Front Cover
 Half Title
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 Daddy and his boy
 Preparing for the major
 See the conquering hero!
 Ronald's education is found to...
 The hero reinstated
 The consumptive governess
 Rejected addresses
 A very naughty little boy
 A hardening process
 Needles and pins
 Old Solomon
 A queer interruption
 Catherine-wheels and a fire...
 In Conton
 Six sovereigns and a half
 Rash promises
 Peters and the almswomen
 In the Kemps' back-parlour
 Mr. and Mrs. Kemp to the rescu...
 The Major proves himself worth...
 His word of honour
 In church
 Ronald's victory
 Through the keyhole
 A play-wound
 The Major's word of honour
 Poor little drum
 The wounded drummer-boy
 Father's kiss
 Back Matter
 Back Cover

Title: Daddy's boy
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00086681/00001
 Material Information
Title: Daddy's boy
Physical Description: vi, 2, 334, 2 p., 7 leaves of plates : ill. ; 19 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Meade, L. T., 1854-1914
Troubridge, Laura, 1858-1929 ( Illustrator )
Longmans, Green, and Co ( Publisher )
Strangeways & Sons ( Printer )
Publisher: Longmans, Green, & Co.
Place of Publication: London ;
New York ;
Manufacturer: Strangeways & Sons.
Publication Date: 1898
Subject: Boys -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Orphans -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Cousins -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Fathers and sons -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Fathers -- Death -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Uncles -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Children and death -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Retired military personnel -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Christian life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Juvenile fiction -- England   ( lcsh )
Publishers' advertisements -- 1898   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1898
Genre: Publishers' advertisements   ( rbgenr )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
United States -- New York -- New York
India -- Bombay
Summary: After the death of his father, young Ronald Jeafferson suffers under the care of his strict uncle, a retired military man.
Statement of Responsibility: by L.T. Meade ; illustrated by Laura Troubridge.
General Note: Publisher's advertisement follows text.
General Note: "New impression".
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00086681
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002234160
notis - ALH4578
oclc - 247432690

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Half Title
        Page i
        Page ii
        Page iii
    Title Page
        Page iv
    Table of Contents
        Page v
        Page vi
    List of Illustrations
        Page vii
    Daddy and his boy
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 2a
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
    Preparing for the major
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
    See the conquering hero!
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 42a
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
    Ronald's education is found to be defective
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
    The hero reinstated
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 64a
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
    The consumptive governess
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 80a
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
    Rejected addresses
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
    A very naughty little boy
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
    A hardening process
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
    Needles and pins
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
    Old Solomon
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
    A queer interruption
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
    Catherine-wheels and a fire figure
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
    In Conton
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 178a
        Page 179
        Page 180
    Six sovereigns and a half
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
    Rash promises
        Page 194
        Page 194a
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
    Peters and the almswomen
        Page 208
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 211
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
    In the Kemps' back-parlour
        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 227
    Mr. and Mrs. Kemp to the rescue
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 231
        Page 232
        Page 233
        Page 234
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
        Page 238
        Page 239
    The Major proves himself worthy
        Page 240
        Page 241
        Page 242
        Page 243
        Page 244
        Page 245
        Page 246
    His word of honour
        Page 247
        Page 248
        Page 249
        Page 250
        Page 251
        Page 252
        Page 253
        Page 254
        Page 255
        Page 256
    In church
        Page 257
        Page 258
        Page 259
        Page 260
        Page 261
        Page 262
        Page 263
        Page 264
        Page 264a
        Page 265
        Page 266
        Page 267
        Page 268
        Page 269
        Page 270
    Ronald's victory
        Page 271
        Page 272
        Page 273
        Page 274
        Page 275
        Page 276
        Page 277
        Page 278
    Through the keyhole
        Page 279
        Page 280
        Page 281
        Page 282
        Page 283
        Page 284
    A play-wound
        Page 285
        Page 286
        Page 287
        Page 288
        Page 289
    The Major's word of honour
        Page 290
        Page 291
        Page 292
        Page 293
        Page 294
        Page 295
        Page 296
        Page 297
        Page 298
    Poor little drum
        Page 299
        Page 300
        Page 301
        Page 302
        Page 303
        Page 304
        Page 305
        Page 306
        Page 307
        Page 308
        Page 309
    The wounded drummer-boy
        Page 310
        Page 311
        Page 312
        Page 313
        Page 314
        Page 315
        Page 316
        Page 317
        Page 318
        Page 319
        Page 320
    Father's kiss
        Page 321
        Page 322
        Page 323
        Page 324
        Page 325
        Page 326
        Page 327
        Page 328
        Page 329
        Page 330
        Page 331
        Page 332
        Page 333
        Page 334
        Page 335
    Back Matter
        Page 336
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
Full Text

The Baldwin Library
B University



Pz, 0Nuo ,

'I reel very steady, and just like a soldier.'

Fron tispiece.





'Such tricks and such meanings abound on the lips and the brows
that are brighter than light,
The demure little chin, the sedate little nose, and the forehead of
sun-stained white,
That love overflows in laughter, and laughter subsides into love at
the sight.'
After a Reading.


































S 15







S 97




. 144



















S 208




. 247

. 257

S 271

. 279

. 285

. 290

S 299




















Pussy was seriously unwell. He knew this
fact perfectly, for Daddy had so often told
him that when pussies, and doggies were in
health the tips of their noses were cold, and
this. poor pussy's nose was very hot indeed.
He knew that this was so, for he touched it many
times with his soft little fingers. Pussy also at
intervals coughed violently, and when she
coughed it seemed to Ronald that she must
die, so terrible and appalling were the ex-
ertions she made; her eyes, too, instead of


looking very round and very bright, were dull
and half closed.
There was no doubt at all that puss was
ill; so he resolved to sit by her and nurse
her. He could have had a glorious game of
play in the garden if he had preferred it, for
Guy and Walter were both there, and Mary
would come into the garden presently, which
would be a great inducement, as he looked
up so much to Mary, and thought her so
He had some new coloured marbles in his
pocket too, and Violet would have enjoyed a
game with these marbles, and he could have
taught her a new way of playing with them,
which she really ought to know; and he
might further have induced spirited little
Violet to consider the fact, that girls must
be taught to know their own places, and not
be too masterful and encroaching. He could
have had his game of play with Violet, and
then afterwards have the dear delight and
honour of handling a cricket-bat with Guy,

_- ]

I, ii'

.' .- ,r

a' -$

r'4 4

'' Somehow he preferred to sit in the cool barn.'


'' '

"' he'


I T-T",


who liked him and called him a plucky little
chap; but somehow he preferred to sit in the
cool barn by pussy's side, and stroke her
softly from her head right down to the tip of
her tail, and then from her tail to the point of
her nose. He liked to sit here in the dark,
and he hoped sincerely no one would find him,
for the poor sick pussy reminded him of
The darkened barn, through which the
summer light only came in little. chinks and
sharp lines of brightness, brought back vividly
to Ronald's memory a scene in Daddy's life.
It was a short scene, but impressive and not
easily to be forgotten.
Daddy, who had never known a day's
illness, who could handle a gun and land a
salmon better than any other gentleman in
the country, whom Ronald had always known
as the brightest and the most cheery and de-
lightful of human beings, who had taken him
to ride on his shoulder, who had taught him
to climb trees, and to manage his Shetland
0 4-


pony, and who had even begun to give him
his first delightful lessons in cricket, had
suddenly, like poor pussy, become ill. Ronald
did not know how it happened-there was
something said about a gun and about an
accident, and there was a great tumult and
excitement in the house, and more than one
doctor came in his carriage, and stayed for an
hour and went away again.
SRonald curled himself up one day with his
face pressed against the landing window, and
counted three doctors' carriages. He could
not make out what it all meant, nor why his
joyous and bright young father should sud-
denly have become ill.
'It; was not a bit. Daddy's ,way,' Ronald
said to himself. Daddy never had colds like
Mrs. Benson, .the housekeeper, nor pains -in
his joints, nor any of those tiresome, disagree-
able things which Ronald considered the reverse
of manly. He certainly could not understand
it, and he wished very, much to go: to Daddy's
room and ask him what it was all about.,

bAnbb ASD iiiS no3t.

It was just' after the third doctor's carriage
had driven away, that Ronald made up his
mind to follow this impulse.
lie jumped down off the window ledge,
where he had been kneeling for so long, and
ran along the passage and down the wide
stairs of the large house, until he reached
father's room. The sun from a western
window shone directly on the little fellow,
as, with his golden curls all crumpled up,.
and his velveteen suit in a very dusty and
dishevelled condition, he tried to turn the
handle of the door which led to father's room.
The room inside was darkened, with just
little rays of light darting in here and there.
One of these rays of sunlight lay across the
portrait of a girl in a white dress which hung
just over the mantelpiece.
Ronald never passed this picture without
glancing at it, and saying softly under his
breath, 'Mother.' : He was quite glad now,
when -he dame into this dark room, to see
that the sun was kissing the sweet pictured


face of his young dead mother, who had gone
away to God so long ago.
Ronald gave a quick little answering smile
to the smiling eyes which looked down at him.
He had always a great many thoughts about
mother, and he considered it his duty to smile
at her picture, and to assure her by many little
nods and intelligent glances that he and Daddy
never forgot her. He nodded and smiled to
*her now, and then went rapidly round to the
side of the great bed where Daddy was lying.
The trained nurse was not in the room at
this moment, and Ronald raised himself on
tip-toe, and gazed anxiously at the face he
knew and loved. Daddy certainly was greatly
changed-the bronze on his cheeks had given
place to pallor, and there was another look
which made the little anxious child's face
pucker up with a queer wonder and dread.
'Dad,' whispered Ronald, in a low half-
whisper, 'don't stir if you are asleep, and if
you are resting ; but if you are not asleep, just
open your eyes for a minute.'


The blue eyes which Ronald knew so well,
and which were still blue and unchanged,
instantly opened wide, and fixed themselves
with a hungry intensity on the boy.
'Ah, Ronnie!' said the old voice, a little
weakened, certainly, but that did not matter
at all, Ronald thought. 'Ah, Ronnie, so you
have found me out!'
Yes, father. I'm rather messy and dirty,
I know, but I couldn't wait after that third
doctor's carriage bowled away. I want to
know what it all means, so may I climb up on
your bed, and will you tell me?'
'Just the same pickle as ever,' said Daddy,
with a smile in his eyes. 'You may sit on
my bed if you like, little man, I want to see
you; and you may ask me anything you
Ronald instantly availed himself of this
permission, and seated himself on the bed
with a deep sigh of satisfaction.
'Now, Dad,' he began, 'how many more
doctors are coming? You've had three already


to-day. I don't mind, really, how many come,
if they will only make you well as quickly as
possible. IHow long do you really expect to
be ill, Dad?'
'Not long at all, my boy; it is my own
belief that I shall be quite well by the time the
stars come out to-night.'
'These are moonlight nights,' said Ronald,
'and there will be heaps of stars, only the
worst of it is, I'm generally asleep when the
stars come out. Still, that isn't long to be ill,
is it, father? I'm glad the doctors have done
you so much good; Mrs. Benson never gets
rid of her colds so quickly. She is generally
in bed for a week at least, and you will only
have been in bed for two days and a half,
Daddy. If you get up to-night, when the
stars come out, you will have been in bed for
just two days and a half.'
The white face on the' pillow smiled, andl
the blue eyes looked full at Ronald.
You see, Ron,' said the voice, which would
still keep so weak, I never was like Mrs.

bAntY ANb tiis'boY.

Benson, I never would go in for colds'; I
didn't approve of them.'
'I'm glad it wasn't a cold,' said Ronald,
nodding his head. 'I don't think it's manly to be
ill with colds-'twas a gun, wasn't it, father?'
Yes, boy, a poor, silly, unfortunate gun,
which mistook me for a partridge.
How tiresomee' said Ronald, puckering
his brows. 'Well, you weren't so much hurt
as the partridge, because the partridge gets
'Sometimes wounded first,' said his father,
in a weaker voice than ever.
There was a little silence, and the slanting
rays of sunlight crept across the room.
The sick man closed his eyes, but not for
long; each moment they opened wide and
fixed themselves on the boy, who gazed at
him placidly.
Tell me what you diid to-day, Ronald,'
said Daddy, presently.
RPonald lIecame wide awake and excited.
'What I did all day long ?' he inquired.


Yes, everything.'
'Bath first,' began the boy, counting on
his fingers; 'two plunges and my hair well
wet. I didn't mind when Dorothy scrubbed
it. Then breakfast, two plates of porridge,
two slices and a half of bread and butter-I
was hungry; then a quarter of a slice of bread
and jam, and a spoonful of marmalade from
Dorothy, because you weren't there to have
breakfast with. Then I went out and dug
in my garden; there were two fat worms, and
the seeds are coming. up where we planted
them, and I pulled away'some weeds; then a
canter on Bob, and then I came in, and I
couldn't find Dorothy, and I went to the
laundry and watched Susan. Susan gave me
one of your pocket-handkerchiefs to iron, and
I ironed it well, only I blistered my finger,
but that doesn't matter. Dad, will you buy
a little iron for me to have for my very own
to-morrow, when you are quite well again?
How far have I got? oh, to my fourth finger.
My fourth finger means dinner, soup and fish


and pudding. The pudding was dumplings.
Then my fifth finger, that's the doctors ; three
doctors in three carriages. I was so tired
watching them.'
At this moment the hired nurse and Mrs.
Benson both came into the room.
'Dad's much better,' called out Ronald in
his clear voice. 'He's going to be quite well
to-night when the stars come out. He was
not hurt half so badly as the partridges are,
and I am sitting with him now and amusing
him-aren't I amusing you, Daddy?'
Mrs. Benson's eyes were very red indeed,
and she now came up and tried to lift the
child off the bed.
'Come away, Master Ronald. Oh, sir,
how did you come in here?'
The trained nurse also came round to the
other side of the bed.
Now, Sir Ronald, surely you are wasting
your strength.'
'I am not going-I am not going,' half
screamed little Ronald.

~bkDY4S B8'OY.

'Let lhim stay,'said the voice which was
growing so sadly weak. 'I have something
to say to the boy, and I want to be alone with
him. Let him stay.'
The two Wvomen left the room and Ronald
clapped his hands softly.
'Daddy, shall we' both go for a ride to-
morrow morning?'
Daddy stretched out his hand and clasped
his fingers over Ronald's.
'Ronnie,' he said, 'you and' I have often
talked about mother?'
'Oh, yes, Dad!'
'And you have pitied her?'
'Well, yes, father, I have,' said Ronald.
'I never could make out, you know, how
she could get on without you and me. I
know, of course,'she's with God, and she's
up in a beautiful place on the other side
of the blue 'sky;' but. then you and I; we
are always together, you see, Dad, :and
mother must tbe. :so lonelyr without us; it
doesn't seem fair that two. should be here


and one.. there; that's the way I looked at it,
'Put your two little hands into mine,
ronald; my brave boy need not pity mother
any more; two will be there and one here,
'Why, Daddy, what do you mean?' The
voice had grown very, very weak, and the eyes
even were dim.
Lie down by my side, Ronnie. This is
what it means, my son. You and I shall have,
I firmly, I fully believe it, many another play
together, many another happy hour together,
but not down here. The fact is, Ronnie, that
gun served me quite as badly as it served the
poor partridges, and I am going to mother.
There will be only one down here.'
Ronald's little face had grown very white.
'It's fair enough,' he murmured. I don't quite
understand, but it isn't unfair. I always did
know it was so hard for mother. Do you
think one will be long down here by himself


'My son, mother and I will wait for
'Oli, yes, be sure you keep looking through
the gates for me! I won't be a coward,
Daddy ; it isn't so unfair.'



THE many spectators who assembled to wit-
ness the funeral of Sir Ronald Jeafferson
noticed a grave and childish little figure, who
shed no tears, and even glanced with some
surprise at the family servants, who cried, and
sobbed, and made many lamentations.
Mrs. Benson, the housekeeper, was in a
terrible state of grief, and Dorothy, Ronald's
nurse, thought it necessary to use smelling-
salts to keep herself from fainting. She of-
fered these salts once or twice to Ronald, who
pushed them away indignantly, and said
under his breath, 'Don't make a fuss !'
More than one person remarked the curi-
ous gravity,- at times amounting to an almost
joyful expression, which rested on the little


face. The boy's conduct called forth many
comments, and it is a sad fact that not one
of that crowd of sympathising and sorrowing
friends in the least understood him.
Sir Ronald Jeafferson had met with his
death so suddenly and unexpectedly that his
only sister, who was travelling abroad at the
time, dil not arrive at Summerleigh until the
evening of the day of his funeral. Mrs. Frere
was ten years older than her brother, and was
the only near relation he possessed. By. his
will she and her husband were appointed his
boy's guardians, and it was arranged that
they should live at Summerleigh with their
children during little Sir Ronald's long mi-
Mrs. Frcre was in terrible grief when she
came, and Ronald, who felt it his duty to
comfort her, was much puzzled how to ac-
complish this task. When she clasped him in
her arms he submitted to her embraces, but
did not ardently return them. He was a very
reserved child, and had been accustomed to


no companionship except his father's. He
thought Mrs. Frere rather selfish to cry and
lament so much, and put her down in his
mental category as one of those rather poor
characters who would be sure to have bad
colds, and stay in bed for a week at a time,
and make great fusses about themselves, like
Mrs. Benson, the housekeeper. He thought
rs. Frere's conduct very tiresome, and he
did not like to suggest the only course which
he was sure would comfort her.
There was a pain in Ronald's brave little
heart, which with all his manliness he could
not overcome, and that pain forbade him to
r take Mrs. Frere's hand and lead her to the
room where Daddy had lain quiet and peace-
ful, and show her mother's picture, and assure
her it was very selfish to cry. He could not
bring himself to do this, so the only thing he
did do was to stand rather impatiently by
the poor lady's side and wish ardently that
She might rush out into the garden, and have
one wild scamper in the summer sunshine.


'Dorothy would not let me out yesterday,'
he said to himself, and I suppose it would
not be right to leave Aunt Eleanor the minute
she has come, but if this kind of thing goes
on my legs will be getting quite stiff, and
Dad won't like that at all when I go to him.'
'I think, Ronald,' said Mrs. Frere, I will
lie down on the sofa; I am terribly exhausted
with my long and hurried journey. Come
and stand by my side, my poor, dear little
'But you haven't known me long,' said
What do you mean, dear boy ?'
'Nothing, Aunt Eleanor; I don't under-
stand how people can get fond of each other
so quickly, that is all.'
Mrs. Frere sighed and looked terribly puz-
zled, and Ronald longed more than ever to
have one run down the broad walk in the
centre of the garden before the sunset.
Mrs. Frere was a kind-hearted, but slightly
commonplace Woman, and it was unfortunate


for the poor little baronet that he should com-
mence his new life with relations who did not
comprehend him in the least.
Ronald was eight years old, and had lived
with no companionship but his father's since
his mother's death. Ronald knew his mother
intimately, but he had no memory of her face,
except what the sweet picture in his father's
room could tell him, for she had died when
he was quite a baby; but this fact did not
at all prevent Ronald knowing her. Every
day Daddy and he spoke about her ; almost
every incident of her short earthly life had
been poured into the boy's ears, and Ronald
was never tired of questioning his father as
to what mother was doing now. His ideas
of the future state were intensely realistic;
perhaps none the less true for that.
Ronald's father had never grown tired of
these conversations, had never wearied of
answering the eager questions which fell from
the little lips, and Ronald's vivid imagination
drew pictures of the other life which delighted


Daddy, but would have scandalised any one
who did not know the workings of the boy's
mind so minutely.
Now the daily talks and the daily com-
panionship had abruptly come to an end, and
the boy, so curiously reared, so manly and
precocious for his age, was thrown in on him-
self. No one pretended to understand him,
and as the days and weeks passed away he
suffered in more ways than one from the
The young Freres arrived, and filled the
old house with noisy glee; and Ronald
romped and played with them, and was,
indeed, considered the noisiest and most riot-
ous of the group.
Mrs. Frere came to the conclusion that
Ronald was a child with remarkably cold feel-
ings. Never since her entrance into the house
had she seen him shed a tear, and his laugh-
ter, which could be merry a month after his
father's death, struck on her ears with a pain-
ful sense of incongruity.


'Dear, dear,' she said once to her eldest
daughter, 'how wrapt up we parents are in
our children, and how little they miss us after
all! Now, if ever a father really worshipped
a boy, my poor brother adored that lad. His
letters were full of his name; it was Ronald
did this, Ronald did that, until your papa and
I got weary ; and now, just look at the boy !
Why, he seems half mad with spirits.'
Mary Frere glanced in the direction her
mother pointed out. Ronald and little Violet
Frere were having a wild game of ball on the
smoothly-kept lawn. Ronald's very fair face
was flushed with the exercise, his blue eyes
were sparkling, and his remarkably clear voice
rang out sweet as a bell on the evening air.
He is a handsome boy,' said Mrs. Frere,
' I don't wonder at his poor father being
proud of him; but,' she added, with a
sigh, he is a great responsibility -children
without much heart are so difficult to
'But, mother,' said Mary, 'Ronald's nurse,


Dorothy, says he has the sweetest nature in
the world.'
SYes, my dear, I grant it may be sweet,
I am certain the child is good-tempered; but
there is no depth, Mary, not a vestige-not a
vestige. It is very sad! Such characters
never come to much.'
Mrs. Frere, in the gentlest manner pos-
sible, had always the effect of subduing her
children, and Mary, whatever her thoughts,
made no further effort to defend Ronald. She
had an opportunity, however, that very night,
of getting at the boy's real self. Mary was
fifteen, and old and thoughtful for her age;
Ronald from the first had thought Mary's face
beautiful. On her arrival he had looked at
her earnestly, .and had said to himself,. 'I
don't believe she'd have colds, like Mrs. Ben.
son.; I shouldn't think she was a bad sort foi
a girl.'
On this particular night, after her conver-
sation with her mother, Mary happened to go
into the room where Sir Ronald Jeaffcrson


had died. This bedroom, which was quite
the best in the house, and commanded a
splendid view, was now kept, by Mrs. Frere's
orders, religiously shut up; white dust sheets
covered the bed, and the dressing-table, and
the easy-chairs; the blinds were drawn down
-in short, the room was as much extin-
guished as possible. Mary, who had taken a
great fancy to Ronald, and who doubted her
mother's estimate of his character, became
possessed of a desire to study the late Lady
Jeafferson's portrait. She had a scarcely tan-
gible hope that the face of the dead mother
might give her an insight into the boy's little
She went into the room, and was sur-
prised to find that one of the spring-blinds
had been drawn up to the top and that a flood
of evening sunlight was streaming across the
floor. Ronald was standing in the very centre
of this bar of light with his hands clasped
and his eyes fixed eagerly on the picture ; he
started and flushed very red when Mary came


in, and made a hasty effort to brush away
some tears which were stealing down his
'It's ridiculous to keep mother in the dark
like this,' he said. When I come in to bid
her good-night every evening I always draw
up the blinds. She smiles when the sun
shines across her face. She likes it; of course
she does.'
'I quite agree with you, Ronald,' said
Mary; 'so, if you don't mind, I will draw
up the other blinds and make the room quite
cheerful. Oh, what a lovely view!' she ex-
claimed in ecstasy, as a splendid panorama
of river and wood and meadow lay before
'Yes; isn't it?' said Ronald, coming up
to her side. 'Daddy and I liked this view
the best in the house; 1 mean, of course, we
do like it still the best; that's why Dad
always slept in this room, and why mother's
picture was put here. Oh, I say, do you see
that bit of road winding there-we did have


such a gallop on that road, Dad and I. Once
Bob threw me; but I didn't mind. Daddy
always said that a good rider was thrown two
or three times. Do you know how to ride,
Mary? The great thing is not to be a bit
afraid, but to stick on through everything.
Yes, I'm glad there's plenty of sunlight in
the room again.'
'If you like,' said Mary, 'I will come in
here every day and draw up the blinds; no-
body need know but you and I. Would you
like me to do this?'
'Oh, shouldn't I just! and I'm sure
mother would like it too; not that mother'
-here Ronald sighed profoundly-' not that
mother is a bit lonely now. I'm awfully glad
of that, you know. Mary, do you ever have
Why, dear?'
'Well, I don't think you look like it;
now I think Aunt Eleanor does. I shouldn't
be a bit surprised if she had those coughy,
sneezy colds that Mrs. Benson gets. Of


course I don't get them; they are very
womanish, colds are.'
'I really don't suffer from colds, as it
happens,' said Mary; 'but I never knew
before that they were considered in any way
wrong. I always looked on them as a mis-
Well, of course, and so they are; and I
shouldn't be surprised if Aunt Eleanor was
subject to them. Mrs. Benson looks dreadful
when she has a cold; she wraps up her head
in flannels, and her face swells, and her eyes
get so red, and she drinks hot elder wine.
She says she'd die if she didn't .drink hot
elder wine. I suppose,' added Ronald, with
an exceedingly pensive expression, 'people do
die of colds very often, and I don't suppose
it's such a bad way-at least, I mean for
womanish sort of people-for you see every-
body has got to die.'
'Ronnie,' said Mary, putting her arm
round the little fellow and drawing him to
her side, 'what a very, very queer boy you


are! I don't think people do often die of
colds, and in any case you need not think
about dying; you are only eight years old.'
SThat makes no difference,' said Ronald,
gazing at her with great surprise; 'and
you're all wrong about colds not killing
people, Mary; Mrs. Benson had a cousin,
and she got the, sort of cold that kills people;
Mrs. Benson called, it something, brown-
brown-kitis, I think. She got it.one day,
and she went out, Mrs. Benson said, like the
snuff of a candle the next! It killed her off
very sharp, you see. But, Mary, I don't
think you'll die of a cold.'
'Well, I hope not,' said Mary in as cheer-
ful a tone as she could assume. 'Shall we
come downstairs now, Ronald?'
Oh, yes, if you like! Stoop down, Mary,
and let me give you a kiss. I shouldn't
be a bit surprised,' added Ronald, looking
earnestly into Mary's sweet brown eyes; 'I
shouldn't be. a bit surprised if you died of
a gun.'

Mns. FRERE arrived at Summcrleigh on the
day of her brother's funeral. The children
came a fortnight later, but three months
passed after the baronet's death before Major
Frere put in an appearance on the scene.
Major Frere had long retired from active
service, and was quite prepared to enjoy the
good things of life at Summerleigh during
little Ronald's long minority.
Ronald was deeply excited about the
Major; he was never weary of asking his
aunt questions on this interesting subject;
he reckoned the days and counted the hours
for the Major's arrival, and to all appearance
seemed far more interested in this gallant
officer than were his own wife and children.
The two Frere boys, who had condescended


to play cricket with Ronald, had now returned
to Eton, but as the Major was to come to
Summerleigh a week after their departure,
Ronald did not feel any particular regret
when he bade them good-bye. At last the
welcome day arrived, when, as Ronald ex-
pressed it, a 'real man' would once more be
in the house. He confided his delight most
fully to Dorothy when she helped him to dress
that morning.
'Is Aunt Eleanor very tired, Dorothy?'
he began.
'Now, Master Ronald, what a queer, queer
question to ask me! Iow can I answer it?
Mrs. Frere is in bed still, and I know nothing
about her, sir.'
'Dear, dear,' said Ronald, as he allowed
Dorothy to brush his curly hair, 'how very
strange! I wonder she can sleep-I wonder
she is not much too excited-you know her
husband is coming back to-night, Dorothy;
he really is; he'll be back at seven o'clock
to-night precisely.'


'Well, sir,' replied Dorothy, and it's only
seven o'clock in the morning now--I don't.
see but that Mrs. Frere may lie in bed for
another half-hour, even though the Major is
coming to-night.'
'Poor Uncle Ben!' sighed Ronald. I
don't expect Aunt Eleanor makes much of a
wife for him. I expect he'll get a great deal
of comfort out of me, because I know what
brave men like. I'm accustomed to father,
you know.'
'I think Miss Violet must be ready for.
her breakfast now, Master Ronald, if you'll
'What a hurry you're in, Dodo!' said
Ronald, putting up his lips to kiss his nurse.
' I want to talk about Uncle 13en. I've been
picturing what he's like to myself. What do
you think he's like, Dorothy?'
'Dear, dear, Master Ronald, how can I
tell?-you are such a queer little boy!'
'-Perhaps you can't make up pictures in
your head, Dorothy-Daddy and I used to


do it lots of times, and of course I go on doing
it still. Now I'll tell you what I picture
Uncle Ben to be like.'
'Well, sir, go on, say it out, quick, for
breakfast must be getting quite cold.'
'What a fidget you are, Dorothy! Now
listen to me, and I'll just tell you. Uncle
Ben is tall, and upright -he's perfectly
straight, like one of the poplar-trees- that's
because he has been drilled so much. He
keeps his head back, and his shoulders square,
and he never thinks of bending his knees (I
hope you don't bend your knees when you
walk, Dorothy; but I suppose you do, as
you haven't been drilled) ; then he's dark,
and his eyes-his eyes flash like flames of
fire-that's because he's accustomed to saying
to his men, Forward!-This way." He has
been in heaps of battles, he has gone across
drawbridges all by himself with a white flag
of truce in his hand, and he has been directly
exposed to the fire of about five hundred
guns, but he has never flinched, nor turned&


aside; and the enemies have said, "It's him
-it's Major Frere-he speaks the truth, he's
the bravest of the brave ; we would scorn to
shoot down such a hero!" That's what
Uncle Ben is. He has a long sweeping
moustache, and his lips shut tight, because
he's so firm and so noble. I shall see him
to-night, Dorothy. It is a great, great honour
to have such a man coming to the house, and
I can't make out why Aunt Eleanor isn't up.'
Dorothy, who was accustomed to Ronald's
rhapsodies, made the solitary remark, 'Well,
I never! and it ain't a bit like his portrait.'
Then she took her little charge's hand, and led
him into the room where Violet was patiently
waiting for her breakfast.
'Uncle Ben is coming to-night, Violet,'
said Ronald.
'Papa,' said Violet in a tone of more or
less indifference. I hope he'll bring me some
of those brown sweeties that I like so much!'
Ronald looked at her with supreme con-


'Well,' he said, 'you girls are a poor lot!
When a man has gone through what Uncle
Bcn has it isn't to be supposed that he'd
think about trifling things like sweeties!'
SBut his gout is better,' said Violet. I
hop e h won't forget about the sweeties, be-
cause he knows I'm so fond of them!'
Ronald took no further notice of Violet,
but ate up his own breakfast with remark-
able celerity-he wanted to run round to the
stables to see Bob, and also to inquire whether
a loose-box was ready for his uncle's charger,
for he had not the smallest doubt that the
gallant officer would arrive accompanied by
his steed which had endured the smoke of
many battles. He managed to slip out of
the house without any one noticing him, for
certainly Aunt Eleanor would have forbidden
.the little boy to go near the stables. He
found. Jim, one of the grooms, who was de-
lighted to see his little master, and brought
out the late Sir Ronald's hunter for little
Ronald to inspect.


'tHullo, Bal Drumie, old fellow,' said
Ronald, patting the noble animal's shining
coat. 'I am glad to see you again. You
may mount me, if you like, Jim. I'll stick
on. Jim,' continued Ronald from his seat on
the tall horse's back, 'do you really think
that father misses Bal Drumie?'
'Well, sir,' answered Jim, 'it ain't for me
to say. There's nothing in Scripture to de-
note that animals takes a part in the New
I don't agree with you at all, Jim,' said
Ronald. 'There's plenty of horses in the
old Jerusalem; but I expect you can't under-
stand. Now let me get down. Jim, have
you got the loose-box ready?'
'What loose-box, sir?'
S For Major Frere's charger; a battle horse
will arrive in your stables to-night, Jim.'
'Well, sir,' answered Jim, 'I has got no
orders to that effect from Mrs. Frere. Only
Duncan is particularly desired to take the
brougham to meet the 6.40 train to-night;


and Mrs. Frere's instructions was that we
were to see that the windows fitted up tight,
for the Major he can't stand no draughts, he
Ronald slowly left the yard, and with his
hands in his pockets sauntered round to the
front of the house.
'Ile must have been wounded,' he said
to himself. He has got a dangerous wound,
and is coming back covered with glory. I
love him better than ever for it. IIe was on
the drawbridge, and one of the enemies who
levelled the guns was a sneak and a coward,
and he fired at him. He received a wound
which might have been deadly-dear, brave
Uncle Ben!'
All day Ronald was excited and restless,
although every one else in the house seemed
particularly calm and indifferent. Ronald
watched them all with extreme disgust, and
even turned away from his favourite Mary
when he perceived that the mention of her
father's name roused her to no special enthu-


siasm. Ronald had now quite made up his
mind that his uncle was seriously ill from the
effects of his deadly wounds, and he began
to consider all possible means of adding to his
comfort. His father had often described to
him the terrible thirst that wounded soldiers
endured on the field of battle; and he re-
flected, with great satisfaction, that the grapes
were now ripe in the vinery, and that Uncle
Ben could also have peaches and nectarines to
quench his abnormal thirst.
We must be careful about the fruit,' he
said to his Aunt Eleanor, as he followed her
round to watch her final preparations for the
arrival of the hero. I'm quite willing not
to eat any more grapes, and I shall speak to
Violet on the subject.'
What do you mean, Ronald?' said Aunt
Eleanor; there are far more grapes at Sum-
merleigh than we can possibly dispose of.
Indeed, I'm sure your uncle will order some
to be sold.'
Ronald looked at his aunt in a puzzled


way, but then she was always an enigma to
'I thought,' he began, 'I thought Uncle
Ben would be so thirsty. I would not eat
that large peach at dinner because I wanted
him to have it. 'Oh, is that the carriage
going off? I do hope the windows are pro-
perly stuffed.'
Ronald flew from his aunt's side, who
said to herself: He certainly is the most
incomprehensible child I ever came across.'



THE carriage went for Uncle Ben, and Ronald
wandered about in extreme excitement. iHe
made most careful calculations, and discovered
to his dismay that the hero could not possibly
arrive at Summerleigh for two hours.
Fifty-five minutes to drive to the station,'
said Ronald; 'five minutes, if the train is pretty
sharp, to get out his baggage; between two
and three minutes to see to the charger-I
don't quite know how the charger is to come
to Summerleigh-oh, of course, Uncle Ben is
to 1 r:rg his groom; fifty-five minutes then
to drive home. Iow much does twice fifty-
five, and five, and two make ? oh, a hundred
and seventeen-a hundred and seventeen
minutes-that is three minutes short of two


hours! I must allow three minutes for
accidents. It's terrible to think of waiting
two hours longer to see him, but I must be
patient. Dad used to tell me that all brave
men were extremely patient, and he said
that brave boys were patient too-I'd scorn
to be anything but a brave boy. I wonder
what Dad has been saying to mother to-day.
I expect he says pretty often, "We must go to
the gates and watch for Ronald-Ronnie won't
be long." I'm quite certain I won't be long
away from Daddy-I really don't feel a doubt
about it-but now I've got something else
to do-I've got to see to the Major. A brave
man like the Major will want a boy like me
about him. I know I'll be an enormous com-
fort to him. Now, what shall I do to pass
the time ? Shall I play with Violet ? No,
I won't. I see her in the distance, and she
has her best frock on. I hate playing with
girls in their best frocks. I know what I'll
do. Dear Uncle Ben, he shall have a welcome.
I'll light a bonfire just down near the end of


the avenue. I wish I had fireworks-I should
like to send off some catherine wheels and
rockets, but the bonfire will be better than
Ronald rushed away, half mad with
delight at the idea which had occurred
to him. He now had plenty to occupy
him for the two hours which must intervene
before Uncle Ben arrived. He had dry
leaves to collect-for the autumn leaves
were falling fast-and bits of fagots and
broken branches of trees were about. He
was extremely active, and made a goodly
pile, and little Jack, the son of the lodge-
keeper, came out and helped him.
'It's almost high enough now, Jack,'
said Ronald, 'but we mustn't light it until we
hear the carriage wheels. The moment we
hear the carriage wheels we'll put a match
to it, and then we'll take our caps off, and
we'll sing out as loud as we can, "Hip, hip,
hurrah !-hip, hip, hurrah !" I hope, Jack,
you've got a loud voice. We must wave our


caps in the air, and we must be awfully ex-
cited. Do you quite understand what you've
got to do, Jack ? and have you got the
matches handy ?'
'Yes, sir,' said Jack, 'I stole half-a-dozen
matches from mother's cupboard when her
back was turned, and these leaves will catch
in a twinkling.'
'And you quite know,' pursued Ronald,
anxiously, 'about shouting "Hip, hip, hurrah!"
You understand that we are welcoming home
a great hero ?'
'Well, sir,' answered Jack, 'mother do say
as the gentleman is a good deal crippled up with
the rheumatism and gout. She says as 'tis a
mixture as ails him, and she called it
rheumatism and gout. Those was the names,
I remember. I hope, Master Ronald-Sir
Ronald, I means-as the smoke won't go into
the 'osses' eyes, and half blind them, poor
What a silly boy you are, Jack!' said
Ronall. 'If the smoke does startle the horses


a little they will soon get over it, and Uncle
Ben will be pleased; for if there is a spice
of danger it will remind him of the battle-
The boys now lay down beside the pile
of leaves and broken wood, and listened
intently for approaching wheels. The two
hours which Ronald had counted carefully
on his little silver hunting-watch had gone by,
and any moment the hero might arrive. At
last the roll of wheels coming down the
lane which lead directly to Summerleigh was
distinctly audible. Ronald's suspense became
awful at this moment. He tried to strike
a match, but his little fingers shook, and he
had to depute the honour and glory of firing
the pile to the more stolid Jack. The leaves
were very dry, and Jack had erected his
bonfire cunningly. By the time the carriage
entered the gates it was blazing away right
merrily, and Ronald and Jack were leaping
in the air, and waving their hats, and shout-
ing at the top of their high boy voices.

'A spice of danger to remind him of the battle-field.'
P 42-


Ronald felt a sensation of extreme triumph.
It was not destined, however, to last long.
The carriage stopped short, for the flames from
the bonfire were blazing across the road,
one of the windows of the brougham was
slowly and laboriously opened, and a peevish
red face obtruded itself to view.
Turn back at once,' shouted the irascible
Major. Who has dared to be so impertinent?
Is there a back avenue ? Drive down that
way. The horses won't stand the smoke, they
are frightened, they will run away. I'd better
get out; keep the horses quiet, I'm getting
out. Oh, this will kill me! What was
Eleanor doing to permit such a thing ? I'll
have to walk, and it will certainly be my death.'
Ronald instantly sprang to the carriage
side, and opening the door held out his
hand. 'It was to welcome you, sir,' he
said, lifting his hat.
'To welcome me, sir?' shouted the Major;
'you're a very bad, wicked, disgraceful boy.
I don't know who you are, sir; how dare


you play me such a practical joke? But you
shall be punished, so you shall, you little
scamp! Why, do you know, you little urchin,
that if those horses had run away I'd have
died of fright?'
Ronald fell back a step or two-his rosy
and joyous face turned pale, and he returned
slowly to Jack.
ie's a scamp from the village, no doubt,'
said the Major to himself, not suspecting that
his- nephew could be the smoke-begrimed
and dirty little figure. He has played me
an ugly trick and he shall suffer-why, I
might have died of it.'
The Major, wrathful and feeble, hobbled
down the avenue, and Ronald stood quietly
by the bonfire until it had harmlessly burnt
itself away. The horses had been taken
round by another road to the stables, and
Jack at the first mention of the coming storm
had wisely fled. Ronald kicked some of the
ashes about with his feet, and then very, very
slowly walked away.


'I wouldn't have minded his anger,' he
said to himself, nor his look, though he's not
tall and his eyes don't flash, and his lips are
not firm, but I'm obove minding that-no,
no, it was the words he said at the end-" If
the horses had run away, I'd have died of
fright." He's not worthy to have been on
a drawbridge. I doubt if he ever was on a
Ronald went into the house by a side
entrance, and ran up to his bedroom. Do-
rothy came in at once to attend to Iim. She
gave an. exclamation of dismay at his disorderly
and discoloured appearance.
'Now, Master Ronald, well, I never! Why,
you're more of a pickle than I ever did see
you before. What prank have you been after
now, sir?'
Ronald raised his sweet blue eyes to her
face. 'JI was preparing for some one who
never came, Dorothy,' he said. 'I know I'm
in an awful mess, but if you'll get me the
Pears' soap and plenty of hot water, I'll soon


lather myself clean again. You want to wash
me, do you, Dorothy ? No, thank you. Dad
likes me to clean myself.'
That night in his little bed Ronald lay
awake for some time.
'I wonder if Dad ever grows tired of
standing by the gate; it would not be like
Dad to grow tired of looking for me. I hope
God won't leave one down here, and two
there, long-it's rather lonely for the one
down here-I'd scorn to grumble, or to be
selfish, but it is rather lonely.'
Ronald wiped away some tears before he
fell asleep.

if" s



TIE Major was anything but softened when
he discovered who was the author of all that
mischief in the avenue. He came into the
house panting with feebleness and anger.
In truth, the poor Major, who was the reverse
of all that Ronald had pictured him and had
never won any particular honour or glory,
was far too broken in health to bear the
least perturbation. He was very tired after
a long journey, and was so crippled by
rheumatism that each step was torture to
him. During his painful walk down the
avenue his naturally fiery temper had full
time to take possession of him, and when he
met his wife he was in no mood to be
smoothed by any of her judicious words.


SYour nephew, you say, Eleanor; why,
what a dirty, smoke-begrimed little chap he
was! You don't mean to tell me, my dear
Eleanor, that your nephew lit a bonfire right
under the horses' noses! The flames were
half across the road, I assure you, and two
dirty little chaps were jumping about and
screaming at the pitch of their voices. I
never was more dumbfounded in my life.
If that's your brother's boy, he must be a
perfect imp of mischief. I always did doubt
the judiciousness of coming to live at Summer-
leigh, and now I doubt it more than ever.'
He's a very queer boy,' said Mrs. Frere,
sadly, 'a very queer and incomprehensible
boy; but, my dear Ben, I feel it for that
reason all the more necessary to stand by
my only brother's son. He has been given
to me as a sacred charge, Ben, and no trouble
can be too great which is directed to soften
his affections and to train him to be a worthy
son of my beloved brother.'
'He had better go to school,' said the


Major; 'that's the place for him, Eleanor.
We had better look out for a good preparatory
school instantly. How old is the lad?'
'Just eight,' replied Mrs. Frere; then she
added, after a pause during which she was
sedulously attending to her husband's comforts,
'My ideas quite differ from yours, Ben. I think
I know the reason the boy has been so spoilt.
You know his mother died when he was only
two, and since her death poor Ronald, who
always had most peculiar ideas, brought the
boy up entirely. From what I can gather
he had him with him morning, noon, and
night-he actually let him sit up for late
dinner. He took him out for long rides;
he had a small fishing-rod for him. The
whole system which poor Ronald adopted
was really most injudicious, most foolish.
I have made careful inquiries, and I find that
the only women the boy ever had a chance of
associating with, were that silly nurse of his,
Dorothy, and old Mrs. Benson, the house-
keeper. Ronald filled the boy's head with


nonsense, and evidently failed to, draw out
his affections, or he would feel his father's
death more. What is the matter, Ben?'
I beg your pardon, Eleanor, you're always
so prosy and full of theories-my leg is in.
tensely painful. Have the goodness to hand
me the foot-rest. Ah, thanks; that's better.
Well, my dear, what are you driving at? I
should have imagined that the constant society
of such a first-rate fellow as your brother
would have been the making of any boy.
Your brother Ronald, however, is now in his
grave, and there is an end of that. I say,
send the boy to school and have done with
'I cannot agree with you, Ben. It is
more than palpable what the boy needs-he
needs the refining influence of a ladylike
woman. I propose that we get Miss Green here
for a year.'
The Major made a wry face. 'Faugh!'
he said, she is an old maid; she won't suit
the boy a bit.'


Ben,' said his wife, 'I wonder at you.
Miss Green is one of the excellent of the earth,
and it is low and vulgar to allude to her not
having chosen to marry. You know what
wonders she effected with Mary. She is a
strict disciplinarian, and just the person to
mould and develop Ronald. I shall write to
her to-morrow.'
'By all means, my dear; anything to
stop this discussion.'
About a week after the above conversation
Ronald's aunt sent for him. He was playing
a very wild and excited game with Violet in
the garden, and he rushed in hastily just as he
was, with a splendid colour in his checks and
his eyes glowing.
'What is it, Aunt Eleanor?' he exclaimed
in a noisy fashion. 'Violet, you look sharp.
I'll be back with you in a moment. Violet
caught that ball nine times running, Aunt
.Eleanor. She plays splendidly for a girl. Oh,
do you want me? I'm in such a hurry back.'
Have the goodness to shut that door, sir,


said the Major; 'you are sending an abomin-
able draught through the room.'
Ronald favoured the irascible old gentle-
man with a look of sovereign contempt; but
he shut the door quietly, and waited for his
aunt to speak.
'Come here, Ronnie,' said Aunt Eleanor.
'I've got a great deal to say to you, my dear
little boy, and you must listen patiently, and
not think about your game of ball.'
Ronald hated being called a dear little
boy. This petting way was not a bit in
Daddy's style. He approached his aunt un-
willingly, shuffling his feet about and fixing
his blue eyes on her face.
'Ronald,' said Mrs. Frere, 'I have been
considering the subject of your education; I
find it has been-h'm-neglected.'
'No, it hasn't,' said Ronald. 'Dad said
I knew a lot of things. You're all out there,
Aunt Eleanor. I can fish, and I can dig, and
I can ride ; I can play cricket, too, and I can
very nearly fire a gun, but not quite.' .


'Yes, yes,' interrupted Mrs. Frere, as
soothingly as she could speak, 'we will grant
that you know these things as well as a little
boy of eight years old can be expected to
know them; but they are not education.'
'I beg your pardon, Aunt Eleanor; I
know it's rude to contradict you, but you are
quite mistaken. They are.'
Mrs. Frere got very red ; but she had an
excellent temper, and never allowed herself
to speak angry words. The Major, however,
who had been sitting by the fire half asleep,
now roused himself, and began to watch the
two with some interest.
'I'm really sorry to contradict you,' pur-
sued Ronald, 'but fishing, and shooting, and
riding are the right education for a boy who
means to be a brave man by-and-by. You
see, Aunt Eleanor, Daddy has often told me,
so I know. Suppose now, Aunt Eleanor, I
wanted to become a pioneer, such as Speke,
you know, who followed the windings of the
Nile, or Franklin, or Livingstone ; or suppose

bDD S flho.

I wanted to be a grand naval officer, or a
general-I should never go into the army
unless I meant to become a general at least.
Well, you see, I've got to be educated for that
sort of life, and father was doing it as hard as
he could. I've got to'go on by myself now,
and that makes it much more difficult. You
see, Aunt Eleanor, it was ignorant of you to
speak as you did, and I was surprised, for I
thought you knew better.'
'Well, Ronnie,' said Aunt Eleanor, con-
tinuing her conversation in her calm voice,
'as at present you have neither got to be a
pioneer nor an admiral we will leave these
subjects alone. There are other things you
must know-some old-fashioned things about
which, I grieve to say, you are sadly igno-
rant. One of these things is, that a little boy
should be seen and not heard; another of
them is, that a little boy should never, under
any circumstances, contradict his elders, noi
set up his opinion against theirs. Were one
of my own children to speak to me as you


have just done I should punish that child
severely; but I am not inclined to be hard
on you, for in this respect you have not had
advantages. I have sent for you now to tell
you that a most excellent lady, a Miss Green,
a friend of mine, is coming in a day or two to
undertake that portion of your education in
which, as I have just pointed out to you, you
are deficient. The room next your bedroom is
to be turned into a schoolroom, and you and
Violet will do your lessons there. You are
to obey Miss Green in all particulars, and I
hope and expect soon to learn that you are
becoming a really good little boy. You may
go now, Ronald; that is all I have got to say.
Ronald, who had been turning from pink
to white during the end of his aunt's speech,
now gave one despairing glance at the Major,
who neither looked up nor responded, and
walked slowly towards the door
'The window is open, Ronald,' said Mrs.
Frere, and I see Violet waiting for you. You
may go out through the window if you like.'


'I am not going out, thank you, Aunt
Eleanor,' said Ronald, in his gentlest tones.
lie shut the room-door quietly after him,
and walked slowly and painfully, as though
his little feet were weighted with lead, up the
broad stairs. He stopped on the first land-
ing, and, turning the handle of the door of
the room where his father had died, went in.
The blinds were down, and the room was
cold, and sunless, and gloomy; but Ronald
did not trouble himself to let in the autumn
sunshine. He climbed on the bed, and buried
his face in the pillows, and sobs violent
enough and heartfelt enough even to have
satisfied Aunt Eleanor as to the state of his
affections were wrung from his little heart for
his brave and bright young father.



'I AM going to pace up and down the south
walk, Eleanor,' said the Major one very bright
September morning. 'That south walk is the
best part of the place, for the high wall shel-
ters it from all stray winds and draughts. I
am going there, and you can follow me when-
ever you like.'
The Major, with a circular cape over his
shoulders, and leaning heavily on a stick
hobbled away, and Mrs. Frere, rather glad
of a quiet hour to write letters in, saw him
depart with a slight sigh of relief.
'His rheumatic pains get worse and worse,'
she said to herself. 'Poor, dear fellow! I
wonder if Summerleigh does agree with him?


But the south walk is a comfort ; he can't
possibly catch cold there.'
The walk to which the Major directed his
feeble steps was a long, broad road at one end
of a walled in garden. It was, as the Major
and his wife remarked, completely sheltered
from every wind but the gentlest southern
breezes, and would, indeed, to most people on
that particular morning have been uncomfort-
ably hot. The sun blazed here with power,
ripening late nectarines, and peaches, and
luscious pears, which grew in profusion on
this southern wall.
At one end of the walk was a summer-
house, with a pretty conical, -thatched roof,
and sides sheltered by glass panels. The
Major paced up and down in the sun until
he became weary; then he entered the sum-
mer-house, and threw himself down on a
wide, luxurious bench with a slight sigh of
'Not such a bad place after all,' he mut-
tered to himself The climate of this walk

is not unlike Algiers. Uncommon good no-
tion putting in these glass sides to the sum-
mer-house-keeps out the draught wonder-
fully, and one can see the view-fine view
-very fine view. Yes, yes, not a bad sort
of place, Summerleigh; and poor Ronald had
a notion of the right sort of thing when he
built this summer-house. Now, if I only
had my foot-rest I declare I'd be rather com-
fortable resting here for half-an-hour.'
The Major uttered his short sentences of
satisfaction half aloud ; and when he made
his final remark about the foot-rest a bright
little curly head popped suddenly into view,
and the eager face and generally tossed ap-
pearance of his nephew intruded themselves.
'I'm glad you like this summer-house,
Uncle Ben,' said Ronald. 'Daddy and I did
not often sit here; we found it too hot, ex-
cept on snowy days. Those glass walls were
put in for mother, you know-mother used to
feel the cold dreadfully the year before she
went to God, father said. She has not felt

tftt iitt,16 htt.N-StitED.


the cold for a long time now, and that's a
great comfort. I never thought that men
could feel cold, but I'm beginning to see that
there are two sorts of men in the world. Oh,
you said you wanted your foot-rest! I'll run
and fetch it for you if you like.'
'Thank you, Ronald,' said the Major,
'you may bring it, and my plaid rug as well;
and hark you, boy,' as the little lad was dart-
ing away, 'you tell your Aunt Eleanor that
I'm resting comfortably here, and she needn't
trouble her head about me. I'm all right;
see you tell her so, Ronald.'
The Major's intention was to have a com-
fortable nap in the summer-house, with his
swollen leg supported on the foot-rest, and
his large, thick travelling-rug thrown over
him. Ronald, with his eyes shining and
bright, came back in an incredibly short space
of time with the foot-rest and the rug.
'I met Aunt Eleanor,' he exclaimed, and
she's not coming; so you won't have any
woman about you for a little, and that will

- ,-ff.-


be a comfort. Now let me fix your foot-rest
so, and I'll put the rug over you as gently as
possible. No, I won't hurt your swollen leg.
I know at last what it means.'
Uncle Ben, who earnestly desired to suc-
cumb to the sweet influences of slumber,
thanked Ronald for his attentions in a less
gruff voice than usual; but his irascible old
face darkened when he saw that the boy had
no intention of going away, but had seated
himself on the edge of the rustic table, with
his legs in dangerous proximity to the Major's
swollen limb.
Sit a little farther off, boy, if you must
stay,' said Major Frere. Ah, thanks, that's
better. Young boys are so abominably care-
less, and a kick from that boot of yours would
put me to torture. Now, you have made me
very comfortable, and I'm obliged to you;
you can run and have a game of ball if you
fancy it. I expect Violet is wanting a game
of ball, and you had better find her.'
'I want to have a little talk with you first,


Uncle Ben,' said Ronald. 'I think when a
man is as feeble as you are it is not right to
leave him alone, and I made up my mind
when you sent that message to Aunt Eleanor
that I'd stay with you. Of course, you must
want me, for I never saw any one so very
feeble and shaky as you are. I was dread-
fully puzzled for a long time; I could not
account for it, nor make out what it meant,
but I think I know now. I respect you.
Uncle Ben, immensely, for I am sure I have
found out what is the matter with you.'
'There are lots of gnats about,' said the
Major, 'but the place-ycs1 the place is com-
fortable. What were you saying, boy? I'm
a bit drowsy and not inclined for conversa-
I was only saying, Uncle Ben, that I've
found out what is the matter with you.'
'Well, you must be a smart little chap,
for I believe I've baffled the doctors. Let's
hear your opinion, sir, and then you may be


'You are spent with many battles,' said
Ronald, speaking very earnestly. I have
studied the subject, and I am sure of it.
You are so very old that you must have been
in many great fights. I should not be sur-
prised if you carried the colours at Waterloo,
and got your first wound there; and then
afterwards, when you were in full command of
a regiment, you were shot at and injured
badly at Sebastopol, and no doubt you took
your turn in India-that time the great
mutiny was. That's many, many years ago,
and you were quite strong still, and most
likely it was there you stood on the draw-
bridge. I'm sure you did stand on the
drawbridge, and it was very grand of you,
and I love to think of it; and afterwards you
went to Egypt and fought against the Zulus
in Africa. You were wounded many times,
and no wonder you are spent now. I'm not a
bit surprised. The only thing that puzzles
me is why you stopped short at being a
m1jor; why, such a man as you should, of


course, have been a full general, if not a
commander-in-chief. I suppose it is a little
ambitious to expect to be a commander-in-
chief; but at least they might have made
you a full general.'
'What are you driving at?' said Major
Frere; 'you're the queerest boy I ever heard
of. Sebastopol-Waterloo! Bless me! what
are you dreaming about, sir?-and I a full
general! Why, I left the army between
twenty and thirty years ago.'
Ronald sighed, but would not quite relin-
quish his castle in the air.
'Then you were very, very badly wounded
on that drawbridge in India,' he said, 'and
ever since you have suffered. I understand;
you have not been like other men since. But
never mind; you did a splendid deed on the
drawbridge-it's most likely in the new his-
tory books. And oh, Uncle Ben! you are so
brave, and I know you'll understand me, and
I do want to ask you a great favour.'
It was impossible for the Major not to be






-. -

'I'll grant you a favour, if I can, little chap.'
P. 65'


more or less amused, and even gratified, by
these constant allusions to his heroic exploits.
A dim sort of wish even began to arise in his
crabbed and withered old heart that he had
stood on a drawbridge and faced enemies, and
been, in any sense of the word, the hero the
boy represented him. He was still earnestly
desiring his nap; but he could not quite resist
the shining blue eyes, nor the earnest words,
nor the eager, speaking, beautiful little face;
so he roused himself and pushed back his
soft hat, and said, still very gruffly, but
not quite so gruffly as he spoke to most
I'll grant you a favour if I can, little chap,
for: though I don't at all take to boys (even
my own worry me immensely), yet I'd a great
respect for that good father of yours, and now
that you are clean and not covered with
smoke, as you were the night you played me
that nasty trick with the bonfire, you have a
great look of him ; 'pon my word, you have a
wonderful look of him. You're talking a lot


of rubbish about me, you know, ridiculous
rubbish not worth answering; but if I can
grant you a favour, why, I will, so there.'
The Major had worked himself into quite
a good humour, and Ronald regarded him with
delight. 'He's as humble as he's brave,' he
said to himself. He does not like to talk
about his exploits ; that's always the way with
real heroes. How silly of me to think that
heroes must be tall and have flashing eyes and
commanding figures! Uncle Ben's a hero,
and he does not belong to the other sort of
men. It's a great comfort to me to know that
after all there is a hero, a spent soldier, living
at Summerleigh.'
'Uncle Ben,' said the quick, childish voice,
'you know what Aunt Eleanor said the other
day about a woman coming to teach me. The
woman is coming to-morrow, and-and-I'm
very low about it; but I'm trying to be brave.
It's a great degradation to me, you know,
Uncle Ben, to be put under a woman, when I
was accustomed to a man like father. Aunt


Eleanor won't see it, because she's a woman
herself; but I have come to you about it.'
'No, no,' said the Major, shuffling on his
seat uneasily, 'if that's your request I can't
grant it-no interfering in your Aunt Elea-
nor's arrangements. She's absolute in her
department, sir absolute in her depart-
ment. I recommended school, but she said
a maiden lady would be best, and she must
have her way, Ronald; so there's an end
of that.'
'Yes,' said Ronald, rather sadly, I didn't
suppose Miss Green could be put off now, for,
perhaps, she's poor and wants a salary; and,
maybe, she's very poor and wants nice things
to eat, and, of course, it would be a great dis-
appointment to her after she thought she was
coming to Summerleigh to find she was not
wanted there. I would not disappoint a
woman for the world; it would be most
cowardly, and, of course, when she comes,
I'll take the greatest care of her. But what
puzzles me is why she should have to take


care of me. She can't teach me about guns,
nor about cricket, nor about fishing. She
can't show me how to build huts; I'd want
to know that if I was a pioneer. And she
can't put me through sword exercise; I'd
want that in the army, wouldn't I, Uncle
Ben ? Now, what puzzles me, is why Miss
Green is coming, unless it is because she is
poor and wants a salary.'
'Oh, there are lots of other things you
must learn!' said the Major, who was really
aroused at last, and was not nearly so sleepy
as he had been ten minutes ago. You are a
queer little chap, and no mistake. You are
not in the least like my two lads, Guy and
Walter, and I'm always told by their mother
that they are lucommonly fine boys; but as
I was saying, there. are heaps of other things
you must. learn. Building huts and fishing
.and shooting are all very well, but you don't
suppose your father, for instance, stopped short
at these amusements. You have got to read
and write, and: you must get into algebra and

Latin and Greek. Oh, they are all very tire-
some things, my lad, but you must do them!
you must work at them and master them, or
you'll never be a man like your father. Miss
Green can teach you these things, and I sup-
pose that is why she is coming.'
'I see,' said Ronald; but you don't sup-
pose, Uncle Ben, that father did not teach me
to read and write; and I was in my Latin
grammar, though I did not much care for
it. Oh, yes, it may be well for me to go on
with these lessons with Miss Green, but Aunt
Eleanor said that she was coming to teach me
quite different things-she was coming to teach
me things that father had-had neglected! It
was very stupid of Aunt Eleanor to say that
about father, for he never did neglect a thing
that a boy should really know; and what
vexes ime about Miss Green is, that she will
never understand the way father taught me-
and, perhaps, she, too, will say like Aunt
Eleanor that he neglected me, -and I don't
think I could quite bear that. Of course, if a

Tilt, ih rzo t IVST:Tf'1)


man were coming to teach me-a man like
you, for instance, Uncle Ben, a man who was
a hero and very brave-he would understand
father's way at once. Of course, you can't
expect me to like to have a woman to teach
me if she quotes proverbs about little boys
being seen and not heard, and if she runs
down father's way. I'm afraid I shall get into
a passion if she does, and I don't want to, for
Dad used always to say that it was not at all
brave to lose one's temper.'
'1 lose mine sometimes,' said the Major;
i.hen he added, with a short sigh, 'you are
quite right, Ronald, women are kittle cattle
and hard to deal with. I daresay it will try
you a good bit having that old maid about
you, but I see nothing for it but for you to
put up with it as best you can.'
'Yes, Uncle Ben,' said Ronald in a cheer-
ful tone, I'll certainly do my best; and I'm
very glad you see things in the same way as I
do. It's the greatest comfort to me to have
you in the house with me, and if you'll only


grant me my favour I'll get on very well with
Miss Green.'
Well, boy, you are a queer little chap, but
what's the favour?-out with it. I can't in-
terfere with Miss Green nor your aunt; you
understand that?'
Oh, yes, Uncle Ben, I quite understand!
I'll soon tell you what I want you to do. I
want you to go on preparing me for the time
when God will send for me to go up to
heaven to be with Dad and mother. You
don't know, perhaps, Uncle Ben, that my
father has promised to go to the gates every
day with mother, and to look out for me. It
is not likely that God will keep father and
mother long waiting. He will soon see that I
have had enough of being alone, and He will
send for me ; and what I am so anxious about
is, that Dad should not be disappointed when
he sees me. I mean that I should not have
gone back in anything. You see my father
was so very brave, Uncle Ben, and he had
such a splendid way of doing things, and he

bADDY's 130Y.

was always trying to teach me to be brave
and to do splendid things, too. I could not
talk about this to any one but you, Uncle Ben,
but you have led such a grand life, you will
quite understand. Some of the brave things,
of course, no one can help me with except
God. I mean keeping my temper, you know,
and being unselfish, and trying to be a gentle-
man all round; but there are other things
that Miss Green can't help me in-fishing, for
instance. Can you fish, Uncle Ben?'
'I abominate the sport,' said the Major.
'Oh, well, I can land a trout all right, and
I could manage a salmon, if he were not so
very strong that he would be much more
likely to land me; but I know the way the
thing is done. And I can get on with my
cricket when Guy and Walter come home,
unless you would like to take a turn some
fine day, Uncle Ben.'
'No, I'm obliged to you,' said the Major;
'cricket was never prescribed yet for rheu-
matic gout such as mine.'


'Well, Guy and Walter will be coming
back at Christmas,' said Ronald, still cheer-
fully, 'so I must not fret too much about
that. Then there's my riding. Bob is rather
frisky sometimes; but he must be *ery
lively to throw me. Don't you like gallop-
ing as fast as ever you can across country,
Uncle Ben ? Isn't it grand to feel just the
same as if the horse was running away with
you ?'
'It may be to you, boy, but not to a
crippled old soldier who was never much of a
rider in his best days.'
'You must not be too modest, Uncle Ben.
I'm sure no one sat on his charger better than
you. Well, but I do know how to ride, and
I can field in cricket, and I can land a trbut,
and I only want to be a little more muscular
to manage a salmon; but what I do not know,
Uncle Ben, is how to fire a gun, for father
was only just beginning to teach me when
God sent for him, and I know he'll be awfully
pleased if I understand that, and sword exer-


cise and rifle-shooting, too, when I go to him
and mother; and as you must know all these
things, Uncle Ben, I thought, maybe, you'd
teach me.'
Bless my heart !' said the Major, putting
down his swollen leg and rising to his feet
with a grim little laugh ; 'teach the boy sword
exercise and rifle-shooting, and how to handle
a sportsman's gun; what would his Aunt
Eleanor say ? Never met such a queer little
chap in my life. Well, Ronnie, I certainly
was a crack shot in my day-never missed
my mark-never.'
Then you will teach me, Uncle Ben-you
really, really will ?'
'll see about it. 'Pon my word, you're
a queer little chap; but we must do it on the
quiet, mark you-quite on the quiet.'



RONALD was immensely cheered by his inter-
view with his uncle. He had quite re-
established him as a hero, and he even had
some twinges of conscience for ever having
mistaken the shattered nerves of a spent sol-
dier for anything else than the natural conse-
quences of his gory battles and many wounds.
Ronald felt that he and Uncle Ben quite
understood each other, though had he thought
much, he might have sighed for a little more
sympathy from this gallant son of Mars, yet
he was a great deal too young and too com-
pletely a child to observe that the castle he
had built was but a castle in the air after all.
He was very cheerful indeed when he found
that he and his uncle might practise rifle-


shooting on the sly, and he was remarkably
and fussily attentive to Uncle Ben whenever
he was in his presence.
The day after he had won from Uncle Ben
a half-hearted promise, with no particular
time or date attached to it, to instruct him in
feats of arms, Miss Green was to arrive.
Ronald certainly did not want Miss Green,
but he was determined to be very polite to her
and to take as much care of her as possible.
He was very fond of weaving imaginary
stories around people in whom he was in-
terested. In Ronald's opinion Uncle Ben had
fought gallantly and been wounded severely
in every battle in which the English! had come
off victorious in the nineteenth century-and
now he busied his lively imagination in
weaving pretty devices around Miss Green.
.He recalled to his memory the stories his
father had told him about very poor peopl--
he decided that Miss Green- was very: poor,
but quite a lady--that she lived in one small
room and could never touch meat, and had to


keep her bread until it got a little mouldy in
order to make it go farther. He had once
Read in a story-book about some very poor
people who had checked their appetites with
mouldy bread, and he decided that Miss Green
was accustomed to this unpalatable food. He
also was sure that such diet did not suffi-
ciently nourish the poor lady, and that in
consequence she would come to Summerleigh
in a very weak and emaciated condition. He
fancied her joy when she received his aunt's
letter, and he became very happy in the idea
of attending to her and seeing to her comforts.
He worried and puzzled his- aunt very much
by asking- her many questions with regard to
the governess's bedroom.
'Where is Miss. Green, to sleep, Aunt
Eleanor ? I hope you are giving- her a very
nice room.'
'She will sleep in the room which leads
out of your schoolroom, Ronald. Now don't
stand loitering about, my dear child-go and
play-go and play.'


'But that room faces north,' said Ronald.
'I don't think it would be at all good for her
while she is recovering.'
Before Aunt Eleanor had time to assure
Ronald that the governess was not a convales-
cent gaining health after a severe illness, she
was called suddenly away, but Ronald thought
it necessary to inspect Miss Green's room
'This won't do at all,' he said to Jane the
housemaid; 'she must have a screen at the
foot-of her bed to shade off the draughts.
There's a screen in my room, Jane, and you
must bring it in. I do not like her, while
she's so weak, being in this north room, and
I'd give her mine only I'm afraid she couldn't
fit into my bed, unless she's very small.
Poor thing, I'm afraid she's just like a
shadow. Well, Jane, there must be a big fire
in the grate, and you must light it every
morning before she gets up.'
'Very well, Sir Ronald, only Mrs. Frere
gave no orders to that effect.'


SOh, but she meant it, Jane. It would be
most cruel to leave the poor thing in a north
room without a fire.'
But the weather is very hot still, sir.'
Never mind that; Miss Green's, half-way
in a consumption I expect, and there's nothing
for consumption like hot air. She must be
shaded from every draught, and oh, how she
will like to sit in the arbour with the glass
sides! She and Uncle Ben can sit there to-
gether. Now that I've come to think of it,
if he is a hero, she's a heroine. Do you know,
Jane, that she's so awfully poor that she has
been obliged to live on mouldified bread ?
most likely she denied herself because she's
supporting an aged mother. They generally
do in the story-books. Yes, I'm sure she has
an aged mother, and she eats mouldy bread to
keep her mother alive. Miss Green is a very
good woman, and I admire her greatly.'
Well, I never, sir,' exclaimed Jane; 'you
don't mean to tell me, sir, that your aunt is
bringing in a pauper from one of the in-


firmaries to instruct you, Master-Sir Ronald,
I mean. Well, I calls it very indignified. 1
do indeed.'
'I never thought of the Infirmary,' said
Ronald, but most likely she has been there-
most likely she has. Poor Miss Green-poor
dear Miss Green Jane, you may give her
my little table-the table that holds my Bible
and the Prayer-book with father's picture in-
side. I'll keep the Bible and Prayer-book
under my pillow, and that will do nicely; only
you must be very careful not to throw them
on the floor in the morning when you are.
making my bed; you. must be very careful
about -that in case I leave them under my,
pillow by mistake, Jane. Yes, Miss Green,
shall have the little table, and it shall stand.
close to her bed, and I will put some of my
story-books on it, my Robinson Crusoe and my
Grimm's Fairy Tales; for her to read when
she wakes in the morning, they are very
amusing and they'll soon make her forget the
Infirmary; and, Jane, you must be sure to

' We'll have some starry jasmine; she'll be sure to like that,
poor thing !'
P. 81.



~~L~lclj LC


take her her breakfast in bed, she won't be
able to get up to breakfast for a long time.'
Having satisfied himself that the north
room was now being suitably prepared for the
reception of the invalid, Ronald ran off to the
garden to gather some flowers to put into their
schoolroom and also to place in a little vase of
his own which was to occupy a place of
honour on the small table by the governess's
bed. Violet went to help Ronald to gather
the flowers, and he was very particular in
giving her directions what kind she was to
'They must have a sweet smell, and yet
they mustn't have too strong a smell,' he said;
'mignonette will do, and heliotrope ; no, per-
haps heliotrope is too strong. We'll have
some of the dear starry jasmine, Violet, she'll
be sure to like that, poor dear thing.'
Miss Green won't have any flowers in her
bedroom,' said Violet, who was a very stolid
and matter-of-fact child. She used to teach
Mary long ago, and she never would allow


flowers in any of our bedrooms; she said they
weren't wholesome. I saw her throw away a
lot of flowers once, and call them "nasty
Ronald, who was preparing a most dainty
little bouquet, and who was just intending
to run off to the greenhouse to beg for
some maidenhair and some choice geraniums,
stood still and stared at Violet when she said
'Miss Green has had trouble since then,'
he said, in a reflective voice, 'and trouble,'
here he sighed deeply, 'teaches one lots of
things. You don't speak in at all a nice tone
about poor Miss Green, Violet. I wonder if
you'd like to live in one room and eat mouldy
bread, and do it all without a murmur, even
though you were getting very ill, just because
you wouldn't let your aged mother want.
Just think of Aunt Eleanor as very, very old
and starving, and you taking care of her. If
you think of that, Violet, you'll understand
better about Miss Green. Yes; I shall give


her these starry jasmines, and this mignonette.
Poor thing, I know she'll like them.'
Miss Green was expected to arrive about
six o'clock on this bright September evening,
and Mrs. Frere had ordered high tea in the
new schoolroom for the governess and for
Ronald and Violet.
Ronald arranged his flowers quite to his
satisfaction, but he. had no sooner done so
than a fresh cause for anxiety occurred to
'There's no doubt they none of them con-
sider that she's not at all well,' he said to
himself. 'Aunt Eleanor was very careless
about her bedroom, and only for me the poor
thing wouldn't have lasted long in such a
draughty and cold room. That's all right
now, and the flowers are settled just as I
know she'll like to have them; she may be
a little strange at first coming away from her
mother, but the flowers will put her right at
once : I don't mind a word that Violet says.
But now what's worrying me is, what is there


for her tea-what is there that's fit for her
to eat ? Now I like jam and marmalade, and
muffins and crumpets, but I don't suppose
they'd be wholesome for her. It would be
very careless, indeed, to have nothing suitable
for her when she comes in so tired. What do
people like who are half-way in a consumption,
and who are weak from mouldy bread. I'd
better run and ask Dorothy, she'll be sure to
tell me.'
Old Dorothy, in her small room at the
head of the back stairs, was busily employed
over her mending when Ronald rushed in to
see her.
Oh, there you are, my precious !' she
said. 'Tisn't often Dorothy sees you now,
Master Ronald. Sit down, do, darling; and
so that new governess is going to take you out
of my hands entirely to-night. Sir Ronald
wouldn't have allowed it, bless his dear
memory! and that I will say.'
Oh, but really, Dorothy,' said Ronald, I
think father would be pleased to know that


poor Miss Green was coming here. I think I
know now why she's coming. It's because
God wants her to have a little rest and to be
taken care of.'
'Dorothy stared at Ronald out of her
sunken old eyes ; but before she had time
to make a remark and assure her little
gentleman that she could not at all coincide
with his opinion, he interrupted her eagerly.
'Dodo, I want to consult you on a most
important thing.'
'Well, what is it, my dear ?'
I want you to think very hard, Dodo,
because it's most serious.'
'Well, Master Ronald, I'll do my best.
'First of all, Dodo,' proceeded Ronald, I
want you' to think --I want you to look back
on all your long life, and to remember the time
when you were very, very dangerously ill.'
'Well, I never, sir! And I'm sure I've
had very fair health; only once, when I was
about thirty, I had a bad bout of rheumatic


'That'll do nicely, Dorothy, thank you,'
said Ronald. You were in bed, I suppose?'
Oh, dear me yes, sir. I was all but
given over that time.'
'I'm delighted to hear it, Dorothy. Now
didn't you get very weak ?'
Weak, Master Ronald ? A kitten was
nothing to me.'
Ronald clapped his hands.
'That's my own darling Dorothy!' he said.
I can't make out what you're driving at,
sir,' said the old nurse. You seem mighty
pleased to learn that I was once in dire suf-
fering, and all but sinking from sheer ex-
It was meant for good,' said Ronald. I
am glad, Dorothy, for if you hadn't gone
through it all you wouldn't be able to help me
to-night. Now think very, very hard-What
was it you first fancied in the way of food?
It wasn't black currant jam, was it ? We are
going to have black currant jam on the tea-
table to-night.'


'Black currant jam, sir? No, no; queer
stuff that would be for a poor fever patient
sinking with exhaustion.'
I thought so,' said Ronald; 'I felt sure
of it. And it wasn't muffins and crumpets,
Dorothy?-you are certain it wasn't muffins
and crumpets?'
Muffins and crumpets!' said Dorothy, in
a tone of scorn. My word! The most in-
digestible things you can eat. No, Master
Ronald, if you will have it, my fancy was
wine-whey; it was wine-whey with me from
morning till night: I never could get enough
of it.'
SWine-whey,' said Ronald, in a contem-
plative voice ; it sounds very nice and suit-
able, and I am sure Aunt Eleanor has never
given orders about it. How is it made,
Dorothy? '
'You bring new milk to a boil,' said
Dorothy, 'and then, just when it's coming to
the turn, and about to rise up in the saucepan,
you throw in a wineglassful of good pale

University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs