~L_ ~6~ ~t-L~L~L~L~L~L~L~L~L~ttZUdC~*CLU MC
John F. Shaw & Co.'s Juvenile Publications.
Well Printed, well Bound, well Illustrated.
HEROES OF THE LNE .
AUNT MILDRED'S TREASURE
THE STRAY LAMB
RIGHT-ABOUT-FACE ; OR, BEN THE GORDON BOY.
LITTLE TROUBLE THE HOUSE
THOSE BOYS .
NEVER-FOREVER; OR, THE CATHARINE
TO THE END .
ALL FOR THE BEST
LOST MAGGIE; OR, A BASKET OF ROSES .
LEFT BEHIND; on, A SUMMER IN EXILE .
OUGHTS AND CROSSES
ONE DAY; OR, VIOLA'S WANDERINGS
JERRY'S LITTLE NELL
OUR ROUGH DIAMOND
HOW HETTIE CAUGHT THE SUNBEAMS
LITTLE POLLIE; on, A BUNCH OF VIOLETS
JITANA'S STORY .
BENNIE, THE KING'S LITTLE SERVANT
BLIND NETTIE; OR, SEEKING HER FORTUNE
OUT OF THE SHADOW
LEO AND DICK; OR, SEEDS OF KINDNESS.
ROB AND RALPH; on, A TRUST FULFILLED
LONELY LILY; OR, THE SHEPHERD'S CALL
THE NEW SCHOOL
LUCY'S LIFE STORY
RUTH'S RESCUE .
OUT IN THE STORM; OR, LITTLE MESSENGERS
CHICK; OR, YET THERE IS ROOM
Dy ELLON KANE.
M. S. MACRITcHII;
L. T. MEADE.
L. T. MEADE.
C. L. GORDON.
E. S. HOLT.
M. E. WINCHESTER.
Mrs. FABIAN BRACKENBURY.
GERTRUDE P. DYER.
GERTRUDE P. DYER.
C. E. S.
M. L. C.
A. C. C. D.
M. S. MACRITCHIE.
LONDON: JOHN F. SHAW & CO., 43 PATERNOSTER ROW, E.C.
John F. Shaw & Co.'s Juvenile Publications.
SHRIVE IGHTBIMPERMY SURIE,.
Well Printed, well Bound, well -Illustrated.
CHRISTOPHER'S NEW HOME.. By EMMA MARSHALL.
A BROTHER'S RANSOM ALICE LANG.
LITTLE BOOTS, AND THE STEPS THEY TROD IN J. HARRISON.
IN SHADOWLAND; OR, WHAT LINDIS ACCOMPLISHED E. EVERETT-GREEN.
FOR ELSIE'S SAKE; OR, A SEASIDE FRIENDSHIP J. CHAPPELL.
MERCHANT AND MOUNTEBANK BRENDA.
CURLEY'S CRYSTAL; oR,ALIGHTHEARTLIVES LONG Mrs. MARSHALL.
HAND IN HAND; OR, RADIANCE AT BEECHDALE J. CHAPPELL.
THE TOWN STRIKE; OR, Too DEARLY BOUGHT AGNES GIBERNE.
ROBERT'S RACE; on, MORE HASTE LESS SPEED Mrs. MARSHALL.
LITTLE RADIANCE. A YEAR IN A CHILD'S LIFE J. CHAPPELL.
FROGGY'S LITTLE BROTHER. New Edition BRENDA.
SYBIL'S MESSAGE EILY BRODIE.
UP TO THE MARK. A STORY FOR BOYS H. BOULTWOOD.
ACTING ON THE SQUARE H. BOULTWOOD.
TIM'S TREASURE AND HOW HE FOUND IT ALICE LANG.
HIS SERVANTS WHO SERVE ELEANOR GRANT.
CHARLIE'S SUCCESS M. SEYMOUR.
THAT BOY TOM M. SEYMOUR.
BRITAIN'S QUEEN. With Fifty Illustrations PEARL FISHER.
OUR WINNIE; OR, WHEN THE SWALLOWS Go E. EVERETT-GREEN.
THE GOLDEN PAVEMENT E. CHAPMAN.
THE SECRET OF THE FOREST E. CHAPMAN.
THE SLAVE GIRL OF POMPEII EMILY S. HOLT.
THE WAY OF THE CROSS EMILY S. HOLT.
EAST AND WEST; OR, THE STROLLING ARTIST EMILY BRODIE.
THE SEA-GULL'S NEST EMILY BRODIE.
ON THE DOORSTEPS; OR, CRISPIN'S STORY Mrs. STANLEY LEATrS.
LOST HER SHOE; AND A FEw LITTLE THREADS GRACE STEBBING.
A LITTLE WILD FLOWER; OR, RosY's STORY L. J. TOMLINSON.
ROB & MAG. A LITTLE LIGHT IN A DARK CORNER L. MARSTON.
SAM. THE STORY OF A LITTLE WHILE ISMAY THORN.
JAMIE'S TRUST; OR, THE MOTIIERLESS BAIRN Edited by Miss GATTY.
WHITE LILIES L. T. MEADE.
Good Type. Fully Illustrated; Cloth Gill.
PINAFORE DAYS Dy ISMAY THORN.
MY SUNDAY STORY BOOK ANON.
ONLY FIVE ISMAY THORN.
ROUGH THE TERRIER IL BRODIE.
MY SUNDAY PICTURE BOOK ANON.
A SIX YEARS' DARLING ISMAY THORN.
SUNDAY BIBLE PICTURES ANON;
LONDON: JOHN F. SHAW & CO., 48, PATERNOSTER ROW, E.C.
^5 ^-. "
... r ,
"Aunt Mildred, I do declare '
AUNT MILDRED'S TREASURE;
1Vepaib a ZIbouganbfolo.
A. J. PAUL.
" Whatever, Lord, we lend to Thee,
Repaid a thousandfold shall be;
' Then gladly will we give to Thee,
Giver of alll"
JOHN F. SHAW & CO.,
48, PATERNOSTER ROW, E.C.
I. CIELSEA CHINA *
II. A MISSIONARY MEETING
III. SOMETHING BETTER"
IV. "IF WISHES WERE HORSES"
V. IN TROUBLE .
VI. BERTIE'S QUESTION
VII. THE QUESTION ANSWERED .
VIII. LIFE-WOR .
IX. "LITTLE DEEDS OF LOVE "
X. A BIRTHDAY AND A ROMANCE
XI. ANOTIrER MISSIONARY MEETING
AUNT MILDRED'S TREASURE.
HE Carringtons were an old
SWestbridge family, and much
respected in their native town.
The male representatives were
solicitors: for generations past
the business had descended from
S eldest son to eldest son-an honoured
inheritance. Only in the present
lawyer, Robert Carrington, this rule
of primogeniture had its exception. He was the
younger son. He and his brother John-still un-
married men when their father died-had been left
the business between them, with the understanding
that eventually John's son, and not Robert's, should
succeed them-that is, supposing the brothers
married; as they did.
10 AUNT MILDRED'S TREASURE.
John Carrington married first: a son was born to
him, but his wife died at his birth, and he did not
long survive her. His last illness was attributed to.
mental worry. There had been cause for worry.
John had entered upon unwise speculations, and loss
of money, debts, and mortgages were the conse-
quences. When his affairs were wound up, and all
liabilities discharged, it was found that to young
John there remained absolutely nothing of his father's
private fortune. Of course, at a fitting age, Robert
Carrington would admit him into the office, and
treat him as his future successor; but meanwhile,
who would undertake the child's bringing up?
It was at this juncture that his aunt, Miss Car-
rington, came forward. She was willing to do for
this orphan nephew as for an adopted son; his
father had been her favourite brother, and she pos-
sessed sufficient means for the boy's support and
education. So to Miss Carrington he was consigned.
She was faithful to her self-imposed charge. In
due time her nephew John entered the office, a
well-educated, promising youth, with indications of
no ordinary ability.
The Carringtons had always been clever lawyers.
Even the late John Carrington, notwithstanding his
sad mis-management of his private affairs, had done
well by those of his clients. Certain traits of
character, like the profession, appeared to be here-
ditary; and these traits were not limited to the
Robert, the present head of the family, had his
share of them; and his sister had hers. Unfor-
tunately the very qualities which showed to ad-
vantage in the lawyer's office became warped and
mis-shapen, as it were, in the retired life of the
For instance, the Carringtons were noted for
decision and self-reliance. These qualities added
weight to the lawyer's advice, but they rather less-
ened Miss Carrington's influence; for with her
they bordered upon obstinacy, and she was ungenial
in her hard, stand-off independence.
The Carringtons were also, as a family, reserved.
The lawyer's reserve meant an honourable reticence,
which attracted rather than repelled his clients;
whereas Miss Carrington's reserve had the effect of
keeping acquaintances at a distance.
But though by word and manner Miss Carrington
did not show herself friendly, she did in more prac-
tical ways. That she could be a friend in need to
her own flesh and blood John Carrington had good
cause to know; and likewise the parish doctor knew
12 AUNT MILDRED'S TREASURE.
he might appeal to her charity when "kitchen
physic was needed for a weakly little one, or when
the illness of a bread-winner brought the wolf to
the door; whilst the vicar had her support and
interest in every effort for the spread of his Master's
The solicitor's office and the family residence
were in one tall, substantial house. Riverview the
house was named; and the windows at the back
had once upon a time looked upon green fields,
reaching to the river's brink. Now all things green
had fled before the invading armies of brick and
mortar, and the view of the river was quite shut
out. Miss Carrington's girlhood had been passed at
Riverview; but after her father's death she had
settled down for good in a home of her own.
John was ten years old, and going to school, when
Robert Carrington married. After that marriage
there arose somehow in Miss Carrington's mind a
sense of distance between her little home and the
home of her kinsfolk quite disproportionate to the
half-mile of pavement which lay between them.
It was an afternoon in late autumn. Miss Car-
rington was alone in her sitting-room-she lived
alone now; for since John entered the office he had,
for convenience sake, taken up his abode at River-
CHELSEA CHINA.. 13
view. Miss Carrington was looking troubled. A
few days previously the vicar, Mr. Williams, had
called to tell her of a missionary meeting soon to
be held at Westbridge. A well-known missionary,
eloquent of speech, and rich in experience, was to
give the address; and Mr. Williams hoped that with
God's blessing the meeting would have good results.
Might not Westbridge subscribe of its silver and
gold enough to send another labourer to the mission-
field ?-better still, might not one of its sons stand
forth with the brave words, Here am I; send me "?
Miss Carrington had listened eagerly as the vicar
talked; for it had always seemed to her a noble
thing-this bearing of the Gospel light to dark
places of the earth. Only after his visit a question
suggested itself-" How can I help ? She would
have liked to put some bank-notes on the collecting-
plate at the missionary meeting. Alas! on ex-
amining the state of her finances she deemed it
quite impossible that bank-notes would be forth-
coming. She had no longer the cost of her
nephew's education, and she spent little on herself;
but she made it a rule to lay out her income con-
scientiously and methodically, only leaving that
small margin between receipt and expenditure
which common prudence dictated, and of late the
14 AUNT. MILDRED'S TREASURE.
margin had been rendered smaller by sundry un-
expected demands upon her purse.
Thus it came about that she was troubled and
perplexed on this November afternoon.
The street was already darkening, but within
there was a cheerful fire, and Miss Carrington's
eyes followed absently the -warm lights which it
sent flickering round the room. Here and there
the gilt-framed pictures on the walls caught the
glow. One of these pictures was a water-colour
sketch of her father; some resemblance between
father and daughter might be traced in the com-
pressed lips and resolute chin. Three were photo-
graphs. They represented a child in tunic and belt,
a lad wearing cricketing flannels and holding his
bat, and a young man with a clever, pleasant face.
Often had Miss Carrington gazed long and lovingly
on these photographs; now, however, she was en-
grossed with the matter-of-fact subject of pounds,
shillings and pence, and out of touch with sentiment.
So her glance strayed away from the pictures to
the old-fashioned china cabinet which stood be-
neath them. And all at once it seemed as though
the firelight glittering on the diamond panes of the
cabinet door had brought to her puzzled brain an
CHELSEA CHINA. 15
She crossed the room, and opening the cabinet
made a rapid survey of its contents. These con-
sistcd of various pieces of china, all good of their
kind, and for many years heirlooms in the family.
They had been bequeathed to Miss Carrington by
She selected two of the pieces-a market-woman
carrying a basket of eggs upon her arm, and a lady
playing on a dulcimer; quaint figures, with short
flowered skirts, waists unduly slim, and hair drawn
tightly from somewhat wizened little faces; quaint,
but not beautiful to the uninitiated. And yet a
connoisseur would have pronounced them very
perfect specimens of Chelsea china.
Miss Carrington was well versed in their points of
merit. Her mother had often drawn her attention
to the delicate blue-grey and warm claret-colour
tints of their old-world costumes, and to those three
unglazed spots left by the rude tripod on which
they had been baked-sure proofs of age. And
then', like most ancient things, they had a history-
a history interwoven with many curious family
legends and romances.
Miss Carrington set the figures on a table before
her, and contemplated them with grave interest.
She was not taking into account aught of family
16 AUNT MILDRED'S TREASURE.
legend, rather was she gauging their value by a
very simple rule:-
"The real worth of anything
Is just as much as it will bring."
"Let me see; the musician will bring 7 at least,
and the market-girl- "
Here her calculations were broken in upon. The
door opened; there was a rustling of silk, followed
by a shrill-toned exclamation-
"Aunt Mildred worshipping images, I do de-
The well-dressed, well-looking visitor was Miss
Miss Carrington greeted her with studied polite-
I have not been here for ages," Mrs. Carrington
went on; "and now I have come upon you un-
awares to find you-thus."
"I will ring for the lamp, Julia," said Miss Car-
rington rather stiffly. Sometimes I prefer blind-
man's holiday' when I am alone."
Ah, but you were not exactly keeping 'blind-
man's holiday,' you know, Aunt Mildred. With
that blazing fire you were able to feast your eyes
on your two little images. Though you have
turned idolater, you don't yet come up to our vicar's
description of the heathen who sit in darkness."
"Has Mr. Williams told you of the missionary
meeting?" Miss Carrington inquired, purposely
ignoring the point of her visitor's witticisms.
Told me !-I should think so. The good man
can talk of nothing else. Such a visitation he has
paid us. He interested the children, but I felt
dreadfully bored. Besides, I wanted to get over to
ask you about the Smith girl. We must have
some one in to help when Bertie and Mabel are
home at Christmas. My brother expects his
daughter to have her comforts, and she ought to
have them. Well, I understand this girl is a nice
attendant, and she ought to come for very small
wages, as the Smiths are so poor."
Now Miss Carrington was ready to admit the first
"ought"--that Mabel Rivers ought to- have her
comforts. Mabel had been entrusted to the care of
her aunt, Mrs. Carrington, until of an age to join
her parents at the Indian station where Colonel
Rivers was quartered; and the colonel had insisted
on paying a handsome allowance for her expenses.
To stint her in home comforts would have been
as unjust as to stint her educational advantages at
the expensive school wb-are she was being finished.
18 AUNT MILDRED'S TREASURE.
But the second "ought," to Miss Carrington's
mind, was not admissible. She failed to see in the
poverty of the parents an argument for underpaying
a good servant. However, she made no comment,
but told what she knew of the girl's character.
The Smith family was one of those to whom
she had shown herself a friend in need, after her
practical fashion. Being concise of speech she had
given her information before the lamp was intro-
duced, and she quietly moved the china figures
aside to make a place for it.
And now may I ask what this china worship
means ? spoke M-rs. Carrington, when the two
ladies were lefb to themselves again.
"If you must know, Julia, it means that I wish
to sell these pieces of Chelsea, and I was considering
the price they are likely to bring."
Mrs. Carrington was taken aback by this reply to
her question. A deep flush mounted to her forehead.
"You wish to sell them?" she repeated; "but
that is impossible- "
"And why impossible ?" Aunt Mildred de-
manded. "The china is my own property."
Oh, I grant your father willed it to you, but
that was because he was ignorant of the value of
such things, and you have no moral right to take
CHELSEA CHINA. 19
advantage of his ignorance. The china is an heir-
loom, and it should not go out of the family."
"Surely, Julia," said Miss Carrington, "you
must know me better than to imagine I would sell
what I am not honestly entitled to; but we have
each a right to do what we please with our own.
And now let us drop the subject."
But Mrs. Carrington was not to be silenced. This
subject of ihe china had brought to her recollection
other long-standing grievances.
"Always the same story," she retorted; the
Carringtons do what is just by their clients, but
when it comes to their own affairs they do what
And then followed complaints relating to the dis-
posal of certain loaves and fishes which she judged
should have been her children's portion. She
wound up with the grievance ever rankling at her
heart-that John, her husband's nephew, should
have a snug berth at the office, while her poor
Bertie must make his own way through life; and as
she reviewed her son's wrongs her feelings shaped
themselves into very real and bitter-though covert
--taunts and reproaches.
Miss Carrington had taken up her work-a warm
woollen sock-and she continued knitting diligently
20 AUNT MILDRED'S TREASURE.
during this tirade. And yet she was not actuated
by a Christian spirit of forbearance-far from it.
Despite the calm exterior angry feelings were at
work in her heart, and her countenance hardened
more and more as Mrs. Carrington continued speak
ing. That very evening she wrote a letter which
decided the fate of the old Chelsea.
Among her brother's clients was Sir Francis
Calvert, a country gentleman, and master of a pack
of fox-hounds. He was lavish in his outlay on
hounds and horses; lavish also in the matter of
pin-money for what he termed his wife's fads. His
wife and Mrs. Carrington were in the habit of inter-
changing visits. Sometimes, too, Lady Calvert
called on Miss Carrington. Of late she was wont on
these occasions to peer wistfully into the china cabi-
net, her present "fad being a craze for old china.
If ever you have an auction be sure and let me
know, that I may bid for these dears," she would say
laughingly, yet meaning what she said.
So it was to Lady Calvert that Miss Carrington.
wrote. She sallied forth herself with the letter, and
as she dropped it into the pillar-box at the end of
the street the postman and his bag came round the
corner. Thus she knew it was in time for the last
A MISSIONARY MEETING.
S Y return of post there came the
answer to Miss Carrington's let-
ter, and Lady Calvert named a
Price which she was willing,
nay, charmed to give in order to
become the owner of such coveted
treasures. It was a price far exceed-
ing the present owner's valuation.
Lady Calvert was in the habit of
acting precipitately, being of a volatile and impul-
sive nature. But Miss Carrington was neither
volatile nor impulsive. Once her mind was made
up she was slow to change it. Not the less was she
averse to hasty decisions.
Had she been left to herself in this matter she
22 AUNT MILDRED'S TREASURE.
would surely have slept upon it" before writing
her letter. It is quite possible, moreover, that
having "slept upon it" she would have discovered
cons where at first she had seen only pros, and
finally might have restored her quaint little figures
to their place on the cabinet shelf.
But, as it was, she had met with undue inter-
ference, and her sister-in-law's upbraidings proved
a death-knell to all deliberation.
So the bargain was struck and the price paid.
Afterwards Miss Carrington began to feel dis-
satisfied. She did not take herself to task exactly.
Julia had been very tiresome, and it was proper
that she should learn to distinguish between mine
and thine-and yet it was a pity that those crisp
bank-notes locked away in a private drawer, and
labelled "for the C. M. S." should in anywise be
associated with a quarrel.
On the day fixed for the missionary meeting she
resolved to walk to Riverview, and to hold out the
olive branch; for since that one indignant protest
against the sale of the china Mrs. Carrington had
kept aloof, evidently deeply offended.
It had been arranged to have a meeting for
children in. the forenoon, but the public meeting
would be at a late hour; accordingly there was
A MISSIONARY MEETING.
ample time for Miss Carrington's visit of reconcilia-
tion. She set forth soon after breakfast; for she
was anxious to get the disagreeable duty over. She
felt sure it was a duty-did not her Bible tell her
as much? "First be reconciled to thy brother, and
then come and offer thy gift." Yes, once that visit
was accomplished, she could offer her gift with a
very easy conscience.
The office apartments at Riverview were at one
side of the large entrance-hall, and at the opposite
side those occupied by the family. As she stood
waiting for admission at the private door, ominous
sounds reached her ears:, clearly a scuffle was going
on within, accompanied by broken remonstrances,
and finally a boisterous young voice was raised high
"No, you shall not stop me: I must welcome my
dearly beloved aunt. Go back to your kitchen,
At the voice and words Miss Carrington's face
clouded. Although aware that her nephew Bertie
was home for the holidays, she had not expected
the personal encounter which now threatened her.
Bertie favoured out-door pursuits, and spent little
of his time in the gloomy town house.
That tiresome boy Well, I must just make
21 AUNT MILDRED'S TREASURE.
up my mind to endure him," Miss Carrington ejacu-
In another moment the door was flung wide, and
a tall, handsome boy, with blue eyes brimful of
mischief, thrust himself into the doorway. The
mischief in his eyes intensified as they rested on his
aunt, her slight form held erect, her face contracted
into that rigid expression it was wont to assume
under certain influences.
"I say, Aunt Mildred," he exclaimed, "but you
look jolly well pleased to see me. I spied you from
the window, and flew downstairs; then Sarah would
stop me in the passage. Sarah can't understand
a nephew's feelings. Never mind, we understand
each other. Why, we're both fit to dance for joy
this present minute. Happy thought-suppose we
And forthwith the audacious boy laid violent
hands on his aunt's person, and compelled her to
perform a rapid evolution on the door-mat.
As he thus gave vent to his mischievous humour,
a young man came quickly into the hall from the
My cousin John I declare! Ah, well; when
company turns up it's about time for trumpery to
make itself scarce." And, suiting action to word,
A MISSIONARY MEETING.
Bartie released his aunt from his uncomfortable
embraces, and darted into the house. John Car-
rington came forward with an air of concern.
"Too bad you should have fallen into Bertie's
clutches," he said; "he is simply irrepressible,
There, John, don't hunt up excuses," interrupted
Miss Carrington. That boy has the manners of
a bear; and you know it."
I know he had the manners of a dancing bear
just now, Aunt Mildred. Remember, he has only
been two days at home. When the newness of the
holidays wears off, he will quiet down into a rational
being. You are going in to see Aunt Julia ?-good.
And now I must hurry away; but be sure I shall
call for you this evening, sharp to time."
Sarah, who had remained in the background,
struck motionless by Master Bsrtie's audacity, now
hastened to conduct Miss Carrington to the drawing-
room. Two little girls were its sole occupants:
they were standing at the window, equipped in
"Are you not ready yet, Sarah ?" one of them
cried, while the other chimed in disconsolately, "We
have waited such a long, long time." Then, break-
ing off at sight of the visitor with-" Oh, Aunt
26 AUNT MILDRED'S TREASURE.
Mildred, how do you do ? they came hand in hand,
and a little shyly, to meet her.
Sarah went in quest of her mistress, first reassur-
ing the children by the promise that she would be
back in five minutes, with her bonnet on.
"You see, Aunt Mildred," explained Edith, the
younger and the more talkative, "Sarah is to take
us to the schoolroom, because Nurse is helping
Mabel to unpack; and we are to see a real mis-
sionary, and pictures of black children, and idols,
and funny round houses made of mud. And a
gentleman will hand a plate like what we put our
pennies on when we go to church."
Only we have more than pennies to-day," said
Rose with dignity; and then the sisters nodded
gleefully io each other, and chinked the money in
"You are glad to have money to give?" ques-
tioned Aunt Mildred.
"Glad? Oh, yes," assented Edith; "but Rose
and me did find it difficult, because of Christmas.
We must give everybody presents, or they would
be so disappointed, and we were dreadfully afraid
there would be nothing left for those dear little
black children after all. But Rose made a plan."
Aunt Mildred began to be interested.
A MISSIONARY MEETING. 27
"What was the plan, Rose? she asked.
Rose blushed at this direct question, being at a
more self-conscious age than her sister.
"Only, Aunt Mildred, we were to agree not to
buy Christmas presents for each other; but Edith
was to give me two shillings, and I was to give
Edith two shillings. And so we have two two-
shillings for the missionaries, and no one will be
"But I don't know what we should have done
but for Rose's plan," quoth little Edith, with a
sigh, and a crinkling of her forehead at thought of
past perplexities. "It is very difficult to manage,
when we love so many people."
Just then Sarah's head peeped in. Faithful to
promise, she had her bonnet on.
Mrs. Carrington would be down directly, and
the children might go with her as soon as they
pleased," she said.
They went at once, repressing their excitement
until beyond the drawing-room precincts: they had
been drilled to better manners than their school-boy
Mrs. Carrington made her appearance a few
minutes later, accompanied by Mabel Rivers. She
apologised for her delay, but the apology sounded
28 AUNT MILDRED'S TREASURE.
like a complaint. That Smith girl would not come-
no doubt Mildred had found her a better place-and
things were at sixes and sevens, and she had really
no time for receiving visitors.
Miss Carrington tried to be amiable, but in the
effort her words lost all naturalness, and Mabel did
not help out the conversation. Her eyes-handsome
blue eyes like Bertie's, only less mischievous, and
more thoughtful-went from one to the other of the
speakers, as though to read between the lines of
those querulous complaints and stilted replies.
Of course no allusion to the past disagreement
could be made in Mabel's presence, nor was there
any approach to cordiality;. so the olive branch was
hidden away, and Miss Carrington walked home
reflecting that she might as well have stayed there.
Notwithstanding the morning's failure she was
a happy woman when the .hour for the evening
meeting drew nigh. Mr. Williams judged it advis-
able to have meetings worthy of general interest at
an hour when business people could attend them,
and as the schoolroom where they were held was a
ten minutes' walk from Miss Carrington's house, it
was customary for John to be her escort. He had to
go out of his way, but he was ever ready to do that
for others, and he knew Aunt Mildred liked the
A MISSIONARY MEETING.
attention. He little guessed, however, what an
important item in her enjoyment of those evening
meetings was the brief walk to and fro. Aunt
Mildred was not one to show her feelings. She had
not petted him when he was a child, nor yet made
a great deal of him since be became a man. Yet
there were signs and tokens of her love: those
photographs on the wall were John's likenesses at
different stages of his life; the knitted socks in her
work-basket were all intended for John's wearing;
and there were a thousand and one such signs, had
he read them aright. But he was a young fellow
who did not think much of himself, and conse-
quently was slow to perceive that another thought
much of him.
This evening his aunt stood on the hearth-rug,
listening and waiting; and when she heard his
quick step mounting the stairs, her lips relaxed into
a smile, and a pink colour flew to her cheeks; but
John came into the room to find her quietly busied
drawing on her gloves, and he attributed her bright,
happy looks to anticipation of the missionary meet-
"We need not hurry," he said, glancing at the
clock as they went out together; "we have a quarter
of an hour to spare still,"
30 AUNT MILDRED'S TREASURE
As if Aunt Mildred wanted to hurry !
The walk was over sooner than she cared. Never-
theless she thoroughly appreciated the treat which
followed. The missionary knew how to interest
his hearers. He gave them telling anecdotes and
crisp word-pictures of the scenes and customs of
distant lands, described with earnest feeling the
work which was being done in Christ's Name, and
pointed out how each one present might-himself
or herself-become a missionary too.
The collection was made, the final hymn sung,
and then people began to stream out. As the doors
swung back there came a whiff of stinging, frosty
"We can drive you home, Aunt Mildred," whis-
pered Mrs. Carrington-the ladies were busying
themselves with their wraps-" it will be a charity
to John to let him walk at his own pace instead of
yours, this bitter night."
Poor Aunt Mildred! She looked up at John
anxiously; but he answered for her. "Don't fear
for us," he said; "we mean to talk all the way to
keep ourselves warm."
Going down the steps from the school-house some
lads and young men passed them, and John smiled
and nodded: they were members of his Bible-class.
A MISSIONARY MEETING. 31
After that, aunt and nephew were left to themselves;
and as John commented on what they had heard,
and drew out his reserved companion by quick
sympathy of response, it seemed to her that the
talk did actually possess heat-giving properties, more
comforting than those of the warm fur cloak he had
fastened around her before they started.
The remarks at the latter part of the address
had especially taken hold of John Carrington's
"You remember," he began, what he said on
that last division, How can I help ?' "
Oh, yes," responded Aunt Mildred, he showed
so clearly that it is every one's duty to give." And
she thought with some complacency that she had
done her duty in this respect.
Our duty not only to give silver and gold;--it
may be to give ourselves," John repeated softly.
"I hope," said Aunt Mildred, "that one at least
who heard these words may take them to heart;
that one missionary may see his way to go from
"I hope so," John answered. I hope so, and I
The earnest voice made Aunt Mildred say, "You
have a special person in your mind."
32 AUNT MILDRED'S TREASURE.
She did not say it interrogatively. She thought
of the lads that had passed them by: it seemed so
likely that a member of John's class -had confided
to him the wish for mission work; and to tell out
such confidence, even to her, would be a breach of
Miss Carrington had enjoyed her evening-so
thoroughly enjoyed it, that the memory might well
have haunted her thoughts and dreams that night.
It did not haunt them, however.
Her last waking thoughts flitted, curiously enough,
to a brief episode in her morning visit to Riverview
-those few minutes spent with her little nieces;
and when thoughts merged into dreams, she fancied
she saw the children by her side, and heard again
the quaint child-speech-" It is very difficult to
manage when we love so many people."
SOON Christmas was passed; but
Bertie's holidays were not at an
end yet. He was having what
he called "prime fun." Sir
Francis Calvert's eldest son was
his chum at school, and the two boys
were also a good deal together in holi-
Frank Calvert was Bertie's model
of what "a fellow should be and do. Especially
did he admire and emulate Frank's feats in the
Unfortunately, in trying to live up to this model,
the "prime fun" was sometimes dashed by a con-
sciousness of failure. It pleased Sir Francis that his
son should excel in sports; and already he took a
34 AUNT MILDRED'S TREASURE.
pride in having him well mounted on hunting days.
But whatever sporting tastes Bertie might possess,
they did not meet with home fostering.
For a mount he had to be content with Jill,"
a thick-set, thick-winded pony, which had long
filled the place of equine maid-of-all-work in the
Bertie acquitted himself as well as could be ex-
pected under the circumstances, and was compli-
mented by Sir Francis on one occasion when, by
lavish use of voice, whip and spur, he had succeeded
in seeing the end of a run.
"Bravo, Bertie!" Sir Francis had said; "tell
your father he should give you a better mount.
You rode like a man!"
A remark which set Bertie brooding.
A few days later he returned from the chase
crest-fallen. Jill, taxed beyond the wide limit of
her patience, had at last made a stand. She had
made it in a literal sense; her ears thrown back,
her legs thrust forward, and sturdily planted in the
clay of a heavy ploughed field, which Bertie had
inconsiderately expected her to canter across.
So it was still early in the. afternoon, and Mr.
Carrington, in the private room of his office, was
engaged in examining certain title-deeds and settle-
SOMETIlING BETTER." 35
ments, when he was surprised by a noisy and un-
ceremonious intruder. He looked up, to see Bertie
standing before him.
Why, how comes it you are back so soon?
Had you a good day ?" But the lawyer questioned
without show of interest. Even in his young days
riding had no charms for him; about hunting he
understood little, and cared less.
"A good day-rather not!" Bertie answered.
"Jill sulked first thing. I had to lead the brute
Strange! I never heard of Jill sulking before.
Even little Edith can manage her perfectly."
"Little Edith-I daresay,".was Bertie's con-
temptuous rejoinder. "Jill's the right sort for girls
and duffers; but for 'cross country work, I tell you,
father, I might as well ride a donkey. All the
fellows were laughing at me to-day."
The boy reddened, and his words came quicker,
at thought of the "chaff" so freely dealt him in
that ploughed field.
"It's just too bad expecting me to do with Jill.
Sir Francis says you ought to mount me better.
Why, Frank has,-"
Here Mr. Carrington interrupted,-
What Frank has need not determine what you
36 AUNT MILDRED'S TREASURE.
should have. Sir Francis' son has, and will have, a
great many things which my son had best make
up his mind to go without."
Bertie was dismissed. He manifested his dis-
pleasure by slamming the office doors loudly behind
Mr. Carrington's attention reverted to the title-
deeds. But when next he and John chanced to be
alone together, he observed abruptly, '' I don't feel
quite easy about Bertie of late."
Why so? John asked. "Bertie may be some-
thing of a pickle; he is thoughtless and full of
spirits. A boy's faults these, and faults that
"'At present Bertie's faults are growing, not
mending. He is sadly disimproved."
John was silent. It would have been contrary to
his kindly instincts to have assented to this state-
ment; contrary, too, to all wise policy. Mr. Car-
rington might censure his son; yet was he quick
to resent censure from other lips than his own.
"Brrtie is hand and glove now-with Frank Cal-
vert," the father went on; "he thinks it fine to
have friends who are above him in position and
means; and he apes them in everything. It is this
that frightens me. With his disposition, consider
"Bertie ia hand and glove, now, with Frank Calvert."
SOMETHING 1ETrEL'." 39
what dire grief he may come to should he enter a
smart cavalry regiment, such as the mother talks
John smiled. "You look forward some way," he
said. "When the time comes, Bertie may do right
well in his profession, though I grant you he would
be a scatter-brained officer just yet! Of one thing
we may be sure; he will never show the white
Mr. Carrington was pleased, despite of himself, at
John's championship; but outwardly he demurred.
"It is not mere pluck a soldier wants. When
he is not in active service, moral courage is a
more essential quality. Now, had you been the one
for the army, we could all have trusted you fully.
You have strength of character: but poor Bertie-
he would be safer in the office; and he is a long-
headed fellow-sharp as a needle. In my opinion
he would make a better lawyer than soldier."
"Uncle Iobert, would you wish Bertie to take
my place here ?" John asked the question
"No, no," disclaimed Mr.,Carrington; "how could
you imagine such a thing? Your place here means
your birth-right. No, indeed What I do wish is
that Bertie might be in some business house. But
40 AUNT MILDRED'S TREASURE.
his mother fancies no business, save that of Car-
rington, Solicitor, can be respectable !"
There was an interval of silence.
Then John said, "I want to make a supposition.
If it were for my advantage to go from this; if I
saw my way to something better-what would you
Mr. Carrington was thoroughly surprised and
annoyed. What could John mean? He wondered
if it was possible he could have inherited his father's
unlucky taste for speculation.
"I fail to conceive," he said, with some sharpness,
what can give you a better opening than you have
here. If you are so mad as to sacrifice your sure
prospects for some chimera, I warn you, John, you
will go further to fare worse."
Yet please, Uncle Robert, answer my question."
"Your question? Oh, of course I should advise
you to go for your good, just as I should advise
Bertie to stay for his. But why argue on impossible
premises? Let's have no more words."
John wanted no more words. The few spoken had
betrayed the bent of his uncle's wishes as effectually
as the proverbial straw shows the way of the wind.
It was clear that Mr. Carrington wished Bertie
might be his partner and successor, for ,the boy's
SOMETHING BETTER." 41
safe keeping; but loyalty to his nephew-or rather
to his dead brother-stood between wish and fulfil-
ment, an insuperable barrier, unless John's supposi-
tion were to prove true.
The apparent impossibility that it could prove
true had made Mr. Carrington break petulantly
from discussion of it.
But to John the something better did not mean
a mere chimera.
In childhood John had shown a boy's love for
travel and adventure. Sometimes in those early
days his Aunt Mildred had tried to amuse him by
story telling; but she did not possess an inventive
brain, and when she attempted to weave romances,
her characters would get mixed; and it troubled
Johnny's sense of justice that the naughty children
should be dealt the sugar-plums, and the good
children the whippings, because she had forgotten
which were which. As a general rule, therefore,
Aunt Mildred wisely adhered to facts. Her favourite
theme, also Johnny's, was missionary travel. She
would read to him of how a little band of Moravians
endured the privations of a life amidst the ice and
snow of Greenland; of how John Williams launched
his bark, the Camden, and sailed to southern seas,
to labour and die "Martyr of Erromanga"; of
42 AUVT MILDRED'S TREASURE.
how Livingstone faced the perils of Africa's fevers,
and wild beasts, and savage men-to preach Christ
to the heathen that had not known Him. And the
child would listen with rapt attention. At first he
was attracted solely by the charm of danger and
adventure; but gradually his mind opened to per-
ceive the nobleness of the object which these men
had in view. He'adopted them as his heroes. Then
the love of Christ, that had constrained them, began
to stir his heart, so that he longed to follow in their .
steps. All this was during childhood.
Afterwards the idea of being a missionary was
laid aside: his elders had other intentions for him.
At first he found it hard to be reconciled to the
solicitor's office; and there were many small trials
in his home life.
Mrs. Carrington was jealous for her own son,
consequently irritable and unreasonable in'her de-
meanour towards John; and Bertie followed his
mother's lead. But John was patient with both;
and by degrees the path of duty became smoother.
Mrs. Carrington could not quarrel with his pleasant
temper; she even found herself appealing to him
for sympathy, as spoilt Bertie grew headstrong and
impatient of petticoat government; and Bertie fell
into a habit of going to John for assistance when-
SOMETHING BETTER." 43
ever he was in a scrape, or out of pocket money.
Nor was Mr. Carrington, with all his legal wisdom
and experience, above consulting his nephew in a
difficulty. Thus John gained the position of friend
and adviser to the family.
And yet it was at this period that he began to
suspect that the family was quite capable of doing
Mrs. Carrington had never concealed her longing
to have her boy in the office; but only since Mr.
Carrington and Bertie made him their confidanit,
had John discovered that his uncle had misgivings
about his son, and that it might be the better for
all if Bertie could be the home bird. So there came
for John a stirring of the nest, and his idea of going
as a missionary to heathen lands began to revive.
For a year the idea had been gaining force. It
was uppermost in his mind when he made his
supposition, What if I saw my way to something
His uncle had taken the supposition in a manner
which put an end to any lingering doubt as to
whether he could be spared, and already he was
well satisfied in what direction his work lay.
His gifts and acquirements made him peculiarly
fitted for mission work: he had an aptitude for
44 AUNT MILDRED'S TREASURE.
languages, and had received a liberal education;
such as stands a teacher in good stead, of whatever
condition of men his pupils may be.
But one hindrance remained, which until now
John had not taken into account. This hindrance
was self. In the quiet of the night he paced his
room, his mind wakeful and thought-stirred. He
had seen the open door, heard the call to go, almost
answered, "Here am I; for Thou didst call me."
Then suddenly the words died on his lips; for
tlie flesh was warring against the spirit. In quick
succession there passed before him all the pleasant
things that he must give up. The home-ties-
oh, how strong they were! Even his Aunt Julia
loved him now; and there was his own Aunt
Mildred, his uncle, the young cousins; and Mabel
Rivers, whose presence had made. the sombre, dull
house brighter-what a parting it would be from
Then the ties of friendship;-John had many
friends; one or two whose hearts were drawn to his
by the magnetism of kindred tastes and feelings.
He and his friends must be wide apart in future;
no intercourse between them save a hurried letter
now and again. And ambition, what of it? Truly,
as his uncle had told him, he would fare worse, so
"SO ME'IINBG BETTER."
far as his worldly prospects were concerned, by
leaving Westbridge. Already he held an assured
position; was honoured and respected as one of
a race of clever, upright business men; and with
his abilities there was the likelihood of further
advancement. Westbridge had returned a Car-
rington to parliament before now, and might do so
Marked indeed was the contrast between such pros-
pects and those of a missionary; a life spent in
obscurity, perchance in some remote corner of the
world, outside the pale of civilization.
So the struggle went on.
At length John ceased to pace the room, and,
taking his Bible, he turned to the last chapters of
St. Matthew's Gospel-to him a familiar record,
known almost by heart. And yet never before had
it brought to him so vividly, with such quickening
power, those closing scenes of our Lord's life on
earth-the foretaste of death in the garden of Geth-
semane, the betrayal and denial, the mocking and
the scourging; the hours of darkness while the Son
of God endured the bodily anguish of a cruel death,
and the keener anguish of soul caused by the hiding
of His Father's face.
John read slowly, musingly; passing on from
46 AUNT MILDRED'S TREASURE.
the Sacrifice offered up to the Sacrifice accepted;
when Jesus, ready to ascend on high, said to His
eleven disciples, "All power is given unto Me in
heaven and earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all
nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching
them to observe all things whatsoever I have said
unto you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto
the end of the world. Amen."
These verses John read twice; and then he
bowed his head over the open book.
0 Lord Jesus," he said, "I thank Thee for thus
dying for me. Now I would give myself wholly
to Thy service. Help me to do Thy will. May
I go where Thou wouldst have me go, and teach
others of Thy salvation. And, Lord, fulfil Thy
promise unto me. Be with me always, even unto
the end of the world."
IF WISHES WERE HORSES."
N the following morning Bertie-
a late riser in holiday time-ran
out on the corridor, still strug-
gling into his Eton jacket, as
John passed his room to go down to
Stop, I say-stop!" Bertie cried.
'1 "Why, what's up now?" asked
John. "One would suppose I had just picked your
"You would not find much in them," laughed
Bertie; "only my last shilling-money goes in no
time on tuck." Then more gravely, "But, John,
I have something to say to you. The holidays will
be over next week, and I have one more hunting
day -and then my fun will be over," Bertie
48 AUNT MILU mD'S TREASURE.
paused, that these melancholy facts might have
their due weight. Of course," he continued, "I
wish to have some real good sport this once. Will
you try to get round father to hire one of White's
horses for me ? White at the Livery Stables, you
know. He has some tip-top hunters, and he jobs
them out to fellows. Do, John, try."
There was something comical in the notion of
this fourteen- year- old schoolboy, whose love of
sweets had reduced his exchequer to the last shilling,
fixing his affections on a tip-top hunter."
John's mouth twitched; he moved to shut down
Ihe staircase window, near which they stood: some
heavy carts were passing with a noise that im-
peded conversation. When he turned to Bertie
again his face was quite serious.
"Take my advice, Bert," he said, "and be
satisfied with poor old Jill for this time. We will
see what can be done for you before the next holi-
Where will be the use of a hunter then ? cried
Bertie. We don't hunt in summer: I thought
you knew that much. No, but if you ask father
to let me have a horse now, I am sure he will mind
And I am not so sure," said John; besides,
"IF WISHES WERE HORSES." 49
why should I ask him to give my cousin the chance
of breaking his neck ? "
"Nonsense You and father think that because
you care for nothing outside the office, I must have
the same tastes; and you forget that I am as much
a Rivers as a Carrington. There was never a
Rivers yet who could not ride. Uncle Rivers wins
races in India, and he rides every bit as well as
Sir Francis. Sir Francis and Uncle Rivers are just
splendid. I mean to be a gentleman like them,
and to enjoy my life."
"I hope you will be a gentleman, Bert a
Christian gentleman; but for that you should aim
higher than to enjoy life-don't you think so ? "
"Oh, now you're preaching; and you have not
told me if you will do what I want. You go twist-
ing about instead of answering straight."
It was not John's way to twist about. Only the
desire to spare Bertie's feelings had made him resort
to persuasion, rather than give a blank refusal.
Now he answered decidedly,-
"Bert, I cannot do this. I am very sorry, but
The boy's quick temper was up at once.
"You can if you choose," he cried; "but you
don't choose. You have everything you want, and
0 AU NT MILDREDL' I'REASURE.
you grudge me the smallest expense. Yes, that
is why you won't get me the horse. The only
reason.: What do you care whether I break my
neck or not ?"
Come, Bertie, not so fast. I should not be the
poorer, remember, if Uncle Robert did this. And
even if I were-a guinea is what the horse-hire
would be, and you can't think me such a screw as
to grudge that much for your pleasure. I am too
fond of you, old fellow, to grudge it-you do not
doubt me? "
No, Bertie did not doubt. He knew John was
always sincere, to be trusted in what he said; and
wholly above meanness.
But it took time for the hot young blood to cool.
Bertie leant over the bannisters, drumming
against the rails with his feet. Mrs. Carrington, on
her way to the dining-room, glanced up. My dear
boy, you will kick off all the paint," she called;
"and make haste down to breakfast; it is quite
ready." But a minute or two passed before Bertie
heeded his mother's summons. Then he suddenly
"Yes, we had better go to breakfast," he said;
and, John, I never meant that you are a screw."
For answer John laid his hand affectionately on
"IF TVISIES WL.RE HORSES." 51
Bertie's shoulder; so the cousins went downstairs
Except at meal-time they did not meet again that
day. John was for the most part of the day in the
office; and in the evening he went to see Aunt Mil-
dred. After breakfast Bertie sauntered out in an
objectless way; his hands in his pockets, and a very
moody expression on his face. By force of habit his
steps turned in the direction of the livery stables.
He often went there to inspect the horses, and listen
to the ostlers' comments. The ostlers were not
gentlemen like Sir Francis Calvert; they dropped
their h's, and pronounced their words very curiously,
Bertie thought. But, after all, what did it matter
that they called horses 'osses," so long as they knew
all about the animals, and could give Bertie much
useful information ?
A man with his shirt-sleeves tucked up was en-
gaged in grooming one of his charges, when Bertie
entered the stable-yard. Bertie greeted him as an
old acquaintance, and took his seat on a reversed
stable bucket, to watch the grooming process. The
horse was restive, and stamped and slipped about
upon the cobble-stones. Presently the man paused
to rest, pushing his cap further back from his heated
52 AUNT MILDRED'S TREASURE.
"Ee's a fretful critter to clean down, Master
Robert," he said; "but, bless you, ee's as quiet as a
lamb once some un's on 'is back; an' that popular
with sporting gents, it's just who'll bespeak him first
for a day's hunting. "
Oh, then I suppose he is bespoken already for
Thursday, Tom? "
"Well, not as I knows of it. You see, this is only
Toosday. But as I was sayin', the little 'oss is a good
'un to go-not wot we call a weight-carrier, but ee's
won steeple chases before now, and ee'd carry you
like a bird. You'd pound all the field on 'im, so you
would, Master Robert."
"Do you really think so, Tom?" cried Bertie
Before Tom had time to repeat his assertion there
was a clatter of hoofs, and Sir Francis Calvert rode
briskly into the yard.
Now Bertie imagined that to be seated on a stable
bucket, conversing with Tom, the ostler, and in close
proximity to the "little 'oss that had been a steeple-
chase winner, was a situation certain to meet with
the approval of the master of the hounds. He would
have been undeceived had he known what was Sir
Francis' mental comment; for it was this-"I
wonder very much that Carrington allows his boy
IF WISHES WERE HORSES." 53
to hang about here. Nothing so bad for a young-
ster. However, it's no affair of mine."
Sir Francis' easy temper was often the result of
laziness. It saved him trouble to take things-and
people too-as he found them. He liked Bertie; the
boy amused him with his conceits and aspirations,
and it did not occur to him that he was doing any
mischief by humouring them. So, having dis-
mounted, he" shook hands in his usual hearty
I suppose," he said, we are to see you and Jill
out hunting on Thursday ?"
"No," said Bertie, his chin in the air; "I do not
intend riding Jill any more."
Oho! have you and Jill fallen out? Well, that's
better than falling off, eh?"
Then Sir Francis slipped two fingers into his
waistcoat pocket, and extracted a coin; he was mov-
ing away, having left his horse to be stabled and fed
while he transacted his business in the town; but
he drew Bertie with him.
If we are not to meet on Thursday," he said,
"I must give you your tip now. Frank always
expects one going back to school, and I daresay it
won't come amiss to you either."
Sir Francis strode off, having deposited a sovereign
54 AUNT MILDRED'S TREASURE.
in Bertie's hand. Quick as lightning the thought
flashed on the boy's mind that he could hire a
hunter for himself now. Sir Francis' tip and his
own sole surviving shilling made up the exact sum
that would be needed
He went home for luncheon, and to consider the
project. It would require careful working out; for
if White knew that he was acting without his
father's knowledge, he would probably decline the
-esponsibility of mounting him.
But in less than an hour's time Bertie sallied forth
gain. He felt extremely important as he asked to
see Mr. White; and also a little nervous. However,
the interview proved quite satisfactory. Bertie
would have scorned to tell a lie, and yet he con-
trived to convey the impression that his father was
treating him to this mount; and when the livery
stable keeper, having regard to the safety of his
property, hesitated a little, and hinted politely
that Master Carrington might not be quite equal to
the management of a spirited horse, the boy spoke
up with such bold assurance, that Mr. White was
convinced he was at least as competent as many of
his older customers.
When Bertie left the stables a second time, every-
thing had been arranged in a most delightful
"IF WISHES WERE HORSES."
manner. He was to ride the steeple-chaser-not
only so, but Tom, who had the education of a young
hunter on his hands, would take Bertie's horse
with his to the meet. So the boy could start from
Riverview on the despised Jill, and thus avoid the
risk of discovery. He was greatly elated; laughed
and chatted during dinner in an excited manner;
and afterwards, when he retired for the night,
dawdled about his room, polishing a pair of spurs,
and trying to decide which pin and tie he should
wear on the occasion of this real good sport."
While he was thus occupied, John passed his room
on his way to his own; he had just returned from
his visit to Aunt Mildred. Bertie heard his step,
and it brought to him a qualm of conscience.
* "But why mind, John ? he said to himself; he
is too strait-laced; besides, he should not-expect me
to cave in, while he can do everything he pleases."
OHN often paid Aunt Mildred a
late visit, knowing that her even-
ings were lonely; on this occa-
sion, however, he had a special
object in view. He found her
reading, but she promptly laid down her
book, preferring his company.
S Something told me you would be
here," she said.
Indeed, I did not come sooner only because I had
first to determine a certain matter-a matter I want
you to know before any one else. I think it fulfils a
wish of yours."
Aunt Mildred felt mystified. A wish of mine ? "
"You said, that night of the meeting, that you
IN TROUBLE. 57
wished some one in Westbridge might see fit to
offer himself as a missionary-did you not? "
"Ah, yes. And now some one has offered himself
-John, I am so glad "
Can you guess who? "
Aunt Mildred paused, considering, before she said,
"That nice young man, Henry Graham, perhaps.
You have often mentioned the intelligent interest
he takes in the Bible class."
But John shook his head. "You must guess
again; I fancy Henry Graham has his work cut out
for him at home."
So Aunt Mildred hazarded two or three other
names, and finally gave up the riddle.
"Tell me, John."
"I think, Aunt Mildred, I see my way to giving
myself to this work."
John was seated near his aunt, and he watched
her as he made his announcement. He knew she
would be surprised, but he had not anticipated the
change which passed over her countenance. She
did not find speech readily.
"You, John ?" she faltered at last. "But I don't
understand. You must stay here-you have your
business ;-John, you cannot go! "
That is what I used to tell myself," John said,
58 AUNT MILDRED'S TREASURE.
" but I was mistaken; and he proceeded to explain
how home. considerations were on the side of his
going, not staying.
Uncle Robert is not satisfied about Bertie;
there is nothing seriously wrong with him-don't
suppose that-but he wants ballast; is self-willed,
yet at the same time easily led by people it is un-
wise for him to follow. The army would not be
advisable under the circumstances, Uncle Robert
thinks; whereas he would be safe enough in the
office, and sure to get on. Then, think of Aunt
Julia's delight. It has always been a cloud in her
sky that Bertie is not heir to the business and to
Aunt Mildred failed to take in John's meaning at
once. When she did, it came upon her with crush-
ing force. The nephew she had brought up and
loved as a son was going from her; yielding his
birthright to that other nephew, whom she did. not
John," she said, this is monstrous, utterly
out of the question. I wonder your common sense
does not tell you so. Just think a little-think
what you are giving up."
"Dear Aunt Mildred, I have thought of it. I
would rather dwell now on the gain there may be
IN TROUBLE. 59
to others; above all, on the service that God may
permit me to do for Him."
At length the full meaning of John's words dawned
on Aunt Mildred slowly and gradually. He had no
petty jealousies.; it did not cost him a pang that his
cousin should be destined to step into his place of
trust and honour. He was willing to be last of all,
servant of all, for Christ's sake. And as she
realized the sweetness and the strength of John's
character, she also realized what her loss would be.
Ritherto her love had seemed a calm, well-ordered,
almost prosaic affection; but now its quiet depths
were stirred, and a wave of strong, passionate feel-
ing raised itself against the barriers of her re-
She made one desperate effort at self-control.
There was a contraction of lip and brow; a close
pressing together of the trembling hands; then all
effort was abandoned, and Aunt Mildred burst into
John had imparted his news confident that it
would give pleasure, not pain. He had even looked
forward to a long talk with his aunt over future
plans and hopes. Instead, he had to devote himself
to the task of soothing and comforting her. More
than an hour went by, before she had sufficiently
60 AUNT MILDRED'S TREASURE.
recovered from her agitation for him to bid her
"You may rest assured," he said, at parting,
"that your wishes will have great weight with me.
I cannot' decide yet; I feel utterly, puzzled. Only
one thing is clear-while I am deliberating you
must not fret. Just put this trouble from you for
the present. Try not to think of it."
Then John went out into the silent streets. He
had been full of eager, glad enthusiasm as he
walked to his aunt's house. Now he was harassed
with doubts and perplexities, unable to see where
the path of duty lay.
No words of Aunt Mildred's could have made so
deep an impression on him as her tears. Not that
John was unused to the sight of tears. He had
known his little cousin Edith-impetuous in her
sorrows as in her joys-nearly cry her eyes out over
a broken plaything; and he could recall instances
of Aunt Julia also being moved to tears by a rude
speech of Bertie's, or by small domestic worries that
broke down her patience.
But he had never seen Aunt Mildred shed tears
before. No, not even on that day he still dimly
remembered, when she had lifted him, a bewildered
child, into her lap, and tried to make him under'
stand that his father was no longer in the darkened
room where he had lain for so many days, sick unto
"Papa is happy now," had Aunt Mildred said;
" God has taken him to heaven, and he has no more
pain. So you must be a brave boy, and not cry."
And the little fellow had gulped down his sobs,
influenced rather by Aunt Mildred's grave, set.face
than by what she said.
Ever since she had been the same undemonstra-
tive, self-contained woman. Ever since-until now.
"It must be a keen sorrow that has made her
give way thus," John thought; and then he put it
to himself, Was he justified in inflicting such a
sorrow ? Ought he to go? The more he considered
it, the harder grew this question that he had to
But if John was troubled, so was Aunt Mildred.
He had told her to put the trouble from her-not to
think of it; but this to her was an impossibility.
Her thoughts kept constantly recurring to the same
She had never wished, when undertaking John's
support, to forge a chain of obligations that would
bind him to her side. It was foreign to Aunt
Mildred's nature to remind people of past benefits.
62 AUNT MILDRED'S TREASURE.
For all that, when John assured her that her wishes
must have great weight with him, she knew it was
the sense of past benefits that gave them their
And on which side of the balance were her wishes
brought to bear? Were they on the wrong side?
It seemed so; for she had always regarded the
mission cause as God's cause. Thus regarding it,
she had willingly given of her money, had parted
with prized possessions-the old Chelsea figures-
to help it forward. As Aunt Mildred's thoughts
went back to this transaction, her misgivings in-
creased. Could it be that the offering she had
made was unpleasing in God's sight? that there
was in it no mortification of the flesh ? that it was
like the so-called fasts of the Jews, Behold, ye fast
for strife and debate ? What wonder-if motives
of ill-will were hers also-what wonder if, when
God called her to make a real sacrifice, to give up
the treasure on which her heart was fixed, she was
Such were Aunt Mildred's thoughts, and they
made her feel thoroughly uncomfortable.
The next day-Wednesday-John came early to
see her. It was a wild, wet morning.
You should not have come in such a downpour,"
Aunt Mildred said, putting her hand on his wet
"You are over careful, Aunt Mildred. Rain does
not hurt; and I wanted to satisfy myself that you
Then he made some casual remarks, remaining
standing; for he was in a hurry to get back to the
office. He seemed purposely to avoid allusion to the
previous evening, and Aunt Mildred avoided it too.
Afterwards she busied herself with household con-
cerns, letter-writing, and the various odds and ends
of in-door work which she reserved for a wet day.
But all the time her thoughts were as busy as her
fingers, and less under control.
On Thursday the weather was fine and bright.
It was Aunt Mildred's district visiting day, so she
was pleased to see the sunshine. She made her
rounds as usual, but returned weary and dejected:
The rain had not cleansed those back streets which
she had had to traverse; on the contrary, it had
formed puddles here and there, and turned the dust
of the pavement into slippery mud, which rendered
walking very disagreeable. And Aunt Mildred had
been absent-minded, so that the wives and mothers,
who had a string of troubles to relate and to enlarge
64 AUNT MILDRED'S TREASURE.
upon, felt themselves aggrieved by her want of
It was a positive relief to find herself on her- own
doorstep once more. The door was partly open, and
as she stood drawing her muddy boots across the
scraper, she heard eager voices from within, raised
in question and answer.
Her maid-servant was the questioner; the other
voice she recognized as belonging to the errand lad
at her brother's office; he sometimes left a note or a
message for her on his way home. She caught a
few words of the dialogue.
From the maid, in an awed tone, yet doubt-
Oh, you're making the most of it. Come, tell
me;-it is not so bad as that? Now, is it? "
Not so bad Why, Master Bertie could not be
worse and alive. His arm and his side, where the
horse rolled on him, are-well, just smashed. But I
must be off. Don't forget the letter."
The lad opened the door wider,--to come face to
face with Miss Carrington. He drew to one side,
abashed, and pulled off his cap, but Miss Carrington
was looking past him to where the maid stood, that
letter in her hand.
"Give it to me," she said. She read it there by
IN TROUBLE. 65
the hall lamp. It was very short, telling little more
than those sentences she had overheard had told.
"I must go to them," she said, when she had
Do wait to have your tea first," urged her maid-
servant, really concerned. "You must want it
But Miss Carrington would not wait.
Probably she had never accomplished that half-
mile between her home and Riverview so quickly
as now. Crossings were disregarded; if she must
cross to the other side she went obliquely from point
to point; and when she reached the narrower bye-
ways, that abounded near Riverview-now in a
poor, though once fashionable locality-she pushed
and glided in and out among the foot-passengers,
who were loitering after their day's work, and care-
less to observe the rule of the road.
Aunt Mildred was breathless when she arrived at
her destination. Waiting in the entrance hall, she
recalled that former visit, when Bertie had rushed
out upon her and vexed her with his rudeness.
How gladly would she have welcomed his boisterous
greeting now! But the house was very silent;
there were no sounds save those from the street.
Mabel opened the door.
66 AUNT MILDRED'S TREASURE.
"He is in less pain just now," she said; "the
doctor has given him a soothing draught, and thinks
it possible that he may sleep soon. Come to the
drawing-room, and I will tell you more."
The drawing-room had a dreary aspect-curtains
still undrawn, the fire low, a solitary candle burning
on the centre table.
Bending over the table were two ruffled heads.
Rose and Edith had been sent to the drawing-room
until their tea was ready. As a rule the hour
before tea was a merry one; it was the children's
special hour, and the grown-up people put forth
their energies to amuse them. But this evening
they were cautioned to be as quiet as mice, and
Edith had been set to draw on her outline-slate,
while Rose directed the small, awkward fingers.
A tear fell now and then, making sad smudges of
the pencil marks, and when Aunt Mildred came in,
and the children shook back their hair, and turned
towards her, very woe-begone little faces were
Aunt Mildred kissed her nieces with more tender-
ness than was her wont; then Mabel told them she
had promised nurse to send them upstairs, as tea was
ready. She watched them leave the room.
Poor little things," she said, when the door had
IN TROUBLE. 67
been closed softly. They are so fond of Bertie,
and they don't know what to make of it all. No
wonder. Oh, Aunt Mildred, it is so sad." But Mabel
quickly checked her grief to relate the particulars of
He went hunting this morning, starting from
here on the pony, so we did not dream of danger.
He had been put out before, thinking Jill too slow
and old, and Uncle Robert was pleased that he had
got over his ill-humour. We went to the door to
watch him ride off; the children gave Jill some
bread-it was all just as usual-Aunt Julia so proud
of him, and he looking so bright and handsome."
Mabel's voice broke as she pictured the contrast
between the out going and the home coming.
"But Bartie hired a horse quite secretly, a hot-
tempered horse, not fit for him to ride.
The man who took it to the meet warned him to
be careful, and not use his spurs: he wanted him to
take them off, but Bertie refused-poor Bertie, he
is such a child in some things. That is how the
accident happened-he used them forgetfully in his
excitement, and the horse made a rush at a fence,
and fell, Bertie under it. One of the gentlemen
who saw the accident gave up his hunting and rode
here for help-the meet had been near Westbridge
68 AUNT MILDRED'S TREASURE.
-and Uncle Robert took Doctor Russel with him
in the carriage to fetch Bertie home. He is terribly
hurt, his left arm is quite helpless and swollen, and
some ribs are broken; that caused hemorrhage at
first-from injury to the lung, Doctor Russel says.
And I almost think, Aunt Mildred, the doctor fears
for Bertie's life."
Mabel brought out the last sentence reluctantly,
falteringly; and her face blanched.
"We must not dwell on the gloomy side, my
dear," Aunt Mildred said; "Bertie is young, and
very strong and healthy. Let us trust that in God's
mercy his life may be spared. And now, can I help
you in anything ? There must be a great deal to
"No, not a great deal. Doctor Russel has found
us a trained nurse-fortunately she could come at
once; and we have each our own share of what has
to be done. Somehow things seem to have settled
Already said Aunt Mildred, surprised that the
settling down should be thus quickly accomplished.
Oh, but it is four hours since Bertie was brought
home," Mabel explained. One can get through so
much in four hours."
Involuntarily Aunt Mildred sighed. She under-
stood what the so much meant; the various de-
tails of preparation, the hurrying to and fro, the
suffering and dread that make the sequence of
such an accident. And all had been done with-
out her; it was clear that she had not been wished
But this was not a case of wounded pride. Aunt
Mildred's pride had been brought low during the
last two days. She only took blame to herself that
she should be as a stranger to her own people.
"May I see Aunt Julia, or your uncle?" she asked
Mabel hesitated. "I think they are both in
Bertie's room," she said; "I hardly like to call them
"Well, if I cannot help, at least I must not hinder.
I will come early to-morrow. Send for me mean-
while if I can be of the slightest use."
And Aunt Mildred rose to go. But on the way
out she met her brother; he was looking haggard
and pale, but he confirmed what Mabel had said-
he had left Bertie easier, likely to sleep. As Aunt
Mildred trudged slowly homewards, she became
conscious of how very tired she was. It had been a
trying day-trying alike for mind and body.
ESPITE the apparent useless-
ness of her visit, Aunt Mildred
returned to Riverview early next
day, as she had said. Again
Mabel was the one to receive
her, and to give her the report of
Bertie's condition. Not a favourable
report; the effect of the sleeping draught
had passed off; he was in much suffer-
ing, and the feverishness which it produced made
him chafe against the restraint of plasters and
bandages, and the necessity of lying still.
"It is so dreadful for Uncle Robert and Aunt
Julia to see him suffer, without being able to do
anything," Mabel said pityingly.
"Might I go to Aunt Julia? Would she see me
BE1Ri2IEW Q UESTION.71
to-day ? Indeed, I would like to be with her at such
Aunt Mildred spoke with suppressed eagerness.
She was not by nature disposed to sympathise with
the joys, nor yet with the infirmities of others i but
she was disposed to sympathise with their sorrows.
She held it a sacred duty to minister to the sick and
afflicted; and it seemed strange that Mabel-with
whom she could claim no relationship, who called
her aunt" merely from falling into her cousins'
ways of speech-should be the only member of the
family to whom she had free access in this season
But Mabel shook her head. "Aunt Julia will not
see any one," she said; she has shut herself into
her own room. Bertie cares most to have John near
him when the pain is bad; he says he can bear it
better'if John holds his hand. John is so helpful."
Mabel had herself experienced John's helpfulness.
She was at an age when girls are quick to perceive
inconsistencies between the profession and practice
of their elders; and often Mabel perceived such in-
consistencies, and was perplexed thereby. But with
John's example before her she could not doubt the
reality and power of religion; and thus she derived
moral support from his strength.
72 AUNT MILDRED'S TREASURE.
"Yes, John is helpful always," she repeated-
then, as she continued speaking, her tendency to
detect and judge the failings of others became
"But Aunt Julia is vexed that Bartie should look
to John instead of to her. Poor Aunt Julia-I do
pity her; and yet I could pity her more if she were
not so jealous of John, so-"
Was it Aunt Mildred's voice that interrupted?
She hardly knew it herself, raised in excuse of the
very fault in her sister-in-law which most jarred
upon her. "Dear Mabel, perhaps we cannot quite
enter into a mother's feelings, and we should beware
of judging harshly. Remember, Bertie's mother
needs all the kindness and consideration we can give
Mabel fixed her thoughtful, searching eyes in-
tently on Aunt Mildred's face. She was finding the
study of human nature more abstruse and compli-
cated than she had supposed it to be. "I hardly
thought you- she began, and then stopped short.
" No; I won't discuss other people's characters. I
am much too fond of picking them to pieces, and
you are quite right. Now I am going to confess
my own foolishness. But first, Aunt Mildred, you
must sit down. You are tired this morning, are you
"Yes, John is helpful always."
not?" Aunt Mildred was gently pushed into an
easy chair; then Mabel proceeded-" You must know,
that as Aunt Julia can't take her thoughts from
Bertie, I have to be housekeeper for the present;
and I don't understand anything about it. I am
just as silly as the girl who fancied there must be
four legs of mutton to every sheep. And our cook
is very tiresome. When I tried to order dinner she
would not help me out; and I feel sure she was in-
wardly laughing at me, though her face was so grim
and solemn. As for me, I did not know whether to
laugh or to cry-at last I fairly turned and fled, and
left the cook and the dinner to take care of them-
At another time this confession of ignorance would
have given rise to severe comments in Aunt Mil-
dred's mind, even if they were not expressed in
words. She was an upholder of a practical educa-
tion, and considered it far more essential that a
young lady should be able to order dinner-and to
dress it on an emergency-than that she should be
a good musician, or speak French and German.
Mabel expected censure. Are you very angry
with me for being such an ignoramus?" she asked.
" What have you to say ?"
But all Aunt Mildred said was, "Perhaps I can
76 AUNT MILDRED'S TREASURE.
help you in your difficulty. Housekeeping is not to
me a new experience."
"Oh, Aunt Mildred, of course you can help,"
Mabel cried; "it is what I was hoping, only I did
not like to ask you. I am pleased. It seems almost
wrong to worry about these things now; yet they
have to be done."
Aunt Mildred was pleased too; quite grateful for
the opportunity of making herself useful. She
only stipulated that Mrs. Carrington should first
be consulted; for she had a horror of appearing
meddlesome. But Mrs. Carrington was satisfied
with any arrangement. "Settle it as you choose
-you and Aunt Mildred between you," she said
to Mabel; "all I beg is that you will not refer
kitchen affairs to me. I have enough to think of
just now without."
And so Aunt Mildred was installed head of the
commissariat department; and Mabel, acting as her
lieutenant, gained much useful knowledge which
schoolmasters and mistresses had omitted to teach.
For some days Bertie's condition continued to be
most critical. Besides the broken ribs, it became
evident, as the swelling of the arm subsided, that it
had sustained a bad fracture near the elbow-joint.
Doctor Russel was skilful in surgical cases, and by
7ERTIE'S QUESTION. 77
his desire a clever young surgeon, from an adjoining
county, was also called in.
So complicated a case appealed to the professional
instincts of Surgeon S., and he was quick to fall in
with Doctor Russel's suggestion that he should
occasionally visit the patient, although each visit
involved a railway journey. It is a bad case," he
said, after his first visit; "but we shall pull him
through. Oh yes, we shall pull him through right
enough." He spoke with the confidence of youth.
Doctor Russel was less sanguine; partly because he
was older, and partly because with him the feelings
were engaged: he had been family physician to the
Carringtons since he began to practise at West-
bridge, thirty years ago; and Mr. Robert Carrington
was his personal friend. The weary, anxious days
dragged on; but there was improvement, though so
gradual as to be scarcely noticed; and at length a
day came when Bertie was pronounced out of
danger. Doctor Russel told the good news to Mr.
Carrington in his office. The lawyer had been
trying to fix his attention on some necessary busi-
ness, and had found it hard work.
"All grave symptoms are at an end," Doctor
Russel said. "The fractured ribs have caused no
permanent mischief, and the arm-well, it may be
78 AUNT MILDRED'S TREASURE.
a fairly useful arm yet; not supple as before;
Here Mr. Carrington interrupted, "What does a
stiff arm matter if my boy is safe and then he
grasped the doctor's hand. "I do believe that under
God he owes his life to your care and skill," he said
So the dark cloud that hung over Riverview was
But scarcely a week afterwards Aunt Mildred was
surprised to receive a hasty summons from her sister-
in-law. Arrived at Riverview, Mrs. Carrington met
her on the stairs. "I am glad you have come," she
said. "Such an unlucky thing has happened.
Bertie was not to be told yet that his arm must
remain stiff, but Edith, poor child, has let out the
secret. She overheard us talking of it, and repeated
what we said to Bertie, not meaning any harm.
But you know how Edith chatters. Nothing is safe
that comes to her ears. And now the dear boy is
dreadfully upset; he is fretting himself ill again,
won't touch his breakfast, and last night did nob
sleep a wink. John is away-he had to go to town
unexpectedly on business-and Dr. Russel has en-
gagements all the morning out in the country, so he
is not available, and Bertie won't mind either his
BERTIE'S QUESTION. 79
father or me. I thought, Mildred, you might help
us. You see, you are more of a stranger to Bertie;
perhaps you might persuade him to take his nourish-
ment. The doctors say that is still so essential."
Aunt Mildred paused before she answered, in
order to gain more complete control over her voice.
She had not seen Bertie since his accident. With
the waywardness of an invalid, he had obstinately
refused to have her admitted to his room. She is
sure to jaw me," he would say, when John pressed
for her admittance, "and I hate being lectured.
No, John, I won't see her." So the matter had to
drop. His mother had never taken it up. In her
heart she was rather pleased than otherwise at
Bertie's undisguised antipathy, and she had so far
shared it as to avoid Aunt Mildred as much as
possible during those anxious days.
And now here she was appealing for her help, on
the very grounds that she was a stranger.
Certainly I will go to him, if you wish it," said
Aunt Mildred, a little coldly; "but you had better
prepare him first, for Bertie and I have not seen
each other for a long time."
But Mrs. Carrington's love for her boy was largely
mixed with selfishness. She did not want to be the
one to vex him, even for his good. It was well that
80 AUNT MILDRED'S TREASURE.
Aunt Mildred should see him, but the odium of the
visit must rest solely with her.
If I were to consult him," she said, he would
not consent. The only way is to take (French
leave';-and do go now, for he is alone. The nurse
had a disturbed night, and has gone to bed. I was
sitting with him when I saw you come up the
Aunt Mildred went without more ado, only wait-
ing a moment at Bertie's door for an answer to her
knock. No answer came, so she had to enter his
room unbidden. The adornments of the room
accorded with the boy's tastes. There were two or
three gay coloured prints from the Illustrated News,
depicting racing and hunting scenes, upon the walls,
and then there was a rack of sticks and whips, and
over it a prized trophy-the fox's brush which had
been presented to him on that red-letter day when
he and Jill had been in at the death."
But the appearance of the invalid contrasted sadly
with these mementoes of past pleasures. He was
much altered: his large blue eyes seemed to have
grown larger, and he had lost his fresh, healthy
colour. Instead, there was a hectic flush on his
thin cheeks, for he had been doing his utmost to
work himself into a state of fever during the night.
BERTIE'S QUESTION. 81
Why, Aunt Mildred, what brings you here? he
exclaimed; and just when I want to be left alone."
Aunt Mildred took Bertie's hand; the uninjured
arm was flung restlessly outside the bed-clothes.
"I should have liked to see you before,", she said,.
had I been allowed. I have often thought of you.
You have gone through a great deal of suffering,
and John told me how bravely you bore it."
Bertie had made a gesture to withdraw his hand;
but now it lay passive in Aunt Mildred's, while he
asked, Did John really tell you that ?"
The idea evidently pleased him.
Yes; he said you were a good soldier."
Bertie's face quivered. I can never be a soldier
now," he murmured; never."
"You cannot enter the army, and I know you feel
this disappointment; but you can be a soldier,
Bertie, in the sense John meant. You remember
that verse, Endure hardness like a good soldier of
There was much kindness in Aunt Mildred's tone
and manner, mingled with firmness; and her few
words-at all times she was a woman of few words
-had a more salutary effect than the blandishments
his mother had used to coax him out of his present
82 AUNT MILDRED'S TREASURE.
By degrees he began to talk of his trouble.
"It is all so sudden," he said. Surgeon S-
was for ever telling me I would soon be quite well,
and grinning and joking as if he thought it very
good fun my breaking my bones for him to mend
them. Even Dr. Russel would not tell me the truth
-that I shall never be well."
Bertie, you are making out this trouble to be
worse than it is. There is every hope that you will
be quite well soon. Your arm must be stiff, but
that is all."
"As if that is not enough! I know more about it
than you do, Aunt Mildred. A fellow at school has
a stiff arm. He fell off a wall when he was a little
chap, and broke it badly. Well, he is a regular
duffer-can't row, or play cricket, or do anything
like other fellows. I declare I used to pity him.
Now I am as bad myself."
My dear boy, because you have a stiff arm it
does not follow that you are to be a duffer, as you
call it. Some of the best and greatest men have
had disadvantages to overcome; but they have not
moped; they have done their duty. And perhaps,
Bertie, your submitting to this pain and disappoint-
ment, and giving up your own way, may be a
beginning of doing great things by-and-by."
"That sounds very fine." Bertie spoke petulantly
again. "It is so easy to preach. But supposing,
Aunt Mildred, there was something you wanted
more than anything else in the whole world-some-
thing you'd cared a lot-about for years-could you
give it up all of a sudden quite pleasantly, just be-
cause you ought? Come, now; could you, Aunt
Mildred ? "
There was an interval of silence after the boy's
question; it had awakened a train of thought.
At last Aunt Mildred said, in a constrained voice,
Bertie, I cannot answer you."
Bertie gave a low, prolonged whistle; but that
was his only comment, and afterwards he seemed
anxious to promote conversation, and save Aunt
Mildred from any feeling of awkwardness.
Before she left him he became so gracious that he
actually allowed her to smooth his disordered bed,
and consented to take his breakfast.
Mrs. Carrington was hovering near the door. She
had hoped that Aunt Mildred would succeed in her
object; yet now she chose to make her success a
"It is hard on a mother," she said plaintively,
"that every one else has greater influence with her
child; but it is the way of invalids. They turn
84 AUNT MILDRED'S TREASURE.
from those they love, and will listen to-well, to
those they don't love. And then it always tells,
being strong-minded. You and Bertie have the
Carrington will, both of you, so I am no match for
either. And you have the strongest will of all; so
even Bertie is no match for you. I must go now to
see about the dear boy's breakfast."
THE QUESTrON ANSWERED.
HE morning after John's return
S to Riverview from his week's
visit to London was to be a busy
one; there were various matters
relative to this London visit to
be gone into with his uncle.
He was crossing the hall to the office,
when Aunt Mildred's servant-maid'came
in at the street entrance, and handed him a letter.
It required no answer, she said; she had been in-
structed not to wait. Having read the letter, John
set his mind to business. The head clerk, a shrewd,
elderly man, not wont to overrate youthful talent,
could not help noting how cleverly and methodically
he got through his work, and thought it augured
well for his future career. He little suspected that
the letter John had thrust into his pocket as he
86 AUNT MILDRED'S TREASURE.
entered the room, snapped the last link which had
kept him in his uncle's office.
The letter ran thus :-
"MY DEAR NEPHEW,-
When you told me of your purpose to be a
missionary, I discouraged it. I did wrong; and now
I want you to understand that I wholly approve of
your giving yourself to mission work. That God
will bless you in it is the earnest prayer of your
There were no symptoms of weakness in this
letter. The sentences were short and to the point;
the handwriting bold and clear. Aunt Mildred
wrote much as she spoke; and yet she was far
from feeling self-confident at this time. She des-
patched her letter instead of having a personal inter-
view, because she feared that to see the face she
so loved, and hear the familiar voice, might even
now turn her from her decision. The decision had
been arrived at by slow degrees. Those doubts and
misgivings which had haunted her since John's
avowal of his purpose were not long in shaping
themselves to a stern certainty-it behoved her as a
Christian woman to cast no hindrance in his way.
In general, to recognize a duty, and to perform it,
THE QUESTION ANSWERED., 7
with Aunt Mildred meant one and the same thing.
But now it was otherwise. She hesitated; and all
the time that she hesitated, self-dissatisfaction grew
and strengthened. Bertie's accident, and her exclu-
sion from the sick room, did much to foster its
growth; and then came her tardy visit to him, and
the boy's question-that was a home-thrust! After-
wards, her mind was so ill at ease that she ceased
from her usual occupations. The walks to River-
view, even the district-visiting days were no longer
observed, and she arranged for another teacher to
take her girls' class in the Sunday School when the
next Sunday came round. She felt unequal to
teaching; she was herself a pupil, learning her
lesson from the all-wise Master. "How hardly shall
they that have riches enter into the Kingdom was
the beginning of the lesson. John represented Aunt
Mildred's riches; he was to her as great possessions,
and her engrossing love had blinded her eyes to
many near duties, and shut her ears to the call,
" Take up thy cross, and follow Me."
"With man it is impossible, but not with God; for
with God all things are possible,"-this was the les-
son in its completeness. And at last Aunt Mildred
learned it, the human "impossible," the Divine
" possible;" and then the independent, self-reliant
88 AUNT MILDRED'S TREASURE.
woman humbled herself as a little child, and prayed
that God, in His fulness of power, might make her
will strong for self-sacrifice.
Thus the days of heart-striving ended; and Aunt
Mildred was able to write her letter to John.
When office hours were over, John and Mr. Car-
rington sat on together in the lawyer's private
room, but they were not engaged now on business
matters. An hour elapsed before they emerged, Mr.
Carrington looking agitated, yet in part pleased;
John wholly pleased.
Now that I have your consent to my plan,"
John said, "I should like to tell Bertie about it.
Shall I tell him now or wait until morning ? "
If you are quite determined, I suppose you may
as well tell him now. The boy is fretting, and this
may take his thoughts out of the one groove."
So John ran upstairs to his cousin's room.
It had been a dull day for Bertie.
"February fill dike
Either black or white,"
the old saying has it; and early on this February
day a leaden sky and raw atmosphere had seemed
to predict the "white filling. But the fickle
clerk of the weather had changed his intentions,
THE QUESTION ANSWERED. 89
and since noon the rain had steadily descended, very
"black rain-to Bertie's vision everything was
black to-day. From his window he saw the leaden
sky, and wet roofs and chimney pots, and in the
street below umbrellas and mackintoshes. Not a
gleam of colour anywhere. And to his mental vision
the out-look was as dreary. All the bright tints of
his future had given place to sombre shadow.
The boy was in his easy chair by the lire when
John came in. .He had candles on a table by him,
and a pile of picture-papers and magazines contri-
buted by good-natured friends for his amusement;
but they failed to amuse him now. His eyes were
suspiciously red-John noticed this as he drew a
chair near, and though he made no remark Bertie
knew that he noticed it, and his confusion, combined
with physical weakness, sent the colour surging over
his face and brow, shaming the poor boy still more
-blushing and crying were, according to his ideas,
feminine infirmities, to be scorned by the sterner sex,
"You must think me an awful muff, but indeed
I can't help it, John," he pleaded self-excusingly.
Of course you can't, old fellow," said John; we
are not quite Spartans, any of us-why should we
be? When we are given pain we are intended to
feel it, and we must sometimes show that we feel it."
90 AUNT MILDRED'S TREASURE.
But it is not the pain now," said Bertie, it is
this; he glanced in explanation at his injured arm.
The arm was now in what surgeons term an
*' angular splint," bent. at a useful angle, and Bertie
knew that it must always remain at this angle.
Without Edith's betrayal of the secret he must soon
have found out that much for himself. No supple-
ness was returning to the broken joint.
Yes, I understand," John said; and the tender,
winning sympathy of his voice showed how fully he
"Oh, John!" Bertie cried, "I am glad you are
home again." The boy put out his right hand, and
John took it in his firm, strong hold.
"I wish I could have come sooner," he said; "but
you were not too lonely, were you ? They tell me
you have had visitors-Sir Francis Calvert for one."
"Sir Francis is not you. But I did like seeing
him. He was very kind, and he says I am to stay
at the Hall for a change when I am a little better."
Under John's influence Bertie was growing more
cheerful. "And I forgot to tell you, John," he
continued, "that Aunt Mildred came here-that
was the day after you left, and she was not half
bad. I expected she would have pitched into me-
told me I brought all this on myself. It was my
TIE QUESTION ANSWERED. 91.
own fault, I know; but she did not say anything
about that. I like Aunt Mildred better than I did.
And then, she would not tell a lie."
I hope not," said John drily.
Oh, well, I don't mean a downright crammer;
but I asked her a question, and she owned she could
not answer it, though that put her rather into a
corner, you know."
But I don't know," said John. You should re-
member, young man, you have an unfair advantage
over Aunt Mildred there. If you could not answer
a question you would deserve to be put into a corner,
for you are the last from school."
That ivas not the sort of question-we were not
having an exam. in history and geography! But
Aunt Mildred had told me just before that I ought
to be patient, and resigned, and all that. So I asked
her if she could give up something she thought a
lot about. You should have seen her face, John.
She was pretty well. floored by that question; she
owned as much. Still, I do think she was a brick
to own it; there's no humbug in Aunt Mildred."
A little pause-then John spoke.
Bert, I have something to tell you that seems to
fit in with what you have told me; and it is some-
thing that may help you through your trouble. But
92 AUNT MILDRED'S TREASURE.
to begin at the beginning, I must first talk about
Bertie was quite ready to listen.
So John began at the beginning, his child-wish to
be a missionary, how it had arisen, lain dormant,
and again sprung into life.
Bertie's ideas regarding missionaries differed from
John's. Naturally impressionable, he was over
quick to imbibe the sentiments of those with whom
he came in contact, and he had often heard careless,
sneering allusions to missionaries, from school-fellows
and from grown-up people too. Recently an officer
who was connected with Colonel Rivers, and had
just returned from the same Indian station, had been
visiting at Riverview. An empty-headed young
fellow, in Mr. Carrington's opinion, and the business
man had been bored by his guest's very small talk
relative to society at the station, and the awfully
jolly" balls that were given. For a minute or so
some stray allusion turned the talk to the subject
of missionaries. For my part, I have no faith in
them," the officer had avowed; "while I was in
India I assure you I never came across a missionary,
nor any good of a missionary's doing."
Bertie remembered this speech. He had not been
bored; in his enthusiasm for the military he had
THE QUESTION ANSWERED.
drunk in every word the officer said; and he had
missed the irony of John's rejoinder-" Ah, then I
conclude they are not dancing men."
You always wished to be a missionary ?" Bertie
repeated now, in disdainful wonder; what a rum
idea for you to have If you had wished to be a
soldier, as I did-but a missionary-why, there's no
glory in that, no fun at all!"
"If I were a soldier, Bertie," John said, and if I
were ordered abroad, somewhere that troops were
badly wanted, what would you think of my objecting
to go because the quarters would be dull, or because I
might not have a chance of making myself famous ?"
"I can't see what you're driving at, John."
"Just this-Christ's soldiers must not seek great
things for themselves either."
"Well, you never do. But to be a missionary"-
again the tone of disdain-" you can't mean this. It'
may sound nice to you, but if it was really a ques-
tion of going- "
It is a question of going," said John quietly;
"an answered question. I hesitated for a time be-
cause Aunt Mildred took it so much to heart; but
she wrote to me to-day; she wrote to give me up.
And it strikes me, Bert, that Aunt Mildred has
answered your question now."
94 AUNT MILDRED'S TREASURE,
But, John," after a short silence, how does all
this help me? It would be dreadfully slow here
"You won't have time to find it slow," John said;
"you are to enter the office-to take my place when
you are old enough. Uncle Robert likes to have
you with him; we both look forward to your being
the future head of the family, if God spares you; to
your carrying on the business uprightly and wisely,
as your father is doing, and as our grandfather and
great-grandfather have done before him. You see,
you are to be a person of consequence-a great deal
is expected of you, and I feel sure you won't disap-
But Bertie did not respond. The routine of office
work had no attractions for him. In his young
ambition he had felt a sort of commiseration for the
busy uneventful life his father and John led. As
he heard that such a life was to be his, those trouble-
some, irrepressible tears started to his eyes again..
John, I don't want this," he said; I don't want
to be for ever in that pokey office, fagging at law-
books, and old deeds and things, like father does.
It would be horrid!" He twined his thin fingers
nervously in and out of John's as he spoke.
Dear old fellow! I know it seems hard," John
THE QUESTION ANSWERED.
answered. "And I do not underrate the difficul-
ties in your way. There must be drudgery and
stiff work to fit you for the business, but it will not
be so horrid afterwards as you think-not horrid at
all. I should not be surprised if you turn out a far
better lawyer than I could ever be. Indeed, Bert, I
think, with God's blessing, your life will be very
full and happy."
Bertie gave a quick little sigh, that might mean
anything. He hardly knew himself whether he felt
pleased, or only sorry.
Then John pursued the subject. He treated it
seriously for a time, showing Bertie his responsi-
bilities and duties, and the source whence he might
expect help to fulfil them. But when the boy,
weighted with these new, grave thoughts, began to
demur, no longer because the office was unattractive,
but because he realized his own incompetence, John
took care to encourage and reassure him, and even
gave a fillip to his flagging spirits by introducing
some good-natured banter.
"You'd make a muddle of it all? he said, echo-
ing one of Bertie's objections. "No doubt you
would. Rome was not built in a day, and I should
scarcely value your legal opinion just yet. Let's
see, Bert, what it, would be like. Say Mrs. Giles
96. AUNT MILDRED'S TREASURE.
applies to you about that boy of hers-she and her
boy have come to be a joke in the office. Well, the
schoolmaster has administered corporal punishment
again, and she wants to have redress. Now don't
get into a wax,' you tell her. '-I know, my dear
madam, from-er-direct personal experience, that
it does a chap a jolly lot of good to be swished.'
Or Farmers Brown and Larkins-those two are
always at loggerheads-want your advice about a
disputed land-mark. 'Easily settled,' you answer.
'Just you fellows toss up. Now, Brown, heads or
John's voice and attitudes as he mimicked Bertie
tickled the boy's sense of humour.
Mrs. Carrington, just then on her way to his
room, was surprised to hear a merry peal of laughter.
She found John leaning against the mantelpiece.
He had changed his sitting posture in order to enact
his part of the embryo lawyer with more freedom.
Brrtie had flung his head back on the pillows of his
easy chair, and the laughter was still in his eyes.
"Robert has told me your piece of news, John.
Does Bertie know ?" Mrs. Carrington asked ex-
Oh, yes. Bertie knows he is to be Solicitor-
,, .. .. ... I
You'd make a muddle of it all? he said, echoing one of Bertie's
objections. "No doubt you would."
THE QUESTION ANSWERED. 99
General, and set the Thames on fire-all in due
I seems too delightful," continued Mrs. Car-
rington, "that you should choose to-"; but she
caught up her words; absorption in Bertie's pros-
pects had led her to express herself in the tactless
manner that selfish people are apt to fall into. "I
am not glad that you should go," she declared; of
course not. Only that Bearie can stay here."
But Bertie's mirth was promptly extinguished,
and he saw again the dark side of his future.
"John, however shall I get on without you?
But "-with a quick, brave effort-" I am not going
to grumble any more. I will do my best, and at
least I need not be a helpless old log, as I thought.
John, you are very good to me."
Rather," John said-and he was wholly in ear-
nest now-" rather, God is very good to us both.
He has chosen the way for us, and that is better
than choosing our own way, and pleasing ourselves."
Mrs. Carrington failed to conceive the beauty of
self-sacrifice. She looked wonderingly from her son
to her nephew. Perhaps as her eyes rested last on
John's resolute, happy face, she was nearer to that
conception than she had ever been before.
NCE that letter from Aunt Mildred
Shad cleared up his perplexity,
p John's plans grew quickly into
-: I'* shape. It is true his uncle did
not further them. Mr. Carrington
S was a strictly just, honourable man,
Sand however much he might wish to
have Bertie in the office with him, it i
still went against his grain that his brother's son
should forego his rightful inheritance, and that his
son should be the gainer. But when he found
that John was quite determined, he put no hin-
drances in the way. Only he pressed for two con-
cessions: first, that John should abstain from any
formal renunciation of his inheritance for another
year; and secondly, that if at the end of the