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THE ODD ONE
THE ODD ONE
" Probable Sons,'"
By the Author of
"Eric's Good News," "Teddy's Button,"
"Dwell Deep," etc.
"These are they which came out of great
tribulation, and have washed their robes, and
made them white in the blood of the Lamb."
New York Chicago
Fleming H. Revell
M DCCC XCVII
Copyright, 1897, by
FLEMING H. REVELL COMPANY
THE NEW YORK TYPE-SETTING COMPANY
THE CAXTON PRESS
WAS IT AN ANGEL? .
MADE INTO A COUPLE
BETTY'S DISCOVERY .79
A LITTLE MESSENGER 89
A DARING FEAT 97
UNCLE HARRY'S FRIEND . 107
"WHEN WE TWO MET!" 115
A HERO'S DEATH . 125
IT was just four o'clock on a dull-gray winter afternoon.
The little Stuarts' nursery looked the picture of coziness and
comfort, with the blazing fire that threw flickering lights over
the bright-colored pictures on the walls, the warm carpet
under foot, and the fair, fresh faces of the children gathered
Five of them there were, and they were alone, for the old
nurse, who had brought them all up from their infancy, was
at present absent from the room.
By one of the large square windows stood one of the little
girls; she was gazing steadily out into the fast darkening
street below, her chin resting on one of the bars that were
fastened across the lower part of the window. How the
children disliked those bars! Marks of little teeth were
plainly discernible along them, and no prisoners could have
tried more perseveringly to shake them from their sockets
than they did. Betty, who stood there now, had received
great applause one afternoon when, after sundry twists and
turns, she had successfully thrust her little dark curly head
through and was able to have a delightfully clear view of all
But the sequel was not so pleasant, for somehow or other
The Odd One
Betty's head would not come in so easily as it went out, and
when nurse came to the rescue with an angry hand, the poor
little head was very much bruised in consequence, and Betty's
reward for such dexterity was an aching head and dry bread
for tea. She was a slight, slim little figure with big blue
eyes and long, black, curved lashes and eyebrows which
made her eyes the most beautiful feature in her face. Very
soft, fine, curly hair surrounded a rather pathetic-looking little
face; but her movements were like quicksilver, and though
all the little Stuarts were noted for their mischievous ways
and daring escapades, Betty eclipsed them all.
She turned from the window soon with a sigh of relief.
"He's coming," she said; "old Bags is coming, and it's
my turn to-day."
There was no response. Bobby and Billy, the twins, little
lads only just promoted from petticoats to knickerbockers,
were deeply engrossed in one corer of the room over their
bricks. Perched on the top of a low chest of drawers were
Douglas and Molly, and their heads were in that close prox-
imity that told that secret business was going on.
Betty's heart sank a little.
Old Bags is coming," she repeated; don't you hear his
We're busy," said Douglas, looking up; we won't have
Bags's story to-day."
"You promised yesterday when you put it off that you
would hear it to-day. It isn't fair. I always listen to you."
"Tell it to the babies; they'll like to hear."
This was adding insult to injury; and when the twins
trotted up to the window, Betty turned a defiant back upon
them, tears of disappointment dimming the blue eyes.
"She's cwying," announced Bobby, twisting his head
round to look up into her face.
Betty turned round furiously; a sharp push sent Bobby to
the ground, and in falling he struck his head against one of
the feet of the nursery table. There was a howl, general
confusion, and nurse appeared to discover and chastise the
offender. Betty was led off in disgrace to a little room on
the nursery landing, known by the children as Cells." Their
uncle, a young captain in the Guards, had given it that name,
but in reality it was nurse's store-room, and was heated with
hot pipes to air the linen kept there. It was a small, square
room containing a table and one chair; the window was high
above the children's reach, and locked cupboards were on
every side. Nurse invariably used it for punishing small
offenses, and, being a woman of stern principles, she generally o -
set the little culprit a text to learn while there. A Bible was
on the table, and Betty was led up to it.
"You will stay here till tea-time, and will not come out q i'~. '
until you have learned a text and said you are sorry for
knocking down your little brother in a fit of wicked temper.
This is the fourth time I have had to bring you here this
week, and it is now only Tuesday. I have more trouble
with you than all the others put together, and you ought to
be ashamed of yourself."
Betty was sobbing bitterly, and when nurse left the room
and turned the key behind her, the child flung herself down
on the floor.
"It's a shame! It's all Douglas and Molly; they make
promises and don't keep them. And it was ever so much
nicer a story than Molly's; I know they'd have liked it if
they'd heard it. They never think I can do anything! "
To explain the cause of Betty's grievance, I must tell you
that it was a custom of the little Stuarts to await the muffin-
man's approach on his rounds, and as his bell would sound
they would take turns each day to relate to the others an
The Odd One
account of the different houses he had gone to, and who
had been the fortunate individuals to receive the muffins that
had already disappeared from his tray. It was an idle hour
in the nursery from four to five, and if the gathering dusk
kept the active eyes still the fertile brains were brought into
requisition. Telling stories was a constant delight, and the
wonderful adventures that befell the muffins on their daily
rounds kept the little gathering quiet and happy till tea
Betty's stories were not inferior to her elders', and it was
her childish sense of justice and consideration that was out-
raged. But tears will come to an end, and soon the little
maiden was perched up at the table to learn the task before
her. She turned over the pages till she reached Revelation,
that mysterious and mystical book that so fascinates and
contents a child's soul, though the wisest on earth read it
with perplexity and awe. And after a moment or two Betty
had found a text to learn; and when nurse appeared later
on she repeated unfalteringly, with shining eyes and with a
note of triumph in her tone, "'And I said unto him, Sir,
thou knowest. And he said to me, these are they which
came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes,
and made them white in the blood of the Lamb'" (Rev.
"That's a good child; are you sorry?"
"Yes," was the reply, rather absently given; for Betty's
mind was on the white-robed throng, and how could she let
nurse know all the workings of her busy brain over the verse
she had been taking into her heart and soul?
And remember," said nurse, gravely, "that no naughty
children who quarrel and fight will ever be in heaven."
"Not even if they've been through great tribulation?"
quickly demanded Betty.
But nurse did not hear, and Betty was received into the
well-lighted nursery with acclamation from the others, al-
ready seated at the round table for tea.
"We've made a new game, Molly and I," announced
He was a fair, curly-headed boy with an innocent baby
face, and a talent for inventing the most mischievous plans
that could ever be concocted, with a will that made all the
others bow before him. Molly was also fair, with long golden
hair that reached to her waist; extreme self-possession and
absence of all shyness were perhaps her chief characteristics.
"I am the eldest of the family," she was fond of asserting,
and she certainly claimed the eldest's privileges. Yet her
temper was sweet and obliging, and she could easily be
swayed and led by those around her.
"Is it one for outdoors or indoors? asked Betty, with
"Indoors, of course.; we'll tell you after tea."
"Your mother wants you in the parlor after tea," put in
nurse; "you and Miss Molly are to go down."
Molly looked pleased, not so Douglas. At last, putting
down his piece of bread and butter, he looked up into nurse's
face with one of his sweetest looks.
"Why are grown-up people so very dull, nurse? They
all are just the same, except Uncle Harry. They are dread-
fully heavy and dull."
"They have so little to amuse them," Molly said reflec-
tively; "no games or toys. They never make believe, or
pretend the lovely things we do."
"And their legs get stiff, and their dresses trip them up
if they try to run."
"But they never get punished, and they're never scolded,
and they're never wicked."
The Odd One
It's their talk that is so stupid," went on Douglas; they
look nice until they begin to talk; they make me dreadfully
sleepy to listen to them."
"Shall I go down instead of you to-night? asked Betty,
"Don't chatter such nonsense. It's strange times when
children begin to pick their elders to pieces. You weren't
asked for, Miss Betty; and Master Douglas is to go down
and behave himself."
The three B's aren't big enough yet to leave the nursery."
Douglas said this with a sparkle of mischief in his eye. It
was a sore point with Betty to be ranked with the twins, for
5 she was only a year behind Douglas. Long ago he had
seized hold of a laughing joke of his father's alluding to the
names by which the three youngest children were called, and
had twitted her with it ever since.
"B for baby-Baby Betty, Baby Bobby, and Baby Billy;
babies must go to bed," he explained.
Betty gave an angry kick under the table, but did not
She was very silent for the rest of that evening; but when
she and Molly were safely in bed, and the room was very
quiet, she asked:
"Molly, do you know what 'tribulation' means?"
"I'm not sure that I do," was the hesitating reply.
"I think it's something dreadful. Why do you want to
Is it like the dark valley Christian went through in 'The
Pilgrim's Progress,' or the goblin's cave we make up about?"
"I expect it is something like. Why? "
It's on the way to heaven," whispered Betty, in an awe-
struck tone; "the Bible says so."
There was silence, then Molly said:
"There's a book in father's library will tell you about it.
It tells the meaning of every word; father said so. A dick-
something it is."
I'll ask Mr. Roper to get it for me."
And Betty turned over on her pillow, comforted by this
thought, and fell fast asleep.
Mr. Stuart was a member of Parliament, and, being a man
who threw his whole soul into everything he did, was too
much engrossed with business when in town to have much
to do with his children. He spent a great part of his day
in the library with his secretary, a quiet young fellow who
was looked upon by the children as an embodiment of wisdom
and learning. Mrs. Stuart saw as little of her children as her
husband; her time was fully occupied in attending committee
meetings, opening bazaars, and superintending numerous pet
projects for ennobling and raising the standard of social
morality among the masses. She was not an indifferent
mother; she was only an active, busy woman, who, after
carefully selecting a thoroughly good and trustworthy woman
as her nurse, left the children's training with perfect confi-
dence to her. And between her social and charitable claims
there was not much time for having her little ones about her.
A young governess came every day for two hours to teach
the three eldest ones, but their life was essentially a nursery
one. And when the House was closed, and the husband and
wife would go off to the Continent or to the Highlands, the
children would be sent to a quiet seaside town with their
nurse and the nursery-maid.
The following afternoon a little figure stole quietly down to
the library door. Betty knew her father was out, and Mr. Roper
never repulsed any of the children. After a timid knock she
passed in, and made a little picture as she stood in the fire-
The Odd One
light in her brown velveteen frock and large, white-frilled
Well," said Mr. Roper, wheeling round from his writing-
desk, "what do you want, Betty? "
"I want one of father's books," the child said earnestly;
"one that Dick Somebody wrote-a book that tells the
meaning of everything."
"I wish there were such a one in existence," said the
young man, smiling a little sadly. "Now what is in your
little head, I wonder? "
It's a word I want to find, please."
"Oh, a word! Bless the child, she means a dictionary!"
And Mr. Roper laughed as he drew a fat volume out of a
shelf and placed it on a table by the little girl.
"May I help you to find it? "
"It's 'tribulation.' I don't know how it's spelled."
He did not ask questions; that was one thing that at-
tracted Betty toward him. She was a curious mixture of
frankness and reserve; she would confide freely of her own
free will, but if pressed by questions would relapse at once
into silence. He found the word for her, and she read with
difficulty, "'Trouble, distress, great affliction.'"
"Do they all mean tribulation? she asked.
"Tribulation means all of them," was the answer.
"And can children have tribulation, Mr. Roper?"
"What do you think? "
I must have it if I'm to get to heaven," she said emphati-
cally. And then she left him, and the young man repeated
her words to himself with a sigh and a smile as he replaced
the book in its resting-place.
A FEW evenings after this, as nurse was undressing the
little girls for bed, Mrs. Stuart came into the nursery. She
was going out to dinner, and looked very beautiful in her
soft satin dress and pearls. She was tall and stately, with
the same golden hair as Molly, but her face was somewhat
cold in expression.
Sitting down in an easy-chair by the fire, she asked:
"What is the matter with Betty? Is she in disgrace
Betty was standing in her long night-dress at the foot of
her small bed; her hands were clenched, and there was a
resolute, determined look upon her flushed face.
"One of her obstinate fits," said nurse, angrily; "she
generally goes to bed before Miss Molly, and because I have
let her stay up a little later to-night she is as contrary as she
can be. I can do nothing with her; a good whipping is
what she wants! "
Betty's blue eyes wandered from nurse's face to her
mother's, as if seeking consolation there; her hands relaxed,
and a slight quiver came to the little lips.
"Are you going to a party, mother? May I come and
The Odd One
It was Molly who spoke. She was in the act of scram-
bling into bed, but upon receiving permission she made her
way a little shyly across to where her mother was seated.
"Now keep your hands off my dress," Mrs. Stuart said
with a smile; but she put her arm round the little figure and
kissed her, and sent her back to bed perfectly happy. All
the children adored their mother, though it was adoration at
"Now come here, Betty. What have you been doing?
How is it that I never visit the nursery without hearing com-
plaints of your naughtiness? "
I'm going to be good now," said Betty, hanging her head
and coming slowly forward into the firelight.
"She has refused to say her prayers," said nurse, sternly.
I will say them now." And Betty raised her eyes to her
mother somewhat wistfully.
Why did you refuse to say them when nurse told you to? "
"Because Molly was saying her prayers."
"Well, what had that to do with it?"
Betty did not answer.
The child looked round. Nurse had left the room. She
worked her little foot backward and forward in the long-
haired rug rather nervously, and then, almost in a whisper,
God couldn't listen to both of us, and I wanted Him to
listen to me."
Mrs. Stuart gazed perplexedly at her little daughter, then
"You are a little goose! Go and say your prayers at
once, and get into bed. I have come here to talk to nurse."
Betty crept away. Her mother's amused laugh had hurt
her more than nurse's scoldings. It was hard to have one's.
secret feelings brought to light and scoffed at, and her sen-
sitive little soul felt this, though in a dim, uncertain way.
"I want to have God all to myself," was her thought as,
a few minutes later, she laid her little head down on the
pillow. "I wonder if I'm very wicked? I won't say my
prayers if He is not listening."
Now, nurse," said Mrs. Stuart, as that worthy reappeared,
"I want to talk to you. Mr. Stuart and I are going abroad
after Easter; he is not well, and the doctors have ordered
him away. I want to send you and the children into the
country for the summer. I don't fancy their being at the
seaside all that time. You were telling me some time ago of
your old home. Isn't it a brother of yours who has the farm?
Yes? Well, do you think they have room to take you all
Nurse's face glowed with pleasure.
He has no chick or child, ma'am, and the house is large
and roomy; his wife was saying in a letter to me they should
like lodgers in the summer. I'm sure it would please them
to take us in, and the country round there is wonderfully
"I think that would answer very well," Mrs. Stuart went
on thoughtfully. "We may be away six months; and the
children are looking pale-a country life will do them all the
good in the world. Let them run wild, nurse; they will come
back to their lessons all the better for it. Miss Grant told
me this morning she would have to give up teaching-her
mother is very ill; so, all things combined, I think this plan
will work well. Will you write to your brother and find out
if he can take you in the last week in April? Let me know
when you have heard from him."
Mrs. Stuart rose as she spoke,-her visits were never long,
-and nurse left the room with her.
The Odd One
"Betty," said Molly, in an eager tone, "did you hear?
We're going into the country."
"I heard; and no lessons, and we're to run wild; how
lovely! Betty's curly head bobbed up and down in excite-
ment, then she said persuasively, "Molly, let you and me
keep it a secret together; we won't tell Douglas or the
This required consideration. Molly sat up in bed and
"I never do have a secret with you," pleaded Betty.
"You and Douglas have lots. I never have any one to
have secrets with."
"Well, I'll see," and there was a little of the elder sister
in Molly's tone. "I'll tell you to-morrow morning. Oh, it
will be jolly in the country, won't it? And nurse's home,
that she tells us about, is like our story-books: it's full of
calves, and lambs, and horses, and ducks, and chickens, and
haymaking, and pigs! "
And ponds and apple-orchards; and we shall have cream
and honey and strawberries every day! continued Betty.
The little girls' voices were raised in their excitement, and
they did not notice a door at the end of the room slowly
What a row! Are you telling stories? "
It was Douglas, who slept in a little room off the nursery,
and who had been roused by the sound of talking.
"Hush! nurse will hear. Come and sit on my bed," said
Molly, "and then you will hear all about it."
0 Molly, it was to be our secret! "
"Douglas won't tell. Besides, nurse is sure to tell us;
she knew we were awake and listening."
Betty gave a little sigh, then joined eagerly in giving her
brother the delightful information.
He listened, rumpling up his fair curls and blinking his
blue eyes, which were already heavy with sleep.
"Easter is years off," he said at last. "Why, we are still
in winter. I dare say we sha'n't go, after all."
"We are in February now," said Molly, looking a little
disappointed at the calm way he received such rapturous
"If I go," Douglas went on meditatively, "I shall ask
father to let me have a gun, and I shall shoot rabbits and
birds every day."
"Then you'd be a wicked, cruel boy," pronounced Betty,
indignantly. I shall catch all the rabbits I can see and
"Then I shall let them loose again," retorted Douglas;
and taking up Molly's pillow, he flung it with all his strength
at Betty, who instantly returned it, and a pillow fight com-
menced. Molly joined delightedly in the fray; but alas! in
the height of the excitement, Betty backed into a can of
water put ready for their morning bath. Over she went,
head first, on the floor, and the whole contents of the can
flooded her and the carpet together. Douglas precipitately
fled into his little room, and Molly into her bed, so that
when nurse came hastily in Betty again was discovered as
chief offender. While she was being hustled into a dry night-
dress nurse relieved her vexed feelings by giving her a good
scolding, and Betty eventually crept into bed, wondering if
she was really the wickedest, mischievousest child on earth,"
or if grown-up people sometimes made mistakes.
For the next few days nothing was talked of but the pro-
posed country visit; but as weeks went on, and spring seemed
still as far away, the children's excitement subsided, and the
ordinary routine of lessons, walks, and play engrossed their
The Odd One
But Easter came at last, and then packing up began. Miss
Grant took her departure, and poor Sophy, the nursery-maid,
had her hands full enough, for nurse's command was to keep
the children quiet and not let them come near her when
Mr. Roper was leaving the library one afternoon about
four o'clock, when he saw the disconsolate little figure of
Betty seated on the stairs.
"Anything the matter? he asked good-naturedly.
"We're going away to-morrow," was the reply, "and it is
all topsy-turvy upstairs. Douglas and Molly have been lions
for hours, and Bobby and Billy two monkeys, and I've been
the man. I'm tired of being him, and they won't let me
change. I've broken a jug and basin, and nearly pulled a
cupboard over, and spilled a bottle of cod-liver oil all over
Billy's hair, and upset nurse's work-basket, and then I ran
away and hid and came down here. You don't know how
tiring it is to be hunted by four animals all at once."
Mr. Roper sat down on the stairs by her and laughed
heartily. "Poor little hunter! he said; "and how does
nurse bear all this raging storm around her? "
Oh, nurse is with mother in the night-nursery. Sophy is
running after all of us; I don't know who she pretends to be,
but when I left her she was sitting on the floor wiping Billy's
hair and crying."
Betty's tone and face were grave, and Mr. Roper stopped
laughing. "Have you been thinking over tribulation any
more?" he asked.
"A lot," she said emphatically, then shut up her little lips
tightly, and Mr. Roper knew he was to be told no more.
"Are you going into the country, Mr. Roper?" he was
No, indeed. I am not rich enough to have such a holi-
day as is in prospect for you. I wonder what you will do
with yourselves all the time? You must come back much
the better and wiser, Betty, for it."
"You will be six months older, and old Mother Nature is
the best governess for little ones like you. She will teach
you many a lesson if you keep your eyes and ears open."
Betty's eyes were very wide open now.
Does she live at the farm? I never heard nurse speak
of her. We don't want another governess there. How do
you know her? "
"I knew her when I was a little boy, and loved her. I
love her now, but my work is in London, and I never get
much chance of seeing her."
"She must be very old," Betty said meditatively.
"Very old; and yet every year she seems younger and
more beautiful. You will see her at her best, Betty. I shall
expect you to come home and tell me all about her."
Shall I give her your love and a kiss when I see her? "
Yes," said the young man, smiling down upon the earnest
child beside him.
A rush of feet behind them, and Molly and Douglas came
"Here she is! Where have you been? Bobby has cut
his head open, and Sophy has rushed to nurse, and nurse is
scolding away, so we came off. Mr. Roper, do you know
we're going away to-morrow?"
"And will you come and see us one day, Mr. Roper? "
"Mr. Roper, does every farmer in the country go about
in his night-shirt? Douglas says they do, and we have pic-
tures of them."
And are there stags and wild boar to hunt? Do tell us."
The Odd One
Mr. Roper made short work of these questions and de-
parted. He was a reserved, reticent man, and did not un-
derstand the boisterous spirits of the little Stuarts. Betty
was his favorite; he was always ready for a chat with her,
but the others worried him.
Nurse was very thankful when she got herself and her
little charges all comfortably settled in the railway train for
Brook Farm the next day. Sophy was not going with them,
but the longing to be in the old home again quite compen-
sated nurse for the additional labor and responsibility she
The children had parted from their parents with great
composure. Mrs. Stuart had reiterated parting injunctions
to nurse, and their father had presented all five with a bright
coin each, which gift greatly added to their delight at going.
Not much affection in children's hearts," said Mr. Stuart
to his wife, as he watched the beaming faces gathered round
the cab window to wave "good-by."
"They will get through life the better for absence of sen-
timent and demonstrativeness," replied Mrs. Stuart; and per-
haps those words were an index to her character.
WAS IT AN ANGEL?
IT was a lovely afternoon in May, a week after the chil-
dren's arrival at Brook Farm. They were together in the
orchard, which was a mass of pink and white bloom. Bobby
and Billy were having a see-saw on a low apple-branch,
Douglas was perched on a higher bough of a cherry-tree, and
the little girls were lying on the ground. Tongues were busy,
"We've seen everything round the house," Douglas was
asserting in rather a dictatorial tone; "and now we must be
busy having adventures-people always do in the country."
"What kind? asked Molly, meekly.
They get tossed by bulls, or lost in the woods, or drowned
in ponds," Douglas went on thoughtfully.
"I'm not going to do any of those." And Betty's tone
was very determined.
"What are you going to do, then?"
"I shall be busy all by myself. I'm going out to look for
"Who? asked Molly, curiously.
Some one Mr. Roper told me about. He sent his love
to her and a kiss. It's a secret between me and Mr. Roper;
I sha'n't tell you any more."
^yI r ':-'1
The Odd One
And Betty rolled over in the grass with a delighted chuckle
at the puzzled faces round her.
"It's only one of her make-ups," Douglas said, recovering
his composure; "let me tell you of my plans. Do you see
those thick trees at the top of that hill? That's a real wood.
Now, if nurse sends us out to-morrow afternoon while she
takes a nap, I'm going there, and you girls must come after
"And us too," put in Bobby, listening attentively.
"If you can walk so far, and don't go telling nurse about
"How far is it? Six miles? asked Molly, who would
have been willing to walk ten had her brother so ordained.
It is only through three fields, Sam told me."
Sam was one of the carters, who had already become one
of Douglas's greatest friends.
"He be the pluckiest, knowingest little chap that ever Oi
see wi' such a baby face! was the carter's opinion of him.
If it's a very nice wood perhaps I'll come," said Betty.
"You must save something from dinner to take with us,
for we will have a feast when we get there."
This sounded delightful, and all spent the rest of the day
in busy confabulation as to how they could get there without
being stopped by any one, and what provisions they must
But alas! when the next day came nurse announced her
intention of taking Douglas and Molly with her to tea with
a friend, a little distance off, and so the visit to the wood
Betty pleaded to be allowed to go with them, but nurse
I can't have more than two, and I'm taking them more
to keep them out of mischief than anything. Mrs. Giles is
Was it an Angel?
going to look after the little ones, so you must amuse your-
Betty felt rather disconsolate after they had gone. She
wandered into the farm kitchen, where Mrs. Giles, a good-
natured, smiling woman, was busy making bread. The twins
were in a corner playing with some kittens. Betty stood at
the table watching. At last she looked up a little shyly and
"Mrs. Giles, do you know a very nice governess that lives
"A guviness, bless your little heart! There's Miss Tyler
in the village two mile off, but I don't think much of her;
she's too giddy and smart, and the way she carries on with
Dan Somers is the talk of the place! Are you after having
"Oh, no, no, no! cried Betty, eagerly; "that's why I
don't talk about it to any one; but I should like to see her,
for I have a message to give her. I don't think it can be
Miss Tyler; Mother Nestor-I forget the name, but some-
thing like Nestor or Nasher, Mr. Roper called her. She's
old and young together, and very pretty."
Mrs. Giles laughed. Old and young together! I know
of naught like that; when we gets old, youth don't stick to
us. Do you think I answer to that description, Miss Betty? "
"I should say you were very old," observed Betty, reflec-
tively; "not a bit young; but I think your red cheeks are
Mrs. Giles laughed again, and Betty left the kitchen, say-
ing, "I'll go out of doors and look for her; perhaps she'll
be coming along the road."
Into the bright sunshine she .went, across a clover-field,
and out at a gate into the white, dusty road. She trotted
along, picking flowers by the wayside, and peeping over
The Odd One
A, -.hedges to look at the tiny lambs or young foals and heifers
sporting on the green grass. Everything was new and
delightful to her; the birds singing, the budding trees, the
bright blue sky and sweet fresh air, all were filling her little
heart with content and happiness. Wandering on, she kept
no reckoning of time or distance, until she came to a church
in the midst of green elms, and rooks keeping up a perpetual
chatteration on the topmost branches of the trees.
Betty was a little afraid of rooks; they were so big and
strong and black that she feared they would peck her legs;
but she was very tired and warm, and as the church gate was
open she thought she would venture into the cool shade of
the elms inside. Her little steps took her to the church
porch, and finding the door partly open, with a child's curi-
osity she pushed her way in, there to stand with admiring
awe in the cool, quiet atmosphere. It was a pretty old
church with stained-glass windows, and the sun streaming
through sent flashing rays of red and blue, golden and purple,
across the old stone walls and oaken seats.
Betty felt she was in another world at once, and the very
Novelty and strangeness of her surroundings had a great
S. charm for her. Slowly she made her way round the church,
looking at every tablet and monument, and trying in vain to
decipher the writing upon them. But one among them
brought her to a standstill: it was the figure of a little girl,
Sculptured in white marble, lying in a recumbent position;
Sher hands were crossed on her breast, with a lily placed be-
tween them; her eyes were closed, and her hair curled over
her brow and round her shoulders in the most natural way.
Just above her was a stained-glass window-a beautiful rep-
/ presentation of the Saviour taking the children in His arms
'/ and blessing them. Below the window was written in plain
Was it an Angel?
IN LOVING MEMORY OF VIOLET RUSSELL 4'
Aged six years
"Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them
Betty drew a deep breath; her thoughts were busy. She
wished herself that little girl, lying so calm and beautiful,
with the red and golden rays slanting across her; and then,
looking up at the window, she wished still more that she was
one of those happy children in the Lord's arms.
Looking up with tearful eyes, she clasped her hands and
let her buttercups and bluebells fall to the ground unheeded.
0 God, I will be good! I will be good! "
Those were all the words uttered, but He who heard them
looked down into the overflowing heart and knew all that
lay behind them.
Long the child stood there, and then with flagging foot-
steps made her way down the aisle.
I'm very tired," she murmured to herself; "I'll just sit
down inside that pew."
And a moment after, curling herself up on the cushions,
Betty went fast asleep.
She was dreaming soon of a wonderful white-robed throng.
She saw the little girl walk up with her white, still face to a
golden throne; she tried to follow, but could not manage to
walk, and then the most wonderful music began to sound;
louder and clearer it came, until with a start she opened her
eyes and discovered where she was. Was it all a dream?
The music was still sounding in her ears, and, sitting up, she
peered over the edge of the high pew. There, seated at the
organ, was a lady, and she was pouring forth such a flood of
The Odd One
melody and song that it did indeed seem to the half-wakened
child music straight from heaven.
Betty listened breathlessly to the words-words that she
knew now so well and that were ever in her thoughts: These
are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed
their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."
It was a beautiful anthem, and a beautiful voice that was
singing. Betty had never heard such singing before. She
gazed with open mouth and eyes. The lady was rather a
young one, she noticed; and when her voice rose in triumph,
and the organ pealed out in accompaniment, Betty saw that
her uplifted eyes, shining as they were with such a glad light
behind them, were full of tears.
"It's an angel," she whispered to herself. And when at
last the notes died away and there was stillness in the church
-when she saw the lady's face bowed in her hands as if in
prayer-Betty stole softly out of the building and retraced
her steps along the road, sobbing as she went. It had been
too much for her excitable little brain; she always had been
passionately fond of music, but was more accustomed to the
street-organs in the City than to any other sort, and this was
as great a contrast to those as heaven is to earth.
It was a long way back, but Betty did not feel it. Had
God sent an angel to sing to her? Was there a chance of
her ever being among that white-robed throng? If she could
only go through tribulation! Had the little girl lying so
white and still gone through it? These and other similar
puzzling thoughts came crowding through her brain.
She was very quiet when she reached the farm. They
were just sitting down to tea when she came in, and Mrs.
Giles looked relieved when she saw her.
"We was wondering' where you had got to," she said.
"Ain't you tired? You look quite beat."
/ 1 l
Was it an Angel ?
"I've had a lovely afternoon," was the child's answer, and
the blue eyes shone up at her questioner; but not a word
more could be got from her, though the little boys did their
best to extract more information.
The next day was a wet one, but the little Stuarts were
never at a loss for occupation, and when they were packed
off into a large empty garret for the whole afternoon their
delight was unbounded.
At last, tired out, their spirits began to flag, and after
having exhausted all their stock of games they flung them-
selves down on the ground to rest.
"I'll tell you a story," said Betty, suddenly.
"All right, go on."
Betty sat up in a corner and rested her back against the
wall. She clasped her small hands in front of her, and,
gazing dreamily up at an old beam across the room, on which
hung many a cobweb, she began:
"It was a beautiful day in heaven-"
"It's always a beautiful day there," put in Douglas,
"I never said it wasn't. You're not to interrupt me. It
was a beautiful day; the harps were playing and the angels
singing. And one angel looked as if she wanted something;
so God asked her what was the matter.
"' Oh, please,' she said, 'I want to go down to earth to-
"'What do you want to do there, O angel?'
"'I want to play and sing to some children there.'
"Then God said she might go. So she flew down and
changed her clothes-"
"What kind of clothes did she put on?" asked Molly,
Betty considered a moment. "She put on a straw hat
The Odd One
and a gray dress; she took off her wings and folded them
"Where did she put them?" demanded Douglas.
"Down a well," was the prompt reply. "It was a dry
well, and she put her white dress and crown in it; she did
them up in a paper parcel and wrote her name on."
"What was her name? asked Bobby.
Betty knitted her brows. It was a Bible name, of course;
I think it was Miriam. She felt the earth was very hot, for
the sun was shining like anything; and then she wondered
whom she could sing to. Well, she walked along a road, and
then she saw a church; so she thought that must be a good
place, and she went inside. The church was dark and cool
and still, but it was lovely. And there were red and blue
and yellow and green and violet sunbeams, and beautiful
painted windows and white marble figures all about, and it
was so still that you felt you must hush and walk on tiptoe.
And then what do you think she saw? "
Il|f' All eyes were on Betty now, as she sank her voice to an
"She saw a little girl fast asleep! "
Go on," said Douglas, impatiently, as Betty made an-
"So the angel thought she would sing to her; so she went
up very softly to the big organ and began to play it, and then
, she began to sing. It was lovely; she sang like she did in
heaven; and the little girl woke up and listened."
"What did she sing about ?" asked Molly.
"She sang about heaven, and all the people and children
who had come through great tribulation. And the music
went on right up to the top of the church, and her voice got
louder and louder, and then softer and softer to a whisper; and
then the music got softer too, and then-it was quite still."
Was it an Angel?
"Well, go on. What did the little girl do? "
"The little girl came away; she-she cried a little."
"Why, you're crying too! What a silly!"
Betty dashed her small hand across her eyes and threw
up her head defiantly. "That's all my story," she said.
"Oh, what a stupid story! You must make a proper
"You shall go on! we'll make you! "
"Did the angel get her proper clothes again?"
"Yes," said Betty, with a little sigh; "she put them on
and went up to heaven; and God asked her what she'd done,
and she told Him she thought the little girl would like to
come to heaven, if He would let her."
There was a little break in Betty's voice. She slid down
from her corner and rolled over on the floor, her face hidden
from the others. Then in a second she called out, "I see a
mouse! Let us catch him! "
The children were on their feet directly, and a regular
scramble ensued, Betty the most boisterous of them all. And
when nurse came in a little later she found the little story-
teller in the act of crawling across the oaken beam in the
center of the room, to the intense delight of those watching
Nurse caught her breath at the daring feat, but waited till
she had accomplished it in safety, then caught her in her
arms, and, taking her off, gave her a good whipping; and
Betty's spirits totally subsided for the rest of the evening.
" THE visit to the wood came off the day after. Nurse ar-
rayed all her little charges in large holland overalls and sent
them out into the fields for the afternoon. And the little
party set out in good spirits, Bobby and Billy tramping
sturdily along, under the firm conviction that they were going
to meet with wild beasts and go through the most harrowing
It was a long walk, but they reached the wood at last, and
came to a standstill when they saw the ditch and the thick
hedge that surrounded it.
"There's a castle, and a princess inside, so they don't like
people to come in," asserted Douglas; but we'll find a hole
somewhere and creep through."
And this was soon done. The children looked round them
with delight at the little winding paths, the banks of green
moss, and the thick, overhanging bushes and trees, that
seemed so full of life and interest. Douglas was in his ele-
We'll find a place we must call home first, and then we'll
see what food we've got."
The foot of an old oak-tree was chosen. Bits of cake,
pudding, some biscuits, and a few lumps of sugar were then
produced from different pockets, and these were given over
to Douglas, who, wrapping them in paper, deposited them
inside the hollow trunk of the tree.
Now," he said, "we must all divide and go in search of
adventures; and when we've found them we can come back
and tell the others here, and then we'll have a feast."
And if we don't find any? questioned Betty, doubtfully.
"Then you must go on till you do. Why, of course a
wood is full of dangers. I mean to have an awful time.
We must go two and two: Molly and I will take this path,
and the twins can take that one, and you, Betty, must go by
yourself, because you're the odd one."
"I always have to go alone," murmured Betty; "it isn't
Bobby and Billy stood clasping each other's hands and
looking with anxious though determined faces along the path
mapped out for them.
"And if we should meets cwocodile? Billy asked, lifting
his blue eyes to those of his big brother.
Then you must either kill it or run away," said Douglas;
"and crocodiles don't live in woods."
"And if we lose ourselves in the wood?" questioned
"If you're frightened you needn't go, but stay here till
we come back," put in Molly, her conscience a little uneasy
with turning such little fellows loose on their own resources.
But this gave the twins courage. Frightened! Not a bit
of it! And they trotted off, calling out they were going to
kill every one they met.
Betty likewise started on her journey. She was feeling
rather depressed with the truth of which she was always being
reminded, namely, that she was the odd one.
"I wish there had just been one more of us," she kept
The Odd One
saying to herself. I'm either one too many or one too few,
and it's very dull to be always alone."
But her thoughts soon left herself when she saw some
rabbits scudding away in the distance, and the flowers on
her path and the strangeness of her surroundings were quite
enough to occupy her mind. She soon found that her path
was coming to an end, right across it was some fine wire
netting, and for a moment she hesitated, then, deciding to go
straight on, clambered over it with great difficulty. The grass
was smoother here, and the path a wide one. A little dis-
tance farther was an iron seat, and then she came to a long,
straight grass walk with trees on either side, and at the end
a gate in an old stone wall.
"I shall have to get through that gate," she mused, "or
else I must climb the wall. I wonder what is inside? It
might be anything,-a castle, with an ogre or giant, or a
prince and princess,-and I can't go back till I find out. My
adventures have come. But I'm very tired; I'll just sit down
for a little before I go on."
A few moments after, Betty's little body was lying full
length on the grassy path, and she was counting over a cluster
of primroses with great care and precision.
Twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three-ah, what a pity!
There is a little odd one, just like me! "
"What are you doing, child?"
Betty started to her feet. Looking down upon her was a
tall old lady, dressed in a shady straw hat and black lace
shawl; her black silk dress rustled as she moved. One hand
was resting on a stick, the other was holding a sunshade.
Her face was as still and cold-looking as some of the figures
on the monuments in the little village church, and her voice
stern and peremptory.
Wild thoughts flashed through Betty's brain. Was this a
^Afs --1*< y' \^^c/y ^;;sty /y^ ''^ i ^' ^ ^ ~~
fairy godmother, a queen, a princess? Or might it possibly
be the old governess that Mr. Roper loved so much?
Again the question was repeated in the same stern tone,
and Betty gazed up in awe as she answered simply:
I was counting the primroses to see if they were even or
"And what business have you to be trespassing in my
private grounds ?"
"I didn't know this was trespassing," Betty faltered; "a
wood belongs to anybody in the country, and I haven't got
inside your gate yet, though I was going to try."
And pray what were you coming inside my gate to do? "
"I'm-I'm looking for adventures; I have to do something
before I go back."
"I think you had better explain to me who you are."
The voice was gentler, and Betty took courage. The lady
listened to her attentively and seemed interested; she even
smiled when Betty, looking'up, asked innocently, I suppose
you are not a princess, are you? "
"No, I'm not a princess," she said; "but this is a private
wood, and I cannot allow children to run wild all over it."
"And mustn't we ever come here again?" asked Betty,
with a grave face. "We should be ever so careful, and we
won't pick a flower if you'll only let us walk about. We've
never seen a wood before, only read about one in our story-
books; and children always go through woods in books with-
out being stopped, unless it's an ogre or a giant that stops
The lady did not speak for a minute, then she said:
"How many are there of you? "
"Five, with me. There's Molly and Douglas, and there's
Bobby and Billy; I'm the odd one."
Why should you be the odd one?"
The Odd One
"Because Molly and Douglas are the eldest ones, and
they always go together; and Bobby and Billy are the babies
-mother always calls them the babies; and I come in be-
tween, and I belong to no one. You see, in our games it's
generally two and two; I always make everything odd.
And Molly and Douglas are always having secrets, and that
only leaves me the babies to play with, and they're only just
four years old-much too small for me."
I suppose you have a doll or something to comfort your-
self with? I remember I used to when I was a little girl."
I don't much like dolls," said Betty, with a decided shake
of her curly head; "I like something really alive-something
that moves by .itself. There's a big sheep-dog at our farm
called Rough. I sometimes get hold of him for a game, but
he likes Douglas better than me. Sam says he's always fond
Would you like to come inside my gate? asked the lady,
looking down upon Betty with a strange tenderness in her
eyes, though her lips were still grave and stern.
Betty slipped her hand confidingly into hers.
"Yes, please; and will you tell me who you are? I
think you're rather like a lady I'm trying to find. She teaches
children; a governess she is, and she's old and young to-
gether. You're much more like her than Mrs. Giles is."
But the lady did not satisfy Betty's curiosity; she only said,
"I have never taught any children in my life," and led het
up the grassy walk to the gate in the wall. I am only going
to let you stand inside for a moment, and then you must
run away. And you must never come over the wire netting
in the wood again. You and your brothers and sister can
play in the other part of the wood, but I will not have chil-
dren running over my private walks."
She opened the gate, and Betty saw a lovely flower-garden
with a smooth, grassy lawn, and away in the distance a great
white house. The flowers were exquisite, and to Betty's eyes
they were a feast of delight. Her little face flushed with
"Do you live here? she asked. "How happy you must
Do you like it better than my wood? "
Betty turned from the blaze of sunshine and brightness to
look at the cool green glade behind her. She did not answer
for a minute; then she said, pointing with her small finger
down the grassy avenue:
It's something like church down there, it looks so quiet;
but this garden is like heaven, I think."
The lady smiled. I will give you any flower you like to
take away, so choose."
Betty was not long in making her choice. There were
some beautiful white lilies close by-lilies that might have
come from the same plants that one lying between the little
girl's hands in church.
"I should like one of those, please," she said with spar-
She was given, not one, but several, and then was dis-
"And I shall never see you again," Betty said as she put
up her mouth for a kiss. She did not say it regretfully, only
as if stating a fact.
The lady stooped and kissed her. Not unless I send for
you," she said. "Can you find your way back? "
Betty nodded brightly and ran off. The lady stood watch-
ing her little figure for some minutes; then she gave a deep
sigh, and her face relapsed into its usual stern and immovable
expression as she entered her garden and locked the gate
The Odd One
Betty ran on as fast as she could to join the others. When
she reached the oak-tree Douglas and Molly were already
there, seated on the ground, busily employed in dividing the
provisions for the feast. They exclaimed at the sight of her
"I've had a lovely adventure," said Betty. "Where are
Bobby and Billy?"
We don't know," said Molly, rising to her feet and look-
ing anxious. I'm sure they ought to be here by this time."
Perhaps they're lost," Douglas suggested cheerfully. I
was hoping some of us would get lost, and then we should
have the fun of finding them. We'll go in a few minutes
and look for them. Would you like to hear where we have
been, Betty? "
"Well, it is rather a stupid wood, for we came to nothing
particular; only we've found a little house. It has three
sides and a roof-tumbling in. We're going to mend it up
and live there next time we come out here. At least, I mean
to live in it. I shall be a disguised prince hiding for my life,
and you will all have to search the wood to get food for me.
Molly and I have made it all up. She is to be my daughter,
who steals out at night-time to visit me; you can be a ser-
vant, who mends the roof and makes me comfortable'; and
the twins can be soldiers scouring the wood for me."
Neither Betty nor Molly showed much interest in this
plan; they were both thinking of the twins; and Douglas,
having said his say, was quite ready to start off on the quest.
Together they ran along the path by which the little boys
had gone. It led them under some low brushwood and then
along the banks of a stream; and then, calling their names
aloud, they were relieved to hear an answering call. A mo-
ment later and they came upon them. The stream was broad
and rather deep here, with great boulders of stone appearing
above the water. Upon one of these boulders, in the center
of the stream, sat the two little boys, wet to the skin, and
looking the pictures of abject despair.
"However did you get there?" said Douglas, rather
"Billy was getting some forget-me-nots, and tumbled in,
and so I came over to help him, and we can't get back," ex-
plained Bobby, not very lucidly.
"If you got over there you can get back again," Molly
At this both the twins began to cry.
It's so cold; we was nearly drowned, and we've seen a
shark swim along."
Douglas laughed, but took off his shoes and stockings.
"I shall have to wade in and bring them over on my
back," he said with rather a lordly air.
And this he did, landing both the twins safely on the bank.
Nurse will scold awfully, they're both so wet. We shall
have to go home at once," said prudent Molly, as with very
small handkerchiefs she and Betty tried to wipe some of the
wet off their clothes.
"And then she'll say we're never to come to the wood
again. I wish we hadn't brought them with us! "
It was a quiet little party that returned to Brook Farm.
And in the excitement of receiving the vials of nurse's wrath,
and the fuss made over the poor little victims, Betty's ad-
ventures remained still unheard and unknown.
She was not sorry that this was so, and was quite content
to muse in the secrecy of her own heart upon the beautiful
cold lady who had given her the lilies. She thought of her
sleeping and waking, and with a strange longing wondered
if she would ever be allowed to see her again.
The Odd One
The next afternoon was a very warm one, but Betty's
restless little feet could not stay in the buttercup meadow
close to the house, where the others were playing, and soon
a small white figure in a large sunbonnet could have been
seen plodding along the dusty road toward the churchyard
in the distance.
Her little, determined face relaxed into wonderful softness
when she entered the cool church. Going on tiptoe up the
aisle, she came to the monument of little Violet Russell,
and here she paused; then, clambering up with a little diffi-
culty, she laid two fresh lilies by the side of the sculptured
one across the clasped hands of the child's figure.
There," she said in a hushed voice; you sha'n't always
hold a cold, dead lily, Violet dear; I've brought them to you
from my own self, because they're mine, and I'll get you
some other flowers when they are dead."
She put her soft red lips down and left a kiss on the little
clasped hands, and then slipped down to the ground again,
where she stood for a moment looking up at the stained
window above. A noise startled her. Walking up the middle
aisle was the lady who had played to her before, and follow-
ing her a rough country boy, who disappeared through a
little door behind the organ.
Betty slipped behind a pillar and watched eagerly. Yes,
she was going to play again; and her heart beat high with
expectation. She crept into one of the high, old-fashioned
pews, and, sitting on a hassock, leaned her little head back
upon the seat and prepared herself to listen.
The music began, and sent a little shiver of delight through
Betty's soul. The long, soft notes, that died away like a
summer breeze, the deep, grand rolls, that seemed to come
from a cavern below, and then blend with the clear, sweet
echoes rising and falling, and at length ascending in a burst
of praise and gladness-it seemed to her that the angels
above would be stooping to listen to such strains.
And then, after a little, the lady began to sing; and Betty
drew in one deep breath after another. It must be an angel,
surely! And yet there was something in the fresh holland
dress and shady hat of the singer this afternoon that seemed
hardly suitable for an angel's apparel.
The lady once looked round, and Betty thought her face
looked sad; but when she began to sing her face was illu-
mined with such light and gladness that the child watched it
An hour passed, and then the singer was startled by the
sound of a sob. She was singing, "Oh, that I had wings
like a dove!" and, turning round, was startled at the sight
of a white sunbonnet, and two small hands grasping the back
of one of the pews. Betty had mounted on the hassock to
have a full view of the singer long ago, and was now trying in
vain to restrain the pent-up feelings of her sensitive little soul.
In an instant the lady had left her seat and come up to
"What is the matter, little one? How did you find your
way in here?" she asked gently, as she put her arm round
the sobbing child.
But Betty could not put her feelings into words; she only
shook her head and sobbed, "I like the music; don't stop
I must stop now; my hour is up. Tell me who you are."
Betty made an effort to recover her self-possession.
"I'm only Betty," she said, dabbing her face with her
handkerchief. Are you an angel? "
"Indeed I am not; do I look like one?"
And the lady threw back her head and laughed in a very
The Odd One
"Not now," said Betty, soberly; "but you did look like
one when you were singing, and I-I hoped you might be."
"Why did you hope so? "
Again Betty was silent; then, looking up, she seemed to
gather courage from the kind face looking down upon her,
and, burying her face in the lady's dress, she sobbed out:
I thought God might have sent you, and then you could
have told me lots of things I wanted to know."
"Perhaps God may have sent me instead of an angel.
Tell me some of the things you want to know."
I want to know about Violet and heaven and tribulation,"
murmured Betty, a little incoherently. And then she started
as the church clock in the belfry began to chime five.
"It's tea-time; nurse will be looking for me."
The lady stooped and kissed her. I must go too," she
said. "Will you come and see me to-morrow afternoon? I
shall be here at the same time, and then we can have a
"What is your name? asked Betty.
"Nesta," the young lady answered a little briefly.
"And do you teach children?" was the next question,
"Sometimes; on Sundays I do."
Betty's face lighted up, but she said no more, and trotted
out of the church and along the road as hard as ever she
THE children were all at breakfast the next morning in the
old-fashioned kitchen. Nurse and her brother were having
an animated talk over some reminiscences of the past, when
there was a knock at the back door, apd Mrs. Giles went
out. Coming back, she appeared with a small hamper under
her arm, which she placed on the floor.
"'Tis the queerest thing I know of," she said. Look at
the label now, Jack; whoever is it for?"
Every one crowded round at once.
"For the little odd one at Brook Farm."
"'Tis for one of the children," said Jack, rubbing his
head; "they be the only little 'uns that I know of."
"It's for Betty! shouted Douglas and Molly, excitedly;
"she's the odd one! Open it quick, Betty; perhaps it's a
It's alive! exclaimed nurse, as, on her knees, she tried
to undo the fastenings. "Come along, Miss Betty; you
shall open it for yourself."
Betty came near and with trembling fingers cut the
A minute after, and out of the hamper jumped a beautiful
little black-and-white spaniel.
The Odd One
There were screams of delight from all the children, and
great surmises as to who could have sent it. Betty guessed,
but said nothing when she found a piece of paper tied to a
brass collar round his neck, with these words: "From a
friend, hoping he may prove a true companion."
She clasped her arms round the dog's neck in ecstasy.
"He is my very, very own," she said, looking up at nurse
with shining eyes, "and I'll have him for ever and ever."
The little creature sniffed at her face, and then put out his
tongue and gave her a lick of satisfaction and approval.
From that time the two were all in all to each other.
There was a great deal of discussion about him that morn-
ing, and Betty had to tell of the strange, stern lady who had
spoken to her in the wood.
I'm sure she sent him," Betty kept repeating; I'm sure
"It was awfully mean to keep your adventure so secret,"
said Douglas, looking at the dog very wistfully. She must
be a fairy godmother living in the wood. I wish she would
send me something."
Perhaps she is a wicked fairy or witch," suggested Molly,
"who has turned a prince into a little dog, and we must find
a kind of spell to bring him back to a prince again."
"That's what I'll call him," said Betty, looking up. "I'll
call him 'Prince.' "
Nurse at first demurred at having such an addition to her
family, but Mrs. Giles comforted her with the assurance:
"There, let the little miss enjoy him; she'll soon get tired of
him,-children always do,-and when you go back to the
City you can leave him behind with us. He's a good breed
-that we can see; and Jack will be able to sell him if we
don't care about keeping him."
It was fortunate Betty did not hear this suggestion. Prince
was rapidly filling a void in her little heart, of which only
she, perhaps, had been dimly conscious. She was a child
with strong affections and intense feelings, and a yearning to
have some one to love and to be loved in return. None of
the little Stuarts was demonstrative, and few guessed how
deeply and passionately the bright and mischievous Betty
longed for the sympathy and love that were so rarely shown
So engrossing was the possession of Prince that the day
went by and tea-time came before Betty thought of her new
friend in the church.
But when tea was over she took Molly into her confidence.
"Molly, do you think I might take Prince for a walk ? Would
he follow me? "
"Where are you going?"
I'm going to see a lady that I think is the governess Mr.
Roper told me about. Nesta, her name is; only I think he
called her Mother Nesta. I told you about it one night,
don't you remember? She's really very old, but she looks
very young, and this one must be her."
"Where did you find her? "
In a church."
"Oh! and Molly's tone was indifferent; "I don't like
people in church. Nurse says she is going to take us to
church to-morrow. I hoped she would forget. Last Sunday
it was too far, she said. And Douglas and I were going to
have a beautiful church in the orchard; there's an apple-tree
just like a pulpit."
Molly," called out Douglas, "Sam is going down to the
river to fish; he says he'll show us where we can fish too.
Do come on!"
Away ran Molly. The twins were playing in the garden
porch, and nurse chatting in the kitchen with her sister-in-
The Odd One
law. Betty called Prince, who had been busy with a saucer
Sof scraps, and, putting on her straw hat, set off along the
road to church. Prince was certainly a great charge. He
was a dog of an inquiring mind, and his continual rushes
Into the hedgesides, and long searches after young frogs in the
grass, considerably delayed his young mistress's progress.
But at length the church was reached. The evening
shadows threw long, weird shapes across the darkened path
that led to the porch, the rooks were noisier than usual, and
Betty looked anxiously down at Prince.
"You won't bark, dear, will you? she said, stooping and
lifting him into her arms. "Because church is a very quiet
place, and music is the only noise allowed. I'll take you in
to see the prettiest little girl you've ever seen, and she's lying
so still. I've brought her some forget-me-nots."
Prince struggled a little at first, but Betty soothed him and
then crept inside.
I'm afraid I've come too late," she murmured, as she
looked round the silent church and saw no signs of the lady;
"but I'll come another day soon and see her."
Softly she made her way round to the stained-glass window
she loved, but started in astonishment when she saw leaning
against the monument a tall, strange gentleman.
He did not see Betty. His brows were knitted and his
lips twitching strangely under his heavy, dark mustache. With
folded arms he stood leaning against the pillar, and looking
down upon the fair figure of the recumbent child in front of
him; then he stooped, and, taking up one of the fading lilies
across the child's hands, looked at it wonderingly.
"The picture more lasting than the thing itself," he mut-
tered; "it is all that is left us. The fragile productions of
nature cannot exist long in this hard, rough world, and yet
how I tried to shield her from every blast!"
A slight whine from Prince startled him, and looking round
he pulled himself together sternly.
"What are you doing here, little girl? "
Almost the same words that had been said to her in the
wood the other day; and Betty began to wonder if shs were
again on forbidden ground.
"Does the church belong to you?" she asked, standing
her ground and looking up through her long, dark lashes
rather shyly. "Am I where I oughtn't to be? I came to
see that little girl."
He looked at her.
"What do you know about her?"
"I don't know anything, but I want to know. I love
her, and I've brought her some more flowers."
"Did you put these lilies here? "
"Yes; they're quite dead now, aren't they?"
Of course they are; this is the place of death."
Betty did not understand the bitter tone, but she said
simply, pointing to the child's figure, "She isn't really dead,
is she? She has gone to sleep. I was thinking when I was
here before, if Jesus would only just walk out of that window
and touch her hands with His, she would open her eyes and
get up. I should like to see her, wouldn't you? I watched
her the other day till I almost thought I saw her move. But
she will wake up one day, won't she? "
There was no answer.
Betty slipped her little hand in his. "Would you give her
these forget-me-nots, or lift me up so that I can do it? She
had dropped Prince, who was sniffing suspiciously round the
gentleman's heels, and waited anxiously for his reply. He
took her in his arms, and held her there while she placed the
flowers in the position she wished; and then, before she was
lifted down, she said softly, "I think she is really singing up
/ -7- \
-~_ _ -----------
The Odd One
in heaven. I like to believe she is there, but I'm not quite
sure. Do you know if she came out of tribulation? "
"Why should she?"
Because it says, about those in white robes with crowns:
'These are they which came out of great tribulation, and
have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood
of the Lamb.' It makes me feel very unhappy sometimes
because I haven't been through tribulation yet, and I sha'n't
be ready to die till I have."
She was set quickly down upon her feet, and without a
word the gentleman left her, striding down the aisle and
shutting the church door with a slam that echoed and re-
echoed through the silent church.
Betty was startled at his sudden departure. She took up
her dog in her arms again, and stood gazing silently up at
the window above, through which the setting sun was send-
ing colored rays in all directions; then with a little sigh she
turned and left the church. Outside the porch was a gray-
headed old man, the sexton, who was taking his evening walk
among the graves.
Hulloo! he said, be you the one that banged this 'ere
door just now? 'Twas enough to scare the owls and bats
and all the other beasties from their holes forevermore."
"No, it wasn't me; it was a gentleman."
Ah, was it, now? Shouldn't be surprised if I knew who
it was! 'Twas Mr. Russell, surely! There's no other gent
that favors this 'ere building' like him."
Is he Violet Russell's father? questioned Betty, eagerly.
The old man nodded. "Yes, he be that little maid's
parent, and he'll never get over her loss. She were the apple
of his eye, and when she were took he were like a man de-
mented. Ah, 'tis the young as well as the old I have to dig
Does that gentleman live here? asked Betty.
"Aye, surely, for he be the owner of the whole property
hereabout. But 'tis not money will give comfort; he have
had a deal o' trouble. I mind when his father turned him
out o' doors for his painting' and sich like persoots. And he
went to Italy, and there he taught hisself to be a artist, and
painted and carved a lot o' stone figures; and folks say he
made a name for hisself in the big city. He were taken
back by his father after a bit, and came a-coortin' Miss
Violet Granger, that lived over at Deemster Hall. But his
brother, Mr. Rudolph, cut him out when he went off to Ger-
many for a spell, and he and Miss Violet runned away to-
gether, and when he come back he found his bride stolen.
He were terrible cut up, and off he goes to foreign parts again;
and never a sight of he did us get till the old squire were
dead, and Mr. Rudolph had killed hisself out huntin'. Then
Mr. Frank comes home agen with a brand-new wife, and we
thought as how his life were a-mendin' and things were look-
in' up. He seemed brighter too; but lackaday 'twere not
ten months afore I had to dig a grave for her; and she left
him a two-day-old babe to bring up. And little Miss Violet
were the joy of his heart; she were a purty, bright little maid,
and were out on her little pony every day wi' her father. She
just doted on him, and he were as lovin' as a woman wi'
her. Then there come the day when the little maid got a
ugly fall from her pony, and all the City doctors were sent
for, but could do no good; and she were in bed a-wastin'
away for nigh a twelvemonth, and then she died. 'Twere a
mercy, for she'd have been a hunchbacked cripple had she
lived; and Mary Foster, what were her maid, said as 'ow she
suffered terrible at times. The Lord were marciful in takin'
of. her; but 'tis not. to be wondered at Mr. Frank takin' it
sorely. And then he shut hisself up in his paintin'-room,
The Odd One
and never cored out of it till he had cut the little maid's
figure out in stone, like as you see it in the church. Many's
the visitor that I've a-taken in to see it, and the ladies they
comes away sheddin' tears at the little dear. He put up the
colored window, too, and comes to church regular; but he's
hard and cold like the stones he cut, and 'tis his troubles have
spoiled him. I mind he were a bright-faced, bonny lad
once, that I used to show birds' nests to in the hedges;
but now he passes me wi'out a civil word or look. Aye,
it's trouble and toil and tribbylation that is man's lot here
Betty listened to this long harangue breathlessly. Much
of it she could not follow, but the old man's closing sentence
made her look at him eagerly.
"Do you know about tribulation? she asked.
Me know of it! Aye, surely, when I've buried six sons
and daughters, and last of all my woife, and dug all their
graves mysel', save two, which were Jack in foreign parts
which died of yellow fever, and only a packet of letters,
sent back to us belongin' to him, and in them there were a
bit o' his mother's gray hair, which he had cut off that play-
ful afore he went away. And then there were Rob, that
were killed down a coal-mine, and we could never get at his
body; and he left a widder and three childer, and she were
married to one o' his chums afore a twelvemonth past-the
unfeelin' hussy; but I've washed my hands of the lot.
Aye, I've been through troubles and tribbylation, which is
our lot in this world; but I've had a many more than most
Then you must be quite ready to die? said Betty, look-
ing at him thoughtfully.
The old man looked at her, then rubbed his head in a
"I'm no' so sure about that, little lassie. I've seen scores
brought into this churchyard and placed in my graves, but
there are times when I think o' seeing' mysel' let down into
a strange grave, and one not cut half so foine as mine; for
I'm up to my trade, and none could do it better; and I'm
thinking' if that day will wait till I'm ready for it-well, 'twill
be a good way off yet!"
Betty knitted her brows in perplexity.
"If you've been through tribulation, you must be very
nearly ready for heaven-the Bible says so."
"Aye, do it? Let's hear, missy; for sure I've had my lot
o' woe, and the Lord do be marciful!"
For a second time that afternoon Betty repeated the text
that was so occupying her mind and thoughts. The old man
"You see," said Betty, leaning against an old yew-tree and
hugging Prince close to her, "it's the first part that's so diffi-
cult to me, but it must be quite easy for you. The end of
it fits us all, but the tribulation doesn't fit me."
"And what be the end of it? asked the sexton.
"It says they washed their robes, and made them white
in the blood of the Lamb."
Aye," said the old man, after a minute's silence, "and 'tis
the end of it don't fit me."
The child looked up, astonishment coming into her blue
But that's very easy," she said; that is coming to Jesus
and asking Him to wash our sins away in His blood. I
thought everybody did that. I do it every night, because
I'm an awful wicked girl. I'm always forgetting to be good."
Again there was silence. The old man looked away over
the hills in the distance. It was just the quietest time in the
evening; the birds were already in their nests for the night,
The Odd One
-even the rooks had subsided,-and the stillness and peace
around drew his heart and mind upward. Betty thought he
was looking at the sunset, which was shedding its last golden
rays over the misty blue outlines of the hills across the hori-
zon. Presently he drew the cuff of his sleeve across his eyes.
"And who be they that the Book says that of? he asked.
"Why, it's the people in heaven-every one who dies, I
s'pose. I like to think of them there; but I do want dread-
fully to join them one day, and I'm afraid sometimes I shall
be left out."
Tears were filling the earnest little eyes, and the curly head
bent over Prince to hide them.
"I mind," said the sexton, slowly, "that my missis, before
she died, told me to pray, 'Wash me, and I shall be whiter
than snow.' I expect she knew all about the washin', but
I've never done much harm to any one, and I've attended
"I wish I was as good as you." And Betty looked up
with emphatic utterance. "I'm always doing some one
harm; and nurse will scold me when I get in for being out
so late-I know she will. Good-by, old man."
She put Prince down on the ground and trotted off, and
the old sexton looked after her with a shake of his head.
She be a queer little lass! Aye, I would be glad to have
her chance of getting' to the kingdom. But I'll have a look
at the old Book and see what it says about this 'ere washin'."
MADE INTO A COUPLE -.
THE next morning being Sunday, the three elder children
were taken to church by nurse. It was a small village con-
gregation, and Betty looked round in vain for her friend
Nesta. She saw Mr. Russell standing grim and solitary in
his large, old-fashioned pew, and she had a nod from the
sexton at the church door. The clergyman's wife and grown-
up daughter and a few grandly dressed farmers' wives were
the only others who occupied seats of their own. The organ
was played by the schoolmaster, and after Nesta's playing it
did not seem the same instrument. Betty was quieter than
her brother and sister. She could see her stained window
and little Violet's figure from where she sat; she could even
catch sight of her forget-me-nots, now looking withered and
dead; and her thoughts kept her restless little body still.
Molly and Douglas did not like church; their fair heads
were close together, and occasionally a faint sniggle would
cause nurse to look round with stern reproval. But at last
the long service was over, and they came out into the fresh,
sweet air of a June morning.
Nurse had several friends to talk to in the churchyard,
and Molly and Betty walked on soberly in front of her, feel-
ing subdued and a little uncomfortable in their stiff white
frocks and best Leghorn hats and feathers.
The Odd One
"Where is Douglas?" whispered Betty.
Hush! don't let nurse know; he saw a pair of legs through
a little hole at the back of the organ, and he's gone to see if
it is a robber hiding."
Will he fight him if it is? said Betty, with an awe-struck
look. Then, an expression of relief crossing her face, she
said, I know; it's a boy that goes in at the back whenever
a person plays. I don't know what he does, but I've seen
him there before."
"When did you see him? asked Molly, eagerly.
Betty's private adventures never remained secret for long,
and she poured forth a long account of her various visits to
the church. Molly was much impressed, but Douglas's re-
turn soon turned her thoughts into another channel. He
looked flushed and disheveled, and his white sailor suit was
soiled and dusty; but nurse was too busy talking to notice
his appearance, and he joined the others with some impor-
tance in his tone.
"I've made a discovery," he said. "How do you think
a church organ is played? "
"Like a piano," said Molly, promptly.
"It isn't, then; you turn a handle like the organs in the
street, and a man or boy does all the work behind."
The little girls looked skeptical, and Betty said, I'm sure
you don't, then, for we can see the person playing."
"Well, they're only pretending; I've seen the handle my-
self, and the boy told me if he didn't pull it up and down
the organ wouldn't play. It must be like a kind of duet,
perhaps. I expect he makes all the big, booming notes, and
the squeaky notes are made by the person in front. I've
promised him a part of my money if he'll let me play instead
of him one day, and he says he will."
"Nurse won't let you play it on Sundays," said Molly;
Made into a Couple
"besides, you won't be able to do it properly, and if you
made a mistake it would be awful."
"I shall play it on a week-day, and I'll make the old
organ sound, you see if I don't!"
Directly the children reached home Betty flew to her dog,
who had been shut up in the garret while they had been at
church. Prince was already getting to know his little mis-
tress, and welcomed her back with short, happy barks and a
great many licks; and Betty poured out all her heart's love
for him in the shape of caresses and pats and kisses, whisper-
ing in his silken ears many a secret, and hugging him to her
breast with a passionate vehemence which astonished and
amused those who saw her.
"He is my own, my very own," she kept repeating, "and
I shall never feel odd no more!"
She did not. It was a new and delightful sensation to be
one of a couple. "Molly and Douglas, Bobby and Billy,
and Prince and I," she would say. No longer was she to
trot off alone in some of their games-Prince was always
ready to go with her; if Molly and Douglas were deep in
some conspiracy, so could she and Prince be; and the pent-
up feelings and thoughts of rather a lonely little heart were
poured out to one who listened and sympathized with his
soft brown eyes and curly tail, but who never betrayed the
confidence reposed in him.
At no time in her life had Betty been so happy as she was
now; her little, pensive face sparkled with gladness when
Prince gamboled by her side; and nurse asserted that the
dog kept her out of mischief and was a very successful
addition to their party. It was some days before she visited
the church again, but when she did the organ was sounding,
and she found her friend already playing. Rolling Prince
up in her large holland overall until only his little black nose
The Odd One
peeped out, Betty crept up close to the player and stood
unnoticed for some minutes. Then Nesta Fairfax turned
round and gave the child a pleased smile.
"My little friend again!" she said. "I have been won-
dering what has become of you. Have you come for a talk? "
"No; only to listen to the music," said Betty.
"Then I will go on playing."
She turned back to the organ, and for some time Betty
listened in silence, sitting on a hassock and rocking Prince
backward and forward, till, warm and exhausted with his
ineffectual struggles to free himself, he fell asleep in her
At last, when there was a pause in the music, Betty said
"Will you sing again what you did when I thought you
were an angel? "
"What was it, I wonder? "
"It was about 'these are they which came out of great
"Oh yes, I remember."
And the sweet, clear voice rang out through the silent
church, and the organ rose and fell to the beautiful words,
till Betty could hardly bear it.
"Is it over? she asked as the last note died away.
Nesta Fairfax turned her glowing face upon the child.
"You love it as much as I do, you little mite!" she said;
"but you mustn't cry. Do you know where those words
She put her arms round her and drew her to rest against
her as she spoke.
"Yes," said Betty, with a nod; "I know all about them.
I've read it sixty hundred times, I think, and I know that
verse by heart. I want to ask you about it."
Made into a Couple
Nesta waited, and with a little effort Betty said:
I want dreadfully to be one of them one day, and I'm
afraid I never shall. I was talking to the old man who digs
graves the other day; the first part of the verse doesn't fit
me, and the last doesn't fit him-at least he said so. I
wonder if both parts fit you? "
Nesta gazed at Betty in a puzzled kind of way, then
looked away, for her eyes were filling with tears.
Perhaps it may," she said softly; I should like to think
"And can you tell me how I can go through tribulation?
I want to get it over, so that I can be quite ready for heaven."
"My dear child, if God means you to have it, He will
send it in His own good time. Never wish for troubles;
they will come fast enough as you grow older."
"That's what nurse says; she tells us when we get to her
age we shall know what distress and trouble is. But s'posing
if I don't live to grow up? Violet didn't. And I'm so
afraid I may not get inside heaven. I may be left out of
those in the text, because I haven't been through tribulation.
I don't want to be left out. I want to be in the very middle
of them all! I want to stand singing, and have a crown and
a palm, and I want to hear some one ask who I am; and
then I want to hear the answer,' She came out of tribulation!'
Oh, do tell me how I can go into it! Mr. Roper said you
would teach me a lot of things."
Betty's voice was eloquent in her beseeching tone, and
Nesta was silent for a moment; then she said:
"Trouble doesn't take us to heaven; tribulation, even
martyrdom, does not. Don't you know what does? What
did Jesus Christ come into the world for? What did He
die for? Will you sing a little hymn with me? I expect
you know it."
The Odd One
Betty looked delighted.
"And will you play the organ?"
Then Nesta began to sing, and Betty's sweet little voice
chimed in, for well she knew the words:
"There is a green hill far away,
Beyond the city wall,
Where our dear Lord was crucified,
Who died to save us all.
We may not know, we cannot tell,
What pains He had to bear;
But we believe it was for us
He hung and suffered there.
He died that we may be forgiven,
He died to make us good,
That we might go at last to heaven,
Saved by His precious blood.
"There was no other good enough
To pay the price of sin;
- He only could unlock the gate
Of heaven and let us in.
"Oh, dearly, dearly has He loved,
And we must love Him too,
And trust in His redeeming blood,
And try His works to do."
"Now can you tell me why the Lord Jesus Christ died?
What does the hymn say?"
He died that we may be forgiven,
He died to make us good,"
quoted Betty, slowly.
"That we might go at last to heaven,
Saved by His precious blood."
Made into a Couple
"Then how can we get to heaven? "
"Because Jesus died for us."
"Yes, He died to let you go to heaven, Betty; He did it
all, and you have nothing to do with it. If you let Jesus
take your little heart and wash it in His blood, nothing will
ever keep you out of heaven."
"But if I'm naughty?" asked Betty. "I've asked God
so often to give me a new heart and wash me in Jesus' blood,
and sometimes I think He has done it; but then I'm always
getting into mischief, and nurse says it's only the good chil-
dren go to heaven."
"I think Jesus will teach you to be good if you ask Him,
and you mustn't expect to be quite good all at once. Always
go to Him when you've been naughty, and tell Him about
it, and ask Him to help you to be good. He loves you,
Betty, and He will always listen to you and answer your
Betty's blue eyes were looking intently at the speaker, and
her little lips took a resolute curve.
I will be good," she said; "I do love Jesus, and I'll ask
Him all day long to keep me from being naughty."
Then after a pause she said:
"Have you gone through tribulation?"
"I have had a great deal of trouble." And a sad look
came over Nesta's face.
"My old man said he had had a lot of trouble, and he
told me Mr. Russell had. Trouble always means people
dying, doesn't it? "
There are troubles worse than death," Nesta said gravely;
"God grant you may never know such!" Then with a
change of tone she said brightly, "Don't look for trouble,
darling; Jesus means you to be happy. Now shall we sing
one more hymn? and then I must go."
The Odd One
Betty joined in delightedly when Nesta began:
"There's a friend for little children."
After it was finished Nesta asked:
"What did you mean, Betty, by saying that a Mr. Roper
had told you I would teach you? Who is Mr. Roper?"
Betty told her, repeating as much of the conversation she
had had with him as she could remember; and Nesta laughed
aloud when she discovered the origin of the "lady who
He meant Mother Nature, Betty-a very different teacher
Do you know her, then? Where does she live? "
"I will take you to see her when next we meet. You
see her every day, Betty. Now I must go. Good-by.
Is this a little doggy you have rolled up in your pina-
fore? I thought it was a doll. Now, Dick, you can come
Dick Green, a heavy-looking village boy, appeared from
behind the organ and followed Miss Fairfax down the aisle.
But Betty waited; she had brought two roses with her for
Violet's monument, and she went to the seat upon which she
had laid them, and took them round to the other side of the
church, where she deposited them in the usual place. Then
calling Prince, who had been awakened from his sleep and
was now inspecting every corner of the church with nose and
paws, Betty set off homeward.
Nesta Fairfax had comforted her, but had not entirely
satisfied her perplexed little heart, and the busy brain was
still trying to solve the problem.
Betty was not the only visitor to the church that day.
Douglas disappeared after tea, and after nearly two hours'
absence returned, hot, tired, and very cross.
Made into a Couple
At last he confided to Molly that he had been to play the
And I'm awfully afraid I've broken the horrid old thing,
and I don't like that Dick Green! He took my money
and ran off, and I worked the handle up and down for hours;
he told me the music would come in about a quarter of an
hour. It never did, but the organ gave great gasps and
groans; you never heard such a noise-just like Mr. Giles
when he goes to sleep after tea! It's awfully hard work
pulling the handle up and down; I hope I haven't broke it.
I think it wants some one to play on the front of it, but the
front part is locked up. But I've had a kind of adventure.
When I came out there was a strange gentleman looking at
one of the graves in the church, so I went up to see what he
was looking at, and it was the stone image of a little girl, and
there were some pink roses in her hands."
Betty edged up close to her brother as he got thus far and
asked eagerly, "What did he say about the roses?"
"He looked at me with an awful frown, and I folded my
arms and frowned back-like this."
And Douglas rumpled his fair brow into many creases,
and looked so ferocious that Molly was quite awed, though
disrespectful Betty laughed aloud.
''What are you doing here?' he said. 'Did you put
these roses here?'
"'No,' I said. 'Oughtn't they to be there? I'll take
them away.' And then he frowned worse than ever and said,
'Don't you dare to lay a finger on them!' and then he mut-
tered something about the church being always full of chil-
dren now. But I didn't listen to him much; I was busy
looking at the little girl and thinking, and then I made up a
beautiful story on the spot; it's something like some of the
fairy stories we read in our big books. I'll tell it to you in
The Odd One
a minute. I said to him that I thought I could tell him
where the roses came from. And he said, 'Where?' And
then I said to him that the little girl was a sleeping beauty
waiting for a prince to come along and kiss her and wake
her up; but he hadn't come yet, so a fairy was watching her
till he came, and every moonlight night she would bring some
flowers in, and creep inside them and sleep with her to keep
all the goblins off, and she would sing her songs in the night,
and tell her stories, and comfort her-"
"But," interrupted Molly, "if she was asleep, how could
she hear the fairy? "
"You're too sharp! Perhaps you'll wait. I was just
going to say that in the night she was able to open her eyes,
only she couldn't get up. I had just got as far as that when
the gentleman said, 'Pshaw!' and then he told me to run
off, and not come into the church again to tomfool-that's
what he said. He was a kind of dark, grim-looking ogre,
and I'll-well, I shall have more to do with him yet!"
This awful threat was accompanied with a very significant
shake of the flaxen head; but Betty cried out hotly:
"You don't know anything about it! He's the father of
that little girl, and he goes to her grave to say his prayers
and cry. I know more about him than you do, so there!"
"What do you know?"
But Betty walked off, hugging Prince under her arm, and
calling out as she went, with a spice of superiority in her
tone, "Prince and I know all about him and her and the
roses; that's our secret."
IT was only a few days after this that nurse took all the
children to tea at an old farm-house about two miles off.
They rode part of the way in a farm-wagon, and were all in
the best of spirits, for it was haymaking time-a time of en-
trancing joy to all children, and to the little Stuarts a new
and delightful experience. They had tea out in one of the
fields under a shady elm, and were just separating after it
was over to have one more romp in the hay, when, to Betty's
intense surprise, who should come across the field but Nesta
Fairfax. She evidently knew Mrs. Crump, the farmer's wife,
well, for she sat down and began chatting away about all her
family, and then she caught sight of Betty.
"Why, it's my little friend!" she said, stooping down and
kissing her; and are these your brothers and sister ? "
Betty got crimson with delight, and introduced one after
the other with great importance, and Nesta won all their
hearts at once by joining them in their frolic. Her laugh
was as gay as theirs, and she could run as fast as any of
"You're rather a nice grown-up person," said Douglas,
approvingly, as at last she took her leave; "you aren't so
dull and stupid as grown-up people generally are. Will you
The Odd One
come and see us one day at our farm? I'll take you to see
the sweetest white mice in the stable that Sam keeps, and
there's heaps of easy trees to climb in the orchard if you like
"And I'll show you a baby calf only two days old," put
in Molly, "and three black-and-white kittens in a loft, with
a lot of apples one end; we've jolly things at our farm, if
you'll only come."
"And a see-saw and a swing," added the twins.
"And what will Betty show me? asked Nesta, amused.
I think I'll show you the flowers, and the forget-me-nots,
and water-cress in the brook," said Betty, meditatively.
"Then I really must come, with such an enchanting pro-
gram before me," said Nesta. And she kissed them all round,
told nurse she envied her her little family, cracked some jokes
with old Crump and his wife, and departed, leaving behind
her a breezy brightness and cheeriness that she brought with
her wherever she came.
"A pleasant young lady," said nurse; "who is she, Mrs.
"Ah, well," said Mrs. Crump, shaking her head solemnly,
"there's a sad story attached to the family. My niece, what
the master and I have brought up like one of our own chil-
dren, has got the sitivation as maid to Mrs. Fairfax, and she
knows all the ins and outs of their trouble as no one else do.
You see, this is how it is. They were a City family, and
come down here first for change of air. They took lodgings
in Mrs. Twist's farm; there were Mrs. Fairfax and the two
young ladies, and a dashing young gentleman, the son, who
came down for a day or two at a time, but he never stayed
long. Mrs. Fairfax were proud as proud could be, and very
cold and stern like, except to her son, so Jane says; and him
she couldn't do enough for-her heart was just bound up in
him! Jane went back with them to the City, but she says
the way the young gentleman went on were enough to break
any mother's heart. He was fast going to the bad; and yet
his mother, though she would scold and fume at times, never
seemed to see it, and paid his debts and let him have his
fling. Miss Nesta were engaged to be married, and Jane
says her lover did all he could to stand by her brother and
keep him straight, but it weren't no good whatever. And
about two year ago the end came. Mr. Arthur had some
trouble over a gaming-table; that was the beginning; then
he went and signed a bank-check that wasn't his,-I believe
as how it is called forging,-and the gentleman whose check
it was had him up in court; he wouldn't hush it up, and it
was the talk of all the City, so Jane tells me. His mother
would have paid up, though it would have ruined her, but
she weren't allowed; and he were sent to prison across the
seas for seventeen years. Jane says Mrs. Fairfax seemed
turned to stone; she shut up the City house and went abroad
to some foreign place with a long name-I forgets it now;
and then she comes back and takes Holly Grange, which is
as nice an old house as ever you see, and belonged to a
Colonel Sparks who died only a twelvemonth ago, and is
about a mile from here, over against that wood you see
yonder. But I'm tiring of you with this long tale."
"I like to hear it," said nurse; and so did Betty, though
a good deal of it was incomprehensible to her. She sat with
Prince in her arms on the grass close by, and her quick little
ears were listening to every word.
"Well," said Mrs. Crump, with a sigh, "there ain't much
more to tell. Jane says Mrs. Fairfax shuts herself up and
won't see a single visitor. Miss Grace, the eldest daughter,
who was never very strong, has become a confirmed invalid,
with very crotchety and fidgety ways, and makes every one
The Odd One
miserable who comes near her. Miss Nesta is the only one
that keeps bright; and Jane says her temper is that sweet,
she bears with all her sister's crossness and unreasonableness,
and her mother's icy coldness, like an angel. She have had
her troubles, too, poor thing! Jane tells me that it was Mrs.
Fairfax made her break off her engagement with her lover;
he were some relative of the gentleman that lost the check,
and she wouldn't have the engagement go on on no account.
Jane says her lover had a talk with Mrs. Fairfax; and he
were rather a high and mighty gentleman, and he left the
room as white as death, and declared he would never set
foot in the house again. Jane thinks Mrs. Fairfax was be-
side herself at the time and must have insulted him fearful.
Anyhow, it all came to an end. It's a world of trouble, Mrs.
Duff. But I feel very sorry for Miss Nesta. The other
ladies hardly ever leave the house or grounds, and they would
like to keep Miss Nesta in as well; but she comes across to
me and has a chat, and she reads a chapter and has prayers
with grandfather. She's a very good young lady, and no one
would think, to look at her, what she have come through."
"Has she come through tribulation? asked Betty, look-
ing up suddenly.
"Well, I never did! To think of that child a-taking it
all in!" ejaculated Mrs. Crump. "What do you know about
tribulation, little missy? "
"It means trouble or distress, I know." And Betty's face
was very wistful as she spoke.
Run along and play with the others," said nurse, quickly,
"and don't worry your head over other people's troubles.
There is plenty of it in the world, but your time hasn't come
for it yet."
"I wish it would come," said Betty, softly, "and then I
could put myself in that text."
But only Prince heard the whispered words, and he wagged
his tail in sympathy.
It was that night that Betty added another clause to her
evening prayers. She generally said them aloud at nurse's
knee, but it was not the first time that she had said, I want
to whisper quite a secret to God," and nurse always let her
have her way.
She is a queer little thing," she told her brother; some-
times naughtier and more contrary than all the rest put to-
gether, and sometimes so angel-like that I wonder if she won't
have an early death. But there's no knowing how to take
Betty's secret was this:
And please, God,_forgive Prince his sins and take him to
heaven when he dies, and let me come through great tribu-
lation, so that I may be like your people in heaven."
When haymaking commenced at Brook Farm the children's
delight knew no bounds. Every moment of the day they
were out in the fields, and as the great cart-loads of hay
were driven off they felt proud and pleased with having
helped in the work. Prince enjoyed it as much as any one,
but he never left his little mistress's side for long. One
evening, as the tired haymakers were resting after having
placed the last load on the wagon, Betty, dancing by the
cart, was inspired to ascend the ladder which had been left
"Come on," she shouted to Douglas and Molly, "and
we'll have a ride home."
Up they went, unnoticed by any, and danced up and down
with delight when they reached the top. Then nurse dis-
covered them, and in her fright and anxiety at their risky
position she rushed toward them and screamed aloud. The
horses, startled, swerved hastily aside, and Douglas, danger-
The Odd One
ously near the edge, overbalanced himself and fell with a
terrible thud to the ground. It was the work of a moment
to seize him and drag him from the wheels, which mercifully
did not touch him; but he was carried into the house stunned
and insensible, and Molly and Betty, with scared, white faces,
were taken down and sent indoors.
It's your fault," whispered Molly to the frightened Betty;
"you made us come up. And now Douglas will die! I
think he's dead already. You'll be a murderer, and you'll
be sent to prison and hung!"
And Betty quite believed this assertion, and crept up to
the passage outside Douglas's bedroom, trembling with ex-
citement and fright. She crouched down in a corner, and
Prince came up, put his two paws on her shoulder, and licked
her face with a little wistful whine. It was a long time be-
fore nurse came out of the room, and then she wasted very
few words on the little culprit.
"Go to bed, you naughty child, and tell Miss Molly to
go too. You are never safe from mischief, and it's a mercy
your brother hasn't been killed."
"Will he get better, nurse?"
But nurse made no reply, and both little girls were long
before they got to sleep that night, so fearful were their
conjectures as to the fate of their brother.
Douglas was only stunned for the time and very much
bruised and shaken. Nurse kept him in bed for two or three
days, and the two little girls were unremitting in their care
and attention. He accepted their services with much com-
placency, and enjoyed his important and interesting position.
What would you two girls have done if I had died? he
asked. "Who would have been your leader then? "
You're not my leader," said Betty, promptly. "No one
is my leader; I lead myself."
"I don't know what I should have done," said Molly,
pensively. I should have had to go about with Betty then.
You see, I should have her, and the twins have themselves.
I don't think Bobby and Billy would miss any of us much if
we were to die. We should be equal if you died, Douglas
-two and two; but I'm glad you're going to get better."
"You wouldn't have gone about with me, Molly," said
Betty, with a decisive shake of her head, as she stooped to
caress Prince at her feet, because you would have been one
too many. We are two and two without you. I don't want
any one with me but Prince. You would have to be the
odd one if Douglas died, like I used to be."
"Prince is only a dog," said Molly, with a little curl of
her lip. I wouldn't make two with a dog."
Betty's eyes sparkled dangerously.
Prince is ever so much nicer than you are-much nicer;
and you're jealous because he likes me and not you. He's
my very own, and I love him, and he loves me; and I love
him better than all the people in the world put together, so
"You needn't get in a temper. He's a silly, stupid kind
of a dog, and Mr. Giles said yesterday, if he caught him
chasing his sheep round the field, he would give him a good
beating; and I hope he will, for he nearly chased the sheep
When you two have done fighting, I should like to speak.
My head aches. I think I should like some of the jelly nurse
made for me; it will make it better."
The little girls' rising wrath subsided. Both rushed to
fulfil Douglas's desire; for had not nurse left them in charge,
and had she not also warned them against exciting him by
loud talking and noise?
"I'm glad you will get better," said Betty, presently. "I
The Odd One
saw Miss Fairfax in church yesterday, and she asked me how
"What were you doing in church? demanded Douglas.
"It wasn't Sunday."
Prince and I go to church very often," said Betty, putting
on a prim little air. We have several businesses there, but
we don't tell every one what we do."
Do you play the organ? asked Douglas, a little eagerly.
No; but we hear it played, and we sing, and we-well,
we do lots of other things."
"I shall come with you next time you go." And Doug-
las's tone was firm.
"No," said Betty; "you'll be one too many. I don't
want Molly, and I don't want you. I've got Prince, and I
don't want no one else."
It was thus she aired her triumphs daily, and it was by
such speeches that she revealed how much she had felt and
suffered in times past by being so constantly left out in the
cold. And Prince was daily becoming more and more com-
panionable. Not one doubt did Betty ever entertain as to
his not understanding or caring for her long confidences. He
slept in a little basket at the foot of her bed. She was
wakened by his wet kisses in the morning, and he liked noth-
ing better than snuggling into bed with her. Tucking his
little black nose under her soft chin, he would place a paw
on each of her shoulders and settle off into a reposeful sleep;
while Betty would lie perfectly still, gazing at him with loving
eyes, and every now and then giving him a gentle squeeze
and murmuring, "You're my very own, my darling, and I
"GOOD-MORNIN' to you, little maid." 77 "
Betty and Prince had been straying through the lanes, and
had suddenly come upon the old sexton, who was leaning
over his cottage gate smoking a short clay pipe.
Betty's face dimpled with smiles.
"May I come in and see your little house? she asked.
"Prince and I want something to do. Douglas and Molly
are lying in a hammock and making up stories, and the twins
are no company."
"Come in, come in, my dear, and welcome; but 'tis a
lonesome kind o' home with only me in it; 'twas very differ-
ent once on a time."
He led the way up a narrow path through rows of cab-
bages and sweet peas, and ushered her into a tiny kitchen,
clean, but rather untidy. Betty looked round with a child's
admiring eyes. There were great shells on the mantelpiece,
a stuffed owl on a sideboard, and lots of other quaint curi-
osities on some shelves in a recess.
Then she climbed into a big rocking-chair.
This is lovely," she said; it's almost as good as a rock-
ing-horse, if you go very fast."
The old man stood looking at her for a minute, then seated
The Odd One
himself on the low window-seat and went on smoking. When
Betty had swung herself violently to and fro for some min-
utes, she asked:
Have you been busy digging graves to-day? "
No; 'tis a fortnight since I had one; the season has bin
rare and healthy."
"Then what have you been doing? demanded the child.
"Oh, I don't let the time slip by; there are a many things
I turn my hand to. I digs my 'taters up, and gardens a bit
first thing in the morning and I cleans up in my churchyard,
and then I cooks a bit o' dinner and has a bit o' gossip with
my neighbors. I'm a sociable sort o' chap, though I'm so
lonesome. And I has a bit o' reading' on occasions. Are
you a-thinkin' any more o' that 'ere tex' that we was a-argu-
fyin' on t'other afternoon? "
"I'm always thinking of it," she said, stopping the motion
of the chair and looking up at him with grave, earnest eyes.
"Ah, well, so- am I! I've had a good bit o' reading too;
'tis a most important thing, the Bible be, and I've been giv-
in' a good bit o' my mind to it latterly. 'Twas your calm
tone of sayin' I must be ready to die if I'd bin through
tribbylation started me off. I couldn't quite make out about
the washin', and so I've a-looked it up. And I've found
out from the old Book that I'm as black a sinner as ever
lived on this 'ere blessed earth."
"How dreadful!" Betty said in an awed, shocked tone;
"and you told me you were so good! I never knew grown-
up people were wicked; I thought it was only children.
What made you find it out? "
Well, 'twas reading' what we ought to live like first knocked
me down. I got a-lookin' through them there epistles, and
got awful cast down. And then I thinks to mysel', p'r'aps,
arter all, Paul and such like were too severe; so I went to
the gospels, for I've always heerd the gospels tell of love,
and not judgment; but I wasn't comforted by them, not a
bit-not even when I turned up the sheep chapter that I
used for to learn as a little 'un. It says there, 'My sheep
hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.' And
I says to myself, 'Reuben, you've never a-listened to His
voice; you've a-gone your own way all your life through, and
you ain't a-follered Him one day in all the sixty and eight
years you've a-bin on this 'ere blessed earth!' Well, I began
to think I'd better say that prayer my dear old missis a-told
me: 'Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.' And then
'twas last Toosday night about seven o'clock I got the an-
The old man paused, took his pipe out of his mouth, and
looked up at the blackened rafters across his little kitchen
with a quivering smile about his lips, while Betty, with knitted
brows, tried hard to follow him in what he was saying.
I was a-turnin' over the leaves of the old Book," he con-
tinued, "when I come to a tex' which stared me full in the
face, and round it was penciled a thick black line, which was
the doin' of my missis. I'll read it for you, little maid."
He rose and took from the shelf a large family Bible.
Placing it on the table, he turned over its leaves with a
trembling hand, and then his voice rang out with a solemn
triumph in it: Come now, and let us reason together, saith
the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as
white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall
be as wool.' My knees began to tremble, for I says to my-
self, 'Reuben, 'tis the Lord's voice to thee.' And I drops
down on the floor, just where you're a-sittin', missy, and I
says, 'Amen, so be it, Lord.' I gets up with a washed soul
-washed in the blood of the Lamb."
The Odd One
There was silence; the old man's attitude, his upward
gaze, his solemn emphasis, awed and puzzled Betty.
"And now you're in the text!" she said at last, somewhat
wistfully, as she drew Prince to her and lifted him into her
"I shall be one o' these days, for certain sure," was old
Reuben's reply; "but 'tis the Lord that will put me there-
'tis His washin' that has done it."
"That's what Miss Fairfax said; she said it wasn't tribu-
lation would bring us to heaven. She made me sing:
S' There was no other good enough
To pay the price of sin;
He only could unlock the gate
llW' Of heaven and let us in.'
But I'm quite sure God won't mean me to stand in the middle
of those people round the throne, if I haven't been through
tribulation; I'm quite sure He won't! I shall find myself
in a mistake if I try to creep in among them; and oh, I
want to be there! I want to be there!"
Tears were welling up, and Prince wondered why he was
clutched hold of so convulsively by his little mistress.
Reuben looked at her, rubbed his head a little doubtfully,
and then straightened himself up with a sudden resolve.
Look here, little maid, you just a-foller me; I'm a-goin'
to the church."
Up-Betty sprang; her tears were brushed away; and she
and Prince danced along by the side of the old man, her
doubts and fears dispersing for the time.
But Reuben was very silent. He led her into the cool,
dark church and up the side aisle to the tomb of little Violet
Russell. There he stopped and directed the child's gaze
above it to the stained-glass window.
Can you read the tex', little maid? "
"Yes," said Betty, brightly; "why, even Bobby and Billy
know that: 'Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and
forbid them not.' "
"And that's what the Lord says," the old man went on.
"Did He say the children were to have tribbylation afore
they comed to Him? Why, for sure not! And if you, little
missy, go straight into His arms when you gets to heaven,
you'll be safe enough, and He'll know where to put you."
Betty's little face beamed all over.
"And He will love me even if I haven't been through
"Why, for sure He will."
Betty gave a happy little sigh.
"I tell you what, now," Reuben added; "if you're a-
wantin' to have tribbylation made clear to you, I'll take you
down to see old Jenny--'praychin' Jenny,' she used to be
called, for she used to hold forth in chapel better than a
parson. And she's bin bedridden these twelve year; but she
can learn anybody about the Bible. She knows tex's by
thousands. There bain't no one can puzzle Jenny over the
"Is she very ill?" asked Betty.
"She's just bedridden with rheumatics, that's all; but 'tis
quite enough, and I was calkilatin' only t'other day that I'll
have to be diggin' her grave afore Christmas."
"Will you take me to see her now?"
For sure I will."
Out of the cool church they went, and along the hot, dusty
road, till they reached a low, thatched cottage by the wayside.
Reuben lifted the latch of the door and walked right in.
There was a big screen just inside the door, and a voice
asked at once:
r..U .Y -
C~ -nlv~) .. c%-o
;. + ~TV1'
-- C~hl rr
The Odd One
"Who be there?"
"'Tis only Reuben and a little lass that wants to see you."
And Betty was led round the screen to a big four-post bed
with spotlessly clean hangings and a wonderful patchwork
quilt. Lying back on the pillows was one of the sweetest
old women that Betty had ever seen. A close frilled night-
cap surrounded a cheery, withered face-a face that looked
as if nothing would break the placid smile upon it, nothing
would dim the joy and peace shining through the faded blue
Betty held out her little hand.
How do you do? she said. This old man has brought
me to see you; he said you would tell me about tribulation."
"Bless your dear little heart! Lift her up on the foot of
the bed, Reuben. Why, what a bonny little maid! And
who may she be?"
She be lodgin' at Farmer Giles's, and be troubled in her
mind concarnin' tribbylation."
The old woman reached over and laid a wrinkled hand on
the soft, childish one.
"Then tell old Jenny, deary, what it is."
Betty was quite ready to do so, and poured forth such a
long, incoherent story that it was very difficult to understand
her. Jenny did not quite take in her perplexity.
"Aye, deary, most of us has tribbylation in some form or
t'other. I often think, as I lie looking' at my patchwork quilt,
that it be just a picture' of our life-a little bit o' brightness
and then a patch o' dark; but the dark is j'ined to the bright,
and one never knows just what the next patch will be. But
the One who makes it knows; He's a-workin' in the pattern,
and the black, dark bits only serve to show up the bright
Aye," said Reuben, sinking into a chair; I mind plenty
o' black days in my life; but I've had a many bright 'uns
too-aye, and one white 'un, and that were last Toosday.
It be a fine patch o' white in my quilt, Jenny!"
"Tribbylation!" said the old woman, musingly. "I mind
o' several verses on it: 'In the world ye shall have tribby-
lation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.'
'We must through much tribbylation enter into the kingdom
of God.' We glory in tribbylations also; knowing that trib-
bylation worketh patience.' 'Who shall separate us from
the love of Christ? shall tribbylation?' Ah, tribbylation is
trying' to the flesh, but 'tis for the improving' of the soul."
"And does everybody have it except children?" asked
Betty, with a solemn face.
I think as how most folks have it in one form or t'other;
the saints get it surely, for 'whom the Lord loveth He chas-
teneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth.'"
"What does 'chasteneth' mean ?"
Punish, I take it, deary; your father and mother punishes
you at times, don't they? "
No, never; only nurse."
"Ah, well; and doesn't she desire your good? She don't
do it just to spite you."
"I s'pose it's for my good," said Betty, doubtfully.
"Tribbylation will allays be a mystery," went on the old
woman, speaking more to Reuben than the child. "We
must bow our heads and take it, whether we like it or no;
and it's wonderful strange how differently folks take it!
Seems to me, as the Bible puts it, it's just a fire, and whiles
some, like wax, gets melted and soft by it, t'others are like
the clay-they gets hard and unbendable. I've known lots
o' both those sorts in my time; 'tis only by keeping close to
the Hand that smites that you feels the comfort and healing
that goes along with it. If you keeps a distance off, and lets
QA\ V. %L,, 77
The Odd One
the devil come a-sympathizin' and a-groanin' with you, then
it's all bitterness through and through."
Aye," said Reuben; me and the devil have oft sat down
together over my troubles, and he do know how to make 'em
Betty's round eyes and puzzled gaze at this assertion made
Reuben adopt another tone.
"But here's this little lass, Jenny, a-wantin' to have trib-
bylation for fear she shouldn't be one o' the Lord's people
The old woman looked across at the child, and then she
nodded brightly at her.
"And you shall have it, deary; the Lord will send it
surely; and when you're in the midst o't, you mind these
words o' the Lord's: 'Be thou faithful unto death, and I
will give thee a crown of life.' It's in tribbylation our faith
fails; we can't see in the dark, and we mistrust our Guide."
Betty's face lit up at these words, and she brushed away
some glittering drops from her long lashes.
You think I shall really have it? she questioned eagerly.
"Surely you will in some form or t'other, and p'r'aps be-
fore you're a growed-up woman. I sometimes think little
folks' troubles are as big as the older folks'."
Betty did not hear much more of the conversation that
followed. Old Jenny had done more to comfort and satisfy
her than any one else, and she left the cottage with Reuben,
"I like Jenny very much, and so does Prince; we will
come and see her again."
MOLLY and Douglas were up in an apple-tree in the or-
chard, late one afternoon, when Betty and Prince came
Hullo! where are you going? shouted Douglas.
Betty came to a standstill, and Prince likewise, the latter
putting his tongue out and looking up inquiringly as he
panted for breath.
Betty cut a caper. "I'm going to spend the day with
Miss Fairfax to-morrow-me and Prince. Hurray!"
And Prince danced round his little mistress's legs with
I don't believe it," said Molly, looking down through the
leafy branches. "Didn't she ask us too?"
No, only me; she said she'd ask you another day."
"Where did you see Miss Fairfax? "
In church; she has been making the loveliest music, and
Prince and I have been singing."
"Prince singing!" said Douglas, contemptuously. "I
should like to hear him! "
He does," Betty said eagerly; "he really does. He kind
of whines in his throat and up his nose, and sometimes he
puts up his head, opens his mouth wide, and gives a lovely
The Odd One
howl. And he looks awfully pleased when he's done it; he
thinks he sings very nicely. Where's nurse? "
S. She's washing Bobby; he tumbled right into the pigsty,
and came out a disgusting objec'."
Is she rather cross? "
"Of course she is; she won't let you go to Miss Fairfax
if you ask her now."
"Then I'll wait till tea."
Betty threw herself down on the grass, and Prince sat at
her feet, thumping his tail on the ground and watching in-
tently every change that flitted across her face. Now and
then he would make a snap at some flies; if Betty spoke to
him his whole body would wriggle with ecstasy; he seemed
to live on her smiles and caressing words.
"It will be very dull to spend the day with a grown-up
person," said Douglas, presently; "I'm glad she didn't ask
me; I never do care for grown-up persons."
His lordly air in making this assertion helped to fortify
Molly, who was bitterly disappointed in not being included
in the invitation.
"I love her," exclaimed Betty; "she's the nicest grown-
up I've ever seen. She does laugh so, and isn't a bit proper."
Well, you'll be sick of it before the day is over-you see
if you aren't! Now Molly and I are going to have a lovely
day. Would you like to know what we're going to do? "
Molly listened eagerly, for Douglas's plans were always
sudden and unexpected.
"We're going off directly after breakfast with our dinner
in our basket, and we're going down to the brook. I'm
going to. build a bridge over it at the widest part!"
Both sisters looked aghast at this audacity.
What will you build it of? questioned Betty, skeptically.
Of stones and clay. We shall make the clay down there,
and I shall put a few boards in, and make it all smooth with
some putty that I saw in the stable."
"You will fall in the water and get drowned," said Betty.
And then she jumped up and ran off to the house to escape
a pelting shower of small green apples from her irate brother.
Nurse made a few objections at first when she heard of
Betty's invitation; but when she knew that Miss Fairfax was
going to call for her little guest, and had promised to bring
her safely back again, she gave the required permission, and
Betty's sleep that night was full of wonderful dreams about
her coming visit.
She woke very early the next morning, and was full of
confidences to Prince of all that they were going to do and
say. She gave nurse no rest after breakfast until she had
dressed her in her best white frock and tan shoes and stock-
ings; then, with her large white Leghorn hat and little white
silk gloves, she sat up on a chair in the best front parlor,
feeling very important, and making a dainty little picture as
she sat there. Prince had a piece of pink ribbon tied round
his neck; Mrs. Giles had produced it from her work-basket,
and had gained a fervent kiss and hug from the little maiden
At last Nesta arrived in a low pony carriage, to Betty's
intense delight. She wished that Molly and Douglas had
waited to see her step in and drive off; but they had run off
half an hour before, nurse having packed them a lunch-basket
Nesta smiled at the excited child, as she and Prince tumbled
themselves into the carriage with a good deal of fuss; but
when they were once off, driving through the shady lanes,
Betty folded her little hands demurely round Prince in her
lap, and upon her face came that dreamy look her friend so
loved to see. She did not ask questions, and the drive was
The Odd One
a quiet one, until they at length drove through some iron
gates round a thick shrubbery, and up to a big white house
with green Venetian shutters and a brilliant show of roses in
front. Betty was lifted out and taken up some low stone
steps into a broad, old-fashioned hall. It seemed very cool
and quiet inside; thick, soft rugs lay about the tiled floor,
large pots of flowering shrubs stood here and there, and at
the farther end was an open door with striped awning out-
side, and a glimpse of a smooth, grassy lawn and bright
Nesta opened a door and led Betty into a darkened room,
full of sweet scents of heliotrope and roses.
"Now I am going to bring you something, so sit down
and wait for me."
Betty's quick eyes were taking in everything; and as for
Prince, his nose was as busy as his eyes, and a low growl
and a stiffening of his ears soon told his little mistress that
he had discovered something objectionable. When Betty
crossed the room on tiptoe she found him in front of a large
mirror, and the snarl on his lips was not pleasant to see as
he faced his mock antagonist.
0 Prince, for shame! I must hold you. What would I
do if you broke that glass? Now come and look at these
beautiful pictures. Look at that lady up there; she has got
a little dog in her arms very like you."
It was a pleasant morning-room, with plenty of pretty or-
naments scattered about, and after the farm kitchen it had a
great fascination for Betty.
Nesta presently returned with some sponge-cakes and a
glass of raspberry vinegar, which Betty found most refreshing.
"Do you live here all alone?" she asked.
"No," said Miss Fairfax, smiling; "I have my mother
and sister here. My mother is not very well to-day, but I
will take you to see my sister now. Come along this way.
Will Prince be good? "
"Yes; he won't bark at all unless he meets another dog."
Betty trotted along, following her guide across the hall to
another room, where, on a couch near the window, lay a
"I've brought a little visitor to see you, Grace," Nesta
said in cheery tones. "This is the little girl I was telling
you about the other day."
"I can't bear children," was the fretful reply; "why do
you bring her here? "
But nevertheless she put the book down that she was
reading, and scanned the child from head to foot. Betty's
grave face and earnest scrutiny in return seemed to vex her
"How children stare! Do you think me a scarecrow,
child? Can't you keep your eyes to yourself? What is
your name? "
"Betty." And the little girl drew to her friend's side
"Go and shake hands," whispered Nesta.
Betty went up to the couch and held out her little hand.
The invalid took it, and the fair, flushed little face seemed
to attract her.
"This is a perfect baby, Nesta; I thought you meant a
much older child. Well, little girl, haven't you a tongue in
your head? Have you nothing to say? It's the way of this
house. Here I lie from morning to night without a soul to
speak to, and if I do have a visitor it is half a dozen words
and then off they go! I should like them to lie here and
suffer as I do-perhaps they might have a little more feeling
for an invalid if they did."
"Are you going to die?" asked Betty, timidly.
The Odd One
"Take her away!" gasped Miss Grace. Don't bring a
child to mock me. And I suppose you will be devoting
yourself to her the whole day, and I shall have no one to
read the paper to me."
"No," said Nesta, brightly; "I am going to let her play
in the garden, and then I shall come to you as usual. Come
along, Betty; now you and Prince can have a scamper."
Out into the garden they went. But Betty rubbed her
eyes in bewilderment when she got there. Surely she had
seen this garden before. Was it in her dreams last night?
She tripped across the velvet lawn, answering Nesta's
questions and remarks rather absently, and then suddenly she
turned round with a beaming face. I've been here before,"
she said; "I had some lilies from over there, and I came
through that little door in the wall from the wood. Do you
know my lady? She looks like a queen. Does she live with
Nesta looked perfectly bewildered.
"You must be dreaming, Betty. How could you have
come here? When did you come?"
Betty told her of her adventure in the wood, and Nesta
listened in wonder.
"It must have been my mother, and yet I can hardly un-
derstand it. It is unlike her to take any notice of children."
Then she added, "Do you think you can make yourself
happy in the garden, Betty, or would you like to go down
the green walk outside the little gate? "
"Will you open the gate and let me see ? said Betty,
Nesta took her to it, and then for a moment they stood
silent, looking down the green avenue, with the golden sun-
shine glinting through the leafy trees, and the tall bracken
swaying to and fro in the summer breeze.
"Which do you like best, Betty, the garden or this? "
Betty turned and looked behind her at the lovely flowers
and beautifully kept grass and gravel walks, and then she
Aeaved a little sigh as she looked out into the wood.
"My beautiful old lady asked me that question before,
and I thought then I liked the garden, but now I like this
green walk best," she said.
"You prefer nature uncultivated, don't you? So do I.
But I do not often come out here. This is my mother's
Did you say 'nature'? questioned Betty, eagerly. Do
you mean Mother Nature? You said you would show her
to me one day."
"So I did; I have quite forgotten. Well, there she is out
there, Betty. Nature is God's beautiful earth: the country,
the birds, the rabbits, and the squirrels-everything that He
makes and that man leaves alone."
"I don't understand." And the child's white brow was
creased with puckers. "I thought she was a woman; Mr.
Roper said she was; he said he had learned many a lesson
"And so have I," said Nesta, softly. "Listen, Betty.
Sometimes I have gone out of doors tired and worried and sad;
I have wandered through the wood, and the sweet sounds
and sights I have heard and seen in it have brought me home
rested and refreshed. They have spoken to me of God's
love and God's care and God's perfection. You are too
little to understand me, I expect, but you will when you get
older. God makes everything beautiful, and He watches
over the tiny birds and insects whom no one but Himself
ever sees. The tiniest flower is noticed by Him, and all His
works in nature lead us to think of Him and to remember
how He loves and cares for us."
The Odd One
Betty's blue eyes were raised earnestly upward.
"God does love everything, doesn't He? And He loves
Prince just as much as He does you and me."
Nesta hesitated. "I think, darling, God has a different
love for us to what He has for animals. We have cost the
dear Saviour His life; our souls have been redeemed. Ani-
mals have no souls; they do not know the difference between
right and wrong-"
"But Prince does," broke in Betty, hastily; "he knows
lots of the Bible, for I've told him about it, and I read the
'Peep of Day' to him on Sunday. He likes it; he lies quite
still on my lap, and folds his paws, and listens like anything.
And I've told him about Jesus dying for him, and how he
S must try to be good. And he does try; he wanted to run
after some little chickens yesterday, and I called him and
told him it was wicked, and he came away from them di-
rectly; and I know he wanted to go after them dreadfully,
for he was licking his lips and glaring at them!"
This outburst from Betty was too much for Nesta. She
looked at her with perplexity, then wisely turned the subject,
and after a few minutes' more chat left her and went back
to the house.
Betty wandered out into the wood, and then, seating her-
self on a soft bank surrounded by ferns and foxgloves, she
drew Prince to her.
"Come, you little darling, how do you like this? Isn't it
lovely to be spending a day in that lovely house, and not
have to be shut out with only some lilies to take away? Do
you like it, Prince? And do you think we shall see that nice
queen and find out if she sent you in a basket to me? Do
you understand about nature, Prince? I wish I did, but it's
the earth, I think. You put your mouth down and kiss it.
Isn't it nice and soft?"
And then, laying her curly head on the velvet moss, Betty
pressed her lips to it, whispering, Mother Nature, Mr. Roper
sent you his love and a kiss."
Prince was not content to stay as quiet as this for long,
and when a rabbit popped out from a hole close by, he was
after it like lightning. Betty tore after him delightedly, and
a scamper removed from her busy little mind for the time
thoughts that were beginning to trouble her.
When Nesta returned to the garden half an hour after,
she found Betty deep in conversation with the old gardener,
and Prince was hunting for snails in a thick laurel hedge
"We didn't stay out in the wood very long," Betty ex-
plained; "we got tired of running after rabbits."
You must come in to luncheon now; I want you to come
up to my room to wash your face and hands."
"Will the cross lady be at lunch? asked Betty, as she
trotted up the broad oak stairs a few minutes later.
"Hush, dear-she is ill, remember. I don't think she
will lunch with us."
Nesta took her little visitor through a long passage to a
pretty bedroom, and Betty looked about at all the pictures
and knickknacks, asking ceaseless questions, and fingering
everything that she could get hold of. Her curls were
brushed out, her hands and face washed, and then she was
brought down to the large drawing-room.
"This is my little friend, mother," said Nesta, going in.
A tall figure turned round from the window, and Betty saw
her mysterious lady once again. She looked colder and
sterner than ever, and put up her gold pince-nez to scan the
little new-comer down; but Betty's radiant face, dimpling all
over with pleasure as she held up her face for a kiss, brought
a softer gleam to the old gray eyes, and, to her daughter's
The Odd One
astonishment, Mrs. Fairfax stooped to give the expected
"It is the little trespasser," she said. "I did not know I
should see you again so soon."
Then she turned to Nesta. "Grace informed me she in-
tended to lunch with us. She is in the dining-room already,
so we will wait no longer."
They walked in silence across to the dining-room, and
Betty, awed by the big table, the noiseless butler, and the
cold, formal stateliness of the meal, sat up in her big chair,
subdued and still.
A LITTLE MESSENGER
Miss FAIRFAX seemed the most talkative, but her conver-
sation was a perpetual flow of complaints; the food, the
weather, and her ailments were her chief topics, and Betty's
round eyes of amazement, as she sat opposite, served to irri-
tate her more. At length she gave a little start and scream.
I am sure there is a dog in the room!" she exclaimed.
"How often have I told you, Jennings,"-this to the butler,
-"to keep the dogs out of our rooms!"
It's my dog," said Betty, at once; it's only Prince. He
always sits under my chair; he's such a dear, he waits as
quiet as a mouse."
"Take him out of the room at once, Jennings; I can't
eat another mouthful while he is here. You ought never to
have allowed him to come in! "
0 Grace, he won't hurt you!" said Nesta, remonstrating.
Miss Fairfax put her knife and fork together and leaned
back in her chair.
"Very well; as my nerves are never considered in the
least, it is useless for me to speak; I had better go back to
my room. I am continually being urged to join you at
meal-times, yet when I do I am expected to go through the
misery of having a wretched dog crawling round my feet
x f~ ;1
The Odd One
and setting every nerve in my head quivering and throb-
"Take the dog outside," said Mrs. Fairfax, quietly; then,
turning to Betty, who looked very perturbed and flushed, she
said, "Jennings will take care of him, and he shall have some
dinner in the kitchen."
"He won't be beaten, will he? He didn't know it was
wrong to follow me." And Betty's eyes began to fill with
tears as she saw Prince seized by the scruff of his neck and
carried off, in spite of indignant growls and snaps.
No, he won't be beaten," she was assured; but after this
she had no appetite for her dinner, and when the ladies rose
from the table she ran up to Mrs. Fairfax.
"May I have Prince again now? He's so very good. I
want him dreadfully."
Yes, he shall be brought to you. What are you going to
do with the child, Nesta?"
I will take her out into the garden, mother. But I hear
old Mrs. Parr has come up for some linseed meal I promised
her. Her husband is very ill again with bronchitis. I shall
not be gone long."
"Then Betty shall come upstairs with me."
Again Nesta wondered, but wisely said nothing.
Prince came scampering across the hall, and Betty, now
completely happy, took hold of Mrs. Fairfax's hand and went
upstairs into a lovely little boudoir, where she sat down in a
low, cushioned seat by the window and chattered away to
her heart's content.
"Did you send Prince to me? You did, didn't you? I
knew it was you! He is such a darling, and it makes me
into a couple, which I've never been before."
Mrs. Fairfax smiled; she seemed to lose some of her stiff-
ness when with Betty alone.
A Little Messenger
"And is he as much a companion as another brother or
sister might be? "
"I think he's much nicer. I wouldn't have any one in-
stead of him for all the world."
"What have you been doing with yourself since I saw
"Lots and lots of things. I go to church to hear Miss
Fairfax play the organ, and I take flowers to dead Violet;
and I have got into lots of scrapes, but I don't think I'm
quite as naughty here as I used to be in the City. At least
we can't quite make it out. Douglas was saying, the other
day, nurse lets him climb any trees here; but if he tried to
climb a lamp-post, or even one of the trees in the parks, in
the City, he was always being whipped or put into Cells for
it. And in the country we can go out without gloves, and
run races along the roads, and swing on gates, and we never
get punished at all. We don't want to go back to the City;
it's so dreadfully hard to be good there."
"But don't you want to see your father and mother
"Yes, I s'pose so; but we don't see them very much at
home. I'd like to stay in the country for ever and ever, and
so would Prince." After a pause she went on: "You see,
there's a good deal more going on in the country than in the
City. We know a lot more people, and there's always some-
thing fresh happening. Now in the City every day is the
same, and we have only the nursery to play in; we get so
tired of it. At the farm where we live we're always having
nice surprises: lots of little calves are born quite suddenly,
or little horses, and we don't know anything about it till we
go and see them in the morning. Yesterday there were six
little black pigs-such little beauties! And then we have so
many more people to talk to. There's Farmer and Mrs.
The Odd One
Giles, and Sam, and all the carters, and the old man who
digs the graves, and old Jenny, and you, and Miss Fairfax,
and Mr. Russell-but I've only seen him once."
Betty paused for breath.
And what do you find to talk about to so many people?"
I've been talking rather grave talks with some of them,"
Betty said reflectively, "about tribulation."
Mrs. Fairfax raised her eyebrows.
"That is very grave talk indeed for such a mite as you.
What do you know about it?"
I know that everybody has got it except me, and I want
to have it; and old Jenny said I'd be sure to come to it soon.
She's had it, and Reuben has, and Mr. Russell, and nurse,
and Miss Fairfax has. Has the cross lady downstairs had
it, and have you? "
Mrs. Fairfax's lips quivered a little as she turned away her
head. The soft, childish fingers were probing the wound,
and she shrank from their touch.
Betty went on dreamily: "I often wonder what it's like,
and whether you feel like Christian did in the dark valley;
but he got through it all right at last! I should like to come
right through it into the middle of the text, and Jenny says
I shall some day."
There was glad triumph in her tone.
"What text?" asked Mrs. Fairfax, looking out of the
window and away to the green woods in the distance.
Betty repeated once more the familiar words:
These are they which came out of great tribulation, and
have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood
of the Lamb.' How glad they must be to have had it!
Don't you think so? "
And then the stately Mrs. Fairfax sat down and took Betty
upon her knee; drawing her close to her till she had the little
A Little Messenger
dark curly head resting against her shoulder, she bent her
head to hers and said almost passionately:
"God grant you will never know such trouble as mine,
little one-trouble that turns your heart to stone and blots
all heaven from your sight!"
Betty put her little arms round her neck.
"Old Jenny said I should have it," she repeated; "and
she told me when I was in the middle of it to remember,
'Be thou faithful unto death'-I forget the other part."
There was silence for some moments, then Mrs. Fairfax
kissed the upturned face.
Now run downstairs, little woman, and find Nesta. I
will say good-by now, for I shall not see you again."
Betty obeyed instantly, and when she had gone, for the first
time for many a long month, the sorrowful woman knelt in
prayer. "God help me! she cried. "I have been an un-
faithful servant, and have refused to turn to Thee for com-
The rest of the afternoon was as delightful as the morning
to Betty. She visited the stables and poultry-yard; she
picked strawberries and ate them while she picked; she
gathered a large nosegay of flowers to take home to nurse;
and then at four o'clock she came in to a delicious little
tea in the cool, shady parlor. Miss Fairfax was lying
on the sofa there, but she seemed to like to hear the child
talk, and even condescended to allow Prince to come inside
to receive a lump of sugar on his nose, while he sat up and
"I've had a lovely day," said Betty, as Nesta was putting
on her hat upstairs in the bedroom.
And so have I," responded Nesta, laughing. You have
been very good company, Betty; I shall be quite dull when
you are gone."
The Odd One
Have you no one to talk to when I'm not here? Are
you an odd one? "
"Perhaps I may be."
"Why don't you make yourself into a couple with some
one, like Prince and me? "
But this made Nesta's soft eyes fill with tears, and Betty
felt very uncomfortable until she was kissed and told she
was the funniest little chatterbox living. The pony carriage
came round, and a little later she was being driven home,
rather tired, and very happy at her day's outing.
Nesta left her at the gate and drove silently home. Betty
had brought a good deal of brightness into her life, and
though she was always outwardly so cheery in her manner,
her heart was often heavy and sore. It was not a cheerful
house, and as, an hour later, she tried to enliven the solemn
dinner-table, expecting, as usual, to meet with no response
but grumbles from Grace and chilling indifference on the
part of her mother, she was surprised by Mrs. Fairfax's efforts
to take part in the conversation.
"That child is an original character," she observed. "Do
you know who they are, Nesta ? "
"Yes; Mr. Crump was telling me the other day. Their
father is the member for Stonycroft, and their mother that
Mrs. Stuart who is so busy in philanthropical objects in
town. She was one of the Miss Champneys-the clever
Miss Champneys, as we used to call them. I think the
children must inherit the talents of their parents, for, though
they are regular little pickles for mischief, they are all origi-
nal in their way. Betty thinks the most, I should say; the
others seem to live in dreamland half their time. I came
across the other girl and boy in an old willow-tree the other
day. I spoke to them, but was hushed up at once by the
boy, who put his fair curly head out of the branches and said,
A Little Messenger
'You're not to speak to us just now; we're hiding from the
queen of the brook! She comes dashing down in foam, she's
so angry with us; and if she splashes us, we shall be turned
into black dogs and have to go on all fours till dinner-time!'
I laughed and left them. I don't altogether envy their
Betty is not enough of a child," Mrs. Fairfax said; some
of her sayings are quite uncanny."
"Do you think so? She has plenty of life and spirits.
But she is a child of intense feeling. I am afraid she will
suffer for it as she grows older. Yesterday I came upon her
outside the churchyard crying as if her heart would break
over a dead frog. I tried to comfort her. Oh,' she sobbed,
'I'm so afraid Prince has killed it. I didn't see him, but he
may have; and he doesn't look a bit sorry. What shall I
do if he grows up a murderer?' "
Mrs. Fairfax would have thought Betty a stranger child
still if she could have seen her that evening tossing in her
Molly was fast asleep. Nurse had left the room, and all
was quiet; but Betty was going over in her busy little mind
the events of the past day. At last she stretched out her
hand to Prince in his basket.
"She said you had no soul, Prince; I wonder if you
haven't? I wish you'd say prayers to God; I'm sure God
will give you a soul if you ought to have one! Prince, wake
Prince rolled over, shook himself, and jumped up on the
bed, wondering what was the reason of this summons.
Betty sat up with flushed cheeks and bright eyes. Come
here, Prince. Now beg! That's right. Now say a prayer
-just a very little one. I pray for you, darling, every night,
but you're big enough to pray yourself. God will know your
The Odd One
language if you speak to Him, and you can just speak secret
to Him-I do often. Now, Prince-no, don't lick my hand,
and keep your tail still. I wish you'd shut your eyes. I'll
put my hand over them-there! Now, Prince, ask God to
give you a soul, and forgive your sins, and take you to heaven
when you die."
Betty bent her head in silence, while for two minutes Prince
kept perfectly still; then she took her little hands from his
eyes, and he gave a quick, short bark of delight, perhaps in
anticipation of a lump of sugar for this new trick taught him.
If so, he was disappointed; he was only kissed and put back
into his basket. And Betty laid her little head on the pillow,
but only half satisfied. "0 God," she murmured sleepily,
"if Prince hasn't prayed properly, please forgive him, and
give him a soul, and make him a good dog, for Jesus Christ's
A DARING FEAT
IT was a hot afternoon in July. The children had tired
themselves out with play, and were resting under some shady
trees near the farm. By and by Betty wandered off into a
neighboring corn-field, and, resting her head against an old
log of wood in the corner of it, went fast asleep, while Prince
sat at her feet keeping a faithful watch over his little mistress.
Mr. Russell, sauntering through a foot-path in the field, came
up and looked at them, and his artist's eye was at once
charmed with the picture they made. He stood and, taking
out his sketch-book, drew a rapid outline of Betty's little
figure as she lay there, one hand grasping some red poppies,
and the other arm thrown behind her curly head. Prince
was also sketched, and then Betty awoke. She looked con-
fused at first, then jumped to her feet.
"Don't be frightened," said Mr. Russell, gravely. "Do
you live near here? "
Betty pointed out the farm.
"And do you think you would be allowed to come to my
house one day for me to make a picture of you?"
Betty colored with pleasure.
"I'll ask nurse. All by myself?"