, which was as bright as hands could
make it. He was thinking how uneasy he had felt of
late, and how when he had mentioned this unhappy
state of mind to the curate, he only said, "You should
do as I do--endeavour all in your powerto make every-
body about you as happy as you can, and sacrifice a few
of your comforts to your duty. Go and visit your
brother-in-law; he is suffering great pain, and requires
help; the very sight of your face would be like sunshine
on a gloomy day. Try a little kindness, it is a fine
medicine, and, with God's blessing, will soon set your
mind at ease."
Should he take the good curate's advice ? It would
make his sister, and Jane and Harry happy. But why
didn't Mr. Hartwell ask him for assistance if he required
it ? Conscience answered, Because you have been un-
kind to him, have passed him by with averted face; and
while he had strength to work he refused to be beholden
to you."
Ho looked in the fire, and one red level spot took
the shape of a corn-field, flooded with sunshine, with
spots here and there, like figures of gleaners; and he


remembered how his sister and pretty Jane gleaned in
his own fields along with the poorest villagers during
the last harvest. His own sister! who had received a
lady's education, and had played to him, and sang for
him her sweetest songs many a time in the days of her
happy maidenhood, while Hartwell himself was also a
glad listener in that very parlour. At that moment a
bright tongue of flame shot out from the barred grate,
and threw a strong light for a few moments on his wife's
portrait, and he fancied that it smiled upon him. He
could not help thinking how much happier his home
was when she was alive, not made so by her presence
only, but by the poor villagers who were constantly
coming in and out to receive acts of kindness from her
hand, such as food, and clothing, and medicine. Then
too there was Jane's merry laugh and Harry's joyous
shout ringing from out her room, or down the garden
where they were playing. One stood on each side of her
in the picture containing her portrait. She was painted
with an arm round each of them, and Jane's long silky
hair, which she had so often curled with her own hands,
stood out in its rich golden brown, from her light dress,
as it reflected the ruddy blaze. Then the villagers
bowed and curtsied to him whenever he met them, and
ran to open the gates, and smiled at his presence. Now,
if they saw him coming, as they stood at their cottage
doors or garden gates, they went in; and if they met
him on the high road or in the village street, they either
turned their heads aside, or fixed their eyes on the
ground. It was for her sake, then, they had paid him
this homage, and she was the good angel that ever
moved by his side, visible only to their eyes, though he
remembered that in those days he returned their kind


greeting by either a bow, or a wave of his hand. He
had ceased paying back that courtesy long before they
ceased paying him passing respect, for a black look is an
ungrateful return for a polite bow.
He rose from his seat, and walked restlessly up and
down the room, and when the servant opened the door,
and inquired if he would have lights brought in, she
stared in speechless amazement at his answering, "If
you please, Mary," instead of the surly "Yes or "No"
he was accustomed to utter.
He felt heated, and opening the door paced up and
down the gravel-walk at the front of the Grange, for
there was still a warm mellow light hanging about the
western sky. He leant for a few moments over the
front gate, and caught the sound of quick light foot-
steps approaching: they stopped near the gate, and he
heard a sweet voice say, Good night, dear Harry. I shall
see you in the morning. God bless you." Then there
was a parting sisterly kiss. He called to her from over
the gate in a kind voice, saying, Come in, Jane, I want
you." He opened the gate, and they both entered, she
holding Harry by the hand. Just as the Grange-gate
closed behind Jane, with a loud clap, which seemed in
Harry's ears to say, We've got her safe, and we'll keep
her now," the church-bells commenced a merry peal, for it
was an old custom in Netherby to ring in and out the
21st of March, as the sun rose and sbe at six o'clock
on that day, when there was equal day and night. Mr.
Hindmarsh started when he heard the bells strike up
such a merry peal, and with a smile he placed his hand
gently on Jane's shoulder, and said, "You see the very
bells are so glad at your entering your surly old uncle's
house again, that they can't remain silent," and he


stooped and kissed her, as she stood upon the door-sill
of the old Grange in that calm evening of Sweet Spring-
time, while Harry's dog ran to and fro, barking with
When the servant brought in candles, Mr. Hind-
marsh said, "William must go down to my sister, and
tell her that Jane is staying to make tea for us, and that
Harry will bring her home," and, untying Jane's bonnet,
he stroked her beautiful hair kindly, then placed her at
the tea-table, where she sat blushing like a wild rose.
Jane had made tea for the curate and Harry, when the
farmer's wife, with whom he lodged, was away from
home, and Mr. Booker had praised her attention at
table; for on more than one occasion some of his lady
parishioners had called upon him while his pretty pupil
presided over the table in her homely attire, and she
had attended on them without showing the least sign of
confusion; for whatever she had to do, she did it well
and carefully. Though her wealthy uncle tried to make
himself pleasant, and thought his table appeared more
cheerful than it had done for many a day, and praised
her for her handiness in filling the cups, and pouring
out the cream, and using the sugar-tongs so daintily,
yet there were moments when his eye fell on the picture,
and he became thoughtful; and at last he said, Would
you like to come and live with me and Harry altogether,
Jane, and make the Grange your home ?"
I would, very much, dear uncle, if mother would
let me," she replied, "and father were quite well again;
but I should not like to leave them now." The tears
rose in her eyes as she spoke, and she held them in check
there, for Harry looked at her so kindly that his smile
drove back the rising sorrow, which ended in a low sigh.


"You are a good girl, my dear, to first remember
your parents, and think of your duties at home,"
answered the uncle. We will do nothing but what they
consent to, and that cheerfully; never fear."
When William, who was Squire Hindmarsh's fore-
man, arrived at the cottage to deliver his master's
message, he found the good curate dressing Mr. Hart-
well's arm, while Mrs. Hartwell held the light and the
bandages, for the surgeon had gone to attend a patient
some miles off. It was not the first time Mr. Booker
had acted as doctor to his parishioners during the sur-
geon's absence; and the villagers jocularly called him
the surgeon's assistant, for when the surgeon was likely
to be called away far, the curate would accompany him
to see his patients before he went, watch closely his
manner of operating, and do whatever was necessary,
almost as well as the surgeon himself.
The curate did not appear to be at all surprised at
the message, but continued folding the bandage round
the maimed limb, though he felt the arm trembling all
the time, merely saying, Jane will have two teas to-
day then, and I'm glad of it."
I am sure we are indebted to you in some way or
another for this sudden change in my brother," said
Mrs. Hartwell, looking at the curate with a thankful
It may be so," was the answer, "though I believe
your old beau of the Hall has a little to do with it."
It would be the first time in his life," replied the
husband, that the Baronet has ever shown himself our
friend. But I have long since, with all my heart, for-
given him the injury he once did us, as I hope myself to
be forgiven for all I have ever done amiss."


You are a much happier man than he is, William,
though you have a maimed limb," answered the curate.
"You remember plain-speaking John Bunyan tells us-

'He that is down, need fear no fall;
He that is lcw, no pride;'

though I hardly hold with the last line, for I have often
found a good deal of pride amongst those who have
fallen very low in the world; it is fair to suppose
that Bunyan alluded to the lowly in heart. But the
Baronet has had a fall, and a heavy one too, from
his pride of place. Horses, hounds, flocks, and herds are
all to be sold, servants discharged, and the Hall to be
let. All the family will have to live upon for some years
will be the sum the hall and park are let for. The rent
of farms and everything besides goes to pay his gambling
I am deeply grieved to hear it, for the lady's and
the children's sake," said Mrs. Hartwell; and the change
in her handsome face told that she felt as she spoke.
"Still I am at a loss to perceive how the Baronet's mis-
conduct can have anything to do with this alteration in
my brother."
"Any more than you can see why Jane to-night
is occupying the very place the little lady of the
park, who rides the long-tailed white pony, has before
occupied-is that it?" asked the curate with a smile
and a deep-meaning look. Harry will never row
be the son-in-law of the Baronet, as he probably might
have been, some six or seven years hence. Does your
arm feel easy, William?"
Husband and wife looked at one another for some
moments in silent amazement, and then William, using


an old country idiom, said, So the wind has been
sitting in that quarter, has it ?"
"For a long time," replied the curate, "and has
shifted at last. Dakin will be moving out of your old
house in a day or two, would you like to go back to it ?"
I should indeed, if we could only afford to pay the
rent for it," answered Mrs. Hartwell, "though if it hap-
pens to be a good season the produce of the orchard does
more than that."
I thought you would, and persuaded Mr. Hind-
marsh to-day to take it for you; you musn't let William
exert himself in helping to move into it. Good night!
and God bless you," and the good curate was gone.
Tirra lirra!" oh how sweetly the speckle-breasted
skylark sung the next morning while Harry and Jane
stood listening, and watching the shiver of its pretty
wings as it went soaring into the steep blue concave of
heaven. They had not a care on their hearts now.
Jane was to come and live at the Grange, and her
parents to go back to the old house, with its great
orchard where so many bullfinches congregated and
pecked the blossoms, and no end of birds built in the
garden hedges. Her father's arm would soon be well,
and he was no longer to be a labourer, but the farm
bailiff under her uncle, have his horse to ride about, and
see that the men attended to their work. But, better
than all, Harry, instead of being sent miles away to
school, was to remain the curate's pupil, and obtain a
knowledge of farming from his uncle (for Mr. Hartwell
was a first-rate practical farmer), who would now have a
wide field in which to display the talents that had so
long been buried. All out-of-door objects seemed to
look brighter, and everything to appear happier, in


thb eyes of the two cousins, than they had ever before
done since the morning Harry met his father on horse-
back by the guide-post on the common, in the sunshine
of that Sweet Spring-time, for there was no longer a
cloud over them.
What long rambles they had together after Jane's
parents removed into their old house, and let the tumble-
down cottage to John the woodman, who said, It's
quite a palace beside the wooden hut I've been used to
for so many years, and in which I had to move the mat-
tress I slept upon three or four times of a night when it
rained pretty stiffishly, to find a dry corner."
They watched the leafing of the trees as they became
greener every day; looked up and saw the blue sky of
April through the budding branches of the tall windy
elms, which the foliage in a few more weeks would shut
out, while the birds sang beneath the shelter of that
verdant awning. They saw the leaves of the oak
hanging out as if they had been cut from sheets of thin
rich metal, so bronzed appeared the early burgeoning
which would soon form itself into the most beautiful of
all our forest foliage. The old blackened seeds of the
ashes rattled again when the wind blew among the fresh
leaves amid which they still hung. But most they ad-
mired in the woods the silvery birch that throws out
its flowers in long trails of gold, while the beautifully-
formed leaves shoot gracefully over them as if to protect
the bloom. Then came the elegant beech, its leaves
glittering like emeralds, while its bark is almost as
smooth as polished silver. Here and there the dark firs
heaved up, making a pleasant contrast, like cooling
shadows on a picture which otherwise would be flooded
with too much light. The sunshine streamed through


the young lime-leaves as if they were transparencies hung
out to reflect the gold of heaven; while the young chest-
nut buds opened their fingery-shaped foliage, which
would soon spread fan-like, and keep the air cool for the
golden-banded bees that would be heard murmuring
amid the coming blossoms.
Then there was the entangling underwood, consisting
of every variety of wild bushes and sharp-hooked long-
trailing brambles, with a tall holly here and there, and
fine smooth tapering hazels already hung with yellow
catkins, and amid these the birds built and sang in
safety, for in many places the low-spreading branches
were so interwoven and massed together as to be impene-
trable. They saw the little rabbits run darting in and
out to their hidden burrows along ways only known to
themselves, and covered over by a thick net-work of
leaves. And into that old city of trees fresh inhabitants
were arriving every day from far-off foreign countries,
soon to unite their voices in one grand concert, and tell
one another how glad they were to meet again, and what
perils they had passed through in crossing the seas, and
how happy they were to find so pleasant a place to rear
their young in, where there was peaceful shelter and an
abundance of food. The good curate had told them all
about the birds being the oldest builders in the world,
and that the gray undated ruins of Stonehenge were but
as a work of the preceding day compared with the ages
that these feathered labourers had been miners and
masons, carpenters and joiners, felters and weavers,
tailors and basket-makers, for that the followers of these
trades were but copiers of methods adopted by the birds
in erecting their nests.
They saw the little white-throat dart by like a shoot-


ing-star, its flight so rapid as only to leave visible the
flashing of its snowy breast through the green of the
underwood; though at other times they had been more
fortunate, and had seen it rising up and down scores of
times, and only alighting for a moment on the end of
the same bending spray, while it sang sweetly all the
time, and was too happy to remain still for a single
moment. They also knew that the titlark was another
restless singer, that could not get on with a tune at all
unless it kept flying up and down like the white-throat,
and perching on some branch for a moment or so every
time it descended. They saw the redstart perched on
the stem of an ivy-covered elm, which the lightning had
blasted, trembling all over with delight while it carolled
as if every little feather was raising itself and assist-
ing in the song; and they knew that it loved best to
build on some old ruin whose decay the ivy covered, or
the pale, golden, wild wallflower beautified. Nature's
great cathedral, with its green pillars of trees and blue
roof of heaven, was now filled with music, for the birds
were the choristers, and sent their voices down the leafy
aisles where the echoes lingered, and took up and pro-
longed the sound.
Beautiful too, in their eyes, did the old Grange look
on their return, for no one ever remembered a sweeter
Spring-time. We have had nothing but sunshine and
gentle showers since Jane's return," said Mr. Hindmarsl
to the curate, "and she goes singing about the house
all day long like a bird, and really it does my heart good
to hear her."
It is neither her singing nor the sunshine that
makes you feel lighter-hearted," replied the curate, "but
the fulfilment of a duty too long neglected-the sacrifice


of feelings, which leave no heart at peace with itself
while it entertains them. This, my friend, is what makes
you feel happier, makes the sunshine appear brighter,
and the voice of that dear girl seem the sweetest music
that you have heard for many a long day. You are like
a wearied man eased of the cumbersome burden he has
carried so far that he was ready to sink under it, and
who when he has laid it down feels that he never found
rest so sweet. I am going now to dress the arm of my
patient, who I left sunning himself in the garden this
morning and holding the list and nails, while your
thrifty sister was fastening the peach and nectarine
branches to the walls." And it was pleasant to the
wealthy farmer to receive such a warm shake of the hand
from the curate as he now gave him every time they met
or parted. Nor did he, unless called away by those
duties which he never neglected, refuse to sit down at
the squire's well-spread table, one end of which was now
occupied with Jane, who was already mistress of the
keys, the housekeeper having left to be married, and Mr.
Hindmarsh merrily called her the young mistress of the
Grange. It was pleasant to watch the curate instructing
her to carve a chicken or a duck without once taking
out the fork, and right well did she get through the
operation after a time or two; for Jane paid close atten-
tion to all that was said to her, and never let anything
she was required to do pass wholly from her memory
until she had mastered it, for she did not possess one of
those wandering minds which glances hurriedly over a
hundred things in the course of the day without fixing
itself firmly on one for five minutes at a time.
Her uncle would no longer let her wear common
cotton dresses, nor bonnets of the same material, with a


curtain hanging down her neck, nor heavy boots-more
becoming a ploughboy than a pretty maiden. Still she
hung up a few relies of her homely attire in the ward-
robe she now called her own, and which had formerly
been her aunt's. They will always serve to remind me
that I was once a poor cottager, and gleaned in the har-
vest fields, and did all the household work, when you,
my dear mother, were too ill to help me," said Jane to
ier mother, who was examining the beautiful dresses her
uncle had bought her, and which nearly filled every shelf
in the handsome wardrobe, "and will keep me humble-
minded-should I ever forget myself and grow proud-
every time I change my dress."
And this, I suppose," said Harry, who had stolen
up slowly behind his aunt, and now pointed to a new
crinoline which stood out like an open umbrella, "is the
safe you have bought to keep these humble thoughts in,
with room enough to prevent them from crowding too
closely together."
"WVell, sir, if it is," said Jane, laughing ; "it's no worse
than you telling Mr. Brown, the shoemaker, to make the
heels to your new boots an inch higher than the last pair,
so as to make you appear taller than you are. You little
thought I was behind the door when he came to measure
you! Beside the curate says that those who do not
dress according to the common fashion display more
pride than those who do."
At one corner of Jane's pleasant chamber window,
which overlooked a wide pastoral landscape, bounded
with hills and woods-every acre of which was her
wealthy uncle's freehold-a house-loving swallow began
to build its nest, and so accustomed did it become to her
gentle face, that it would continue its laoour in the early


morning while she stood watching it through the window-
pane. "I think it's a very lazy bird," she said to the
curate, for it seldom works for more than an hour or
two of a morning, then goes playing and flying about all
the remainder of the day."
"It is a very sensible bird," answered the curate,
"for if it built too much of its nest at a time, the very
weight of the wet clay it uses would cause the whole of
the unfinished fabric to tumble down. Knowing this,
the little builder progresses slowly and surely, giving the
inch of work it has done twenty-four hours to dry and
harden before it adds another inch to its nest. If all
builders were as cautious, and let the foundations of their
houses dry before they added the upper walls, many of
our buildings would last longer than they do."
Jane often got up as soon as it was daylight to watch
the pretty swallow at work, and one morning she knocked
at Harry's door, and he stood beside her delighted to see
how it smoothed the clay with the under part of its
throat and neck, moving its head to and fro as a brick-
layer moves his trowel when spreading smooth his mortar
-having no scaffold to stand upon, but holding on to the
window-frame with its little claws and flattened tail,
which seemed a great support to it. When it left off
work it flew away to the great pond to wash itself, and
came out as bright and fresh-as Harry said-" as if it
had put on a clean white waistcoat," so snowy-looking
was its breast.
By the time the May-buds were in blossom, Jane's
father was well enough to take the management of the
vast farm, though Mr. Hindmarsh insisted upon his
doing nothing more than riding about the great wide-
spreading fields for a few more weeks, and seeing that


the men did their allotted work properly. Mr. Hartwell
suggested so many improvements in the working of the
land, that in the course of three years, he added some
hundreds to the profits more than the estate had ever
before yielded.
By that time Jane had grown one of the handsomest
young ladies in the neighbourhood of Netherby, and so
proud was her rich uncle of seeing her on horseback that
he got her to put on her rich riding habit to accompany
him to the market town when he went to sell his cattle
and corn, and return home with his great yellow bag
filled with gold and bank notes; and many a wealthy
farmer's son stood ready to help Jane to alight from her
side-saddle, and to assist in mounting her before she
returned, unless she was accompanied by her cousin
Harry, for then they knew their aid would not be
When she was twenty the once poor cottage girl
became the mistress of Netherby Grange, for Harry was
then her husband, and she rode beside him when he at-
tended the markets, while his father remained more at
home than ever, glad now to have the company of the
curate and Mr. and Mrs. Hartwell whenever his son and
daughter-in-law were absent.
God bless her sweet face," said Nanny Harrison, as
she rubbed the suds off her stout arms, and rushed out of
her cottage to open the gate for the young squire and his
lady, as Jane and her husband were now called by the
villagers; she's just what her dear aunt was when she
first came amongst us, only a deal more free somehow,and
isn't above talking about how she used to run in here out
of the rain, in the days when her uncle was cross with
her, and she was waiting to see Harry. And what a


change for the better has come over her uncle sure-ly!
Heaven forgive me I used in those days to feel so
savage at his neglecting his little niece, that I quite
longed at times to throw my soap-suds over him. Now
he goes about arm-in-arm with our good curate, inquir-
ing what we want and what he can do for us, and has
laid out a mint of money to build that school for our
children, where Jane often sits, with the patience of an
angel, for hours together, listening to them saying their
lessons, and teaching the girls to sew."
"And her dear mother's quite as good as she is,"
said Betty Barton, cutting out their work and basting
it down for them, and letting them run about to get their
pinafores full of berries and apples in her garden and
orchard, and seeming to love them all the more because
she once lived in a poor cottage-though she was born
a lady-and her husband had then to work as hard for
his bread as mine. Hey, Nanny lass, them that's been
once poor themselves-if their hearts are in their right
places-have the most feeling for those who still find
Want giving them a sharp pinch every now and then.
And look what the fine Baronet came to, that sold her
husband up out of house and home, because Jane's
mother wouldn't marry him. They say he'll never
be able to show his hang-dog face in honest Old Eng-
land any more, and that he's turned quite a sharper
somewhere in foreign parts-abroad. That gaming's
brought many a family to ruin, Nanny, and many a fine
fellow to the gallows."
It would'nt matter a pin what became of them,"
replied Nanny, "but it's their poor families I pity; and
when I think of pretty Caroline riding about on her
long-tailed pony, just as our young Squire's lady does


now, and hear of her being seen in some foreign lodging.
house, with hardly a decent thing on her back, and her
poor mother-that was a lady-not able to show herself
out of doors at all, because her clothes are so shabby,-it
makes my heart ache for 'em, and my very blood boil
when I think of the villain of a father, and I sometimes
wish that I had the keeping of him only for a month-he
should sup sorrow by spoonfuls, and be fed out of my hog-
tub with my longest ladle."
And so Nanny-whose bark was worse than her bite,
and who would not wilfully have injured even a fly,
though it settled down on one of her whitest of collars
when she was ironing-vented her dislike to the ruined
gamester, who had given many a heart-ache to Jane's
parents in their younger years; but they could now
kneel down side by side, and with all their hearts pray
God to forgive their enemies. And all who can truly do
this, towards those who have injured them, have ever a
Sweet Spring-time in their souls-brightened by an
eternal sunshine which no winter can ever darken, either
here or beyond the grave.

| I -

[ /

: .I


--,-a ~L~


----- ---.--~-




W HEN we were young! Who-
ever utters those words with-
out a sigh ? Not because, as some
tell us, those days were the happiest
days of our life, perhaps; but more, I think, be-
cause they are gone-they "can never come back
again"-they are gone, with all their faults and
follies, to swell the list of the deeds done in the flesh"
-they are gone, with all their bright hopes, their glad
anticipations, their joyousness, their light-heartedness,
leaving behind them-what ? Why, one good but


stern old friend, who will never desert us, who will
go with us to the grave, who is the best friend we
ever have, if we only profit by her teaching. You,
who are young now, seek her for yourselves : her name
is Experience.
Tell us about when you were young," asks my boy,
with his large, wondering, blue eyes fixed on mine.
And so I do, in soft summer evenings, when it is too
dark to read, too warm to go in-doors and have candles,
beneath an old cedar in the garden; or in the winter
evenings, by the dreamy fire-light, I go back long years,
and recall from the hidden recesses of my memory
those days when we were young."
Memory, with her magic wand, changes the glow-
ing embers into which I am gazing, or the branches
of the old cedar, into a large, old, rambling farmhouse,
and I see a room, oak-pannelled, carpetless; the boards
of oak, too, stained in places with ink; a bay-window,
with deep window-seat, a table, a few chairs, and
a hanging book-shelf, containing The Child's fairy
Library," "The Swiss Family Robinson," "Paul and
Virginia," "The Arabian Nights," and several other
books, all well worn with hard reading; a rocking-
horse, without mane or tail, its original colour having
become an entire matter of speculation; a box of
tools, and a large doll's house, to let, evidently unfur-
nished, for not a vestige of table, chair, or sofa is to be
seen in it-it must have been tenantless, too, a long time,
for it is sadly out of repair. On the table, in the centre
of the room, lie in admirable confusion paint-boxes and
p=otures in sheets; with red, green, and blue tinsel; a
3up full of water, with pens and paper, pencils, India-
-bber, and string. The toys are the sole relics left of


the nursery, only kept for old acquaintance sake. The
owner of the doll's house is a grave, meek-eyed, little
maiden in the school-room; the bold rider of the rock-
ing-horse wears the Queen's button, and rides over the
waves of the broad Atlantic. There is no need of a nur-
sery, so this room is dignified by the name of play-room.
Then I see two boys in that room, one a year younger
than the other, sitting in that window-seat, talking-
talking as earnestly as though they were deciding the
fate of a nation; they are not brothers, but they love
one another as much as though they were. One, the
elder, is tall and pale; the other short, sturdy, and
ruddy. I think I can even hear them talk, so well do I
remember all that occurred. It was summer-time, late
in the evening; the day-light was beginning to fade, and
a very slight breeze was whispering among the trees;
the boys could see from the window where they sat
into the farmyard-see the farming-men going to rack-
up the horses, turning the cows out from the shed
where they had been milked, into the field golden with
buttercups beyond; hear the ducks quacking as they
waddled along home in one long line, and the occasional
cluck of a hen, who cannot settle herself comfortably
on her perch. Among the trees, to the right of the
farmyard, they could see the tower of the church,
covered with ivy, and the rooks soaring and wheeling
about in the air as though they could not quite make
their minds up to go to bed in their nests among those
shining ivy-leaves, but were more disposed, like dissi-
pated rooks, to make a night of it.
Bertram," said the younger boy, I want to know
what you call being a coward."
What I call being a coward ?" answered Bertram,


with a strange smile, which was peculiar to him, "being
afraid when there is no danger."
The younger boy laughed as he said, "Well, Ber-
tram, but nobody is afraid, then, I should think."
Oh, yes, they are. I have known people afraid to
go in a churchyard at night by themselves, to stay in a
house or room by themselves, when it is dark, or walk
home in lonely roads alone: those I call cowards. Then
there are fellows who are afraid to do right for fear they
should be laughed at, or afraid to speak the truth for
fear they should be punished. Fear, in real danger,
seems to me only a natural feeling given us to preserve
our lives. I don't think that is cowardice."
"Well, then, I'm not a coward; for I don't believe I
should be afraid of any of those sort of things, though
I don't know that I was ever tried."
Bertram smiled again as he said, "Will you go
some night into the churchyard alone, Frank, and
bring me some ivy-leaves, as a proof that you have
been ?"
Yes, that I will. I'll go to-night if you like, if
my father and mother will let me."
"Agreed; we'll ask them," said Bertram, and as he
spoke the door opened, and the little grave maiden came
in to say, that papa thought it was time for Frank to go
to bed. The boys exchanged glances with one another,
but said nothing, only followed the little girl into the
That little girl! let me pause awhile to speak of
ner; that little, wise, gentle, loving child, whose sweet
face and pretty ways-half-woman, half-child-I re.
member better than anything besides; who, even when
years had passed over our heads, retained the same


sweet child-nature, and whose simple words had more
power over me than the strongest eloquence urged by
others. Who, that. ever knew her, could forget the
earnest blue eyes, the masses of golden hair hanging in
rich luxuriance about her face, the irresistible pleading
manner which won her her own way in all things ?
Sweet sister, true friend, I owe you more than I can
ever repay. I think there would be better men in the
world if they had all such sisters.
The boys followed her into the sitting-room, as I
have said, and made their request about Frank's visit to
the churchyard.
His mother said it would be very little merit to go
when all people were awake and astir, and she thought
he would not be able to keep his eyes open much
later, and laughing the matter off, she dismissed him
t' bed.
And now I see a little room with a white tent-bed in
it, and a window where, on the blind, the soft moonlight
makes shadows of the rose-leaves which cluster so luxu-
riantly outside; and I see a boy creeping softly out of
that bed, dressing himself in haste by the light of the
moon, and creeping down stairs, his shoes in his hand
that his footfall might not be heard. Oh, little Frank.
what errand are you on ? He had gone to bed, but r-t
to sleep, so strong was the desire to visit the church-
yard and bring back the ivy-leaf trophy, proving to
Bertram that he was no coward, and he tossed and
turned, and turned and tossed, and finally determined,
as soon as the house was quiet and every one asleep, to
go to the churchyard, secure the ivy-leaf, and present it
in triumph to Bertram the first thing in the morning.
He knew that he could easily jump from the play-room


window, and, crossing the farm, be inthe churchyard in
a few moments, but the difficulty was to open the win-
dow without disturbing the house. He managed, with-
out making the least noise, to feel his way down the
stairs, and to open the room door, but he had forgotten
that the shutters would be shut, and therefore there
would be no moonlight to guide him to the window;
however, he knew in which position it was, and got
safely to it, merely knocking against a chair once; but
to undo the bar of the shutter, and open that and the
window noiselessly was a more difficult task. He suc-
ceeded though, after an amount of perseverance worthy
of a better cause, and springing lightly off the window-
sill, stood alone out in the silent night. His heart beat
till he could hear it, and after all he had a great mind
to jump in at the window again and go back to bed; but
still the anxious desire to prove his bravery to Bertram
was so strong, that it mastered every other consideration,
and away he started, running as fast as he could towards
the churchyard. He soon reached it, threw open the
little gate, and ran up the path that led to the porch by
which he knew some ivy grew that he could reach.
How solemn, yet beautiful it all looked. The strong
shadows of the gravestones thrown by the bright light
of the moon, the glittering of the windows on which
the bright light fell, the building itself, so dark and
grand, standing out in such strong relief against the
clear sky, the excessive stillness and the sense of entire
solitude, were sufficient to awe an older person than
the little boy, who, stretching up one hand to pick the
ivy, started and almost screamed, in spite of all his
boasted courage, as he heard a slight noise, and turning
round saw a figure standing by the church within two or


three yards of him. He stood transfixed gazing at it,
feeling as though he could not move, but when after a
second it moved towards him, he turned round and flew
rather than ran towards home. It never occurred to
him that others besides himself might wish to come in
the churchyard at night, nor did he stop to remember
that a public pathway went through it, and probably
some one was returning from an evening visit to a friend,
he stopped to think of nothing, he was only sure of one
thing-that it was a stranger, no one he had ever seen
before, and therefore it must be some unearthly being;
and so the poor, foolish child, who had been so anxious
to prove his courage, ran, as fast as his tremblingliml-s
would carry him, home, fearing to look behind him, ant
yet fancying himself pursued-and what was his horror


when he reached his home, io find the window closed
and fastened! What should he do? Every limb
trembled; he felt that his strength was failing him; he
could not be alone out there another moment. What
should he do ? in despair he said again and again. He
thought of his sister's room, and, stooping hastily, he
picked up some pebbles and threw them up at the
window; but he had to repeat it several times before
a little white-robed figure opened the window and
looked out.
Lucy, dear, come down-it's me; come and let me
in, quick."
The little figure disappeared from the window, and
in a second or two more the hall-door was opened to
receive him; but not only was his little sister there, at
the foot of the stairs stood his father.
Frank, what do you mean by this ? You it was, I
suppose, who left the play-room window open ?"
Poor Frank, at the risk of your calling him a muf,
I must own the truth, and candidly state that he burst
into a passionate fit of tears. The excitement of the
last half hour, and his disappointment at his own failure,
were too much for him, so Mr. Harvey only said,
"Go to bed now at once, we will talk this matter
over in the morning. And you too, my little girl, go
to your bed as quickly as you can;" and gently push-
ing his children before him, he went up stairs and
into his own room. But kind, gentle, loving Lucy could
not leave her brother in tears: she followed him into
his bed-room, and, when he threw himself down on the
first chair, still sobbing bitterly, she drew his head down
upon her bosom and stroked his hair, and murmured
loving words to him, with all the tenderness of woman's


'4',1 I 'I

nature, which was so strong in her, child tho -gh she was;
and there they remained, the moonlight streaming on
them, his head, with its thick brown hair and his sun-
burnt face, resting against her fair soft one, the big,
strong schoolboy soothed and tended by the little being
who, as that silverymoon shone upon her, upon her golden
hair, upon her arms placed so lovingly about him,
looked like a little angel; and then Frank told her all,
why he had gone out, showed her the leaf which, in all
his fright, he had kept so tightly in his hand, and told
her how the figure had frightened him.
"Why, Frank, what sort of a figure was it ?" she
"An old man, it looked like, with long white


"Well, perhaps it was an old man, dear. Why
should you be afraid of him? I think I should have
been glad that there was some one there, and that I was
not all alone."
"But, Lucy, I know all the people in this little
village, and he was a stranger to me. I am sure I never
saw him before," said Frank, earnestly.
And so, I suppose, you thought it was a ghost,"
said the little maiden, smiling and kissing his forehead
as she continued, I think you were a goose to imagine
such a thing. I thought you weren't afraid and didn't
believe about them."
No more I do, Lucy; but still, what could quite a
stranger be doing there at this time of night ?"
"Well, I don't know; because he was a stranger
perhaps he had come to see the church by moonlight,
and, I dare say, he wondered what you were doing."
Frank, in the safety of his own room, listening tc
his sister's quiet reasoning, began to recover himself,
and think how foolish he had been; but now what galled
him was, that he could no longer assure Bertram that he
was no coward; how he would laugh at him, for, of
course, his father would insist on knowing the truth in
the morning, and therefore the secret could not be kept
from Bertram.
His sister tried to console him on this subject too,
but with less success, and finally, his sobs being stilled
and his usual composure regained, she left him, begging
him to try and go to sleep, for she thought papa would
not be very angry, and Bertram would never be so un-
kind as to laugh at him. And Bertram really did not
laugh at him; he was far too kind to laugh at any one,
though he was always ready to laugh with them. His


father did laugh at him a little, but not morb than he
deserved, and, indeed, Frank thought he was very kind
not to punish him.
It's very well I didn't shoot you," he said ; "for
when I went down stairs to discover what the noise waa
I heard, and found the play-room window open, I loaded
my gun. However, I think you have had enough of
night adventure for the present, and so we will say no
more about it." And thus the matter ended.
But now, I think, I must tell you a little about the
Bertram that Frank loved so much, and whose goof
opinion he so much coveted. He was four years older
than Frank, and very clever, and, what is somewhaW
uncommon in boys, very good as well as very clever;
very happy and cheerful too, would enter into every
game or amusement heartily, and was, in short, quite
worthy of the love and admiration he had inspired in
the heart of Frank.
He had come to live at the old farm when he was
quite a baby. He was brought there by an elderly gen-
tleman, who stated that the child was an orphan left in
his charge; that he knew little about children, and cared
less; that the boy was a poor, sickly little thing, and
wanted a mother's care; that he would pay anything
they liked for him, if they would only take him. The
poor, little, wailing, weakly-looking child touched the
mother's heart, and Mrs. Harvey took him.
I don't want to see him till he's a big boy," said
the strange old man; then, if he's good and a gentle-
man, I'll take him; and if he pleases me, he shall have
my money when I die. I shall pay you the terms you ask
through my lawyer regularly every quarter. Here's his
address; ifjvou've any communication to make to mewrite


through him. I expect, by the look of him, your first com-
munication will be to bid me get a hatband, as I presume
that would be considered necessary, as I'm his grand-
father. And now, good day." And so he left them,
and Bertram had been there ever since, growing stronger
each day, and each day winning more on the love of
those he lived amongst. Of the old man they had seen
nothing more, nor heard anything, though the money
was always regularly paid.

And now what do I see, still gazing into the glow-
ing embers or the branches of the old cedar, with the
wondering, eager eyes of my boy still fixed on me ? I
see a wood, with thick moss at the feet of old trees,
and wild-flowers growing in abundance, and squirrels
running about, and birds singing overhead, and large
butterflies spreading their gorgeously-painted wings in
the beautiful sunshine, and blue dragon-flies darting
.bout, and masses of ferns and underwood, and no
sound but the singing of the birds, and occasionally the
fall of a leaf, or the sudden rush of a bird from among
the branches of the trees. And I see one particular spot
in that wood where some trees have been felled, which
serve as seats for four children, whose merry voices and
laughter make the silent wood echo again-Frank and
Bertram, Lucy and a little friend of hers, whom she
loves, as Frank loves Bertram. Bonny May, who could
ever help loving you; who could help laughing when
you laughed, or could help feeling brighter from your


brightness, full of mirth and mischief, fun and frolic,
playful as a kitten, but harmless as a dove;-who
could help loving you, Bonny May! She was a clergy
man's daughter, a child born to him late in life, and now
the only thing he had left to love, for he was a widower.
And how he loved her! how .he indulged her, and
laughed at her mischievous tricks, though again and
again he told her she was not fit to be a clergyman's
daughter. Every one indulged her. But for her
own naturally sweet disposition, she must have been
spoilt. The old cook, who had lived with them for
years, never could scold her, though she was most fre-
quently the victim of her tricks. She would come
sometimes to the back-door, dressed up in an old bonnet
and cloak, and knock, and when the poor old body had
dried her hands, and hurried as quickly as she could to
open it, she would drop a curtsey, and inquire, gravely,
if the cat was at home!" The poor old woman had a
perfect horror of dogs, and May, who could imitate every
animal she had ever heard, would hide under the kitchen
table, just as the old dame sat down to have a rest, and
utter a low growl and sharp bark, which would send
the poor old body half across the kitchen, exclaiming,
"Drat the dog, why don't they keep the brute tied up ?
Mary, Susan, some of you, drive this creature out !"
And when her calls had summoned the maids, with
brooms and other implements, to drive forth the offend-
ing animal, out would rush May, laughing as only she
could laugh, making the poor old cook laugh too, in spite
of her wrath at being so deceived. One day, finding a
bird-trap set in the field near their house, she got a
dead blackbird and placed in it, shutting down the trap,
as though it had been caught, and remained at some


little distance, eagerly watching for the arrival of the
children who had set the trap-they soon came, running
home from school, and hastened at once to their trap.
" Come on, boys," cried the first who caught sight of it
to the others, who loitered a little behind; come on,
we've got 'un-make haste," he said, as, kneeling down
by the trap, he laid his hand on it, "throw your hand-
kercher over it-make haste, I tell'ee, it do just peck

__ -A ,

my finger." This was too much for May, who burst
into an uncontrollable fit of laughter, and ran home as
fast as she could, lest the boys should discover that she
was the perpetrator of the trick. But with all this mis-
Thief and fun there could not be a kinder little creature,
with a more loving nature. She had heaps of pets, and
might be seen walking about the garden with a dove on


her shoulder, a cat in her arms, and followed by a dog,
a raven, and sometimes one or two pet lambs, for she
always had them brought to her if they lost their
mothers, to bring them up by hand. Such was the
taerry addition to the wood party, so you may guess
how it did ring with their laughter.
They had been very happy for some hours, but it
was getting towards tea-time, and they thought it better
to return home; so they began to pack up their basket,
which had contained the provisions Mrs. Harvey had pre-
pared for them, when, all at once, Frank uttered a cry,
and seizing Bertram's arm, said, Look there !"
Bertram turned quickly, but saw nothing. What
am I to look at ? What is it ?" he asked. Why, how
white you look, Frank !"
Oh Bertram," he said, it was the same old man
I saw in the churchyard."
"Where, boy? where?"
Why, between those two bushes he was standing
when I called out; but he vanished directly."
"No wonder, poor old gentleman," said Bertram,
laughing; "you frightened him. However, I'll find
him, and apologize to him. Which way did he go ?"
Oh, no! Bertram, don't go ;" exclaimed Frank, and
Lucy, too, for though not at all afraid herself, she thought
Frank would rather Bertram stayed.
What is it ?" said May. "Do you want to catch
that old man, do you say? Let me go; I'll under-
take to catch him. I saw him peeping through the
There, Bertram; do you hear that ? She saw him,"
said poor little Frank, still tightly holding Bertram's


Well, all right; let me go and speak to him."
"I'll go," said May. And before they could stop
her she was away through the bushes in full pursuit.
Oh dear May should not have run off like that,
when it's so late," said little Lucy. We ought to be
going home, and now we must wait fbr her."
Bertram, who had been standing looking at Frank
for some moments, put his hand kindly on his shoulder,
and said-
Frank, is not this being afraid where there is no
danger ? Why may not an old man walk about in the
woods as well as us ?"
But why does he always come when I go, and why
do we not see him in the day-time ?" asked Frank, "or
know by this time who he is ?"
Why, because, I dare say, this hot weather, he pre-
fers evening walks; and we don't know who he is,
because we haven't taken the trouble to ask. I am sure
I have never thought of him again since you said you
saw him in the churchyard. Now pray let us think no
more of such nonsense, but go on packing up the things
ready to go home. I am more anxious about that wild
May running off into the wood. I hope she will soon
come back, for, as Lucy says, it grows late."
They finished packing up the things; Frank, feeling
vexed and ashamed of himself, said no more. Lucy
and Bertram chatted together very happily for some
time; but May did not return, and the sun began
slowly to sink down in his bed of clouds, changing all
things to a bright rose colour. The birds twittered
and bustled about in the trees, and flew from one to
the other, as though they were puzzled to find their
own nests; and at length they, too, were still, and the


bright rose-coloured light faded, and still May did not
"Let us all go the way she went," said Bertram,
and try to find her; perhaps if we hollo she will
hear us. I fear she must have missed her way."
Frank's anxiety for May had now mastered his fear
of his mysterious old man, and he willingly agreed to
go with the others; and, pushing through the bushes,
they found a very narrow path, in which there was room
but for one person at a time; and so, in single file,
they moved along, pausing every now and then to
call May's name as loud as they could, but without
It is very strange," said Bertram. '" Where can
she be ? I should have thought she could scarcely have
got out of hearing by this time; but we must certainly
return and go home, your mother will be so anxious
about us."
"And leave May alone in the wood !" said Lucy,
the tears rising into her soft eyes.
I will come and try and find her when I have
taken you both home."
"No; I will stay in the place where May left us,
and you had better go home, and tell mamma where I
am," said Lucy.
No," answered Bertram. "Let me stay, and you
two go home; it is not far. And that is a very good
idea of yours, Lucy; she will very likely come back to
the place where she left us. Let us turn at once. I
will take up my post in that spot when we reach it, ana
you two hurry home as fast as you can. Hark! the
church clock is striking eight. Run home quickly."
Frank would have liked to offer to stay, but the


thought of the mysterious stranger tied his tongue.
He felt he could not sit alone in that wood with the
dread of seeing him again; and so, drawing his sister's
arm through his, and taking up the basket, they ran
off, leaving Bertram seated on one of the fallen trees, in
the spot where they had had their picnic. As soon as
they reached home they eagerly told their mother
that May was lost, and Bertram was remaining to find
her, and Mrs. Harvey at once ordered one of the
farm labourers to go also, and sent up to the vicarage,
to let the vicar know.
We need not go to bed till we know if May comes
home, dear mamma, need we ?" asked Lucy.
No, dear; but she will be home long before your
bed-time, I trust. After you have had some tea, we will
walk out again in that direction, and meet them. I
thought you were all lost."
Yes, dear mamma, we are late; we waited so for
May. There are no wolves in our woods, are there,
mamma ?" said Lucy.
Oh dear, no," said Mrs. Harvey, smiling, and
kissing the little anxious face held up to hers ; "neither
May nor Bertram will be eaten up."
The children did not mention the strange old man.
Frank was ashamed, and Lucy did not, because she
thought her brother did not wish her to do so, and so
they sat down to their tea, at every sound looking
from the window, to see if May and Bertram were
coming. But the meal was ended, and they did not
And what of Bertram ? Well, he sat where they had
left him, endeavouring to amuse himself and pass away
the time with carving a piece of wood with his penknife,


and, presently hearing footsteps, he holloed. His
ohout was answered, but it was by a man-only the
man whom they had sent to help in the search for May.
He told him he had better hunt the wood, while he
(Bertram) still remained where he was. And so away
he went; and the time wore on but very slowly, till at
length he heard the distant sound of the church clock
striking nine. Another footstep Surely this is May.
The bushes part; he springs to his feet; and before
him stands Frank's mysterious old man But instead
of inspiring any terror in Bertram's mind, he was glad
to see him, in the hope of his furnishing some informa-
tion of May; and he eagerly made inquiry of him if
he had seen a little girl anywhere in the wood. No-
thing could be more gentle or less alarming than the
old man's voice, as he answered-
No, my boy, I have not; but I have not wandered
about much, I have been sitting close by here reading till
I could see no longer. I found quite an arbour among
the trees; I have been there ever since I broke on your
picnic unintentionally some time ago. Have you lost
one of your little friends ?"
"Yes, sir; she left us here more than an hour
ago, and I cannot think where she can be. A man is in
search of her now through the wood, and I am remain-
ing here in hopes of her returning to the place where she
left us."
Perhaps she has returned home," said the old man.
I think she would not without first coming back to
us; she knew we were waiting for her."
"Your name is Bertram Meredith," said the old
man, who, whilst he had been speaking, had been staring
hard at him.


It is; do you know me ?" asked Bertram wonder.
"I used to know you," said the old man, with a
strange smile; "did you not, a few days ago, walk
home with an old woman and carry her basket for
her ?"
"I did," said Bertram
"Did you not carry a little child along the road who
was crying because she was tired, yesterday ?"
"I did," answered Bertram, wondering more and
more, and blushing, too, as his kind deeds were thus
Do you not, out of your pocket-money, pay for the
schooling of a lame boy in this village, and every Sun-
day read the service to a poor old bedridden man ? May
I never see a blush on your face, boy, for deeds worse
than these. Come with me to Mrs. Harvey's, she will
tell you who I am, and why I have taken such pains to
find out all you do. Come "
"But the child May," said the bewildered Ber-
"She is safe at home, never feaa ; we had better
seek her there;" and so, drawing Bertram's arm through
his, the two left the wood.
And who can describe Frank's feelings, when,
starting forth with Mrs. Harvey and his sister to meet
them, as she had promised they should, he beheld Ber-
tram arm in arm with his mysterious stranger. The
mystery was soon solved, he was Bertram's grand-
father. He had remained for some days in lodgings in
the village under a feigned name, to watch the boy, to
judge for himself whether he were worthy to be taker
home to inherit his wealth. Everything heheard ofthe


boy charmed him, and he had come now to claim him.
His evening walk in the churchyard was just what Lucy
had suggested-a wish to see the beautiful old church
by moonlight, and his love of strolling out in the cool
nights and evenings during the hot summer weather.
Poor little Frank, he sat with briny cheeks and down-
cast looks during all this explanation; but all agreed to
spare him and not reveal his folly to old Mr. Meredith,
or tell him how Frank had believed him an inhabitant of
another world.
And now you will ask, what of May ? May was at
that moment crying bitterly in her father's arms. Out
of pure love of fun and mischief, she had run through
the wood and away home by another path, run up stairs
without going to her father, and hid herself in her own
room, anticipating with delight the hue and cry which
would be made after her; but little had she calculated
on the effect it would have on her father, and, when
creeping down the back stairs, she heard cook say he
had been pacing the road looking and watching for her,
and was now sitting at the window, refusing any tea,
with great tears coursing each other down his cheeks,
she bitterly repented her foolish trick, and running
hastily into the room where he was sitting, she said,
"Here I am, dear papa-I've been home this two
hours. It was only my fun; do, do forgive me and
the bright little May, who had hardly ever shed a tear
in her life, burst into a passionate fit of weeping. Her
father could not scold her, he never could, he kissed her
fondly, told her she was too old to be so wild, that she
had made him feel very wretched, and that he hoped she
would not do so any more. Sweet May, luckily she was
blessed with so tender a heart, or this gentle admonition


would have had but little effect; as it was, the lesson
sunk deep, and she always endeavoured for the future to
think, before she indulged in any trick, whether it would
pain or frighten any one.

And now I see, through the mist of years, a boy
standing amidst some twenty other boys in a large
courtyard, they are eagerly talking, all speaking at
once and with great excitement. The boy I see so plainly
is younger and smaller than any of them; it is to him
all their talk seems addressed; he looks flushed, and
half-angry, half-frightened. Through the buzz of those
numerous voices, there seems to come the memory of
one saying, Those fellows who are afraid of doing
right for fear they should be laughed at;" but as that
memory seems to give him fresh courage, and he is
about to speak, a tall fellow seizes him by the arm,
saying, with a mocking laugh, Come, you little idiot,
are you going with us or not ? What a good child it
is What a pity his mammy sent him among such a
lot of naughty boys "
This witty (?) speech caused a roar of laughter from
the boys. Oh, that laughter how many an honest in-
tention or worthy action has it not scared away How
many a good resolve broken, or young, innocent mind
first corrupted, may not rise up one day in judge
ment against those scoffers The boy has gone with
his companions-gone to a boat-race at the hour he
should have gone to his tutor's, promising to join


the others in the lie they mean to tell, that they forgot
to go.
And now, in a small room, I can see this boy alone, his
arms resting on a table, his head bowed on them, his face
and eyes swollen with crying; he has been severely
flogged for the first time. But he is not crying for that
so much, though the pain was sharp and he is only a little
fellow, but his heart is full of penitence for his folly,
and, under that softening influence, his thoughts have
travelled back to his home, to his kind mother and still
more his loving, gentle, little sister. Oh, what would he
give to lay his aching head on her shoulder now, and
feel her little tender fingers straying over his face,
caressing him and soothing him as she was wont. The
door opens, and some one enters, he raises his head,
but he can only say-" Oh, Bertram!" and his tears
burst out afresh.
Well, old fellow, you've been flogged, eh! Never
mind, if you don't like it, don't get into mischief again,
that's all."
I'm not crying for the fogging, Bertram,but because
I'm always failing; this is the churchyard story over
again. I have been a coward again-the worst sort of
one. I should not have had this flogging if I had not
been afraid of the boys laughter, and so it will be to
the end."
"No, no, nonsense, boy; seeing one's fault is being
half cured of it. Cheer up, old fellow; this will be
a lesson to you, and you'll soon gain courage, and
learn to care as little for that senseless laughter as I do.
Laugh again, and go your own way; suppose they lick
you, let them; better be licked by them for doing right
than flogged by the master for doing wrong. So cheer


up; think how disappointed my grandfather will be if
you don't make a name at school, when he has placed
you here. Let us do credit to him, Frank, and prove
that we have the best sort of courage we can have-
moral courage."
I have no sort of courage, Bertram," said Frank
sadly. I am quite out of heart; I deserve, indeed, to
be called coward."
"No, no you don't, Frank; you're very young yet,
and a public school teaches hard lessons. We buy our
experience here at a very dear rate, but it teaches us
fine lessons, old fellow; fits us for the 'battle of life.'
'Let us act that each to-morrow finds us farther than
to-day,' and all will be right."
All honour be to you, Bertram; well would it be if
all had such friends as you. Lucky for Frank that he
knew and felt his value.
Old Mr. Meredith thought that he could not in any
better way return the kind care and attention the Har-
vey's had bestowed upon Bertam, than by giving an
education to their son; and to him therefore was Frank
indebted for being sent with Bertram to one of our
finest public schools, and though many were the trials
which attended him there, now-in his later life-he feels
how they all tended to fit him for the trials and tempta-
tions of his later years, and how much he owes the good
friend who placed him there. He worked well and
diligently, for he was always fond of learning; and
cheered on and encouraged by his constant companion
and firm friend, Bertram, he went through his school-life
far better than he had hoped, and many a happy Christ-
mas-eve he passed at old Mr. Meredith's, when the
adventure in the churchyard was related for the amuse-


ment of the assembled young folks, none enjoying the
joke more than Mr. Meredith himself, for Frank did not
mind having the story told now he had learnt to laugh
at it too, and wonder at his own folly; he was growing
older and wiser each day. Surrounded, as he was,
by good influences, he must have been a very bad boy
if he had not grown up about as good as his neigh-
bours. The wise counsels of his friend, the gentle, en-
during, patient love of his sister, helped him to weather
many a storm and get safe into port.



AND now I see a party of children passing the Christ.
mas holidays with Mr. Meredith. Frank and Lucy
and Bertram are among them. It was a wet after-
noon, and so, as they could not go out, a game of hare
and hounds was proposed, which was readily acceded
to; and soon the old house was ringing with their
"Tally-ho !" and shouts of laughter. Frank was the
hare. He had eluded his pursuers successfully for a
long time, but they were now gaining fast upon him,
for they had caught sight of him as he ran across the
hall to the library. He dashed open the door, and flew
across the room, intending to gain the opposite door,
which led into the dining-room, and racing through that,
get up the staircase to the bed-rooms; but in his haste
he ran against a pedestal, on which stood a rare and
valuable statue, and knocked it over. His horror can
better be imagined than described, at seeing the head
rolling along the floor at some distance from the body I
How often had he heard Mr. Meredith extol its beautie*
and boast of its rarity. What was to be done ? The
children were,in full pursuit, and soon they all entered
breathless, but found their poor hare trembling with


terror and dismay; not at their entrance, but at the
broken statue lying at his feet. All had something to
suggest, some recommending he should replace the statue
on the pedestal, and stick the head on again; Mr. Mere-
dith would then never know who did it. This sugges-
tion seemed such a relief to Frank, that he was about
to adopt it, when a small soft hand crept into his, and,
by its gentle pressure, seemed to bring back his better
No; I will tell Mr. Meredith himself that I did it.
I will go at once, and see if he is in his room. I can't
play any more. You may go on without me, if you
Lucy gave his hand another pressure, and looked up
in his face with one of those cheering, encouraging
smiles which, he said, always helped him to do right;
and away he went to find Mr. Meredith.
He was in his room, and the "come in" was an
awful sound to Frank.
Mr. Meredith," he began, in a faltering voice, I
have had a great misfortune" -
"Indeed, my boy; what is it ? Torn your jacket,
or broken your nose, or lost your money ?" said the old
man, as he looked up with an amused smile at the boy's
sorrowful face.
No, sir; much worse than all that. I have broken
the statue in the library."
"Broken what!" said Mr. Meredith, in a voice of
thunder, as he started from his chair. What do you
say, boy ? Broken that statue in the library on the
pedestal ?"
"Yes, sir," said poor Frank, his heart beating
audibly as he spoke.


The old man grasped his arm firmly, and Eaia, m
voice of suppressed passion, If you were a boy of my
own, I'd thrash you within an inch of your life." And
striding past him, he went down to the library to see if
anything could be done towards the restoration of his
beautiful statue, leaving poor Frank standing in the
middle of the room, too bewildered and distressed to know
what next to do. But Mr. Meredith was not gone long.

- S

On his return, he laid his hand on Frank's shoulder, and
"You were alone in the room when you broke
that ?"
"Yes, sir; quite."
None of the other children with you ?"
No, sir. I was running away to escape them. We


were playing hare and hounds. I upset it, running se
fast through the room."
Did you know I valued it P"
Yes, sir."
Did you think I should be angry with you ?"
"I thought it likely, sir. I knew you would be
sorry; and so am I, sir, very."
Did it not occur to you to stick the head on again,
and return it to its place ? No one would ever have
known you had done it then."
Frank's face flushed to his temples as he answered-
"I should not like to have done so, sir; though I believe
I was half-tempted for a moment."
Frank," said Mr. Meredith, you have acted well;
you have been very brave," he said, with a marked smile,
" and I am quite willing to forgive the unintentional
injury you have done me. For the future avoid the
sitting-rooms in your hunting excursions. Now go."
Awed by the disaster, the other children had left off
playing, and were distributed about the house. Some
of the boys had gone out, for the rain had ceased.
Lucy was standing at the library window alone. Frank
told her all that had passed, and they both agreed that
Mr. Meredith had been very kind. A day or two
passed away, and the weather grew cold, the rain
changed to snow and frost, and snow-balling became a
favourite amusement with the young party. Lucy found
this amusement rather too rough for her, and so, as she
knew her way about perfectly by this time, she started
for a run up the village, purposing to come by a path
through the fields home. She had some commissions
for the boys to do in the village, and by the time she
reached the fields, the short winter day was beginning


to close in, so she began to hasten her footsteps; but
as she passed a cottage, which stood alone in one of
the meadows, she saw a child, about two years old,
crying bitterly. Lucy loved children dearly. She could
not, with all her hurry, pass the little thing without
asking the cause of her sorrow.
What is the matter, dear ?" she said.
Mammy's gone, mammy's gone," sobbed the
little one.
Gone where ? "
Gone away. Mary all alone; Mary fitened."
Poor little thing I dare say mammy's only gone
to the shop. Shall I stay with you till she comes ?"
asked Lucy.
"Yes, yes," said the poor little creature, holding up
her little fat arms for Lucy to take her.
Lucy carried her into the cottage. It was as clean
as possible. The fire had been made up, and a guard
put before it. A kettle full of water stood on the hob,
and some work and a work-box were on the table; but
save a little tabby kitten and the child, there were no
signs of life in the cottage.
Lucy thought the mother could not be many minutes
gone, for she would scarcely leave so young a child long
alone, and finding the poor little creature no longer
cried now that some one was with her, she determined
to stay until her mother returned. The child, now quite
at ease and happy, began to play with the cat, and show
it to Lucy, and relate a great many circumstances to
Lucy, the sense of which she could not quite arrive at,
but she gathered from some of it that mammy" was
gone to Granddad. The light now began rapidly to fade,
and Lucy to grow uneasy, She did not like to leave


the poor child, yet she was sure Mr. Meredith and her
brother would be most anxious at her absence. The
child, unconscious of her kind little protector's anxiety,
laughed and talked, and was as happy as possible, but
at length she grew tired of play, and said she wanted
her tea, and seemed half-inclined to cry again. It was
really growing quite dark, so Lucy looked in a cup-
board, and finding a candle lighted it, and cheered the
child with promises of tea, though how to get her some
she knew not; however, there was some bread and
coarse sugar in the cupboard, so good little Lucy made
the kettle boil, and scalded some bread, which she beat
up with some sugar, and fed the child with as much
care and judgment as any little woman, and proud and
happy enough she was with the task, only every now
and then the thought of those at home disturbed her,
and she wished again and again that the child's mother
would return. There was a Dutch clock in the room,
and by that she saw it was five o'clock; they would be
waiting tea for her, and wondering enough where she
was. She thought she must really go, but, poor little
tender-hearted girl, she could not bear to leave the
child alone-that little child in a cottage by herself-
supposing she should run in the fire, or touch the candle.
What was to be done ? Where could the mother be ?
Poor Lucy was fairly at her wit's end, and at last de-
termined to remain an hour longer, hoping that the ser-
vants would be sent after her, and find her there, and
she could get one of them to stay with the child. She
set herself, therefore, to amuse her as well as she could,
but she grew fretful and peevish at last from weariness,
and finally lay down on the rug and went to sleep; and
then Lucy rose and went softly to the door and looked


out. It was very dark, and there was no human being in
sight, no sound but the distant ones from the village.
She began now to consider how she was to get home.
She who had never hardly before walked alone in the
day time, to have to walk alone through such darkness
seemed rather formidable-it was so cold too, so bitterly
cold. Lucy went in again, closed the door, and sat
down by the fire. The clock struck six. What were
they thinking at home. Surely the boys were in search
of her, but they would never think to look there. What
should she do ? The little child was sleeping soundly.
Shewould startat once-the mother would of course come
back; so throwing an old shawl over the little creature,
and putting some more coal on the fire, Lucy stole away,
closing the door gently behind her, but she stood for a
moment uncertain which road to take. The village was
the farthest, but still it was more pleasant than over the
lonely fields in the dark. As she hesitated, the words
came suddenly into her mind-" The darkness is no dark.
ness with Thee," and so Lucy turned and took her home.
ward path across the fields. It was so dark that she was
compelled to walk very slowly, and had much trouble to
keep the footway, therefore it took her a long time to
reach her destination, and she was so cold that her feet
and hands felt numbed; but she went hopefully on,
saying little scraps of hymns to herself, and texts, and
thinking how she should feel if it was the middle of the
night, and she was there alone, wondering if she should
feel as little afraid as she did then, and with these
thoughts whiling the time away, she came at last in
sight of the old gable-ended house, and saw the cheer-
ing light of fires in the rooms. As she walked up the
drive to the front of the house the hall-door opened, and


she saw Mr. Meredith standing there. She felt sure he
was watching for her, and so she ran on quickly. He
heard her little footfall on the gravel, and called out-
Lucy, is that you ?"
"Yes, Mr. Meredith," said Lucy, running up to
him, quite breathless.
"Thank God, my child! Where have you been?
Bertram, and Frank, and one of the men, are in search
for you. What has kept you ? Come in, for you are
frozen." He led her into the warm room, and himself
took off her things, and chafed and warmed her feet
and hands, while she told him her tale.
"You were a kind and brave little girl too," he said,
when she had finished. Not many little folks would
have taken this cold, dark walk home alone, to serve any
child; but here come the boys, they will be glad enough
to know you are safe at home. I will go and finish my
dinner, which I shall manage with a better appetite
now, and Mrs. Adams will see to your having some
tea." And ringing the bell, he desired the housekeeper
to be told that Miss Harvey was come home, and would
like some tea. The boys were glad enough to see her,
you may suppose, and her adventure served them for
conversation for some time.
At last, Bertram said, with a smile, Lucy is not a
coward, is she, Frank ? She has walked home fear-
lessly through the dark; and you, old fellow, have come
out well, about the broken statue-you spoke the truth,
like a man."
The summons to join Mr. Meredith stopped con-
versation for the time; but Frank's heart beat high
with pleasure at his friend's praise, for the more he
knew him, the more he loved and admired him.


And now in these glowing embers, or the branches
of the old cedar, I see a wild but beautiful sea-coast
with high overhanging cliffs, and verdure growing on
their summit, where the sheep browse, and cows stand in
groups, such as, I dare say, you have seen in old Dutch
paintings. A few fishermen's cottages are clustered
beneath the cliffs, and their boats and nets are about on
the shore; their children sometimes at play in the boats,
giving life and brightness to the scene. On the beach,
lying on some shawls, I see a pale, thin young man,
traces of suffering and sickness stamped upon his face,
and beside him a younger one, whose ruddy, healthy
countenance forms a strong contrast to his companion.
I cannot hear the murmur of the waves now even, but
I see again those two figures, and remember what
they said.
Frank, do you recollect, many years ago, asking
me to tell you what I called a coward, and your anxiety
to prove to me that you were not one ? "
"Yes, well, Bertram," answered the young man,
bursting into a laugh as he spoke; and the absurd
way in which I proved myself most thoroughly a
How brave, old fellow, you have grown since then,
I can tell," answered the other, with a sweet, sad smile,
laying his thin hand on his arm. You have risked
your life for me."
"Nonsense, nonsense, Bertram. Who says so ?"
"The doctor told me so this very morning. He
said how much I < wed you; that he told you my illness
was very infec'ijus, and that you ought to leave me;
and you answered, 'No; if I leave him he will only
have hired servants about him. He has no one but me.


I shall stay with him, let the risk be what it will.
That's what you said, Frank. I have said the words over
and over again, since. I shall never forget them."
Oh, stuff! the doctor was dreaming. He's an old
woman. See how far I can throw this stone in the
Bertram could not see; large tears were swimming
in his eyes. After a pause, he went on-
You have had pleasaiA invitations, pressing re-
quests to join shooting parties-to be with those who
are very dear to you, Frank. You have refused them
all, and for six weeks, night and day, nursed me. How
am I to thank you ?"
Listen, Bertram, for a moment, and then we will
drop the subject for ever. I owe you more than I can
ever repay. I may have helped to prolong your life;
but what have you done for me That I am not utterly
worthless I owe to you That I have the education
and position of a gentleman I owe to you. That I have,
through school and college life, kept from evil, and
withstood temptation, I owe to you. That I remembered,
through all, the good teachings of my childhood, I owe
to you. And never, Bertram, have I offered up so earnest
a prayer as that beside your sick-bed, when I prayed
that God would spare the good life which had made
mine so much better. And now no more, old fellow, of
debts and payments. I must call John with your chair,
for it is time for you to get home."

Let me see one more scene, and I have done. I see
a pretty sight now-a wedding in a country church.
Children, school-children, strewing flowers before a
procession of some ten or twelve persons. If we look


very narrowly at the faces of the bride and bridegroom,
we shall see some old friends. We shall trace in that
blushing, bright face, with its saucy eyes, Bonny
May; and in the ruddy, sturdy, happy-looking bride-
groom, looking and feeling prouder than a king, our old
friend Frank Harvey.
I am interrupted by a shout from my boy-" Papa,
papa, I know it all; your name is Frank, and mamma's
is May. That was a jolly story !"
Mamma has stolen in as I spoke the last words, and
says, as she lays her arm fondly about her boy's neck
and mine-" Sober May now, not Bonny, that was-


,-- .I~~-F ~ -a

II 1 ,, IpI I'
!1 1 ;11''''I '' ''I'I 1 fI 1 1 :11

-I I-( '''' ,."




A FEW days before Christmas, a large family party of
young people was assembled in an apartment of
Stanley Court. The rows of shelves filled with volumes,
mostly bound in those sombre coverings, so familiar
to us "when we were young," the maps suspended
on the walls, the globes, the square piano, the monster
slates on pedestals, and other apparatus, denoted it
to be the school-room ; but on this afternoon certainly
no signs of deep study were to be perceived. On
the music-stand, instead of a grave sonata, or in-
tricate exercise, stood sundry well-known comic
songs, and lively polkas; the cumbrous slates were put
into a corner with their black faces towards the wall;
bonnets and cloaks were thrown sacrilegiously over the
celestial globe ; while the large centre table, in place of
the abstruse histories, German lesson-books, and dic-
tionaries which usually adorned it, was strewed with
gay-coated books, paint-boxes, work-baskets, chess and
backgammon-boards, etc., in such profusion, that at a
glance it was easy to discern that the governess was
absent. And so it was; the monarch of the school-roo:m


Lad on the previous day departed on a visit to her
relations, leaving her dominion, for the time being, to
the sway of her pupils, who, joined by numerous
brothers from various sIools, boys full of glee and
spirits, filled the quiet school-room with sounds of mirth
and fun, and converted the usually neat apartment into
a scene of confused disorder, which would have shocked
poor Miss Page, could she have seen or even imagined
it, but which seemed very enjoyable to the young people
And now the short December day was fast closing
in; the party at the table had no longer sufficient light
for their various pursuits, so some of them gathered
round the wood fire, blazing brightly on the hearth, and
casting a glowing hue on the crimson window-curtains,
making the scene within doors contrast most agreeably
with that without-the large expanse of lawn, with its
snow-clad shrubs, looking like fantastic figures in their
white shrouds.
Two little boys and a tiny girl ligered at the table,
to watch, with unabated interest and admiration, the
feats of a kind elder brother, who for their amusement
had been trying divers experiments from that universal
,&vourite, the Boy's Own Book," and, by means of
quicksilver, taken for the occasion from a broken ther-
mometer, and other decoctions, had just been successful
in exhibiting a silver-tree, which, suspended in its beau-
tiful branching shape, with the flame of the fire shining
upon it, produced the most brilliant, glittering, and
marvellous effect imaginable, drawing forth from the
children shouts of wonder and delight, while they re-
garded their brother quite in the light of a magician.
In the meanwhile those by the fireside chattered


together. At length, Edgar, the eldest of the whole
party, exclaimed, Where can Lottie be all this time ?"
"Yes," returned Lionel (the magician), "she pro-
mised to be in before four, to play our match at chess,
and I am now quite ready for her."
"Oh! replied Edgar scornfully, there is not much
reliance to be placed on hier promises. Depend upon
it, she has forgotten all about you and your chess. No-
thing so trifling and unimportant as a brother and his
amusements could fill the superior mind of an exalted
individual, intent on reforming, and finding occupation
for, a whole parishful of old men, women, and children."
Oh, Edgar !" said Carrie, how can you speak thus
of all Lottie's good deeds ? How often I wish I were
like he-': as active, as strong, not obliged to take care of
myself and stay at home; it seems such a useless,
selfish life I lead."
"Not at all, little Carrie," returned Edgar, "for you
are sometimes of use to me. I like to sit by the fire and
listen to your singing; your voice is greatly improved
since last half. In my opinion (and being in the sixth
form at Eton, he considered his opinion decisive), in may
opinion, the first duty of every girl is to make herself
agreeable and of service to her brothers, and to devote
her time, talents, and energies in attending to them, and
endeavouring to beguile those tedious hours, when they
have nothing else to do than sit by the fire, as I am
doing now." And after a yawn Edgar drew himself up
in a dignified manner, as if no appeal could possibly be
made against this, his sage judgment of the case.
But Carrie continued-" Of course, Lottie would
rather be sitting in this comfortable room, talking or
singing to you, or playing at chess with Lionel, than ro.


maining out of doors on this bitterly cold evening; but
some sick or poor person has need of assistance, and she
is so kind and energetic."
"And so injudicious and interfering," chimed in
Oh, no !" returned Carrie indignantly.
Well," continued Edgar, I could forgive her all
her fanciful, silly schemes, though I laugh at and tho-
roughly despise them, if she only stopped there ; but you
know, as well as I do, the mischief and confusion she is
continually making by her meddling propensities, hei
love of managing things in her own way, without heed-
ing the advice of those older and wiser than herself,
taking people out of their proper places, and putting
them into others, which she thinks better for them; in
fact, as I said, never leaving well alone. Can you deny
the truth of this ?"
But," gently pleaded Carrie, "all Lottie does is
meant for the best."
Of course," replied the brother; "at least, I sup-
pose so. But why should she set herself up to be wiser
than every one else-a better judge than my mother, for
instance? But, come, enough of this; light the candles,
Lionel. I'll play a game at chess with you, myself;
but first, one of you youngsters," addressing the little
boys at the table, still busy with the Boy's Own
Book," and their precious bottle of quicksilver, pull off
my boots and run and fetch me my slippers. Why,
what a state your paws are in, my man !" as the little
boy stooped to perform the required office, his fingers
begrimed with quicksilver. Now for it, Lionel ;" and
having settled himself thoroughly comfortably, the
Etonian was making his first move in the game, when


khe door flew open, and a light figure came bound-
ing in.
It was Lottie Aylmer, snow-flakes dropping from her
cloak and melting on the carpet as she advanced; her
long hair hanging in straight locks round her face, her
veil stiffened by the frosty atmosphere.
"Pray, shut the door," exclaimed Edgar; "we do
not wish to have snow drifted into our sitting-room; it
is quite enough to have it out of doors. I am sure the
glass must have gone down several degrees since you
came in, Lottie; whisking about all your frigid petti-
coats. Do not come near me, if you please."
Oh, Edgar," replied Lottie, I am quite hot. It is
so delicious out; the ground so crisp beneath one's feet,
the snow so pure and lovely, and the moon shining so
brightly on every object. I have had such a delightful
And where have you been ?" demanded Carrie, as
she assisted in pulling off Lottie's cloak, now quite damp
from the dissolved snow; it is late for you to have
been out all alone."
"Yes," returned Lottie, later, I fear, than Mamma
would like, or than I had dared to remain, if Miss Page
had not been over the hills and far away;' but I had so
much to do. I was nearly an hour choosing my Christ-
mas presents ; people were constantly coming into the
shop and interrupting Turner. Then, after that," and
she paused for a moment, after that I had a very im-
portant and somewhat difficult business to transact;
but," she added, lowering her voice as she glanced at
Edgar, and observed a peculiar expression on his count.
tenance, I will tell you all about it by and by,
Carrie." Then, in her usual tone, she continue&--" I


must make haste and set down all my spending before
I forget them, which I shall assuredly do before to-
morrow dawns. What confusion !" she exclaimed, as sie
approached the table ; "it must, indeed, well occupy a
person's time to keep this room in order. Come, little
ones, cannot you give me a clear corner large enough
for my desk ?" and the children having moved to make
more space for her, she placed her desk on the table,
took from it a large account-book, and was soon setting
down a long row of figures, talking away as she pro-
ceeded, though no one seemed to listen to her but Carrie;
Edgar and Lionel being now engrossed in their game,
and the little ones intent on their own occupation.
"I had a piece of good luck to-day," she said, as she
made a pile of shiillngs, sixpences, and other small
coins; while I was at Turner's, Grandmamma drove up,
and when I told her what I was about, she gave me her
purse, saying, she feared its contents were not much
worth having, but whatever they might be, I was wel-
come to them. I immediately dived into each com-
partment of her poriemontaie, and collected altogether
a half-sovereign, four shillings, five sixpences, and two
fourpenny pieces ; a most abundant production, I
thought, and most grateful I felt for it, for my funds,
lfterthe outlay of to-day, would have been at rather a
low ebb. All my loose silver I shall return into my
purse for present purposes; but this bright bit of gold
I mean to keep, if possible, as a kind of nest-egg to
resort to for some special purpose."
And she was on the point of slipping the half-
sovereign into a partition of her desk, when her little
brothers, attracted by the pretty glittering coin, took it
up, and she suffered them to divert themselves by spin.


ning it, hiding it, and holding it grasped tightly in their
palms, for the others to guess which hand contained the
treasure, while she proceeded with her accounts, and the
children, well pleased with their new plaything, did not
relinquish it till summoned to the nursery-tea, when
Lottie nastily put it away, as she had intended, in a
small compartment of her desk; and, having by this
time finished her business, she left the table, and seated
herself by Lionel's side to watch his game, and shortly
after the young party dispersed to dress for dinner,
Lottie all impatience to be alone with Carrie, to give her
an account of her day's achievements.


FRon her earliest childhood Lottie Aylmer had been ac-
customed to accompany her Mamma on her visits to the
poor; her greatest treat was to be the bearer of some
little gift to a needy or suffering cottager; in the gene-
rosity and ardour of her young heart, willingly would she
bestow every little coin her purse contained to any one
who craved her charity and help, and Lady Aylmer,
pleased at the benevolent disposition of her little girl,
encouraged her in all her benevolent schemes, and thus
having no checks or difficulties in pursuing her course
of charity, and with the agreeable sensation of doing
good, it became by degrees not only Lottie's principal
occupation, but her chief resource to attend to the poor-
an amusement, in short, into which she entered with the
same kind of zest with which Carrie worked in her
garden, or Lionel set traps for hedgehogs.
And Lottie, as she grew older, became somewhat
perverse and self-sufficient in her charitable plans; her
mother's advice was no longer strictly adhered to, at
times not even asked, while the governesses complained
that their pupil's mind was so engrossed by her projects
ior reforming and improving others, that she gave no

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