1''~'I / ;-
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r~ I A
ia torp of Lonton Life.
AUTHOR OF "BERTIE DANBY'S TRAINING," "FOR MERRIE ENGLAND,"
"AUDREY'S JEWELS," ETC.
THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY,
56 PATERNOSTER ROW, AND 65 ST. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD.
I. As ACCIDENT ,
II. LIZZIE'S HME ...
Ill. SUNDAY MORNING .
IV. LONDON BRIDGE ...
V. A HAT AND FEATHER
VI. SAD NEWS FROM ASHMEAD
VII. CONCLUSION ... ...
... ... ... 65
HERE now I hope everybody will be
satisfied, and let me go to London."
And as she spoke, Lizzie Milner
faced the group of girls who were leaving school,
to see what effect her words had upon them.
"The examination is over; but do you think
you have passed, Lizzie ? asked her particular
friend, Harriet Martin.
Teacher says I answered very well, so I am
sure to pass," replied Lizzie, in a tone of
triumph. "What will you give for my chance
of going to London now? There's no excuse
for keeping me in this dull old village any
longer, you know."
"What will Miss Passingham say?" sug-
gested one of the girls.
I don't care; I don't mean to be moped to
6 Lizzie's Experiment.
death here. My aunt lives in London, and my
brother Jack has gone there, so I don't see
why I shouldn't go too, now that I can leave
"But I thought you were going to be Miss
Passingham's servant," said Harriet Martin,
a little eagerly. "She will be disappointed,
Lizzie, and the Vicar too," she added.
"I can't help that; I've been thinking it all
over, and it won't be much better up at the
Vicarage than it is here in the village; what
fun is there to be had up there, with just the
Vicar and Miss Passingham and those two old
servants in the kitchen? "
"But there's Miss Elsie Channing and Miss
Marion; neither of them are old," exclaimed
several of the girls together.
Lizzie made a wry face. Cf course you are
all in love with Miss Marion, because she is
the Vicar's daughter," she said in a mocking
No; because she is kind and gentle, and is
always trying to do something for us school
girls," said another.
"Yes; mother says things are a good deal
better since the new Vicar came," put in a
"And nobody could help loving poor Miss
Passingham," said Harriet.
"' Poor Miss Passingham! '" protested half a
dozen voices at once.
"I don't think she would like to hear you
call her 'poor Miss Passingham;' and I am
sure she seems the happiest woman in the place,
though she does have to lie on that couch
always, and has a great deal of pain sometimes,"
said Harriet, warmly.
"Yes-yes, of course, everybody loves dear
Miss Passingham; but we were talking about
going to London. Who else wants to go ? You
are going to leave school, Harriet; what are you
going to do ? "
Harriet shook her head. I might get a place
to help in the dairy up at the Mead Farm,"
"Why not make up your mind to go to
London instead ? suggested Lizzie. "Do. I
want one of you to say you will go, and then
father won't mind it so much. I have talked
mother over, but father has odd notions about
girls and what they ought to do. Say you will
go, Harriet, and I will write to my aunt and
tell her we are coming."
"What are you going to do when you get to
London-go to service ? "
The girls had linked their arms and were
walking slowly down the village street, too
deeply interested in the discussion going on to
notice anything beyond, until a loud warning
whoop made them start asunder and scamper
in all directions out of the way, for tearing
down the road came an infuriated bull that had
made his escape from a field half a mile beyond
The girls rushed screaming in all directions
out of the way, while the bull, followed by the
men whooping and yelling, careered from one
side of the road to the other, yet always
managing to elude its pursuers, until just as
the group of girls was reached by the animal
one of the men contrived to throw a rope over
its horns. But at the same moment there was
a piercing scream of agony from one of the
scattered group, and amid the blinding cloud of
dust one of them could be seen lying helpless
in the road, struck down by the beast just as
he was stopped from tossing or trampling on
While some of the men secured the bull from
running off in the opposite direction, one of
them went to see if the girl was much hurt, and
the rest came back when they found the danger
"It's Harriet Martin," called one, and Lizzie
ran to the side of her friend, eager and anxious
to find out whether she was hurt.
The man had lifted her in his arms and was
wiping the dust from her face, but although
there was neither bruise nor blood to be seen,
the girl appeared to be quite lifeless as she lay
white and still in the man's arms.
Where does she live ?" he asked, for he had
only lately come to live at the farm, and did
not know any of the girls.
I'll show you," said Lizzie; "but you don't
think she's going to die, do you?" she added,
the tears rising to her eyes as she spoke.
To the great relief of everybody Mr. Passing-
ham appeared the next moment, for, having
heard the noise, he had left the school to
hurry down the street and see what was the
"Oh, sir, it's Harriet Martin; the bull has
knocked her down! said all the girls in a
"Farmer Pattison's bull, I suppose ?" he
said rather sternly to the young man who had
lifted the girl, and whom he knew to be the
"We can't tell at all how he got away
from the paddock," said the man by way of
"No, I suppose not; but I shall come and
see the farmer about this. Can you carry the
girl as far as the Vicarage ? It is close by.
Lizzie, you run and tell Mr. Tyrrell he is wanted
at once; this is a case for the doctor, I am
afraid," added the Vicar, as he walked on first
to prepare his daughter and sister for the coming
of the injured girl.
She was carried into a little morning-room on
the ground floor and laid upon a couch, and a
few minutes afterwards the doctor came; but
as yet Harriet had shown no sign of returning
It was a sad story the girls went home with,
though the Vicar had taken the precaution to
go himself and tell the mother something of
what had happened, to save her needless alarm,
for he knew Harriet was not dead, as the girls
There! If we only lived in London, or in any
nice town, that wouldn't have happened," said
Lizzie, as she went down the vicarage garden.
" If Harriet isn't dead, she's so badly hurt she
won't be able to go with me now. Poor Harriet !
I wonder where she is hurt, and how long she
will be ill."
Lizzie was very fond of her friend; but there
was a good deal of disappointment on her own
account mingled with her grief now, for she had
set her heart on being able to persuade Harriet
to go with her to London, and she talked of this
still as they went along the road.
"You seem to think it is all settled; but
people can't get to London without money, and
it costs a lot of money to get there, I know," said
one of her companions, who had often thought
she would like to go to the wonderful city, only
she knew it was useless for her to think of such
a thing. .
"Yes, it costs money, of course," replied
Lizzie; "but when once you get there you can
earn such a lot that you could soon send it back.
My brother earns nearly a pound a week now,
and when he was here he only got five shillings;
and, of course, it is the same for girls. My father
could let me have the money to go, and I meant
to ask him to lend some to Harriet, and then we
would pay him between us out of the first money
we earned," added Lizzie.
"Well, there's an end of that for poor Harriet!"
and the girls dropped into silence again, for this
accident seemed to have made the idea of London
a little like sacrilege-at least the talk about it
They carried the news home; and later in the
day, when the sun was setting behind the distant
hills, Lizzie and one or two others went up to
the Vicarage to inquire how their friend was,
and whether the doctor thought she would soon
get well, for they had heard that she was not
dead, as they had at first supposed.
Miss Marion Passingham saw them coming
before they reached the house, and went down
into the garden to meet them.
She is a little better now, Lizzie," said the
young lady in answer to the girl's eager inquiry
for her friend.
"Do you think she will be ill long, Miss
Marion ?" asked Lizzie.
"I hope not; but we cannot tell yet. The
doctor says she must stay here for a few days,
and we may have to send for another doctor to
see her; but she has to be kept very quiet, you
Will she have to go to the hospital in London
if she don't get better soon ? Jack went there,
you know, Miss Marion, and did not come home
Did he die in the hospital ?" asked the lady
in a gentle voice.
"Oh no; but he heard that people could do
ever so much better in London than in the
country, and so he got work there. I'm going
to London too," she said, dropping her head
and eyes and kicking a stone on the gravel
"You, Lizzie uttered the lady in a tone of
surprise. "But I thought you were coming to
wait upon my aunt. You know she wants a
young girl to attend upon her, and I thought it
was settled that you were to come as soon as
you could leave school."
12 Lizzie's Experiment.
"No, not settled, ma'am. Miss Passingham
spoke about it, and I thought I should like it at
first; but we've had a letter from Jack, and I
have an aunt in London, and so I would much
rather go there."
"But you had much better come here for a
year or two at least. What can you do in
London? You have not learned anything yet! "
said the lady in a tone of astonishment.
The girl looked equally astonished to hear the
statement, for in her own esteem she knew
everything. She was at the top of her class in
school, and had just passed the sixth standard,
what else could there be for her to learn ?
I am one of the best scholars in the school,"
she said in a tone of protest.
"Yes, I know you are, Lizzie," said the young
lady; "but learning history and geography
won't teach you how to make a bed or sweep a
room properly. Now, if you were to come here
for a year, our housemaid would show you how
to set about this sort of work in a proper way,
and then, with a good character, you could get a
situation anywhere. But if you go to London
now, you will just have to take anything you
can get-a hard, drudging place most likely,
where you will learn very little beyond the
"But I don't know that I shall go to service,"
said Lizzie, with something like a toss of the
head. "My aunt takes work in from the shops,
and employs a lot of young girls, and I think I
should like that better than going to service."
Well, come and talk to Miss Passingham
about it," said the young lady after a pause;
" she will not be able to see you to-day, for she
has been upset by this accident to Harriet, but
to-morrow will be a half-holiday, and you will
come for the choir-practice, of course, and I will
tell auntie that you are coming to see her after-
wards," and with these words the lady dismissed
the girls and went back to her aunt and cousin.
What do you think ? exclaimed the young
lady as she entered her aunt's room after leaving
the girls. "Lizzie Milner doesn't want to come
here after all! "
"Not come here !" repeated her cousin; "but
I thought she was to be Aunt Letitia's maid when
she could leave school."
"Has she changed her mind about it ? said
the invalid, a faint smile spreading over the
fair delicate face as she looked at her two
nieces. "What has tempted her to break her
promise ? she added.
Oh, some aunt and brother in London. I
do think I shall begin to hate the very name of
London, for all our nice girls go off there," said
Marion in a tone of vexation.
It is a shame to disappoint Aunt Letty like
this !" said Miss Channing, who was no less
disturbed than her cousin over the news. "I
thought if Lizzie came to aunt and learned her
ways she might by-and-by become a lady's maid
instead of an ordinary servant, for she is quick
and clever at learning things-much quicker
than most of the girls."
And for that very reason is less likely to be
satisfied with quiet village life," said the invalid.
"You must not be unjust to Lizzie in your
vexation about my disappointment, but try to
remember that there are two sides to this
"But, auntie, think what we have heard
about London said Marion.
Yes, and we must think of what Lizzie has
heard. Her brother gets much higher wages
there than he did here; she told me all about it
last week, and though she said nothing then,
I thought I saw a dawning desire in her to go
and try the wonderful city for herself. She is
just the sort of girl who would naturally want to
go, and though I do feel disappointed that she
is not coming to me, we must not let this spoil
our sympathy for the girl, or we may lose a
chance of helping her by-and-by, when she may
need our help."
"Then you think she will come to grief
through it," said Marion.
I don't know, my dear; you see we cannot
judge, as we do not know what sort of a person
her aunt is, or what kind of work Lizzie thinks
of seeking. The one thing we have to do, dear,
is to make sure that she goes with the full con-
fidence that she leaves friends behind who will
still be ready to help her if she is disappointed
in her search. It is the want of this that drives
many- a poor girl to ruin, I am sure, when a
little timely help and advice might save them
from a lifetime of sorrow."
"I don't believe Lizzie will take anybody's
advice just now," said her niece with a sigh, for
this resolution of her aunt's promised maid to
go to London was likely to upset some of her
own plans, unless they could soon supply her
place. "Lizzie won't listen to advice."
This would scarcely be the time to offer it,"
replied Miss Passingham, unless we are pre-
pared to put aside our own wishes in the matter,
and try to look at things from Lizzie's stand-
point. Unless we can do this, we have no right
to call ourselves the girl's friends, and blame her
for taking her own way without much regard
for our advice."
Now, auntie, you must not talk any more, or
your head will be bad to-morrow," put in Miss
Channing at this point, and to ensure that quiet
was secured she went out of the room, taking
her cousin with her. "It won't do, Marion, to
upset aunt about this," she said as soon as the
door was closed, and so the matter ended for
ARRIET MARTIN was more seriously hurt
than the doctor at first supposed, and
after lying a week at the vicarage, it
was decided to remove her to a London hospital,
where she would receive care and attention that
could not be obtained elsewhere.
The news that Harriet was going to London
16 Lizzie's Experiment.
soon spread among her companions, and made
Lizzie Milner more eager than ever to go at
once, in spite of what Miss Marion Passingham
had said to her upon the subject.
"Mother says I can go if aunt will take me,
and we are expecting a letter from her every day
about it, so that if she says I had better go at
once, I shan't be able to go to the Vicarage even
for a little while, ma'am." This was what
Lizzie said to Miss Channing, but it was said
with a defiant air, and the young lady felt sure
that whatever her cousin had said was resented
by Lizzie, and so she had determined to get
away from Ashmead as soon as she could.
Unfortunately her aunt had been too ill to see
Lizzie herself, and so they had to think where
they could find another girl who could take
Lizzie's place in waiting upon the invalid.
"Now I hope that's settled," said Lizzie to
another friend, after leaving Miss Channing.
"Father's in the humour to let me have the
money to go to London now, but if I went up to
the Vicarage he would say I could stop there
instead of going to London."
But her father was unwilling to part with her,
although he did not mind giving her the money.
"Well, if she goes I hope she will make up
her mind to stop, and not throw herself upon
our hands again after the expense of sending
her there," said her step-mother.
"Of course I shall stop," said Lizzie, who
made up her mind that she would not come
home again to her step-mother, however un-
comfortable she might be. Not that she had
Lizzie's Home. 17
really anything to complain of, except that she
could not have her own way; but she was a
proud, wilful girl, and would never like to own
that she was disappointed in her venture.
So after a little more talk about the matter it
was settled that Lizzie should go to her aunt's
as soon as her clothes could be got ready, and
she set about the task of mending her stockings
that very night.
Harriet Martin could not be removed to the
hospital the next day, and so it was arranged
that when she went Lizzie should go up with
her; and when Miss Passingham heard of this
she sent for Lizzie to come and see her before
she went away.
"Would you have gone to London without
coming to say good-bye to me and the Vicar ? "
said the invalid, when Lizzie went into the
room where she was lying on her couch.
Lizzie hung her head, and said something
about Miss Marion being so cross; but no one
could be many minutes with the Vicar's sister
before their better nature was touched, and so
Lizzie was soon sitting in the low chair that
always stood near the couch for visitors, and
the tears were in her eyes at the thought of
leaving this kind friend.
"I really am sorry to go away from you,"
she said, looking at the pale, gentle face, and
wondering whether she would ever see it again,
for Miss Passingham had been very ill the
last few days, and so looked more fragile than
"But as the matter is settled now, of course
18 Lizzie's Experiment.
you must go, Lizzie," said the lady, without
mentioning the vexation it had caused her.
"You must try and remember that an engage-
ment once made should not be lightly broken,"
she said. "But what I wanted to say to you
was this : If you find the work and life in
London harder than you can bear without in-
jury to your health, then let us know about it
before it is too late. Many a girl has her
health and life ruined because she will not let
her friends know the true state of affairs with
"And this applies not only to health, but
to happiness and moral well-being, which is
greater than all. If you find yourself thrown
into the company of girls who would lead you
into sin, and that you cannot avoid them with-
out giving up the employment you have taken,
then send at once and let us know all about it,
that we may be able to help you out of it in
some way. Of course I do not mean that you
are to fill your letters with complaints about
trifles when you write home; for you will be
sure to meet with some difficulty, some un-
pleasantness that is hard to bear or overcome.
These you will be brave enough to endure with-
out grumbling, I am sure; but in the graver
matters of health and strength being exhausted
by long hours of labour, insufficient food, or
being thrown among companions who would
lead you into folly and sin, don't trust to your
own judgment, but let us know at once"
"But I should be laughed at for going away
then," said Lizzie.
"No sensible person would laugh; and surely
it would be better to put up with that than ruin
your life-ruin soul and body alike, perhaps,"
said the lady earnestly.
"Soul and body! repeated Lizzie, with
widely opened eyes.
Miss Passingham laid her thin white hand
upon the girl's shoulder, and looked earnestly
and lovingly into her eyes.
"My dear girl, you are going into a new
strange life," she said-" a life of which you
know nothing, and of which I can only tell you
as an outsider; but I do know this, Lizzie, that
you will meet with temptations and dangers
there you have not dreamed of as yet. The
country has its temptations, I know, but here,
with father and mother and friends, you are
more protected than you are likely to be in
"But I am going to my aunt, ma'am, and
she will take care of me," said the girl quickly.
Yes, my dear, and I hope you will make a
friend of her; but this was what I wanted to
say, Lizzie, that whether you can make a friend
of your aunt or not, there is one Friend who
will be near you, ready to help you in every
hour of need. The Lord Jesus Christ will know
and understand, better than any earthly friend
can, just what the danger is, and where it will
hurt you. What would be a danger or tempta-
tion to your aunt, or to some other girl, might
have no attraction for you; and then, something
that they might not care for, would be almost
irresistible to you, because it stirs into life and
desire something that is hidden within you.
Unless there was this 'something' within us-
this seed of sin-the outside temptations could
do us no harm. I do not know what form this
seed of sin may take in you, but the Lord
Jesus Christ does, and only His blood-His life
in you-can kill this seed of sin, and cleanse
you from its taint, and so make these outer
temptations powerless to hurt you. Now, Lizzie,
I want you to remember this, that this seed of
sin is in you, but the Lord Jesus Christ gave
His life-shed His blood-that sin or Satan
outside might have no power to hurt you.
"You remember that when the Lord Himself
was tempted, He said, 'Get thee behind me,
Satan.' He could say this, and the tempter
had no power to hurt Him, because there was
no seed of sin in Him. But there is this seed
in each one of us, and though it may lie so
quiet that no one even suspects it to be there,
some sudden temptation may come, and then,
before we are aware of it, the sin has been
committed that overwhelms us with sorrow and
"Now, my dear, you are going away from us
into unknown dangers, and you carry with you
that which will give them the power to hurt
you, unless the life of Christ in you kills this,
or, as the Bible says, 'The blood of Jesus
Christ cleanses you from all sin.' It may be
-it often is-that until this seed of sin has
brought trouble upon us, we do not realise that
we need a Saviour, and then too often when the
trouble comes, we are filled with despair, and
think there can be no pardon, no forgiveness
"Now this is what I particularly want you
to remember, Lizzie, that if sin does thus bring
sorrow and shame to you-no matter what it
may be-the blood of Jesus Christ can cleanse
you from this sin as well as that which is
hidden, and though you may and must bear
the pain and sorrow that sin ever brings with
it, still, peace and comfort will come to you
through this forgiveness, that nothing else can
give. It is the only way God can teach us
sometimes, and so He lets us have our own way,
until the shame and pain compel us to seek
and find pardon and peace."
"Oh, ma'am! you seem to think I am going
to quite a dreadful place," exclaimed Lizzie,
when Miss Passingham paused and looked at
her. "These things are not at all likely to
happen to me. I am not going to strange
people. I am going to my aunt."
"But she is a stranger to you, Lizzie; or, at
least, you know very little of her, and tempta-
tion is sure to come to you in some way or
other. I know something of the condition of
working girls in London, and that is why I
have spoken to you so seriously to-day. For
one thing, you will find the work harder than
you expect, I am afraid, and you may be tempted
to think there is no time to pray, even morning
and evening, and there will be the danger of
you forgetting this Friend of sinners. Your
aunt may be a kind, sympathetic woman-I
hope she is-but hard work is apt to make
22 Lizzie's Experiment.
people hard in their ways, and if your aunt is,
like this, your life is not likely to be a pleasant
one-at least at first."
At this point the Vicar put his head in at the
door to see who was talking. "Oh, is this our
truant ?" he said pleasantly, as Lizzie rose
from her seat. "So you have made up your
mind to go to London, your father tells me,"
he added, as he came in and took a seat near
"I have just been having a little talk with
Lizzie, and telling her she must not forget
to write to her friends here, and let us know
just how she is getting on," said the lady.
"Yes, of course; and I hope she will go and
see her friend Harriet while she is in the
"How is Harriet now, sir ?" asked Lizzie,
anxious to turn the conversation from herself
and her projected journey, for she did not mean
to give any promise about telling them every-
thing concerning her London life.
She seems a little better to-day, and the
doctor hopes the spine may not be so seriously
injured after all. You are going up to London
with her, I hear ? "
"Yes, sir. Father thought it was a good
chance for me to go, and aunt wants me soon;
she is so busy just now."
Yes, of course it was a good opportunity for
you, and I hope you will try and see Harriet
sometimes. On Sunday afternoon most of the
hospitals are open for visitors, and so I hope
you will find time to go and see your old friend
and go to church too. Never forget that God
is near you, though earthly friends may be far
away, and in His house of prayer you can
always feel at home. Miss Passingham has a
Bible and Prayer book for you, I know, that you
may not forget Ashmead friends in your new
home. We shall remember you, do not fear;
and you must try to think of us sometimes, and
then it will not be so hard to write, if you
should need our help at any time."
Then the Vicar bade her good-bye, and left
his sister to have the last words with her, while
he went to make the final arrangements for
Harriet being moved to the railway station the
"The Vicar brought these for me to give
you," said the lady, taking a neatly bound Bible
and Prayer-book from her table and handing
them to Lizzie. They are keepsakes, you
know, to remind you of the friends left behind
in Ashmead. Never forget that we are friends
still, though we may feel a little disappointed
that you should prefer going to London instead
of coming to live with us."
"I never can forget you, and how kind you
have been to all us girls," said Lizzie, as she
took the books and prepared to go.
The tears were in her eyes once more, and
she could scarce speak the last words of fare-
well to this kind friend without sobbing aloud,
for she felt sure she should never see Miss
Passingham again, and certainly she could not
expect to find a friend like her anywhere else.
For a moment she half regretted that she was
24 Lizzie's Experiment.
going away. But it was too late for regrets
now, she thought, as she wiped her eyes; but
it was with a subdued feeling that she walked
home after this talk with Miss Passingham.
1 ow, Lizzie, if we get up at six o'clock
to-morrow we shall have first turn
with the copper, and then you will be
able to go and see your friend in the hospital
directly after dinner."
It was Saturday night, and Mrs. Glossop had
just been out marketing, while Lizzie folded up
and finished off the last dozen of shirts.
The other girls had left at eight o'clock; but
it was nearly eleven now, and, truth to tell,
Lizzie had been indulging in a good cry, out
of sheer weariness and disappointment, while
her aunt was out. She had comforted herself,
however, with the thought that to-morrow was
Sunday, and she would not have to get up so
early in the morning, or be worried by the din
of the machines all day, so that her aunt's sug-
gestion about getting up at six o'clock was any-
thing but welcome to Lizzie just now. She had
been about ten days in London, and already the
reality of life in the great city had begun to
lose its charm..
It was not the first disappointment of that
evening either, for she had anticipated going
out to see the brilliantly lighted main-road, that
was like a fair; but she had to stay at home
and do the shirts while her aunt went marketing
in the neighbourhood.
"It's nothing but work, work, all day and all
night, Sunday and week-day alike," said Lizzie
with a sob.
That's just about it, my girl; but if you
don't like it you can go home again, and it
ain't every gal as can get that choice," said her
Lizzie shed a few tears; but Mrs. Glossop
took care to produce the fried fish she had
brought in for supper, and the sight and smell
of that was some small consolation to the girl,
for she was hungry as well as tired.
There, get the bread out, and we will have
supper; you will feel better then," said the
widow. "It is a disappointment, I suppose, to
find that people have to work as hard, or harder,
in London than they do in the country."
I wouldn't mind working at proper times,
but to have to wash and clean on Sundays "
And then poor Lizzie almost broke down again,
as she recalled the tender hush that wrapped all
the village on Sunday at home in the country.
"Well, we must clean on Sundays or go
dirty; and you don't like dirt, I know."
I never was in such dirt before in my life;
and it seems impossible to be clean here,"
"People can't afford it, that's how it is.
They would be as clean as you would like to be;
but it takes time, don't you see, and time
means money when you have to work for every
mouthful of bread, that a dozen others are
waiting for a chance to snatch from you."
"Is it always like this?" asked Lizzie;
"because, if it is, I think I would rather go to
service than stop here."
I don't know anything about going to service;
so if you ain't content to do as I do, and live as
I live, why, you'd better write and ask your
mother to send you the money to go back at
once, without any more bother."
"I don't want to go back if I can help it;
the country is so dull."
To be sure it is, and there is chances to go
out and see the sights when we ain't quite so
busy. There's slack times as well as busy times,
and then I always manage to clear up Friday
This was some comfort to Lizzie, and she
dried her tears and ate her supper, resolving to
put up with the present hard work and dis-
comfort for the sake of the pleasure that would
be awaiting her when the present rush of work
Her aunt roused her at six o'clock the next
morning, but it was hard work for her to keep
from going to sleep again instead of getting out
of bed, for her head and limbs ached,.and she
felt altogether unfit to do washing and cleaning.
But she had to follow her aunt out to the
little scullery at the back, which was for the
joint use of all the lodgers in the house.
Mrs. Glossop had got the copper fire going,
and had already begun rubbing some of the
You can begin with that pail," she said, as
Lizzie appeared, looking white and sleepy still.
"You wash your own clothes, and I'll manage
the rest. We must get 'em all done and hung
out in the yard to dry by eight o'clock, or else
there will be a row with Mrs. Collins, and I
hate having a fuss with the other lodgers."
Mrs. Glossop was rubbing away all the time
she was talking, though after she had set Lizzie
to work she lapsed into silence, for, as she re-
marked, she wanted her breakfast before she
could talk much.
It was a relief to both when Lizzie had done
her share, and could go and light the fire and
put the kettle on.
"You must bring the bits of carpet out as
soon as you've got the fire alight, and shake
them at once, or we shall have to take them
out in the street to do it. I haven't been used
to that, and so I like to get it done early, before
anybody's clothes are out."
Mrs. Glossop's back-room was covered with
little odd bits of carpet of all sizes, patterns,
and qualities; but, as she said, it made the place
comfortable and warm in the winter-time.
By the time these were shaken the clothes
were ready to hang out on the line, for the
whole business had to be hurried through that
other lodgers might have their turn with the
By eight o'clock, when breakfast was ready,
the whole of it was finished and blowing in the
wind, and Mrs. Glossop brought in a pailful
of the hot suds to clean the place.
"I always manage to do my washing and
cleaning at the same time," she remarked as
she dropped into a chair near the table, while
Lizzie cut the bread-and-butter for breakfast.
There was no need to hurry now that the
scullery was left in readiness for the other
lodgers, and so they sat longer over this meal
than they usually did, though the force of habit
made the widow swallow her tea scalding hot,
and eat her bread as though the machines were
still going jn the next room.
Lizzie, however, took her time this morning,
and discussed what was to follow the washing-
up of the breakfast-things.
I'll clean the cupboard out, shall I, while
you wash up ?" she said.
Does the cupboard want turning out ? It's
been done once this summer; and I want you
to clean the next room, if you've got time."
Oh, the cupboard must be done; it smells of
mice, and all sorts of things," said Lizzie, in a
tone of disgust.
She did not wait for further objections to be
raised, but began to clear the things out as she
spoke, for the love of cleanliness was strong
in Lizzie, though she did feel stiff and tired
By dinner-time both roomshadbeen thoroughly
cleaned, though neither looked much the better,
to the girl's great disappointment.
"I told you it wasn't much use cleaning
here," said Mrs. Glossop, when Lizzie spoke
about this. "If you just keep the dirt out of
your mouth, it's about all you can do."
"I suppose it is," said Lizzie, looking at the
front-room, which she had taken so much pains
to scrub, in the hope of making the floor whiter,
or rather, a little less black. But her labour
had been in vain, and now she felt ready to cry
with weariness and vexation, for it seemed to
justify her aunt's plan of doing no more than
she was actually obliged in the way of cleaning.
"There! come and have your dinner," said
her aunt. "We don't have baked meat and
potatoes every day, but I do like a bit of hot
meat on Sunday when I can get it."
She had just brought it in from the baker's
next door, and the smell was very appetising,
and soon made the girl forget her annoyance
about the room.
Now, after I've washed up the dinner-things
I'm going to lie down and have a rest, and you
can do the same if you like, or you can go to
the hospital," said Mrs. Glossop, as she pushed
her plate forward for some more potatoes.
"I should like to lie down and go to sleep,
but I must go and see Harriet at the hospital,"
There'll be small chance of getting any
sleep, for the children will be up and down
stairs all the afternoon; but it's something to
be able to lie down and feel you have a right
to do it. I'll do my folding first, though, and
then I can put the things under the bed to
mangle them. I always do that, it saves the
trouble of taking 'em to the mangle, and the
money it would cost too."
Lizzie helped her aunt to clear the table and
fold the clothes, then dressed herself, ready to
go to the hospital, for unless she was ready to
go in when the gates opened, she would have
so little time to spend with her old friend, and
she quite longed to see her now, and hear what
her impression of London life was.
Harriet was very ill when she came up from
the country, and there was some doubt whether
she would ever get much better; but the clever
doctors at the hospital had been able to discover
exactly where her back had been injured by the
bull, and apply the proper remedies, so that now,
to Lizzie's amazement, the invalid was able to
greet her with a pleasant smile as she walked
up the ward between the two rows of little beds.
"Oh, Harriet, how much better you look
already!" exclaimed her friend, as she seated
herself beside the bed.
"I am better, too; the doctors here are so
clever and everybody is so kind, that it would
be strange if I did not get better. How are
you, dear? You don't look very well, I think
-not so well as you did when you went to
"I suppose not. Going to school and going
out in the world makes-a difference, for when
school is over we have to begin real work; and,
of course, I have hardly got used to London
She did not want to give Harriet a bad im-
pression of London, or the work she had to do,
until she knew more about it than she did at
present, so she said nothing about the washing
and cleaning being done on Sunday at her
"What work do you do?" asked Harriet,
"Oh, I finish off the shirts or aprons, do the
little bits at the end where the machine don't
touch-everything has to be finished off, to
make sure it is right before it goes home,"
That must be easy enough, I should think,"
said Harriet; easier than going to service to
Well, you have to work very fast, and it
makes your head and back ache to sit still so
long," replied Lizzie.
"Oh yes, of course; but just sewing and
hemming can't be very hard work, you know.
I wonder what they are doing at home now,
Lizzie? Don't you wish you could just peep
in and see them ?-not to stay, of course ; for,
as we have come to London, we shan't want to
go home again yet awhile. I mean to try and
stay now I am here, and I want you to look out
for a chance for me-you said you would, you
"Ye-es," answered Lizzie, slowly. She did
not like to say how different the reality of this
London life was from the fancy picture she had
imagined concerning it; but she did manage to
say, Sewing and finishing off isn't the easy
work you think it is, Harriet; and the girls say
the machine-work is harder still."
"You haven't tried that yet?" asked the
"There isn't a machine to spare, because
there is such a rush of work just now,"
answered Lizzie. "My aunt takes the work,
you know, and the machines are hers; but the
girls who come to work for her pay for the use
of them every week, and then aunt pays them,
for every dozen of things they make, a little
less than the shops pay her; so while there is
so much work to do, everybody has their own
machine, don't you see."
But-but I thought you were going to learn
your aunt's business properly," said Harriet, in
a disappointed tone. "I was thinking when
you got on a bit she might be willing to teach
So she will, I dare say, when you are well
and can come out of the hospital; but that
won't be yet awhile, I expect," added Lizzie.
Well, I don't know; I heard the doctor say
yesterday that I should not be ill so long as
they thought I should at first, so I may soon
be able to come out and begin some work.
Wouldn't mother be glad to hear that, for she
said after we got here she was afraid I should
never have such a chance as you had got. Will
you ask your aunt about it before you come
next Sunday ? You will come next Sunday and
see me, won't you ? added the invalid, eagerly.
She could not quite understand her old friend.
Lizzie was more thoughtful, more gentle in her
manner, and yet Harriet could see that she was
somehow unwilling to ask her aunt about this
work for her, in spite of all she had said about
it as they came up in the train together.
Harriet had not been able to say much about
it then. She felt too ill, and was in too much
pain; but since the pain had been relieved and
she had felt better, she had recalled these
promises of help from her old friend, and was
now eager to avail herself of her proffered
"Don't you think we'd better wait and see
how I get on with the work before you make up
your mind to begin it? I tell you it ain't so
easy to get a living in London as you may
think, and so, if I find things ain't what we
thought they would be, why, it would be better
for you to go straight home when you get well,"
The tears rose to Harriet's eyes at these
discouraging words from her friend. "What
am I to do at home ?" she said. "You know
what a lot of us there is in that little house,
and father often out of work in the winter-time.
I tell you, Lizzie, I won't go home again if I
can help it, for I've made up my mind to stop
here and earn some money, so that I can send
some home and help mother a bit. With seven
mouths to fill out of father's wages, you don't
know what a hard pinch it was for us some-
times. You were better off than anybody else
in the village, and so you don't know," said
Harriet, now fairly crying at the recollection of
the pinching times of poverty, when food and
firing alike were scarce.
"Don't cry, don't cry, dear, and I'll see what
34 Lizzie's Experiment.
I can do," whispered Lizzie, tenderly kissing
her, yet the tears were in her own eyes as she
spoke. "You see, I don't know enough about
the work yet to really find out whether you
could do it, and how much money you could
earn; but I'll ask aunt to tell me about this
when I go home, or perhaps Lydia Perkins
would tell me if I asked her."
"Aren't you friendly with the girls who work
for your aunt ?" said Harriet in some surprise
as she wiped her eyes.
They're not very friendly with me. You
see, they don't like fresh girls coming to do
their work; they call it taking the bread out of
their mouths, and said aunt had no business to
have me. Lydia is not quite so bad as the rest,
and I'll ask her to tell me what a girl can
earn when there isn't such a rush as there is
just now. I don't like rushes of work like
this; there isn't time for anything else, and-
and--" But there Lizzie stopped, fearing
she had already said too much.
She did not want anybody at Ashmead to
know she was not quite satisfied with her
You see, I haven't seen enough of the work
yet," she said by way of explanation; "but
I don't want mother and Miss Passingham to
think I'm not satisfied, for I've told them I like
it ever so much, so mind what you say when
you write home."
"But I'm not allowed to write yet," said
Harriet. Nurse wrote a letter for me the other
day, as you didn't come on Sunday, for you told
mother you would write and let her know how
I was getting on."
"And I lost my way last Sunday afternoon,
for the gates shut at four o'clock, they told me,
and it struck four when I got back to aunt's,
after going ever so far the wrong way. But I'll
write when I get home if you like, and tell her
how much better you are."
Oh yes, do, please Lizzie; mother will feel
ever so much better if she knows you have been
to see me. Tell her you lost your way last
Sunday, for I had to tell her in nurse's letter
that I had not seen you."
"All right, I'll make her understand," said
Lizzie, greatly relieved to have the home corre-
spondence left to her, for she could prevent any
awkward questions being asked or answered if
she did the letter writing.
So, this matter settled, the girls spent a
pleasant hour together until the bell rang, and
the nurse came to remind her that she must go
"Your friend is better, and will soon be able
to go out if she is very careful; and we don't
want to keep her here when she ought to be at
home. She has talked long enough now; if
there is too much talking her back will be bad
again, and she will get no sleep to-night." And
nurse stood by the bed while the girl said good-
bye, for she could see the traces of excitement
in Harriet's flushed face, and was determined
that Lizzie should not linger to say any more
now that the bell had rung.
So Lizzie hurried out of the hospital and
36 Lizzie's Experiment.
made the best of her way home, for she wanted
to go to church in the evening; and to do this,
and keep her promise to Harriet as well, the
letter must be written before she went, or there
would be no chance of doing it until the next
HEN Lizzie left the hospital she thought
she would go for a walk before returning
home, that she might be able to say she
had seen some of the grand places when she
wrote her letter, otherwise they might think
she had no time to go about and see the sights
Jack had spoken of London Bridge in one of
his letters, and it was near London Bridge that
he worked, so that she thought she could not do
better than find her way there, and perhaps she
might see Jack, for she had not seen him yet,
though he had promised to come one evening
when he left off work.
But when at last the bridge was reached, she
was too tired and foot-sore even to feel the
wonder that she thought she ought to experi-
ence. She peeped over the parapet and saw a
few dirty barges drawn close up to the shore,
and a steamboat in the distance, but there'were
no grand ships such as she had expected to see;
and the river looked a muddy, sluggish stream
-not nearly so wide as she had thought it would
be, and she turned away feeling ready to cry, for
now she had all that long walk to go back, and
to increase her dismay a neighboring church
clock struck five as she turned round to retrace
Oh dear, what shall I do; what will aunt
say ? exclaimed Lizzie half-aloud in her
She walked as fast as she could, but in spite
of all her efforts the clock had struck six before
she got home, and her aunt was standing at the
door looking for her when she turned the corner
of the street.
"Wherever have you been, Lizzie? said
Mrs. Glossop in a cross tone.
To see London Bridge," replied Lizzie with
a weary sigh.
London Bridge uttered her aunt. But
I thought you wanted to go to the hospital and
see that friend of yours."
"Oh, I went there first," answered the girl.
"I thought I might go and see the bridge when
I came out."
And you've seen it, I s'pose. Tired as a dog,
ain't you ? Well, if you country-people don't
beat all for seeing sights. Fancy walking all
that way to look at a bridge." And, in spite of
her vexation, Mrs. Glossop could not help
laughing, though Lizzie could not see what
there was to laugh about.
Have you had your tea, aunt ? she ventured
to ask as she followed the widow into the back
"Why, yes, an hour ago. I thought you
would have been home to get the tea ready for
me," she added in an injured tone.
"I didn't think you'd want tea at four o'clock,
when I came out of the hospital, and so I went
to find London Bridge," said Lizzie, dropping
into the first chair she reached.
She felt too tired to eat anything yet; but her
aunt was evidently in a hurry to get the tea-things
out of the way this evening, for she poured out
the tea at once, and so Lizzie was obliged to take
off her hat- and begin to eat some bread-and-
"Now you will want to write a letter, I
suppose," said Mrs. Glossop.
Yes; I promised Harriet I would write to her
mother. But I want to go to church too," said
Lizzie, as the bells of a neighboring church
began to ring for evening service.
"Well, you can't do both, that's certain," said
her aunt; and if you mean to go to church
you'll have to make haste over your tea."
Do you think I should be able to write my
letter to-morrow night ?" asked Lizzie, but not
venturing to look at her aunt as she asked the
Bless the girl! What can you be thinking
of ? With all that work in the house, that must
be got in by Tuesday morning, what time will
there be to write letters ?" demanded Mrs.
Glossop. She began to think Lizzie was a
most unreasonable girl. You didn't come
here to see the sights and write letters about
them," she said; "you came here to work, and
work you must while you are with me."
"Do you think I could write my letter when
I came home from church 2" Lizzie ventured to
ask when she was putting the tea-things away.
"It will be bed-time then. You ought to go
to bed now, so as to get well rested for to-
morrow. You seem to forget that is what
Sunday is for. What we should do without it
I don't know, though I do grumble sometimes
at having to keep the machines still all day
when there happens to be a sudden spurt of
work in the slack time, as there sometimes is.
Ah, no, I'm very thankful for Sunday on the
whole, for if it wasn't for that day coming
round we should never get a proper clean up, or
a rest either. Sunday is to rest, that we may
work better on Monday; but we shan't do that
if you get so tired out that you ain't fit for
Monday morning's work," added the widow
It seemed rather a hard doctrine to Lizzie,
for at that rate life was quite as hard in London
as it was in the country; and again came the
thought-should she write a letter to Miss
Passingham and tell her frankly all about her
work here, and ask her, if she was not suited
with a girl, to let her come to the Vicarage and
be her servant, as it was arranged before she
thought of coming to London ?
But the thought of what friends and neigh-
bours would say if she went back made Lizzie
hesitate. And when at last a sheet of paper was
40 Lizzie's Experiment.
found, it was too dirty to write to a lady like
Miss Passingham; she must just write to Mrs.
Martin and tell her about Harriet, and that she
had been to see London Bridge, and she would
wait a little longer before writing her letter to
It took Lizzie a long time to write Mrs.
Martin's letter, for she knew she would be ex-
pected to say something about her work, or else
the omission would be sure to cause some talk
in the village, and what to say puzzled the girl
not a little.' She could not honestly say she
liked it, and she began to fear, from the nume-
rous hints dropped by her aunt, that the present
conditions were not so much worse than those
that usually prevailed, as she had at first
But to tell all the truth, and say she was
bitterly disappointed at the grim reality of life
in London would never do, and so she must be
careful what she said about the work. She
could truthfully say that her aunt was kind, for
she was less snappish than her step-mother;
and if she spoke sharply sometimes, it was
because she was constantly harassed, lest some-
thing should go wrong with the work.
Yes, she could say, "Aunt is kind, and we
have plenty of work, and I am learning to do it
faster than I could at first." That would sound
as though she was learning the business, and
was very comfortable in her new home.
Of course she could write freely about her
visit to the hospital, and how much better
Harriet was, and how pleased they were to see
each other; but she was careful to say nothing
about her friend taking up the same kind of
work that she was doing. Her visit to London
Bridge was spoken of that country friends might
know she had seen some of the wonderful sights
of London; and having told about this, she
closed her letter, thinking she had managed it
all very cleverly.
Perhaps if there had been no eyes to see it
but those for whom it was intended, it might
have served its purpose very well, for Mrs.
Martin had no time to think much about the
letter when once it had been read to her. That
Harriet was getting better, and Lizzie had been
to see her, set her mind at rest about her
daughter; and so, when her husband had seen
the letter too, she sent it up to the Vicarage,
that Miss Passingham might hear about the two
Possibly, if the lady had been occupied with
the outer stir and bustle of life, she might not
have thought much about the matter, and sup-
posed that Lizzie was quite happy in her new
home; but, shut in as she was, she had time to
think more deeply than her neighbours about
many things, and this letter disquieted her. It
was as though another sense taught her to read
between the lines, and so the things Lizzie did
not mention came to be uppermost in her mind;
and when Miss Channing came into the room to
sit with her, she said, Read this letter, Elsie,
and tell me what you think about it."
"It's from Lizzie Milner. Her father told
me last week he had had a letter from her;
42 Lizzie's Experiment.
but she did not say much about her work," said
the young lady, as she seated herself beside her
"What do you think about it, aunt ? she
asked when she had finished reading it.
"I believe she is disappointed, and won't
own it. My dear, we must keep the girls from
running off to London as they do," said the
"But how is it to be done?" asked Miss
"Well, there will have to be changes all
round, and your uncle's plan of letting the
glebe land at a cheap rent for allotment gardens
will be one way to help; for, if the labourers
are a little better off, the girls could stay at
home and help their mothers, who often need
them very badly, but can't afford to keep them.
Then Mr. Pattison and your uncle have a plan
for starting a dairy school, that the girls may
be taught to make butter and cheese in a better
manner than they do now. Mr. Pattison says
he could rent more land and do more butter-
making if it wasn't such a bother to get decent
dairymaids; and he thinks if the girls could be
persuaded to stay and learn this as a business,
there would be no need for them to go to
But it's the sights of London that charm
them so much. See what Lizzie says about
the grand streets, and this walk to London
Bridge! We haven't got a London Bridge, and
a river with ships for them to look at," added
the young lady with a sigh.
"No; but we might make the evenings
pleasant for them down at the schoolroom some-
times. Suppose we had the old piano moved
down there, and in the winter-time invite the
elder girls to come there two or three times a
week. Their homes are often cold and miser-
able in the winter-time, because there is not
room for them all to crowd round the one little
fire; but if the schoolroom was well warmed
and lighted, and some picture-books and a few
parlour games provided, it would make a break
in the dullness of their lives."
Oh, auntie, I wonder we had not thought of
it before! Marion and I could play for them,
of course, and show them the games. Why, it
would make our own winter evenings more
pleasant," exclaimed the young lady eagerly.
"Oh! Marion will be pleased, for she is con-
stantly worrying me about the girls going to
London to this miserable needlework as they
do," and without waiting for further discussion
with her aunt, she went in search of her cousin
to tell her of Miss Passingham's idea for the
Oh, you clever auntie was Marion's ex-
clamation when she came into the room with
her cousin a few minutes later. "Tell us more
about it, please."
Well, I hardly think that will be necessary,"
said the invalid, smiling. Surely your active
young brains can work out the details. Just
think what you would do if you had a party of
young friends of your own to amuse. Some of
the girls will like one thing, and others another;
44 Lizzie's Experiment.
but you will find out as you go on. Experience
will teach you to correct the first mistakes.
There will be a little expense, of course, for gas
and firing, but that I will pay out of my own
pocket for the first year; and the girls can do
the extra sweeping and cleaning themselves, for
if you give the elder ones a share in the manage-
ment of these social evenings, it will be much
better than doing it all yourselves.
This is a mistake often made. People like
to amuse themselves in their own way better
than being amused, so you must take care not
to fall into this error in forming your plans.
At first have things as simple and informal as
possible. One of you can show a group how to
manage some parlour game at the table, while
the other gives them some simple music on the
piano. Then you could have musical chairs,
and blind man's buff, and the sort of games we
used to have for a birthday party when you
were little children. Depend upon it, the girls
will like this much better than being sung
"I should, I know. Why, I like a game at
musical chairs even now," said Elsie Channing.
"Oh, auntie, I am so glad you thought of it.
Now, if Mr. Pattison will only do what papa
wants him about the dairy school, I shall think
it was a good thing we came here, and that the
horrid bull knocked Harriet Martin down and
made you worse. I was cross about that at
first, for it seemed so dreadful that Harriet
should suffer so much from farmer Pattison's
carelessness; but if papa can get him to make
some compensation by starting a dairy school,
and taking Harriet for the first scholar, good
will come out of it very soon for all the village
"Yes; but you must not try to hurry papa's
plans by talking of them too soon. At present
nothing is settled, remember, so be careful when
you write to Harriet not to mention what we
have been talking about. She will not be able
to leave the hospital for some time, so there will
be no need for telling her our plans for her
future just now."
The girls readily promised to do as their aunt
wished about this matter, but the talk con-
cerning the glebe land being turned into allot-
ment gardens had already got beyond the
Vicarage, and was not long in spreading all over
It caused quite a ferment in the little com-
munity, for it was what many of them had
long desired; but their wishes seemed doomed
to disappointment, because there was no land
available for the purpose, until the Vicar had
offered the glebe meadow to be divided as fairly
as it could be into plots, to suit the convenience
of the different applicants.
This would mean increased comfort in every
cottage home, so that women as well as men
were equally stirred by the news when they
heard it. With an allotment garden, there
would always be a plentiful supply of good fresh
vegetables for the dinner- and supper-table.
It would also occupy the men's spare time,
and keep them out of the public-house; and boys
and girls could be set to work here with profit
to themselves and their parents."
Such talking and debating as there was over
the Vicar's offer had never been known in
Ashmead before, and one of the most eager
among them was Lizzie's father. In his slow
way he had been talking about the matter for
years, and now that his hopes seemed to be on
the eve of fulfilment he grew more excited every
The worst of it was the ale-house tap-room
was the only place where they could meet to
discuss the different points that to them seemed
to need threshing out before they could decide
what sized plots to apply for, and Milner had
not been used to drink more than a pint of ale
of his own brewing, which was very different
from the stuff they sold at the Red Cow.
Perhaps if he had limited himself to his usual
pint of home-brewed it would have been different,
but he drank and drank without much thought
of what he was doing in the heat of argument,
until the unwonted quantity of strange liquor
made itself felt unpleasantly both to himself
and his neighbours, and he grew dictatorial and
quarrelsome, and his wife's scolding ways did
not improve matters.
Perhaps if Lizzie had been at home he would
have taken warning for his girl's sake, and
avoided the Red Cow after the first mishap;
but, as it was, there was nobody to say a kind,
coaxing word now, as Lizzie used to do, and so
he went again and again, to the injury of his
health and pocket alike, although the Vicar
A Hat and Feather.
heard nothing'of it for some time afterwards-
not, indeed, till the mischief had been done, and
the doctor called in to attend Milner for a bad
fall he had had going home late one night from
this social gathering at the Red Cow.
A HAT AND FEATHER.
EANWHILE, Lizzie had been promoted to the
use of a sewing-machine. She had to
learn to use it after work hours were
over, for, as Mrs. Glossop said, she could not
afford to keep a machine idle, or as bad as idle.
She had to stitch away on odd bits of rag after
the other girls had left at eight o'clock, tired as
she might be with her own share of the work-
the finishing off each garment.
This included taking home the big bundles to
the shops, and sometimes having to stand for
an hour waiting for the money or the next bundle
of work. But, in spite of this dreaded ordeal,
Lizzie was more hopeful now, for her aunt had
promised to pay her threepence a dozen for the
shirts she made, in addition to keeping her, and
so she was very eager and anxious to master the
difficulties of the sewing-machine, that she might
begin regular work like the other girls.
Her aunt was not so busy now, and one of
these could more easily be spared; and so, on the
first opportunity, one of them was discharged
that Lizzie might have her machine. The rest
grumbled and refused to be friendly with Lizzie
for pushing herself into their overcrowded ranks,
and for a few days they made her feel very un-
comfortable; but the close attention she had to
give to her work under the machine-needle pre-
vented her from giving much heed to the dis-
agreeable remarks that were made about her.
For the first hour or two in the day this
machine-work seemed far more interesting than
merely sewing and hemming scraps here and
there, by way of finishing off the garments, and
when she went to see Harriet the following
Sunday she told her she had begun to use a
sewing-machine and liked it very much, and
thought she would soon get on now. "I am
going to have a hat with a red feather for best,"
she added, and she was delighted to see how
wonder-stricken Harriet looked as she told this
piece of news.
"Won't it cost a lot of money ?" said the
sick girl rather enviously, for she did not get
well as fast as she would like.
"Oh, but I can afford it now; aunt is going to
pay me threepence a dozen for the shirts I make,
as well as keep me. When I have been here
three months I shall have all I can earn, aunt
says, and pay her for my board, and then I shall
be able to get a new dress, I expect.
"But-but you'll have to make twelve shirts
for threepence! said Harriet. Just a farthing
each for all the sewing and hemming in a shirt!"
repeated the invalid.
A Hal and Featler.
Oh, but they are different from those we
used to make at school," said Lizzie in a tone
of superior wisdom, and smiling at her friend's
ignorance. We just race along the hem as fast
as we can make the machine go, and it gets done
How many can you make in a day ? asked
Oh, not many yet, because I can't make the
machine go as fast as the other girls do. You
see, I only began to use it yesterday, so I can't
expect to do it all at once."
Oh no, of course not; only I thought you
might have heard how many the other girls
could make in a day, and how much they could
earn. I wonder you did not ask them; I should
if I had been you," added her friend.
No you wouldn't, if they had been as dis-
agreeable with you as they are with me always.
I should like to see you ask Hetty Collins what
she earned, and how much her hats cost her.
She has a new hat nearly every week, so she
must have earned a lot of money I am sure."
"Why didn't you ask your aunt what you
could earn ?" said Harriet.
"I did once, and she said as much as the
other girls, if I liked to try."
"And you never asked her how much they
could earn! exclaimed Harriet in a tone of
Well, I have hinted at it once or twice, but
I didn't like to ask it straight out, as she didn't
tell me. Of course I know they have to work
hard for what they get; but still it must be a
50 Lizzie's Experiment.
good lot, or else they wouldn't be able to buy so
many new hats as they do-hats with feathers
too, not just a straw one with a bit of ribbon on
it, like yours and mine," added Lizzie.
The liberty to wear a fine hat with a feather
in it was evidently a great delight to Lizzie, and
had some fascination for the invalid, though she
could not be expected to show the same eagerness
about it just now, as she could not hope to wear
one yet awhile.
With Lizzie it was different. She was within
measurable distance of possessing a hat with
a red feather; or, at least, she thought so,
and wondered whether it would not be possible
to get it by the following Sunday, that she
might wear it when she came to see Harriet
"I wonder what they will say at home when
they hear I have bought myself a hat with a
feather in it," said Lizzie, with a smile of
eager anticipation. She had forgotten Miss
Passingham's talk about temptation by this
"I wonder," repeated Harriet; "but I forgot
to tell you they have got something of their own
to wonder over now. There's going to be allot-
ment gardens, if you know what they are. Miss
Channing wrote and told me about it, and she
says everybody is very pleased. I wonder
whether it will make any difference to mother
and the little ones. You see, I am the eldest,
and so I have to think about them," she added,
by way of excuse.
I should think it would make a good deal of
A Hat and Feather.
difference," said Lizzie. I have heard father
say a bit of garden is worth five shillings a week
to a labouring man. I have heard lots about
the gardens-not that we wanted one very badly,
for we had a good long piece belonging to our
house; but you have only got a tiny bit of garden
-not enough to grow all the potatoes and
cabbage and carrots you want to eat-and so if
your father could get an allotment garden it
would be a fine thing."
Well, we shall have one, I expect, if it's like
you say; but still, I know mother would be glad
if I could help her with a shilling or two now
and then, so I hope you will speak to your aunt
for me the first chance you get."
"Oh, I will, never fear! But I can't under-
stand about the allotment gardens, for I re-
member father saying one day Ashmead couldn't
never hope to get them, for there was no land
to be had near enough."
"But Miss Channing says it is nearly settled,
so they must have found the land somewhere.
I am glad, if it is likely to make all that differ-
ence to mother. I don't believe you know how
hard things are for some of us in the winter-
time, or you would understand how anxious I
am to find out all about this work. Tell your
aunt I don't mind how hard I have to work so
that I can earn enough to help mother a
"And buy a hat like mine," put in Lizzie,
with a smile.
Of course I should like a nice hat if I could
get one, but I won't mind wearing a shabby one
so that I can help mother. We shall have
winter coming again soon, and I do want to get
to work so that the money I earn may help
them over it a bit at home."
"Well, I have spoken to aunt about you, and
she said when you could leave the hospital you
might come and see her about it, unless they
send for you to go home."
"Oh, mother wouldn't do that," said Harriet.
"I know she wants me to get some work in
London if I can now I am here."
"Well, I don't think you need worry yourself
much about the work, for there seems such a
lot to be done that there will be enough for you
and me too. If your mother should say any-
thing about it, tell her you are coming to work
with me when you are well enough."
Lizzie was more cheerful and hopeful to-day
than Harriet had seen her since she had been
in London; and, of course, she thought as she
got more used to the work she found it more
easy to do.
Perhaps Lizzie had persuaded herself that
this would be the case; at all events, under the
stimulus of buying a new smart hat, she worked
on through the next few days, trying to per-
suade herself and her aunt too that she could
work on until ten o'clock at night, instead of
leaving off at eight as the others did. But Mrs.
Glossop could not allow this, and so she had to
put aside her work and clean her machine, and
put it ready for the next day's work as the
Four shirts was all she had done for her
A Hat and Feather.
twelve hours' labour, and the large sum of one
penny was all she had earned the first day.
Of course she would be able to do more the next
day, and still more the one following; but, work
as she would, she could not get the coveted
hat by the following Sunday. It was doubtful
whether she would get it in a month, although
it was the cheapest and most splendid hat
Lizzie had ever seen. It was in a shop window
a few streets off, and Lizzie went to look at it
as often as she could, dreading each time she
went to see that the stand had got another in
its place-that this one was sold and altogether
beyond her reach.
On Saturday, when she went to fetch some
fried fish for supper, she went on as far as this
shop, and saw, to her relief, that the hat was
still in its old place, though there were some
girls in the shop buying hats. Lizzie stood
with her nose pressed against the glass of the
window to watch whether they did buy what
she had set her heart upon possessing, but they
did not seem to be charmed with what had
captivated her fancy, and she breathed a sigh
of relief when she saw them leave the shop,
while her hat still hung on its stand safely.
She ran home as fast as she could with the
fish for supper, but her aunt was rather cross
at being kept waiting so long.
"There's a letter come for you," she said,
when they had nearly finished their meal, and
as she spoke she pointed to the mantelpiece,
where she had put it.
Lizzie took it down eagerly enough, but she
did not look so pleased when she saw the hand-
writing on the envelope.
"It's from Miss Marion," she said-" the
young lady I told you about, who scolded me
for wanting to come to London."
"And now she wants you to go back, I sup-
pose," said Mrs. Glossop.
Lizzie opened her letter and read it. "She
says if I am not comfortable, or do not like the
work, I can go back to be waiting-maid to her
aunt-the lady who is always ill."
"Then good-bye to the hat and red feather,"
said her aunt with a short laugh.
"But I'm not going," said Lizzie. "I should
be a stupid to go back just as I'm beginning
to get on with the work. You say I shall soon
be able to earn enough to get some new things,
so I think I'll wait till I get them before I go
Gals that come to London don't often want
to go back, I can tell you," said her aunt.
"The country's dull, and there's no chance to
wear fine clothes down there."
"Miss Marion says father ain't been well,"
remarked Lizzie, without noticing her aunt's
Well, your mother's there to look after him;
I don't suppose they want you at home to do it.
Did th e lady say they did ? "
Oh no! She only wants me to go back and
be Miss Passingham's servant. She just men-
tions about father. I don't suppose it's much
more than a little rheumatism again," added
Lizzie; and then she put the letter in her
A Hat and Feather.
pocket and went to bed-not to think about it,
or the offer it brought, but of the smart hat and
cloak she intended to buy as soon as she could
earn money enough.
The following Saturday Lizzie went and
bought the coveted hat with the red feather.
She had not earned the whole of the money
required, but her aunt lent her a shilling to
make it up, so that she was able to go to the
hospital the following Sunday, looking as unlike
the neat, tidy Lizzie Miller who first went there
as it was possible to imagine. She had cut her
hair in front, as most of the work-girls wore it
in that fashion, and with the hat and red
feather perched on the top of her head, she
looked almost as vulgar as any of them.
If Miss Passingham could have seen her, she
would have known that her warnings had all
been forgotten; but the unseen Friend was
watching over the girl, although she had no
time to pray, and no time to think of anything
but work, and how she could manage to earn
enough to buy a cloak, now she had got her
56 Lizzie's Experiment.
SAD NEWS FROM ASHMEAD.
oa a few days after the hat was bought,
Lizzie was pleased enough, but as the
days went on she found that her fatigue
increased rather than diminished as she sat
closer to the work; and it was poor comfort to
think of the hat laid away in the cupboard,
when her back ached until she felt sick.
She had buoyed herself up with the hope that
it would get better as she grew more used to
the motion of the machine, but this proved a
cruel fallacy, and at last her long-tried hope
and patience gave way. The immediate cause
of this was the discovery that, work as hard as
she might when work was brisk, she could not
hope to earn more than four or five shillings a
week, and of this she would always have to
pay her aunt four if she continued to live with
To earn four or five shillings a week sounded
a great deal at first, but she had learned that
here in London it soon went, for the purchasing
power of money seemed so much less than it
was in the country. How it was she could not
quite understand; but the discovery that she
would only be able to earn this small amount,
though she laboured for twelve or thirteen hours
a day, made her resolve to tell Harriet Martin
Sad News from Ashmead.
not to attempt living in London if she had the
chance of going back."
"But five shillings a week is a lot," said
Harriet. "Father often earns only seven, and
there were six of us to live upon it "
Ah, yes But five shillings at Ashmead and
five shillings in London are very different: I
have learned that much. Here every little drop
of milk has to be paid for, and every bit of
vegetable too. I can tell you, Harriet, people
make a fine mistake when they think that
money means so much more comfort in London,
for it don't. Aunt has to pay seven and six-
pence a week for her two rooms. Think of it-
seven and sixpence a week! and the man comes
for it every Monday, and woe betide you if it
isn't ready! I could hardly believe it at first,
but I had to pay it one day when aunt had
gone out, so I know it's true enough. Then
nobody has a garden to get a bit of vege-
table here; and there don't seem to be any
neighbours to give you a bit of anything
"Oh, how dreadful!" exclaimed Harriet.
"What should we have done last winter if it
hadn't been for your father and one or two
others sending us in potatoes and things ? "
"I don't know about being dreadful; but it
ain't half so good as I thought it was; I know
that," said Lizzie. Of course you can do as
you like here, and wear what you like, and all
that, but you soon get tired of it. There's this
hat now; you know how wild I was to get it-
thought of nothing else for a little while after
I'd made up my mind to buy it. Well, I almost
hate the sight of the thing now, it looks so
shabby since I got caught in the rain one day;
and I think sometimes if I hadn't been looking
at it in the shop window I might have taken
Miss Marion's offer when it came and gone
back to Ashmead, where, if I didn't have a
hat with a feather to wear, I shouldn't have
the back-ache so continually, or be compelled
to do washing on Sundays."
"Washing on Sundays What do you mean,
Lizzie ?" for she had never told her friend of
this custom in the neighbourhood where she
"It's true enough, Harriet. I was shocked
enough about it at first, but I can see now, as
aunt says, poor people haven't time to do it any
other day, when other work wants doing. Aunt
thinks she is lucky to be obliged to work on
Sunday like that, for if we could do it on Friday
or Saturday it would mean that we had no work
to do for the shops, and the next thing we
should starve, or be turned out of doors if we
couldn't pay the rent."
"Oh, dear! I'm afraid I shall have to go
home then," said the invalid; but the tears
rose to her eyes as she spoke, and Lizzie pitied
her and herself too, for what she should do
when she had lost this old friend she did not
As she walked home from the hospital that
day she resolved to write and tell Miss Passing-
ham that the work she was doing would be too
hard for Harriet, and ask her to take Harriet
Sad News from Ashmead.
to wait upon her, as she dreaded to come home
for fear of being a burden upon her mother and
Sunday was the only day there was time to
write letters, and so after tea she sat down and
wrote her letter instead of going to church.
She was very careful what she said, for she did
not want her friends to know how disappointed
she was with her work. She could easily say
that Harriet would not be strong enough to use
a machine, even when she got well, for Lizzie
was determined to protect her from the misery
of trying it, feeling sure now that she would be
far happier and better off at the vicarage, or
even as Farmer Pattison's dairymaid, than as a
weary London work-girl.
She felt as she posted the letter that she was
giving up her own last chance of returning to
Ashmead, by thus asking Miss Passingham to
take Harriet for the place that had been offered
to her; but she was determined to save her
friend at all costs, and so she did not regret
writing as she had done. She could battle
with the difficulties of London life better than
Harriet, she decided, so that it was just as
well that she, and not Harriet, had made this
The next day a letter came from her mother
to tell her that her father was dead-had died
on Saturday morning.
"I cannot afford to send the money for you
to come home," wrote Mrs. Milner, "for I
expect I shall have to come to London to get
work for myself as soon as I can get rid of the
cottage. I shall bring some of the things with
me-enough to furnish two rooms, as your aunt
does, and then you can work with me, and Jack
can come and live with us."
Lizzie was stunned; she had never thought
of her father's illness as being at all serious.
He was subject to rheumatic attacks, and she
had concluded that the illness referred to one
of these old troubles. And now he was dead!
Dead, and she would never see him again; never
put her arms round his neck and call him her
dear old daddy, as she used to do when she
wanted to coax him to let her do something
-as she had done when she wanted to come
to London. Ah! if only he had not been
coaxed into consenting, she might be at the
Vicarage now. She would have known all about
her father's illness, and perhaps gone home to
help nurse him; at least, she would have seen
him before he died.
"What is it ? asked Mrs. Glossop, with her
mouth full of bread and butter, for it was
breakfast-time; but Lizzie had not spoken or
moved or attempted to eat anything since she
had opened her letter.
She could not speak now, but silently handed
the letter to her aunt, and then stared straight
before her into the empty grate.
Mrs. Glossop wondered what this strange
dumb grief could mean, for Lizzie's white, pain-
drawn face was enough to convince her aunt
that she was terribly upset by the news of her
Lizzie took the cup of tea that her aunt
Sad News from Ashmead.
poured out, and tried to drink it, but she had to
put it down again, for she felt as though she
would choke. "I shall be better presently,"
she said in a hoarse whisper.
"It won't do to give way, you know; we've
got our living to get," said her aunt warn-
"I'll go and begin work at once," said Lizzie,
and she went to her machine and commenced
stitching away at the shirt she was doing.
She could do it almost mechanically, and the
rattle of the machine prevented the other girls
talking to her when they came in; and this
was a sort of relief to her, though she was
scarcely conscious of having any wish in the
But her aunt would far rather have seen her
crying and making a fuss, which would be only
natural, she thought, for she knew Lizzie was
very fond of her father; and so at last she
decided to send her to take a small bundle of
work home that had to be sent in by ten
"You'd better put your things on and go to
Morris's for me," she said; the walk will do
you good, perhaps."
Lizzie was quite willing to go; she was willing
to do anything just now, because she had no
power to resist any suggestion that might be
made. The only feeling she was conscious of
was a desire to hide herself and her grief from
the notice of everybody. But she could not
altogether conceal its effects, for her white, set
face of abject misery told the tale, causing one
of the girls to exclaim as she passed, Whatever
is the matter with Liz this morning ?" And
then every head was turned to look at the
drooping figure of the girl as she went out of
"I never saw anybody look so bad in all my
life," said one in an awestruck whisper, gazing
round at the rest, as if asking for an explana-
Mrs. Glossop waited until Lizzie had closed
the door, and then she said, shortly, "Her
father's dead; she had the letter about it this
"Ah and she's cried herself sick over it,"
said one, in a compassionate tone. Shall I
go with her, and help with the bundle ? she
added; I won't mind losing the time."
But Mrs. Glossop did not believe in such a
wilful waste of time; and she had an idea that
Lizzie would rather be alone with her trouble
until she had got over it a little, so she said
No, no; Lizzie can go to the shop by her-
self." And as she was going out of the door
she said in a kindly tone, "You need not hurry
this morning; take your time about it, Lizzie,
and the walk will do you good."
Yes, aunt," answered the girl, mechanically.
She neither saw nor heard anything that was
passing in the street as she went along, neither
did she quicken the slow pace at which she was
walking when she heard a neighboring clock
strike ten, though she still had some little
distance to walk to the shop.
Sad News from Ashmead.
"How's this?" said the shopman, sharply;
"I told Mrs. Glossop if she couldn't let me have
these things by ten o'clock she wasn't to take
Lizzie lifted her white face to the man
and said, meekly, "He was only ill a little
Stand aside and wait," commanded the
man, thinking Lizzie intended some impudence
by her remark.
It was not the first time Lizzie had had to
suffer in this way, but it did not matter in the
least to her now. Nothing would ever matter
much again, and so she folded her hands and
took her place to wait the shopman's pleasure
to serve her with some more work and pay her
for what she had brought home.
She stood thus nearly an hour, and then other
customers having come and gone, and the man
having nothing else to do, he condescended to
finish the business with Lizzie.
"Now, mind, I must have all this home by
Thursday by half-past nine," he said. Do you
hear, or are you deaf? he added, as he looked
It was only by a desperate effort that she
could summon her failing energy and senses to
take in what was being said, and that she was
expected to tie up the bundle of shirts in her
wrapper and take them away.
The bundle was heavier and larger than the
one she had brought, and on the steps Lizzie
staggered under its weight and almost fell to
the ground. But she went on, and might in
time have reached home safely if there had
been no pushing and jostling along the road to
No one saw her white, pain-drawn face.
She was only a girl with a big bundle that
was in their way, and must be pushed out
There! go on a bit faster," said a man with
a basket as they were crossing a road, already
much crowded with foot-passengers, while every
second minute a cart or waggon would turn into
it from the main thoroughfare. As the man
spoke he gaze Lizzie's bundle a push that he
might pass with his basket, and the next
moment Lizzie was down in the road, and,
before any one could come to her rescue, a cart
had dashed round the corner, and the horse and
one wheel of the cart went over her.
There was a crowd collected in a moment,
and Lizzie and her bundle carried to the pave-
ment; but the girl showed no sign of life, and so
the man who had picked her up carried her to
the hospital, which was close by.
It was soon ascertained that her leg was
broken, but whether there were any other
injuries the doctor could not say; and no one
knew who she was until she was carried to the
ward and laid on the bed, and then one of the
patients recognized her as the girl who had been
there to see a friend the previous day; for
Harriet had been taken out into the garden just
before Lizzie was carried in.
As soon as she came back, however, she was
told that her friend had been brought in with a
broken leg, and she could tell the sister her
name and where she lived, so that Mrs. Glossop
might be informed of what had happened, for
Lizzie herself showed no sign of returning con-
sciousness for some hours after arrival.
"I wonder whether she has been hurt any-
where else, because a broken leg would not
cause this," said one of the patients, when she
heard that Lizzie had neither moved or spoken
since she had been brought to the hospital. The
doctors and nurses, too, seemed puzzled and
anxious about the new patient's condition, and
they sent a messenger to fetch her aunt at
HE account Mrs. Glossop gave of the news
that had reached them that morning,
and the effect it had upon Lizzie, was
sufficient to convince the doctors that Lizzie
was seriously ill from the previous shock, before
her leg was broken.
She never cried, you say, when she read
this letter ?"
No, sir; she never spoke a word hardly, and
yet I know she was very fond of her father.
Harriet Martin will tell you the same,".she
added, looking round, and wondering whether
she was near.
She was allowed to go and see Lizzie after
speaking to the doctor, and finding a young
girl sitting beside the bed, she guessed it was
her friend Harriet, and spoke to her.
"You know, poor Lizzie has lost her father,"
said the widow with a sigh as she stood looking
at the unconscious girl.
''Mr. Milner dead!" exclaimed Harriet. "Then
that was how it all happened, I suppose, for I
know how fond of each other they were. Oh
dear! she will wish she had never left the
country, I know. They told me he was ill;
but when we talked about it yesterday, Lizzie
said it was sure to be the rheumatism again. Oh,
Miss Passingham will be sorry to hear she is so
"Miss Passingham-that was the lady who
wanted her to go back to the country a little
while ago, wasn't it ? said the widow a little
eagerly. She was wondering what she had
better do, for if Lizzie soon got well she would
not be fit for work directly she came out of the
hospital, and to have her a useless burden upon
her hands for weeks or months was not to be
thought of, especially during the winter when
work might be slack, and food and firing
So, after thinking over the matter for a minute
or two in silence, she said at last, "Yes, you had
better write and tell this lady what has happened
to Lizzie, and that I have told you she won't be
fit for machine-work with a broken leg."
"But they will mend her leg while she is
here," said Harriet.
"Yes, yes, of course; and she will come
out of the hospital in the beginning of winter,
and not be able to earn a penny. You write
and tell the lady what I say." She took care
to impress upon the nurse that she was not
really any relation to the girl, but had taken
her to please her sister, who was the girl's step-
The nurse quite understood Mrs. Glossop's
fears upon the matter, and told Harriet after-
wards that she was not so much to blame, for of
course Lizzie would be unable to use a machine
for some time, and so would be a burden upon
her aunt's hands, unless other friends were
found who were willing to help her.
Harriet had not ventured to write any letters,
as the doctor had forbidden it when she first
came; but she was glad to do it now that nurse
gave her leave.
So the day after Lizzie's letter had reached
Ashmead, Miss Passingham received another
from Harriet, telling her that Lizzie was in the
hospital, but had not spoken since she had been
Fortunately, the invalid was better than she
had been some months when this second letter
reached her, but still she was much disturbed
Our two girls are in the London Hospital,"
she said to the Vicar, who came in just after the
"Dear me, what has happened to Lizzie ?
Perhaps I had better go and see myself when I
go to London next week."
"You have made up your mind to go to
London, then ? said his sister.
"I must see about this business concerning
Elsie's property, and I think I am equally bound
to go and look after these two poor girls in the
hospital. Poor Lizzie! I am afraid her life in
London has not been a happy one, from what she
told you in her own letter, so that she may be
glad after this accident to come to us or go to
the dairy school. I am sure country girls could
do better than going to swell the ranks of half-
starved London work-girls."
"I should be very glad if you could go and
see about them. Poor Lizzie is an orphan
now, and Harriet needs looking after quite as
much. If you went to the hospital you would
learn a great deal more of what has really hap-
pened than we could find out by half a dozen
So the following week Mr. Passingham walked
into the ward where Harriet was sitting by
Lizzie's bed, reading to her for a little while.
She was still very ill, suffering more from the
shock of her father's death than from the acci-
dent, and so the nurse had given Harriet leave
to read to her for half an hour to divert her
mind from its all-absorbing thought about her
"Here's our Vicar," suddenly exclaimed
Harriet, with a heightened colour, as she saw
the clergyman speaking to the sister at the other
end of the ward.
They walked down between the beds together,
the sister telling him what she knew about the
It isn't one thing alone that has brought on
this illness," she was saying; the girl's health
seems to be broken down by hard work and poor
food, as well as the shock of her father's death.
She is in a very different condition from the one
who came straight from the country to us. A
girl working twelve hours a day on bread and
dripping or fried fish for dinner, hasn't much
spare strength. That is how this girl has lived
since she has been in London, and she has
confessed that she was seldom free from pains
in her back or chest. This accident has just
brought her to us a little earlier, but she was
certain to break down sooner or later."
Then I am very glad the accident happened,
for we may be able to save her now from her
own folly, if she is only wise enough to see that
life in London is not what she thought it," and
as he spoke the Vicar nodded to Harriet, and then
came across to speak to them.
But the sound of the Vicar's tender voice
asking if she was in much pain, was too much
for Lizzie, and the tears that would not flow
before, now burst forth with such violence that
the sister came hurrying up to see what was the
"It will do her good, if it does not continue
too long," she said, speaking to the Vicar; and
then she beckoned Harriet away, and placed
a chair for the clergyman beside the girl's
70 Lizzie's Experiment.
Mr. Passingham sat down and took the
girl's hand, but did not speak for a minute
or two-not until the storm of sobs and tears
had somewhat exhausted itself, and then he
"Now, Lizzie, shall we have a little talk
about your father ? I went to see him every
day the last week of his life, and he spoke of
you several times."
Oh why didn't father send and tell me he
was so bad ? exclaimed Lizzie, her tears break-
ing out afresh.
We did not know the end was so near; and
then you had written several times to say you
were very busy, and that your aunt had a
great deal of work to do, so that we thought it
would not be fair to fetch you away. This was
how your father looked at it; and not until your
letter reached my sister, asking her to let Harriet
have the place she had offered you, did we know
for certain that your life in London was harder
than you could well bear; it was too late then
to send for you. Your father had died the
previous day; but I had promised him to look
after you, and so I thought I had better come
and ascertain the whole truth when I heard you
were in the hospital."
Lizzie was crying more quietly now. "I wish
I had told father just how things were; only I
hoped to the very last that I should be able to
earn a lot of money, and so did Harriet. She
was to have come to aunt's when she left the
hospital, only when I found that the work was
so hard, and there was no time ever to have a
rest, and yet we could not earn much money,
however hard we worked, I persuaded her not to
stay in London, and wrote to Miss Passingham
to let her have my place."
Ah, I see and in trying to save your friend
from suffering, we learned a little of what you
must have suffered yourself. God had provided
a way of escape for you, and in seeking to save
your friend you have opened this for yourself-
that is, if you want to get away from this life in
London," added the clergyman.
"I should be glad enough now to take the
offer Miss Passingham gave me, if I could; but
I don't know what I ought to do now. If father
was alive, and things were just as they used to
be, I should be glad enough to come home
again as soon as I could leave the hospital;
but I have been thinking of many things
since I have been here, and I don't think I
ought to try and please myself about every-
thing, as I used to think I had the right to
"Then you do not want to come back to
Ashmead ? said the clergyman in a question-
"Yes, I should like to come and be Miss
Passingham's servant better than anything;
but as mother is coming to London to do work
like aunt does, she may want me to stay and
But I do not think your mother is coming
to London, and if she is, I feel sure she would
be quite willing for you to come to us," said Mr.
Passingham. I spoke to her about it before
72 Lizzi's Experiment.
I came away, and she said she never thought
needlework would suit you as well as service.
She said nothing then about coming to London
She told me when she wrote about father-
said it was no good for me to go home for the
funeral, as she would be coming up. It was
this that made me feel so bad about it-that I
should never see father's face again; and I
came away from home knowing he didn't want
me to come." And Lizzie's tears broke out
afresh, and she sobbed out, "Oh, sir, can
God ever forgive such a wicked girl as I
"Hush! hush! Lizzie. You must try and
calm yourself, or you will be worse. Now try
and listen, and I will tell you something your
father said to me just before he died. I think
he must have known then how you would feel
about it, for he said, Tell my little girl she need
not blame herself over much for going to Lon-
don, even though she don't make her fortune
by it. Tell her I freely forgave her, if she ever
thinks I felt bad about her going away.' And
when I promised to give you this message, and
bring you back to the vicarage, if ever you
should want to come, he said he could die in
peace if he knew his little girl would be cared
for. He always spoke of you as his little girl
while he was ill," added the Vicar.
"Oh, father father and I never half cared
for you sobbed Lizzie.
"Lizzie, your father's love and care for you
was but a faint picture of the love of your
heavenly Father, whom you have also grieved
and forsaken. It was because of this that He
sent His dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, into
the world to seek and save those who were
"Oh, I wish you had sent for me when
father spoke about dying! said Lizzie. "I
would have given anything to be able to see
"But no one thought there was any im-
mediate danger; and he said himself, when I
spoke to him about it, that as you were so
comfortable it was a pity to upset you. He had
all he wanted, except the sight of you. I believe
he longed to see you at the last, but was not
quite sure whether you would come, as you
were so busy and happy in London. I told him
I was quite sure you would if you knew you
were wanted, and it was agreed that if he did
not soon get better I was to send for you. It
was the day before he died that he had that
talk, and then the end came so suddenly that
there was scarcely time for me to get down from
the' vicarage. His last words and his last
thoughts were for you and your brother. I was
to give his love to both of you."
-" Oh, sir, I am glad you told father I would
come to him," said Lizzie. "Nothing would
have kept me away if I had known he was really
It was the only bit of comfort to be got out
of the whole miserable mistake now, and Lizzie
hugged this thought. The Vicar, seeing that
she began to look weary after their talk, very
74 Lizzie's Experiment.
soon left her, but promised to come and see her
again before he returned to Ashmead.
When he came again he found Lizzie very
much better, and looking forward to the time
when she could return to the country.
"Aunt has been to see me since you were
here, sir," said Lizzie, "and she thinks I had
better give up all thought of working in London,
because my leg may be weak for a long time,
she says-too weak to use the treadle of the
machine; and I can see she will be very glad
to get rid of me now," she added, with a
"So this is another -difficulty removed out
of the way of your return," said the clergy-
"Yes, sir. I did not know what aunt would
say about it. She did not want me to come
back to the country when Miss Passingham
wrote to me, and she has been as kind as she
could be to me since I have been here, so that
it was only fair to ask her what she thought
before deciding things altogether."
"Yes, you are quite right, Lizzie, to consider
the engagement you made with your aunt when
you undertook this work; but I am equally glad
that you will be able to come home when you
leave the hospital.
"I have been making inquiries all round
since I was here last, and I am sure if country
girls only knew the hardships they were likely
to meet with when they come to London, they
would very gladly go to service or learn to
do something near their own homes rather
than half-starve in London, as many of them
"I won't mind telling anybody now what I
had to put up with," said Lizzie, "if it will
only prevent them making such a mistake as I
did; and I was better off than many girls, for
aunt was good to me in her way. It was the
work being so hard, and the payment for it so
bad, that made things as they were. Why,
poor people can't afford to be clean and tidy,
because it takes so much time from their work;
and if it wasn't for Sunday, when they mostly
do their washing and cleaning, I don't know
what would happen." And then she told the
clergyman of her experience in this matter
while living with her aunt.
"I have heard of worse things than that
during my inquiry," said the clergyman, sadly.
"I can well believe that you owe a debt of
gratitude to your aunt for her care of you, for
God gave her as a protector to you from many
and great evils that beset most girls, who come
here unprotected and unprovided with friends;
so that I hope your experiment may be a
warning to other girls in the village-especially
as we hope to provide occupation for them near
their own homes for the future."
It was arranged before the Vicar left that
both girls should stay at the hospital until they
were well enough to return to the country, and
that one of the nurses should see them into the
train safely when they did go.
This visit from the Vicar did Lizzie more
good than all the medicine she had taken, and
76 Lizzie's Experiment.
in a few weeks' time she was well enough to
undertake the journey home, though she had to
walk upon crutches at first, and would have to
continue to use them for a few weeks, the doctor
Harriet was quite well and strong again by
that time, and both girls were glad to see their
native place once more, basking in the autumn
sunshine, the apples they had left green and
sour, glowing ripe and mellow as they hung in
the orchard waiting to be gathered.
/Harriet spoke of this as they drove home
from the station, for the Vicar had come to meet
them with Marion and Miss Channing./
"Ah, we may learn a lesson from the apples,
Lizzie," said the clergyman, as he gave old
Dobbin a flick with the whip. "They have
been exposed to a good many hot suns and cold
winds since you left them green and sour. Their
ruddy ripeness is the result of all these, and
God deals in the same way with His chil-
dren, and for the same result-that they may
grow tender and gentle towards others. And
so the painful experience you have had in
London should perfect and ripen your charac-
ter, for this is the object to be attained by all
"I am sure Lizzie will be able to tell us a
great deal that we want to know about London,"
"Yes, I think she will give you a fair account
of it now," said the Vicar. But until she had
learned her lesson she was not willing to do
this. She was too proud to let us know she
had made a mistake in what she had done, and
this is the fault of many a girl who goes there.
Rather than let her friends know exactly how
things are with her, she hides the worst half of
her life until it is too late to remedy the mischief
that has been done slowly, but surely. Lizzie
has been saved from this, and in her thank-
fulness for her own escape from lifelong misery,
I hope she will always be willing to let others
profit by her experiment, by telling them
fairly just what they are likely to meet with
if they start out in the world as London work-
Oh! but they won't be in such a hurry to
go now, I hope, uncle," said Miss Channing.
"You see, we shall make life in the village so
much more interesting, I hope. You don't know
what changes have been going on here while
you have been away," she said, turning to the
Uncle's glebe land has been turned into
allotment gardens, and the men have begun to
work in them."
"Yes, and we are going to have evening
entertainments in the schoolrooms nearly every
night," said Marion, eagerly.
"And there is to be a reading- and smoking-
room for the men too, so that they won't have
to go to the Red Cow to talk over things, or
to get out of the way when the washing is about
at home," put in Miss Channing.
It was at her expense the alteration was to
be made in the Vicar's barn, which stood suf-
ficiently near the village for the purpose, and
78 Lizzie's y~, .,,cnt.
yet far enough from the Red Cow to avoid
passing its door, which some of the men
would find it hard work to accomplish at
"Yes, we are going to try and keep the
girls and boys from wandering off to London
by making it worth their while to stop in
the country, so that I hope the whole village
will profit by Lizzie's experiment," said the
They drove straight to the vicarage first, for
Miss Passingham wanted to see her girls after
their long absence; but Lizzie was to go and
stay with her stepmother until she could do
without the crutches; and, of course, Harriet
would go home for a day or two before going to
the dairy school, when she would live at the
Mrs. Milner had so far profited by Lizzie's
experience in London as to decide not to remove
there at once-not until she had tried what she
could do here. She was busy enough at present
getting things ready for Lizzie to go to the
vicarage, and for which Miss Passingham had
agreed to pay her, for she had provided the
material for her little maid's outfit, feeling sure
that she would have very few clothes fit to wear
in her service, even if any had been bought in
Truth to tell, Lizzie had come home in the
same hat and jacket she went away in, for the
only article she had bought-the coveted hat
and feather-she felt so much ashamed of, that
when her aunt brought it to the hospital she
begged her to take it home again and give it to
one of the other girls, for she could never bear
the sight of it again. The odious fashion in
which she had cut her hair in the front was
less objectionable now, because during the
first days of her stay at the hospital it had
all been cut to a similar length to relieve her
head, as the doctor feared brain fever would
So no one but Harriet knew about the fringe
on her forehead, and the hat and red feather,
until she told the whole story of it to Miss
Passingham afterwards, with many tears of
regret; for if this folly of wanting a fine hat as
she did had not seized her, she might have
taken the offer again made to her and returned
home before her father died. Some people went
further than this, and said if Lizzie had come
home then, Milner would never have been ill,
for he would have spent his evenings at home,
as he always had done when Lizzie was there
to read to him. This gossip was not allowed to
reach her ears when people saw how deeply she
grieved for her father's death. Not until years
afterwards did she learn what all the village
believed-that her experiment in trying what
the work of London was like had cost her
father his life; and when this whisper did reach
her, it revived all the bitter sorrow she had
passed through when she first heard of his
She gained health and strength each day
after her return from London, so that she was
able to walk without the help of her crutches
much earlier than the doctors anticipated. For
this she was very glad, as she was anxious to
enter upon her duties at the vicarage, and let
her friends know by her deeds, as well as by her
words, how grateful she was for the timely help
that had rescued her from the full effects that'
might have followed upon her London experi-
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