...... .... v.,
I '1' '" '*_____ <.rA irkv
Bertie Wilmot was perched on the topmost branches, doing his best to shake the
yellow pippins into the outstretched aprons of Daisy, Pansy, and another little
flaxen-haired maiden who were capering wildly beneath.-/,. i r.
To THE END
C. LOCKHART GORDON,
AUTHOR OF HUMP AND ALL."
JOHN F. SHAW AND CO.,
48, PATERNOSTER ROW.
A TTRT IV E
PRICE ONE SHILLING, WITH ILLUSTRATIONS.
ALL FOR THE BEST
HEROES OF THE LINE
HIS SERVANTS WHO SER
JUST IN TIME
THE SEA GULL'S NEST
THE SEFTON BOYS .
AUNT MILDRED'S TREAS
THE STRAY LAMB
THOSE BOYS .
NEVER, FOR EVER .
TO THE END.
EAST AND WEST
OUGHTS AND CROSSES
JERRY'S LITTLE NELL
OUR ROUGH DIAMOND
HETTIE AND THE SUNB
ROB AND RALPH
LEO AND DICK
OUT IN THE STORM
CHICK; or, Yet there is Room
S By EMILY S. HOLT.
S ELTON KEANE.
VE ELEANOR GRANT.
. CATHARINE SHAW.
. EMILY S. HOLT.
. L. T. MEADE.
S C. E. IRVINE.
URE T. PAUL.
M. S. MACRITCHIE.
HOUSE L. T. MEADE.
S EMILY BRODIE.
S L. T. MEADE.
S GRACE STEBBING.
S C. L. GORDON.
S M. E. WINCHESTER
S JESSIE CHAPPELL.
S A. PITTIS.
MRS. FABIAN BRACKENBURY.
EAMS GERTRUDE P. DYER.
S NELLIE HELLIS.
. L. MARSTON.
. L. MARSTON.
* EMILY BRODIB
* L. MARSTON,
S C. E. S.
* CATHARINE SHAW.
M. S. MACRITCHIE.
S L. T. MEADE.
LONDON JOHN F. SHAW & CO., 48, PATERNOSTER Row, E.C
TO THE END.
O Jesus, I have promised
To serve Thee to the end;
Be Thou for ever near me,
My Master and my Friend.
I shall not fear the battle
If Thou art by my side,
Nor wander from the pathway
If Thou wilt be my Guide."
1 IVE fresh young voices carolled forth
these words-five bright fair faces
gleamed soft and solemn in the sweet
spring sunshine. It was Confirmation
Day at St. Magna's, and the old parish church was
crowded from end to end.
The roll of the organ ceased, the sweet notes
of the singers died away, and the five young girls
in the front oaken pew seated themselves to listen
to the Bishop's parting words.
Soldiers and servants of Jesus Christ," he
To the End.
began, "this day you have sworn allegiance to
your great Captain; you have taken upon your-
selves the vows which were made for you at baptism;
you have promised to fight manfully against sin,
the world, and the devil, and to continue Christ's
faithful soldiers and servants unto your lives' end.
Now, in whose strength are you going forth to this
warfare? In your Saviour's or your own? Are
you trusting to your strong right arm and your
good resolutions to bring you the victory, or have
you knelt, and with all the fervency of your young
hearts besought the Lord to nerve you for the
conflict for which none of us are too strong-to
shoe you for the race for which none of our feet
are too swift ?
"My dear young friends, I know not the secrets
of your hearts, but God does; but if you have
never honestly raised a cry to Heaven for help
before, raise one now, I beseech you. Rush not
unarmed into the fight. Ask your Heavenly Father
to equip you with the helmet of salvation, with the
sword of the Spirit, to give you the shield of faith
and the breastplate of Christ's righteousness, to
gird you with truth, and to shoe your feet with
peace, and then-and then alone-may you hope to
run with patience the race that is set before you-
to be faithful unto death-to continue Christ's
faithful soldiers and servants until your lives' end."
Confirmation Bells. 9
More words followed-words of love, words of
counsel, words of encouragement-and then the
organ pealed forth again, the bells chimed, and the
crowded congregation poured itself forth into the
bright spring sunshine.
To the end, to the end; Father, keep me faithful
to the end," pleaded Edith Wilmot that night as
she knelt in the room where her little sisters
"To the end, to the end; dear Saviour, guard me
-guide me," whispered Ruth IHope with clasped
hands, as she lay on her invalid couch at the Home
Farm that evening.
"To the end, to the end; may I be true to the
end," prayed Patience Trueman, as she gazed up
through her cottage-window at the stars that were
shining down so brightly.
Thus three out of the five young girls that had
knelt in the oaken pew that morning started forth
on the race that was set before them-leaning on
the same strong arm-resting in the same dear love.
But what of the other two ? Alas i alas though
Violet Norman and Rose Wicks bent the knee
and folded the hands, repeating the words they
had learnt by rote from childhood, that night, no
true cry went up to Heaven for help, under no
wings of love did they seek for rest and shelter.
o .- .-" !, ...-.. _', f.-.^ l 'J,, '.:.^ o c'-i r'T-?I-1
-t^ ,_s ._-r. t- ._-.-- 1 --T, .^-A5,-
I. CONFIRMATION BELLS ... ... ... 7
II. A FIRESIDE TALK ... ... ... ... IO
III. THE HOME FARM ... ... ... ... 14
IV. THE HAY-FIELD ... ... ... ... 18
V. THE COTTAGE HOME ... ... ... ... 24
VI. EVENING CONFIDENCES ... ... ... 28
VII. AN "AT HOME" AT THE KNOLL ... ... 33
VIII. TWILIGHT TALKS ... ... ... ... 39
IX. WAVERERS ... ... ... .. ... 47
X. THE DARKENED HOME ... ... ... 55
XI. ADELBERT TERRACE ... ... ... ... 61
XII. TAKE UP THE CROSS ... ... ... 67
XIII. A LUNCHEON PARTY ... ... ... ... 76
XIV. TEMPTATION ... ... .. ... ... 83
XV. CONQUEST ... ... ... ... .. 92
XVI. MARRIAGE BELLS ... ... ... ... 98
XVII. A CHANCE MEETING ... ... .. 104
XVIII. A SAD RETURN ... ... ... ... III
XIX. CONFIRMATION BELLS ... ... ... 123
A FIRESIDE TALK.
iiqi HE short spring day had closed, and the
i F relight flickered merrily on the rose-
,l- i coloured blinds of an old-fashioned
House in High Street. Tea was being
carried out from the drawing-room, and with a
sigh of content a lady dropped into a cosy chair
near the fire and drew a work-basket to her.
"What! all the petticoats finished! Rachel,
you must have worked hard this morning; too
hard, dear, I am afraid," and Miss Scott looked
anxiously at her sister.
"No, Margaret, I am not tired," and the sweet
pale face that rested against the cushions of the
sofa lifted itself smilingly. "Little Mary Trueman
came round this morning, and the sight of her
well-worn garments gave my fingers new energy."
"Poor Mrs. Trueman, she must find it hard work
to clothe her baker's dozen, and yet Patience looked
A Fireside Talk.
so neat and respectable this morning-quite as
respectable as Rosa Wicks, whose father earns
thirty shillings a week. Patience and Rose and
Violet and Edith and Ruth Hope were all in the
pew together, dear."
"Were they ? How strange !-just the five girls
we are so interested in. And you liked the
Bishop's address ?"
"Liked it-I more than liked it; it sent me
out to my district with fresh energy. But oh,
Rachel, I could not help thinking of my own con-
firmation-that happy day twenty-five-no, let me
see-thirty years ago; it was just such a May day
as this, bright and beautiful-you remember it,
dear, don't you? But I am forgetting, how should
you ?-you were only a little toddle then. Good old
Mr. Mansel was our vicar, and Bishop Wilson con-
firmed me; and father was there. I can see him
now beaming at me from the red-lined pew in the
gallery; and mother, dear mother, in her lavender
bonnet and white ribbons, kneeling down praying
for me, and Arthur-yes, Arthur was home from
India that year. Ah! they were all here then,
and now ." And Miss Scott's voice faltered.
Now, Margaret darling, they are safe at home
with the Saviour in Paradise," and Rachel Scott's
thin blue-veined hand stole gently into her sister's.
"Ah, Rachel dear, what should I do without
12 To the End.
you? I-I am always looking back, while you
are always looking forward. Yes, as I sat listening
to the Bishop's brave stirring words to-day, I
could not help thinking what a poor cowardly
soldier I had been; how often I had never held
up my shield of faith at all; and how sometimes I
had even been tempted to throw away my armour
"Tempted, Margaret, darling!-but through
God's grace you did not give way to the tempta-
tion. We have all bitter things to write against
ourselves; but I only trust those five young
soldiers who are starting to-day will fight as man-
fully as you have done."
"Rachel, Rachel! hush! hush!-but let us
change the subject. Those dear young girls-it
was quite touching to see them. Patience True-
man's honest open face was beaming over with
happiness; and Edith, our own dear Edith, had
such a sweet look in her blue eyes; and con-
siderate and thoughtful as usual, she helped Ruth
Hope so tenderly to the chancel."
"Ah, dear Edith, Dr. Wilmot was only telling
me yesterday what a help and comfort she was to
him. A much greater weight of responsibility, he
says, rests on her young shoulders than he would
willingly place there, but her mother suffers so
terribly from headaches. Edith however accepts
A Fireside Talk. 13
her position, Dr. Wilmot says, most brightly, and
she is the sunshine and mainstay of the household."
"But what of Violet and Rose, Margaret ?-you
did not tell me about them."
"Well, dear, even their pretty faces looked
thoughtful, but Frank tells me he is anxious about
them. He says they were most regular attendants
at the class, and assented most readily to all
he had to say; but somehow or other he fears his
words have had no real influence upon them, and
that they do not at all realize the solemnity of the
step they have undertaken."
"Ah, Margaret dear, my heart aches for them-
pretty motherless Violet, and winning, bright Rose.
God grant they are not starting forth to meet all
the trials and the temptations that lie before them
without the Good Shepherd's arm around them."
God grant they are not, darling; we must pray
earnestly for them," and Miss Scott stooped and
pressed a kiss on her sister's forehead. But, Rachel
dear, what hot cheeks i-you have talked enough
for to-night. Where is the book? Come, I will
read to you."
THE HOME FARM.
" --DITH! E .. dith! E .... dith!"
S- The call which had begun in a high
treble ended in a shrill crescendo.
-- Softly a door opened and closed at
the end of the corridor, and quickly with finger
uplifted a young girl came along it. "Bertie,
Bertie! hush, hush!-don't you know mother is
lying down with a headache ? "
"Oh, Edie, I quite forgot," and the face of the
curly-headed little boy that bestrode the banisters
I thought you did, darling, for you are generally
so thoughtful," and Edith Wilmot stooped and
pressed a kiss on her little brother's forehead ; "but
run up-stairs now and tell Daisy and Pansy I am
ready, and if nurse wants to speak to me she will
find me in the school-room."
"Edie, are you really going to slave all the way
The Home Farm. 15
to the farm this hot afternoon ?" was the question
that came from the depths of a wicker chair placed
just outside the school-room window, where the
old-fashioned caves of the Elizabethan house cast
a patch of shade on the gravelled pathway.
"Yes, Joan, I must; mother will not touch meat
to-day, and I want to tempt her with some of Mrs.
Muir's fresh eggs."
"You darling old pet, you are a model of
thoughtfulness and self-denial. I hope you are not
going however to ask me to accompany you, for
Mrs. Norman has just written to ask me to go for
a drive with her," and Joan Wilmot tossed into
the school-room a daintily scented envelope.
"No, Joan, I am not," and Edith stooped and
with a slight shade on her face picked up the
letter; "and as to self-denial, I am sure none of
that is required in performing a little service for
mother-mother whose health has broken down in
slavery and service for us."
"You know, Edith, I did not mean that," and
Joan Wilmot toyed somewhat shamefacedly with a
sprig of the clematis that clambered up the red-
"I know, darling, that you did not," and Edith
turned up the pretty pouting face of her sister and
kissed it fondly; "but, Joan dear, you will be back
in time for your French lesson, will you not?
16 To the End.
Madame le Foi is always so vexed when she is
kept waiting. Ah, there is good little May learning
her verbs in the arbour, I see. Good-bye, May
darling, I'm off to the farm," and blowing a kiss
through -her fingers Edith joined the impatient
children, who, armed with big baskets and shady
hats, were awaiting her arrival at the school-room
Farms, as a rule, exercise an irresistible attraction
over most children, and a walk to the Home Farm
was the little Wilmots' especial delight; it con-
tained such a world of interests, and it was pre-
sided over by such a kind mistress-a mistress
who did not mind even when little footprints were
left on the red bricks of her clean dairy, nor when
little hands seized the handle of her big churn;
nor, strange to say, even when little voices disturbed
the privacy of the secluded nook where the old
grayhen was sitting. Yes, Mrs. Muir was a mistress
after the children's own heart, and they turned to
her instinctively, not only to be made busy and
happy, but also with all their little confidences,
while she-she looked on the children as a bit of
God's own sunshine-rays of light and gladness
sent down from heaven to brighten and to cheer
this lower world of ours.
Mrs. Muir was Scotch-very Scotch some people
would say-for she pronounced her /'s with delicious
The Home Farm. I7
distinctness, and rolled out her r's as though she
loved them. She had been brought up in comfort
and luxury, for her father had been a wealthy
Glasgow merchant; but comfort and luxury she
had turned her back upon when she became the
wife of a missionary, and consented to accompany
Alan Muir to his lonely station in southern Africa,
to the land and the work he loved so well.
Five short years passed-the golden years of
Janet Muir's life-and then Alan Muir was called
to exchange labour for rest, work for praise, and
Janet returned to her father's house a widow.
To her father's house, but not to the home of
her childhood, for during her absence the wealthy
mercantile house in which her father was a partner
had become bankrupt, and he and his little orphaned
grand-daughter were now living in a quiet suburb
In tending and ministering to these dear ones,
Janet Muir sought to assuage her own sorrow, but
when her father's days were ended, at the request
of a cousin of her husband's, she and her little
niece turned their faces southernwards, to the
Home Farm-a home which God in His provi-
dential care ultimately designed one day should be
Janet's own-a haven of rest and shelter for the
widow and the orphan.
" N E is your talk with Ruthie over, dear?
i Then come to yonder shady corner,
1 and we'll make ourselves cosy on a
hay-cock; the children have been
making me an arm-chair and they are most anxious
that I should try it."
Ah, Mrs. Muir, they are enjoying themselves !
How happy you do make them !-yes, yes, Bertie,
I see you," and Edith Wilmot waved her parasol in
answer to her little brother's violent gesticulations,
as perched on old Dobbin's ample back he made
the tour of the field in the hay-cart-Pansy and
Violet, all laughter and excitement, rolling on the
"Wee lambies, it does my heart good to see
them, and they are quite safe. I have given them
into old Robin's charge, and he is as careful over
The Hay-field. 1
them as though they were his house-lambs; well,
and how do you think Ruthie is looking, dear ?"
Pretty well; perhaps a trifle pale from the heat;
but oh! Mrs. Muir, how sweet and patient she is!
-never murmuring nor complaining."
That she does not, dear bairnie ; even old Elspeth
said to me this morning, 'It does my heart guid,
mem, to look at Miss Ruth, her face beams like a
glint of sunshine, and as for her sweet voice, I heard
her singing when I was stirring the porridge this
morning, and it was just like the lark a-lilting.'
I expect it was Ruthie's confirmation hymn old
Elspeth heard; she always sings it over to herself
the first thing in the morning."
"Does-she ? Then I hope she will like this," and
Edith produced from her pocket an illuminated
"It is pretty, dear-very pretty, and oh, what a
needful prayer!" and Mrs. Muir repeated slowly to
herself the words--
"0 Jesus, I have promised
To serve Thee to the end;
Be Thou for ever near me,
My Master and my Friend.
I shall not fear the battle
If Thou art by my side,
Nor wander from the pathway
If Thou wilt be my Guide."
The card was handed back in silence. Mrs.
20 To the End.
Muir was gazing across the hay-field, but not at the
Mrs. Muir," at last Edith ventured to say, Mrs.
Muir, do you know although I love that verse I
almost tremble when I sing those words-
'0 Jesus, I have promised
To serve Thee to the end.'
The end may be such a long way off, and there
may be such difficulties and trials before it comes,
and then when I think of that verse in the Bible
that speaks of vowings to God and not performing,
and remember that I have promised to my Saviour
-to my God .. "and Edith covered her face
with her hands.
The far-away look in Mrs. Muir's eyes was gone;
in a minute she was back in the present. My
bairnie, when you made the promise you did not
forget the prayer ?"
"No, no, indeed I did not."
"I thought not; then fear not to take up the
words of that sweet hymn-sing, my bairnie, with-
out a quaver of doubt-
'I shall not fear the battle
If Thou art by my side,
Nor wander from the pathway
If Thou wilt be my Guide.'
I was thinking, Edith, of a little incident in my
The Hay-field. 21
own life when you spoke to me. Shall I tell it to
you, dear ?-it will help to illustrate what I mean."
"Well, my child, my Alan and I were once
spending a few weeks in the Highlands-ah me,
how long ago now !"-and again the far-away look
came into Mrs. Muir's eyes. Behind our wee house
there rose a hill which I was very anxious to be-
come better acquainted with, and as my husband
was always very busy with his letters in the morn-
ing, I thought some day I might scale it alone.
Alan however assured me it was far steeper than
it looked, and that it should be ascended by only
one particular path. He promised however to be my
guide one day, but laughingly he asserted I must
exercise the womanly virtue of patience, and wait
till he could claim an honest holiday. I kissed
him and told him his wife was not a southern maid,
hills had no terrors for her, and one day when he
was busy in his study I stole out of the house and
soon was on my way to Ben Dhu.
"What need to dilate on my experiences ? For
the first hour I sang like a lark.; during the second
I was silent; by the third I had stumbled over
a stone, and lay speechless with fatigue and
What was to become of me ? Our wee house
in the glen was plainly visible, for I had but half-
To the End.
way ascended the hill, but I had no strength to
retrace my steps. Oh, why, why had I not listened
to dear Alan, and waited for his strong arm to
guide me Now perhaps I should have to spend a
night out on the hill, and hiding my face in the
bracken, I burst into a passion of tears.
Just then I heard the furze-bushes being pushed
aside, and tramp tramp coming over the heather.
I raised myself, and there was Alan, my husband,
come in search of me. I need not describe our
meeting, Edith, but I will tell you, dear, I was not
upbraided. I was fed with milk and biscuits, and
after being lifted on to a Highland pony, carefully
"Three weeks later, Edith, my husband and I
stood on the top of Ben Dhu, and as I gazed at
the lovely landscape I said, 'Alan, I should never
have seen this if you had not been my guide.'
You would not have made that speech a month
ago, wifee' said my husband, as he smilingly drew
me down to a seat on the heather; 'you learnt
your wisdom by bitter experience, I am afraid.'
Then changing his tone, he added, 'It is a small
matter to mistrust an earthly guide; but, oh,
Janet, my darling, may neither you or I ever mis-
trust our Heavenly Guide--our blessed, blessed
Saviour. Before us there lies a steeper than any
earthly hill to climb; may we mount it leaning on
The Hay-field. 23
the arm of our Beloved-and then, and then alone,
may we hope to reach the better land-the new
He is there now, my Alan," said Mrs. Muir
softly, as she wiped away a tear; "but, Edith, there
are the children-take them to look for the eggs,
will you, dear? I will go in and get tea ready,"
and pulling her sun-bonnet over her eyes, Mrs.
Muir turned in the direction of the farm-house.
Often and often in after years when Edith was far
away from the Home Farm, and new duties and
responsibilities were weighing upon her, that
summer's afternoon would rise to her remem-
brance-the deep blue sky-the sunny hay-field-
the children rolling in the hay-cart; and once more
she would fancy herself looking into Mrs. Muir's
sweet earnest eyes; once more would she recall
the truth that the story of Ben Dhu had taught
THE COTTAGE HOME.
". ATIENCE, tell Bob to let me have the
bat, he's had it for nigh half-an-hour."
No, Patience, I ought to keep it;
Tim hasn't put me out yet."
Now, boys, isn't mother always telling you to
give up to one another ? Come, Bob, you are the
eldest, let Tim have a turn; there's no chance of his
putting you out, he's but a little fellow; but run
along now, for there are the children to put to bed,
and mother's supper to get ready," and closing the
door on her brothers, Patience Trueman turned
back into the kitchen. Mrs. Trueman's cottage
was small-so small that it was difficult when
night came to know where to stow away the
numerous olive branches; but a mother's love and
tact can overcome a good many difficulties, and
few curly heads slumbered more peacefully than
did the little Truemans.
The Cottage Home. 25
Tom, the eldest, was domiciled at the Home
Farm ; Ted, the next brother to Patience, was at
sea; George, Mrs. Trueman had taken in that very
day to Great St. Magna's, where he was to act as
general factotum to his uncle, who kept an oil and
tallow-chandler's shop; Bob, Willie, Tim, Mary and
Nellie were all still at school; while Susie, Freddy
and Artie (the fat twins), and Jessie, the three-year-
old baby, enjoyed the freedom of home. A goodly
number of young mouths to feed, despite that three
out of the thirteen chicks had. already taken flight
from the family roof-tree; not one too many, how-
ever, thought Mrs. Trueman; and when Patience,
belying her name, was all impatience to be also on
the wing (not from discontent with her cosy, snug
nest, but because she was longing to bring money
into the family exchequer), her mother declared
that straitened means with her were worth any
amount of money without her, and Patience had
to give her promise that she would bide at home
at all events till Mary grew a bit bigger.
It was mother's supper that Patience was now
busy over, and after concocting a savoury little
dish from some scraps of meat and potatoes, she
popped it into the oven, and calling to Mary to
bring up the twins, she caught up baby Jess, and
covering her dimpled face with kisses carried her
off to bed.
26 To the End.
The upper storey of Mrs. Trueman's cottage
consisted of three bedrooms, if bedroom the third
could be called when it was little more than a
cupboard-cupboard though it was, however, it
was the coveted possession of the elder Trueman
boys, and now that George had departed to the
region of oil and dips, Bob and Willie had become
its proud possessors.
Mrs. Trueman, baby, Susie and Tim-slept in the
front apartment, while Patience, Mary, Nellie and
the twins occupied the white-washed chamber that
looked over the strip of old-fashioned garden.
The air that came through the casement-window
was fragrant with the smell of roses, jasmin,
mignonette and honeysuckle, and as Patience
(after putting the children to bed) watched the
stars come out one by one, she thought, "Truly
the lines had fallen to her in pleasant places; yea,
she had a goodly heritage."
The hushed stillness of the room was only
broken by the deep-drawn breaths of the tired
children, when a low whisper came from the bed
nearest to the window.
Patience, what are you looking at ? The stars ?"
"Yes, Nellie; why ain't you asleep ? "
Oh, I bain't tired, Patience; do let me look
too; I do love them stars," and the child crept on
to her sister's knee,
The Cottage Home. 27
Patience drew together the casement, and wrap-,
ping an old shawl round her little sister the two
gazed together for some minutes in silence.
"Ain't they lovely ?" at last whispered Nellie.
"Patience, be Heaven up there ?"
"I don't know, Nellie; nobody rightly knows."
"Oh, I hope it be-stars seem somehow so
"But Heaven does not require to be made
home-like, Nellie dear; Heaven is our Father's
house, and then (and Patience's voice lowered and
her eyes glistened) Jesus is there."
The child's arms tightened round her sister's neck,
but she said nothing; when Patience was carrying
her back to bed, however, she whispered, Patience,
I do love the Lord Jesus."
"I am so glad, Nellie dear, for you know the
Lord Jesus loves you very much-more than even
mother or me."
"I know He does," and the little fair head
nestled with satisfaction on its pillow.
Tucking her little sister in securely, Patience
kissed her fondly, then ran down-stairs to look after
her savoury dish in the oven.
1 r ? -,% *^, -4
-RS. TRUEMAN was very tired when
i I he reached home, but Patience put
Y her into the old-fashioned arm-chair,
and took off her heavy boots, and after
a strong cup of tea and some supper she began to
Well, Patience, some folks may like being out
and about, but to my mind there's no place like
home," and Mrs. Trueman stroked her daughter's
"What, mother! you don't envy Uncle Tom all
"No, lass, that I don't, though he has as tidy a
house as you would wish to set eyes on-a parlour
at the back of the shop where they takes their
meals, and a sitting-room up-stairs with a pianer
for Amelia to play on, and four bedrooms with
lace curtains at the windows; but there now, I
Evening Confidences. 29
wouldn't give our little place for the whole of it,"
and Mrs. Trueman gazed with satisfaction round
her cheery kitchen.
"And did George seem content to stay, mother ? "
"Ay, dear lad, he did his best to put a brave
face upon it, but his heart was in his mouth, that
I could see, when he said good-bye to me in the
parlour. His uncle, however, he slapped him on the
back, and told him that if he was a sharp lad, and
steady, perhaps some day he might write his name
over the shop."
"Then, mother, some time perhaps George will
have a house too with a parlour and a planer and
bedrooms and lace curtains."
"Ah, Patience, my child, it is not money I
covet for my children ; if George only turns out an
honest God-fearing man like his dear father, my
prayers will be answered."
"I know, mother, I know," and looking up in
her mother's face with a bright smile, Patience
added softly, We all know, mother dear, your
heart's desire for us."
"And my heart's desire is granted for one at
least of my children, is it not?"
Patience's "yes," though a low was a very earnest
one; then drawing a stool to her mother's feet
she repeated her conversation with Nellie that
so 7o the End.
"Ah, Patience, my child, what a true God in
Heaven is our God The night your dear father was
taken how I did beseech the good Lord to let me
meet.my dear Will again some day, and to let me
bring all my dear children with me, and see how
He is answering my prayer. Dear little Nellie, I
always thought her a child beyond her years, and
she is that like her father I could almost fancy
sometimes it is his dear eyes a-lookin' at me."
Eight o'clock struck, and Patience was still on a
stool at her mother's feet; a big basket, however,
stood beside her with a pile of socks which she
was busy darning.
It was easy to see what a bond of union existed
between this mother and daughter. To Mrs. True-
man, Patience was not only a deeply-loved child,
but also a trusted companion and counsellor, while
to Patience Mrs. Trueman was just mother; but
the way in which the girl's voice softened and her
eyes brightened when she pronounced this word
showed what a wealth of meaning it conveyed to
"Patience, give me some of those stockings;'I
am mor rested now."
No, mother, not one, you are to finish your
day like a lady," and jumping up Patience shook.
up her mother's cushion and pulled her gently
back upon it. There now, that is right; it is really
Evening Confidences. 31
quite a pleasure, mother dear, to see you for once
with your hands before you."
"Ah, Patience, you spoil your old mother, but
I suppose I must give in to you. Well, dear, and
how did the children behave themselves?"
Oh, very well; Bob and Willie they had a few
words at dinner, but they soon made it up after-
wards. But, mother, I have something to tell you;
do you know I have had a visitor?"
"A visitor-and who could that be ?"
"Rose Wicks! Yes, mother, you may well open
your eyes; I am sure I did mine when she walked
in, it is so long since she has been to see us; and,
mother, do you know I think she is so changed
since the confirmation-she seems somehow so much
more quiet and humble-like."
I am right glad to hear it, child, for to tell you
the truth, I was afeard Rose Wicks was beginning
to get a little light-headed last winter; but there
now, I hope she has taken heed to all that good
Mr. Newton has said to her; and, Patience dear,
when you get a chance you might say a word of
counsel to her. She is a pretty lass and soft spoken,
but she has a spirit of her own, and Wicks and
his wife, I fear me well, they don't go the right
way to manage her."
The garden-gate now clicked, and Bob and
Willie rushed in full of the band-of-hope meeting
32 To the End.
they had been at, and eager to hear the latest news
Mrs. Trueman answered all their questions, and
then bade Bob reach down the Bible, for "the
church clock was striking nine," she said, and she
and Patience had a hard day's washing before
A chapter was read, prayer was offered, and by
ten o'clock all in the little cottage were peacefully
sleeping, secure in the care of Him who never
slumbereth nor sleepeth-the God of the widow
and the fatherless.
AN "AT HOME" AT THE KNOLL.
N^ fifteen; thirty-all!"
These were the sounds that issued
-- from Dr. Wilmot's garden one bright
afternoon towards the end of July, and the moss-
covered, velvety lawn looked like some gay parterre
of flowers with the summer costumes that were
dotted over it.
"I say, Joan, do exert yourself, Violet and I
don't want to win the set without you and Newton
getting a game."
It was Harry Wilmot who spoke, and with a well-
directed serve he sent a ball straight at his sister.
"Harry, you add insult to injury; your serves
are aggravating enough at the best of times, but
on hot days they are positively-"
Cruel, are they not, Joan ?"
Harry, my boy, be chivalrous and merciful,
34 To the And.
young ladies are not expected to be such 'dabs'
at lawn-tennis as the students at Guy's. Well,
Newton, how are you and Violet? Miss Violet,
why the weather seems to have no evil effect upon
you-positively you look as cool and fresh as your
namesakes down in the valley yonder. Harry
has been doing all the running about for you, I
suppose; quite right too, I would do the same if
I were in his place; keep him- at it, and then he
won't have time to launch any more shafts of sar-
casm at his sister," and with a nod and a smile
Dr. Wilmot passed on to the cosy party seated at
tea under the cedar-tree.
The old house had been made to disgorge couches,
easy-chairs, rugs, stools, &c.; and now that all
these were temptingly arranged on the mossy turf
beneath the shade of spreading branches, the old
cedar-tree looked a nook by no means to be
"Well, Miss Scott, how do you like our im-
promptu drawing-room? It is preferable to the
house in this weather, isn't it ?-and there is no fear
of damp with this plentiful supply of rugs that
Harry has provided for us."
I think it is delightful, doctor," and Rachel
Scott leaned back in her easy-chair as she spoke,
and gazed up at the blue sky through the thick
An "At Home" at the Knoll.
I was just telling Edith that even the tea seems
more delicately flavoured, I think, when it is taken
out of doors."
"Ah, I don't wonder at your thinking that,
you are compelled to lead such a shut-up life."
"Yes, but when I do get out, just think how I
enjoy it! I don't suppose I would be drinking in
the delights of this beautiful day with half such
a keen sense of enjoyment if I had not been kept
to the house for the best part of the winter."
"Ah, Rachel does not require sunshiny weather
to make her look on the bright side of things,
does she, doctor?" said Mr. Newton, as he laid
a hand on the back of his cousin's chair; "she
carries sunshine with her."
"That she does," said Dr. Wilmot; I wish all
my patients did the same, it would be better for
them and for me. Ah, here comes my little bit
of home sunshine, I see, with a cup of tea for her
old father. Well, Edith, my pet, not overcome
with your duties at the tea-table ? And Violet and
Pansy, my sweet flowerets, what have you been
doing to make yourselves useful?" and stooping
down Dr. Wilmot lifted a child on to each knee.
"We have been taking round the bread and
butter," lisped the pretty pair, "and Mrs. Newton
said we did it very nicely," whispered Daisy, while
the modest Pansy hung her head.
To the End.
"Oh! and you haven't been eating any, I
"Yes, we did have one little piece."
"But Edith said we might," chimed in Daisy.
"Oh then, if Edith said you might, I suppose
I mustn't say anything," and Dr. Wilmot drew the
golden heads on to his shoulder. "I am glad,
however, it was only 'one little piece,' for that
Scotch bun looks very rich and 'plummy,' and I
shouldn't like nurse to pay me a visit to-morrow
to ask for one of the black bottles off the shelf
in the surgery."
No, and we shouldn't like it either," and the little
fair faces looked apprehensive at the suggestion.
"No, I am sure you wouldn't," and Dr. Wilmot
leaned back in his chair laughing merrily. "As
you only took 'one little piece,' however, I don't
think you need look so woebegone, for I dare say,
after all, I shall not have the pleasure of a visit
from nurse, so put such thoughts out of your heads,
and run away now and pick up balls for 'Sister
Joan,'" and kissing the pair fondly, Dr. Wilmot
watched them trot off with satisfaction.
"Dear little pets," said Miss Scott, "how happy
they are to be of use! I have been watching that
game of lawn-tennis with such interest, for though
I don't understand the rules, I like to see the deft
way in which the ball is sent backwards and for-
An "At Home" at the Knoll.
wards. Harry never seems to miss a chance; I
suppose he is a capital player, Dr. Wilmot ?"
"Rather too capital, I am afraid, for his poor
little sister Joan. Frank plays well to Newton,
and what a pair of broad shoulders the young
fellow has brought back! Sea-voyages evidently
agree with him."
Yes, I wish Lawrence looked as well; his mother
has been bemoaning his want of roses all the
morning; but a curate's life in the east end of
London is no sinecure."
"No, I should think not; but, Lawrence-is
Lawrence with you ? Why, to be sure; there he is
talking to the wife. I must go over and speak to
The face that turned to greet Dr. Wilmot was
a very pale one, but the deep gray eyes were clear
and sparkling, and the firm hand-clasp the doctor
received betokened no lack of vigour.
"Why, Lawrence, my dear fellow, I thought
you were hard at work in the London slums.
How came I not to see you when I was cross-
ing the lawn? You were in the back garden.
Ah, I thought so; I felt sure I could not have
overlooked your stalwart form. Well, we are de-
lighted to have you back again amongst us once
more, aren't we, Janie? "-and the doctor turned
and looked appealingly at his wife. But you have
To the End.
lost all your country roses, your father tells me;
ah, you do look rather whitewashed-overworked,
I suppose ?"
"Overworked, dear! I should think so," stole in
Mrs. Wilmot's soft voice; "do you know, Henry,
how many thousand Lawrence has in his parish ?
"Twenty-five !-and how many helpers?"
"Only the vicar a lay-reader, and myself, and
some fifteen to twenty Sunday-school teachers
and district visitors."
"Not one for every thousand; Lawrence, my dear
fellow, I do pity you," and the doctor sank into
a seat by his wife's sofa.
"Pity my poor people, doctor, don't waste your
pity on me; I wouldn't change my lot with an
emperor's," and the young man raised his head
proudly. "I assure you it is not the work done
that kills, it is the work left undone-the thought
of the sheep astray-astray without a shepherd."
"But even that care, Lawrence, you can lay at
the feet of the Good Shepherd; your sheep can
never wander beyond His ken; He will guide both
you and them."
I know it, doctor, I know it, and when I look
at our streets and alleys with their teeming, toiling
masses, that is the thought that keeps me from
'IB-.- HE fierce burning July sun had sunk
iii a blaze of glory, and lights were
beginning to twinkle here and there
in the old-fashioned casements of The
Knoll," when, supper over, the few "intimates" of
Dr. and Mrs. Wilmot who had remained to spend
the evening, strolled out through the open windows
to the verandah and the lawn.
Edith, to her delight, found herself pacing the
gravelled pathways side by side with Mr. Newton,
for dearly she loved a talk with the Vicar," while
he, eagerly solicitous for the welfare of the young
members of his flock, gladly welcomed every oppor-
tunity of helping them with advice and sympathy.
"Violet tells me she has asked you for a district,
"Yes, and with her father's consent I have given
her a few cottages-those facing the Green."
Where the Wicks and Widow Smart live," and
Edith's face wore a wistful expression,
To the End.
Mr. Newton gazed at her through the darken-
ing twilight. He guessed something of what was
passing through her mind.
"Edith, my child, you can work for God as dis-
tinctly as Violet does even though your sphere
does not extend beyond the limits of home."
Edith raised her eyes with a new light in them
-the wistful expression was gone.
"An eldest daughter and sister has such a wide
area of usefulness, I always think, and when she
brightly, patiently, and conscientiously takes up
her several duties and performs them all to the
glory of God, who can tell to what extent her
influence may be used, nor how many may be
blessed through her bright example?"
"Oh, Mr. Newton, you do help one so. Now all
this week I have been thinking that perhaps I am
drifting too much with circumstances, .our home
life is such a happy one, and the days fly past so
swiftly. Mother is not strong, and there are so
many little things to do; but last week there
flashed across me the thought that I was not
working at all for God-that I had no district or
Sunday-school class, or anything of that sort, I
mean-and then I remembered all the Bishop
said at our Confirmation about life being a battle
and we being soldiers, and I began to be afraid that
just perhaps because I was so happy I had been
"Rose Rose, don't talk like that. How many a poor London girl would think
your little home a Paradise! "--. 53-
drifting too easily with the tide, that perhaps ."
-and Edith's voice faltered, and her head lowered
-" I have not been fighting at all."
"Edith, my child, you would like to have a
"Oh, Mr. Newton, I should-I should-of all
"But if you took one, some of those 'little
things' to which you alluded so casually would be
thrown on the shoulders of your mother (since
Joan is still in the school-room), and your mother
is not able to bear them."
"That is just it; mother is pretty well some
days, but other times she can barely lift her head
from the pillow."
"Then rest content. God in His good Provi-
dence is shutting the door for you at present to
outside work; your work for Him must be at
'home, and remember that piety shown at home
and requital of parents (we have it on God's own
authority) is 'good and acceptable' before Him."
"Father, the school mistress wants to see
Mr. Newton turned to obey the summons, and
Lawrence Newton took his father's place beside
"What a glorious night!-the stars are as bright
To the End.
"Aren't they? You must enjoy this taste of
country, Lawrence, after London."
"That I do, and not the least part of my enjoy-
ment is the seeing of old friends; it is not the
physical atmosphere of London, however, that is
so depressing, it is the spiritual and moral-the
dull, degraded, hopeless depths into which most
of the poor (at least the poor around me) have
sunk. You find yourself asking wonderingly,
'Can anything that I can say penetrate to brains
whose one thought is how to procure the bread for
which they are starving? Can any message that
I can bring brighten faces whose eyes are sunk
and wan with despair ?'-and then you remember
that your message is Divine."
Oh, Lawrence, what a sad picture!"
"Sad, but true. Why, only the day before
yesterday, up in a dingy attic at the top of a long
stair, I came across a young girl-not much older
than you, Edith, and yet a widow (her husband
fell from a scaffold some months ago), and there
she was toiling for dear life to keep her mother,
her two little children and herself from starvation,
and what do you think were the munificent wages
she was receiving ?"
I am sure I don't know."
"Three-farthings an hour!--so if the poor
creature could keep on stitch! stitch! stitch! for
Twiliglzt Talks. 45
twelve hours out of twenty-four, on the Saturday
night she would receive four-and-sixpence, out of
which she would have to pay for thread and
needles, so you can imagine what a princely sum
would be left for fuel, food, and shelter."
"Lawrence, how can they live ?"
"That is the problem I leave you to solve. Eke
out existence somehow they do ; but if the poor little
bread-winner were to break down, nothing could lie
before them but the workhouse. Yes, truly, as my
Vicar said to me the other day, it is not the pleasures
and the riches of this world that choke the seed we
endeavour to sow ; it is the cares, the sordid grind-
ing cares. Thank God, there is a bright side to the
picture, however. There is the mission-room with
its hearty little services, and oh, how I love to hear
the poor people pouring out their hearts to Him
who has said, 'Come unto Me, all ye that are
weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest!'
There are the schools, where we trust we are train-
ing the children for better and brighter things ; the
Band of Hope gatherings, the mothers' meetings
-all, all so many little focuses of light which we
hope in time will radiate out such life-giving beams
that the entire face of our parish shall be changed."
Mr. Newton's talk with the school-mistress over,
he joined the party in the drawing-room. Violet
Norman was singing, but twisting herself round on
46 To the End.
the music-stool, she suddenly demanded from Frank
Newton a yarn."
Oh yes, Frank, a yarn, a yarn !" shouted Harry
and Joan Wilmot, and yielding to the popular
demand, Frank led the way to the verandah.
Mr. Newton and Margaret Scott exchanged
"What a difference there is in character!" said
Mr. Newton, as he drew a stool to his cousin's side
and gazed out at the two quiet figures who were
pacing so leisurely up and down the lawn.
"That there is; Edith is made to be an eldest
"And yet she thinks she is not doing her duty,"
and Mr. Newton repeated some of the conversation
that had taken place in the garden.
Dear child, she is as humble as she is unselfish.
Why, all this afternoon she has been battling with
her inclinations-pouring out tea instead of playing
at tennis, talking to her parents' friends instead of
talking to her own, playing at ball with the children
instead of listening to Violet and Frank singing."
"Of course she has-I noticed all that. Yes, into
the warp and woof of everyday life Edith hath
begun to weave the golden threads of love and self-
sacrifice. One at least of my confirmation candi-
dates is, I trust, following in the footsteps of the
blessed Master who pleased not Himself."
-:4 ; .t ;
f---HE next two years that passed over
St. Magna's were uneventful ones (if
years can be called uneventful in which
habits are being formed, and character
is being moulded for eternity). Outwardly how-
ever there was nothing to disturb the still tenor of
village life. Every Monday morning Mrs. Trueman
and Patience were to be seen with sleeves rolled
up standing at the wash-tub; every afternoon Mr.
Newton was to be met with swift step traversing
the i..iri'h ; each day and all hours of the day Dr.
Wilmot's brougham rolled along with its red-
Sunday brought the only break to the weekly
routine-Sunday, and the comings and goings of
Frank Newton and Harry Wilmot. Of late these
comings and goings of Harry Wilmot's had been
much more frequent than usual. On the smallest
48 To the End.
possible pretext he was always running down to
St. Magna's, and Edith (if no one else) began to
suspect that Violet Norman was the magnet that
drew him so constantly homewards.
This knowledge gave Edith some compunction,
for she feared Violet was only playing with her
brother; nor were her surmises incorrect, for to
receive and to be pleased with Harry Wilmot's
attentions was in Violet Norman's estimation one
thing-to marry him and to settle down at St.
Magna's quite another.
"Edith, wish me joy!" was Violet's salutation
one bright spring morning as she entered the
school-room of the Knoll. I am going to Paris."
"To Paris !" And Edith in her astonishment
let fall the work she was so busy over.
"Yes, to Paris ; Mrs. Richards has asked me to
accompany her. At first papa said 'no,' Paris was
so far away, and Mrs. Richards-well, he doesn't
particularly care for her, but I think the truth was,
he was afraid of that nephew of hers that read with
him some years ago; but Mrs. Richards assured
him we should be quite by ourselves-no dangerous
articles in the shape of gentlemen anywhere near;
and I-I begged and entreated, and so the end of
it is, here am I come to ask if I can do any com-
missions for you in Paris," and with a mock courtesy
Violet pirouetted before Edith
"Violet, you quite take away my breath; why,
whatever will your father do without you?"
"Do-why, the best he can, and when I return I
shall be received with open arms, and Aunt Hester
will actually forget to scold for one whole day."
Oh, Violet, I am sure your aunt loves you
"Loves me; perhaps she does, but she takes a
peculiar way of showing it. No doubt it is my
fault, though, that I am so constantly in her black
books. I do so dearly love to shock her. I like to
see her peer over her blue goggles and say,' Violet,
do you really mean it? Well, young girls must be
different now to what they were when I was young.'"
And Violet drew a long face, and imitated with
exaggerated gesture her aunt's demure tones. But,
Edith, I see I am shocking you, and I am not
going to stay in the house this beautiful morning
talking any more about good prim old Aunt Hester.
Throw away that stupid mending and come out
in the garden; Joan must hear my news."
"Violet, what will you do about your district ? "
said Edith, as the two walked together over the
My district. Oh, Mr. Newton must look after
I wonder if he would let me have it while you
are away," and a thoughtful look came into Edith's
50 To the End.
blue eyes. "Now Joan is out of the school-room,
mother was only saying yesterday she can spare
me for a little parish work."
"Then do take it, and keep it altogether if you
like, for I don't think district-visiting is my voca-
tion. I never know what to say to the old bodies,
and I am tired to death of Mrs. Wick's incessant
grumbling, and Mrs. Brown's laments over the
difficulties of making two ends meet."
"But, Violet, dear," was Edith's gentle remon-
strance, "do you think we ought to give up a duty
because it is perhaps not quite tasteful to us ?"
"Now, Edith, pray don't begin sermonizing, I
am in no mood for lectures this morning. Paris,
beautiful, bright Paris !-I can think of nothing but
Paris to-day. Oh, Joan !-where is Joan ? I do so
long to tell her I am going; and careering along
the gravelled pathways, Violet made the old garden
re-echo with her calls.
Edith followed, but with a troubled look on her
face. Her thoughts had travelled back to another
spring morning-bright and beautiful as this one-
when she and Violet had knelt in the old church
at St. Magna's, and sworn allegiance to the same
Master. How wrapt in devotion Violet had seemed
then, how earnestly she had sung-
0 Jesus, I have promised
To serve Thee to the end !"
And now-now was she already beginning to waver
in that allegiance ? Was she thirsty after waters that
seemed more sweet, after pastures that appeared
more fair? Oh, Edith hoped not, she trusted not;
and swiftly to the blue sky was raised a cry for
her friend-a cry that in after years was answered,
but through what trials ? Ah, pretty, foolish Violet,
choosing your own way and following the bent
of your own inclinations to the narrow path-you
can only be brought back by the weary road of
Some two weeks later the wicket-gate of one of
the cottages in Violet Norman's district was pushed
open by Edith Wilmot, and as she walked up the
tiny garden she stood for a moment admiring the'
lilies of the valley and the crocuses with which
the little red-tiled path was bordered.
Angry voices from within warned her that a
family altercation was taking place; so, anxious
not to become a listener, Edith hastened her steps.
Just as she reached the porch a man's voice shouted,
"Thenfto London you shan't go; for once, for all,
I forbid it," and the back-door slammed angrily.
Edith knocked, and light footsteps were heard
running quickly up-stairs, while a weak voice in a
querulous tone bade the visitor enter.
Good afternoon, Mrs. Wicks; Miss.Norman has
52 To the End.
gone away, so I have come to see you instead of
"And has Miss Norman gone away ? Well, miss,
I'll make so bold as to say I hope ye'll come a
bit more regular than she did, for our club money
is that behind I hardly know when last I paid it;
but sit you down, sit you down, and I'll look for
my card by and by. But Rose and her father, they
have been having one of their upsets again, and
their upsets upset -me-that they do; my breath
is just all nohow;" and Mrs. Wicks undid her
cap-strings, and wiped her face with her pocket-
Edith walked to the window and began remarking
on the beauty of some flowers that stood on the
sill, for she did not wish to mar her first visit by
entering on uncongenial family topics.
Mrs. Wicks, however, was not to be balked of a
grumble when she had the chance of a sympathetic
listener, and back again she went to her grievance.
"You see, miss, it's all along o' that there
Lunnon. Rose, she's wild for a sight o' the place,
and Wicks, the name of it is enough for him, ever
since his sister Jessie that was-she that lived down
in the hollow. Ah, you won't remember her, but
the doctor he would sure-the prettiest girl all
round the country-side, and as tall and straight
as an arrow. Well, as I was a sayin', Wicks, he
can't bide the name of Lunnon ever since Jess
-pretty Jess-took herself there. She came back
with a broken heart, and six months saw the last
of her. But Rose, she won't listen to such tales;
St. Magna's, it's a deal too dull for her."
Once again Edith tried to turn the conversation,
and this time more successfully. Mrs. Wicks' re-
marks were not unnoted though, and when Rose
(the traces of tears washed from her pretty eyes)
accompanied their visitor to the garden-gate, Edith
laid a hand on the young girl's arm.
"Rose, I always feel that there is a special link
between you and me ever since that happy day
when we were confirmed together."
"Yes, miss," said Rose, but her tone was an un-
interested one; "why, that's two year ago come
Easter, but it seems more like four-time goes so
slowly in this stupid little place."
"Don't call St. Magna's stupid, Rose; it is our
home, and where God has placed us."
Ah, life goes differently to you gentlefolks, miss,
to what it does to we poor cottagers. I'm tired to
death of being mewed up in our little place, with
nothing to listen to but grumbling-grumbling
"Rose, Rose, don't talk like that. How many a
poor London girl would think your little home a
To the End.
"Ah, some folks like dullness, but I am not one
of them," and Rose pulled open the garden-gate
with a bang.
"But a soldier does not choose in battle the post
he likes, he goes where his commander sends him,
and, Rose" (and Edith's voice lowered), you and
I promised to be soldiers-good soldiers of the
Lord Jesus Christ's! Oh, let us be faithful to
Him, and serve Him to the end I"
Rose shut the gate with a greater bang than she
had opened it, and Edith with a sad heart walked
across the green.
Was Rose too-beginning to waver in her alle-
giance ? Was she forsaking the living fountains of
waters, and hewing out for herself cisterns-broken
cisterns that could hold no water ?
With a sigh Edith turned and looked at the
little cottage nestling so peacefully among the tall
elms; but remembering the promise, "Be careful
for nothing, but in everything by prayer and sup-
plication with thanksgiving, let your requests be
made known unto God," the sigh was turned into
1 -_ .. -
\ j ", -,-l-^ _, '. ,. -Sr.1f '_'.- i -- i;.--' .
THE DARKENED HOME.
HE Jungfrau in all its snowy loveliness
was standing out pure and cool against
the deep blue summer's sky, when a
party of English tourists (their hands
filled with letters) seated themselves on the verandah
of the Grand Hotel de Miirren.
"Now, Miss Norman, don't tell us St. Magna's
has a clean bill of health yet, or we shall be having
you summoned home."
The speaker, a tall, dark young man, with a florid
(too florid) complexion, gazed into Violet Norman's
face with a meaning smile as he spoke.
Violet bent her head to hide her blushes, and
busily eriployed herself opening her letters.
Yes, Lionel, you may thank the fever for giving
you Miss Norman as a travelling companion," said
Mrs. Richards, from the depth of a rocking-chair,
" for I had hard work-hadn't I, Violet-to persuade
56 To the End.
your father to allow you to accompany me even
as far as Paris ?"
But Violet was deep in her letters.
"Mrs. Richards," she said at length, looking up
with a startled expression, "what do you think?
-Dr. Wilmot has the fever."
"Dr. Wilmot ?-let me see, I don't know much
about your local magnates-is not that the cheery-
faced man that drives about in the brougham
with the red wheels? Ah, I thought so; is he a
great friend of your father's ?"
"Yes, and his daughters are great friends of
mine," and Violet gazed across at the Jungfrau
with a troubled face.
"'Pon my word, Miss Norman, I have half a
mind to catch the fever myself, if catching it excites
your sympathy so."
But Lionel Richards' words grated harshly on
Violet, and she forgot to blush this time.
"Does your father say the doctor's is a bad
case?" asked Mrs. Richards.
"Yes, they had sent for a London doctor. Our
laundress's little girl, Mary Trueman, died on
Wednesday night, and Dr. Wilmot was with her
to the last; on the Thursday he sickened himself,
and now, papa says, is lying quite insensible. Poor
Mrs. Wilmot, what will she do ?-and Edith and
Joan they just adored their father."
The Darkened Home. 57
This was the question all St. Magna's was asking
that afternoon too, as with sad faces and tearful
eyes they turned away in the bright summer's sun-
shine from the doors of the closed Knoll. What
would Mrs. Wilmot and the children do? what
would they all do ?-for their good doctor had been
taken away from them. Never again would his quiet,
firm step cross the threshold of their dwellings;
never again would his bright, cheerful voice calm and
soothe them in their hours of sickness and suffering.
Yes, St. Magna's felt very desolate that after-
noon, though the sky had not a cloud in it, and
the larks were warbling out their very little hearts
for joy; and if St. Magna's felt sad and desolate,
what was the depth of the blank in the hearts of
the widow and the orphans ?
Ah, sorrow such as theirs is not to be dwelt
upon, it can only be carried in faith to the feet of
Him who says," I know their sorrows ;" who binds
up the broken-hearted and heals their wounds.
When the blinds of the Knoll were drawn up
again and life's duties had once more to be faced,
Edith felt as if she was walking the world in a
dream. It seemed so strange that the sun should
shine, and all the little details of every-day life have
to be observed, when he round whom all this home-
life circled, who was its earthly mainspring and
centre, was gone; and had it not been for the
To the End.
strength and the courage drawn from the minutes
spent in prayer in her little wainscoted bedroom,
Edith hardly knew how those first terrible weeks
could have been got through.
It was such anguish to take down from the pegs
in the hall the hats and the coats that had hung
there so long, and Edith could hardly see for
blinding tears the creases she was smoothing out
so reverently, as she carefully folded away each
precious article. Then what heart-breaking it was
to sit at meals and never, never to hear the sound
of the red wheels rolling up the avenue; never to
spring forward to meet the glad welcome; never to
receive the loving smile, tb hear the hearty words
of commendation with which Dr. Wilmot always
greeted every little act of duty performed by "his
little bit of home sunshine."
Yes, the chasm in Edith's life was a terribly
yawning one. Every hour, every minute of the
day she missed the dear, fatherly love that had
always so guarded and guided her; but the loss
of this precious earthly father only drove her to
walk more closely with her Heavenly Father, and
to seek to lighten by every means in her power
the weight of sorrow that rested on her mother-
her mother whose grief was so much deeper than
Mrs. Wilmot had made up her mind to leave
The Darkened Home. 59
St. Magna's, and to make a home in London for
her sons; for Cuthbert, the second boy, was about
to enter one of the hospitals as a student, and
Harry had not yet taken his degree. The locum
tenens was anxious as soon as possible to take
possession of the Knoll, so the next few weeks
were busy ones; but prayer and work are the best
antidotes to sorrow.
The last Sunday evening came at length, and as
the rays of the setting sun streamed through the
painted glass windows of St. Magna's church,
tinting the delicate tracery of the nave and arches,
and lighting up the old-fashioned galleries, they
rested for a while on the bowed head of Edith
Wilmot, as with a heart full of surging emotions she
knelt for the last time in her accustomed corner.
"The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall
the cruse of oil fail," was the text chosen, and in
a few brief words Mr. Newton sketched the life-
history of the lone widow of Zarephath. "This
poor woman," he said, must have been doing in the
eyes of the worldly wise a very foolish thing when
she took of her handful of meal to make a cake
for a stranger; but she was obeying the voice of
the Lord at the hand of His Prophet. God had
promised to take care of her future; she trusted
to Him for it.
"Are any of you, my hearers," said Mr. Newton
To the End.
"passing through a similar experience to this poor
woman ? Is the meal in your barrel reduced to a
handful ? The oil in your cruse, is it almost wasted ?
Learn a lesson from the widow of Zarephath: obey
God, trust Him; the path of obedience must be
always the path of blessing. 'Who is among
you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice
of His servant, that walketh in darkness and hath
no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord,
and stay upon his God. The barrel of meal shall
not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail.'"
Edith walked home in the setting sun with a
face of chastened calm. Behind her there lay the
sunny days of childhood and girlhood, before her
stretched an untried future. Not altogether dark
was her horizon, however; upon it there gleamed
a sure star of promise-" The barrel of meal shall
not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail."
.3 :,",-,:_'- ,,. : '. .- .
" H, Edith, surely the cabman has made
i a mistake! You don't mean to say
,' that this wretched house is to be our
It was Joan Wilmot who spoke, and as she
peered out of the window of the fly her face ex-
pressed the most intense disgust. Edith jumped
up and tapped her sister warningly on the foot;
then exclaiming, Mother dear, here we are," she
jumped out of the cab, and proceeded carefully to
help her mother out.
Poor Mrs. Wilmot! It was with a very heavy
heart that she lifted her deep crape veil and gazed
at her new home, after the children had left her to
see about the luggage. Blinding tears prevented
her seeing much, but what little she did see formed
a painful contrast to the brightness and the comfort
of the Knoll. It was not the comforts of the Knoll,
To the End.
however, that Mrs. Wilmot's heart was yearning
for; it was its associations-the tender associations
that clung and clustered round even every article
of furniture in her old home-the home whose
threshold she had first crossed as a young bride.
"Oh, Edith, how can we ever live here?" asked
Joan, as, the boxes carried up-stairs and the cabman
paid, the two girls gazed out of a window of one of
the back bedrooms, at the rows upon rows of tall
chimneys from which showers of black smuts were
falling. "There is not a tree to be seen-not a blade
of grass-not a flower-nothing but roofs and
chimneys; I feel stifled already," and burying her
face in her hands, Joan burst into a passion of tears.
Edith's eyes were wet too, but she struggled
bravely with her emotion; then laying a hand on
her sister's shoulder she said gently-
"Joan, Joan, don't cry like that, please--please
don't; mother will see by your eyes what you have
been doing, and we must control ourselves for her
sake. I know it is hard work, darling, but do, do
think of mother."
Edith, I have no patience with you; you expect
people to go along just like machines," and Joan
shook her sister's hand angrily from her shoulder.
"And as to my not thinking of mother, is it not
partly for her I am grieving ? Mother knows how I
loved the Knoll, however, and I am sure she does
not expect us to be so hard-hearted as to leave it
without a tear. Dear, dear old place And here we
shall have no pony to ride, and no garden to play
tennis in "-and burying her face in her hands,
Joan's sobs broke forth anew.
Edith gave a weary little sigh as she took off
her hat and placed it on the bed. What different
things people yearned for! The pony and the
garden-why, she had hardly thought of them ; it
was her father's love and the old home feeling for
which her heart was so sorely pining.
Knowing that her sister was tired and dispirited,
however, she attempted no further remonstrance,
but after folding away her things, she said-
"Joan, dear, I am going down to look after
mother, and see about the supper; come down
when you are ready, will you? I am sure a cup
of tea will do you good."
Before descending to the dining-room, Edith
knelt for a few minutes in an unoccupied room on
the other side of the passage, and earnestly besought
God to bless their new home, and to give to each
one grace and strength to take up the duties that
lay before them, and to fill to His glory the niche
that He had assigned to them; then with a face
of calm quiet peace she went gently down-stairs.
Settling into a new home to hearts that have
any tenacity of affection is not altogether a
64 To the End.
pleasurable occupation, even when the new home is
in most respects an improvement on the old; but
when (as in the case of the Wilmots) the new home
is not only not superior to the old, but infinitely its
inferior, the task is certainly a painful one.
Every hour of the day, it seemed to Edith, the
two maids that had been brought from the Knoll
would come running to ask her how they could get
along without this thing, or how they could possibly
manage without that, and it required considerable
skill and ingenuity to devise ways for filling in such
a large family party to such close quarters.
The little ones and their nurse were for the
present (through Mrs. Muir's kindness) safely
housed at the Home Farm; Mary and Bertie at
the Rectory, and Cuthbert and Harry were striving
to gain fresh vigour and energies for their winter
studies among the Welsh mountains. All were to
assemble under the new family roof-tree, however,
in the course of a week or ten days, and Edith
determined that Adelbert Terrace should wear its
most comfortable aspect to greet them.
Comforts do not fall into the lap though like ripe
apples from a tree in autumn; time and labour
must be expended upon them, or money is required
to procure them, and of this latter article Edith was
determined not to beg from her mother; for though
Dr. Wilmot had left his family fairly well provided
Adelbert Terrace. 65
for, as long as the boys' education formed such a
heavy item in the yearly expenditure, there was
no surplus cash for luxuries.
Of the sum devoted to the move, though, there
was still a small balance left in hand, and with this
Edith procured some cretonnes and chintzes. Then
a tour of the house was made; dingy curtains were
pulled down and new substituted, faded arm-chairs
were covered, musty bed-hangings were thrown
away, and everything that Joan declared "alto-
gether too unbearably ugly" was consigned to the
top garret. The little room that Mrs. Wilmot had
chosen for her own sanctum received special care,
most of the precious articles that had been brought
from the Knoll going to ornament it; but about'
the large top room, which was designed for the
nursery, Edith was almost in despair. What could
make the sickly paper look less bare, or the light
woodwork more bright? Joan, however, who had
something of the eye of an artist, here came to the
rescue. Why not have some of the pictures from
their old Christmas annuals cheaply framed and
hung up ? And if Edith could produce some scraps,
she would paste them on the panels of the door
and varnish them; then the chimney-piece could
be covered with red cloth, and the faded carpet
covered with a bright drugget.
"Splendid suggestions," said Edith, and she
To the End.
proceeded immediately to act upon them, for poor
little Bertie and "the flowerets" would miss sorely
the fields and the lanes, and they would now have
no long corridors and large garden to play in.
Edith's last touches of decoration were just being
put to Adelbert Terrace when the cab containing
Harry and Cuthbert rolled up to the door, and
with a back that ached with stooping, and eyes that
were weak with working, she ran down to welcome
them. All sense of fatigue was forgotten, though,
some two hours later, when, turning to his mother,
"Well, mother, I don't know whether I was in
the blues the last time I saw Adelbert Terrace, but
certainly I thought it the dullest little hole imagin-
able, but now it looks quite transformed. Is it your
presence that has cast such a glamour over it ? "
"Edie and Joan are the -magicians that have
worked the transformation," said Mrs. Wilmot, and
her loving look of thanks more than repaid Edith
for all her toil.
TAKE UP THE CROSS.
-~- | UMMER had come and gone, and a
bright log fire was crackling and blaz-
iY_~'l ing on the hearth of the parlour at the
Home Farm. The parlour was a very
cheery room, as what room was not where Mrs.
Muir reigned supreme ? The deep, old-fashioned
bow windows were cosily draped with warm red
hangings, and in the embrasures stood large blue
pots of bright-coloured chrysanthemums. Round
the delicately-tinted walls ran a dark oak wain-
scoting, and the oval mirrors reflected tables
covered with books and work, and low cosy chairs
that seemed to invite you to rest in them.
Ruth's couch was drawn up to the fire, and
beside it stood a- large basket filled with work;
her fingers did not seem in a very busy mood,
though, to-night, and Mrs. Muir kept gazing across
from her writing at her niece, wondering why the
68 To the End.
knitting was laid down so often, and why the gray
eyes gazed so gravely into the fire.
"Ruthie, my bairnie," at last she ventured to
say, "is your back troubling you to-night ?"
"No, auntie dearie;" but the heavily-fringed
eyelids drooped, and the knitting was seized upon
Something was ailing the child, what could it
be ? Never mind, it would come out presently.
Tea over, Mrs. Muir proceeded to unpack a
large parcel of wool that had arrived from the
north that morning, then drawing a stool to
Ruth's couch, she began winding the pretty,
"Mrs. Gillespie has sent us a fine collection this
time, hasn't she, Ruthie? See what a delicate
gray yon Shetland is, and how prettily speckled
is that Alloa yarn, and do you know what I was
thinking, childie ?-that you might make a cloud
for Edith Wilmot."
"Oh, Aunt Janie, that would be nice," and the
grave eyes became bright again.
"Set to work, my bairnie, then, and I'll try and
make a few things for the bit lambies; it will be
a sorry Christmas for them all this year, and I
should like them to think there are some real
hearts at St. Magna's that aye remember them."
"Violet says that Joan can't bear the life in
Take zp the Cross. 69
London. Sheets after sheets she writes to her
full of complaints."
"And how much better it would be for the poor
lassie if the time she took in writing those sheets
were spent in telling the Lord Jesus her troubles.
He can help her, but Violet can't. No, Ruthie,
there's no good in kicking at the Cross; we must
aye pray for grace and strength to take it up, and
to follow the Blessed Master wherever He leads.
It's a lesson we take years to spell out, and that
we're over and over again turned in, but it's a
lesson once learnt that brings peace and happiness."
Silence was only broken by the spluttering of
the wooden logs and the click of Ruth's needles.
Has Violet been here to-day ?" asked Mrs. Muir.
"Yes, auntie, didn't you see her? She went
out to the garden to look for you."
"No, childie, but perhaps I was in the orchard
-the pippins are fine this year, and I went up to
see about the storing of them."
Another silence. Mrs. Muir was thinking-could
this visit have had anything to do with Ruth's fit
of absorption ?
Violet was fond of coming to the Home Farm,
and lately Mrs. Muir had encouraged her, for Ruth
missed Edith Wilmot sorely, and she thought it
would do the child good to hear Violet's foreign
experiences. A breath of Swiss air, even at second-
To the End.
hand, sometimes conveys a tonic to a poor shut-
up invalid. These visits had not had the exhilar-
ating effect upon Ruth, though, that Mrs. Muir
had hoped for; in fact, after them she seemed more
quiet and grave; while after a talk with Edith her
whole face would sparkle with sunshine. Into the
shut-up restricted life Violet never seemed to
infuse any brightness or ozone, but only, somehow
or other, to impress the invalid with a sense of
how much she missed, and of her lack of power.
Ah, what a subtle thing influence is!-and how
easy it is to make others look out on life through
our own jaundiced spectacles. Envy, dissatisfac-
tion, restlessness, how easily they can be communi-
cated, while who among us does not know the
impetus, thank God, that can be given to us by
the strong faith of a friend ?
Violet never succeeded though in making Ruth
discontented with her lot; the patient quiet girl
followed her Saviour too closely for that; but
what she did was, by useless bemoanings over the
invalid's lack of power, and frequent allusions to
all that she missed, thoroughly to depress the poor
girl with the sense of her own uselessness.
This was the thought that was weighing so
heavily on Ruth to-night. How she longed to be
up and doing, breaking her alabaster box at the
feet of the Master
Take up the Cross. 7t
"Auntie," she said at length, I have been think-
ing over what you said just now about kicking at
the Cross, and I think I have been kicking at
Have you, dearie-how ?"
The pale face flushed, and the gray eyes hid
themselves beneath their long lashes as with a
slight tremor in her voice Ruth said, "I have
been so longing to be up and doing; all the after-
noon I have been thinking-thinking-thinking of
all that I might do if only I was strong and
The firelight flickered on the walls, but Mrs.
Muir made no answer.
"Have I been wrong, auntie ?"
"Yes, Ruthie, I think you have, but I don't feel
as if I could say a word to you, it is a temptation
I have so often given in to."
"You, auntie? How?"
"Why, dearie, after I left South Africa-oh!
the hours and the days I have spent in thinking-
thinking-thinking of all that might have been-
of the work that might have been accomplished-
of the good that might have been done, if only
your uncle had been spared. It is such a plausible
temptation to imagine we only wish our lives to be
different out of regard to the glory of the Master;
but Satan is tempting us then, transformed into.
72 To the End.
an angel of light. He is seeking to instil into
our hearts poisoned shafts of mistrust of our
Heavenly Father's wisdom, and we must resist
him from the outset, Ruthie, we must say like
the Blessed Master, 'Get thee behind me, Satan.'
'The cup which My Father hath given Me,
shall I not drink it?' Besides, the reins once
thrown on the necks of our desires, bairnie, believe
me there is no further peace for our souls. We
think in our short-sightedness the one thing we
are longing for granted, we should want nothing
more; but Satan would soon set our desires at
work again. They must be restricted by some-
thing, and that something must be the will of God.
Pray, dearie, by all means pray for increased
health and strength-God knows it is what I ask
for you every day-but oh to our prayers let us
add the petition, 'Father, not my will, but Thine
Oh, auntie, I have been wrong-very wrong,"
said Ruth, after a pause, during which the gray
eyes had been gazing meditatively into the fire.
" I see I have been listening to the whispers of
Satan-what a real enemy he is, and he knows so
exactly where to tempt us."
"Yes, Ruthie, and our danger lies in parleying
with him; resist him, and he will flee from us, for
greater is He that is for us, than all that are against
Take up the Cross.
us. Don't you remember what your confirmation
hymn says ?
'I shall not fear the battle,
If Thou art by my side.'
Trusting to Jesus, holding up the shield of faith,
we shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of
the wicked. Shall I read to you, Ruthie, some lines
your uncle wrote when laid by once for a long
time by the effects of a severe attack of fever-
he had to fight the same battle you are now
"Yes, auntie, do."
Fetching from her desk some faded sheets of
yellow paper, Mrs. Muir bent forward in the fire-
light, and read-
"I stood 'mid the corn one morning,
The golden ears hung low,
The sun was high in the heavens,
The birds flew to and fro.
The reapers they were not many,
The fields were thick with grain;
Oh how could the crop be gathered,
Ere day began to wane?
I plied my reap-hook swiftly;
I heeded not the sun;
For I thought of the Master's smile,
When the day's work was done.
I sighed as I watched the reapers
Who idled in the shade,
Busily wreathing wild flowers,
That all too soon did fade.
74 To the End.
And the golden grain around them
Hung ripe beneath the sky;
It would die were it not garner'd,
Ere winter storms drew nigh.
And my reap-hook flew the swifter,
As I look'd on the wheat;
My sheaves-with what joy I'd lay them
Low at the Master's feet.
Alas I as the sun wax'd hotter,
My strength soon died away;
And when the scorching noon arose,
Faint on the ground I lay.
They bore me to the shady bank,
Where th' idlers dreaming lay;
My sad tears-fast they fell:
Useless I was as they.
I press'd my cheek against the sward,
The burning tears fell fast:
My sheaves--my sheaves, who'd lay them now,
The Master's feet at last?
When lo I felt myself enclos'd
In arms of tender grace ;
And loving hands did wipe the tears
From off my fever'd face.
And then I heard a gentle voice,
Asking in accents mild,
In tones as soft as passing breeze,
Why weepest thou, My child?
My dew-dimm'd eyes I lifted then
To the dear Master's face,
And told of sheaves I'd fain have bound,
His harvest-home to grace.
Again my tears were gently dried,
Again those tones so sweet-
'Child of my love, there is a sheaf
Thou canst lay at My feet.
Take up the Cross.
SIt is the sheaf of thy self-will,
More precious in My sight
Than all the toil of busy years,
Or golden offering bright.
'Fret not thyself about the grain,
The golden ears are Mine,
And other hands will bind the sheaves
Thou didst for me design.
'And thou canst for the reapers raise
Thy voice in earnest pray'r ;
And thus can help them in their toil,
And in their harvest share.'
So now in calm content I lie,
Hushing each fear to rest:
T' obey is more than sacrifice,
The Master's will is best."
That was the first time that Mrs. Muir had ever
heard Ruth allude with anything like murmuring
to her ill-health, and it was the last.
Heavily though no doubt her cross of helpless-
ness pressed in the future, she never spoke of it,
save to One-He who gave her grace patiently to
take up and to carry it.
'_ '^ ^*_ -
A LUNCHEON PARTY.
S Edith sat looking at the few budding
limes that adorned the narrow strip of
garden in front of Adelbert Terrace,
she could hardly realize that nearly a
year had passed since last she had seen the Knoll.
In one sense it seemed a very long year; in another
the months seem to have rolled by at a gallop;
for though, through constantly thinking of the
St. Magna's days, the old home-life seemed quite
near, still the London life had been such a busy
one, and so much had taken place in the interven-
ing days, that looking back through the vista of
work and events, that summer's morning seemed
quite distant when mournfully she had listened to
the shriek of the train that carried her away from
the scenes of her childhood.
Changes had taken place, too, in the quiet little
village of Wych. The pulse of still country life
had been excited by a wedding-the wedding of
Violet Norman with Lionel Richards.
Mr. Norman had used every means in his power
A Luncheon Party. 77
to resist this wedding, for the short time that
Lionel had passed as a pupil at St. Magna's had
not prepossessed him in favour of his future son-in-
law. Persuasion was in vain though, Violet had
made up her mind; so to avoid further "scenes"
Mr. Norman gave an unwilling consent, and the
wedding had taken place some three months
The news of the engagement had been conveyed
to the Wilmots by Harry, who was spending part
of his Christmas vacation with the Newtons, and
in a postscript he begged that his knapsack might
be forwarded to him, as he intended to spend the
rest of his holidays in Scotland. A month later
he returned to Adelbert Terrace looking some
three years older than when he started, and when
his name came out among the first in the examina-
tion list, he confided to his mother the impossi-
bility of his (at present) settling at St. Magna's,
and May saw him starting as a doctor on board an
Australian steamer. The house seemed very dull
without Harry's merry laugh to brighten it; and
banish the thought as she would, Edith could never
meet Violet without the remembrance of her brother
flashing across her-tossing on the wide blue sea.
The Richards had taken a house at South
Kensington, for Lionel's purse was a comfortably
lined one, though it was not as heavy as it would
To the End.
ultimately become, for he was heir to his aunt's
estate at Great St. Magna's.
Joan's friendship with Violet had been renewed
with greater vigour than ever, and Edith saw but
little of her sister now that this loophole into a
new life had been opened up to her. It was no
wonder, though, thought Edith, that Joan wished
her horizon to be extended ; she was so young and
bright, and shone so prettily in society, while she
-she was only an old tame tabby, never happier
than when purring at her own fireside.
How pretty Joan looked now, to be sure, as
dashing round the corner in Violet Richards' smart
Victoria she waved her hand merrily to her sister.
Why had she come home so soon? In an instant
the problem was solved.
"Edith, you are to come back with me at once.
Violet says you must come-she has a spare ticket
for the concert this afternoon; Lionel says he
"Joan, how can I? I have no dress to go in."
"Oh, yes-put on your black silk-I will lend
you my lace fichu to tie over it; but make haste,
for the carriage is waiting, and the lunch is punc-
tually at one o'clock."
But mother-well, here is mother to answer for
herself. Mother dear, Violet wants Edith to go
A Luncheon Party. 79
with us to the concert this afternoon-you can
spare her, can't you ?"
It is needless to repeat Mrs. Wilmot's answer.
Not only could she spare Edith, but she was most
anxious she should not forego such an unwonted
pleasure, so a quarter of an hour saw the two girls
rolling away to South Kensington.
* Seated at the head of her well-appointed table,
in the most becoming of costumes, Violet made
the prettiest of hostesses; thoroughly in her
element, her face sparkled with sunshine, and her
laugh was low and rippling.
Ah, how easy it is to wreath our faces with
smiles when the blue sky is above and around us!
How lovingly does our human nature stretch itself
in the sunshine of worldly prosperity! Yet the
Prophet Habakkuk said, "Although the fig tree
shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the
vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the
fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut
off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the
stalls: yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in
the God of my salvation." He had set his affections
on things above, not on things below.' His treasure
was "where rust and moth doth not corrupt;
where thieves do not break through an'd steal."
"Edith, luncheon is not the time for a brown-
study. Mr. Rollo has twice offered you strawberries."
Edith turned and apologized smilingly to her
80 To the End.
next-door neighbour, a tall, broad-shouldered
man, with streaks of gray here and there amid his
To think of Edith's turning a deaf ear to straw-
berries !" said Joan ; "why the other day she told
me it made her heart lighter even to hear them
called about the streets!"
"Violet, I must defend my character. I cannot
let you think I have become so degenerate as to
base my happiness on strawberries. Joan knows
it was not the love of the fruit that stirred my
heart, it was the breath they brought with them of
Mr. Rollo, would you believe it?" said Violet,
1 as lifting her daintily embroidered handkerchief to
her lips she tried to stifle her laughter. "Miss
Wilmot's idea of happiness is the life of a dairy-
maid's clattering about in pattens and making
cheese and butter."
"Not a bad life either; and decidedly a more
healthy one than that of many of the young ladies
who are rolling along in the Park yonder. They
droop like flowers in heated assemblies, while the
dairymaid threads the fields as fresh as the daisies,
and they retire to rest when she is brushing the
dew from the clover; but joking apart, Miss Wil-
mot, have you really spent nearly a year in London
without its charms having effaced the country from
your affections ?"
A Luncheon Party. 81
"My home was in the country for twenty years,"
said Edith, and as her blue eyes sought to hide
themselves Mr. Rollo saw they were dim with tears.
Mother, congratulate me; I have met a little
maiden to-day who has not yet been schooled by
the world into the lesson that it is not etiquette to
have a heart," was Mr. Rollo's salutation to his
mother that night.
Archie, don't pretend to be a cynic. I can quite
understand that you don't meet every day with
hearts as warm and genuine as your own, but you
know that many true ones do beat even under the
well-cut garments of society."
Mrs. Rollo, in her velvet-lined chair, and with her
ermine cloak around her, was the very picture of
an old lady, and it was easy to see at a glance that
before the chestnut hair had silvered and the deli-
cate peach-bloom had faded she must have been
remarkable for her beauty.
Tenderly cherished by a devoted husband, and
now the object of a loving son's care, Mrs. Rollo's
life had been a peaceful and a sheltered one; of a
soft and yielding disposition, and with few angles to
rub up against, she was the centre of a large circle
of friends, and the red-tiled Elizabethan house at
Chelsea was the scene of many a social gathering.
An enthusiastic lover of the fine arts, Archibald
To the End.
Rollo dabbled in all of them, and was a proficient
in none, though it was in the studio or music-room
of "the Red House" that he was most generally
to be found.
Neither of these rooms though did he frequent
to-night, but sipped his coffee meditatively by his
Archie, what are you thinking about? "
"The little maiden with the heart. I wish I
could get her to sit to me for a picture."
"Was she so very pretty then ? "
Pretty? No, I don't think that is the word to
apply to her. Mrs. Richards and her sister are,
strictly speaking, I suppose, prettier than she is;
but her face was so peaceful and pure it seemed to
calm you to look at her. If I were to take her
portrait now, I should paint her kneeling in some
old cathedral, with hands clasped in prayer-that
is the scene her face irresistibly brings before you.
Mother, you must cultivate her, if it is only for the
sake of the picture."
"Archie, I am at your service; but remember
maidens with hearts are not toys to be trifled with.
Suppose she loses hers with you, are you prepared
to give her yours in exchange ?"
Mother, with your leave I will think out that
question with my cigar on the verandah,"
f, HE snow was still lying on the ground,
sand cold March winds were blowing
ja :.ver the heads of the drooping snow-
drops, when another little flower opened
its eyes on the wintry earth-a baby-boy came to
gladden the heart of Violet Richards.
It was a pretty sight to see the young mother and
her child together; never had there been such a
baby before-of that she was confident.
The christening took place at St. Magna's, and
when some three weeks later Edith entered the
nursery at South Kensington, she was surprised to
see there sitting a well-known girlish figure.
Rose, you here! I am astonished. Did Mrs.
Richards bring you back with her? "
Yes, miss. Didn't mistress tell you ?"
"I haven't seen Mrs. Richards. Pollok tells me
she is out driving. I thought I would just run up
84 To the End.
though and have a peep at the baby. The darling !
how he has grown! And oh, Rose, now his eyes are
wide open, do let me have a good look at them.
Oh, baby, your eyes are going to be brown; you
perverse little fellow, mother did so want them to
be blue, but I was afraid they would grow darker.
Well, brown eyes or not, you are a sweet baby-boy-
isn't he, Rose ? And I am sure grandpapa thought
so," and kissing the mottled face fondly, Edith laid
the baby in his bassinette. "Well, Rose, it is nice
to see a face from St. Magna's; and how is the dear
old place, and everybody in it ? "
Oh, much the same as usual, miss; nothing
ever happens at St. Magna's."
"And your father and mother? I hope they are
Father's as hearty as ever, thank you, miss; but
mother, you know, she's always ailing, and she
fretted a deal about my leaving."
"I dare say, but I thought that it was your
father that objected most to your coming to
So he did," and Rose hung her head and busied
herself in tucking baby into the bassinette, as the
recollection of the conversation with Edith at the
wicket-gate flashed across her; "but father, he
knows as ever since I've been a little girl, when I
sets my heart on a thing I always gets it in the
--~ ~ -r a-
It was a pretty sight to see the young mother and her child together; never had
there been such a baby before-of that she was confident.--. 83,
long run," and the pretty girl looked up with a
wilful smile; so you see, miss, he thought it best
to give in, I expect, when I got a chance of com-
ing along with Miss Violet (Mrs. Richards, I
Edith sighed, but said nothing.
"And lor, miss, what a grand place London is !"
continued Rose. "Mistress took baby and me
in the carriage in the Park yesterday, and the sight
of carriages well-nigh turned my head, and the
beautifully dressed ladies-"
"Yes, Rose, but all is not gold that glitters, and
the Park is not the whole of London, nor the rich
people that roll along its only inhabitants (though
to hear some people talk you would think they
were). There are dens and alleys in the East
End hardly fit for human habitation, where Mr.
Lawrence Newton told me poor women slave with
their needle for three-farthings an hour!"
"To think of that, miss!-and fancy Mr.
Lawrence choosing to live among them!"
The Lord Jesus chose to leave Heaven and live
on earth for our sakes," said Edith, in a low voice,
as she caressed gently one of the tiny pink and
white hands that lay outstretched from the bassi-
nette. But, Rose, I must be going now; you must
ask your mistress to spare you to come over and
spend an afternoon with us some day. Sarah and
To the End.
Susan will be delighted to see a face from St.
The invitation thus given was at first accepted
with cordiality; whenever Rose had a holiday she
always found her way to Adelbert Terrace, and
Mrs. Wilmot and Edith, glad of these opportunities
of befriending the young girl, made her most heartily
In the course of a few months though, these
visits became fewer and fewer, and towards Christ-
mas they ceased altogether.
"Violet, does Rose have less leave than usual ? "
asked Edith, one wintry afternoon,. for she never
comes to Adelbert Terrace now."
"No; she has just the same as when she first
came-one afternoon in the fortnight; but oh, I
dare say she is tired of Susan and Sarah's company,
and likes spending her holiday in some more ex-
citing way than sipping tea with maids in a kitchen.
A pretty girl like that is sure to have followers,"
and Violet gave a meaning smile.
"I hope they are desirable ones then," said
Edith; "a young girl in that position away from
her parents always seems to me so unguarded."
Violet leant back in her chair laughing merrily.
"Really, Edith, with a large pair of spectacles and
a large mob-cap, you might pass for a grand-
mother. Don't think it necessary though to apos-
trophize me on my duties as a mistress, for no one
will ever induce me to pry into a servant's private
affairs. If they are old enough to leave their
parents, I consider they are old enough to take
care of themselves. Why, I was younger than
Rose when I married," and Violet bridled her neck
"Violet, dear, you are only.joking; you know I
would not take such an unwarrantable liberty as to
attempt to interfere in the management of your
household; but coming as Rose does, from St.
Magna's, you can understand what a special
interest we take in her, and then we were all
"So we were, I had forgotten it; but we have
talked enough about Rose. Edith, I want you
and Joan to come and lunch with Mrs. Rollo
With a woman's quick perception, Violet had
noted the special interest Mr. Rollo took in her
friends, and this interest she resolved to fan into a
more ardent feeling, for it would be pleasant to
have Joan settled near her (and Joan it was of
course who had kindled the interest), and then to
herself would accrue a certain amount of credit in
having so well established her friend.
At Violet's house, therefore, Mr. Rollo was con-
stantly meeting Joan, but, alas! to his chagrin,
To the End.
seldom accompanied by Edith, for the heat and
close confinement of town life were beginning to
tell sadly upon Mrs. Wilmot, and Edith was more
than ever tied to Adelbert Terrace now that her
mother's headaches were bidding fair to become
Repeated persuasion at last induced Mrs. Wilmot
to accept an invitation from the Miss Scotts, and
it was with a thankful heart Edith saw her mother
start for St. Magna's, accompanied by little Mary.
The days that followed would have been lonely
ones to Edith, had it not been for the children, for
Joan and Cuthbert were little at home; in fact
Cuthbert's "engagements" were so numerous that
they began to give Edith some cause for anxiety;
but he refused to give any account of himself, and
steadily resented what he called "all girls' meddling
with his private affairs."
How Edith longed at this time for Mr. Newton's
wise counsel, and how sorely she missed the helpful
services at St. Magna's!-earth and its cares and
worries seemed to have such a hold upon her.
Heaven appeared so dim, so far away.
Yes; a film had crept over Edith's spiritual life,
and she was conscious of it. No longer could she
take her burdens in trustful faith to the feet of the
Master, and leave them there. No longer could
she realize with happy assurance'that "All things
work together for good to them that love God."
No doubt this was partly owing to physical causes,
for jaded, exhausted nerves tell on mind as well as
body (and Edith had fallen into a wearied state as
well as her mother); but principally it was due to
the murmuring, unbelieving thoughts which Edith
knew she had given place to. How often she had
envied Violet her large house and comparative
leisure How many times she had listened to the
devil's suggestion that people who make only a
profession of religion seem to get along just as
well or better than people who are at the pains to
act out what they believe.
What was the good of getting into hot water
with Joan for urging her to some neglected duty ?
or for falling into disgrace with Cuthbert for trying
to counsel him lovingly. Why swim further against
the tide ? It was hard work, and you made but little
progress. Do as others do, or at all events for a
time fold your arms and float at leisure.
These were the evil suggestions of the Tempter,
and Edith had not turned a deaf ear to them.
She did not realize that there is no such thing as
inaction in the spiritual life; that floating with the
tide means progress--onward progress to the dark
rapids of danger and death.
^-' -,'i,: 'nS 'S^ ;-'n:.-- q .'- r
SUST at this time, when Edith's better
judgment was warped by her loose
hold of Him Who giveth to all men
wisdom liberally, and upbraideth not,
there came a letter to her-a letter from Mr. Rollo.
At first its contents completely startled Edith,
for she (like Violet) had always imagined that if
Mr. Rollo admired any one, it was Joan, and it
was some time before she could realize that the
passionate words of devotion she had just read
were addressed to herself.
Astonishment in time, though, became only
pleased surprise, and eagerly she began to question
herself. Why did she first feel sorry that Mr.
Rollo had written such a letter? Why did she
jump to the conclusion that "no" was the only
answer to be given? Mr. Rollo was a gentleman;
a kind man and a cultivated; he could offer her a
comfortable home; he was a good son, and filled a
certain position in society. It was true she would
have to leave her mother, but Mary was growing
up to be a nice little companion to her now, and
as a married sister she would have much more
influence and weight with Joan and Cuthbert.
Ah, Edith, Edith, why do you try to settle this
question without bending on your knees to ask
direction from above? Why not consider what
your mother, your father, would have advised?
Why not listen to the promptings of your own
better nature? Two questions had all day long
been ringing in Edith's ears, but she refused to
answer them. "Do I love this man ?" "Is he a
In the stillness of the night, though, the still
small voice of conscience sometimes makes itself
heard, and matters which we thrust from us in the
light come face to face with us in the darkness.
Lying restless on her pillow, these two questions
seemed to thunder themselves in Edith's ears, and
unable to forget them in sleep, she rose and drew
a chair to the window.
"Did she love Mr. Rollo ?" No; she couldn't
say she did, but she liked him, and liking surely in
time would soon change itself into love. Was he
a Christian ?" Ah this was a harder question to
answer. She had never heard him allude to religion
To the End.
save once in her presence, and then certainly it was
in rather a bantering tone; but he went to church
every Sunday morning, carrying his mother's velvet
Prayer-book for her. Then does not the Bible say,
"Judge not, that ye be not judged ?" Ah but it
also adds, "Be ye not unequally yoked together
with unbelievers." "She is at liberty to be married
to whom she will; only in the Lord."
Tired with her restless night, Edith was only
awakened by the breakfast-bell, and though her
toilet was a hasty one, she only arrived down-stairs
in time to hear the clang of the front-door as it
closed on Cuthbert. She was sorry, for his break-
fast had been a solitary one, Joan having dined
and spent the night with the Richards.
Mr. Rollo had begged Edith to take twenty-four
hours to consider her decision, for he felt sure the
contents of his letter would surprise her; but feel-
ing convinced that if "no" had to be said, the
sooner it was done the better, Edith. put on her
hat and started for a walk, resolved to decide
the matter. One minute she was assailed with
weary doubt; another tempted with pleasurable
visions of the future. How pleasant it would be
to turn her back on care and worry, and to have
some one to care for and guard her! Edith's
mind was a battlefield of conflicting emotions,
and unable to decide the contest, she wearily
pushed back her hat from her throbbing temples,
and longed for fresh air both mentally and bodily.
Just at this minute she came upon a church hidden
among the houses; its doorway was crowded, and
people were passing into it.
Was it a wedding or a confirmation? A con-
firmation; and as Edith gazed at the young girls
in white her thoughts were carried away to St.
Magna's, to the parish church, and the bright day
in which she.had stood and vowed to serve her
God in it. How she would like to hear this con-
firmation address! She wondered if she could gain
admittance; yes, strangers were allowed in the
gallery, and in two minutes Edith was seated in it.
Ah, ye servants of God, when rising to the re-
sponsibilities of your sacred calling, ye resist the
blandishments of the world and self, and speak
only what God the Holy Spirit hath taught you,
what a mighty influence ye wield over your hearers !
Your message becomes a supernatural one, a lever
to lift burdened souls from the depth and darkness
of temptation-a glass in which they view not the
things which are seen and temporal, but the things
which are unseen and eternal-a power-a power
which is mighty, through God, to the pulling down
of strongholds, and which bringeth into subjection
every thought to the obedience of Christ.
The day was a dull one, and in the subdued light
To the End.
that streamed through painted windows but few
noticed the young girl in a back seat of the gallery,
who with flushed cheeks and parted lips leant
forward so eagerly to listen; but One above did-
One whose heart of love was yearning over her-
One Who knew all the circumstances of her life-
all the trial, the temptation of the present hour-
One Who Himself had suffered, being tempted,
and Who is able to succour them that are tempted.
" I beseech you, therefore, that ye receive not the
grace of God in vain," was the theme of the Bishop's
address, and as Edith listened, life and the things
of this life seemed to lose their hold upon her;
the film that hid Heaven from earth to roll up
and fade away. What a speck of time this life
looked when viewed beside the life that lasts for
ever and ever!-how insignificant seemed its events,
save as they influenced for eternity !
As if revealed by a flash of light from Heaven,
Edith saw the danger in which she stood, the pre-
cipice to which Satan blindfold had led her. She
knew by past experience how weak her heart was;
how easily she was influenced by those around
her; how difficult it was to realize that one thing
was needful. How then could she ever have thought
of placing her hand for the journey of life in the
hand of any but a Christian ?-one who humbly, yet
fearlessly, had taken his stand on the side of the
Master-who would be a help and not a hindrance
to her on her journey heavenwards.
Yes, Edith was indeed thankful that she had
been guided to hear the words that had been
spoken that morning; earnestly did she kneel and
beseech help both for herself and the young soldiers
who were starting forth to do battle under the
same flag as herself that day, and tremulously did
she plead rather than sing the words-
"0 let me feel Thee near me:
The world is ever near;
I see the sights that dazzle,
The tempting sounds I hear;
My foes are ever near me,
Around me and within;
But, Jesus, draw Thou nearer,
And shield my soul from sin."
a a atem e -t a is- e h h
" QOOD evening, Miss Scott. What a
-- wild night for you to be out in!"
It was Frank Newton who spoke,
and as he attempted to raise his hat,
the wind took possession of his umbrella, and
nearly carried it into an adjoining field.
"The elements are not inclined to be civil to-
night-are they ?-but I heard such a bad account
of Mrs. Wicks, I determined to go and see her;
she is fretting so dreadfully about her daughter
Rose !-let me see; that was the pretty girl with
the high colour that used to come to mother's
bible class, wasn't it?"
Yes. Well, Violet Richards took her to be nurse
to poor little Lion, you know, and when he caught
that fatal chill she was dismissed at once. Violet
seemed to think she was in some way to blame