i' 4 ;^ 7
Digitized by tine Internet Arciiive
in 2007 witii funding from
A LIST OF THE ELSIE BOOKS AND
OTHER POPULAR BOOKS
ELSIE DINSMORE. ' i
ELSIE'S HOLIDAYS AT ROSELANDS. '}
ELSIE'S GIRLHOOD. \
ELSIE'S WOMANHOOD. '
ELSIE'S MOTHERHOOD. \
ELSIE'S CHILDREN. ]
ELSIE'S WIDOWHOOD. \
GRANDMOTHER ELSIE. '\
ELSIE'S NEW RELATIONS. j
ELSIE AT NANTUCKET. ■
THE TWO ELSIES. i
ELSIE'S KITH AND KIN. i
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN. ,
CHRISTMAS WITH GRANDMA ELSIE. \
ELSIE AND THE RAYMONDS.
ELSIE YACHTING WITH THE RAYMONDS. :
ELSIE AT VIAMEDE.
ELSIE AT ION. i
ELSIE AT THE WORLD'S FAIR.
ELSIE'S lOURNEY ON INLAND WATERS. ''
ELSIE AT HOME. l
ELSIE ON THE HUDSON. \
ELSIE IN THE SOUTH. ]
ELSIE'S YOUNG FOLKS. '
ELSIE'S WINTER TRIP.
ELSIE AND HER LOVED ONES. ']
MILDRED AT ROSELANDS.
MILDRED'S MARRIED LIFE.
MILDRED AND ELSIE.
MILDRED AT HOME.
MILDRED'S BOYS AND GIRLS.
MILDRED'S NEW DAUGHTER.
SIGNING THE CONTRACT AND WHAT IT COST,
THE TRAGEDY OF WILD RIVER VALLEY.
AN OLD-FASHIONED BOY.
WANTED, A PEDIGREE.
THE THORN IN THE NEST.
Tm^ NEW YORK i
AI7TH0B OP "KLSIE DINSMORB," " ELSIE AT NANTDCKBT,*
•*OUR PRBP,'* "MILDRED AND ELSIE, "WANTED—
A PSDIGREE," ETC., ETC.
DODD, MEAD & COMPANY
ASTon, LENOX AND
R 1911 L
DODD, MEAD & COMPANY.
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN.
The twenty-fourth had been cold and stormy:
a keen, biting wind blowing continuously, dur-
ing the greater part ot tne aay, bringing with
it a heavy fall of sleet and snow.
The weather on Christmas udj was an im^
provement upon that — the wind being less bois-
terous and the snow-fall only an occasional light
flurry, but the sun scarcely showed his face, and
as evening drew on the moon shone but fitfully
and through slurrying clouds ; the ground was
white with snow, but as it had drifted badly,
the roads were not in condition for sleighing,
and Max Raymond and Evelyn Leland made
the journey from Woodburn to the Oaks in a
Captain Raymond handed Evelyn in. Max
took a seat by her side and gallantly tucked
the robes about her feet, remarking that it was
the coldest night of the season so far.
" Yes," she said, " but I suppose we shall have
4 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN.
still colder weatner before the winter is over.
This is nothing to some I have known in my
old home at the north."
" Oh no ! " returned Max, " I remember it
used to be very much colder where we lived
when I was a little fellow."
Eva smiled, thinking he was not nearly grown
" And hardly a breath of wind reaches us in
this close carriage," she said. " I shouldn't care
if the ride was to be twice as long."
" No, nor I," said Max. But I dare say we'll
have a fine time after we get to the Oaks."
" Yes ; but I am so sorry your father thought
best to decline the invitation for Lulu ; I shall
not enjoy myself half so well without her,"
" I'm sorry too," Max said : " for I know it
was a great disappointment to her when papa
told her she was not to go. I don't know why
he refused to let her, but I do know that he
always has a good reason when he denies any of
us a pleasure.
Eva said, " Of course ; I am quite sure he is
the best and kindest of fathers," and then they
began talking of the approaching festivities at
the Oaks, and those whom they expected to
" Do you know who are invited besides our*
selves ? " asked Max.
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN. 5
^*I believe I do," replied Evelyn. There are
to be two or three sets ; little ones — Walter
Travilla, and the eldest two of Aunt Eose Lacey's
children — as mates for little Horace and hid sis-
ter, Rosie Travilla, Lora Howard and myself for
Sydney and Maud ; you and Ralph Conly, Art
and Walter Howard for their brother's compan-
ions, besides Bertram Shaw, a school-friend of
the Dinsmore boys, who, for their sakes, has
been asked to the Oaks to spend the holidays."
^* Eva," queried Max, '' Do you know exactly
what relation Horace Chester Dinsmore and his
brother and sisters are to the rest ? they seem
to call everybody cousin, so far as Fve noticed ;
even Grandpa Dinsmore."
" Yes ; I was asking Aunt Elsie about them
the other day," replied Eva, " and she told me
their father was own cousin to Grandpa Dins-
more ; his father's brother's son ; and when he
died he left them to Grandpa Dinsmore's care ;
made him their guardian, I mean, and as Uncle
Horace and his wife were kindly willing to have
them at the Oaks, they were invited to make it
their home till they are grown up. It's a lovely
place, and I know they are very kindly treated,
but I can't help feeling sorry for them because
both their parents are dead."
** Nor I," said Max, " for no matter how kind
other folks may be to you, it isn't like having
jour own father or mother. I'm ever so fond
6 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUMNi
of Mamma Vi thoiigli," he added with emphasis,
" and just as glad as I can be that papa married
"And that she married him," put m Eva,
laughingly. " I think it was a grand match on
both sides ; she is so sweet and lovely, and he
in every way worthy of her."
" My opinion, exactly," laughed Max. I am.
very proud of my father, Eva."
" I don't wonder ; I am sure I should be in
your place," she said. " Ah see, we are just
turning into the grounds ! The ride has seemed
very short to me. But it's quite a little journey
yet to the house. I admire this winding drive
very much. It gives one quite a number of beau-
tiful views, and it's really obliging in the moon
to come out just now from behind that cloud and
show us how lovely every thing is looking. I
think newly-fallen snow gives such a charming
vai'iety to a landscape.
" There's witchery in the moonlight, too,"
she went on, glancing out through the windows,
now on this side, now on that. " I don't wonder
Grandma Elsie is so fond of this place where,
as she says, she lived so happily with her father
and Grandma Rose when she was a little girl,
and until she was married."
At that moment a turn in the road brought
the front of the mansion into full view. Lights
were gleaming from every window, seeming to
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBTIRK 1
promise a warm welcome and an abundance of
good cheer, a promise whose fulfillment began
presently as the carriage drew up before the
" You are the last, my dears, but none the
less welcome," Mrs. Dinsmore said, as she
kissed Evelyn and shook hands with Max.
" Thank you, ma'am. I hope you have not
kept your tea waiting for us," returned Eva a
" Oh no, my dear, we had been told not to
expect you to tea, so did not wait."
" And Rosie Tra villa has only just come,"
said Maud, taking possession of Evelyn and
hurrying her away to the room appropriated to
their joint use during Eva's stay.
" These rooms that used to be Cousin Elsie's
have been given up to our use for the present,"
she said. " This was her bedroom ; there is
another adjoining it on that side, and her dress-
ing-room on the other is turned into a bedroom
for the time, so that we six girls are all close
together, and have her boudoir for our own
private little parlor, where we can be quite to
ourselves whenever we wish. Isn't it nice ? "
" Yes, indeed ! " returned Evelyn.
" Oh Rosie, so you got here before me ! " as
the latter came running in, followed by Sydney,
and greeted her with a hug and kiss.
" Yes ; a little. But where's Lu ? "
8 ELSimS FRIENDS AT WOODBTIRK
" The captain thought it best for her to stay
at home, and she preferred to do so, since
Gracie is so unwell as to need her nursino^."
" How nice and good of her ! " cried Sydney ;
" but I'm ever so sorry not to have her with us,
for I like her very much indeed."
" I love her dearly," said Evelyn. I never
saw a more warm-hearted, generous girl, and
it's just beautiful to see how she and Gracie
love one another ; their father and brother, too."
" I really think the captain might have let
Lu come, and I am very sorry for her disap-
pointment," said Rosie.
" She was disappointed at first," said Evelyn,
** but after Gracie took sick she wouldn't have
come if her father had given permission ; she
told me so, saying that she couldn't enjoy her-
self at all, knowing her darling little sister was
suffering without her there to comfort and
" Vi would have done that quite as well, I am
sure," remarked Rosie.
" And so we're only five instead of six," said
Maud. " Well, we'll each one of us just have
to try to be all the more entertaining to the
rest. Your dress and hair are all right, Eva,
and let us hurry out to the parlor, where the
others are : for they'll be wanting us to take
part in the games."
The door opened as she spoke, and an attrac-
ELSIE'S FBIENDS AT WOODBURN, »
tive-looking little girl, about Evelyn's age,
looked in. It was Lora Howard, the youngest
of the Pine Grove family.
" Come, girls," she said, " we're waiting for
you. O Eva, how do you do ? "
" What's the game to be ? " asked Rosie ;
" some sort of a romping one to please the little
ones, I suppose."
" Yes ; either Pussy Wants a Corner, or Blind-
man's Buff," replied Lora, leading the way to
the scene of festivity.
For a time mirth and jollity ruled the hour,
the older people joining in the sports of the
young, with the double motive of watching
over them and adding to their enjoyment; then
light refreshments were partaken of. After
that the servants were called in, and the head
of the family read aloud a short Psalm, offered a
brief prayer, giving thanks for the blessings of
life and the pleasures of the past day, and ask-
ing for the protecting care during the silent
watches of the night, of Him who neither
slumbers nor sleeps.
Then the good-nights were spoken, and all
scattered to their rooms.
The little ones were carried off by Mrs. Dins-
more and their nurses ; the five young girls re-
treated to the suite of rooms set apart to their
use, and the lads — seven in number — trooped up
the broad stairway leading to the second story.
10 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOOBBURK
" You and I are to be bed-fellows, Max, and
to share the same room with Art and Walter
Howard," said Frank Dinsmore. *' You see we
have to crowd a little — there being such a lot
of us — but it'll be all the jollier, don't you think,
He had led the way, as he spoke, into a most
inviting-looking room, large enough to seem far
from crowded, even with the two double beds
filling opposite corners.
" Yes, yes, indeed ! " the others responded,
in chorus. Art adding : " The more the merrier,
and we'll have no end of a good time, if I'm not
A door of communication with another room
stood wide open, and through it they could see
the three older lads, gathered about a blazing
" Walk in, boys," called Chester, addressing
Max and his companions, as he saw them send-
ing curious glances in that direction.
" We're expected to go to bed, arn't we ? "^
queried Max in reply, coming in last, and speak-
ing with some hesitation.
"We're not at boarding-school, my lad,"
laughed Chester, " and no one has given orders
as to the exact hour for retiring, so far as I am
" Of course not," said his brother, " Cousin
Horace and Cousin Sue are not of the sort to
JSLSIE'S FRIENDS A T WOODB URK. 1 1
be over, strict with a fellow, and would never
think of laying down the law to visitors, any
" And it's not late," added Walter, accepting
the chair Chester had set for him.
" Come on, Max, we're a respectable crowd,
and won't damage your morals," said Ralph,
lighting a cigar and beginning to smoke it.
" I should hope not," said Chester, " and I
presume if any such danger had been appre-
hended he would hardly have been allowed to
come to the Oaks."
" Are his morals supposed to be more easily
damaged than those of the common run of fel-
lows?" asked Bertram Shaw, regarding Max
with a sneering, supercilious stare.
" I am inclined to think they are," said Ralph.
"Come, come, now, I'm not going to have
Max made uncomfortable," intei-posed Chester,
good-naturedly. "He's my guest, you know.
Here, sit down, laddie, it's early yet," pushing
forward a chair as he spoke, "have a cigar?"
" No thank you," returned Max pleasantly ;
"I tried one once and got enough of it. I
never was so sick in my life."
" Oh, that's nothing unusual for a first trial %
likely it wouldn't have the same effect again,"
" Better take one ; you'll seem twice the man
if you smoke that you will if you don't."
The box of cigars had been passed around to
12 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK
all, and each of the other boys had taken one,
but Max steadily refused.
"My father says it is very injurious to boys^.
and will stunt their growth," he gave as a rea-
son ; adding, with a laugh, " c^id it's my ambi-
tion to be as tall as he is, and like him in every
" Very right, remarked Frank, " but do you
mind the smoke ? "
" Oh no, not at all."
But the next minute he saw something that
he did mind. A table was drawn into the mid-
dle of the rooni and a pack of cards and a bot-
tle of wine produced from some hiding-place
and set upon it, while Chester invited them all
to draw up their chairs and have a glass and
The others accepted without hesitation, but
Max rose and, with burning cheeks and fast-
beating heart, uttered a protest.
" Oh, you can't be going to drink and gamble,
gurely ! What would Uncle Horace say if he
knew such things were going on in his house ? "
"No, my son," said Chester, laughingly,
" we're not going to do either ; we'll not play
for money, so it won't be gambling, and the
wine isn't strong enough to make a fellow
drunk ; no, nor anywhere near it. So you
needn't be afraid to join us."
" No, thank you," returned Max firmly, ** I
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN. 13
«an not think it right or safe to drink even wine,
or to play cards, whether you put up a stake or
" No, 'twouldn't be safe for you, I presume,"
sneered Ralph. "He's awfully afraid of his
governor, lads ; so we'd best not try to per-
" Do you mean my father ? " demanded Max,
a trifle hotly.
" Of course, my little man ; whom else should
I mean ? "
" Then I want you to understand that I never
would be so disrespectful to my father as to call
him that ! "
"It's not so bad," laughed Chester, while
Bertram frowned and muttered something about
a " Muff and a spooney," and Frank said, " Come
now. Max, sit down and have a game with us.
Where's the harm ? "
"Don't urge him," sneered Ralph, "he's
afraid of a flogging. He knows he'd catch it,
and the captain looks like a man that wouldn't
mince matters if he undertook to administer it."
Max's face flushed more hotly than before,
but he straightened himself and looked his tor-
mentor full in the eye as he answered : " I don't
deny that I should expect a flogging if I should
weakly yield and do what my conscience tells
me is wrong, even if my father had not forbid-
den it, as he has ; but I'm not ashamed to own
14 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOOBBUHIT,
that I love my father so well that the pained
look I should see in his face when he learned
that his only son had taken to such wicked
courses, would be worse to me than a dozen flog- ,
gings. Good-night to you all," and he turned
and left the room.
" Coward ! " muttered Ralph, as the door
closed on him.
"Any thing else than that, I should say,'*
remarked Chester. " I think he has just shown
himself the bravest of us all. Moral courage,
we all know, is courage of the highest kind."
" Yes, boys, I am sure he's in the right, and I,
for one, shall follow his example," said Arthur,
rising ; and with a hasty good-night, he too dig-
Walter and Frank exchanged glances.
" I think myself we might be at better busi-
ness," remarked the one.
" That's so ! " assented the other, and they,
too, withdrew to the next room.
Max had taken a tiny volume from his pocket
and was seated near the light, reading.
" What have you there, old fellow ? " asked
Frank, stepping to his side, laying a hand on
his shoulder, and bending down to look. " A
Testament, I declare ! "
The tone expressed astonishment, not unmixed
Max^s cheek flushed again, but he replied
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN. 15
"without hesitation, and in his usual pleasant
tones, " Yes, I promised papa I would always
read at least one verse before going to bed at
" And say your prayers, too, I suppose ? "
Max felt very much as if he were called to
march up to the cannon's mouth, as a glance
showed him that not Frank only, but the other
two boys also, were standing regarding him
with mingled curiosity and amusement. His
heart quailed for a moment, but the remem-
brance of what his father had once told him of
his having to pass through such ordeals in his
youthful days, gave him courage to emulate
that father's example and stand to his colors
spite of the ridicule that seemed so hard to face.
" And God's eye is on me, his ear open to
hear what I say," was the next thought ; " I
will not dishonor either my earthly or my heav-
All this passed through his mind in a second
of time, and he hardly seemed to pause before
he answered in a firm, steady voice, " Yes ; I
did promise that too ; and even if I had not, I
should do it. Don't you think, you fellows, it
would be mean and ungrateful for a boy that is
so well off as I am, and has been having such a
splendid time all day long, to tumble into his
bed without so much as saying thank you to the
One he owes it all to ? "
16 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBK.
" Does look like it when you put it so," mut-
"And then," proceeded Max, " who is there to
take care of us while we and every body else
are all fast asleep ? May be we'll wake in the
morning all right if we don't take the trouble
to ask God to keep us alive and safe, for He's
always a great deal better to us than we deserve,
but don't you think it's wise to ask him ? "
" I reckon," said Frank, forcing a laugh, for
Max's seriousness was rather infectious : "we'll
not hinder you any way, old boy, and while you
are in the way of asking for yourself, you can
just include the rest of us, if you like."
" How old are you Max ? " queried Arthur.
" And I, though four years older, am not half
the soldier you are."
Max shook his head. " I am not brave at all ;
it was awfully hard to speak out against the
cards and wine, and I did hope I'd have this
room to myself till — till I'd got through with
reading and — and the rest of it."
" Of course ; but you went through the fight
and stuck manfully to your colors for all your
fright. I say, old fellow, you're worthy to be
the son of a naval officer."
" Thanks," said Max, flushing with pleasure ;
" I wouldn't be worthy of my father if I couldn't
brave more than I have to-night."
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBN. 17 \
"Well, go ahead and finish up your devo- ]
tions ; we'll not disturb you," said Frank, turn- \
ing away and beginning to undress for bed. !;
The Howards followed his example, all three \
keeping very quiet while Max was on his knees. |
They had all been brought up under religious \
influences, and while not controlled by them as '
Max was, yet felt constrained to respect his firm ;
adherence to duty and the right.
Captain Raymond liad foreseen the proba-
bility that his son would be subjected to such an
ordeal, and had tried — successfully as the event
proved — to prepare him for it.
Max was busy with his preparations for bed
on the previous night, when his door opened and
his father came in.
" Well, my boy," he said in his usual kind,
fatherly tones, " I hope you have had a happy
day and evening ? "
" Yes, papa ; oh yes, indeed ! Never had a
more splendid time in all my life ! "
" In all your long life of thirteen years ! "
laughed the captain, seating himself and regard-
ing his son with a proud, fond look.
" No, sir ; and such splendid presents as you
and the rest have given me ! Why, I'd be the
most ungrateful fellow in the world if I wasn't
as happy as a king ! "
" Happy as a king ? " echoed his father. "Ah,
my boy, I should be sorry indeed to think that
your life was to be less happy than that of most
monarchs. * Uneasy lies the head that wears a
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK 19
" I want to have a little chat with you," he
resumed, after a moment's silence, his counte-
nance and the tones of his voice much graver
than they had been a moment since. " I heard
to-day that Ralph Conly, who exerted so bad an
influence over my son some time ago, is to make
one of the party at the Oaks."
" Is he, papa ? then I suppose you have come
to tell me you can't let me go ? " Max returned,
in a tone of keen disappointment.
" No," said his father, kindly, " I do not with-
draw the consent I have given ; you may go^
but I want you to be on your guard against
temptation to do wrong. "I am told Ralph
professes to have reformed, but I fear it may
prove to be only profession, and that he and
others may try to lead my son astray from the
paths of rectitude."
Max looked very sober for a moment ; then
said with an effort, " I'll give up going papa, if
you wish it — if you're afraid for me."
" Thank you, my boy, " returned his father,
heartily, taking the lad's hand, as he stood by
his side, and pressing it with affectionate
warmth, "but I won't ask such self-denial.
You must meet temptation some time, and if
you go trusting in a strength not your own, I
believe you will come off conqueror.
" Don't let persuasion, sneers or ridicule in-
duce you to do violence to your conscience, in
"20 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBN'.
either shirking a known duty, or taking part in
any wrong or doubtful amusement. Remember
it would go nigh to break your father's heart to
learn that you had been drinking, gambling, or
taking God's holy name in vain."
" Oh, papa, I hope I shall never, never do such
wicked things again ! " Max said with emotion,
calling to mind how he had once fallen under
" I know you don't intend to," his father said,
** and I trust you will have strength given you
to resist, if the temptation comes ; but I know
too, that it is very difficult for a boy to stand
out against the sneers, ridicule and contempt of
his mates. But how much better to have the
smile and approval of God, your heavenly
Father, than that of any number of human creat-
ures ! Do not be like those chief rulers among
the Jews who would not confess Christ because
they loved the praise of men more than the praise
of God ! "
"No, papa, I hope I shall not. Besides, I
don'l, care half so much for the good opinion of
all the boys in the land as for yours," he added,
gazing into his father's face with eyes brimming
over with ardent filial love and reverence. " I
am proud to be your son, papa, and I do hope
you'll never have cause to be ashamed of
•' No, my boy, I trust you will be always, as
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBK 21
now, your father's joy and pride," responded
the captain, again pressing affectionately the
hand he held. " Rest assured that nothing but
wrong doing on your part can ever make you.
any thing else. Nor would even that rob you
of his love."
"Then, papa, I think I shall never try to
hide my faults from you," returned the lad
with impulsive warmth ; " for I'm sure a fellow
feels a great deal more confortable when he
isn't trying to make believe to his father that
he is a better boy than he is really."
" Yes ; when his effort is not merely to seem,
but to be all that he knows his best earthly
friend would have him. You needn't stand in
awe of me. Max, as of one who knows nothing
by experience of sinning and repenting. I
sometimes think you are a better boy than I
was at your age, and I hope to see you grow up
to be a better man than I am now."
" Why, papa, I never see you do wrong, and
I don't believe you ever do," said Max.
" I do try to live right. Max," his father an-
swered," to keep the commands of God, honor-
ing him in all my ways, and setting a good ex-
ample to my children, but I am conscious of
many shortcomings, and could have no hope of
heaven but for the atoning blood and imputed
righteousness of Christ."
" And that's the only way any body can be
22 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBVRK,
saved ? " Max said in a low tone between in-
quiry and assertion.
'* Yes, my boy ; for all human righteousnesses
are as filthy rags in the sight of Him who is of
purer eyes than to behold evil, and can not look
" Papa," Max said, after a moment's thought-
ful silence, " I'm afraid you wouldn't think it
from the way I act and talk, but I have really
been trying to be a Christian ever since that
time when I wrote you that I hoped I had given
myself to God."
" My dear boy, I have noticed your efforts,"
was the kindly response ; " I see that you try to
control your temper, and are always truthful,
and obedient and respectful to me, kind and
obliging to others."
" But you know, papa, it's only a few weeks
since you came home, and you haven't found me
out yet," replied Max, naively. " I've often a
very hard fight with myself to go right, and
sometimes I fail in spite of it ; then I grow dis-
couraged ; and so I'm ever so much obliged to
you for telling me that it's a good deal the same
way with you. It makes a fellow feel better,
you see, to find out that even those he respects
the most don't always find it easy to do and feel
just as they want to."
" Yes, my boy, we have the same battle to
fight — you and I — the same race to run ; so we
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK 23
can sympathize with each other, and must try
to be fellow-helpers."
" You can help me, papa, but how can I help
you ? " asked Max, with a look of surprise, not
unmixed with gratification.
" By being a good son to me and your mam-
ma, and a good brother to your sisters ; if you
are all that, you can not fail to be a very great
help, blessing and comfort to me. But best of
all. Max, you can pray for me."
" Oh, papa, I do ; I never forget you night or
morning ; but "
" Well ? "
" I — I'm afraid my prayers are not worth
" Why not, my son ? the Bible tells us God is
no respecter of persons, but is ready to hear and
answer all who come to him in the name of his
dear Son, who is the one mediator between God
and men. If you ask in his name — for his sake
— you are as likely to receive as I or any one else.
" Now I must bid you good-night, for it is
high time you were asleep."
The next evening, about the time the good-
nights were being said at the Oaks, Captain
Raymond left Lulu, who had just passed a very
happy half hour, seated on his knee, in her own
little sitting-room, and went down to the parlor
where Violet was entertaining her guests.
There was quite a number of them, though it
24 DLSIE'8 FRIENDS AT WOODBURK.
was only a family gathering. Mr. and Mrs.
Dinsmore, from Ion ; Grandma Elsie, as Evelyn
and the Raymond children called her ; Lester
Leland and his Elsie; Edward and Zoe, and
Herbert and Harold, who were at home from
college for the Christmas holidays, beside the
Lacey's from the Laurels, several of the How-
ards of Pine Grove, and Calhoun and Arthur
Conley from Roselands.
Violet looked up with a welcoming smile as
her husband came in, and made room for him on
the sofa by her side.
" I was just telling Lester and Elsie," she said,
" how beautifully Lulu is behaving — bearing so
well the disappointment about her invitation to
the Oaks, and showing such devotion to Gracie
in her sickness."
" Yes, she is a dear child, and well deserving
of reward," he said, feelingly. " It pained me
to deny her the pleasure of sharing the festivi-
ties at the Oaks, though as matters have turned
out she would not have gone had I given per-
mission — loving Gracie, too dearly to leave her
while she is not well — and I have been thinking
whether it may not be made up to her by allow-
ing her to have a party of her own next week :
inviting her young friends who are now at the
Oaks, and perhaps some others, to come here on
Monday and stay until Saturday. Does the idea
meet your approval, my dear ? "
ELSIE'S FBTEJSTBS AT WOODBURK. 25
" Yes, indeed ! " cried Violet, looking really
delighted ! " how happy it would make her and
Max ? Grade, too, I think, if we can only get
her well enough to have a share in the
" And, I believe," she added with a laugh, " I
am child enough yet to enjoy it greatly my-
" I hope so," her husband said, smiling fondly
upon her ; " you are looking full young enough
for mirth and jollity, and must not allow your-
self to grow old too fast in an endeavor to
match your years with mine."
" No, captain, the better plan would be for
you to match yours with hers by growing
young," said Zoe, laughingly. " Can't you turn
boy again for a few days ? "
" I should not be averse to so doing," laughed
the captain. " I'll see what I can do. Sister Zoe.
May we look to you for some assistance in the
work of contriving amusements ? "
" Yes, indeed ; if you give me an invitation to
the party. I was not favored with one to the
Oaks, you know, because of being a married
woman ; though Ella Conly was, in spite of her
superiority of years."
" Too bad ! " returned the captain, gallantly ;
** but we will not draw the line just where they
did ; all the present company will please consider
themselves invited for each evening's entertain*
23 EL&IE'L FRIENDS AT WOODBUBK
ment, mothers and all under twenty-five, for the
whole time — from Monday morning to Saturday
afternoon." I am taking for granted that my
wife approves and joins me in the invitations,"
he added, turning smilingly to her.
*' Oh, yes ; yes, indeed ! " she said ; " I hope
you will all come."
There was a chorus of thanks and acceptances,
some only partial or conditional.
"I promise you I'll be here when I can,"
Arthur said ; *' but you know a doctor can sel-
dom or never be sure of having his time at his
" You'll be heartily welcome whenever you do
come," responded the captain ; " but please take
notice that you will be expected to be quite as
much of a boy as your host."
" No objection to that condition," returned
Arthur, smiling ; " if I don't out-do you in that,
it shall be no fault of mine."
" The next thing in order, I suppose, will be
to consider how our young guests are to be
feasted and amused," remarked Violet.
" Yes," replied her husband ; " but my wife
is to be burdened with no care or responsibility
in regard to either. Christine and I will see to
the first — preparations for the feasting — and I
imagine there will be no trouble about the other ;
the children themselves will probably have a
number of suggestions to make."
ELSIE'S FRIENDS A T WOODB URN. 2 7
" Some of the older ones, too," said Zoe,
eagerly ; and went on to mention quite a list of
" Besides, we can act charades and get up
tableaux ; and oh, let us try something I read
about the other day in Miss Yonge's * The Three
Brides,' a magic case with a Peri distributing
gifts, oriental genii, turbaned figures, like princes
in the * Arabian Nights,' singing and piano
accompaniment. Oh, it would be fun, and
delight the children, I'm sure ! And I know we
could manage it all among us very easily."
" It sounds charming," said Violet ; " we must
study it out and see what we can do. Shall we
not, Leris ? "
" I like the idea very much, so far as I under-
stand it," he said. " Who will volunteer to take
" Zoe and I may he counted on," said Edward,
with a smiling glance at his young wife.
" And Herbert and I," added Harold. " We've
had some experience, and it's a sort of thing we
" Yes, and we'll help with the charades and
any thing else, if we're wanted," said Herbert.
But it was growing late, so further arrange-
ments were deferred to the next day, and the
company presently separated for the night.
The Lelands and Edward and Zoe remained in
the house ; the rest departed to their homes.
28 ELSIWS FRIENDS AT WOODBURN.
" Why, Gracie ; here before me, though you're
the sick one ! " exclaimed Lulu, as, early the
next morning, she entered the little sitting-room
they shared between them and found her sister
lying on the sofa ready dressed for the day.
" Yes," Grace said, " I was so tired of bed,
and Agnes said she would help me dress before
mamma's bell should ring. So I let her ; but
I'm tired and have to lie down again a little bit."
" Yes ; you're not nearly strong enough to
sit up all day yet," returned Lulu, stooping over
her to give her a kiss. " But you've been cry-
ing, haven't you ? your eyes look like it."
Grace nodded, hastily brushing away a tear.
" Why, what's the matter ? " asked Lulu, in
surprise. " I can't think of any thing to make
you cry, unless it's pain ; are you in pain, dear ? "
Grace shook her head. " No, Lu, but," sob-
bing, " I — I've been thinking 'bout that time I
was so naughty, meddling with mamma's
things, and — and oh, you know the rest."
" Yes, but why does it trouble you now ? it
was all over such a long time ago."
" Yes, but papa doesn't know about it, and —
oughtn't I to tell him ? "
" I don't know," Lulu said reflectively ; " but
you needn't be afraid ; he wouldn't punish you
after this long while, especially as Mamma Vi
knew all about it at the time, and punished you
1SL8IW8 FRIENDS AT WOODBUES. 29
" Such a little bit of a punishment for such a
wicked thing," Grace said ; " papa would have
punished me a great deal harder, I'm most
" But he won't now ; so you needn't be afraid
to tell him."
" But he'd look so sorry, and I can't bear to
see my dear papa look sorry for something I
" Then don't tell him. It isn't as if it had
happened just the other day."
" But, Lulu, I oughtn't to let him think I'm a
better girl than I am."
" Maybe he doesn't. You are a good girl ; a
great deal better than I am."
" No, I'm not ; you would never, never do the
wicked thing I did. But I'm afraid papa thinks
I'm better, 'cause when — when he thought the
baby was going to die, he was hugging me up
and kissing me, and he said 'You never gave
me a pang except by your feeble health,' and I
said I didn't ever want to, and I forgot all
about how bad I'd been that time, and that papa
didn't know about it."
" What is it that papa didn't know about, my
darling ? " asked a voice close beside the sofa,
and both little girls started in surprise, for their
father had come in so quietly, his slippered feet
making no noise on the carpet, that they had
not been aware of liis entrance.
30 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN.
He took Grace in liis arms as he spoke, sat
down with her on his knee, drew Lulu to a seat
by his side, then kissed them both, saying in
tender tones, "Good-morning, my two dear
"Good-morning, my dear papa," responded
Lulu, leaning her cheek affectionately against
But Gracie only hid her face on his breast
with a little half-stifled sob.
" What is it, my precious one ? " he asked,
holding her close with loving caresses.
" Lu, you tell papa ; please do," she sobbed.
" Lulu may tell it, if you want pajDa to hear
it," he said, softly smoothing her hair, " other-
wise it need not be told at all. But if it is
about some wrong-doing that has been repented
of and confessed to God and mamma, you need
not dread to have your father know of it, for he,
too, has been guilty of wrong-doing many times
in his life, and needs to seek forgiveness of God
every day and every hour."
"Papa," she exclaimed, lifting her head ta
give him a look of astonishment not unmingled
with relief, " I don't know how to b'lieve that,
if you didn't say it your own self ; for I never,
never see you do any thing wrong. But I want
you to know 'bout this, so you won't think I'm
a better gii*l than I am. Lu, please tell," and
again her face was hidden on his breast.
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBVUN. 31
" Papa, it was a long, long, while ago," be-
gan Lulu, as if eager to vindicate her sister as
far as possible, " and it was only that she acci-
dentally broke a bottle of Mamma Vi's, and
then she was frightened (you know she's always
so timid, and can't help it), and so, 'most before
she knew what she was saying, she told Mamma
Yi she never meddled with her things when she
was not there to see her."
There was a moment's silence, broken only
by Grace's sobs, which were now quite violent.
Then her father said low and tenderly, " My
dear little daughter, I can not comfort you by
making light of your sin ; lying is a very
great sin, one that the Bible speaks very strongly
against in very many places ; but I have no
doubt that you long ago repented, confessed it
to God and received forgiveness. And I trust
you will prove the sincerity of your repentance
by being perfectly truthful all the rest of your
" It was very honest and right in you to
want me to know that you have not always
been so good as I supposed ; and so, my darling,
I love you, if possible, better than ever," he
added, caressing her again and again.
" Oh, I'm so glad to hear you say that, papa ! "
exclaimed Lulu, looking up into his face with
" And you are no less dear than your sister,"
32 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBN.
he said, drawing her closer to his side. " My
child, I have felt very sorry over your disap-
pointment in missing the festivities at the Oaks,
and have been trying to think of some way to
make it up to you. How would you like to
have something of the same sort here at home ?
a party of children and young people to come
next Monday morning and stay till Saturday ? "
" Oh papa," cried Lulu, opening her eyes very
wide in surprise and delight, " it 'most takes my
breath away ! Do you really mean it ? "
" I do indeed," he said, smiling on her. " It
•will be your, and Max's and Grade's party, and
we older folks will do all in our power to make
the time pass pleasantly to you and your guests.
We will have games and charades, tableaux,
stories, and every thing delightful that can be
" O papa ! how very, very nice ! how splen-
did ! " cried Lulu, springing to her feet, clapping
\ her hands, and then jumping and dancing round
the room. " Dear me! I'd never once dreamed
; of such a thing ! And it'll be ever so much
nicer than going to the Oaks. I'm glad you
didn't let me go : because I couldn't be there
now and get things ready for my own party
too, and it's so much splendider to be the one to
have the party than one of the visitors. Isn't
it ! won't it be, Gracie ? Oh isn't papa just the
beet and kindest father in the world ? "
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK 33
" 'Course he is," said Grace, putting her arm
round his neck, and lifting her eyes to his with
a very grateful, loving look.
" Does it give you pleasure, papa's dear pet ? "
" Yes, sir," she answered with some hesita-
tation ; " if I don't he sick when they're here,
and if I may sit on your knee sometimes."
" Indeed you may," he said ; and papa will
try to take care that his feeble little girl has
nothing to tire her."
" No, she needn't entertain," said Lulu ; " I
can do it for both of us. Oh it is so nice, so
nice, so perfectly splendid, to think we're going
to have a real party of our own for several
days together ! " she cried, again clapping her
hands, jumping, dancing and pirouetting round
Grace laughed at the sight, and so did their
" Why, Lulu, daughter," he said, " you seem
to be going quite wild over the prospect ! I
am very glad indeed to have hit upon some-
thing that gives you such pleasure. But come
here ; I have something more to tell you about
" Oh, have you, papa ? " she cried, running to
him to put her arm round his neck and kiss him
again and again ; " what is it ? "
" Ah," he returned, laughing, " I doubt if it
434 ELSIE'S FBIENDS AT WOODBURN.
4s well to tell you ; you are so nearly crazy
" Oh, yes, do tell me please. I won't get any
crazier ; at least I don't think I shall, I'll try
So he told her of Zoe's suggestion, and that
lie intended it should be carried out.
A conservatory opened from one of the par-
lors, and there, he said, they would have the
" Oh papa, how lovely, how lovely ! " both
little girls exclaimed, their eyes sparkling and
their cheeks flushing with delighted anticipation.
" That entertainment will be for New Year's
Eve," he said, " and the Peri must have a pres-
ent for each one who visits her case. That will
necessitate a shopping expedition to the city to-
day or to-morrow. Lulu, would you like to be
one of the purchasers ? shall I take you to the
stores with me ? "
" Oh ! " she cried half breathlessly, " wouldn't
I like it ? But," with a sudden sobering down
of demeanor and a tender look into the face of
her little sister, " I — I can't leave Gracie, papa,
she would miss me and be so lonesome without
" But I could stand it for one day, Lu ; and I
couldn't bear to have you miss such fun — such
a good time — just for me," said Grace, with
ELSIE'S FBIENDS AT WOODBUBN. 35
" And Mamma Vi will contrive that she shall
not be lonely," the captain said, drawing them
both closer into his arms.
" The mutual love of my little girls is a
great joy to me," he added, caressing them in
Just then a servant came in bringing Grade's
She ate it sitting on her father's knee, while
Lulu, standing alongside, kept up a lively strain
of talk on the all-absorbing theme of the hour.
She had a good many questions to ask too, and
they were all answered by her father with un-
failing patience and kindness.
The proposed festivities were the principal
topic of conversation at the family breakfast,
also ; for the ladies were deeply interested, the
gentlemen not quite indifferent.
The storm had passed, the morning was fine,
and the captain announced his intention to drive
into the city, starting within an hour, winding
up with the query, " which of you ladies will
volunteer to go along, and assist in this im-
portant shopping ? "
" Zoe would enjoy it, I am sure, and you
could not have a more competent helper," Violet
said, smiling kindly into the eager face of her
" I should not object, if I can be of service,'*
said Zo3, "but don't you want to go yourself.
36 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN.
Vi ? I haven't a doubt that the captain would
prefer your company to any other."
" I think I should abide by the stuff," returned
Violet in a lively tone, " or rather by the little
ones, baby and Gracie. Lulu must go with her
papa — I would not have her miss it for a great
deal — and I am eager to make the day a happy
one to Gracie in spite of the absence of her
devoted sister-nurse," she added with an affec-
tionate glance and smile in Lulu's direction.
" Oh, Mamma Yi, thank you ever so much ! "
-exclaimed the little girl. " I do think it will be
just splendid to go with papa and help choose
the things, but I couldn't bear to leave Gracie
"You are a dear, good sister, Lulu," re-
marked Mrs. Elsie Leland. " It does one good
to see how you and Gracie love one another."
"Thank you. Aunt Elsie," said Lulu, flushing
with gratification ; then catching the look of
proud, fond affection with which her father was
regarding her, she colored still more deeply, while
her heart bounded with joy. It was so sweet to
know that he loved her so dearly and was not
ashamed of her, faulty as she felt herself to be.
" Yes," he said, " their mutual affection is a
constant source of happiness to their father. I
pity the parent whose children are not kind and
affectionate to each other.
" Well, Mrs. Zoe," turning smilingly to her,
ELSIE'S FRIDNDS AT WOODS UBIT, 37
am I to have the pleasure of your company to-
day, and the benefit of your assistance and
advice in the selection of the ornaments and
gifts necessary or desirable for the successful
carrying-out of your proposed entertainment ? "
" Thank you ; I shall be delighted to go and
to give all the assistance in my power," she
answered. " That is if Ned is willing to spare
me," she added, turning to him with a merry,
mischievous look and smile.
" I don't think I can," he said, in a sober,
meditative tone, " but if the captain is suffi-
ciently anxious to secure your valuable services
to take me too, my consent shall not be with-
"Then it's a bargain," laughed the captaiuy
and Lulu's eyes sparkled. She was saying to
herself, " Then I shall be sure to sit beside
papa ; because they always want to be together ;
80 they'll take one seat in the carriage, and
we'll have the other."
" Oh, Gracie, Grade, I've had the nicest, the
most splendid time that ever was ! " cried Lulu,
rushing into their own little sitting-room where
Grace lay on the sofa, having that moment
waked from her afternoon nap.
" Oh, have you, Lu ? I'm so glad," she ex-
claimed, as her sister paused for breath : for
Lulu had rushed up stairs so fast in her joyful
eagerness to tell every thing to Grace, that she
had not much breath left for talking.
" I've had a good time, too, looking at pictures
and playing with baby, and hearing lovely
stories that mamma and Aunt Elsie told me,"
continued Gracie. " But tell me 'bout yours."
" Oh, it would be a long story to tell you every
• thing," said Lulu. *' I enjoyed the drive ever
|fio much, sitting close beside papa, with his arm
round me, and he giving me such a loving look
every once in a while, and asking me if I was
quite warm and comfortable. Then we went to
ever so many stores and bought lots of things,
some handsome and some not worth much, but
just to make fun (when we have the case, you
know). And papa was, oh, so kind ! he let me
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN. 39
buy every single thing I wanted to. And he
gays I may label the presents this evening — he
r- helping me because it would be too much for
me to do aii alone — and decide which present is
to be given to which person."
" Oh, Lu, what fun ! " cried GFrace.
** Yes ; and you shall have some say in it too,
jf you want to,'* returned Lulu, generously,
throwing off her coat as she spoke, then bend-
ing down to give Grace a loving kiss.
" Via to make out the list of folks to be invi-
ted, too," she ran on, " and write the notes, with
papa's help. He says this is to be all our own
party — Max's, and yours, and mine — and he
wants us to get every bit of pleasure out of it
we can. Isn't he a dear, kind father ? "
** And, Oh Gracie, how nice it is to have him
at home with us all the time and to live with
him in this lovely home ! "
" Yes, Lu, I think we ought to be ever such
" So do I. Oh, here comes papa ! " as a
manly step drew near the door.
It opened, and the captain came in and bend-
ing over Gracie kissed her several times, asking
in tender tones how she was and if she had had
a pleasant day.
'* Yes, papa ; oh, very ! I've just had a
nice nap and now I'd like to get up and sit
40 ELSIE'S FBIENBS AT WOODBURK
on your knee a little while, if you're not toft
" I'm not at all tired, my pet, and shall enjoy
it perhaps as much as you will," he said, seat-
ing himself and complying with her request."
"Lulu, daughter, put your hat and coat in
their proper places, and make your hair
" Yes, sir," Lulu returned, in bright, cheerful
tones, and moving promptly to obey.
She was back again almost immediately. " Oh,
Gracie," she said, " I didn't tell you about" our
dinner 1 Papa took us to Morse's, the best and
most expensive place in the city, and he let me
choose just what I wanted from the bill of fare,
and he paid for it."
" And my wise little girl, who thinks it so
delightful to have her own way, chose several
dishes that she found she could not eat at all,'*
remarked the captain, with a humorous look and
smile directed at Lulu, who was now standing
close at his side.
" Yes," she said, blushing, " you told me I '
wouldn't like them, papa, and I found you
knew best after all, but you and Aunt Zoe en-
joyed them so that they weren't lost."
" Quite true," he responded.
** And then, papa, let me choose again," Lulu
went on, addressing Grace, " and I took things
I knew I liked."
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN 41
** You did have a splendid time,*' remarked
Gracie, rather wistfully.
" I hope you will be able to go with us next
year, my pet," her father said, caressing her
"O, papa ! are we to have another party
next year?" queried Lulu, in almost breathless
" That depends," he said ; " if a certain little
girl of mine should indulge in an outburst of
passion while she is playing hostess to her
young friends, I think the prospect of a party
for her next year will not be a very brilliant
** Oh, I hope I won't, papa ; please watch me
all the time, and do every thing you can to help
me keep from it," Lulu murmured, her arm
round his neck and her cheek laid to his.
"I certainly shall, my dear child," he an-
swered, putting his arm about her and drawing
her into a close embrace ; " and I am very
hopeful in regard to it ; you have been behav-
ing so well of late. It gives me great pleasure
to be able to say that."
She lifted dewy eyes to his. "Thank you,
papa. Oh, I do mean to try as hard as I can ! "
" Suppose we decide now who are to be in-
vited," he said. " Gracie must have a say about
that, as well as the rest of us."
" I s'pose we'll have all the relations— least
42 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBVRIT.
all that aren't too old — won't we papa ? " sL©
" Yes, I think so ; the same company they
had at the Oaks, for the whole time, and the
grown people in the evenings, when we are to
have tableaux or the magic cave or something
else not too juvenile for them to enjoy."
" Papa," said Lulu, " I thought you said I
was to have some choice."
" Yes, daughter ; mention any one else you
may wish to invite."
" I don't care to have any body else, but —
papa, please don't be angry with me, but I'd
rather not have Rosie Travilla here." She
hung her head and blushed, as she spoke in a
low, hesitating way.
" The captain looked a little surprised, but
not angry. " Why not, my child ? " he asked.
"You ought to have a very good excuse for
leaving her out."
" Papa, its because — because Pm afraid she'll
get me in a passion."
" Ah," he said with an involuntary sigh, " I
remember now that she was mixed up in some
way with that unfortunate affair of a few
weeks ago. But can you not forgive her for
"Yes, papa, if I only could be sure she
wouldn't say horrid things to me that — ^but, oh,
I didn't mean to tell tales ! "
ELSIE 8 FRIENDS AT WOODBURN. 43
" And I certainly don't want to hear any ;
yet I should be far from willing to have your
hard task of controlling your temper made
harder for you."
" I don't want to be a tell-tale either,"
Grace said timidly, " and I do like Rosie ; but
sometimes she isn't very good to Lu. Some-
times she teases her so that I think its 'most more
her fault than Lu's when Lu gets in a passion."
" Ah, that is news to me ; and perhaps I have
been too hard on my quick-tempered little
daughter," he said in a remorseful tone, drawing
Lulu into a closer embrace, and pressing a tender
kiss upon her forehead.
Lulu looked up with a flash of joy in her
eyes, then dropping her head on his shoulder so
that her face was half hidden there, " I'll invite
Rosie if you want me to, papa," she said, " and
if she teases me I'll try to be patient."
" That's my own dear child," was his kindly
response. " I should not like to have her left
out considering how very kind her mother and
grandfather have been to my children, and that
she is your mamma's sister ; and I hardly think
she will do or say unkind, trying things to you
when she is your guest in your father's house.
I feel quite sure sh^. will not in my presence,
and I shall arrange matters so that I can be
with you almost all the time while your guests
44 BLSmS FRIENDS AT WOODBURK
" O, papa, thank yon ! " cried Lulu, drawing a
long breath of relief ; " then I'm quite willing
to have Rosie here. I shouldn't like to hurt
Grandma Elsie's feelings, or Mamma Vi's or even
Rosie's own, by leaving her out."
" I am rejoiced to hear you say that ; I trust
there is little or no malice in your nature," he
said, repeating his caresses."
"Papa, I think Lu's very good 'cept her
temper," said Grace, putting an arm affection-
ately round her sister's neck.
" No," said Lulu, "I'm willful, too ; I've dis-
obeyed papa more than once because I liked my
own way best ; and I'm bad other ways, some-
times. But I do love our dear father, and I am
trying to be a better girl," she added, lifting
her head to look affectionately into his face.
"Yes, daughter, I see that you are, and it
makes me very happy," he said.
" Now, I have something to tell you, two, that
will please you, I think. We are all invited to
spend to-morrow afternoon at the Oaks to see
some tableaux they are getting up there, and I
hope even my little Grace will be able to go."
" Oh, how nice ! " cried Lulu, while Grace
asked, " Will you go and take us, papa ? "
" I hope to," he answered, smiling fondly
down upon her. " Ah, there is the tea-bell 1
Will you travel down to the table in papa'a
arms ? "
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBN. 45
** Yes, sir ; if you like to cany me, and it
won't make you tired."
" It won't tire me at all, my pet. I only wish
you were heavy enough to be something of a
burden," he said, as he rose with her in his arm?
and moved on toward the door, Lulu follow-
" Oh, Lu, don't you wish you were in my
place ? " Grace asked with a gleeful laugh,
looking down at her sister over their father's
" No ; I'm so big and heavy that it must tire
papa to carry me."
" Hardly," he said ; " you remember it is not
many weeks since I did carry you quite a dis-
tance ? "
" But didn't it tire you, papa ? "
" Very little ; I was scarcely sensible of
" Oh, its nice as nice can be to have such a
big strong papa ! " cried Grace, giving him a
; It was quite a party, and a merry one that
; gathered about the tea-table, enlarged, since
breakfast by the addition of Violet's mother and
her two college boys.
The talk ran principally upon the holiday
amusements going on at the Oaks and those in
course of preparation at Woodburn.
" They boast of being able to get up some
46 ELSIES FRIENDS AT WOODBURK.
very fine tableaux at the Oaks," remarked Harold,
" and expect to quite astonish us to-morrow."
" I hope you are going, captain, and will take
Lulu and Gracie with you," Grandma Elsie said,
half inquiringly, smiling kindly upon the two
little girls as she spoke.
"Yes," he said, smiling also into the eager
young faces, " I shall certainly take them both,
unless something unforeseen happens to prevent ;
my wife having promised to go with us," he
added, with an affectionate glance at Violet.
" Yes, indeed ! I shouldn't like to miss it,'*
she said gayly ; I believe Zoe and I are about as
eager over these holiday doings as either of the
" I'm glad to hear it," he responded ; " a man
enjoys having a young wife even when not
" And the older he is, the younger he wants
his wife to be," remarked Zoe in a lively tone :
" at least so I have heard people say."
" But papa isn't old, aunt Zoe ! " exclaimed
" My dear child," laughed her father, " it's
no sin to be old, so you need not be so ready to
take up the cudgels for me."
" Have you sent out your invitations, Lulu ? "
" No, ma'am, not yet."
" You will have an opportunity to give them
mSIEPS FRIENDS AT WOODBURK 4?
verbally to-morrow afternoon, if you like,'* re-
marked her father,
" But I — I don't think I want to, papa," she
said. "I'd like to send nice little notes — -
only it's a good deal of trouble to write
** Oh ! " said Zoe, " you can have plenty of
help in it ; I'll volunteer for one."
** I, too, am at your service," said Grandma
Elsie ; and her offer was followed by several
" * Many hands make light work,' " said Zoe^
** and we'll have the thing done in a few min-
utes after leaving the table* Then there'll ba
plenty of time for the selection of subjects for
our tableaux, which I intend shall outshine those
at the Oaks."
** Don't make rash promises," said Edward,
laughingly, "you have not seen those at the
*' Are we who abode by the stuff to-day, ta
see your purchases now ? " asked Mrs. Leland^
lightly, as they left the table.
** Why, no ; of course not," cried Zoe, with
emphasis ; " half the tun will be in the surprises
when the Peri hands out her gifts. O, captain,"
turning hastily to him, "is it to be decided
beforehand who is to have what ? "
**I think that would be the better plan," fee
answered, "and I propose t uit you and Luk
48 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUEN:
fihare that privilege, if privilege you con<
" That I do," she returned, quite delightedly ;
" and if you like I'll help label them, so there
need be no mistake in the distribution."
" Suppose you three attend to that business,
in the children's sitting-room, while the rest of
us repair to the library and write the invita*
tions," suggested Violet ; adding " then you can
join us and help in the selections for the tab-
"An excellent arrangement, my dear," said
her husband. " Shall we carry out our part of
it, Madam Zoe?"
"With all my heart, Sir Captain," rejoined
" Then I will order our purchases carried up
to the appointed place. Gracie, shall I take you
Ep there to oversee us at our work ? "
^'O, papa, mayn't I help, too?" asked the
little girl, with a very wistful, coaxing look in
ner sweet blue eyes, as she lifted them to his
" Help, darling ? What could such a feeble
little one as you do ? *'
" I mean help say whose the things are to be,**
" Ah, I did not understand ! Yes, my pet,
you may ; the gifts are to be from you as much
as from your brother and sister ; so no one has
ELsma FRj[Ejn>8 at WOODBUBK 4t
% better right to a voice in tlie matter of distri*
He was rewarded by a very bright, glad look
and smile as she held up her arms to be taken.
He held her while giving his order to a ser-
vant whom he had summoned, then carried her
up, settled her comfortably in an easy chair, and
wheeled it up beside a table whereon the day's
purchases were presently piled.
Zoe and Lulu had followed. The captain
politely placed a chair for each, then seated him-
self, and the work began ; he writing the labels
and they affixing them.
It was all done very harmoniously ; thero^
seemed to be but little difference of opinion, and
Lulu behaved as well as could have been desired^
gracefully yielding her wishes now and again to
those of Zoe or her little sister.
That pleased her father very much, and she
felt amply rewarded by his smile of approval
" There, that job is done 1 " announced Zoe at
** Why," exclaimed Grace, in a tone of minglefi
surprise and dismay, " there's nothing for papa !
Ko, nor for you, Aunt Zoe ; nor Lu either ! "
" Oh, that is all right, little girlie ! " laughed
Zoe, " for of course if we provided our own gifts
we should miss the surprise, which is more than
half the fun,"
« Oh, yes I " she said, " I forgot that.**
«0 ELSIE'S FBIEIWS AT WOOBBUBHT.
** Tou and I will contrive to find sometliing
for Aunt Zoe and Lu," her father said to her in
a low aside ; at which she clapped her hands and
" Now we are going down to the library,*' he
continued, aloud, " shall I carry you there ? "
" I'm afraid it will make you too tired, papa,
to carry me up and down so often," she answered,
but with a longing, wistful look that plainly told
her desire to be with others.
So, with the assurance that she was a very
light burden and he enjoyed carrying her, he
picked her up and bore her on after Zoe, while
Lulu brought up the rear,
" We'll soon have to make this Journey again,"
lie said, " for it will be your bedtime in about
half an hour."
" O papa, can't I stay up a while longer to-
night ? " she pleaded.
** If you were well and strong I should say yes
without any hesitation," he answered; "but I
think you will find yourself weary enough to be
glad to go to bed at the usual hour."
And he was right ; for though much inter-
ested at first in the talk that was going on
among the older people, her eyelids presently
began to droop, and her head dropped on her
father's shoulder, for she was sitting in her
favorite place upon his knee.
" Ah, birdie, you are ready for your nest, I
BL8IE'8 FRIENDS A T WOODS URK 5 1
see," he said, passing his hand softly over her
golden curls ; " papa will carry you up and put
you in it."
" Yes," she murmured sleepily. " Lulu, won't
you come too ? "
Lulu hesitated, and looked half inquiringly,,
half entreatingly at her father. She was very
loath to leave the room while the interesting
discussions in regard to arrangements for the
anticipated amusements were going on, ques-
tions of drapery, scenery, costumes, and who
should be given this part and who that, were
" You are free to go or stay, as you choose,"^
the captain answered to the look, speaking in a
very kind tone.
He waited a moment for her decision. There
was evidently a struggle in her mind for a brief
space, but love for her little feeble sister con-
" I'll go, papa," she said. " I've been away
from Gracie all day, and it would be too bad to
" That is right and kind, daughter," he re*
turned with an approving smile, as he rose with
the little sleeper in his arms, for Gracie was
already too far on the way to the land of
dreams to be aware of the sacrifice of inclination
Lulu was making for her sake.
" Get me Grade's night-dress, and we'll put
her to bed — you and I," the captain said pleas-
antly to Lulu, when they had reached Grade's
Lulu made haste to obey, and stood by his
side ready to give her assistance when needed.
" Poor darling," she said in a low tone, " how
tired and sleepy she is, papa."
" Yes, she is not at all strong yet," he sighed,
thinking to himself it was not likely she would
ever be any thing but feeble and easily ex-
The child did not rouse to consciousness, but
was still fast asleep as he laid her gently down
upon her pillow.
He covered her up with tender care, then
seating himself again, drew Lulu into his arms
with a fond caress.
" Dear child," he said, " your unselfish love
for your sister makes me very happy."
There was a flash of joy in Lulu's eyes as she
lifted them to his, then blushing and half hiding
ber face on his shoulder, " But I don't deserve
to have you say that, papa," sh© murmured ;
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBTJRN'. 53^
® for I didn't want to come up with you and
" No, but if you had had no desire to stay be-
hind there would have been no self-denial in
your yielding to her wish. You deserve all the
credit I am giving you. Now do you want to
go back again ? "
" If you like me to, papa ', Gracie is so sound
asleep that she will not miss me."
" Yes ; and if you are not too tired with all
the shopping you have done to-day, you may
stay up half an hour later than your usual bed-
time," he said, taking her hand and leading her
from the room.
" Oh, thank you, papa ! " she cried, " I don't
think that I'm too tired, and I should like to
so very much ! "
" You are very greatly interested in what is
going forward ? " he remarked, inquiringly, and-
smiling down on her as they descended the
stairs, her hand in his.
" Yes, indeed, papa ! Oh, may I read the-
bock that tells about the magic cave ? "
"Some day, when you are a little older ; at
present you may read only what it says about
Once such a reply to such a question would
have brought a frown to Lulu's brow, and she
would have asked sullenly why she could not
read the whole book now. But she was im?
54 ELSIE'S FBIEJSTDS AT WOOBBUHS.
proving under her father's training ; growing
much less willful and more ready to yield to his
"better judgment, having become convinced that
he was really wiser than herseK, and that he
loved her too well to deny her any harmless in-
So she responded in a perfectly pleasant tone,
** Thank you, papa, I'll read only that part."
" I can trust you," he said, " for I know you
to be a truthful child ; and I think, too, that
you are learning to be an obedient one also."
Lulu was allowed to stay in the parlor as long
as the older people did, as it so happened that they
were ready to retire earlier than usual that even-
ing ; they separated and scattered to their re-
spective rooms before ten o'clock.
Captain Raymond lingered behind to see that
every thing was made secure for the night. Pass-
ing into the library on his round he was a trifle
surprised to find Harold there.
" Ah, I thought you had gone up-stairs with
the rest ! "
" So I did — part of the way at least — but the
remembrance of something I heard this after-
noon and which ought, I think, to give you
pleasant dreams, brought me back to tell it.
That boy of yours, captain, is a son to be proud
"So I have thought myself, at times, but
feared it might be only a father's partiality,'-
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBK 55
returned the captain, his face lighting up with
pleased surprise. " What have you to tell me of
him ? "
" He had an experience over at the Oaks last
night, that might have easily proved too severe
a test of moral courage to an older fellow than
he, yet he came out of the trial with colors fly-
ing. I heard the whole story from Art Howard
as we were driving together from the Oaks over
And Harold went on to give a detailed and
perfectly correct account of what had taken
place among the lads after retiring to their
rooms for the night.
He had an intensely interested and deeply
When he had finished, his hand was taken in
a cordial grasp, while the captain said with emo-
tion, " A thousand thanks, Harold ! You can
never know until you are a father yourself,
what joy you have brought to my heart. I have
strong hope that my boy will grow up a brave,
true Christian gentleman, neither afraid nor
ashamed to stand up for the right against all
" I believe it, sir ; he's a fine fellow ; I'm so
proud of him myself that I regret the fact that
there is no tie of blood between us."
The next morning Lulu was hurrying through
the duties of the toilet, saying to herself that
56 ELSIETS FRIENDS AT WOODBURK
she wanted a little talk with Gracie about tlie
Peri's present to papa, before he should come
in to bid them good-morning, as was his custom,,
when she heard his voice in their sitting-room^
which adjoined her bedroom.
Half glad, half sorry, he was there already,
Lulu made all haste to finish her dressing, then
softly opened the communicating door.
Her father was seated with Grace on his knee,,
his back toward herself, and before he was
aware of her presence she had stolen up behind
him and put her arms round his neck, her lips
to his cheek, with a loving " Good-morning, my
dear, dearest papa ! "
"Ah, good-morning, my darling daughter,"
he responded, drawing her round in front of
him into his arms and returning the kiss. " How
happy it makes me to see you looking so bright
and well. Beautiful, too," he added to himself;
but that he did not say aloud.
" You've come in 'most too soon this morning,
papa," she remarked, lifting laughing eyes to his.
" Ah ! how is that ? " he asked.
" Why, I was just coming in to consult with
Gracie about the gift you are to get from the
Peri ; and now I can't, because it has to be a
secret from you, you know."
"Papa," said Grace, "please name over lots
of things you would like to have, so we can
choose one, and you needn't know which.'*
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODS URN, 57
" Lots of things that I should like to have ! "
he repeated, " I really can not think of one. I
have been deluged with beautiful and useful
presents ; the lovely bracket Lulu sawed out for
me, the pincushion Gracie made with her own
small fingers for my toilet table. Mamma Vi's
beautiful painting that hangs over the mantel in
my dressing-room, the watch case from Max,
beside the too-numerous-to-mention gifts from
others not quite so near and dear as wife and
" But you've got to have something, you see,
papa," laughed Lulu, " whether you want it or
not. Never mind, though, Gracie, we'll think
up something. Perhaps Aunt Zoe can help us."
" Ah, that reminds me," the captain said,
*' that we are to think of a gift for her. What
shall it be, Lulu ? "
" Suppose we sa}^ a ring, papa ? When we
were in that large jewelry store I saw her look-
ing at one with an emerald in it, and she
admired it very much. Would it cost too
much ! "
" Perhaps not," he said ; "I shall see about it."
"Did you like the things we gave you for
Ohristmas, papa?" asked Grace, affectionately
stroking his face with her little white hand.
" Yes, indeed ! particularly because they were
«11 the work of your own hands. I could hardly
have believed such tiny fingers as my Gracie'a
58 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK
could do work so fine as that on the cushion she
made for her papa. And Lulu's carving sur-
prised and pleased me quite as much."
" Isn't it just lovely," papa ? cried Grace with ;
enthusiasm. " I can't do that kind of work at ^
" No, you are not strong enough."
" And I can't sew half so well as she can,"
added Lulu ; " I'm not at all fond of plain sew-
"I am sorry to hear that," remarked her
father, "for I think every woman should be
skilled in that sort of work."
" I'd like sewing on a machine pretty well,"
said Lulu, " but it's slow, tedious work with a
needle in your fingers."
" Then I fear if I should buy you a machine
now, you would never learn the skillful use of
your needle. I want you to persevere with
that, daughter, and I promise that as soon as
your mamma tells me you have become an
accomplished needle-woman, I will buy you the
best machine that is to be had. And perhaps,"
he added with a humorous look, " it will not be
necessary to forbid you to use it too constantly.'*
" I don't believe it will, papa," returned Lulu
laughingly, " I don't believe I should ever enjoy
working it half so well as sawing and carving."
Just then the breakfast-bell put an end to
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK 59^
Shortly after the meal was over Zoe drew
Lulu aside and asked if she had decided upon
the present from the Peri to the captain.
" No, not yet, Aunt Zoe ; have you thought of
any thing ? "
" Yes, one that is spoken of in the book we
take the idea from, the idea of the magic cave,
the Peri and so on, I mean. It's a pen-wiper
with an ass's head, and the words * There are
two of us.' "
" Why, Aunt Zoe ! that would be just insult-
ing papa ! I shan't consent to it at all ! " Lulu
burst out indignantly.
" Oh no ; it would be only to make fun, and
your father would understand it and be as much
amused as any one else."
" I don't like it ; I couldn't bear to have such
a thing as that given to him," returned Lulu. " I
want to buy him a gold pen and holder that I
saw in the city. I have money enough, and
don't you suppose I can get somebody to go for
"Oh that will be easy enough," said Zoe
good-naturedly. " Edward is going in to-day,
and I know he will do the errand willingly."
" Oh, that will be nice ! Thank you," said
Lulu, in a tone of delight, " I must run and tell
Gracie about it."
She was turning to go, but Zoe detained her.
**Wait a moment," she said. "There are some
60 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBN.
pretty things to be made for adorning the magi(?
cave ; do you want to help with the work ? "
" Yes, Aunt Zoe, if you will show me what to
do," Lulu answered a little doubtfully, " you
know I'm not an expert needle-woman ; but I
think I should enjoy working with pretty things;
it would be much more interesting than plain
"Yes, indeed, and you will take to it very
readily if I am not greatly mistaken. I'll join
you presently, bringing some of the materials,
and show you what is wanted."
" Oh, if you please. Aunt Zoe ! I'll be ever so
much obliged ; you'll find me in Gracie's and
my sitting-room," Lulu answered, hurrying
" Yes ; that will be a nice one for you to give
papa," Grace said in reply to Lulu's communi-
cation, " but what shall I give him ? I want to
give him something too."
" Make him a pen-wiper," suggested Lulu ;
" that would go nicely with a pen and pen holder,
and you know he said he would rather have
something we made for him ourselves.''
" Oh, I'd like to, if I only knew how ! Maybe
mamma would give me some stuff to make it
of and show me how to do it."
" Yes, I'm sure she will," cried Lulu ; " she*»
At that moment Violet and Zoe came is
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBN. 61
together, bringing with them a quantity of
material to be fashioned into dolls, fairies, etc.,
for ornamenting the magic cave, or to do duty
as gifts to be dispensed by the Peri. 1
*'If you little girls feel inclined to give us
some assistance in this work, we shall be glad to
have it," said Violet pleasantly.
" I should very much indeed. Mamma Vi, if
you or Aunt Zoe will show me how," exclaimed
" I too, mamma," said Grace. " Please, mayn't
I make papa a present first ! I was thinking of
a pen-wiper for him, if you'll please show me
how to make a pretty one."
" Gladly, my dear. What would you think
of a little book, its inside leaves of chamois, the
cover of soft morocco, all fastened together with
ribbon, and papa's name printed in gilt letters
on the outside ? "
" Oh, that would be ever so nice, mamma !
But I haven't any chamois or morocco ; and
could any body go and buy them for me in
" I have some of each and will make you a
present of as much as you need," Violet returned
gayly, bending down to press a kiss upon the
little eager upturned face.
" I have some liquid gilding too," she went
on, so there will be no trouble about the letter-
ing on the cover. I will do that part and per<
62 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK
liaps papa will not object because so much is
" Oh, no ; I'm sure he won't ! " exclaimed
Grace ; " and mamma, you're so very kind to
help me so !"
Lulu was eagerly turning over the piles of
pretty things, while Zoe gave her directions how
to fashion them into the desired articles.
Violet went in search of what was needed for
the pen-wiper, and presently they were all four
busily engaged, chatting and laughing right
merrily as they worked, Violet and Zoe seeming
to feel almost as young and free from care aa
the two little girls.
They were dressing paper dolls as fairies in
wide-spreading tarleton skirts highly orna-
mented with tinsel.
Lulu had dressed two, thought their appear-
ance really beautiful, and was highly delighted
at her success ; she was holding the second one
up and calling the attention of her companions ta
it, when Harold Travilla looked in to say that a
quantity of things to be used in getting up the
tableaux, had come over from Ion, been taken by
the captain's order, to one of the unoccupied
rooms, and mamma thought Vi Zoe and perhaps
Lulu, might like to look them over and >select
for the different characters.
" Of course we will," said Zoe, jumping up
with alacrity, while Lulu hastily dropped her
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK 6?
fairy into her work-basket, asking " O, Mamma
" Certainly, dear ; Grade too, if she wishes,"
Violet answered pleasantly, adding, "you will
have plenty of time to finish your gift for papa
afterward, little girlie."
Zoe had already hurried on ahead, Violet and
Lulu followed more slowly, as Grace was not
yet strong enough to move quickly, and they
would not loave her behind.
Reaching the room whither the package had
"been conveyed . Grace was comfortably seated in
an arm-chair where she could overlook the pro-
ceedings without fatigue, and the others gave
themselves up to the fascinating business of
examining the articles and discussing their
merits, and the uses to which they should be
There were some very elegant silks, sating,
velvets, brocades and laces among them, and
Lulu was quite lost in admiration. She thought
it would be delightful to wear some of them
even for the little while a tableau would last,
and hoped it would be decided that she should
take part in several.
At length, having seen every thing, and being-
seized with a desire to go on with her work, in
which she had become quite interested, she ran
back to her own rooms without waiting for the?
64 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBN'.
Reaching the open door of the sitting-room,
ehe paused upon the threshold, transfixed with
astonishment and dismay. The baby, at the
moment sole occupant of the apartment, was
seated on the floor tearing up her fairies, while
round her lay scattered in wildest confusion, the
contents of Lulu's work-basket, skeins of silk,
and worsted tangled together, ribbons and bits
of silk, satin and velvet that Lulu had thought
to fashion into various dainty little articles, all
crumpled and wet, showing this Miss Baby had
been putting them in her mouth and trying her
pretty new teeth upon them.
Lulu's first impulse was to spring forward,
snatch the fairy out of the baby's hands, and
give the little mischief-maker an angry
But she controlled herself with a great effort,
and recalling the sad scenes and bitter repent-
' ance of a few weeks ago, refrained from rushing
at the child, but moved gently toward her, say-
ing in soft persuasive tones :
" Oh, baby, dear, don't do so, let sister have
> that, there's a darling ! Oh, you've made sad
work ! But you didn't know any better, did
you, pretty pet ? "
*' Oh, Miss Lu ! I'se awful sorry ! didn't neber
t*iiik ob my child doing sech ting I " exclaimed
the baby's nurse, hurrying in from an adjoining
room. ** I was jes' lookin' at de Christmas tings
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN', 65
scattered roun' an' hyar de chile gets hoV 6* jo*
work-basket fo' I sees what she 'bout."
*' You ought to have watched her, Aunt Judy :
It was your business to see that she didn't get
into mischief," returned Lulu in a tone of
sorrow and vexation. " All these pretty things
are ruined, just ruined ? And I'd taken so much '
pains and trouble to make those fairies for the
magic cave," she went on, taking them up and
turning them over in her hands with a despair-
" Kever mind, daughter, there are plenty more
pretty things where those came from," said her
father's voice from the open doorway.
Lulu started, and looked up in surprise,
" Papa I " she exclaimed, " I did not know you
were there. I did try to be patient with baby."
"And succeeded," he said, bending down to
smooth her hair caressingly (for he was now
close at her side), and giving her a tenderly
affectionate look and smile.
Then he sat down and drew her into his arms,
while Aunt Judy carried the baby away.
" Dear child," he said, " you have made me
very happy by your patience and forbearance
under this provocation. I begin to have strong
hope that you will learn to rule your own spirit,
which the Bible tells us is better than taking a
Lulu's face was full of gladness. " Now, I
66 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK
don't care if tlie fairies are spoiled ! " slie said
"witli a happy sigh, putting her arm round his
neck and laying her cheek to his. " I'm 'most
obliged to baby for doing it."
Her father continued his caresses for a mo-
ment, then he said, " I am going for a walk ;
would you like to go with me ? I should be
glad of your company, and I think you need the
" Oh, ever so much, papa ! " she answered
joyously. " There's nothing hardly that I like
better than taking a walk with you 1 "
" Then you may go and put on your coat and
hood, and we will set out at once."
It was a bright clear morning, the air just
cold enough to be bracing and exhilarating.
Lulu felt it so and went skipping, jumping,
dancing along by her father's side, her hand in
his and her tongue running very fast on the
interesting subjects of children's parties, tab-
leaux and magic caves.
He listened with an indulgent smile. *'I
think my little girl is very happy this morn-
ing ? " he said at length.
" Oh yes, yes, indeed I am, papa ! " she an-
Bwered earnestly, " how could I help it with so
much to make me so ? "
** You are looking forward to a great deal of
pleasure in entertaining your young friends
next week ? "
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBK 6Y
'* Yes, papa ; and that makes me glad ; btit
that isn't all, you know." And she looked up
into his face with an arch, loving smile.
" What else ? " he asked, returning the smile
"with one full of fatherly affection.
" Oh a great many things, papa ; but most of
all, that you don't have to go away and leave us
any more ; that makes this the very happiest
winter of our lives so far, Maxie and Gracie
and I all think."
" You may safely put my name into that list
also," he said.
" You'd rather be with us than on your ship ? "
" Much rather, daughter. I greatly enjoy
these walks with you, as well as many another
pleasure belonging to life at home with wife
" Papa, why did you forbid me to take walks
by myself ? " asked Lulu presently.
" Wait a moment," he said, and just then a
turn in the road brought them face to face with
a ragged, dirty man of aspect so forbidding that
Lulu, though not usually a timid child, clung to
her father's hand and shrank half behind him in
The tramp noted it with a scowl, pushed
rudely by them and disappeared round the corner.
"O papa," panted Lulu, "what a horrible
looking man ! He looked at me as if he'd like
to kill me."
68 ELSIE'S FBIEIUDS AT WOODBUItNf,
" How would you enjoy meeting Mm alone ? "
asked her father.
" Oh ! not at all, papa ! I'd be frightened
half to death ! "
" I think you would ; and what is more, I
think he — and many another of the same class
— would be a more dangerous creature for you
to meet alone than any wild beast. Do you
need any further reply to your question of a
moment ago ? "
" O papa ! no indeed ! and I shall never dis-
obey you again by roaming about by myself. I
see now that you were kind to punish me for
" I thought it far kinder than to let you run
the risk that such disobedience would bring,"
he said. " And," he went on presently, " there
are others who, though not so fc "bidding in
appearance, are very nearly if not quite as dan-
gerous : who coax and wheedle children and by
that means get them into their power and carry
them away from their parents and friends, to lead
miserable sinful lives. I think it would break my
heart to lose my dear little Lulu in that way ;
so, my darling, heed your father's warning, and
never, never listen to them."
" Indeed I'll not listen to them ! " she ex-
claimed in her vehement way, " but I am sure
nobody could ever persuade me to go away
from you, my own dear, dear father 1 "
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN. 69
" Ah," he said with a sigh, " I think you for-
get how, a few weeks ago, you attempted to
run away from me without persuasion from any
" But that was because I thought you didn't
love me any more, papa," she answered hum-
bly ; " but now I know you do," she added,
looking up into his face with eyes full of ardent
** Never doubt it again my precious child,
never for one moment doubt that you are very,
very dear to your father's heart," he said with
emotion, bending down to give her a tender
Th» captain was carrying a basket. Lulu
asked if slie might know what was in it.
** Yes^" he said ; " it contains a few delicacies
for a poor sick woman whom we are going to
They had been pursuing a path running par-
allel with the highway, and which had led them
into a wood, but now the captain turned aside
into another, leading to a hut standing some
distance back from the road.
" Is it in that little cabin she lives ? " asked
" Yes ; a poor place, isn't it ? hardly occupy-
ing so much space as one of our parlors. And
there is quite a large family of children."
" I'm sorry for them ; it must be dreadful to
live so," said Lulu, her tones full of heartfelt
sympathy. " But, papa, what makes them so
" I suppose they had no early advantages of
education — they are very ignorant at all events
— ^but the principal trouble is idleness and
drunkenness on the part of the husband and
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBTTRK 11
father. It makes it very difficult to help them
too, as he takes every thing he can lay his hands
on and spends it for drink."
" Oh, I can never, never be thankful enough
that my father is so different from that ! " cried
Lulu, with another glad, loving look up into his
He only smiled in return and pressed the hand
he held, for they had now reached the door of
the cabin and it was instantly opened by one of
the children, who had seen their approach from
One room, that to which they were admitted,
served for kitchen, living room and bedroom,
and with a loft overhead and a shed behind,
comprised the whole house.
The first object that met their eyes on enter-
ing was the sick woman lying on a bed in one
corner ; the first sound that saluted their ears
her hollow cough. She was very pale, and so
emaciated that she seemed to be nothing but
skin and bone.
" How are you this morning, Mrs. Jones ? "
the captain asked in kindly sympathizing tones,
as he drew near the bed and took the bony hand
she feebly held out to him.
" P'raps a leetle better, cap'n,' she answered
pantingly. " I slep' so good and warm under
these awful nice blankets you sent fur Chris-
mus ; an' the jelly an' cream an' t'other goodies
12 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN.
— oh, but they was nice ! I can't never pay yo?>
fur all yer goodness — no, nor the half o' it ; but
the good Lord — he'll make it up to you some-
how or other.
"An' ye've brung yer leetle gal to see
me ? that's kind, Mandy, set the cheer fur
the gentleman — we ain't got but one, cap'n
— an' find somethin' fur her to set on,
" There, I cayn't talk no more, me breath's
" No, you shouldn't try to talk," the captain
said, taking the chair that " Mandy " had set for
him after wiping the dust from it with a very
greasy, dirty apron. " And don't trouble your-
self, Amanda, to find a seat for my little girl ;
she is used to this one and likes it better than
any other, I believe," he added with a tenderly
affectionate smile into Lulu's eyes as he drew
her to his knee.
"Yes, that I do," returned Lulu, emphatic-
ally, glancing proudly from her father to
Amanda, who stood regarding them in open-
" Well, I never ! " she ejaculated the next mo-
ment. " Wouldn't I be s'prised out'n a year's
growth ef pap should act that a-way to me ?
And I shouldn't like it nuther ; the furder I kin
git away from the likes o' him the better, I
think, so I do."
ELSIE'S FRIENDS A T WOODS URN. *!^
The mother turned her face away with a
"'Taiii't no fault o' hern, cap'n," she said ;
** ef Bijah wur like ye, sir, the childer'd be glad
enough to git clost to him."
" Yes ; love begets love," he said. Then tak-
ing up his basket, which he had set on the floor
beside his chair; "I have something here for
you and should like to see you eat some of it
" What is it, cap'n ? " she asked as he handed
her a large china cup filled with something
white, creamy, and very tempting in appearance.
" They call it Spanish Cream," he answered.
** I think you will find it good ; and these lady-
fingers, just fresh from the oven when I started
will go nicely with it," he added, setting a plate
of them down on the bed beside her.
" Lady-fingers ? " she repeated ; " what's
them ? I never hearn on 'em afore."
" Sponge cakes," he said ; " they are very
light and neither rich nor tough ; so I think
you may eat freely of them without fear of
" They're mighty nice, cap'n," she said wheu
she 4iad tasted them ; " an' this here creamy
stuff — I never tasted nothin' better. It wuz
awful kind o' ye to fetch 'em, but I haint got
no appetite no more, an' so ye mustn't think
hard o' me that I don't eat hearty of 'em."
14: ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURIT.
" Oh, no, certainly not," he said.
"Shall I empty them things and wash 'em,
ma ? " asked Amanda, drawing near the bed and
looking with longing eyes at the dainty food.
" Yes ; but don't you uns eat 'em clean up
from yer sick mother that cayn't eat yer bacon
an' corn bread and taters."
" No ; just a mite to see what ther like," re-
turned the girl, dipping up a huge spoonful of
the cream and hastily transferring it to her
widely-opened mouth ; while a little crowd of
younger children, who, from the farther side of
the room, had been staring in silent curiosity at
the captain and Lulu, burst out all together,
" Gimme some, gimme some, Mandy ; ye shan't
have it all, so ye shan't."
" No ; ye cayn't none on ye have none ; it's
all f er yer poor sick ma, and ye'd orter to be
'shamed to be axin' f er it," returned Amanda
" Let them have a taste all around," said the
captain kindly. "I'll have some more made
and sent over by the time your mother wants
it. But don't wash the things ; just empty
them and put them back in the basket."
" Yes, Mandy, ye might break 'em ; put 'em
back jes so," panted the invalid from the bed.
When the children had quieted down, Capt.
Raymond, taking a Testament from his pocket,
asked if he should read a few verses.
ELSIE'S FRIENDS A T WOODB UBK 15
" Yes, sir ; oh yes, ef yer ain't in too big a
hurry. Please read about the blood ; the blood
that kin wash a sinner bad as me, clean nr.ff to
git to heaven ; them verses runs in my mind all
the time. The Lord above knows I've need
nuff o* that washin'."
" Yes," he said, " we all need it more than
any thing else ; for in no other way can we be
saved from the wrath to come ! There is none
other name under heaven given among men,
whereby we must be saved ! "
Then turning over the leaves of his Testament
he read : " But now in Christ Jesus, ye who
sometime were far off are made nigh by the
blood of Christ."
" If the blood of bulls and of goats, and the
ashes of a heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanc-
tifieth to the purifying of the flesh. How much
more shall the blood of Christ who through
the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot
%o God, purge your conscience from dead works
to serve the living God ? "
^* And these things write we unto you that
your joy may be full. This then is the message
that we have heard of him, and declare unto you,
that God is light and in him is no darkness at all.
If we say that we have fellowship with him,
and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the
truth ; but if we walk in the light as he is in
the light, we have fellowship one with another,
76 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBVUN.
and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleans^.
eth us from all sin."
" Yes, yes ; them's the blessed words ! " she
cried, clasping her hands and raising her eyes
to heaven. " Oh, if I only knowed 'twas fer
me, me that hasn't never tried to serve him,
and now cayn't do nothin* but lie here and suf-
fer ! "
" If you bear your sufferings patiently it will
be acceptable service to Him," the captain an-
swered. " He pondereth the hearts ; he sees
all the motives and springs of action. And he
will not let you have one pain, one moment of
distress that is not for your good — making you
fit for a home with him in heaven — if you give
yourself to him in love and submission, and try
earnestly to learn the lessons he would teach
" But never forget that salvation can not be
earned and deserved either by doing or endur-
ing : it is God's free, unmerited gift, bought for
his chosen ones \)j the blood and righteousness
of Christ. He offers them to us, and if we
accept the gift, God will treat us as if they were
actually our own : as if we had been sinless like
Jesus, and had died the dreadful death that he
died in our stead."
" I — I don't seem to see it quite plain yet,"
she said ; " please, sir, a^sk Him to show me jest
how to do it."
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK 1*1
The captain willingly granted her request,
kneeling by the bed ; Lulu by his side.
His prayer was short, earnest and to the
point ; his language so simple that the poor sick
woman, ignorant though she was, understood
She thanked him in tremulous tones and with
eyes full of tears.
" I hain't got long to stay," she whispered,
faintly, " but I hope I'm 'bout ready now, fer
I've tried to give myself to Him. I wish I'd
know'd you years back, cap'n, and begun to
serve Him then."
Lulu seemed to have lost her gay spirits and
walked along quite soberly by her father's side
as they went on their homeward way.
" Papa," she asked, with a slight tremble in
her voice, " is that woman going to die ? "
" I think she has not many days to live, daugh-
ter," he answered with a sigh, thinking how
doubly forlorn her children would be without
"Then I'm very, very sorry for *Mandy'
and the others ; it's so hard for children to have
their mother die ! "
" And you know all about it by sad experience,
my dear little daughter," he responded, bending
a tenderly compassionate look upon her as she
lifted her eyes to his.
" Yes, papa ; and so do Max and Grade."
18 ELSIE'S FItIEm)8 AT WOODBTTRK
" Do you remember your mother ? " he asked.
*' Not just exactly how she looked, papa ; but
oh, IVe never forgotten how nice it was to have
her to love, and to love us. Papa, I don't believe
ehe had a temper like mine, had she ? "
" No, daughter ; she was very amiable, vei^r
sweet and lovely in disposition. As I have
already told you several times, you inherit your
temper from me."
"Papa, I'd never know you had a bit of a
temper. Oh, do you think I can ever get to be
like you in controlling mine ? "
" Certainly, dear child. Can you think I
would be so cruel as to punish you for its indul-
gence if I did not think you could control it ? "
" No, papa ; I know you'd never be cruel
to me or any body."
Then going back to the former topic of dis-
course. " It'll be a great deal worse for those
children to lose their mother than it was for us
to lose ours (though ours was so, so much nicer)^
for they won't have a good father left like we
have. But O papa, it did seem so dreadful
when you had to leave us and go oif to sea so
soon after mamma was buried."
" Yes," he replied, in moved tones, " dreadful ,
to me as well as to my children ! "
" But that's all over now, and we can have
you with us all the time ; and in a dear, sweet
home of our own,** she cried, joyously.
ELSIE'S FRIENDS A T WOODB URK 1 9
" And a new mamma who is very sweet and
kind to my once motherless children, I think."
" Yes, papa, she is ; and it's very nice to have
such a pretty, gentle lady to — to do the honors
of the house. That's what people call it, isn't
" Yes," he returned, laughing in an amused
"And I s'pose you're a good deal happier
than you would be without her ? "
" Indeed, I am ! very much happier."
Lulu felt a burning desire to ask if he had
loved her mother as dearly as he did this second
wife, but did not dare venture quite so far. She
asked another question instead.
" Papa, did you give those children shoes and
stockings ? "
" What put it into your head that I did ? " he
queried in turn.
" Oh, I saw they all had good ones on, and I
don't believe their father ever bought them for
" No ; and I fear they'll soon go for liquor."
" Papa, I have a woolen dress that's most out
at the elbows ; Mamma Yi said I'd better not
wear it any more. May I get Christine or Agnes
to patch it and give it to one of those Jones
children ? I think it would be about big enough
for one of them."
" You may get Christine to show you how to
80 ELSIE'S FRIENDS A T WOODS UBN,
mend it and then you may give it to the little
" But — I — I don't like to sew, papa, and I'm
sure Christine would be willing to do it."
" I presume she would, but, daughter, I want
you to learn both how to do such work neatly,
and what pleasure may be found in self-deny-
ing exertion for others. I am not laying a com-
mand upon you, however, but it will gratify me
very much if, of your own free will, you will
do what I desire."
"Papa, I will," she said, after a moment's
struggle with herself, " for I love to please you,
and I just know you know what is best for
"That's my own dear little girl," he said,
smiling down at her.
" What a nice home our's is, papa ! " ex-
claimed Lulu, as they turned into the grounds
" Yes, I think so, and that we have a very-
great deal to be thankful for," he replied. " If
God's will be so, I hope we may all see many
happy years in it."
" The grounds are so lovely," pursued Lulu,
*' that I most wish we could have warm weather
a part of the time next week."
" I think we shall find plenty of amusement
suitable for the house," her father said in a
kindly tone ; " and next summer we will per-
haps have an out-door party for my children
and their young friends."
" O, papa, may we ? how delightful that will
be ! " cried Lulu, with a joyous hop, skip and
jump. " Oh, it's just the nicest thing to have
such a father and such a home ! "
" There seemed a pleasant bustle about the
house as they came in ; the conservatory was
being prepared for the sport that was to be car-
ried on in it, and sounds of silvery laughte?* ^nd
82 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN.
fiweet-toned voices in lively, gleeful chat, came
floating down from above.
The captain and Lulu following these sounds
presently entered Violet's boudoir, where they
found the ladies busily engaged in making ready
for the tableaux.
Grace was among them, and gave her father
a joyous greeting : for the pen-wiper was quite
finished and laid away safely in a place that he
Was not all likely to look into.
He stooped to give her a kiss and ask how she
felt ; then caught up the baby, who ran to meet
him crying in her sweet baby voice, "Papa,
papa ! " tossed her up two or three times, she
crowing with delight, then seated himself with
her on his knee.
What is sweeter than a baby, especially when
it is one's own ? " he said, hugging her close
with many a fond caress.
" Papa, I do think she's the dearest, sweet-
est baby that ever was made," Lulu said, stand-
ing by his side and softly smoothing the baby's
"In spite of her mischievous propensities,
eh ? " he returned laughingly, while little Elsie
held up her face for a kiss, saying ' Lu, Lu ! '"
Lulu gave the kiss very heartily. " Yes, pa-
pa," she answered, " I don't believe she's a bit
more mischievous than other babies, and she
doesn't know any better. I wonder if its just
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK. 88
because she's our own baby that she seems so
beautiful and sweet ? "
" Not altogether that, I am sure," he said,
though no doubt it adds a good deal to the at-
traction. What do you think about it, mam-
ma ? " he asked, looking up fondly into Violet's
eyes as she came to his other side.
" Oh, of course, I know she's the darlingest
baby that ever was born ! " she returned gayly,
bending down to kiss the little rosebud mouth,
"Though no doubt you have thought the
very same of three others."
" Ah, how come you to be so good at guess-
ing ? " he responded, laughingly. " Yes, I re-
member that each one seemed to me a marvel
of beauty and sweetness. I thought no other
man had ever been blest with such darlings ;
and I'm afraid I must confess that I am of pretty
much the same opinion yet," he concluded,
gathering all three of his little girls into his
arms and looking down lovingly upon them, for
Gracie too had come to him and was standing
beside her older sister,
" It can't be for goodness, as far as I'm con-
cerned, sighed Lulu half under her breath 5
but he heard her.
** No, nor for beauty ; but just because you
are my very own," he said, caressing them iu
turn, Violet looking on with shining eyes.
" Lulu, dear," she said, turning to her with «
84 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN.
loving look, " I was sorry that baby did such
damage to your pretty things. I thank you for
being so patient and forbearing with her — the
little mischief ! " — glancing smilingly into the
blue eyes of the babe — " and I shall make good
your loss. I have plenty of bits of silk, satin,
ribbon, velvet and lace among my treasures to
more than replace what she spoiled."
" Oh thank you, Mamma Vi," exclaimed Lulu
" My dear," said the captain, with a humor-
ous look, " isn't the little mischief-doer as much
mine as yours ? and am I not, therefore, under
quite as great obligation to make good the loss
she has occasioned ? "
" Perhaps so," Violet returned, " but as man
and wife are one, your easiest plan will be to
let me do it, seeing you have no such supplies
With that she pulled open a deep drawer in a
bureau filled with such things as she had men-
tioned, and bade Lulu and Gracie help them-
selves to all they wanted.
"O Mamma Vi," they cried, in wide-eyed
astonishment and delight, " how very good in
you ! but do you really mean it ? "
"Yes, every word of it," laughed Violet.
**Take all you want ; I shall not feel impoverished
if I find the drawer quite empty when you are
done with it."
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN. 85
^No, you would still have your husband,'*
remarked the captain with mock gravity.
"And baby," added Violet, taking the child
The little girls were exclaiming over their
" What have you there ? " asked Zoe coming
forward and peeping over their heads. " Oh
what quantities of lovely things ! some of them
just suited for dressing fairies ; and several
more are needed."
" Oh may I dress one ? " asked Lulu eagerly.
"Yes, indeed, if you like. Here, I'll help
you select for it."
" Lulu," said her father, " you have forgotten
to take off your hood and coat. Do so at once,
daughter, you will be apt to catch cold wearing
them in this warm room."
"I was just on the point of asking her if
she wouldn't take off her things and stay
awhile," laughed Violet, as Lulu hastened to
Before the dinner bell rang Lulu had again
dressed two fairies, which she thought quite an
improvement upon the first two. She exhibited
them to her father with pride and satisfaction,
asking if he did not think them pretty.
"Yes," he answered with a smile, "I am
hardly a competent judge of such things, but
they are pleasing to my eye ; all the more so, I
^6 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURHT.
suspect, because thej are tlie handiwork of my
own little girl."
Immediately after dinner the whole party set
out for the Oaks, some riding, others driving.
They arrived just as the exhibition was about to
begin, and of course had no opportunity to
speak to any of the young people — who were
all engaged behind the scenes — till it was
The spectators declared themselves much
pleased with the whole performance, every tab-
leau a decided success, and some of them really
Lulu and Grace, seated in front of their father
and Violet, enjoyed thoroughly every thing they
saw, taking special interest in the tableaux in
which Evelyn and Max took part.
In the last one Eva appeared as a Swiss peas-
ant girl, and a very pretty one she made.
The instant the curtain dropped she hastened,
without waiting to change her dress, into the
parlor where were the spectator guests, and made
her way to Lulu's side.
" O, Eva ! " cried the latter, " how pretty you
are in that dress ! and how perfectly lovely you
looked in the picture ! "
"Oh, hush, you mustn't flatter," returned
Evelyn, laughing, as she threw her arms round
Lulu and kissed her with warmth of affection.
** I'm so glad you came ! you, too, Gracie,**
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBK 87
kissing her also ; " I was afraid you might not
be well enough."
" Oh, yes : I'm better," said Grace ; " and,
oh, I wouldn't have missed it for any thing ! "
"There was a great deal of laughing and
talking going on, and Captain Raymond, ex-
changing remarks with some of the other grown
people, had not noticed Evelyn till this moment ;
but now he turned toward her with a kind
fatherly smile, and held out his hand, saying,
** Ah, my dear, how do you do ? allow me to
congratulate you on your successful perform-
ances, and to hope you will repeat them at
Woodburn next week."
" Oh, yes, Eva, you will, won't you ? " cried
Eva smiled pleasantly, "I shall be glad to
do any thing I can to help with the sports,
and I expect a very good time," she said. "It's
ever so good in you and Aunt Vi to make
another party for us young folks, captain."
" I shall feel fully repaid if it proves a happy
time to you all," he replied.
" I must go now and change my dress," said
Evelyn. " Captain, may I carry Lu oif with
me to the rooms we girls are occupying ? "
" Yes, if you don't keep her too long ; we will
be starting for home in about half an hour."
" Thank you, papa ; I promise to be back by
that time," eaid Lulu.
88 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK
" And I'll see that she is," said Evelyn ; and
the two ran off together.
Lora Howard, the Dinsmore girls, and Rosie
Travilla had already repaired to the rooms ap-
propriated to their joint use, and the moment
Lulu appeared they all crowded round her with
warm greetings, queries as to what she thought
of their tableaux, and expressions of delight at
the prospect of spending the greater part of the
coming week at Woodburn.
" I was quite vexed with the captain for not
allowing you to accept our invitation ; but I'll
have to forgive him now," Maud remarked, with
a gay laugh. "I suppose he had some good
and sufficient reason, and is trying to make up
the loss to us now. Perhaps the right thing for
us would be to retaliate by declining in our
turn, but I must own I can't work myself up to
such a pitch of self-denial."
"And I'm very sure I can't," said her
" Lu," said Rosie, a little shame-f acedly, " I
think it is very nice in you to invite me after all
"I'm ashamed of having been so easily
teased," responded Lulu, with a blush, "but
don't mean to be in future, if I can help it ; and
I hope we shall be good friends. I am sure
papa and Mamma Vi wish that we would."
"So nearly related — aunt and niece — ^you
ELSIE'S FRIENDS A T WOOBB URN. 89
certainh^ ought to be the best of friends,"
laughed Lora Howard.
" We're going to have tableaux, and act
charades, and play various kinds of games ;
papa is sure to see that we have a very good
time ; the best it is possible for him to contrive
for us," said Lulu, quietly ignoring Lora's re-
" My anticipations are raised to the highest
pitch," said Sydney.
Evelyn had just completed her toilet.
" Time's up, Lu," she said, looking at her
watch, " we must go back to your father.
The other girls had finished dressing and the
whole six at once adjourned to the parlor, where
their elders were enjoying themselves together.
The lads were there also, Max standing beside
his father, who held his hand in a warmly
affectionate clasp, while he said in a tone that
reached no other ears, " Max, my dear boy, I
heard a report of you that has made me a proud
and happy father.
The captain's eyes were beaming, and at his
words Max's face flushed so joyously that Lulu,
watching them from the farther side of the
room, wondered what it was all about. She
hastened to them.
" Oh, Maxie," she exclaimed, taking his other
hand. " I'm so glad to see you ! it seems as if
we'd been a whole month apart. " .
90 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN.
Her father smiled at that — a fond, approving
" Are you going home with us now, Maxie ? "
she went on.
"I don't know," Max answered, with an in-
quiring glance at their father.
" Do just as you please about it, my son," re-
plied the captain ; " your leave of absence ex-
tends to to-morrow afternoon, and if you are en-
joying your visit, perhaps it would be as well to
finish it out ; your going might interfere with
some amusement that has been planned for the
others as well as yourself."
Max said he was having a fine time and
decided to stay.
" Can't Lulu stay too, captain ? " asked Syd-
ney, who happened to be near enough to catch
the latter part of his sentence, and Max's reply.
He deliberated a moment. " Do you want to
stay, daughter ? " he asked in a kindly tone, and
looking searchingly into Lulu's face. Her reply
came promptly, "I think it would be ver};-
pleasant, papa, only I want to be at home to
help get ready for my party — ours, I mean, be-
cause. Max, it't just as much yours and Grade's
as mine. Papa said so."
" And I think it's splendid that we are going
to have it," said Max. " How good and kind
you are to us, papa ! "
Gbace was very tired when they reached
tome, and her father carried her immediately to
her own room, saying she must be undressed
and put to bed at once, and her supper should
be brought up to her.
"May Lulu have hers up here with me,
papa, if she's willing ? " asked the little girl,
" I have no objection," he said ; " Lulu may
do exactly as she pleases about it."
"Then I will, Gracie," Lulu said, leaning
over her sister and patting her cheek affection-
ately ; " we'll have a nice time together, just as
we have so often since you've been sick. I'm
sure papa will send us a good supper. He never
starves us, or wants us to go to bed hungry as
Mrs. Scrimp used to, does he ? "
** No," he said ; " I should far rather go hun-
gry myself, and it pains me to the heart to
think that ever my darlings were treated so."
His tone and the expression of his counte-
nance said even more than his words.
"Don t be troubled about it now, dear papa,"
said Lulu, putting an arm around his neck and
l^ing her cheek to his, for he was seated, with
92 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN',
Grace on his knee, wliile he busied himself in
relieving her of her outdoor wrappings, " it's
all over, you know, and we don t mind it. I do
believe we enjoy this dear, sweet home all the
more for having had such a hard time at
"My dear, loving little daughter," he re-
sponded, gazing tenderly upon her ; then added
with a sigh, " I wish I could think that hard
experience had left no ill effects, but it is plain
to me that you were injured morally, and poor
Gracie will not soon recover from the damage
to her health."
Violet came hurrying in just in time to catch
his last words.
" What is it, dear ? " she asked anxiously,
** has Gracie s little outing been too much for
" No, I trust not," he answered cheerfully ;
** I hope it will prove, in the end, to have been
of benefit ; but she is quite weary now and Lulu
and I are going to put her to bed. Bring her
Lulu hastened to obey, and Violet, drawing
near, stooped over Gracie with a fond caress and
a few endearing words.
" I am very sorry you are so tired, darling,"
she said, "but I hope you will have a good
night's sleep and wake in the morning feeling
all the better for your little trip."
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK 93
*^ Yes, mamma, I'm 'most sure I shall," said
Grace, " my bed is so soft and nice to sleep in.**
" Shall not I take your place in helping to
make her ready for it, Levis ? " Violet asked in
a sprightly tone.
" No, no," he said, " I'm much obliged, but
consider myself quite competent to the task ;
besides I hear baby calling you."
So with a kind good-night to Gracie, Violet
Lulu had brought the night-dress, and while
helping her father, talked eagerly about the
" I do think they were just lovely ! " she said.
** And Eva and Rosie looked so pretty in those
costumes. I want to take part in ours. You'll
let me, papa, won't you ? "
" Yes, daughter ; but I hope you will not be
eelfish toward your guests in regard to the
choice of characters, or in showing a desire to
appear in too many. I want my little girl to
be a polite and considerate hostess, and always
modest and retiring ; never trying to push her-
self into notice, and never seeking her own grati-
fication in preference to that of others.
"The Bible teaches us to please others in
such things as are right, * For even Christ
pleased not himself.' And he is to be our pat-
" 111 try," she said with a thoughtful look.
U EL8IB*8 FRIENDS AT WOODBXTRir.
** Papa, I do believe you care more to have jout
cliildren good than rich or beautiful or any
" I do indeed ! " he returned ; " it is my
heart's desire to see them all followers of Christ,
heirs of eternal life ; for what is the short life in
this world compared to the everlasting ages of
the one we are to live in the next ? And god-
liness hath the promise of the life that now is as
well as of that which is to come ; there is no
real happiness, my child, but in being at peace
Grace was now ready for bed, and her father
laid her in it, saying, " Lie there and rest, papa's
dear pet, till your supper is brought up. Then
Lulu may get your warm dressing-gown for you,
and you may sit up to the table in your own little
sitting-room while you eat. Then you can go
to bed again as soon as you are done your meal ;
and I think Lulu will be willing to stay with
you till you fall asleep."
" Oh, yes ; yes, indeed ! " cried Lulu. ** I'll
stay as long as she wants me."
" But, papa, you haven't kissed me good-
night," Gracie said, as he was turning away.
" No, darling," he answered ; " but I haven't
forgotten it. I am going down now to order
your supper sent up, and when I think you have
had time to eat it, I shall come back to bid you
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBTTMIf. 95
Grace was too tired to talk, but she made a
good listener while Lulu's tongue ran fast
enough for two all the time they were waiting
for their supper and eating it after it came up
— as tempting a meal as any one could have
Lulu's themes were of course the tableaux
they had seen at the Oaks, those they expected
to have the next week here in their own home^
and such other amusements as had been planned
for the entertainment of the invited guests.
"And aren't you glad, Gracie, that Maxie'a-
coming home to-morrow afternoon ? " she askedv
" Yes, indeed," returned Grace ; " Maxie's
such a nice brother, and Lm tired doing with-
" So am I ; but O, Gracie, how much worse
it was to have to do without papa more than
half the time, as we used to ! "
" Worse than what ? " asked the captain in a
playful tone, stepping in at the open door lead-
ing into Grace's bedroom.
The little girls were still at the table in the
" Worse than having Max away for a little
"while, papa," replied Lulu.
" But we think that's bad too," said Grace.
" It will soon be over ; Maxie will be at home
to-morrow," he said, sitting down beside her.
" Are you enjoying your supper, my darlings ? **
^6 ELSIE 'S FBIEND8 A T WOODB UBJST.
" Oh, yes, sir ! " they both replied. Grace
adding, " I'm done now, papa, and ready to be
put in bed again, when I've said my prayers."
The tea-bell rang as he laid her down, so
with a good-night kiss, he left her to Lulu's care.
The guests all went away early the next
afternoon, most of them expecting to return on
Monday, and a little later Max came home, rid-
ing his pony which his father had sent for him.
Every body gave him a warm "sr^lcome, from
his father down to the baby, who the moment
she caught sight of him, held up her little arms
crying, " Max, Max, take her.''
" Why, of course I will, you pretty pet," he
said, picking her up and hugging her in his
arms. " How fast you're learning to talk ; and
are you glad to have brother come home ? "
The boy was more pleased than he cared to
She nodded her curly head in answer to his
question, while Violet said, "We are all very
glad, indeed. Max ; we have missed you in spite
of having company every day while you were
" And though I've had a fine time at the Oaks
I'm ever so glad to get back. Mamma Vi," re-
sponded Max. " I've found out the truth of
the saying that there's no place like home."
" And I trust will be always of that opinion,'*
bis father remarked, with a pleased look.
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK 97
*' It is my ardent desire that to each one of
my children their hom3 in their father's house
may seem the happiest place on earth."
" If it does not, it will be no fault of their
father's," remarked Yiolet, giving him a look of
proud, fond affection, as she took the babe from
Max. " We mustn't impose upon brother Max's
good nature, little girlie," she said.
" Indeed, Mamma Vi, it's no imposition," he
protested, " I like to hold her."
" Oh Max," cried Lulu, " won't you tell us
about the good times you've been having at the
" After a while," he said, " but now I want to
go round and see how things look indoors and
" Oh yes ; you must see what papa's been
having done in the conservatory, where the
magic cave is to be. I'll go with you, shan't I ? "
" Of course, if you like."
" We'll all go," said the captain, taking little
Elsie from her mother, " baby and all ; " and he
led the way, Violet following with Gracie cling-
ing to her hand. Max and Lulu bringing up the
rear, the latter talking very fast of all that was
to be done for the entertainment of their ex-
Max was almost as much pleased and inter-
ested as even she could have wished.
" What lots of fun it will be ! " he said, whec
98 ELSIE'S FBIENDS AT WOODBURN.
he had seen the alterations and heard all that
was to be told about the new use to be made of
the conservatory. " Papa, I think it's just
splendid in you to give us youngsters such a
" Splendid ? " echoed his father with a humor-
ous smile. " I presume that must mean that I
am a shining example of paternal goodness ? "
" I am sure you are," laughed Violet. " I
never saw a brighter."
" Thank you, my love," he returned. " And
did you ever see a more grateful set of chil-
dren ? "
" No, never ! I hope you feel that you have
an appreciative wife, also ? "
" She is far beyond my deserts," he answered
softly, the words reaching no ear but hers ; for
the children were again talking among them-
selves, and paying no heed to what might be
passing between their elders.
" No, sir," returned Vi, with a saucy smile up
into his eyes. " I utterly deny that that is so,
and stoutly maintain the contrary."
" My dear," he said laughingly, " have you so
little respect for your husband's opinions ? "
" Yes, sir, just so little," she answered mer-
rily ; " that is in regard to the matter under
"Ah, that last is a saving clause," he said
with a look of amusement. " Shall we go back
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBTIRK 99
to the parlor ? I see the children have forsaken
us. Max seems half wild with delight at being
at home again — it is so new and pleasant a thing
for him and his sisters to have a home of their
" With their father in it," added Violet. "1
think they never forget that that is the best
part of it. "
" As he does not that wife and children are
the best part of it to him," responded the cap-
" I think we are a very happy family," Vio-
let said with joyous look and tone, " and really
it does seem extremely nice to be quite by our-
Lulu made the same remark as they all gath-
ered about the open grate in Violet's boudoir
that evening after tea.
" Yes," said her father, dandling the baby
on his knee, " I think it does ; though we all
enjoy visits from our other dear ones, yet some-
times we prefer to be alone together."
" Up, up ! " said baby, stretching up her arms
and looking coaxingly into her father's face.
" She wants you to toss her up, papa," said
" So she does," said the captain. Then fol-
lowed a game of romps in which everybody
took part, much to Miss Baby's delight.
It did not last long, however, for her mammy
100 ELSIE S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBK
soon appeared upon the scene with the an*
nounccment that baby's bedtime had come.
Every body mast have a good-night kiss from
the rosebud mouth, and then she was carried
away, Violet following, while Gracie, as the
next in age, claimed the vacated place upon her
" That is right," he said, " and there is room
for Lulu too," drawing her to a seat upon the
other. " Now, Maxie, what have you to tell us
about the visit to the Oaks ? "
Max had a good deal to tell and was flattered
that his father should care to hear it. Drawing
his chair up as close to his audience as consistent
with comfort, he began talking with much live-
liness and animation.
He said nothing about the unpleasant expe-
rience of the first night of his stay at the Oaks,
or of certain sneering remarks to which he had
afterward been occasionally subjected by Ber-
tram Shaw, but told of the kindness with which
he had been treated by his entertainers, and of
the sports and pleasures in which he had parti-
The captain noted with much inward satisfac-
tion that his boy's narrative was free from both
censoriousness and egotism, also that he seemed
to have nothing to conceal from his father, but
talked on as unreservedly as if his listers had
been his only auditors.
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN. 101
In fact. May was becoming very thoroughly
convinced that he could not have a wiser, truer,
better friend, or safer confidant, than his father,
and was finding it a dear delight to open his
heait to him without reserve.
Violet rejoined them presently, and Max
found in her another attentive and interested
But Max was not allowed to do all the talk-
ing ; there were other topics of discourse beside
that of his experience at the Oaks ; and in these
every one took part.
They were all in a jovial mood, full of mirth
and gladness, and time flew so fast that all were
surprised when the clock, striking nine, told
them the hour for evening worship had arrived.
As soon as the short service was over the
children bade good-night and went to their
rooms, the captain, as usual since her sickness,,
carrying Grace to hers.
When he rejoined his wife he found her sit-
ting meditatively over the fire ; but as he stepped
to her side she looked up with a bright smile of
" How nice to have you quite to myself for
a little while," she remarked in a half jesting
tone, as he sat down with his arm round her
waist and her hand in his.
" My dear," he said, a trifle remorsefully, " I
fear I may sometimes seem rather forgetful and
102 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN,
neglectful of you. Do you not occasionally feel
tempted to regret having married a man with
children ? "
" Regret, indeed ! Regret being the wife of
one who has never yet given me an unkind word
or look ? " she cried, almost indignantly. " No,
no, never for one moment, my dear, dear hus-
band ! " she added, laying her head on his shoul-
der with a sigh of content.
"My dear, sweet wife," he responded, in
accents of tenderest affection, pressing his lips
again and again to hers and to her cheek and
brow, " words can not tell how I love you, or
how precious your love is to me ! "
" I know it," she said joyously. " I know
you have given me the first place in your heart.
Ah, I think mine would break if I saw any rea-
son to doubt it. But please don't think so ill of
me as to suppose for a moment that I could be
jealous of your love for your children, the poor
motherless darlings, who have been half father-
less, too, for the greater part of their lives ! "
" Yes," he sighed, " when I think of all that
I feel I can not be too tenderly careful of them,
or too indulgent in all that I may with safety to
their best interests."
" I am sure of it," she said ; " and I do enjoy
seeing you and them together ; your mutual
affection is a continual feast to my eyes. It often
reminds me of the happy days when I had a
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK 103
father," she added, with a slight tremble in her
sweet voice and tears in her beautiful eyes.
" Oh, how we all loved him ! yet not better, I
am sure, than your children love you."
" Though from all I have heard of him, I can
hardly doubt that he was far more worthy of
it," sighed the captain. " I fear I have some-
times spoken to my older two with unnecessary
sternness. 1 think life in either army or navy
has a tendency to abnormally develop that side
of a man's character."
" Violet looked up with a bright, half roguish
smile. "What a talent for concealing your
faults you must have ! I have known noth-
ing of the sternness you deplore : but may-
hap you have been careful to seize your
opportunity for its exercise when I was not pre-
"Probably I have, though not consciously
with the motive your words would seem to im-
pute," he replied, returning her smile and
caressing her hair and cheek with his hand as he
epoke, " but because reproofs have a better effect
■when given in private."
" Yes ; that is very true," she said, but I fear
there are many parents who are not, like you, so
thoughtful and considerate as always to wait
till they have the child alone to administer a
" Ah, how kindly determined is my little wife
104 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOOBBUMir,
to see nothing but good in her husband ! " he
said, with a pleased laugh.
She ignored that remark.
" Levis," she said, " I have been thinking, as
I sat here alone just now, about the children's
looks, and wondering at Grade's being so en-
tirely different from those of the other two j
Max and Lulu resemble you so strongly that
they would, I think, be recognized anywhere as
vour son and daughter : because they have
/ >ur hair and eyes, indeed all your features —
and of course I think them very handsome,^
noble-looking children — " she interpolated with
a another bright, winsome smile up into his
face, "but Gracie, though quite as lovely in
every respect, possesses an altogether different
type of beauty ; of character also."
" Yes," he said, in a i^ieditative tone, " Grace
is like her mother."
" Her mother ? your first wife ? You never
mentioned her to me before."
Her tone was inquiring, and he answered it.
" Because, my love, I feared — supposed at least
' — that you would hardly care to hear of her."
" But I do. I love the children, and but for
her we should not have had them ; and she was
so near and dear to them. If I knew about her,
I should try to keep her memory green in their
hearts. Oh, if I were going to die, I could not
bear to think that my dear little Elsie would for-
get all about me."
** I CAN scarce bear to think of such a possk
bility, the captain said a trifle huskily, and
tightening his clasp of Violet's slender waist,
" it seems that one such loss should be enough
in a lifetime. But it is just like my own
sweet Violet to desire to have Grace's children
remember her with affection."
" Her name was Grace ? "
" Yes ; our little Gracie wears her name as
well as her looks ; also inherits from her the
frail health which causes us so much anxiety, as
well as her timidity and sweet gentleness of
manner and disposition."
"She must have been sweet and beautiful,"
Violet said low and softly. "And you loved
her very much ? "
" Dearly, dearly ; but no more than I love
her sweet successor," accompanying the last
words with a very tender caress. " I have often
asked myself what I ever did to deserve the
love of two such women."
" I should rather ask what they ever did to
deserve yours," said Violet. " I think the hard-
est part of dying would be leaving ^ou."
106 ELSIE'S FBIENDS AT WOODBTTRIT.
" Strange ! Grace told me it was so to her,**
he remarked in surprise.
" Poor thing ! I can not help pitying her,"^
said Violet. " And I quite fill her place to you,
Levis ? " she asked with some hesitation, and a
wistful, longing look up into his face. j
" Entirely, my dear love," he said, holding
her close to his heart, with repeated and most
" Ah, then I do not feel jealous of the love
you had for her, no matter how great it was.
But please tell me more about her ; of the life
you led together, and the time when — she left
" Ah, that was a sad time," he said with emo-
tion ; then for some moments seemed lost in
Violet waited in silence, her hand still in his,
her eyes gazing tenderly into his grave, almost
Presently he heaved a sigh, and in a low,
half -absent tone, as if he were rather thinking
aloud than talking to her, began the story she
had asked for.
" It is just about fifteen years," he said," since
I first met Grace Denby. She was then hardly-
more than eighteen, a fair, fragile-looking girl^
with delicate features, large, liquid blue eyes,
and a wealth of golden hair.
A gentle, timid, clinging creature — almost
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOOBBUBK 107
alone in the world, having neither parent,
brother nor sister — she was just the sort to win
the enthusiastic devotion of a great, strong fel-
low like myself ; I felt a protecting love for her
from the first hour of our acquaintance.''
Violet was listening with deep interest, and
as the captain paused in his narrative, she asked
in her low, soft tones, " Where did you meet
" At the house of my friend. Lieutenant
Henry Acton. We were fellow-officers on the
same vessel, intimate friends ; and getting a
leave of absence together, when our ship came
into port one summer day, nothing would con-
tent Harry but for me to go home with him and
Bee the pretty young wife he was so proud of.
She and Grace had been school-girls together
and were bosom friends.
Grace, as I learned at length, was compara-
tively poor, and not treated in a way to make
her happy in the family of an uncle with whona
she made her home, not of choice, but necessity;
80 she had gladly accepted the invitation of
Mrs. Acton to spend some weeks with her.
" Well, to make a long story short, Harry
and his wife were naturally very much taken
up with each other, and Grace and I were con-
stantly thrown together, often left without
other society ; and soon we did not, I think,
care for any other. Before the first week was
108 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK
out I at least was deeply in love, and the second
had not elapsed ere we were engaged.
" It was the evening before my leave expired,
and the next day's parting was both sweet ^nd
" You did not marry at once ? " Violet ^id
inquiringly, as again the captain paused ifith a
slight sigh and a half absent air.
" No ; I should have been glad to do so ; was,
indeed, very urgent for the right at once to
claim her as my own and provide for all her
wants, but — " and he turned to Violet with a
slight smile — " ladies are, I am inclined to think^
almost always desirous to defer the final plunge,
even when they would be by no means willing
to resign all prospect of matrimony."
" Yes ; the step is so irretrievable and so im-
portant — involving so much of happiness or
misery — that it is no wonder we pause and half
shrink back on the brink of the precipice," she
returned with an arch glance up into his face.
" But go on, please ; I am deeply interested.
How long were you forced to wait, poor fellow ? "
stroking his cheek caressingly with her pretty
white hand. " I was only a little girl then, so
have no need to feel as though you should have
waited for me."
" No ; you were waiting and growing up,
ready for me," he answered with tender look
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBTTRK 109
" Yes, so it seems ; and it was just as well
that you were enjoying Grace in the meantime,
and that she was happy with you, as I am quite
sure she must have been."
" I think she was," he said ; " she often told
me so, though our many partings wrung both
" I had another leave of absence within the
year, and then we were married. We went to
Niagara for a week, then came back and started
*'lt was only in a small way. Harry and I
had taken a double house, that our wives might
be close together when their husbands were off
at sea, yet each have her own little domicile — a
plan which worked very nicely.
* On my next home-coming I found a new
treasure ; Grace met me with Max in her arms,
and perhaps you can imagine the joy and pride
with which I took him into mine after the
mutual tender embrace between his parents. I
had been gone for over a year, and he was a
fine, big fellow, old enough to be afraid of his
father at first, but not many days had passed
before he would come to me even from his
mother, and strangely enough, it seemed to
please her mightily."
" Ah, I can understand that," remarked Violet.
" I had a long leave that time," the captain
went on, " and a very happy time it was. Of
110 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK
course it was succeeded by a sorrowful parting,
for I was ordered oft to the coast of China, and
again more than a year elapsed before I saw
wife and children — a little daughter had been
added to my treasures in the meanwhile, you
will understand, and having been apprized of
the fact, I was very eager to see her as well as
her mother and our son.
" That, too, was a joyful time, but my after-
visits to my little family were saddened by my
wife's ill health ; she was never well after
Grade's birth, but grew more and more feeble
year by year till the end came."
A heavy sigh followed the concluding words,
and for some moments he sat silent, his eyes
fixed thoughtfully upon the floor.
" Were you with her at the last ? " asked
Violet, in low, feeling tones."
" Yes ; I have always been thankful for that.
She was a Christian, and for her death had
no terrors ; she was glad to go, except when
she thought of the parting from her dear ones.
" * My little children ! my poor soon-to-be-
motherless darlings ! ' she moaned one day, as I
eat by her side, with her hand in mine ; * what
is to become of them ! ' "
" I assured her I would do my best for them ;
earnestly endeavoring to be father and mother
both in one.
" * But, oh, you can not, because you will be
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN, 111
forced to leave them for months or years to-
gether/ she sobbed : ' ah, the only bitterness of
death to me is leaving them and you, my dear,
dear husband.' " i
" I could only remind her of God's gracious
promises to the seed of the righteous, and his
tender care for all helpless ones, and entreat her
to trust them implicitly to Him ; and at length
she seemed able to do so.
" She died in my arms, her dear eyes gazing
into mine with a look of intense affection which
I can never forget."
He was silent for a moment, then resumed his
" My leave of absence had so nearly expired
that I had scarce more than time to see her dear
body laid in the grave, and plaoe my children in
the care of Mrs. Scrimp (a sad mistake, as I have
since thought, but seemingly the best thing that
could be done then), when I was forced to bid
my poor motherless darlings good-by, and leave
"Ah, how they clung to me, crying as if
their hearts would break, and begging most
piteously that I would stay with them or take
them away with me. But, as you know, neither
alternative was possible, and though it broke my
heart as well as theirs, I was compelled to tear
myself away, leaving them in their bitter sorrow
112 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOOBBTTBN.
" Oh, I can not think of it yet without sore
pain ! " he added in moved tones.
Then, after a moment's pause, " How thank-
ful I am that now I can give them a good home
and have the constant oversight of them ! I find
it sweet work to teach and train them, and watch
the unfolding of their minds ; and how sweet to
be able to fondle and caress them whenever I will,
and to receive such loving caresses from them
as I do every day ! — my precious darlings ! "
" They are dear, lovable children," she said,
" and what a good father you are, Levis."
" I don't know," he said, doubtfully ; " I cer-
tainly have a very strong desire to be such, but
I fear I sometimes make mistakes. I have used
greater severity toward Lulu than I ever did with
either of the others, or ever expect to. It pains
me to think of it ; and yet I felt it my duty at
the time ; it was done from a strong sense of
duty, and seems to have had an excellent effect.'*
" It certainly does, and therefore you should
not, I think, feel badly about it."
" The child is very dear to me," he said ; " I
sometimes think all the dearer because she is a
constant care and anxiety. I dare not forget
her for an hour, but must be always on the
watch to help her guard against a sudden out-
burst of her passionate temper ; and I strongly
sympathize with her in the hard struggle neces<
eary to conquer it.
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBTIRK Ha
" Her mother's invalidism was a most unfor-
tunate thing for Lulu. Poor Grace felt that she
had no strength to contend against the child's
determined will ; so humored her and let her
have her own way far more than was at all good
for her ; while she was seldom or never called
to account and punished for her fits of
" Mrs. Scrimp's treatment following upon thatj
was, I think, even more hurtful to Lulu, sub-
jecting her to constant irritation as well as th©-
absence of proper control.
" I am more and more convinced as I watch
my children and notice the diversity of
character which they show, that it is very
necessary to vary my system of training
accordingly. The strictness and occasional
severity absolutely needful in dealing with
Lulu, would be quite crushing to the tender,
timid nature of my little Grace ; a gentle reproof
is all-sufiicient for her in her worst moods, and
she is never willfully disobedient."
" Nor is Max, so far as I am aware," remarked
Violet with a look and smile that spoke fond
appreciation of the lad.
" No ; when Max disobeys or is guilty of any
other misdemeanor, it is pretty certain to be
from mere thoughtlessness ; which is bad enough
to be sure, but far less reprehensible than
Lulu's willful defiance of authority. That last
114 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBJIItK
is something which, in my opinion, no parent
has a right to let go unpunished ; much less
overlook or ignore, as of little or no conse-
It "WAS Sunday afternoon, and the house
leemed very quiet, Lulu thought as she laid
aside the book she had been reading and
glanced at Grace, who lay on the sofa near by,^
her eyes closed and her regular breathing telling
that she slept.
Lulu stood for a moment gazing tenderly at
her sister, then stole on tiptoe from the room,
down the broad stairway into the hall below,
and to the library door.
" I hope papa is there and alone," she was say-
ing to herself, " I know Mamma Vi's lying down
with the baby, and Max is in his own room."
The door was ajar ; she pushed it a little wider
open and peeped in.
A hasty glance about the room told her that
she had her wish. Her father sat in an easy
chair by the open grate, his face turned toward
her, and did not seem to be doing any thing, for
he had neither book nor paper in his hand," but
his eyes were fixed thoughtfully upon the fire.
" Papa," she said softly.
He looked up and greeting her with an affea
tionate smile, held out his hand.
1 1 6 ELSIE'S FRIENDS A T WOODB URN.
" Am I disturbing you ? " she asked as she
accepted the mute invitation, hastening with
quick, eager steps to his side.
" No, not in the least ; I was just thinking
about you and wanting you here on my knee,"
drawing her to it as he spoke.
" Oh how nice of you, papa," she exclaimed,
putting her arm round his neck and gazing with
shining eyes into his face. " I came because I
was just hungry for loving and petting ! "
" Were you ? " he asked, hugging her close
and kissing her several times. " Well, you
came to the right place for it ; I have no greater
pleasure than in loving and petting my chil-
dren. But how came you to be so hungry for
that kind of fare ? you have not been very long
" No, sir ; I was on your knee awhile last
night, and had a kiss this morning ; but that
kind of hunger comes back very soon, papa ;
and its only your love and petting that can sat-
isfy it. I hardly care to have any body else pet
me. Oh I'm so glad you're not like Anne Ray's
father ! "
" Who is Annie Ray, and what is her father
like ? " he asked with an amused smile.
" She's a girl that went to the same school I
did when I lived with Aunt Beulah, and one day
when we were taking a walk together I was tell-
ing her about my father being far away on the
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN, IIT
sea, and how I longed for you to come home,
because it was so nice to have you take me on
your knee and hug me and kiss me.
" Then she sighed and the tears came into her
eyes, and she said 'Oh, how I'd like it if my
father would ever do so to me ! I'd give 'most
any thing if he would ; but he never does ; even
when I've been away on a visit for two or three
weeks he only shakes hands when we meet
" * He isn't a cross father; he always gives me-
plenty to eat and good clothes to wear, and some-
times a little pocket-money ; but I'd rather do
without some of those things if he'd hug and
kiss me instead.'
" So I asked her, * Why don't you go and kiss
him ? that's the way I do to my father, and he
always looks pleased and kisses me back.'
" * Oh, I wish I dared ! ' she said, ' but I don't,
for I am afraid he wouldn't like it." '
" I should be more grieved than I can tell if
I ever had reason to think one of my children
felt so toward me," the captain said, stroking
Lulu's hair caressingly, while his eyes looked
fondly into hers.
" You need never be at all afraid, daughter,
to come to your father to offer or ask for a
" Unless I've been naughty ? " she said, half
inquiringly, half in assertion.
118 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBIT.
" No, not even then, if you are ready to say
you are sorry and do not intend to offend in the
same way again.
" I noticed that you were unusually quiet on
the way home from church ; would you like to
tell me what you were thinking about?"
" First about what the minister had been say-
ing, papa ; you know he reminded us that this
was the last Sunday of the old year, and said
we should think how we had spent it and repent
of all the wrong things and resolve that with
God's help we would live better next year.
" So I tried to do it. I mean to think how I'd
been behaving all the year ; and I found it had
been a very, very bad year with me," she went
on, blushing and hanging her head : " all that bad-
ness at Viamede was after New Year's day was
past, and then I did such a terrible thing at Ion.
" O, papa, I most wonder you can be fond of
me though I am your very own child ! " she ex-
claimed, her head sinking still lower, while her
cheeks were dyed with blushes.
" My darling, I too am a sinner," he said with
amotion, holding her close to his heart ; " I too
have been taking a retrospective view of the
past year, and I am not too proud to acknowl-
edge to my own little daughter that I fear that
I have sinned even against her."
She lifted her head to look into his face in
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK 11»
"Yes," he sighed, "I have been recalling the
rebuke I administered to you the first time we
met after the baby's sad fall, and it seems to me
now that my words were unnecessarily severe,
" I had just come from my apparently dying
babe and its heart-broken mother, and dearly as I
have always loved my eldest daughter, my anger
was stirred against her at that moment, as the
guilty cause of all that suffering and distress.
" But I ought to have seen that she was al-
ready bowed down with grief and remorse, and
have been more merciful. My dear child, will
you forgive your father for his extreme severi-
" No, papa, I — I can't," she murmured, her
head drooping so low again that he could not
Bee the expression of her countenance.
" You can not ? " he sighed, in surprise and
disappointment ; "well, my dear child, I can
hardly blame you, and I certainly would not
have you say what you do not feel ; but I had
hoped your love for me was sufficient to prompt
a different reply."
" Papa, you don't understand," she cried, sud-
denly lifting her head, throwing her arms round
his neck and laying her cheek to his. " Its be-
cause I've nothing to forgive. I deserved it
all ; every word of it ; you had a right to say
those words too, and they did me good, for j^
120 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOOBBURK
has helped me many a time to conquer my tern*
per — thinking how dreadful to be any thing but
a blessing to you, my own, dear, dear, dearest
father 1 "
" Thank you. my darling," he responded, in.
moved tones ; " and now when death has parted
us there will, I trust, be no sting for the survi-
vor in the memory of those words, as I felt that
there surely would be if they were left unre-
" Papa," don't talk of death parting us," she
said in tremulous tones, " I can't bear to think
" I hope we may be long spared to each
other," he returned with grave tenderness.
" Do you mean you're sorry for having pun-
ished me, too, papa ? " she asked presently.
" No," he said, *' because that was in obe-
dience to orders, therefore undoubtedly my duty
and for your good."
" Yes, sir ; I know it was, and I know you
didn't want to do it, but had to because we
must all do what the Bible says."
" Yes, because it is God's word, the only in-
fallible rule of faith and practice."
" What does that mean, papa ?"
" Infallible means not liable to err ; faith is
what we believe ; practice what we do, and we
must study the Bible to know both what to do
*nd what to believe.'*
£lL8m*8 FRIENDS AT WOODBURK 121
** It is an inestimable blessing to have such an
unerring guide that following its directions we
may at last reach the mansions Jesus has gone
to prepare for his redeemed ones. Oh that I
could know that my Lulu's feet were treading
that path — the straight and narrow way — that
leads to eternal life ! "
"Papa, I do mean to be a Christian some
" How long are you going to live ? " he asked
with grave seriousness.
She looked up in surprise. " Why, papa^ I
" No, nor do I ; God only knows when he
will call for you, or me, or any other of his
creatures, and if we are taken away from earth
without having accepted his offered salvation
through the death and merits of his son Jesus
Christ, our opportunity to do so will be gone
forever ; the door of heaven will be shut upon
upon us never to open again. Knowing this,
how can I be other than very anxious and
troubled about my dear child, while she con-
tinues to neglect this great salvation ? "
" I wish I was as good as you are, papa," she
said, nestling closer in his arms.
" My dear child, ' There is none that doeth
good, no, not one.' * All our righteousnesses are
as filthy rags ' in the sight of God, and it is
only when covered by the spotless robe of
122 ELSIE'S FBIENJDS AT WOOBBURN,
Christ's righteousness that we can stand in his
" It is offered to all, "but only those who accept
it can be saved ; and no one can tell when, for
him or her, the offer will be withdrawn."
" By death coming, do you mean, papa ? "
"Yes ; or by God saying of that one, ' Ephraim
is joined to his idols ; let him alone.' It is a
fearful thing to be let alone of God ; for Jesus
said, ' No man can come to me, except the Father
which has sent me draw him.' "
"Papa, how can we know if He draws
" When we feel any desire to come to Jesus,
when something — a still, small voice within our
hearts — urges us to attend at once to our salva-
tion, we may be sure that God the Father is
drawing us, that the Holy Spirit is calling us ta
come and be saved.
" And none need fear to be rejected ; for
Jesus says, * Him that cometh to me I will in no
wise cast out.' "
" Papa, do you think I'm old enough ? "
" Old enough to begin to love and serve God ?
Are you old enough to love and obey me, and to
trust me to take care of you ? "
" Oh, yes indeed, papa ! It seems to me I've
always been old enough for that."
"Then your question needs no further an-
swer ; if you can love, trust and obey your
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN. 125
earthly fatlier, so can you your heavenly Father
" But I just can't help loving you, papa," she
iaid, giving him another hug and kiss, which
he returned, asking, " Why do you love me,
daughter ? "
• " Oh, because you are my own father, and
take good care of me, and give me every thing
I have, and love me too ; and because you're so
good and wise and kind."
" And have you not all those reasons for lov-
ing your heavenly Father ? He created you ;
therefore you are more his than mine ; he has
only lent you to me for a time ; his kindness
and his love to you far exceed mine, and my
wisdom is not to be compared to his."
" But, papa—"
" Well, daughter ? " he said inquiringly, as
she paused, leaving her sentence unfinished."
" I don't think I can be a Christian with such
a dreadful temper as I have. I shouldn't think
the Lord Jesus would want me for one of his
" My dear child, the more sinful we are the
more we need him to save us ; don't you remem-
ber that the angel said to Joseph, * Thou shalt
call his name Jesus : for he shall save his people
from their sins ' ?
" And he himself said, * I came not to call the
righteous, but sinners to repentance.'"
124 ELSIE'S FBIENDS AT WOODBUMJT,
" But, papa, oughtn't I to conquer my temper
first ? I — I'd be a disgraceful kind of a Chris-
tian with such a bad, bad temper."
" No, my daughter ; ' If you tarry till you're
better, you will never come at all.' God's time
is always * Now.' Come at once to Jesus and
he will help you in the hard struggle with your
Violet's entrance at that moment put an end
to the conversation.
" Ah, Lulu," she said pleasantly, " you have
been having a very nice time with papa all to
yourself, I suppose ? "
'^ Yes, indeed, Mamma Vi," returned the little
girl, as the captain gently put her off his knee,
that he might rise and hand his wife a chair.
" Papa, shall I go now and see if Gracie is awake
and wanting me ? "
" Yes," he said, glancing at his watch, " it is
"How fond the child is of her father,";
remarked Violet, smiling up into her husband's
face as Lulu left the room.
" And her father of her," he responded. " I
should count myself a rich man with one such
child ; but with four, and a peerless wife beside,
I am richer than all the gold of California could
make me without them."
" It is nice to be so highly appreciated," she
said, with a bright, winsome smile, "and I'm.
EL8IE*8 FFdENDS AT WOODBUBIf. 125
not the only one who Is, for I'm perfectly sure
that I drew the very highest prize in the matri-
" I am to understand from that that I, too,
-am appreciated ? Yes, I have no doubt that I
am, at my full value," he said.
" Little wife, I hope you find your new home
not less enjoyable than the old, which I know
was an exceedingly happy one to you."
" I have always had a happy home, but never
a happier than this that my husband's love and
care have provided, and which they make so
sweet and restful ! " she answered.
" O Levis, what a joy this newly expired year
has brought me ! I had not dared to look for-
ward to a home with you for many years to
<iome ! I had thought of it as a great blessing
that might come to me in middle life, but not in
my young days."
" Ah, God has been very good to us," he ex-
claimed, feelingly. "I trust we have many
years to live and love together on earth, and
after that a blessed eternity in the better land.'*
" Yes," she responded, " how that blessed
hope — making even death only a temporary
separation — adds to the joy of mutual love ! It
is dear mamma's great comfort in her widow-
" Yes," he said, " what an evident reality it is
to her that her husband is not dead but only
126 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUMX
gone before, and that they will be re-united one
day, never to part again. Dearly as she no
doubt loved him, and sorely as she must mis*
him at times, her life seems to me serene and
" It is," said Violet ; " her strong faith in the
wisdom and love of her heavenly Father makes
her days to be full of peace and content."
Presently the summons to tea brought the
family all together ; except the baby, who was
Btill too young to know how to conduct herself
at the table.
But she too was with the others when they
gathered in the library, upon the conclusion of
She was the center of attraction, amusing
parents, brothers and sisters with her pretty
baby ways, till carried away to be put to bed.
Then Grace was drawn lovingly to her
father's knee, while Max drew his chair up close
on one side, Lulu hers on the other. j
" Now we will have our texts," the captain
gaid, touching his lips to Grade's cheek. " What
is yours, Max ? "
One of the captain's requirements was that
each of these three children should commit to
memory a text of Scripture every day, which
texts were recited to him at morning family
worship. On Sunday evening each had a new
one, and all they had learned through the week
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK 127
"were recited again, and then their father talked
familiarly with them about the truth taught in
the passages they had recited ; for all were
upon one and the same subject, selected by him
before hand. But the texts were left to the
choice of the children themselves.
God's love to his people and to the world, was
the subject at this time.
" The new ones first, papa ? " asked Max.
" Yes ; and we will take the others after-
Then Max repeated, " God so loved the world
that he gave his only begottezi son, that who-
soever believeth in him should not perish, but
have everlasting life."
Then Lulu, " Herein is love, not that we loved
God, but that he loved us, and sect his son to
be the propitiation for our sins."
Now it was Grade's turn.
" We love him because he first loved us."
Her face was full of gladness as she repeated
the words in clear, sweet tones. "I do love
him, papa," she added. " Oh, how could I help
it when he loves me so ? "
" Yes ; strange that such wondrous love does
not constrain every one who has heard of it to
love him in return," responded the captain ; and
then he repeated a text. " Yea, I have loved
thee with an everlasting love ; therefore witk
loving kindness have I drawn thee."
128 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBK
" Papa," said Lulu, " that verse reminds me
of something the minister said in his sermon
this morning about God never leaving or for-
saking any body that trusts in him. But then
afterward he told about a poor dying woman
that he went to see once, so very, very poor
that she had hardly any furniture in her room,
and nothing to eat, nothing but rags to wear or
to lie on for a bed ; and yet she was a Christian
woman, and said it was like heaven there in her
poor, wretched room, and she was just as glad
as could be because she was going to die and go
to heaven. Papa, I don't understand ; it does
seem as if she was forsaken when she was so
very poor that she hadn't any thing at all even
" Forsaken, daughter, when she was so full of
joy in the consciousness of Christ's love and
presence, and the certainty that she would soon
be with him in the glorious home he has gone
to prepare for his own redeemed ones ? "
" Oh, I didn't think of it in that way ! " said
Lulu. " Jesus was with her, and so she was
" I don't think it made much difference about
her being so poor," remarked Max, " when she
knew she was just going to heaven. "What
good do riches do when people are dying ? they
know they have to leave them behind. I've
read that when Queen Elizabeth was dying she
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN. 12&
was so unwilling to go that she cried out,
* Millions of money for an inch of time ! ' Sho-
was dying in a palace with every thing, I sup-
pose, that riches and power could give her, but
who wouldn't rather have been in that poo?
Christian woman's place than in hers ? " i
" Who indeed ? " echoed the captain ; " in
the dying hour the one question of importance
will be, * Do I belong to Christ ? ' for * There is
none other name under heaven given among
men, whereby we must be saved.' Only those
who have been v»^ashed from their sins in his
precious blood, and covered with the robe of
his righteousness — who are loving and trusting
in him, will be saved."
The children finished the recitation of their
texts, said their catechism also, to their father,
then for an hour or more their voices united in
the singing of hymns, Violet accompanying
them upon a parlor organ.
Family worship closed the day for the chil-
dren ; their bedtime had come.
" Papa, it has been a nice, nice Sunday — this
last one in the old year ! " Gracie said, as he
was carrying her up to her room. " I hope all
the Sundays in the new one will be 'most 'zactly
"And so do I,'^ chimed in Lulu, who was
close behind them. " It has been a very nice
Sunday. I'm glad its 'most over though, be-
130 EL8IE*8 FRIENDS AT WOODBURN.
cause I'm in ever such a great hurry for to-
morrow to come. Papa, I really can't help
thinking about the fun we're going to have."
" You can help talking about it though, my
child," he said, "and can try to turn your
thoughts upon something more suitable for the
A FEW moments before the breakfast hour-,
on Monday morning, Capttain Raymond, asi
usual, went into the apartments of bis little
girls to see bow tbey ware.
He found tbem in tbe sitting-room. Grace
witb a Bible in her bands, Lulu — greatly to bis
surprise, busily plying a needle.
" Good-morning, my darlings," be said, bend-
ing down to bestow a f atberly caress upon eacb ;
then witb a smiling glance at Lulu, " I am glad
to see you so industrious, daughter."
" Yes, papa ; see it's the dress for that little
Jones girl. Christine basted the patches on for
me Saturday, and showed me how to sew them;
and I am nearly done now. Please look if I
am doing it well."
" Very nicely, I think," be replied, examining
tbe work ; " your stitches are small and neat.
Would you like to take it to tbe little girl your«
self, this morning ? "
" If there's time, papa.'*
" There will be ; your young friends are not
expected much before the dinner hour ; so if
the weather is pleasant, you and Gracie shall
132 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBX
have a little drive with me shortly after break*
fast, and we will call at the Jones' house and
leave the dress."
Both little girls exclaimed, " How nice,
papa ! " and Lulu added, " I shall enjoy giving
it to her myself. And I'll have time to go ;
for I got up quite early and have pretty nearly-
put my rooms in order already."
" I like to see you industrious, daughter," her
father said, kindly, " but I do not want you to
overdo the thing by being up too long, and
taking too much exercise before eating ; because
that might injure your health."
" Yes, sir ; but I had a glass of milk when
Gracie had hers ; and now I'm just nicely
hungry for my breakfast."
" Well, I am glad to hear it," he said, " for
the bell will probably ring in about five min-
Gracie had laid her book aside and taken
possession of his knee.
" I'd like to get up early and work, too, if I
could," she said, laying her head on his shoulder.
"Yes, I know you would, my pet," he re-
sponded, passing his hand caressingly over her
soft curls, " but you are not strong enough yet."
" But she's useful, papa," remarked Lulu ;
'^ she has been helping me to learn my text while
I sewed, by reading it over and over to me, and
we've learned hers, too, in the same way."
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN, 138
" That was a very good plan," he said.
"They ar« such nice verses, papa," said
Grace. " This is mine :
" * He that loveth not, knoweth not God ; for
God is love.' "
" And this is mine," said Lulu :
" * Hereby perceive we the love of God, be-
cause he laid down his life for us ; and we
ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.'
What does that last clause mean, papa ? "
" That the love between the disciples of Christ
must be great enough to make them willing to
lay down their lives — die for each other if neces-
" It wouldn''^ be many folks I could love so
hard as that," remarked Lulu, emphatically.
" Doesn't the Bible say we must love every
body, papa ? " asked Grace.
" Yes ; * Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thy-
self.' * But I say unto you, love your ene-
" There, I'm done ! " exclaimed Lulu, breaking
off her thread, throwing the mended dress over
the back of a chair, and putting away her
needle. " Papa," coming close to his side and
leaning up affectionately against him^ " it's just
as easy as any thing to love you and Gracie, and
Max, and Mamma Vi, and Grandma Elsie — and
other people that are good and kind and pleas-
ant, but I just canH love every body ; at least
134 EL8IE*S FRIENDS AT WOODBUEK
not a bit as I love you," giving him a hug and
" No, dear child, that is not required ; it is
right that parents and children, brothers and
sisters, husbands and wives, should have a
deeper, stronger love for each other than they
can possibly feel for mere acquaintances or those
whom they do not know personally ; but we are
to love every body with a love of benevolence,
wishing them well and being willing t help
them when in poverty or distress ; if in our
power to do so.
"Also we must be patient and forbearing
under provocation ; the love of benevolence, if
we have it, will help us to be so, and make us
willing to yield honors and pleasures to others,
even though it seem to us that we ourselves
have the best right to them."
" Papa," said Lulu, " I know you mean that
for me ; and I do intend to try hard to be un-
selfish toward all my little friends while they
are here ; I asked God to help me when I said
my prayers this morning," she added, in a lower
" I am glad to hear it," he said, pressing his
lips to her cheek ; " it is only by his help that
we can overcome in the fight with the evil of
" We will go down to breakfast now ; for
there's the bell."
ELSIE'S FRIENDS A T WOODB UBX 135
The weather proved mild, the sun shone
brightly in a cloudless sky, and the little girls
greatly enjoyed the short drive with their
They called at the house where the Jones
family lived, but were in too great haste to stay
many minutes. Grace did not get out of the
carriage at all ; the captain and Lulu alighted,
and went into the cabin, but declined to sit
down. Lulu handed the dress, done up in a
neat bundle, to the girl for whom she had in-
tended it, and greatly enjoyed her look of
astonishment as she received it, her eagerly
impatient tug at the string that held it together,
and her scream of delight when success crowned
her efforts and the dress — a far better and
prettier than she had ever owned before — met
her astonished gaze.
" 'Tain't for me ? " she cried ; " say, miss,
you didn't never intend to gimme it, did ye ? "
" Yes," said Lulu ; " I brought it on purpose
for you. Papa told me I might."
" Well now ! I never was so s'prised in all my
born days ! " was the child's half breathless ex-
clamation. " It's mighty good o' ye ; and yer
" No, it wasn't a bit generous in me," said
Lulu ; " for I was quite done wearing it ; and
besides papa gives me new ones very often."
The captain had brought a fresh supply of
136 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN
delicacies for the invalid, and had employed the
moments while the children were talking in
saying a few comforting words to her. He
now bade her good-by, and taking Lulu's hand
led her back to the carriage, the young Joneses,
grouped in the door-way, sending after them
glances of mingled curiosity, admiration and
" Papa," said Grace, who was watching the
slatternly, frowzy little crowd with a curiosity
and interest quite equal to theirs, " I think
those children want a ride ever so much."
" Quite likely," he returned, " and if they
were clean and neat they should have it ; but
as they are, their occupation of this carriage
even for a short time, would render it unfit for
your mamma, or indeed any of ue, to enter
again." He had lifted Lulu in and taken a seat,
by her side while he spoke, and now they were
driving on their homeward way.
" I wish they could have a ride," said Lulu.
" Papa, couldn't some kind of a vehicle be hired
for them ? "
'' Perhaps so ; but who is to pay for it ? " he
" I, papa ; if the money I have left will be
enough," answered Grace.
" I'll help," said Lulu ; " we haven't spent all
you gave us for Christmas, papa, and we have
this week's allowance besides."
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUEN. 137
** Well, I will see what can be done," he said.
'^^ I am glad my little daughters care for the
happiness of others as well as their own."
" We'd be dreadfully selfish if he weren't
willing to help other folks to a little bit of good
times when we are going to have so much
ourselves," said Lulu. " Oh, Gracie, aren't you
glad the day for our party to begin has come
at last ? "
" Yes," answered Grace. " I b'lieve I'm be-
ginning to be 'most as glad as you are, Lu ;
but I wouldn't be if papa hadn't said I may sit
on his knee whenever I want to, and that he'll
take care of me and not let me get too tired."
" I think my little feeble girl is feeling rather
better and stronger to-day," the captain re-
marked, bending down to caress and fondle her.
" Yes, papa ; I do b'lieve I' m 'most well,'*
was the cheerful reply, " I feel just as happy ! "
" I, too," chimed in Lulu ; " and I'm all ready
for the girls ; my pretty rooms are in perfect
order. Papa, may I have Evelyn sleep with
" Certainly, daughter, if it pleases her to do
so. I think you could not have a safer friend
"I am very glad to see my dear little
girls so happy," he went on, " but, my dar-
lings, you must not expect to be entirely free
from vexation and annoyance while entertain-
138 ELSIE'S FUIENDS AT WOOJDBURK
ing your young friends ; there will be clashing
of interests and differences of opinion ; occa-
sions when some will have to yield their wishes
and preferences to those of others, and I shall
be highly gratified if my three children show a
readiness to do that, and do it cheerfully and
" We'll try, papa," they both replied.
And now they seemed to forget every thing,
but the pleasure close at hand, and were nearly
wild over the prospect of the new delight of
entertaining ; quite new to them ; for hith-
erto that privilege had never been accorded
Their father showed himself to be in full
sympathy with them and allowed them to chat-
ter and laugh to their hearts' content.
Lulu's good resolutions were, however, put to
the test even before the coming of her guests.
Almost immediately on their arrival at home
Christine, the housekeeper, sought an interview
with the captain, and after a few minutes' chat
with her, he repaired to the apartments of hig
" Lulu," he said, " we find that it will be
necessary for you to accommodate more than
one of your young friends here at night."
"O papa, please don't say that?" she re-
turned, coaxingly. " I thought it would be so
nice to have just Eva, and nobody else, in here
ELSIE'S FEIEND8 AT WOODBUBK 139
with me nights and mornings ; can't it be man-
aged somehow ? "
" I am afraid not," he said ; there will not be
room for all unless we give you two compan-
"But I have only one bed, papa, and it
will crowd us very much to sleep three in a
" Yes ; one will have to lie on the couch here,
which will make a very comfortable bed : and
that one, I think, should be my own little
"Papa, you said I might have Evelyn to
sleep with me, and there wouldn't be room for
more than one on the couch."
He sat down and drew her to him.
"Yes, I did make that promise — or rather
give that permission, and I do not withdraw it ;
if you insist upon it, you and Evelyn may oc-
cupy the bed, and some one of your guests will
have to content herself with the couch ; but
would it not be more polite and kind on your
part if you resign your bed to her and Eva, and
take the couch yourself ? "
" Yes, sir ; and I will if you say I must. I'll
have to, of course."
" I don't say you must ; I only say I shall be
far better pleased with you if you do : and that
it will be the right and kind thing for you to
do. But perhaps you do not care to please me?*
140 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN.
he added, noticing the unwilling expression of
" Yes, papa, I do ! I'd do any thing to please
you," she cried, smiling up into his face, then
putting her arm round his neck and laying her
cheek lovingly to his.
" Thank you, dear child," he said, holding her
close to his heart. " And now you may choose
which of your little friends you will have to
share these rooms with you and Eva."
"Lora Howard," she said. "I'm better
acquainted with her than with any of the others,
" Rosie will share her mother's room," said
the captain. " An excellent plan, I think."
" And Rosie Lacy is to sleep with me," re-
marked Grace ; " mamma told me so ; and I'm
glad, for I like Rosie ever so much. Lu, may be
you'll find it's good fun for so many of us to be
so close together."
" I dare say she will," said their father ; " and
she may invite Evelyn almost any time to come
and stay for days or weeks and share her bed."
"Papa," cried Lulu, delightedly, "you are
just the very kindest of fathers."
" I am well pleased that you think so," he
said contentedly, repeating his caresses ; " while
for my part, I verily believe no dearer or more
lovable children than mine are anywhere to be
ELSIE '8 FRIENDS A T WOODB TIItN, 1 4 1
' Grace had come to his side, and he passed an
arm round her as he spoke, bestowing upon her
caresses as loving and tender as those Lulu had
" Yes, my dears," he went on, " I think you will
find it quite enjoyable to have your little frienda
sharing your rooms for a while ; but don't
allow yourselves to be so taken up with sport as
to neglect your morning and evening devotions ;
never begin a new day, or lie down to sleep at
night, without thanking your Heavenly Father
for his goodness and mercy to you and yours,
and asking to be kept from danger and from
sin. Never be ashamed or afraid though the
whole world should know that you do this.
Jesus said, * Whosoever therefore shall confess
me before men, him will I also confess before
my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever
shall deny me before men, him will I also deny
before my Father which is in Heaven.' "
" Papa," said Lulu, " I don't think I'd hesitate
to say my prayers before others, even if I
expected they'd laugh at me. I mean if I could
not go by myself to do it ; but when we can
find a private place where no one but God can
see or hear us, oughtn't we to choose it for the
purpose ? "
" Yes ; Jesus said, * When thou prayest, enter
into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy
door, pray to thy Father which is in secret ; and
142 ELSIE'S FRIENDS A T WOODB URIT,
thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward
thee openly.' You have a private place in that
little tower room opening into Lulu's bedroom,
and there you and your guests can go by turns
to pray in secret." '
Then he told them how Max had shown his
moral courage while visiting at the Oaks. '
" I'm proud of my brother ! " exclaimed Lulu,
when the tale was told, and her eyes shone as
"I too," said Grace. "I'm afraid I might
not have been so brave. But Eva and Lora say
prayers too ; so we won't have such a trial as
At that moment there was a sound of wheek
on the drive, and Lulu, running to the window,
exclaimed in joyous tones, " It's the Faiiwiew
carriage with Aunt Elsie Leland, little Ned and
Eva in it. Oh I'm so glad they've come the
very first ! "
" We will go down and welcome them," the(
captain said, taking Grade's hand. " Do you
feel able to walk, daughter ? or shall I carry
"I'm a little tired, papa," Grace answered,
and he picked her up and carried her.
Meanwhile hasty, impetuous Lulu had flown
to meet her friend, and as the captain appeared
on the scene was embracing her with as muck
ardor and effusion as if they had been sepa*
ELSIE'S FRIENDS A T WOODB URK 1 4-5
rated for months instead of only a daj or
" O Eva," she cried, " I do think we are go-
ing to have the most splendid time that ever
was ! You are to share my rooms, and we'll go
right up there, if you like."
" I do like ; or shall as soon as I have spoken
to your father and your Mamma Vi," returned
Evelyn gayly, putting her small hand into the
large one the captain held out to her.
"I am very glad to see you, my dear," he
said in a fatherly manner that made the quick
tears spring to her eyes.
A sudden sense of her irreparable loss almost
overwhelmed her for the moment, and she could
not utter a word of reply.
He saw her emotion, drew her nearer, and
bending down, kissed her as tenderly as if she
had been his own.
" Lulu's father may have the privilege may
he not, daughter ? " he asked in affectionate
A grateful look was her only answer.
But now other carriages were driving up^
and guests, old and young, pouring in so fast
that there was a delightful confusion of affec-
tionate embraces and merry greetings.
Lulu was in her element, playing hostess to
her young girl-friends, showing them to their
rooms and seeing that every thing necessary
144 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBN,
for their comfort was provided ; while Max did
likewise by the boys, with perhaps an equal
sense of enjoyment, and Grace entertained her
little mates in her own quiet fashion in the
lower rooms of the mansion.
Rosie Travilla, coming down a little in ad-
vance of the others, met the captain in the
"I'm expecting to have a lovely time, cap-
tain," she remarked. " Zoe has been telling me
about the magic cave."
" Has she ? and w^ould you like to step into
the conservatory and see the alterations we
have made there ? "
" Yes, indeed ! " she answered, and he led the
They were quite alone, and after she had
seen and made her comments upon what had
been done, he asked :
" Would my little sister like to do her big,
. biggest brother, a favor ? "
" Do you one, do you mean, captain ? Cer-
tainly ; if it's in my power."
*' Thank you," he said, then added with grav-
ity, " I regret that you apparently consider me
so fond of my title. Would it be difficult or
disagreeable to you to say Brother Levis in-
stead of captain ? "
" Kot very," she returned, laughing ; " but
the title is more convenient ; and it's for that
ELSIE'S FRIENDS A T WOODB URN. 1 45
reason I use it ; not because I ever have
imagined you to be proud or fond of it."
" Well," he said, " if I were in your place I
think I'd use the other ; especially if ever the
tables should be turned so that I wanted to ask
a favor of my biggest and oldest brother."
"If you really care to have me do so, I
might try," she replied with a merry look up
into his face. " But is that the only favor you
have to ask ? "
" No ; there is another that I am still more
desirous to have you grant."
He paused for a moment, then went on :
" I have a very fiery-tempered little daughter
whom I love so dearly that it gives me great
pain to punish her for her outbursts of passion."
Rosie's cheeks grew suddenly very hot and
her eyes were downcast.
" I am certain she is fighting hard against her
besetting sin," the captain continued, "and I
am trying by every means in my power to help
her ; and the favor I ask is that you will join
me in this by kindly refraining from provoking
her even in sport.
" Please understand, my dear little sister, that
I am not saying you ever have intentionally
provoked her, and that I know and acknowledge
that it is no difficult matter to rouse her tem-
It cost Rosie a desperate effort to make the
146 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK
acknowledgment, but she forced herself to
answer, " But if you did say it, 'twould be noth-
ing but the truth ; for I have teased her pur-
posely more than once. But if you'll forgive
me this time, cap — brother Levis — I'll try not
to do it again. I never thought of it as an
xinkindness to you."
" My children are very near and dear to me,
Rosie," he said ; " so near and so dear that
injury to them is much more trying than a per-
" But I am fond of my little sister, too ; both
for my wife's sake and her own," he added, in a
kindly tone, and with an affectionate pressure
of her hand which he had taken in his. " Of
course I forgive the past, while thanking you
heartily for your promise in regard to the
*' Does Lulu hate me ? " she asked, half tear-
fully and blushing vividly.
" I trust not, indeed ! " he said. " I have no
reason to think so. It would distress me greatly
if I thought she did ; and you must not imagine
that she has been telling tales ; with all her
faults, she is above that, I think."
" Yes, I do believe she is," acknowledged
Just then the door opened and Lulu's voice
was heard saying, " Oh, here she is ! Rosie, we
Were looking for you. We're going to look at
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN. 147
some of the things for the tableux, and we
thought you'd like to see them too."
" Oh, yes, thank you ! " cried Rosie ; " those
things are always interesting. You're coming
too, aren't you, captain ? " glancing back over
her shoulder at him as she hurried toward the
little group in the doorway.
He was about to say No, but an entreating
look from Lulu caused him to change his mind
and go with them.
And he made his presence welcome to them
all by the interest he showed in what interested
them, and the zest with which he entered into
all their pleasures. Not at this time alone, but
every day while the guests were there ; always
so far as concerned the children God had giren
him for his own.
The afternoon was spent in rehearsing tab«
leaux, the evening in playing games, and acting
For awhile Grace seemed to enjoy the fun, but
an hour before the others were ready to give it
up, her father perceived that she was growing
weary and carried her off to bed.
" Shall I go with you, Gracie ? " Lulu asked,
glancing up from the game she was playing.
" No, Lu ; you're having such a nice time ;
and papa and Agnes will 'tend to me," Grace
answered, giving her sister a sweet, affectionate
So Lulu went on with her game ; but it was
finished presently, and then she stole quietly
from the room and up-stairs to Grace's bedroom.
" So you did come ! " said Grace, who had
just laid hervheadon her pillow. " I like to
have you, but oughtn't you to stay with your
company ? "
" I just want to speak to papa, and then I'll
go back to them," answered Lulu, going to his
He had seated himself by the bed, meaning
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBN. 149
to have a little loving chat with Grace before
leaving her for the night.
" Well, daughter, what is it ? " he asked, put-
ting an arm about Lulu and stroking her hair
caressingly with the other hand.
" I was thinking, papa, that I won't have a
chance for the least little bit of a good-night-
talk with you, because there'll be company down
stairs to see and hear every thing, and you won't
want to come into my room to say good-night
as you most always do when we're alone, be-
cause of Lena and Eva being with me there."
" But you are going to occupy the couch in
your sitting-room, and when you hear me com-
ing you can shut the door between that and
your bedroom. So what is to hinder us from
having a bit of private chat as usual ? "
" Oh, yes ; that will do nicely!" she exlaimedj
her face lighting up with pleasure, "but will
you come, papa ? "
" Yes," he said, giving her a kiss. " Now run
back to your mates and enjoy yourself as much
as you can till your bedtime comes."
The three little girls came up to their rooms
in gayest spirits, saying to each other that they
had been having a lovely time, but were careful
to move and talk quietly for fear of disturb-
ing Grace and Rose Lacy who was now asleep
by her side.
" It's quite too bad for us to turn you out of
150 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOOBBURK
your bed, Lu," said Evelyn ; " let me take the
" Or me," said Lora ; " you two are such
great friends that I know you'd like to sleep
i " Thank you both," returned Lulu, " but you
must have the bed ; and you needn't pity me
for having to sleep on the couch, for it is every
bit as comfortable. Besides papa is coming up
presently to bid me good-night — and you won't
care to see him ; so I'll shut the door between
the rooms and have him all to myself."
" How nice of him ! " exclaimed Lora. " My
father never does does that ; I don't believe it
ever so much as entered his head that he might ;
but mother does."
" Yes, I know it's nice," said Evelyn ; ^* I
remember how sweet it was to have papa come
ix) me in that way. I'm glad for you, Lu, that
you have such a father. I know if he were mine
I should love him as dearly as you do."
" There, I hear his step ! " cried Lulu ; " so
good-night, girls. Pleasant dreams," and she
hurried into the next room, closing the door after
Her father entered by another at the same
moment. " Are you quite ready for me ? " he
" Yes, papa ; I'm all ready for bed. I've put
this warm dressing-gown on over my night-
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN. 151
dress, and tlie nice warm slippers you bought
for me, on my feet ; so I'll not take cold ; and
mayn't I sit on your knee a few minutes ? "
" It is exactly what I want you to do," he said,
taking an easy chair beside the grate, and draw-
ing her into his arms. He held her close for a
moment, then lifted her to the desired seat,
saying : " There, hold out your feet to the
fire and get them well warmed while we talk.
Have you any thing particular to say to me ? '*
" Yes, papa ; I wanted to ask you if I mayn't
be the Peri to-morrow evening ? "
He did not answer immediately, and putting
her arm round his neck and looking coaxingly
into his face, she repeated, " mayn't I ? "
He stroked her hair and kissed her before he
" I think," be said at last, " that here is an
opportunity for my little girl to put in practice
her good resolution to deny herself for the sake
" I don't like to," she said in a half jesting
tone, and with an arch look and smile, "I
wasn't born good, and I'd rather please my-
" Yes, daughter, that is the way with us all ;
none of us were born good, and we all love self-
" Papa," she exclaimed in her vehement way,
" I don't believe you do ! not one bit ! jou're
152 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK
always doing kindnesses to others, and I think
you're just as unselfish as possible ! "
He was musing again and seemed scarcely to
notice what she said.
" Do you suppose my oldest daughter might
be safely trusted to keep a secret ? " he asked
" I hope so, papa ; will you try me ? "
" Yes ; it is merely a suspicion of mine that I
don't want to trust to any ears but yours. I
think — indeed feel certain — that your Aunt Zoe
desires, as strongly as you do to be the Peri."
" Then of course there isn't any chance at all
for me ! " pouted Lulu, an ugly frown on her
" I hoped my little daughter would be gener-
ous enough to prefer another's pleasure to her
own," the captain remarked with a slight sigh.
" Don't sigh, papa, don't feel badly about it,"
she entreated, hugging him tight. " I will try
to be good about it ; I won't say a word to let
any body know I'd care to be the Peri ; and I'll
do my best to be cheerful and pleasant, and to
make them all enjoy themselves."
" That is my own dear child," he said, caress-
ing her ; " it is all I could ask of you."
" And now that I think about it, I'm sure Aunt
Zoe has the best right, because 'twas she who
suggested having a magic cave and a Peri," Lulu
said in her ordinarily pleasant tone ; '^ beside,
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBTIRK 153
she lias always been kind to Max and Gracie,
and 'most always to me too."
" Perhaps always when you were deserving
■ " Yes, papa, I suppose so."
" Well, daughter, it is high time you were in
bed, so unless you have something more to ask
or to say, I will kiss you good-night and leave
you to your rest."
" That's all now, thank you, papa, only — do
you think I've been a pretty good girl to-day ? "
she asked with a wistful, longing look into his
" I do," he said ; " you gave up very nicely
about the sleeping arrangements. I have no
fault at all to find with your conduct to-day,
and am very glad to be able to say so."
Her face lighted up with joy. "Papa," she
said, her arm round his neck, her cheek laid to
his, " I'm just the happiest girl in the world
"when you're pleased with me."
" And it gives me great happiness to be able
to commend you," he returned. "Now, my
darling, good-night. Go to bed and to sleep as
soon as you can."
The magic cave was to be a surprise to most
of the young guests, and those who were in the
secret guarded it carefully. The doors of the
parlor opening into the conservatory were found
locked the next morning, while amusements of
154 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN,
various kinds, suited to the differing ages and
tastes, were provided in other parts of the
Before breakfast the captain called Lulu into
his dressing-room and told her it had been set-
tled the previous evening that Zoe was to be the
Peri, Edward and Lester Leland the Genii, the '
turbaned figures at the entrance to the conserv-
atory would be Herbert and Harold, the unseen
musicians " Aunt Elsie Leland and Mamma
" I'm satisfied, papa," she said, " and I think
it's very good in them all to be willing to help.'*
" Yes," he returned, " but I think, too, that
they will enjoy the sport. And I hope, daugh-
ter^ that you also will get a great deal of enjoy-
ment out of it."
" Oh, I haven't a doubt but I shall, papa ! "
she responded. " I think it will be splendid fun,
and I've given up wanting to be the Peri."
" I am glad to hear it ! " he returned, " and I
really think you will find it more amusing to be
one of the outside throng ; you will see and
hear more of what is done and said than you
could from the inside.
" Beside, as hostess you should be where you
can give attention to your guests, seeing that
each one has as large a share of the fun as you
can secure for her, and that no one's comfort is
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK 166
" That's work I shall like, papa," Lulu said,
her eyes sparkling with pleasure. " And I sup-
pose it'll be my business to find amusement for
them all while Mamma Yi and Aunt Zoe and
the others are trimming the conservatory and
the magic cave ? "
" Yes ; and I expect to give you some help in
" Will you, papa ? Oh, I'm glad ! All the
girls say that you helped us to have a great deal
nicer time yesterday than we could have had
" Ah ! I feel quite complimented," he said
laughingly, stroking her hair and giving her a
hug, for she stood by his side with his arm
about her waist.
There was a light tap on the door, and Max's
voice asked, " May I come in ? "
" Yes," said his father, and he entered with a
cheery " Good morning, papa. Good morning,
Lu. I want to talk a little about the fun for
to-night. I've been thinking somebody should
resist being blindfolded and led into the cave,
like that Mrs. Cecil did (in the story, you know;
I've been reading that chapter). It would make
" Oh yes," said Lulu ; " of course it would !
But who shall do it?"
" You, perhaps," returned Max in a sportive
tone ; " you have about as much talent in that
156 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBN.
line as any body of my acquaintance ; thero
aren't many folks who'd dare resist papa's au-
thority for instance, as — "
" Max, Max ! don't tease your sister," inter-
rupted their father gravely ; for Lulu's eyes
were downcast and her cheeks hot with blushes.
" She has been very good and obedient of late,
and I am sure has no intention of resisting law-
ful authority in the future."
" I beg your pardon, Lu," Max said with
hearty good-will. " I really don't think you
have more or worse faults than I have myself."
" Yes, I have, Maxie ; you're a thousand
times better than I am," sighed Lulu, nestling
closer in her father's embrace ; " I get dreadfully
discouraged with myself sometimes, and I do
believe I'd give up trying to be good if I didn't
know that papa loves me in spite of my badness."
" Papa does indeed, dear child ! " the captain
said in tender tones. " And he knows by expe-
rience how hard a fight it takes to rule a fiery
" And perhaps there are other folks beside
papa that care a little bit for you, Lu," said
Max with an arch look and smile. " But say
now, shall you or I play Madam Cecil's part ? "
" You can if you want to," she said, adding
laughingly, quite restored to good humor and
cheerfulness, " I do believe you can be stubborn,
too, if you choose."
SLSIJS'S FRIENDS AT WOOBBUEN, 157
** I hope so," said their father ; " a Btrong
"will is a very good thing if used aright. It
would grieve me to think my hoy lacked firm-
ness and decision of character, for they will often
be needed to keep him from yielding to tempta-
tion to step aside from the paths of rectitude."
A great variety of amusements had been pro-
vided, and all seemed to find the day pass
quickly and pleasantly.
On leaving the tea-table every one repaired,
by invitation, to the large parlor adjoining the
conservatory, and many were the exclamations
of delight as they caught a glimpse of the inte-
rior of the latter.
Rare and beautiful plants and shrubs were
massed on each side of the central alley, ^heir
branches hung with myriads of tiny colored
lamps, and other glittering objects, including
the fairies made by the ladies and Lulu ; and
at the farther end could be seen the magic cave,
also hung with fairy lamps and jewels, in the midst
the Peri arrayed in a rich oriental costume,
and with her attendant genii, one on each side,
while two turbaned figures stood guard in front
of the glass doors opening from the parlor, and
soft strains of sweet music issuing from some
unseen quarter lent an added charm to the
witchery of the scene.
" Can we go in ? oh can we go in ? " asked a
chorus of eager young voices.
158 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURm
" Yes ; one or two at a time," answered the
captain, opening the door, and motioning to
Maud Dinsmore, who happened to stand near-
est, to pass in.
She did so and was caught by the hand by-
one of the turbaned figures, who bowed low
and waved her on toward the cave, while a
voice sang to the accompaniment of the un«
eeen musical instrument :
** Hush I the Peri's cave is near.
No one enters scathless here;
Lightly tread and lowly bend,
Win the Peri for your friend."
At the same time a muslin bandage was
thrown over her eyes from behind, her other
hand taken, she felt herself led onward toward
the cave, and as she and her conductors paused
at its entrance a whistle sounded long and loud
at her back.
She turned hastily round, but it rang out
again behind her, again and again, always be-
hind her, turn which way she would ; while the
singer repeated :
** Bend, bend, lowly bend,
Win the Peri for your friend/*
She obeyed with ready grace. A voice said :
•* Homage done, you may bf
Of this merry company,"
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK 159
and Yvdth another blast of the whistle the band-
age was taken from her eyes, and a string which
seemed to have been made fast to her sash put
into her hand, to which she gave a jerk, expect-
ing to find the whistle attached to it ; but
instead there was a golden scarf-pin of delicate
" Oh, how pretty ! " she exclaimed. " Am I
to keep it ! "
But only the song answered :
** Away, away.
In the cave no longer stay.
Others come to share our play,**
and one of the attendant genii drew her aside
to make room for the next blindfolded victim,
who was already being introduced in like man-
ner as she had been.
All, old and young alike, took part in the
sport, going through the same ceremonies, and
they had a very merry time ; indeed, the older
people seemed to feel almost as young as the
children for the time being.
Max carried out his plan of pretended reluc.
tance, and in a way that added a good deal to
the fun ; the gifts, too, were a source of much
mirth and jocularity. Most of them were pretty
and valuable, but some of little worth except
for the sport occasioned by the incongruity of
160 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBK
Old Mr. Dinsmore received a baby's rattle ;
his son a lady's head-dress, while whistles and
tops, and other articles equally inappropriate to
the age and sex of the receiver, were given to
their wives and the other ladies.
Zoe received the ring she had admired, and
bestowed the uncomplimentary pen-wiper she
had made upon one of her young brothers-in-
Beautiful watch charms, from their father,
fell to the lot of Lulu and Grace. They were
much pleased, and the captain equally so with
their presents to him.
A few tableaux closed the entertainment for
The curtain rose first on a wedding scene :
Lester Leland and his Elsie in bridal attire ; in
the foreground, Calhoun Conly, dressed as a
minister, an attendant group of boys and girls
gathered about them, making altogether a very
In the second tableau there were but two
figures : Edward Travilla, with his Zoe on his
arm looking very lovely and bride-like in white
satin, veil and orange blossoms.
She had always regretted that the peculiar
circumstances of their marriage had precluded
the possibility of thus arraying herself for her
•* What a lovely bride she makes ! " and other
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK 161
similar remarks, reacliing her ear, sent a rich
color into her cheek, and an unusual sparkle into
her always bright eyes ; but she did not move a
muscle, and the curtain fell amid loud and pro*
It rose again in a very few moments on
another and even handsomer pair : Cap-
tain Raymond and Violet, also in wedding
It was a surprise to his children, who were all
now among the spectators. They gazed eagerly
and with intense interest. Lulu almost holding
her breath in her excitement.
" How sweet mamma looks ! " murmured
Grace, close at her side.
" And how handsome papa is ! " said Max,
who stood near enough to hear the remark.
" He always is the very handsomest man in
the world ! " said Lulu.
" It's 'most like being at their wedding,"
remarked Grace. " I wonder if mamma wore
that very dress."
" Yes," answered Rosie, " that is her wedding
dress, not altered at all. And the one sister
Elsie wore was hers." I
" It's nice that they've kept them," said Syd-
ney Dinsmore. " I may live and die an old
maid, but if ever I do get married, I mean to
keep my wedding di-ess for my children and
grandchildren to see."
162 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK
They all had their eyes on the tableau while
But now the curtain fell, shutting out the
" Oh, why didn't they let it last a little
longer ? " murmured several young voices. " It
was such a lovely picture ! "
" I'd have liked to look longer," said Gracie,
** but I s'pose mamma would have been tired
standing so still. Besides, I guess it's bedtime ;
I feel as if it must be," pulling out the dainty
little watch which was papa's Christmas gift.
" Yes, it is past my bedtime. But I'm not
much tired, and I hope papa will let me stay up
a little longer."
** Oh, see ! " cried Lora, as a door opened,
** here they all come, the brides still in their
wedding dresses. They're going to wear them
for the rest of the evening, I suppose. I like
But nobody listened to what she was saying :
they had all risen to their feet and were crowd-
ing around the brides and bridegrooms with
merry congratulations and good wishes.
Lulu and Grace presently made their way to
their father's side. He was laughing and talk-
ing with some of the other grown people, but
when he felt the small hands clasping his, he
glanced smilingly down at his darlings, then
Stooped and kissed them both.
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK 163
" I fear my feeble little Gracie is very much
fatigued by this time," he said. " Do you want
papa to carry you up to bed now, pet ? "
" I'm not so very tired, papa, and if you're
willing, I'd like ever so much to stay up a wee
bit longer," she returned, coaxingly. "It's so
nice to be at your wedding, you know ; it seemft
as if it's your wedding and mamma's."
" Does it ? " he laughed. " I wish I could
have had my children at the real one. Yes, you
may stay up a little longer and have some ice
cream. We are going out to the dining-room
now for refreshments."
Whei«- Edward and Zoe had retired to their
own apartment on the breaking up of the com-
pany that evening, he led her up to a pier glass
asking, " What do you think of the picture you
see there, my dear ? "
She gazed an instant, then, looking up at him
with an arch smile and a charming blush, " I
think the gentleman is extremely handsome,"
" I was thinking of the lady," he laughed,
drawing her closer to his side and bending to
kiss the ruby lips. " You make a bonny bride,
my darling ; even bonnier than you did when
first you gave me the right to call you mine.
Look again, and tell me if you are not entirely
satisfied with your own appearance in bridal
array ? "
She obeyed, again gazing intently for a mo-
ment, smiling and blushing with gratification,
for it was a very lovely face and figure she saw
leflected in the mirror.
"Wouldn't you have liked to have me
dressed just so when w^e were married, dear
EL8IE'8 FRIENDS AT WOODBUEN. 165
Ked ? " she asked, with another glance up into
" Yes, sweet one, if it might have been. And
yet it could hardly have made us happier at the
present time than we are now."
" No ; and yet I should have preferred a hap-
pier bridal than we had. I can never think of
it without remembering the bitter sorrow that
came to me at the same time. You were my
only helper and comforter then, dear, dear Ned I
and oh, how kind you were ! But you know
you were almost a stranger, and I couldn't love
and trust you as I have learned to do in these*
years that we have lived together. I was grate-
ful to you then (though not half so grateful as I
should have been), but half afraid of you too.
But I don't fear you now ; no, not a bit," she
concluded with a light and happy laup-h.
" I hope not, indeed," he said, " * perfect love
casteth out fear.' How have you enjoyed your-
self to-night ? "
" Very much indeed. I think we gave mamma
a pleasant surprise with ur tabloaux. She
hasn't a particle of prying curiosity about her,
and we were quite successful in keeping our in-
tentions in regard to them a secret from her."
" Yes, I know ; and she told me it was a great
treat to her to see her three daughters in bridal
attire ; that in her eyes they all looked very
lovely, very bride-like."
166 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURIT.
" It's so nice in lier to include me with the
others ; she is and always has been a real mother
to me ever since the day you brought me to
Ion. Well, I suppose I must doff my finery, for
it is growing late."
" Yes, for to-night ; but you must don it
again some time for my benefit, if for no one
There were new sports for the next day,
and the next, in most of which Harold and
Herbert, the captain and Violet, Edward and
Zoe, and sometimes even Grandma Elsie, took
part, and that in a way to make it extremely
satisfactory to the children, entering heartily
into the fun and frolic, enjoying it, apparently,
if not really, as much as the youngest of the
Almost entire harmony had prevailed until
the last evening but one ; then there was a slight
Lulu and the five girls who were her especial
guests were seated about a table engaged in
playing " Letters."
I presume the game is familiar to all my
young readers. The player who can make the
largest number of words wins the game, and
each draws a letter in turn from a heap in the
centre of the table, thrown promiscuously to-
gether, and is bound to select hap-hazard, not
seeing what the letter may be till it is chosen
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN. 167
and can not be exchanged for another more to
the player's liking.
" Dear me ! " cried Sydney Dinsmore, when
the game had been going on for some time,
** Rosie is going to win for certain. Just see !
she has more words than any body else ; but I'd
like to know how it is that she always hits upon
a vowel, while I get nothing but consonants and
of course can't make out my words."
" That's a mistake, Syd," said Rosie, coloring
deeply as she spoke. "I don't always get a
" No, you don't always want one, but when
you do, you get it."
" So might any body who was mean enough
to peep and find out what the letter is before she
takes it," remarked Lora in a half-jesting tone ;
whereat the color on Rosie's cheek deepened
still more ; then catching a scornful glance from
Lulu'c dark eyes, she rose hastily, pushing back
" If I am suspected of such doings," she said
in tones trembling with anger and chagrin, " I'll
not play any more."
" Oh now, Rosie, sit down and finish your
game," said Evelyn persuasively, " I'm sure no
one really suspects you of such dishonesty."
" Then let them say so," returned Rosie. But
no one spoke, and turning haughtily away, she
168 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUHN,
" Oh girls, why didn't you speak ? " exclaimed
Evelyn, always inclined to be a peacemaker.
" Let me run after her and tell her that of course
you don't suspect her of any such thing."
" I can't," said Sydney, "for it wouldn't be
true. I saw her peep."
" And so did — " began Lulu, but raising her
eyes while the words were on her tongue, and
catching a glance of grave displeasure from her
father, who, noticing that something was amiss
among the players, had drawn near and was now
standing opposite her on the other side of the
table, she broke off suddenly, leaving her sen-
Her eyes fell and her cheeks flushed hotly
under his glance, but he turned and moved away
without speaking, and the game went on, but
with less enjoyment than before on the part of
the young players.
Lulu particularly, troubled by a consciousness
that she was no longer in full favor with her
dearly-loved father, had almost lost her interest
Rosie was still more uncomfortable, knowing
that Sydney's and Lora's accusation was not un-
deserved, but she was far too proud to own it
She sauntered into an adjoining room, where
the little ones were engaged in a game of
romps, and was soon in their midst apparently
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODB URK 169
the merriest of the merry, but in fact only mak-
ing a determined effort to drown the reproaches
of conscience, for no one so carefully trained in
the knowledge of right and wrong as she had
been, could be guilty of even the smallest act of
dishonesty and deception without suffering in
She, however, gave no sign of it till, on reach-
ing their sleeping apartment, her mother turned
to her with the most sadly reproachful look she
had ever bestowed upon her.
Rosie's eyes sought the floor, while her cheeks
burned with blushes. She had not thought
*' mamma " knew any thing about her wrong
doing, yet certainly she must, else why was her
look so grieved and reproving.
Neither spoke for a moment, then, sighing
deeply, Elsie said, " Can it be true that my
dear, youngest daughter has been guilty of fraud
and deception ? "
" Who told — why do you have such an idea,
mamma ? " stammered Rosie in confusion. " I
— I never thought you'd believe any thing so bad
of me ! " and she burst into a perfect passion
of tears and sobs ; a most unusual thing for
"O Rosie, my dear child," her mother
answered in tones tremulous with grief and
affection, " I do not want to believe it ; I can
hardly bear to do so, and yet I must fear it
1 70 ELSIE'S FRIENDS A T WOODS URIT,
is true till I hear the assurance from your own
lips that it is not."
" Mamma, who has been carrying tales about
me to you ? " cried Rosie with great show of
indignation, " I did not think any body would
be so mean ; no, not even Lulu ! "
" Rosie ! Rosie ! " exclaimed her mother in a
tone that, for her, was very severe, " How can
you so wrong Lulu ? She is passionate, but I
have never known her to be guilty of meanness.
I have heard nothing from her to your discredit ;
but I did overhear a little talk between some of
the others about your having cheated in a game^
or perhaps more than one, and growing angry
and forsaking their company, when accused of it."
"Well, mamma, hadn't I a right to be indig-
nant at such an accusation ! "
" Not if it were just and true, my daughter."
There was no response to the half questioning
rejoinder and after waiting a moment, Elsie
asked, " Was it true, Rosie ? "
" Mamma, why do you — how can you ask me
such insulting questions ? " sobbed Rosie, hiding
her face in her hands while a crimson tide
mounted to her very hair.
" It pains me more than I can express to do
so," sighed her mother ; " but if conscious of
innocence, my dear child, say so at once, and
your mother will believe you." She paused and
waited for an answer.
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBN. 171
For a few moments Rosie seemed to have a
liard struggle with herself, then she sobbed,
*' I can't, mamma, because — because it is true ;
I did peep to see what the letters were ; and —
and before that when we were playing hide-
and-seek, and Lulu was hiding the slipper. But
oh mamma, don't look so dreadfully grieved ! I
didn't really think how very wrong it was."
Tears were coursing down Elsie's cheeks and
her bosom heaved with emotion.
" Oh mamma, dear mamma, don't ! I can't
bear to see you cry because of my wrong-doing,'*
sobbed Rosie, dropping on her knees by her
mother's side and throwing her arms around her.
"It almost breaks my heart, my child, to
learn that one of my darlings has stepped so far
aside from the path of rectitude," returned her
mother in tremulous tones, "for though you
have spoken no untruthful word, you have been
both untrue and dishonest in act."
I " Mamma, mamma, how can you be so cruel
*' as to tell me that ? " Rosie exclaimed, hiding
) her face in her mother's lap and sobbing con-
" Faithful are the wounds of a friend," her
mother said tenderly, and softly smoothing the
weeper's hair. " I must show you your sin iu
all its heinousness that you may see it to be
hateful, repent of and forsake it, and go to
Jesus for pardon and cleansing."
1 72 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBN.
" I am sorry, mamma, I don't ever intend to
do so again ; I'll confess it to God, and I have
confessed it to you."
"And do you think that is enough, my
daughter ? "
"O mamma, don't say I must own it to the
girls!" she entreated, "I couldn't bear to!**
" I perceive that your conscience is telling you
you ought, and I hope it will not be necessary for
me to add a must," Elsie said very gently and
Rosie was exceedingly reluctant ; it seemed
the hardest requirement her mother had evef
made, but at length a promise of obedience was
won from her and she went to bed to cry her-
self to sleep over the humiliation she must sub-
mit to on the morrow.
While she and her mother were talking thus
together. Lulu had made ready for bed and
received a visit from her father. She met him
with a wistful pleading look and the query,
" Papa, are you displeased with me ? "
He did not answer immediately, but sitting
down drew her to his knee, smoothed the hair
back from her forehead and kissed her gravely.
*' Not very seriously, daughter,'^ he said at last,
" but what was the trouble between Rosie and
the rest of you ? Sydney seemed to be accusing
her of some unfair dealing, and you, I thought,
were beginning a sentence of the same import.'^
ELSIE'S FBIENDS AT WOODBURN. iU
" Yes, papa, I was ; and I'm glad you stopped
me before I'd said what I was going to," Lul«
answered, coloring and dropping her eyes.
" And a moment before she left your circle I
saw you give her a very scornful look. Do yo«
think that was right or kind ? especially remem-
bering that she is your guest ? "
" No, sir," acknowledged Lulu. " But, papa,
I will try to do better if you just wont be vexed
" I can ask nothing more than that promise,
and am not at all vexed with you now, my dar-
ling," he said, repeating his caress.
" Oh, I'm glad ! " she exclaimed, hugging him
and returning his kiss. " Papa, do you think I
would ever cheat at play, and so win the game
unfairly ? and if I should, wouldn't you think
I was every bit as bad as if I flew into a pas-
sion ? "
" Yes, quite as bad, quite as deserving of pun-
ishment ; but I do not think you would be guilty
of any thing of the kind, and it has always been
a great comfort to me to be able to believe my
little daughter Lulu a perfectly honest and
" Dear papa, thank you ! " she said, her face
lighting up with joy and love.
" It is a great pleasure to me to speak words
of commendation to you," he responded ; " as
great a pain to have to reprove and punish jovu
174 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBNl
So, dear child, if you love your father, try to be
" Don't you know that I love you, papa ? *'
she asked, smiling into his eyes.
" Yes," he said, holding her close, " I haven't
the least doubt of it. Now, good-night. Get
to bed and to sleep as soon as you can."
" There, now ; I know papa wouldn't think
Rosie a bit better child than I am if he knew
all I do about her," Lulu said to herself, with
great satisfaction, as he went from the room and
the door closed upon him.
Rosie seemed strangely quiet and depressed
the next morning, and to avoid meeting the
glance of her mates.
" I guess she's ashamed of herself," remarked
Sydney, in an aside to Lora, " and she ought to
" Of course she ought," said Lora. " Who
would ever have believed that a child of Cousin
Elsie's would cheat at play ? I think Rosie has
always had a very good opinion of herself, and
perhaps it will do her good to find out that she's
no better than other folks, after all. She's been
hard on Lu Raymond, about her temper, you
know ; but I must say I like Lu best, though
she is no kin to me."
She involuntarily glanced toward Rosie,
standing by a window on the farther side of
the room, as she spoke, and their eyes met.
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK. 175
Rosie's instantly sought the floor, while her
cheeks flushed crimson.
It was shortly after breakfast and family
worship, and they were in the parlor where the
trouble began the night before ; just the girl»
themselves and no one else ; and Rosie perceived
that there could be no better time than the pres-
ent for her acknowledgment.
But how should she make it ? " Oh," she
thought, " it's the very hardest thing I ever had
to do ! »
Then summoning all her courage, she spoke
in low, faltering tones, her head drooping, her
whole face and even her neck crimson with
" Girls, I — I own that Syd was right in what
ghe said last night ; Lora too ; and that besides,
I did look when I was supposed to be hiding
my eyes in the other games."
She ended with a burst of tears, half turning.
her back upon her companions, as if too much
mortified to meet their glances.
There was a moment of surprised silence, in
which no one either moved or spoke ; then Eva
said, in a kindly, sympathizing tone :
** It is noble in you to own it, Rosie ; so I
think we should all love you more than ever."
"Yes," said Lulu, hurrying to Rosie's side,
and putting her arms affectionately about her,
** so we will, Rosie, dear ; so don't cry. Pm
176 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBN,
sure you don't intend ever to do any thing of the
kind again, and we'll all forget about it directly,
won't we, girls ? "
" We'll try," they answered, Sydney adding,
" So dry your eyes, coz, and don't let us spoil
our good times by fretting over what's done and
can't be helped."
" It will do for you to feel that way," sobbed
Rosie, "all of you that haven't been doing
wrong ; but I ought to be ashamed and sorry
whenever I think about it."
" Don't think about it, then," said Sydney, in
a jesting tone, " I wouldn't."
"And we won't," added Lulu, squeezing
Rosie's hand affectionately.
" Lu, you're very good," murmured Rosie,
close to Lulu's ear, " and I haven't been kind
and charitable to you when you were in dis-
grace, even when it was partly my fault that
you had done wrong."
" Never mind ; I hope we are not going to
A^ex each other any more," returned Lulu ; and
just then Zoe came running in to say that some
new tableaux had been thought of, in which
they were all to have more or less part, and .they
were wanted at once in Violet's boudoir.
v>n Saturday morning tlie last of the guests
*' Well, it's all over ! " exclaimed Lulu with a
sigh, as she turned away from the window
whence she had been watching the carriage that
bore them till it disappeared from sight, " and
it does seem dreadfully lonesome ! "
" Dreadfully ? quite that, daughter ? ** Capt.
Raymond asked, taking her hand and looking
down into her lugubrious countenance with a
smile of mingled amusement and affection.
" No, papa ; I believe that's a little too
strong," she answered, with a not very success-
ful effort to be bright and cheery ; " but it does
seem lonesome. Don't you feel a little so your
" Well, no ; I can't say that I do. I have
enjoyed entertaining our relatives and friends,
and now I feel that it will be fully as enjoyable
to have my wife and children quite to myself
again for a time."
" I echo your sentiments, my dear," Violet
said in a lively tone ; " I have enjoyed the
178 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK
mirth and gayety of the past few days, but
would not be by any means willing to live in
such a whirl of excitement all the time ; so
now am full of content at being left alone with
you and the children again. "
" That's just the way I feel about it," Gracie
said, nestling up against her father.
"That's right," he said, putting his arm
round her ; " and if any of us are lonesome we
must draw the closer together, and each one
try to be as kind and entertaining to the others
as possible. Suppose I order the family car-
riage now and take you all for a drive ? What
do you say to that. Mamma Vi ? "
" I am pleased with the proposition," Violet
answered, " and shall go at once and don my
wraps. But where is Max ? Is he not to go
" Yes ; on his pony ; he is off to the stables
to take personal oversight of the saddling and
bridling. Now, daughters, do you go and get
It was dinner time when they returned from
their drive, Violet and the children rosy and
happy, saying they had enjoyed it greatly, but
were now hungry enough to be glad to reach
home and the dinner-table.
It did not seem a great while after leaving it
when the short winter day closed in, the lamps
were lighted and, supper over, they gathered
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBN. H^
close together about the glowing grate in Vio-
This was baby's time for a romp with papa,,
brother and sisters. She and they were very-
merry to-night, enjoying the romp all the more
because it had been omitted while the guesta
were in the house.
While Violet was away seeing baby put to-
bed, the three older children hung about their
father chatting freely with him and each other.
When that had been going on for a few mo-
ments, the captain asked, " How about the lone-
someness now. Lulu ? "
" Oh, I'm not a bit lonesome now, papa," she
cried, giving him a vigorous hug and laying her
cheek to his ; " we didn't have a nicer time all
the while the girls and boys were here."
" Ah, I wonder if Max and Gracie are of the
" Yes, indeed, papa ! " they both replied.
" Then you didn't greatly enjoy entertaining
your young friends ? " he said inquiringly.
" Oh, yes, sir ! indeed, indeed we did ! " ex-
claimed all three.
" How would you prefer to spend the rest of
the evening ? " he asked, and again there was a
simultaneous answer, " Hearing you read some
nice book, papa."
" That is my choice also," said Violet, com-
ing in at that moment.
180 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBK
" A unanimous vote," commented the captain,
with a pleased smile, " that is far more comfort-
able than a difference of opinion, or rather, in
the present case, of desire."
He had always been a lover of choice litera-
ture and was anxious to make his children such,
cultivating their minds as well as their hearts.
He had already bought largely of standard
works, history, poetry, biography, travels, etc.,
and of the best juveniles ; such as can be read
with interest by adults as well as the young ;
and many an evening had passed delight-
fully to himself and Violet as well as to the
children in making acquaintance with their
The captain was always the reader at these
times, and would occasionally pause to give
opportunity for a request for information or ex-
planation, which he was fully capable of giving
and always did give in the kindest and most
" Well, children," he said, as he laid aside the
book, "your holidays are over, and we must
l)egin lessons again on Monday morning. I
shall expect to find you all in the school-room at
precisely nine o'clock."
" I'm not sorry, sir," said Max, " though I've
enjoyed my vacation very much."
" I'm not really sorry," said Lulu, " but I'm
afraid I'll find it hard at first to sit still and
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN. 181
Study. Please, papa, won't you be a little easy
with us for a day or two ? "
"I hope you will find me not unreasonably
strict or stern," he replied, smiling slightly ; " but
I can't allow too much self-indulgence, too
ready a yielding to an indolent disinclinatiovi
" But please, papa, make their lessons short
and easy for the first day or two," said Violet,
in a playful tone of entreaty ; " that is the way
mamma used to do with us after a holiday :
getting us back into the traces gradually, yuu.
" A very good plan I think," responded the
captain ; " and very kind in Mamma Vi to plead
for the children."
" Yes, so it is ; but we don't need any body to
plead for us with our own dear, kind father,'*
said Lulu, laying an arm across his shoulders, as
she stood by his side, and gazing into his face
with eyes full of filial love and trust.
" Indeed, no ! " exclaimed Yiolet. " I know
he loves his children dearly and would not be
hard with them for the world."
" I trust not," he said, smoothing Lulu's hair
caressingly, and returning her look of love. " I
think there is nothing I desire more strongly^
than their welfare and happiness here and here-
" "We are all sure of that, papa," said Max^
182 ELSIE'S FBIENDS AT WOODS UHJV.
**Well, to-morrow is Sunday, when we have
only our Bible and catechism lessons, and they
are short and easy."
" Yes ; papa never gives long, hard lessons in
those things," assented Lulu.
" And you think he does in other things ? "
the captain said, in a tone of inquiry.
" It does seem a little so sometimes, papa,"
.she replied ; " but maybe it's only because I'm
" Laziness is a very bad complaint ; not at all
to be encouraged," he said. " I think you are
not indolent as regards physical exertion, but I
fear you are sometimes a little so when mental
^effort is what is required of you."
" Papa," said Max, " you make Sunday a very
pleasant day to us ; and so did Grandma Elsie
and Mamma Vi when we were at Ion. But
before that — when I lived with that old — "
" Max, Max," interrupted his father in a re-
Max colored and hung his head.
" I want you to refrain from speaking so dis-
respectfully of even that man," his father went
on. " I grant that he did not treat you with
kindness or even justice, but, my dear boy, try
to forgive and forget it all. I am very glad
you find Sunday pleasant now. I would have
you all esteem it as the pearl of days."
He spared no effort to make it both a happy
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBN. 183
and a sacred day to them ; a day when worldly-
cares, labors and amusements, even such as are
lawful on other days, were to be laid aside, and
the whole time spent in a holy resting, in wor-
shiping and praising God, and studying his word
in order to learn his will that they might con-
form their faith and lives to it.
Three brighter faces than those that met his
glance on entering the school room at the
appointed hour on Monday morning could hardly
have been found anywhere.
" You do not look as though lessons were a
terror to you to-day, my darlings," he said,
smiling upon them wath fatherly affection.
" Because we don't feel so, papa," said Max.
" We've all been here, studying for the last ten
or fifteen minutes. You see we don't want you
to find it a disagreeable business to teach us."
" No, indeed, papa," added Lulu, " Vv^e're just
determined to be good and industrious, and you
needn't make the lessons short and easy unless
you think best."
"Both they and the time shall be a little
shorter than usual, however," he said, " but I am
glad my patience is not to be tried with a lazy
set of pupils."
He perceived that, though they were earnest-
ly endeavoring to do their best, it was difficult
for them to sit still and give their minds to
their tasks, and a full hour earlier than usual he
1 84 EL8IE 'S FRIENDS A T WOODS URN.
said, " Gracie, you may go now to your play.
Max, I want these letters mailed within an hour.
You may ride your pony into the village and
post them for me, if you will go and return
" Yes, sir ; I will ; I'd like nothing better,'*
answered the lad, hastily laying his books away
in his desk, taking the letters and leaving the
" Papa, mayn't I stop studying too, and do
what I please ? " asked Lulu.
" You may put away your books and come
here," he said. " I have something to say to you.'^
" That's nice ! " she exclaimed, obeying with
alacrity, for his tone was so kind that she felt
sure he had no fault to find with her.
He drew her to his knee and put his arm
about her waist.
" What is it, papa ? " she queried, patting his
cheek with affectionate familiarity. I know
you're not going to scold me, because I haven't
been doing any thing naughty ; and besides, you
don't look one bit stern."
" Ko," he said, caressing her hair and cheek
with his hand, *' I have no reproof to adminis-
ter, and yet what I have to say will not be
pleasant to you ; but my little daughter must
try to believe that her father knows best and
loves her too well to require of her any thing
but what he deems for her best interests."
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK 18«
" rU try, papa," she responded, but with a
troubled, anxious look stealing over her face.
" I can't think what it can be ! Oh it can't be
that you're tired teaching me and are going to
send me to school ? "
" Not quite so bad as that," he said. " I am
not tired of teaching you or the others ; I find
it sweet work, because you are all my own dear
children ; but I am not qualified to instruct you
in the accomplishments I wish you to have, and
therefore must employ some one else to do so.
Your musical education has been neglected of
late, but now I have engaged a teacher for you
and you will take your first lesson from him
" From him ? then it's a man ! Oh papa, I
don't want a man teacher ! won't you please let
me be taught by a lady ? "
** My darling, I want you to have the very
best instruction, and from all I can hear, there
seems to be no one else anywhere in this
neighborhood so capable of imparting it as this
" But I don't want to take lessons of him,
papa : for he'll be sure to be cross and hateful
and put me in a passion, and — and then you'll —
you'll have to punish me ; and you won't like
that any better than I will," she added, putting
her arm round his neck and gazing beseechingly
into his eyes.
186 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK
" My darling, I think you may dismiss thaS
fear," he said, again stroking her hair caress-
ingly, " for it is my intention always to be
present when you are taking your lesson, and '
see that you are not ill-used, as well as that you
do not misbehave."
*^ Then maybe I can stand it," she sighed ;
" for I don't believe he'll dare to strike me or
do any thing very bad to me if you are there
to see. You won't let him, will you, papa ? "
" No. I have already told him that if my
little girl should be so naughty as to make it
necessary to punish her in any way, I shall be
the one to attend to it. I will not allow any-
one else to attempt it."
" And you don't like to do it either ? "
" No, indeed, I do not ; yet if it should have
to be done, I should be still more unwilling to
trust it to any one else."
" Is the gentleman an Italian, papa ? " she
" No ; he is an Englishman."
" I wonder if that's any better ? " sighed
Lulu. " Professor Manton's an Englishman
and I can't bear him."
" Hush, hush. I do not like to hear you talk
in that way," said her father. " You may go
now and amuse yourself as you please till
" I don't care to ; I've lost all my spirits,'*
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK 187
she sighed dolefully. " O papa, do please
change your mind."
" My dear child, it is too late, even if I
thought best to do so — which I do not — for I
have made the engagement and can not honor-
ably retreat from it."
" Oh dear," she groaned, " don't you think it
would have been kinder if you had consulted
me first ? "
" No ; not unless it were kinder to consider
your present wishes rather than your future
interests," he answered gravely, though there
was a slight twinkle of amusement in his eyes.
" What is the use of my little girl having a
father if she is so wise that she knows better
than he what is best for her ? "
" But I'm not ; and oh, I wouldn't be without
a father for all the world ! " she exclaimed,
clinging about his neck again, and pressing her
lips to his cheek.
He drew her into his arms and kissed her
fondly. " Then you are going to be good about
this and not distress papa by stubbornness,
pouting or fretting ? "
"Yes, sir. Why, it would be perfectly
shameful for me to be naughty and rebellious
after you have given me a party and every
thing ! If I am I hope you'll punish me ever
^'' I hope I shall not have occasion to punish
188 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN.
you ; it would distress me greatly to do so.
But what a doleful countenance ! Put on your
hat and coat and we will take a little walk to-
Her face brightened at once and she hastened
to obey the order ; for she esteemed a walk
with papa, her hand in his, one of her greatest
When they came in again, just in season for
dinner, her face wore its usual bright and hap-
They had scarcely left the table when the
music teacher was announced. Mr. Morgan
was his name.
Lulu decided upon the first glance that she was
not going to like him at all, yet that he was les&
forbidding in appearance than Signor Foresti.
"And I shan't care so very much whether
he's nice or not, as papa will always be by to
see that he behaves himself," she remarked to
Grace in talking the matter over with her the
first time they were alone together after the
lesson had been given and Mr. Morgan had
taken his departure.
" Was he cross to-day, Lu ? " Grace asked.
" No, of course not ; do you suppose he'd
dare to be, with papa there to see and hear
every thing ? "
"No, I shouldn't think he would. Isn't il
£Ood in papa ? '*
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN. 189
" Yes, indeed ; and I mean to try as hard as
«ver I can to improve to please him."
"And to please our heavenly Father. Oh,
Lu, isn't it good in him to notice when we try
to learn our lessons and be obedient and good
because we want to please him ? "
" Yes ; but I think a great deal more about
pleasing papa," acknowledged Lulu frankly.
They were in the library, sitting by the fire
in the twilight. Their father and Violet had
gone to pay some calls in the neighborhood,
leaving the little girls at home.
" It's beginning to get dark," remarked Grace.
I wish papa and mamma would come."
" There ! " exclaimed Lulu, " I guess they
have, for I hear wheels on the drive."
They listened for a little, then Grace cried
out joyfully, " Oh, yes, they have ! for I hear
their voices," and the next minute their father
came in alone, Violet going on up to her bou'
" Papa ! oh, we're glad you've come ! " they
both exclaimed, jumping up, running to meet
him, and each taking a hand.
"Are you?" he said, seating himself and
drawing them into his arms. " It is very pleas-
ant to receive so warm a welcome. I hope my
darlings have not been very lonely ? "
"No, sir," they answered simultaneously,
Lulu adding, " I practisced a whole hour by the
190 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN. ^ '^
clock, just as you and Mr. Morgan told me to,
and Gracie played with baby while I was doing,
that ; then we both came in here to sit and
" That was right. I expect and hope to see
you improving very fast under Mr. Morgan's
instruction ; and after all it isn't so very bad
to have to take lessons of a man, is it ? "
" Not with you there, papa ; but it would be
" I have something to tell you," he said j
" the little Joneses had their drive to-day ; in a
spring wagon which I hired for the purpose. I
sent one of the servants over to sit with the
mother, so that all the children could go ; and
I think they enjoyed it greatly and are obliged
to my two little girls for giving them the
" Oh, I'm glad we did ! " exclaimed Grace \
** it's better than getting a present or buying
•omething for ourselves, to know those poor
children have had a good time.''
" I think so too," assented Lulu.
" Yes," said their father, " there is no better
plan for making money contribute to our own
happiness than using it for others, especially
the benefit of the poor and needy."
"'Cept giving it to the heathen, papa?"
Orace said, half inquiringly.
" Surely, to be destitute of the knowledge of
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN. 191
Jesus and his salvation is to be very poor and
needy, my little daughter," he replied.
" Yes ; so it is," she said thoughtfully. " Papa,
I wish every body in the whole world knew
about him and loved him."
" So do I, my darlings ; and we must not
content ourselves with idle wishing, but earn-
estly strive to do all we can to spread the glad
tidings and win souls to Christ."
' The remaining winter months sped swiftly by,
nothing occurring to mar the domestic felicity
of our friends at Woodburn ; then came gentle
spring with her soft breezes, buds and blossoms,
bringing new delights.
The captain planned and carried out various
improvements in the grounds, taking not his
wife only, but his children also, into his counsels,
consulting their tastes and wishes in a way that
gave them a very enjoj^able sense of joint pro-
prietorship with him. He had a pleasant fash-
ion of saying " ours " instead of " my " house,
grounds, flower-garden, etc.
But Max was given a garden spot to be all
his own ; Lulu and Grace each had hers ; and
they were encouraged to work in them accord-
ing to their strength, the gardener being in-
structed to do for them whatever they were not
able to do for themselves, and to provide each
with whatever plants and seeds were called for.
It was but little Grace could do with her own
small hands, but she found great pleasure in
directing the laying out of her own tiny domain,
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBTIRK 193
eelecting the seeds and plants and deciding upon
the order of their arrangement.
The captain was a firm believer in the efficacy
of fresh air, and in suitable weather there were
daily drives and walks about the grounds,
through the woods and along the country
It was a dear delight to the children to hunt
for wild wood flowers in their walks, and if
they spied any in their drives, papa was always
indulgently ready to stop the carriage and
gather the floral treasures for his darlings, or
even to permit them to alight and pluck the
tempting beauties for themselves.
Such a free, glad life was theirs, so filled with
pleasant duties and pastimes, so surrounded
with an atmosphere of tender parental care and
love, that their young hearts seemed brimming
over with happiness, and even Grade's face grew
round and rosy with health.
Violet, too, was very happy, gay and light-
hearted as a child : the captain sometimes said
that he felt as if he were renewing his youth ;
at which Violet would laugh and say, " That is
not so very strange, my dear ; for you are some
years younger than mamma — whom we all in-
dignantly refuse to consider old — and you have
neither gray hairs nor wrinkles."
Max and Lulu had not given up their fret and
scroll sawing and carving, but usually found at
194 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK.
least a few minutes to devote to them every-
day. They had been for weeks engaged upon
Bome pretty things for Grace, to be presented
upon her birthday, which was now near at
It was a secret between themselves, known ta
no one else except their father, from whom they
seldom desired to conceal any thing. It was a
dear delight to both that he was always ready
to receive their confidences, listen with interest
and give hearty sympathy and help also, if it
Going into their workroom one morning, he
found them there, both busily plying their
*' You seem to be very industrious," he re-
marked with a pleased smile. "Are you not
nearly done ? "
" Yes, papa," they answered, " we have only
a little more to do, but we must make haste with
that, for to-morrow is Grade's birthday."
"I have not forgotten that," he said. "I
shall have a gift for her too."
" What, papa ? " cried Lulu eagerly. " May
we know ? "
" You may know to-morrow," he answered
pleasantly. " This is very pretty. Lulu," taking
up some of her work and examining it crit-
"Yes, papa ; and this is the last piece I'm
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK 195
doing now. Then I'll fasten them together and
the cradle will be done, all but putting in the
pink satin lining I have ready for it. It will just
fit Kitty, Grade's largest doll, and I've made
such a sweet little pillow and spread for it ;
both of pink satin covered with lace. Oh, I'm
sure Gracie will be delighted ! particularly be-
cause I've made every thing myself."
" I haven't a doubt that she will," he said.
Then, looking at his watch, " You have still fif-
teen minutes before school time."
" I think I can get done the carving in that
time, papa," she said, " and this afternoon I can
put in the lining. Maxie, you are nearer done
than I, aren't you ? "
" Perhaps just a trifle," he answered. " Papa,
what do you think of this clock-case now ? "
The captain examined and admired, then bid-
ding them be punctual in coming to their les-
sons, went out and left them.
They were careful to obey. Lulu entered the
schoolroom with flushed cheeks and shining eyes.
" I'm done, papa," she said to him in a low
aside, " and so is Maxie."
" I congratulate you both," he answered, with
a look of interest and a kindly smile.
Lessons over. Lulu hastened back to the
work-room to gather up the bits of carved wood
upon which she had expended so much time and
"^6 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUnir,
On the threshold she was met by a little negro
boy coming out with a hatchet in his hand.
" Dick ! how dare you go in there ? What
have you been doing with that hatchet ? " she
asked in tones of mingled anger and alarm.
" Nuffin, Miss Lu," he answered, running off
at full speed, while she hurried into the room
and to the table where she had left her treasures
laid together in a neat pile.
It had disappeared, but on the floor beneath
lay a heap of broken bits and splinters of wood
which one horrified glance showed her were all
that Dick's hatchet had left of her beautiful
With a cry of grief and dismay she dropped
into a chair, then laying her head on the table
she began to sob in a heart-broken way.
Presently a hand was laid on her shoulder
and her father's voice asked in tenderly sympa-
thizing tones, " My darling, what is the matter ?
What can have hafjpened to distress you so ? "
" Look, papa, look ! Dick did it with his
hatchet," she sobbed, pointing to the tell-tale
heaps on the floor.
" Dick ? " he exclaimed. " He is not allowed
to come in here, and should never be permitted
to have a hatchet. I shall take measures to
prevent a repetition of such mischievous
" But he's destroyed them all, papa ; every
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK. 197
one, and I haven't time to make any more for
"No, dear child, and I am very sorry for
you. What can I do to comfort you?" he
asked, sitting down and taking her in his arms.
" Will it console you a little to know that I am
much gratified to find that you have borne this
severe trial of patience without flying into a
" Yes, papa, it does comfort me some. But
I hope Dick will keep out of my way for a
while ; because I'm afraid I might fly at him
and box his ears."
" I shall see that he does not come near you,'*
the captain said, gravely. "And I must find
some way to help yon to get another present for
Gracie. We will try to think of something to
buy which she would be sure to like."
" But it won't be my work, papa ! "
" No, of course not ; but when we can not do
what we wish, we must try to be content with
doing the best that we can."
He petted and caressed her for a few moments,
then led her out into the grounds, and tried to
direct her mind from her loss by calling her
attention to the growth and beauty of the plants
It was the day for her music lesson ; the hour
for taking it was shortly after leaving the dinner
198 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBK,
She had not learned to like Mr. Morgan, and
still esteemed it quite a trial to have to take
leBsons from him. His stock of patience and
forbearance was hardly larger than hers, but the
captain's presence had been a restraint upon
them both, and hitherto there had been no
decided outbreak of temper on the part of
But to-day Mr. Morgan was testy and unrea-
sonable, from some cause known only to himself,
while Lulu, in consequence of her loss and dis-
appointment, was not in a frame of mind to
endure it even as well as she might at another
He scolded, called her stupid, asked how much
time she had devoted to practicing her lesson,
and on being told " an hour every day," said he
did not believe it.
*' I don't tell lies, Mr. Morgan ! " cried Lulu
indignantly. " Please ask papa if my word is
not to be trusted."
" It is, sir ; fully," said the captain, leaving
the easy chair he had been occupying on the
opposite side of the room, and taking his stand
near the piano, where he could look directly into
the faces of both teacher and pupil.
" Doubtless you think so, sir ; but I fancy
you may be deceived, like many another doating
parent," returned the Englishman, in a sneering
BLSIE'8 FRIENDS A T WOOBB UBK 199
The captain received the taunt in dignified
silence, not even changing color ; but Lulu
flushed hotly, flashed an angry glance at the
speaker, then sent an entreating one up into her
" Yes, you may go," he said. " Go to the
school-room," and she made haste to obey.
" Sir ! " exclaimed Morgan, angrily, " I can
not have my pupils interfered with in this
'' The child is mine, sir," replied the captain,
** and I decline to have her subjected to such a
trial of temper as your captious fault-finding
and unjust accusations have forced upon her
" I repeat that I shall allow no interference
between myself and a pupil," returned Morgan,
growing pale with rage, " and if this thing is to
go on, sir, you may look out for another in-
structor for your daughter after the expiration
of the present term."
" There is no need to wait for that," said the
captain in a calm, quiet tone. " Walk into the
library and I will draw a check for the full
amount of your charge for the term ; nor ask
you to give another lesson."
Lulu had gone to the school-room quivering
with excitement and indignation, feeling as if
the very thought of taking another lesson from
Mr. Morgan was quite unendurable : hoping
200 ELSIE'S FRIENDS A T WOODB URN
that her father was not disposed to blame her
for her angry rejoinder to the man's rudely ex-
pressed doubt of her truthfulness, yet fearing
that he might ; so that when he presently came
in, it was with some apprehension that she glanced ,
up into his face, asking tremulously, "Are you'
displeased with me, papa ? "
" Come here," he said, seating himself.
She obeyed instantly, though still in doubt of
what was awaiting her.
He drew her to his knee, put his arm round
her, and pressing his lips to her cheek, said,
" No, daughter, I am not displeased with you ;
I think you have had sore trials of patience
to-day, and have borne them well."
" O papa, do you ? oh thank you for saying
it ! it makes me so glad, so happy ! " she said
with a half sob, her arm round his neck, her
cheek laid lovingly to his. " But oh I — I wish
I never had to see that man any more."
" You need not. I have dismissed him and
shall not again engage a male music teacher for
you : without consulting you," he added in a
playful tone, and smiling affectionately into her
" O papa, how good in you ! " she cried, hug-
ging him close.
" Now," he said, " the next thing in order is
to think what you can buy as your present to
Gracie. How would you like to drive into the
ELSIE '8 FRIENDS A T WOODB URN, 201
city with me this afternoon and select a gift for
" Oh, very much indeed, papa ! "
" Then go and get ready as quickly as you
can, for we must start directly, in order to return
by tea time. Your mamma will go with us, and
if Gracie chooses, we will take her as far as Ion
and leave her there until we return."
" O papa, how nice ! " she cried ; then hurried
away to do his bidding.
Grace was well pleased with her share of the
drive, nor thought of any special reason for
dropping her at Ion, further than that her father
deemed it best.
Lulu came back in gayest spirits, account-
ing for them by saying that papa had been
so very, very kind and had promised never
to bid her take another lesson from Mr. Mor-
It was Grace's turn the next morning, when
on awaking, she found a small table by her bed-
side, quite loaded with pretty gifts from near
and dear ones.
Lulu's was a lovely Paris doll, with a trunk
full of ready-made clothes. Max's a clock in a
beautifully carved case. Papa, mamma, Grand-
ma Elsie and other friends had given her books
She was greatly pleased, and very happy in
her quiet way, especially when her father came
202 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK
in, kissed her fondly, and wished her many
happy returns of the day.
But the most joyful surprise was when after
breakfast and family worship, he led her and
Lulu out to the verandah and showed them two
pretty Shetland ponies, asking, " What do you
think of those little fellows, children ? "
" Oh ! oh ! what darlings ! " cried Lulu.
Then half breathlessly, " Papa, are they for — ?
Whose are they ? "
He smiled at her wistful, eager, half -hopeful,
half -doubtful look.
" The larger one, called Fairy, is for a little
girl who seems to have gained pretty good con-
trol over a fiery temper," he made answer ;
" the other, Elf, is for a birthday gift to Gracie ;
both from papa, who hopes his darlings will
find much enjoyment in riding their small
Before he had nearly finished the long sen-
tence they were in his arms, hugging, kissing,
and thanking him in a rapture of delight.
He returned their caresses as warmly as they
were given, then helped them to mount their
ponies, and gave Grace a lesson in managing
Lulu seemed quite at home in the saddle, and
it pleased him to perceive it.
They went round the grounds several times ;
then he had them dismount and go into the house*
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBTIRN. 203
" Your mamma has something to show you,"
he said, and led them to their sitting room,
where they found Violet and Alma waiting to
fit each little girl with a handsome riding
Alma had been making them, measuring by
J some of their dresses, and they were so nearly
done that she said she could have them both
finished by dinner time. There was a dainty
hat to match each habit, and when tied on they
were pronounced very becoming.
" This is to be a holiday in Grade's honor,"
their father said, *' and this afternoon several of
her little friends of her own age, are coming to
help her to celebrate her birthday."
Grade's eyes sparkled with pleasure. " I'm
glad, and very much obliged to you, papa," she
said. " Can Elf come to the party too ? " she
asked with a gleeful laugh.
" Yes ; he may attend and have a share in
entertaining the company by letting them take
! turns in riding him about the grounds," replied
\ her father, looking fondly down into the sweet,
fair young face upturned to his.
" I'm ever so glad for you. Grade," remarked
Lulu heartily. *'Will you invite Fairy and me
to your party ? "
"Why yes, of course," said Grade. "I
couldn't enjoy it without my big sister that's
always so kind to me, and if Fairy comes th«
204 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOOBBUEN,
girls can ride two at a time. Can't they,
papa ? "
" Yes ; and wlien Lulu has her birthday party
she can make a return by inviting you and
" Oh, papa, am I to have one too ? " exclaimed
Lulu, jumping for joy.
" Yes ; if nothing happens to prevent. And
Max shall have one on his birthday, if he
" If nothing happens to prevent ? " repeated
Lulu, sobering down. " I suppose that means
if I'm good and obedient and don't get into a
passion ? "
"A failure in that line would certainly be
something to prevent," answered her father,
" but there might be something else, sickness for
Going close to his side, " Papa, if I should
get into a passion would I have to lose my
pony ? " she asked in an under tone.
" Yes ; for a time ; ought j^ou not to, since he (
is given you as a reward for controlling your
temper ? "
" Yes, sir ; that's just and right ; but oh, I
hope I shan't have to ! "
" So do I. I should be very sorry to deprive
you of her even for a day."
Grace's guests arrived in due time. It wa»
a lawn and garden party, and a complete suo
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK 205
cess, the ponies contributing largely to the
The captain stayed with the children con-
stantly to assist in supplying amusement for
them, and to guard them against possible acci-
dent in mounting and riding the ponies, though
the little fellows were almost as gentle and quiet
The ponies at once became the greatest pets
with their young mistresses, and soon would
come at their call, eat from their hands and
submit to stroking and fondling with as much
docility as that of a dog or cat. It was a great
pleasure to the captain to see the delight the
children took in them.
It was some weeks before timid little Gracie
would venture to mount hers, or ride it without
" papa " to hold the bridle and walk by her side
to care for her safety ; but after awhile she was
content to sometimes let Max take his place, and
at length grew bold enough to ride about the
grounds at a moderate pace, guiding her small \
steed herself with only Lulu, mounted on Fairy,
by her side.
Lulu was allowed to ride her pony within the
grounds whenever she pleased, but strictly for-
bidden to go outside alone ; yet as she could
almost always have the company of her father,
Violet or Max, and not seldom of all three,
there was little or no excuse for a desire to
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK 207
But though Lulu had certainly greatly im-
proved, there were still times when she was
seized with the old willfulness and disinclination
to submit to lawful authority ; when to have
her own way, and be altogether a law unto her-
self, seemed a delightful thing, and for a time
overcame the wish to please the father whom
she did really love very dearly.
This happened one day a month or more after
the gift of the ponies. Morning lessons were
over ; Max went to the workroom, having a
piece of carving he wished to finish, and Gracie,
for once, preferred playing with her. dolls to
riding her pony, so Lulu set out alone with hers,
not with any intention of going beyond the
boundaries of the estate.
She rode round the drive, up and down the
garden paths, and through the bit of woods
several times, then turned longing eyes upon
the road beyond, which, for some distance, was
shaded by overhanging trees, and did indeed
look most inviting.
A side gate stood open, a wagon, carrying
some supplies from the house, having just passed
through, and she had reined in her pony close
" "Why in the world shouldn't I go out there ? '*
she said, half aloud ; " it couldn't hurt anybody
or any thing for me to ride just a little way
down that shady road. Papa's reason for for«
208 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK
bidding me to walk alone in sucli places, was
that I might be in danger from tramps ; but
I'm sure Fairy could outrun any of them ; and
so I shouldn't be in any danger on her back."
Conscience whispered that whether she would
be in danger or not, the act would be one of
disobedience ; but she refused to listen.
The reins were lying loosely on Fairy's neck,
and just at that instant she started toward the
gate of her own accord.
Lulu could have easily restrained her and
turned her head another way, but did not choose
to make the effort.
" It's Fairy's doing, and I'm not to blame,"
ehe said to herself ; " and I'll only let her go a
little way, I'll make her turn round in a minute."
She did not go very far, but the minute grew
into five before Fairy's head was turned toward
the gate again, ten ere it was re-entered,
and the two pursued their way back to the
Lulu found that somehow her ride had ceased
to be enjoyable, so dismounted, turned Fairy
into the pasture where she and Elf were allowed
to disport themselves when their services were
not required, sauntered about the garden for a
little, then on into the house, vainly trying all
the time to stifle the reproaches of conscience for
the act of disobedience of which she had been
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN. 209
Presently she went into the library. Violet
was there writing letters. Lulu took possession
of the easy-chair usually occupied by her father,
took up a book that lay open on the table be-
side it, and began to read.
A few moments passed in silence ; then
Violet, glancing up from her writing, said
gently : " Lulu, dear, that is a book which
your father would not approve of your readings
I am quite sure of it."
Lulu read on, paying no attention to the
Violet waited a moment, then asked — still
speaking in a gentle, kindly tone — " Did you
hear me, Lulu ? "
" Of course I did ; I'm not deaf," was the
ungracious, not to say rude rejoinder.
" But you do not close the book."
" No ; if papa doesn't want me to read books,
he shouldn't leave them lying around."
" That is, you would have him treat you ais
one whom he can not trust ? Whom he con-
siders destitute of a sense of honor ? since he
has repeatedly told you, you must not read any
book without first making sure of its being such
as he would approve."
An uneasy conscience made Lulu unusually
irritable. "I do wish. Mamma Vi," she said
pettishly, " you'd let me alone. I — "
**Lulu," interrupted a voice, speaking from
:210 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN'.
the adjoining room, in grave, slightlj stern
accents, "bring that book to me."
Both Violet and the little girl started at the
sound, neither having had any suspicion of the
captain's near vicinity. He had come in quietly
just in time to overhear the short colloquy,
while the portiere separating the two rooms
concealed him from their view. It was quite
accidental ; he having no intention or thought
of listening to any thing not meant for his ear.
Violet, not wishing to be witness of a scene
between her husband and his child, quickly and
quiet \ -withdrew by way of the hall, while
Lulu itose and obeyed the order, appearing
before her father with flushed face and down-
cast eyesy and silently placing the book in his
He had come in somewhat weary, more in
mind than body, and thrown himself into an
He did not speak for a moment, and she
Btood, flushed and trembling before him, her
eyes on the carpet.
At length he said, with a heavy sigh and in
tones more grave and sad than stern, " I thought
I had, in my Lulu, a daughter whom I could
implicitly trust to be obedient and respectful to
me and her mamma, whether in my presence or
absence ; I thought she cherished a sincere af-
fection for her kind young mother, and was
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK 211
quite sure that she loved, honored and rever-
enced her father. But what I have accidentally
overheard in the last few minutes has, I am
deeply grieved to say, robbed me of that cheer-
Lulu hastily brushed away a tear. " Papa,"
she began in a trembling voice.
" No," he said, " I will hear nothing from
you now. Go to your room and stay there till
I come to you. I want you to think over your
conduct since leaving the school-room this morn-
ing, and after due reflection upon it, in solitude,
give me your honest opinion of it."
A wave of his hand dismissed her, and she
went silently from the room, up to her own,
and sat down by a window overlooking the
meadow where the ponies were browsing.
" I wonder," she thought, with an added
sense of shame and affright, as her eye fell upon
them, " if papa knows where Fairy and I went ?
he said my conduct since I left the school-room,
and that sounds as if he did. But I didn't think
any body saw us or would tell on me if he did.
Oh, I wish I hadn't done so ! I wish I hadn't
spoken in that disrespectful way to Mamma Vi,
and about papa ! How could I do it and hurt
his feelings so, when I do really love him dearly,
dearly, and he's such a good, kind father ? Oh,
I hate you for it, Lulu Raymond, and should
like to give you a good beating ! I shan't make
212 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOOBBUBN'.
a word of objection if your father does, and in
fact I believe I just hope he will. It's just
what you deserve and you know it is."
She was deeply ashamed and the more she
\ dwelt upon her conduct the more ashamed and
' penitent she grew. She rose from her chair and
walked restlessly about the room.
" I wonder when papa will come, and what
lie will say and do to me," she sighed to her-
self. " I've been pretty good for quite a while
till to-day and why couldn't I keep on? why
should I turn round all at once and be so dread-
fully bad again ? I haven't been in a passion to
be sure, but I have disobeyed papa in two
things, beside speaking disrespectfully to Mamma
Vi and about him. He certainly will have to
punish me somehow, for I know he considers
disobedience very, very bad indeed. I think
half the punishment he gave me last time
was for disobeying him. And it was kinder
than to let me go on doing that dangerous
At that moment, glancing from the window,
she saw one of the servants leading Fairy
across the yard.
" Ajax," she called, " what are you doing
with my pony ? "
The man looked up and answered, " De cap'n
tole me for to tote she 'way off to Roselands.
'Spect Doctah Arthur gwine ride 'im when his
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBK 213
bosses done wored out wid kyarin' * de doctah '
Hjout de roads f'om mornin' to night."
" Dr. Arthur ride that little pony indeed ! "
exclaimed Lulu. " Why his legs would drag
on the ground ! "
She laughed over the ridiculous picture con-
jured up by the words of the negro and her own
imagination, then began to cry, as she said to
herself, " Papa is sending my pony away to
punish me, and maybe he'll never let me have
her again. I'd ten times rather he'd whip me."
The door opened and the captain came in.
Lulu started up, hastily brushing away her
tears, and stood before him with drooping head^
hotly flushing cheek and fast beating heart.
He took her hand, led her to a chair, sat down
and drew her to his side.
" I have come to hear what you have to say
as to your opinion of your own conduct to-day,
and any confession your conscience may impel
you to make to your father."
" Papa," she burst out, hiding her face in her
hands while the hot blood surged over it and
her neck, " I'm ever and ever so sorry and
ashamed of — of the — of what I said to Mamma
Vi, and about you ! O papa, please, please for-
give me ! please believe that I do really love
and honor and reverence you ! "
He waited a moment to see if she had finished,
then asked gravely, and with some severity of
1214 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUMJST,
tone, " Is that all you have to say to me ? Have
you no confession of other wrong-doing to make ?"
"YeS; sir," she faltered, her head drooping
still lower, " I — I disobeyed you before that by
going outside the grounds."
" Yes," he said, " and it so happened that I
saw you, having had occasion just at that time
to pay a visit to the observatory at the top of
She looked up in surprise, but «eeing the ex-
pression of grief and pain in hih. js, dropped
her head again, and hiding her face on his shoul-
der, sobbed out, "O papa, don't look so hurt
and sorry ! I will try to be a better girl ! in-
deed I will ! "
" You have wounded your father's heart very
sorely, little daughter," he said with emotion.
** How can I be other than hurt and sorry on
learning that my dear child loves me so little
that she is ready to speak disrespectfully of me
and to disobey me repeatedly when she thinks
I shall not know it ? "
Her tears fell faster and faster at his words,
and her sobs grew more violent.
" O papa, I do love you ! " she cried, twining
her arms round his neck. " Oh, please believe
me ! I'd rather be killed than not to have you
believe that I do ! "
" I have no doubt that you have some affec-
tion for me," he said, " but — "
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK 215
" papa, a great, great deal ! " she inter-
rupted, " I'm so angry with myself for being so
disobedient and disrespectful to you, that I want
you to punish me just as hard as you can.
Won't you ? and then forgive me, and love me
again ? "
" My dear child," he said, " I have not ceased
to love you, very far from it ; you are dearer to
me than words can tell. But I can not of course
pass over lightly so flagrant an act of disobedi-
ence as you were guilty of to-day. I must pun-
ish you, and I have decided that your punish-
ment shall be that Fairy shall be taken from
you for a week."
" A week, papa ? I was afraid you would
never give her back to me ; and I don't deserve
that you should."
" It grieves me to deprive you of her for even
that length of time," he said, " and if you are
really as penitent as you seem, to lose her for a
week will, I think, be sufficient punishment."
" Papa, I'm really discouraged with myself,"
she sighed. ** I thought I'd learned to be pretty
good, so that I would never be disobedient
again, but now I have been."
" Do not allow yourself to be discouraged in
a way that will lead you to give up trying to
improve," he said, " but let your failures lead
you to try all the harder, and to pray more ear-
nestly and constantly to God for help. Probably
216 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN,
youF failure was caused by your having grown
too confident that you were really reformed and
so relaxing your efforts and your watchfulness."
" Aren't you quite discouraged about trying
to make me a good girl, papa ? " she asked.
" No ; I know too well that the battle with
our fallen nature is a long and hard one, and
have had too many slips and falls myself to ex-
pect you to gain the victory at once. Also, I
believe the promise, * Train up a child in the
way he should go, and when he is old he will
not depart from it.' I must go on teaching and
training you, praying to God for wisdom, and
for a blessing upon my efforts, trying also to
set you a good example, and God will surely at
length fulfill his promise to me."
" Papa, is making me do without Fairy for a
while the only punishment you are going to
give me ? "
" I hope that will prove sufficient," he said ;
" it pains me to have to inflict even that, for it
has been a delight to me to see the pleasure you
have taken in your pony. But I must train you
to obedience, for that is according to God's
command to me as a parent. You have told me
that you are sorry for your bad behavior to
your mamma as well as to me. I want you to
make the same acknowledgment to her."
" Papa, I do hate to do that. Can't you tell
her so for me ? "
ELSIE a FRIENDS AT WOODBURN, 217
" I wish her to hear it from your own lips ;
and if you are really as sorry for your miscon-
duct as you profess to be, you will do as I bid
you without my having to resort to compulsion."
,' He rose as he spoke, then taking her hand,
led her to Violet, who was sitting in her bou-
On seeing them enter she instantly conject-
ured what was coming, and sent an entreating
glance, on Lulu's behalf, up into her husband's
face. But he ignored it.
" Lulu has something to say to you, my dear,"
he said, and the little girl, coloring deeply and
keeping her eyes upon the carpet, faltered out
" Mamma Vi, I'm sorry I spoke so disrespect-
fully to you. Please forgive me and I'll try not
to do so anymore."
" Dear child," Violet responded, taking Lulu's
free hand and kissing her affectionately, " I
should by no means have required an apology
from you. The offense was but a slight one, is
entirely forgiven, and shall be forgotten as soon
" My love, you are very kind to make so light
of the offense," remarked the captain, " but I
consider it a serious one, and shall be very
greatly displeased if there is ever a repetition of
it. Both your own lovely character and the
position I have given you in relation to my
2 1 8 ELSIE'S FRIENDS A T WOODB URN.
children, entitle you to respectful treatment
from them, and they must yield it."
" I have seldom had any reason to complain of
their behavior to me," replied Violet ; " they
are dear children and I can truly say that I love
them every one."
"Thank you, my dear," he said, his eyes
Bhining with pleasure.
Then catching a beseeching look from Lulu,
he bent down and kissed her, saying, " All is
right between us now, daughter."
But Lulu's conscience was not quite at ease ;
Violet's words had called up some memories that
troubled it, and her innate honesty and truth-
fulness prompted another confession.
" Papa," she said, bursting into tears, " Mam-
ma Vi is kinder than I deserve. I have been
very naughty to her a number of times, when
you were away and didn't know any thing about
it ; so ill-tempered and disrespectful that you
would have punished me severely if you had
been at home to see and hear it all."
" But that is all past and there is no occasion
to bring it up again," Violet hastened to say.
" Yet I am glad she has made the confession,'*
the captain said gravely, and with a slight sigh,
sitting down as he spoke, and drawing Lulu
into his arms, " for it is a proof of honesty and
truthfulness that gives me great hope that my
dear, eldest daughter will yet make a noble
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN. 219
woman, the pride and joy of her father's
" Dear papa, how kind in you to say that,"
sobbed Luhi, hiding her face on his breast.
** Oh, I will try to be every thing you wish,"
It wanted barely two weeks of Lulu's birth-
day when by her misconduct she lost sight of
her pony for a time.
Of course Max and Grace inquired for what
reason she had been sent away, and it was a
mortification to Lulu to have to own that papa
had ordered it as a punishment to her for diso-
" Well, Lu," said Max, " it does seem odd to
me that you will disobey papa, every once in a
while, though he never gives an unreasonable
order and is always so kind and affectionate to
us, yet sure to punish disobedience."
" Have you never disobeyed him. Max ? " she
asked a little angrily.
" Yes, several times in the course of my life ;
but not of late."
"I don't believe Lu will any more," said
" I hope not ; I don't mean to ; it 'most broke
my heart to see how hurt and sorry papa looked
about it," Lulu said, with a slight tremble in her
voice. " It was worse than having Fairy sent
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK 221
Max and Grace offered the use of their
" Thank you," said Luhi ; " it's ever so kind
in you both ; but I don't know whether papa
would let me ride either of them now while I
can't have my own."
They had left the dinner-table shortly before,
were now on the veranda, and Ajax was leading
up Elf and Max's pony, Rex.
The captain stepped out from the open hall
door and Max asked, " Papa, may I lend Rex
" If you choose ; but she is not to ride alone
even about the grounds ; or to go out of sight
from the house by herself."
" S'pose you ride on Elf, Lu, and have Maxie
go along on Rex," suggested Grace.
" And let you stay behind ? No, indeed I
You and Max go, and I'll amuse myself at home.
I had a ride this morning, and don't need to go
again," Lulu answered.
" I propose that instead, you two little girls
shall take a drive in the family carriage with
your mamma and me, Max riding alongside on
Bex," their father said, and they accepted his
invitation with joyful alacrity, running up at
once to their rooms to get ready ; for he told
them he had already ordered the carriage and it
would be at the door in a few minutes.
> %jgX\\ came down again a little ahead of Violet
222 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN.
and Grace, and found lier father waiting on the
Drawing near his side, and speaking in a low
tone, " Papa," she said, " I don't deserve to go-
along, and you are very kind to let me."
" I love to have you with me, dear child," he
answered, " and though I have sent Fairy away
for a time, it is not my desire to make the week
an unhappy one to you."
Max's birthday would occur a few days earlier
than Lulu's, and that evening, when they were
all together, his father told him he might cele-
brate it by having a party, inviting as many of
his boy friends as he chose to spend the day, or
part of it, at Woodburn.
Max was greatly pleased and began at once
to plan amusements for his expected guests,
asking advice and assistance from both his father
Lulu listened with interest to the talk, glad
for Max, and hoping, too, that something would
be said about the conditionally promised party
for her birthday.
But it was not mentioned, and she concluded
that probably papa did not intend to let her
have one since she had behaved so ill. She was
too sincerely penitent to feel at all rebellious or
ill-used, though sadly disappointed ; still, as it
yet lacked nearly two weeks of the time, she
did not entirely give up hope.
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK 223
When she had gone up to her own room for
the night, and was getting ready for bed, her
thoughts went back to the interview held there
that morning with her father, and she seemed
to see again the pained expression in his eyes
that had so distressed her then.
" Oh, how could I be so naughty and disobe-
dient to him ! Such a dear, good father ! " she
again sighed to herself, tears springing to her
eyes. " I just hate you for it, Lulu Raymond,
and I'd like to pound you well. I 'most wish
your father would do it ! I've a great mind to
ask him to. And here he comes," as she heard
his step nearing the door.
As he came in she looked up at him with
tearful, wistful eyes. He opened his arms and
she ran into them, put hers about his neck and
hid her face on his breast.
" What is it ? " he asked, softly smoothing
her hair ; " why are there tears in my dear little
daughter's eyes ; is it because of Fairy's
absence ? "
" No, papa ; but because I'm so sorry to have
hurt you so to-day. Oh, have you got over it
" Pretty nearly ; the momentary doubt that
my dear Lulu loved me more than just a little,
has vanished. I am quite sure she does love me
— better, perhaps, than any thing but her own
self-will. But I shall never be quite satisfied
224 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBN,
till I can believe that she loves me even beiter
*' Papa," she pleaded, " please believe that I
do ^most all the time."
" Yes, I do believe it ; and that you are really
trying to overcome your faults. I want to talk
a little with you about these besetting sins of
yours, and how to battle with them. Then we
will ask God together to help you in the strug-
gle, for Jesus says :
" * If two of you shall agree on earth as touch-
ing any thing that they shall ask, it shall be
done for them of my Father which is in heaven ! ' "
" Papa," she said, clinging lovingly to him as,
a little later, he bade her good-night, " if your
children don't grow up good. Christian people,
I'm sure it won't be your fault."
"It is what I desire for them more than
wealth, or fame, or any thing this world can
give," he answered, holding her close in a tender
She had grown very fond of Fairy and missed
the pretty creature woefully, but said never a
word of complaint or entreaty for her restora-
tion, but strove earnestly to be faithful in the
performance of every duty that so she might
please her dear father, and fully convince him of
her devoted affection.
He noticed her efforts, gave frequent, loving
commendation, and was kind as kind could be,
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN. 225
Yet the week seemed a long one ; but at last
it did come to an end, and on being dismissed
from morning lessons Lulu found her pony
quietly feeding with Elf in the grassy plat in
front of the school-room door. 1
She gave a joyous cry, but turned and ran
back to hug, kiss and thank her father before
bidding Fairy welcome.
" It pained me to take her from you, and now
it gives me great pleasure to return her, my
darling," he said. " Go and enjoy yourself
with her, Gracie and Elf, as much as you can,
till dinner time. I am sure I need not remind
Vou that you must keep within the grounds,
unless Max or I should join you."
" I hope not, papa, and I do thank you ever
so much for trusting me again," she answered,
as she hurried away.
The absorbing topic of conversation now was
Max's approaching birthday and the party which
was to celebrate it.
The little girls held many pleasant consulta-
tions with each other, and sometimes with p.apa
and mamma too, about presents for him, desir-
ing to give something that should prove both
useful and acceptable.
Max's satisfaction with what he received,
when the day came, seemed to leave no room
for doubt that they had succeeded. He was
full of boyish delight and more than once ex-
S26 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBK
pressed the "belief that lie was the most fortunate
fellow in the world ; for nobody could have a
better father or kinder mother and sisters.
" And such a feast as papa has provided for
us ! " he went on. " How the fellows will enjoy
" I think you must have been interviewing
Christine and the cook, Max," laughed his
" Yes, sir, so I have ; you see I feel free to do
pretty much as I please in my own father's house;
at least as regards going up and down, and in
and out, from garret to cellar, looking at what-
ever's going on and asking questions."
" That's right," returned the captain heartily.
" Where should a boy feel at home if not in his
father's house ? "
"Nowhere, I should say," answered Max,
** And you've provided so many amusements for
us that I don't see how it'll be possible for any
one of us to have a dull moment."
" And am I not to have an invitation to share
them with you. Max ? " asked the captain.
" Oh, will you, papa ? will you really join in
our games ?" cried the boy, his eyes sparkling
with pleasure. " Why, that'll be perfectly
splendid ! "
" Possibly the ' other fellows ' may be of a
different opinion," laughed his father.
"If they are at first, I'm sure they'll change
ELSIES FBIBNDS AT WOODBURN. 227
their minds when they find out what good com-
pany you are, sir," returned Max. " And O,
papa, won't you tell us some of your sailor's
yarns, as you call them ? "
" Perhaps, if other amusements fail."
" Oh, thank you, sir ! Mamma Vi, we'll take
our noisy games far enough away from the
house not to disturb you."
"I shall not mind the noise," said Violet,
"I have always been used to boys, and take-
great pleasure in seeing them enjoy them-
This talk was at the breakfast table, and an
hour or two later the guests began to arrive.
The sports were such as the little girls did not
care to take part in, but they found much en-
tertainment in looking on, and felt a sisterly
delight in seeing how intensely Max enjoyed it
The visitors were a polite, good-humored set,
the captain's presence among them was a re-
straint as well as a pleasure, and nothing oc-
curred to mar the harmony of their intercourse.
When the time came for the good-byes, there
were warm hand-shakings and earnest assevera-
tions that never in their lives had they had a
Max's party was now successfully over. Lu-
lu's birthday was near at hand, yet nothing wa»
said about its celebration. She waited from
228 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK.
day to day, boiling that her father would
mention the subject and say that she, too,
should have a party ; but kind as he was and
thoughtful for her comfort and enjoyment in
every other respect, he seemed to have forgot-
ten that he had ever spoken of such an intention,
and never to reflect that she might reasonably
expect the same indulgence that had been shown
her brother and sister ; so at length she sorrow-
fully concluded that he thought her late miscon-
duct had rendered her unworthy of such a
She was quite sure of it when the very last
evening before her birthday had come and still
she had received no intimation that any notice
whatever was to be taken of it.
She was unusually silent all the evening,
seemed to keep a little apart from the others,
and now and then sighed softly to herself.
Several times her father's ears caught the
sound, but he merely gave her a kindly inquir-
ing glance and went on with his talk.
"When he came to her room for a few good-
night words, as he almost always did, and found
her shedding tears, he took her in his arms,
asking tenderly :
" What is the matter, daughter ? are you not
feeling quite well ? "
*'I'm not sick, papa," she answered in
tremulous tones, and half averting her face.
ELSIE'S FniENBS AT WOODBURN. 22^
'• What then ? tell your father what troubles
you ; he will help and comfort you if he can."
" I'm ashamed to tell you, papa," she faltered,
hiding her face on his breast.
" Is it that you fear papa has forgotten what
an important day to-morrow will be to his little
Lulu ? If so, you may dry your tears. I have-
thought of it a great deal and prepared a plea-
sure for you. Eva is to come directly after
breakfast and stay a whole week with you, and
it shall be a week of holidays."
She lifted her head and looked up into hig
face, smiling through her tears.
" Oh, that is nice ! " she cried joyfully, " thank
you, my dear papa."
"As nice as a party ? " he asked, with a
" Almost," she said, hesitatingly. " It's bet-
ter than I deserve, because I was so so very verj^
naughty only a little while ago."
" Dear child, do you think your father could
have the heart to keep on punishing you for
wrong-doing so sincerely repented of?" he
asked, in half reproachful tones and caressing
her with great tenderness.
" I — I thought I — I deserved it, papa."
" /do not think so," he said. " But did yoii
want a party ? "
" Yes, papa, and I thought you meant to give
me one if I'd been good."
230 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODB UBXf.
" You shall have one some time before the
summer is over," he promised, " and I hope to-
morrow will be a very happy day to you in spite
of your disappointment."
Then he kissed her good night and left her.
She was much comforted and her troubles
were soon forgotten in sleep.
When she woke the sun was shining, and she
started up with an exclamation of surprise.
Beside her bed stood a small table, and on it
were a number of things she had never seen
A pretty work-basket, a beautiful little clock,
a lovely paii* of vases, several handsomely bound
books, and a box of kid gloves.
" Oh, how nice ! " she cried. " They didn't
forget me ; no, not one of them ! I'm so glad !
it's so pleasant to be remembered !
She examined each gift, noting its beauties,
and from whom it came — for they were all
labelled — then sprang out of bed and began
dressing in haste.
She had scarcely finished when her father
■entered noiselessly, stepped softly up behind her
and caught her in his arms before she was aware
of his presence.
" Good morning, my darling, and many
happy returns of the day," he said, kissing her
" Good morning, my dearest papa,'* she re-
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK 231
turned, twining her arms about his neck, " and
thank you for that lovely little clock, it is just
what I wanted for my mantel."
" I am glad it pleases you," he said.
Grace had followed him in.
" Oh, Lu, I'm glad you've got a birthday ! '*
she exclaimed." But weren't you surprised?"
" At having a birthday, Gracie ? " asked their
father, laughing a little, and hugging them both
" ISTo, papa ; at the things on the table."
" Yes," said Lulu ; " I didn't expect any pres-
ents at all."
" Here is another surprise for you," said the
captain ; and something glittering went over
her head, and a small round object was laid in
She looked down at it and gave a cry of de-
light. It was a beautiful gold locket set with
brilliants and attached to a gold chain, which
her father had put round her neck.
She turned it over and found her initials on
the other side.
" How very pretty, papa ! " she cried.
He touched a spring and the locket flew open,
disclosing a pictured face.
Lulu gazed on it in silence for a moment, then
lifting her eyes inquiringly to her father's
" Mamma, our own mamma ; isn't it ?" she
232 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK
asked, in tones half tremalous with emo-
" Yes," he said, " an excellent likeness, I
think. She was very sweet and lovely in both
looks and character. I hope her children will
resemble her in that last, as Gracie does in
" Yes, papa ; I do believe Gracie will look
just like this when she's grown up," Lulu said,
glancing from the miniature to her sister, then
handing it to her. ** And oh, but I am glad,
glad to have it. You couldn't have given me
anything else that would have pleased me so
much, dear papa ! " hugging him again as she
Grace gazed fixedly at the picture for several
minutes, then lifting tear-dimmed eyes to her
father's face, " How dear and sweet she does
look, papa ! " she said. " I can remember her only
just a little, and this helps me to do it more,
I'll always know now how sweet and pretty my
first mamma was."
" Our very own mamma," corrected Lulu em-
" Yes, she was that," the captain said ; "and
I would not have her children forget her.
Neither would your Mamma Vi ; she so wishes
you to remember this dear mother of yours,
that she has spent many hours in painting from
a photograph, this likeness for you. Lulu, and
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBN. 233
another like it for Gracie ; also she intends to
paint one for Max."
*' Where is mine, papa ? " queried Gracie
" Here," he said, taking from his pocket
another locket, the facsimile of Lulu's except
that the initials upon it were Grace's own.
She received it with a transport of delight
unusual with her ; for hers was a much quieter
temperament than that of her older sister.
" How good in Mamma Vi ! " exclaimed
Lulu ; *' especially," she added, her cheeks
growing hot with blushes, " considering the
many times I've behaved badly to her."
" So I think ; and I trust, my dear child, that
you will never again treat her with unkindness
or disrespect," said the captain gravely.
"Oh, I hope not ! I'm sure I don't intend to!"
"Let's go and thank her," proposed Grace.
'* Mine's every bit as sweet and lovely as yours,
" Will you take us to her, papa ? " asked
" Willingly," he said, rising and taking a hand
The breakfast bell rang just at that moment,
and as they stepped into the hall they met
Violet coming from her room in answer
234 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURIT.
Very sweetly she received the thanks of the
little girls, and congratulated Lulu, saying,
truly, that it had been a great pleasure to her
to paint for them the lovely face of their
Aj?tee breakfast came family worship ; it
was the regular order of things at Woodbum.
Then the captain smilingly bade his little girli
go to their rooms and dress for company.
" Oh yes ! " cried Lulu, dancing away to do
his bidding. " Eva is coming, Gracie. Papa
told me so."
At that Gracie laughed, and exchanged a
knowing glance with her father and Violet.
But Lulu, hurrying on ahead, did not see it.
She turned round at the door, saying, " O papa,
I forgot to ask what you want me to wear ? "
" Ah ! Suppose we go with them. Mamma
Vi, and help them in the selection of dresses and
ornaments," he said.
" Agreed ! " said Violet, and they all went
gaily up stairs together.
" Some one seems to have already made a
selection for you. Lulu," remarked the captain
as they entered her room, passing into it before
going into Grade's.
" Why, so they have ! " she exclaimed, run-
aing up to the bed. " Oh, what a lovely new
236 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBN.
white dress ! an elegant sash too ! Papa^ are
they presents from you ? "
He nodded assent as she ran into his arms to
hug and kiss him by way of thanks.
" Papa's gift and papa's taste," said Violet.
" He made the purchase entirely alone, and I
must acknowledge that I could not have done
better myself," she added laughingly.
" They're just as beautiful as they can be ! "
said Lulu, examining them again ; " such lovely
embroidery ! and the very handsomest sash I
" Really, I feel encouraged to try again one
of these days," laughed her father.
" I hope Gracie has the same," said Lulu,
looking up inquiringly into his face.
" Just the same, except the color of the sash,'*
he replied. " I think she will find them on the
bed in her room. Now I will leave you to put
on your new finery, and when you are both
dressed, come to me in the library and let me
see how you look."
" Oh, just wait a minute and let me hug
you once more, you dearest, kindest papa ! "
cried Lulu, running to him again.
" Twice, if you wish, daughter," he returned,
laughingly submitting to her renewed embraces
then hugging her so tight that she cried out,
" Oh, not quite so hard, papa, you'll squeeze the
breath out of me ! "
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBN, 237
" I should be sorry to do that," he said, kiss<
ing and releasing her.
" Oh, Gracie, what a dear, good father we
have ! what nice, nice surprises he's given me
for my birthday ! " exclaimed Lulu, as the door
closed on him and Violet. " Did you know
about them beforehand ? "
"Yes, all but the lockets. Papa, mamma,
and Maxie and I talked it all over together ;
when you weren't by, you know ; and it was
such fun to think how surprised and glad you'd
be. Now we'd better hurry and get dressed
before Eva comes."
A little later, hand in hand and arrayed in
the new finery, they presented themselves before
their father and Violet in the library, asking,
« Will we do, papa ? "
" I think so," he said, regarding them with
eyes full of fatherly pride and affection. " I
certainly should not be ashamed to claim you
anywhere as my own little daughters."
" You would not be that, my dear, if you saw
them in rags," said Violet ; " your fatherly
heart would only go out to them in stronger affec-
tion because of their unhappy condition."
"Yes, indeed, Mamma Vi," said Max, who
had just come in from the grounds ; " but papa
would go without a coat for himself before he
would let his children be in rags."
" Oh hark ! I hear wheels I Eva has come I "
838 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN,
cried Lulu, hurrying out tlirougli the hall to the
front door, the others following.
To her surprise not only the Fairview car-
riage, but those of Ion and the Oaks were there
on the drive, and her young friends Eva, Rosie,
Lora, Sydney and Maud, and several others,
all in holiday attire, came tripping in with
merry greetings and good wishes.
And each one had a little birthday gift for
her — flowers, fruit, confectionery or some trifle,
the work of her own hands.
" Oh, girls," cried Lulu, " I'm delighted to see
you ! It's a surprise party to me. I wanted a
party ever so much, but I didn't know I was
going to have it."
" But Eva and I knew," said Rosie, " it was
told us as a great secret, and we've been in ever
such a hurry to see how surprised and glad
The weather was delightful, the grounds were
looking very lovely and inviting, every one pre-
ferred them to the house, and the day was spent
in out of door sports, in some of which the cap-
tain joined, Max taking part also.
At dinner-time a table was set in a beautiful
grove not far from the dwelling and spread
with abundance of dainty and delicious viands,
the children being unanimously of the opinion
that it would be far pleasanter to eat there than
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN. 230
When their appetites had been fully satisfied,
the captain gathered them about him in the
shade of a beautiful magnolia, and entertained
them with stories of seafaring life and foreign^
Then their sports were renewed.
They went into the bit of woods belonging
to the estate and played hide and seek, and Poor
Puss Wants a Corner among the trees.
The captain and Violet had left them for a
time, having been summoned to the house to
receive some callers, when a serious accident
Rosie gave a sudden, piercing shriek, and
cried out that a rattlesnake had bitten her. At
the same instant several of the girls and Max
also saw it gliding away through the grass. He
seized a large stone, ran after and attacked it,
while the frightened girls gathered round Rosie
asking, " Where, where are you bitten ? "
" On my ankle ! " she cried. " Oh ! oh ! what
shall I do ? Oh, somebody run to the house
and ask them to send for Cousin Arthur as
quick as they can. But I'll die before they can
get him here ! So it's no use."
But before her sentence was half finished sev-
eral of them were flying toward the mansion.
Lulu was not one of them. She had dropped
down on her knees beside Rosie, who was now
seated on the grass, crying and wringing heff
240 ELSIE'S FRIENDS A T WOODB URN.
hands. Without a word she rapidly tore off
Rosie's slipper and stocking, tied a handker-
chief tightly round her leg, just above the
wound, then put her lips to it and sucked away
" Oh, Lu, Lu, don't ! It'll kill you ! " cried
Grace, in horror.
" Oh, Lu, how good in you ! But how can
you bear to do it ? " sobbed Rosie.
But Lulu did not stop to answer either of
Meantime the cries and screams of the fright-
ened girls had brought everybody running to
see what was amiss. Among them was Dr.
Arthur Conly himself.
He was a frequent visitor to Woodburn, being
strongly attached to his Cousin Violet, a great
admirer of the captain, and quite fond of the
children, and had stopped in passing but a
moment before the alarm.
" A rattlesnake ! a rattlesnake ! it has bitten
Rosie ! " was the terrible announcement of the
girls whom he and the captain met on the
threshold, and both gentlemen hastened at the
top of their speed in the direction of the woods,
guided to the sjDot by the continued cries of the
children there, and knowing that the least delay
might prove fatal.
They found Lulu still sucking the wound.
** Brave girl ! It is the best thing that could
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODB URN. 241
possibly have been done ! " exclaimed the doc-
tor. " I trust and believe that you have saved
Max came panting up. " We've killed it ! "
he said. "Ajax came to my assistance with
a pitchfork ! Oh, Rosie, are you badly
hurt ? "
Rosie only sobbed in reply. She was thor-
oughly frightened. She didn't want to die, and
was very much afraid the bite might prove
" I think you may stop now. Lulu," the doctor
said, and the little girl rose from her knees look-
ing very white and faint.
Her father caught her in his arms and carried
her away to a rustic seat a few yards distant,
while the doctor took charge of Rosie.
" Papa, I feel very — very — sick," faltered
Lulu, laying her head on his shoulder. " Do you
think— it'll kill me?" ;
" No, my dear, brave darling," he answered, \
in moved tones ; " the poison does no harm
taken into the stomach, although it is deadly
when it gets into the blood. I think you are
sick from the mere thought of having swallowed
it. But how did you come to know so well just
what to do ? "
" I read it once, papa, and I thought, now
I'll remember that, because Gracie or Max
might get bitten, and though I'd hate dread-
S42 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBJTBX
fully, dreadfully to do it, I'd be glad to save
" My own darling ! my dear, brave, self -for-
getful little daughter ! " he said, holding her
close to his heart, " you have made your father
a proud and happy man to-day ! proud and glad
that his dear little girl has shown such presence
of mind and willingness to sacrifice herself for
another ! "
She looked up with a flash of exceeding joy
in her eyes, then dropping her head on his
ghoulder again, burst into a perfect storm of
tears and sobs.
He knew it was simply the reaction from the
excitement of what she had just gone through,
and merely continued to hold her in a close
embrace, soothing her with words of love and
Then when she had grown comparatively
calm, he half led, half carried her back to the
house and made her lie down on a sofa.
Rosie had been carried to an upper room, put
to bed, and was being cared for by the doctor,
Violet and her mother, who had just come to
Woodburn, intending to spend the evening and
take Rosie home, and had been met at the en-
trance with the news of the little girl's injury.
Grace had followed her father and was close
Jbeside him when he laid Lulu down.
** Papa," she sobbed, " is — is Lu hurt too ?
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOOBBURK. 24^
Oh, I was afraid she'd be killed doing that for
Rosie ! "
" No, pet ; she is not hurt," he answered^
drawing the little weeper into his arms.
" Then what makes her look so white ? "
" She feels a little sick ; but will get over it
very soon, I hope. Come in, my dears," seeing
the other young guests gathered about the door.
"This seems an unfortunate ending to your,
day's pleasure." I
They came in very quietly, looking sober and
subdued, asking how Lulu was, and receiving
the same reply he had given to Gracie.
" Where is Max ? " asked the captain, but
" I think it was very brave in him to run after
that snake and kill it," remarked Maud Dins-
Just then the boy appeared at the door. He
was half breathless with excitement.
" The men have found another, and killed it,
too," he announced.
" Ah, I am glad to hear it ! " said his father %
" it was doubtless the mate of the first one, and
now we may hope we will be troubled with no
more of them."
" What's the matter with you. Lulu ? you
weren't bitten too, were you ? " asked Max in
sudden alarm, as he caught sight of the pale face
on the sofa pillow.
244 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBK
" No," said his father ; and several young
voices began an eager recital of what she had
■done for Rosie.
Max's eyes sparkled. " I'm proud of you,
Xu," he said, going to the side of her couch.
" 'Twasn't much ; anybody could have done
it," she returned, coloring and looking embar-
" But 'tisn't everybody that would," Max said.
-** So dreadfully disagreeable ; not to say dan-
gerous. Wasn't it dangerous, papa ? "
" No ; unless she had a scratch or sore about
her mouth ; which I think she has not," with a
somewhat startled, anxious look at Lulu.
" No, papa ; not a bit," she said, and his
countenance expressed relief.
" I must go and inquire about Rosie," he said,
rising and turning to leave the room. " But I
shall be back again in a few minutes," he added,
catching an entreating look from Lulu.
When he returned Yiolet was with him. She
went quickly to Lulu's couch, and bending down
over her kissed her several times, saying in
tremulous tones, " You dear, dear child ; how
brave and self forgetful you were ! We all
think you have saved Rosie's life ; the doctor
has strong hopes that she will get over it."
" I am so glad to have been able to do it,
Mamma Vi," returned Lulu, putting her arms
affectionately round Violet's neck.
ELSIE '8 FRIENDS A T WOODB UBK 245
There was no more merry-making for that
day. Tea was ready presently, and shortly after
leaving the table all the young guests, except
Kosie and Eva, took their departure. Max, Eva,
Lulu and Grace spent a quiet evening together,
and rather wearied with the excitement of the
day, were ready to go early to bed.
Grace being the feeblest, was the most weary
of all. Her father carried her up the stairs and
into her room ; nor did he leave her till her
head rested on her pillow, and the sweet blue
eyes had closed in sleep.
He was just turning to go, when the door
leading into the children's sitting-room softly
opened, and Lulu looked up at him with en-
He answered the look with a smile and nod of
acquiescence, as he moved noiselessly across the
floor, in her direction.
" You know I could never do without my
good-night-talk on my birthday, dear papa,"
she said, as he joined her, and, taking possession
of an easy chair, drew her to his knee.
" No, certainly not," he answered, caressing:
her. " I planned to make it a happy day to
you, my darling, but could not foresee the dan-
ger that met you and your mates in the wood."^
" No, papa, and it was a very happy day till
then. Oh, I am sorry for poor Rosie ! "
** So am T ; yet feel most thankf u' that th^
246 ELSIE'S FRIEKDJS AT WOODBURIT,
bitten one was not either of ray iDeloverl chil-
dren. I think, too, that Rosie will recover, and
at some not very distan* day be none the worse
for what has occurred.
" And the presence of mind, the promptness
to act in an emergency, and the unselfish kind-
ness shown by my dear eldest daughter, are a
very great gratification to me."
" Papa," she said, her eyes shining with joy,
'^ it is sweeter than the sweetest music to hear
such words from you."
He caressed her silently for a moment. Then
he said, " You have made a good beginning of
this new year of yours. I hope, my darling,
you will go on being cheerful, pleasant-tempered
and obedient, and doing any and every noble,
unselfish deed for which you may have oppor-
tunity. These anniversaries are milestones on
the road we are traveling, and at each one we
should make a determined effort to press for-
ward with redoubled energy towards the goal
the Bible sets before us ; to forsake evil ways,
and to seek to be the children of God, honoring
and serving him more and more faithfully as we
draw nearer and nearer our journey's end.
* The path of the just is as the shining light that
ghineth more and more unto the perfect day ! '
Ah, my dear child, the longing desire of mjr
heart is to see you treading that path ."
** Grandma Elsie " sat by the bedside gaz-
ing with much motherly solicitude upon the
sleeping face of her youngest daughter. She
had sat thus for hours, sending up silent peti-
tions on the child's behalf, till now night's
shadows had fled away, the sun had risen above
the tree tops, and a gentle breeze was stirring
the lace curtains at the windows and wafting
through the room delicious scents from the gar-
Presently Rosie moved slightly, then opened
her eyes and looked np into the sweet face bend-
ing over her.
"Mamma, I — I'm not going to die?" she
queried in low, tremulous tones.
' " I trust not ; Cousin Arthur thinks the dan-
ger is past. My darling, thank God, as your
mother does, for your spared life, and oh, devote
it to his service."
" I — I mean to, mamma. It was Lulu — Lulu
whom I have sometimes treated so unkindly —
who saved my life." With the words tears
rolled down Rosie's cheeks. " Mamma, I want
to see and thank her."
248 ELSTE'S FRIENDS A T WOODS URK
" I will ask her to come to you after awhile,"
Elsie said. "I think she has not eaten her
breakfast yet. It is early, and I have not heard
There was a gentle tap at the door. Violet
bad come to ask how her young sister was.
Lulu was with her on the same errand.
" Better ; I trust the danger is past,'*
Grandma Elsie said. " Come in and speak to
her. Lulu, dear child, how shall I ever thank
you ? Cousin Arthur says w^e owe Rosie's life
" I owe you a great deal mo^e, dear Grandma
Elsie," responded the little girl, returning
with ardent affection the warm embrace Mrs»
Travilla had given her along wdth her grateful
" Lu," called Rosie feebly from the bed, " O
Lu, come here, won't you ? "
Lulu complied at once, saying, " I'm ever so
glad you are better, Rosie."
" If it hadn't been for you I'd have been dead
before this," returned Rosie with a burst of
tears. " And O, Lu, I didn't deserve it of you.
I want to kiss you, if you'll let me."
*' Of course I will," Lulu answered, bending
down to give and receive a caress.
Rosie put her arms round Lulu's neck, sob-
bing, " I haven't always been kind to you, Lu.
please say that you forgive me."
ELSIE* 8 FRIENDS A T WOODB URN. 249
" Indeed I do ; but don't let us talk any more
about it. I'm ever so glad to have had a chance
to do you a kindness, though it wasn't so very
much after all."
" Yes, yes, it was ! I don't believe I could
have done it for anybody ; and it saved my
life. I love you dearly now, Lu, and I always
shall. I've been a real Pharisee in my feelings
toward you, but now I know and acknowledge
that you are far better and nobler than I."
" No, no," said Lulu, " you are not passionate
or wilful as I am. I wish I had as good a tem-
per as yours."
"You are both dear and lovable children,"
interposed Grandma Elsie ; " both have faults,
and both virtues. We all love you both, and
hope that hereafter there will be no lack of
affection between you. But Rosie must not talk
any more now."
*' Then I'll run away, Grandma Elsie, till I'm
told Rosie is able to see me again," said Lulu,
and hastened from the room.
In the hall she met Evelyn in a state of un-
" Oh, Lu ! " she exclaimed, " what do you sup-
pose happened at Fairview, last night ? I have
just had a note from Uncle Lester. He says a
second little boy has come to them and they call
iiim Eric, for my dear father. Isn't it nice in
25 ELSIE'S FRIENDS A T WOODS URIT.
"Oh, another baby?" cried Lulu. "That's
nice ! Eric's a pretty name too ; and your
father was Uncle Lester's brother. I should
think they would call the baby for him."
"I wonder," pursued Evelyn, "if Grandma
Elsie and Aunt Vi have heard the news ? '*
" I don't believe they have," said Lulu, " but
the breakfast bell rang a minute ago and here
they come. So you can tell them."
" No," said Evelyn, " Grandpa Dinsmore and
the doctor are coming up the stairs and they
will tell them. Let's wait a minute, and see
how they look when they hear it."
They stood aside as the gentlemen passed
with a pleasant "Good morning, little girls,"
then lingered to witness the interview betweea
them and the ladies.
Mr. Dinsmore kissed his daughter and grand-
daughter, inquiring how Rosie was.
The doctor shook hands with both, saying,
** We bring you pleasant tidings," and signed to
his uncle to give them.
" Elsie, my dear daughter," the old gentleman
said with a smile, " you have a second grandson^
I a second great-grandson."
"Ah, another treasure ! another cause for
gratitude to the Giver of all good ! " she
exclaimed. "And Elsie? is she doing
** As well as possible," answered the doctor^
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBN. 251
** and the child is as fine a little fellow as ever
Both Eva and Rosie stayed the week ont at
Woodburn, the captain made it a holiday time
to all his children, and all enjoyed themselves
very much in a quiet way.
Lulu and Grace were urgently invited to make
a return visit to both Ion and Fairview, and
their father gave permission for the next week
to be spent by them at the former place, partly
promising too, that some weeks later Ihey
should be allowed to pay a visit of equal length
to the other, if they wished.
Grace was doubtful about wanting to go,
but Lulu seemed delighted with the prospect.
But something happened to prevent her from
going to Ion at the appointed time.
On the morning of that day the captain c&me
to the children's sitting-room with a face even
brighter and happier than its wont.
" Lulu," he said, when he had kissed his little
girls good-morning, " go up to Max's door and
tell him I want him. He will find me here ;
but if he is not quite ready for breakfast, I will
wait a little for him."
Lulu obeyed, wonderingly, but asking no
questions, and returned almost immediately,
bringing Max with her.
The captain held out his hand to his son with
H pleasant " Good-morning, my boy."
252 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOOBBUUm
" Good-morning, papa," returned Max, put'
ting his hand into that of his father, and look-
ing up into his face inquiringly and with some
" Lu said you wanted me."
" Yes," the captain said. " I want you all t0
come with me to the nursery," and taking a
hand of each of the little girls he led the way,
Max following, and all three wondering what it
Little Elsie lay sleeping in her crib, but an-
other crib was there, and to that the captain
went, and, turning down the cover with gentle
hand, brought to view a tiny pink head and face,
and doubled up fist.
"Here, Max," he said with a joyous smile,
"is a brother for you, for Lulu and Gracie,
too," he added, glancing from one to the
"I've a warm welcome for him," laughed
Max, bending down to look more closely at the
tiny face ; " you couldn't have given me a
present I'd like better, papa. But dare a fellow
touch the little chap ? "
" Better not, just yet," said his father. " But
what have his sisters to say about him ? " turning
" I'm ever so glad to see him," said Grace.
" He's a darling, and I mean to love him dear*
ly," said Lulu.
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN, 253
There was no cloud on her brow as at the news
of Elsie's birth ; no fear in her heart that her
father would love her less for the advent of
this new treasure.
" Papa," asked Grace, " are you just as much
his father as ours ? "
" Just as much, daughter, no more no less,'*
answered the captain, laying his hand tenderly
on her head, and smiling down into her eyes.
" So now we have two brothers ; that's nice ! '*
she remarked with satisfaction.
" I have but one," said Max.
" V¥e will go down to breakfast now," said
the captain, carefully covering up the babe
again ; " I directed that the bell should not be
rung for fear of disturbing your mamma, who
is asleep," and he led the way from the room,
moving with care to make no noise.
" How strange it seems without mamma,"
remarked Grace as they took their places at the
" O papa," cried Lulu, " mayn't I sit in Mam-
ma Vi's place and pour the coffee ? "
" You may try," he said, smiling kindly upon
her ; " that post of honor should be yours, as my
eldest daughter, when there is no lady relative
present. Grandma Elsie is in the house, but
lying down just now, for a little rest and sleep."
Lulu felt very proud of the permission and
acquitted herself of the duties of her new posi-
254 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK
tion quite to her own and her father's satisfac*
tion. He praised her warmly.
She colored with pleasure, then with a wistful
look into his eyes, asked :
" Are we to go to Ion to-day, papa, just the
same as if Mamma Vi hadn't been taken sick ? '^
" Yes, if you want to," he said ; " her illness
need make no difference."
" But won't you be lonely without us, papa ? '*
" iN'o doubt I shall miss my dear little daugh-
ters," he replied, with an affectionate look first
at her, then at Gracie, '^but it will give me
much pleasure to think that you are enjoying
" I'd rather stay at home if you need me,
" I quite appreciate the offer, dear child," he
said, " but I shall do very well, and perhaps en-
joy you all the more when you get back ; so go
and enjoy yourself."
" I don't believe you need worry about papa
being lonely without you and Gracie, Lu," re- !
marked Max, a little teasmgly. *' You forget
that he will still have more than half his chil-
dren at home, at least, when I am here."
" Why, so he will ! " she exclaimed, as if struck
by a new and not altogether pleasant thought.
"But the others are only babies ! "
" The little fellow won't amount to much for
company, I suppose," laughed Max, " but Elsie
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN. 255-
can afford one a great deal of sport somttimes^
can't she, papa ? "
" Yes," answered the captain. Then to Lulu,
" A week will soon pass to an old man like youf
father, my child."
" Papa, you're not old at all ! I won't have
you called old ? " she cried indignantly.
He laughed at that. " All the same, a week
will be but a short time to me," he said.
" Papa, what is our new brother's name ? "
" Edward, for his mother's father."
" Another little Ned," remarked Max.
" You are not an only son any longer, Maxie,**
" Well, what need I care for that ? " returned
the lad. " Papa won't prize me any the less ;
and Pve always coveted a brother."
"But you're so much older that he won't be
any company for you," pursued Lulu, as if bent
on making Max discontented and jealous.
"No," sighed Max, putting on a long face,s
" I presume he'll regard me as quite an old man
when he's old enough to think any thing about
such matters. But I mean to be very good to
the little chap, any way, and see that no big
fellow imposes on him," he added brightening, .
" I trust you will be a father to him, Max, in
case any thing happens to me," said the captai%,
with grave earnestness.
356 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK.
*' Yes, sir ; I'll do the very best I can," re-
turned Max, catching his father's tone.
How those two sentences came back to the
boy an hour later, as if they had been pro-
The little girls, especially Lulu, had built
great expectations upon this proposed visit to
Ion : it was their old home, and a beautiful
Rosie was now disposed to be very kind ;
Evelyn was to be her guest also for the week.
She had lately received a pony from her uncle
and aunt, and would have it with her, riding it
from Fairview. Lulu and Gracie were to have
theirs with them, also ; so that each of the four
little girls would be provided with a steed of
her own, and they had planned to take a num-
ber of pleasant rides with Max as their
He would not be at Ion all the time, but pro-
posed to have his pony carry him over every
day that he might give the girls the benefit of
bis protecting care when needed. He felt him-
self almost a man in looking forward to taking
BO great a responsibility.
Immediately after family worship the captaia
s&id cheerily to the children :
"You may get yourselves ready now, my
dears. I am going to ride over to Union, but
will be back within an hour if nothing happeni
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN, 25^
to prevent, and will then take you to Ion my*
"I have no preparationw to make for Ion,
papa," said Max ; " mayn't I ride Rex into the
village along with you ? "
" I shall be glad of your company, my boy,"
was the kindly reply, and they went out to the
Ajax was just leading up Rex and a larger
horse, both ready saddled and bridled. The
latter was a fiery steed, not yet well-broken, a
" You seem to have misunderstood your orders
to-day, Ajax," remarked his master with some
sternness. *' I did not intend to ride this horse
this morning, but bade you saddle Lightfoot,
However, as I am in some haste, I will ride
Thunderer into the village ; but see that you
have Lightfoot ready for me on my return, for
this fellow would not be safe to go with the
young ladies on their ponies."
With the last word he sprang into the sad-
dle, but the horse instantly began to rear and
plunge in a frightful manner, and in another
moment the captain was lying motionless on the
ground, while Thunderer dashed with lightning
gpeed across the lawn, cleared the hedge at a
bound, and disappeared from sight.
Max, who had not yet mounted his pony, ran
to his father, and throwing himself on the grass
258 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOOBBURN,
Inside him, lifted his head, rested it on his knee,
and began trying to loosen his necktie.
" The doctor ! " he gasped, addressing the
group of frightened servants gathered around,
" he's up-stairs. Call him ; but don't let Mamma
Ti know. It would kill her."
But he had hardly spoken before the doctor
was at his side ; Lulu too, both having seen the
accident from the upper windows.
The captain's eyes were closed ; he neither
moved nor spoke, and scarcely seemed to
breathe. Both Max and Lulu thought him
dead, and though they spoke not a word,
nor made any outcry, their faces were full of
" He lives," Arthur hastened to say ; " but the
fall has stunned him."
Under his direction the captain was gently
lifted from the ground, carried into one of the
lower rooms of the mansion, and laid upon a
couch, while Christine came hurrying in, bring-
ing restoratives and whatever else seemed likely
to be needed.
Arthur ordered every one else out of the
room ; but Max and Lulu, who had stationed
themselves at the foot of the couch, where they
could watch their father's face, stood still with
Buch entreating looks, that he had not the heart
to enforce his order so far as they were con-
ELSIE'S FBIENDS AT WOODBTIBN, 259
** You two may stay if you will be perfectly
quiet and still," he said.
Max had his anus about his sister, and she
was clinging to him, trembling with grief and
affright, but uttering no sound.
" We will, doctor," the boy promised in a
hoarse whisper. " Only let us stay where we
can see him."
The next minute the captain sighed deeply,
opened his eyes, and asked quite in his natural
voice, " What has happened ? "
" You were thrown," replied Arthur, "stunned
to insensibility. I hope that may be all. How
do you feel ? Any pain anywhere ? "
" Yes ; a good deal in my ankle ; that old
hurt, you know."
The doctor examined it. " It seems to have
had a terrible wrench," he said. " You are in
for fully six weeks of quietude. I don't think
I'll allow you to so much as move about with a
crutch before the end of that time."
" A pretty hard sentence that, doctor," replied
the patient between a smile and a sigh.
" We may be thankful if that is all," Arthur
said, adding something in a lower tone about
the possibility of internal injury.
" You can not tell yet ? " was the response iu
an enquiring tone.
" Not certainly ; yet I am strongly in hopes
time will prove that there has been nothing more
260 ELSIE' 8 FRIENDS A T WOODS UBK
serious than the wrench of the ankle and the jar
to the whole system — quite enough, to be sure."
" Quite ! Ah, Max and Lulu," as his eye fell
upon them. " What, crying, my dear children ?
You should rather rejoice that your father is
alive and able to speak to you."
" But you are in pain, papa," sobbed Lulu.
" Oh, I wish I could help you to bear it ! "
" Ah, my darling, I shall expect a good deal
of help from you and the rest while serving out
the doctor's hard sentence," he said, with an
attempt at pleasantry that was almost a failure,
his features contracting with pain as he spoke.
"No more talking for the present," said
" My wife — does she know ? Keep this from
her ae long as you can," said the captain.
" Of course," returned the doctor ; " but it
will not be possible to conceal from her that
something has happened to you. I hope to be
able to tell her shortly that it is nothing more
serious than a sprained ankle."
" Max, you may take your sisters to Ion, if — "
began the captain, turning his eyes on his son.
But Lulu interrupted with an earnest protest,
** O papa, please don't say we must go I 1
can't bear to ! I want to stay at home and
nurse you ! "
" So you shall, dear child ; but go now and
take the air for awhile.'*
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURX. 261
" Yes," said the doctor, who was busily en«
gaged in dressing the wounded limb ; " you
three may as well ride over to Ion with the
"And come back as soon as you please,"
added their father. " Tell Gracie not to be dis-
tressed ; papa is not nearly so badly hurt as he
might have been."
" Oh, please let me stay right here beside you,
papa," pleaded Lulu.
" No, Lu," said Dr. Conly, with mingled au-
thority and playfulness. " I shall not allow you
to be installed as nurse here, unless you hold
yourself in readiness to obey orders ; and I
know the captain will agree with me that you
must take exercise in the open air every day."
" Certainly she must," her father assented.
Then turning to Max, " My son, I shall have
to entrust my errand to the village to you ; you
know what it was. Take your sisters to Ion
first, then do your errand, and call for them as
you come back."
" Yes, sir ; I will," answered the lad proinptly,
moving toward the door as he spoke.
Lulu was about to accompany him, but turned
suddenly, sprang past the doctor, and dropping
on her knees by the side of the couch, seized
her father's hand, and lifting it to her lips,
kissed it with passionate fervor.
" My little girl's love is a great comfort to
262 ELSIE S FRIENDS AT WOOBBUBK
me," lie said in a low tone ; " but go now, dar-
ling. You may come to me again wlien you
return from Ion ; unless the doctor forbids."
" Which I think the doctor will not," said
Arthur. " Now run away like a good child."
Max found Grace in the hall crying as if her
heart would break.
" Oh, Maxie, tell me 'bout papa ! " she sobbed ;
^'is he — is he 'most — 'most killed ?"
** No, Gracie ; he knows every thing, and is
able to talk ; but his ankle is badly hurt and
pains him a good deal," answered Max, speak-
ing as cheerfully as he could, to relieve the fears
of his little sister.
" Oh, can I go and see him ? " she asked.
" No, not just now ; the doctor is dressing his
ankle, and papa says we must \ide out for air
and exercise, go over to Ion for just a little
while, and when we come back, I think they'll
let you see him."
At this moment Lulu join^^, ^hem. " Don't
cry, Gracie, dear," she entreated, taking her in
her arms. " You and I are going to nurse papa
and make him well again."
" You may as well include me in that ; I'm
the eldest," said Max. " "We will all three do
every thing we can for him. Now go and get
your things on — the ponies are at the door wait-
ing — and we'll ride over to Ion at once. That's
papa's orders, and I know he would say the first
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBWHK 268
and best thing is to be obedient, if we want t«
make him happy and help him to get well."
" Yes, we will," said Grace. " But oh," she
sobbed, " it's so very dreadful that papa is hurt
" But it might have been a great deal worse,
Gracie," said her brother, with a tremble in his
voice. " I thought at first that papa was dead ;
he was so still and white, and didn't know any
thing at all."
" Max," exclaimed Lulu, sobbing bitterly as
she spoke, " I wish you'd take your gun along;
and if we meet Thunderer shoot him right down
" Why no, Lu ! I wouldn't dare do such a
thing without papa's leave ; the horse belongs
to him and is worth a great deal of money ; so
I wouldn't have any right to kill him. Beside,
pfipa has forbidden me ever to handle my gun
:vhen you girls are by : because accidents with
firearms happen so often, even when they're in
the hands of men."
" Well, I just hope he's broken his neck before
this, jumping a hedge or something," cried Lulu
fiercely. " Come, Gracie, we'll go up-stairs now
and put on our hats and habits."
A MESSENGER had been dispatched early that
morning from Woodburn to Ion with the news
of the arrival of Violet's son ; then Zoe and Rosie
had ridden over to Fairview with the tidings,
and brought Evelyn back with them.
They were all three on the veranda nowj
waiting and watching for the coming of Captain
Raymond, or Max with Lulu and Grace.
" What on earth can be keeping them ? "
exclaimed Rosie at length. " They must be
greatly taken up with that new-comer — my sec-
ond nephew. How nice and funny it seemed at
first to be an aunt ! but it's quite an old story
" And I can never be one," remarked Eva,
between a sigh and a smile ; " though I con-
fess the thought never struck me before."
" Yes, you can ; the same way that I am,'*
Baid Zoe. " Marry a man with plenty of broth-
ers and sisters, and you'll likely find it easy
" Oh, here they come at last ! " cried Rosie,
** they're just turning in at the gates. It's Max
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOOBBURIT. 265
that's with them, not the captain. I never can
remember to call him brother, as he wants me
" Somehow they don't seem a very gay
party," remarked Evelyn as the trio drew near,
*'they don't call to us, or wave their hands or
'* No," said Zoe, examining them critically
through an opera glass, " there is something
dejected in the droop of their figures, and the
girls have certainly been crying. Can it be that
they are so distressed over the new arrival ? "
" No, I am sure not," exclaimed Eva. " How
could they ? a baby is the sweetest thing in the
world, I think ! "
" So do I," said Zoe. " And Max and Grace
were delighted when little Elsie was born."
" And Lu, I am sure, loves her dearly now,"
said Bosie. "No, it can't be that. Oh,"
with sudden affright, " what if Yi Is very ill ! "
and ste ran hastily down the steps just as the
ponies were reined in beside them.
" What's the matter ? " she asked breathlessly,
" why ^re you so late ? and what have you been
crying about? Oh, don't tell me that — that
any thing is very wrong with Vi ! "
" No ; the doctor says she's doing well,"
replied Max, alighting and beginning to assist
the now bitterly sobbing Grace from the saddle.
Lulu slipped easily from hers to the ground.
266 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK
"It's papa," slie said tremulously, and with
streaming eyes, " Thunderer threw him, and he's
badly hurt. We're not going to stay ; we want
to nurse him ourselves ; but he said we must
come and tell you all about it, and then we
could come back."
They had all three come up into the veranda
by this time; Mr. and Mrs. Dinsmore had joined
the little group, and questions and condolences
and exclamations of sorrow and dismay were
poured out in rapid succession.
" How did it happen ? Where is he injured ?
What does the doctor say ? "
" Oh, the dear, good captain ! " cried Zoe, " it
does seem too bad it should have happened to
" I'm very fond of him, and as sorry as I can
be for him and Vi too ; it'll most kill her not to
be able to go to him and nurse him," said
But Evelyn only clasped Lulu in her arms and
wept with her.
"I really do hope — I think the doctor does
too" — said Max, when the excitement had
calmed down a little, *' that papa has received
no permanent injury, though he'll have to suffer
a good deal for weeks with that wrenched
ankle. I must go on to the village now," h&
added, " and I am to call for my sisters as I com^
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBN. 267
With that he bowed a polite adieu, ran down
the steps, mounted his pony and rode away.
" Max is growing very manly," remarked Zoe,
gazing admiringly after him ; " quite the gen-
tleman ; but he always was that ever since I
have known him."
Grandma Rose took the weeping Grace into
her kind arms. " You are quite worn out with
your grief, dearie," she said, "you must lie
down and rest till Max comes for you again,"
and she led her into the house.
Evelyn had drawn Lulu to a seat, and with
her arm round her waist, her hand clasping
hers, was trying to comfort her.
" Don't cry, dear Lu," she said, " your father
is left to you, and he is brave and patient, and
will bear his pain well, while it will be such
sweet work to wait on him and nurse him."
" Yes, indeed it will," said Lulu, wiping her
eyes. " Oh, if I could only bear the pain for
"He wouldn't let you if you could," said
" No, not he," said Zoe ; " he's quite too fond
of his children not to prefer suffering himself,
rather than to let them suffer."
" That is quite true, I know," assented Lulu.
Then with a sigh, " We were all so happy this
morning, before — before papa's accident ; so
glad over the new baby ; I hardly wanted to
268 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOOBBURN.
come away — though I had looked forward so to
this visit and expected such a pleasant time and
BO much fun — and I tried to get papa to say he
needed me at home to keep him from being
lonely, with Mamma Vi sick, but he wouldn't ;
he didn't want either Gracie or me to be disap-
" But can't you come anyhow ? " asked Rosie,
hospitably ; " there are plenty of people there
to nurse and wait on your papa."
" O Rosie, I couldn't bear to be away from
him when he is suffering ! And I'm 'most sure
he'd rather have me to wait on him than any
body else (I don't mean Mamma Vi, of course) ;
but than Christine, or Alma, or any of the ser-
vants. I thank you, all the same, though, for
your kindness in asking me."
*' You needn't," Rosie returned ; " it's almost
pure selfishness ; for I expected to enjoy your
company very much."
At that Lulu's face lighted up with pleasure
for the moment ; it was so nice, she thought^
that at last Rosie had become really fond of her.
Max wasted no time in doing his errand, and
was back again at Ion sooner than any one ex-
pected to see him ; but Lulu and Grace were
ready and eager to go home.
On their arrival at Woodburn, the doctor
came out to help them dismount, and with so
cheerful a face that their hopes rose.
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN. 269
" How is papa ? May we go to him ? " they
" Doing very well ; there's not much amisa
with him, I think, except the sprained ankle,
and a brave, patient man, such as he, will not
make much of that. Yes, you may go to him.
If you behave well, as I have no doubt you
will, your presence will be a comfort rather
than an injury," replied the doctor ; then added,
laughingly, " Odd as it may seem, he is cer-
tainly very fond of you all."
Hardly waiting to hear the end of the sen-
tence, they hastened to avail themselves of the
The captain was in great pain, but lay with
his eyes on the door, his ears attentive for the
sound of childish footsteps ; and as his three
childi-en appeared at the threshold, his face
lighted up with a welcoming smile.
" Ah, my darlings, I am glad to see you," he
said ; " come to me, all of you," extending his
hand, " I want a kiss and a loving word from
They waited for no second invitation, but
ran to him, put their arms about him, half-
smothered him with caresses, and with mingled
smiles and tears, poured out assurances of their
ardent love and sympathy in his sufferings.
" Ah ! " he said, noting the traces of tears
on their cheeks and about their " eyes, it grieves
270 ELSIE'S FRIENDS A T WOODS URN,
me to see how your young hearts have been
wrung on vny account ! Gracie, pet, you look
worn out. Max, my son, help her up-stairs to
her room, and she must lie down and rest till
" Lulu, daughter, you may go along, change
your riding-habit for a house-dress, and when
you have seen Gracie co:nfortably established
in her bed, come back and be papa's little-
"Max, when Gracie needs you no longer,
come and report to me about the errand I
trusted to you."
"Yes, sir, I will," returned Max, .. iking
Grace's hand and leading her away, while Lulu
lingered a moment to give their father another
hug and kiss, saying joyfully, " Thank you ever
so much, dear papa ! I'm so glad I may be
your little nurse ! I shall just love to wait on
you and do every thing I can to help you to
forget your pain. O papa, if I could only
bear it for you ! "
"My dear, loving little daughter," he said,
with emotion, and holding her in a close em-
brace, " it would be far worse to me to see you
suffer than to bear the pain myself. Don't be
so distressed for me, my child, it is no more
than I can very well bear ; especially remem-
bering those sweet Bible words : * We know that
all things work together for good to them that
SLSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK 271
love God,' and that my kind heavenly Father
will not suffer me to have one pang that is
not needed to make me fit to dwell with him at
"Papa," she said, gazing wonderingly into
his eyes, " it does seem to me that you are as
good as you can be now, so I don't see why you
should ever have any pain or trouble at all."
" * The Lord seeth not as man seeth ; for
man looketh on the outward appearance, but
the Lord looketh on the heart,' " he quoted.
"My little daughter can't see her father's
heart, but God does, and though he sees there
love to him and an earnest desire to live to his
honor and glory, he sees also remains of the old
evil nature born in us all, and that has to be
taken entirely away before we can be fit for
heaven ; so in his great love and kindness he
sends trouble and trial to root it out.
" ' Whom the Lord loveth he correcteth ; even
as father the son in whom he delighteth.' "
" Or the daughter," murmured Lulu thought-
fully ; " yes, I see how it is that you punish me
to cure me of my faults, even though you love
me very much."
^^ Because I love you very much," he cor-
rected. "It would often be much easier, and
more agreeable to me to let them pass unno-
ticed. But go now, my child ; Gracie will be
272 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURX
She had scarcely gone when Max returned,
and sitting down by his father's side, proceeded
to give a satisfactory report of what he had
been doing in the village.
There were some improvements in progress
on the estate to which the captain strongly
desired to give personal oversight ; but his in-
juries now made this impossible, unless by
bringing them to a halt till he should be able to
get about again.
Fortunately, however, he had all along talked
freely with Max, of his plans and purposes, giv-
ing the lad a thorough understanding of them ;
for Max was a bright boy quite capable of com-
prehending his father's explanations ; also it
was very delightful to him to be taken into that
father's confidence, and treated by him as one
whose opinion was worth having, and who was
to some extent a joint proprietor with himself.
" Max," said the captain, with a look of fath-
erly pride and confidence that made the boy's
heart throb with pleasure, " you will have to be
my man of business now, reporting the progress
of the workmen to me, taking my orders and
seeing that they are obeyed."
" Will you trust me, papa ? " cried the boy
delightedly. " I'm sure it's very good in you !
*' I am very glad to have a son whom I can
trust," was the smiling, kindly rejoinder. "I
have entire confidence in you, and as you are
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBN. 27S
more fully acquainted with my plans and
wishes than any one else, you are the very one
I prefer before all others, to see them carried
He then went on to give some directions in
regard to the work for that day.
Before he had finished, both the doctor and
Lulu had returned to the room.
" Attending to affairs in spite of every thing,
captain ? " said the doctor. " I should have
supposed you were suffering enough with that
injured ankle to forget all about the improve-
ments you are making on the place."
" I prefer to try to forget pain in interesting^
myself about something else," returned the
captain, suppressing a groan and forcing himself
to speak lightly.
Arthur was changing the dressing on the
wounded limb, Lulu standing beside her father,
with her hand in his, her eyes, full of love and
sympathy, fixed upon his face.
" Dear papa, are you in very much pain ? "
she asked. " Oh, I am so sorry for you ! I
wanted Max to take his gun and shoot Thun-
derer, but he wouldn't without your leave."
" Quite right," was the quick rejoinder. " By
the way, I had utterly forgotten the horse. Do
you know what has become of him ? "
" He jumped over the hedge and ran away,'*
374 ELSIE'S FRIEXIjS AT WOODBUBX
" But was pursued and brought back," added
Arthur : " is in hk stall in the stable now, some-
what quieted down by his race of several miles,
and the journey back again."
'•' Papa," cried Lulu vehemently, '• I wish you
would have him killed ; because he deserves it,
and I'm afraid he'll kill you some day, if you
don't- Doctor, don't von think it would be
*' Possibly your father may be a better judge
of that than either you or I, my little girl,'* was
the reply. '' I am inclined to suspect the groom
of being a worse culprit than the horse ; that
perhaps before being brought from the stable
Thunderer had been subjected to cruel and irri-
tating treatment which put him in a passion, and
led him to throw his rider without waiting
to make sure that it was he who was to
Lulu's heightened color ana downcast eyes
seemed to indicate that she suspected the doctor
of intending his remarks to have a personal
" Do horses get into passions ? " she asked
**They have feelirgs and tempers pretty
tnuch like human creatures," returned the doc-
tor, *•' and are c-ertainly more excusable than they
vhen indulging a fit of lage."
" Then I ought to have a good deal of charity
for Thunderer," remarked Lulu, with a jigK
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN. 275
" But, papa, I do hope you'll never mount him
again. Won't you promise not to ? "
" I promise not to for six weeks to come,"
answered the captain, laughingly, squeezing her
hand and looking fondly into her eyes. " Don't
you think she'll make a careful nurse, doctor ? "
" A capital one when she has gained experi-
Lulu's eyes sparkled.
"I mean to get that as fast as I can," she
BotJi gentlemen laughingly asked, " How ? "
" By nursing you, papa," she answered. " I
shall watch eyery thing the doctor and Christine
do for you, so that yery soon I'll be able to do
it for you myself."
" Is she not a dear child ? " her father said,
passing his arm around her as she stood by his
couch, and gazing in her face with eyes shining
with loye. " She gaye up the week of holiday
at Ion that she had been looking forward to for
so long, in order that she might wait upon and
comfort her father in his pain."
"Ah, it is an old saying that loye begets
love," the doctor remarked, smiling on her also,
" and I think an affectionate parent is apt to
have affectionate children."
" I don't deserve any praise for it," Lulu said,
though blushing with pleasure even as she
gpoke, " because I prefer to be here with papa,"
^76 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN,
"But a selfish child, who thought only of
pleasmg herself, would not prefer it," the doctor
said, regarding her approvingly.
"I want to begin my work at once," said
Lulu. " What can I do for you now, papa ? "
" You may Bring me a glass of ice-water and
a fan," he answered, and she obeyed with a
cheerful alacrity that proved the sincerity of
her professed desire to ^ something for him.
** You came from Violet's room just now ? '*
the captain said enquiringly to the doctor.
" Yes. She was sleeping and had been for
Bome hours ; knew nothing yet of your acci-
" That is well ; don't let her be uneasy about
" Not if I can help it," returned Arthur with
a slight smile ; " but she will of course miss you
soon, and demand a reason for your desertion of
her ; then what can be done better than to own
the truth ? "
" Nothing, certainly ; but make your report
of my condition as favorable as you can."
" I will do that, and I can say truly that there
is no reason to apprehend any thing worse for
either of you than an enforced separation for a
few weeks ; and that while in the same house
and almost near enough to carry on a conversa-
tion ; you can exchange messages every hour
in the day if you deem it desirable."
" And I can carry them for you, papa," said
Lulu, returning with the ice-water and fan.
" So you shall, daughter," he said, taking the
^78 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBK.
glass from lier hand ; and then as he returned
it, " bring me a writing desk, paper and pencil,
and I'll prepare one for you to take."
" And I may sit and fan you while you write
it, mayn't I ? "
" Yes ; I shall be glad to have you do so.'*
Grandma Elsie was watching over her daugh-
ter's slumbers, carefully guarding her from dis-
turbance, and especially from any intruder who
would bring the evil tidings of her husband's
At length Violet woke and looked up into
her mother's face with a bright, sweet smile.
^^ I feel very comfortable," she said. " I must
have slept a good while, have I not ? and how
kind in you, dearest mamma, to watch over me
60 tenderly. I fear you must be fatigued ; and
it strikes me you look a trifle weary and
troubled. Is any thing wrong ? " Then with a
quick glance round the room, " Where is my
husband ? "
" Down stairs."
" I wish he would come up ; please send him
word that I am awake and want to see him. He
will come up at once, I know."
Elsie bent down and kissed the pale cheek
before she answered.
" If you can spare me for a few minutes, I'll
go and tell him myself," she said, with playful
look and smile.
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN. 2V9
" But why not send a servant, mamma dear ?
I don't want you tiring yourself going up and
down on my errands."
" But I have a fancy for doing it this once ;
/ I've been sitting still a long while, and a little
exercise will be good for me."
With that she left the room.
She found the captain writing his note, the
doctor still with him.
" Yi is awake and asking for her husband,"
she said. " Arthur, will you come up and give
her as good a report as you can with truth ? "
" Certainly, my dear cousin ; and it need not
be so bad a one as to cause her any special
" And here is a report from the patient him-
self," remarked the captain, smilingly handing
a slip of paper to his mother-in-law. " Don't let
her be despondent over the enforced separation,
mother, remind her that it is at least a little
better than if I were on a voyage that would
keep us apart for six months or a year."
I " That should be a comforting reflection,"
Elsie said. " But you are suffering, captain ! "
as a sudden spasm of pain caused an involuntary
contraction of his brow.
" Well, yes," he replied, " but not more than
can be easily endured. Make as light of it as
you can to my dear wife."
They broke the news to Violet as gently as
280 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN,
possible, treating the matter as of as little con-
sequence as they conscientiously could, then
gave her the captain's note.
It was written in a cheerful, even gay strain,
that did much to remove her apprehensions.
He spoke of the morning's accident as some-
thing in the nature of a repetition of the mishap
that had been the means of bringing them into
intimate association for weeks, till they had
learned to know and love each other ; a con-
summation for which he at least, would have
cause to be grateful all his days.
" So there was a blessing in that love," he
concluded, " and let us hope there will be in this
Violet could not of course fail to be distressed
on her husband's account because of the pain
and weariness he must inevitably suffer, and
for herself that she must be so long deprived of
his dear companionship, but she would not allow
herself to fret ; no murmur or complaint escnped
her lips, and she vied with him in the cheerful-
ness and gayety of her messages and notes, when
she was well enough to obtain permission to
As to the captain, while thus deprived of the
society of his wife and tied down to a couch of
pain, he found the greatest solace in the com-
panionship, devoted affection and endearments
of his children.
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN, 281
Max came and went, doing his errands, con-
veying his orders to workmen and servants, and
•writing letters at his dictation. Grace hung
about him with her pretty, loving embraces, and
was always glad to do any little service in her
power ; little Elsie was brought to him for a
short daily visit ; but Lulu was his devoted
nurse, seldom absent from his side during the
clay, except to take her meals and the daily
exercise in the open air that he would not allow
her to omit.
It was a dear delight to her to wait upon
him, and to feel that she was necessary to his
When the worst was over and he was com^
paratively free from pain, he had the children
resume their studies, and heard their recitations
as he lay on his couch. Useful occupation
seemed to him the best panacea for pain and the
tedium of long confinement to the house ; hav-
ing his couch wheeled out to the shady veranda
being for weeks the only practicable change.
His wife's relatives were kind and attentive
to both her and him, making frequent friendly
calls and offers of service, but his chief depend-
ence for entertainment and constant, loving
attention, was upon his children.
He loved to have them gather about him at
all times, but especially in the evenings when
the day's duties and pleasures were over, and
382 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK
tell him what they had seen in their walks and
drives ; thus teaching them to observe and de-
scribe ; also he encouraged them to talk freely
of their thoughts and feelings ; so winning their
confidence, correcting their mistakes, and giving
instruction in a way that was pleasant to both
teacher and taught.
He thought much of their future in both this
world and the next, and how best he could pre-
pare tx^em to meet successfully life's trials, toils
and struggles, how to find and to do the work
intended for them, and often and often his heart
went up in prayer to God for grace and wisdom
to guide them aright.
Remembering the inspired declaration that
'* we must through much tribulation enter into
the kingdom of God," he did not ask for them
exemption from trials and troubles, though his
heart yearned over them at the thought of what
they might be called to endure ; but his request
for them was that when called to pass through
deep waters or fiery trials, they might ever find
the eternal God their refuge and underneath the
Everlasting Arms ; that through all their lives
they might prove good soldiers of Jesus Christ,
able and ready to endure hardness for him ; and
that they might be kept by the power of God
through faith unto salvation.
" My darlings," he would sometimes say, " I
would not have you of the number of those who
ELSIE'S FMIENDS AT WOODBURN. 283
seek first their own ease and gratification ; ' man's
chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him for-
ever''; make it the aim of your lives to know,
love and serve him ; to do his work and his will ;
to do all in your power to bring others to him ;
and he will take care of the rest/'
^' Papa, you love us very much ; don't you
want us to have easy, pleasant times ?" Grace
asked on one of these occasions.
''I do love you all very dearly, and I am
afraid that would be what I should choose for
you if the choice were left to me/' he answered ;
*' but it is not mine, and I rejoice that it is not ;
for God, our Heavenly Father, in whose hand
are all these things, loves you far better than I
do, and is infinite in wisdom ; he will choose for
you and never make a mistake."
''It makes me glad to think of that, papa,"
she sighed, creeping closer into his embrace, for
she was leaning against his couch, with his arm
round her; ''for I am not very strong, you
know, and when I hear about having to run a
race and fight a battle, it seems as if I could
never do it ; but Jesus will help me to do both,
won't he, papa ?"
" He will, dear child. He says : ' In me is
thine help.' ' Happy art thou, oh, Israel : who is
like unto thee, oh, people saved by the Lord,
the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of
thy excellency ? '
S84 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN.
" ' Our soul waiteth for the Lord : he is ooi
help and our shield. ' "
" Does every body have to run a race and fight
a battle to get to heaven, papa ? " queried Lulu.
" Yes, my child ; there is no escaping it : we
belong to a fallen race, and are all born into the
■world with a sinful nature that must be got rid
of before we can enter heaven. We would not
be happy in that holy place with that evil nature,
even could we gain admittance there uncleansed
from it. We have that to struggle against, and
put away, with the help of God, and by the
application of the blood of Christ, which
cleanseth from all sin. And we have the snares
of the world to avoid, and a warfare to wage
with many spiritual foes, malignantly intent
upon our ruin."
" It's just dreadful, papa ! " said Lulu. " I
don't see how any body ever gets saved."
" By trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ, who
is mightier than all our foes, able to save to the
uttermost, and who died to redeem us."
" What does that word redeem mean, papa ? '*
" To buy back ; to deliver from bondage, or
out of the hands of justice. Li our case it is
bondage to sin and Satan, it is God's justice,
which demands the death eternal of every sinner
who is not ransomed by the blood of Christ."
*' Are all the people who don't love and serve
God, servants to sin and Satan, papa ? '*
BL8m*8 FRIENDS AT WOODBUBN, 285
" Yes : * Know ye not, that to whom ye yield
yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are
to whom ye obey : whether of sin unto death,
or of obedience unto righteousness ? '
"Oh, my dear children, I can not bear to
think of any one of you being a servant of sin and
Satan, instead of a servant of God and Christ ! "
A few moments of solemn stillness succeeded
the last words ; then the captain said :
" It is time for evening worship ; call in the
He had not once omitted the morning or
evening sacrifice of prayer and praise, for
though unable to kneel, he could read the Word
and pray from his couch.
Firmly he had resolved, " As for me and my
house, we will serve the Lord."
He had for some time seen reason to hope
that Max and Grace, young though they were,
had entered that service, but not so with Lulu :
though truthful, conscientious, affectionate, and
usually obedient to him, and really striving to
overcome her easily-besetting sin, and rule her
own spirit, she showed no love to Christ and
He was anxious about her, and often lifted
up his heart on her behalf, for he knew that,
being old enough to fully comprehend the
plan of salvation, she was not safe while neg»
iecting or refusing to come to Christ.
286 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURIT,
He noticed that she was unusually thoughtful
and attentive during the short service this even-
ing, and as she lingered a little behind the
others, as was her wont, he drew her to him
and holding her in a close, loving embrace,
asked tenderly :
"My darling, when are you going to leave
the service of sin and Satan for that of the dear
"Papa," she said, hiding her face on hia
shoulder, "I — I can't bear to think of being
Satan's servant, and — and I do mean to be a
Christian some time. I — I'm not good enough
yet ; I've got such a bad temper, you know ;
and I like my own way so well that — that it
does seem as if I can't keep from disobeying
you once in a while,
" So I couldn't be a good kind of a Christian,
and — and that's the only kind I'd want to be.'*
He sighed deeply. "My child," he said,
" what is all that you have been saying, but an
acknowledgment that you still love and choose
the service of sin ? "
" I was just telling you the truth about how I
feel, papa, and how can I help it, if I'm made
" By coming to Jesus, who saves his people
from their sins. He is able to save to the utter-
most ; to save all from sin who will come to
him ; he never saves any in their sins ; and he
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURJST. 28r
is the only Saviour ; the only one who can de-
liver you from bondage to sin and Satan ; can
take away the evil of your nature and implant
the love of holiness.
" You can never conquer your love of sin
without his help ; you will never grow really
better while you stay away from him."
" But I'm only a little girl, papa ; I think I
could do it better when I'm older."
" No, it is Satan tells you that ; he knows
that the longer you delay, the harder your heart
will grow, and the more difficult it will be to
bring it to Jesus.
"Many and many a soul has been lost by
listening to Satan telling it to wait for a mora
convenient season, and so putting off repent-
ance till it was forever too late.
" But God's time is always now ; * Behold
now is the accepted time ; behold now is the
day of salvation ! ' Come now — this hour, this
moment — my dear child, and he will fulfill to
you his gracious promise, 'Him that cometh:
unto me, I will in no wise cast out.'"
" Papa, are you ordering me ? "
"No, my child, I am entreating you. Jesus
entreats you ; *Son, daughter, give me thine
heart.' He says, * Behold I stand at the door
and knock ; if any man hear my voice, and open
the door, I will come in to him, and will sup
with him and he with me,'
288 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBN.
" Open the door of your heart to him now,
my child, lest he should turn away and never
knock there again."
^ " Does he ever do that, papa, before people
: die ? " she asked in an awed tone.
" Yes, he says, * My Spirit shall not always
strive.' Of some he says, ' Ephraim is joined
to his idols ; let him alone,' and that sen-
tence may go forth years before death comes.
Of Esau it is said, ' He found no place of re-
pentance, though he sought it with tears.'
** * There is a time, we know not when,
A point we know not where.
That marks the destiny of men.
To glory or despair.
There is a line, by us unseen.
That crosses every path,
The hidden boundary between
God's mercy and his wrath."*
He paused, and shuddering and hiding her
face, " Papa," she murmured, " I do intend to
try before very long, when I'm just a little
" But you may not live to be any older ; who
can say that you will live to see the light of
another morning ? Or that the invitation may
not be withdrawn ? My child, the only time
you are sure of is now ; just now ; come noWj
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUMN. 289
" But how, papa ? " she asked, as again he
" Just as you would if you could see the
Lord Jesus here in this room. It would not
be difficult for you to go and kneel at his feet
and ask him to take you for his own, to A\^a8h
away all your sins, and teach you to love and
" No, papa, but — I'm afraid I — I don't want
" Oh," he exclaimed, " how can you help lov-
ing One who is so lovely in character ? So kind,
so good, so loving, so unselfish that he died
the cruel death of the cross that we might be
"One who has been so patient and for-
bearing with you all these years that you
have lived in rebellion against him, and is
still entreating you to come to him and be
saved ! "
He paused for a reply, but none came.
" You like to think that you belong to me ?
Are my very own ? " he said, enquiringly.
" Oh, yes, papa ! indeed I do ! "
" You love me very much ? "
" Indeed, indeed I do ! "
" And you value my love ? "
"O papa, I don't know how I could liv6
without it," she cried, nestling closer to him, and
kissing him with ardent aiJection.
290 ELSIE'S FBIENDS AT WOODBURN.
"You look to me for protecting care ? You
feel safe in my arms ? "
" Ob, yes, papa ! You would never let me be
" Not if I could help it, dear child, I would
protect you with my life. But I can not always
do so; some day, daughter, your father will have
to die and leave you."
" Oh, don't, papa, don't talk of that ! " she
exclaimed, catching her breath with a half
" I don't speak of it to distress you, my dar-
ling," he said, softly smoothing her hair, " but I
want you to reflect how desirable, how necessary
it is for you to secure a nearer, dearer, more
powerful Friend. One who sticketh closer than
a brother, whose love is deeper and stronger than
a mother's, and who will never leave nor forsake
you, never die. The Lord Jesus, who is all
these and more, now offers you his friendship
and his love ; but how long he will continue the
offer, none can tell. Will you not come to him
now, this moment ? "
" Papa, I can't. I can't make my heart want
to do it," she said despairingly.
" Make the effort and he will help you, as he
did the man with the withered hand. He might
have said : * I can not stretch it forth, I have
not been able to move it for years ; ' but instead,
be tried to obey, and Jesus gave him strength,
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBTIRK 2P1
and so will he help you to obey his call. ^ Come
unto me,' if you will but try to do so."
"But perhaps he doesn't mean for me to
try just now, papa," she said struggling with
" No ; that can not be so. His time is always
now, to-day ; never to-morrow, or next week or
" * To-day, if ye will hear his voice, harden not
your heart as in the day of provocation.
" * Behold, now is the accepted time ; be-
hold, now is the day of salvation.
" And you will be but giving him of his own ;
you are his because he made you, his, because
He has kept you alive all these years. His, be-
cause he has bought you with his own precious
blood. He has lent you to me for a time, but
you belong to him. Do not refuse him his
own, my child.
"I hope and believe that all the rest of us
are walking in the straight and narrow way,
will you not come with us ? Oh, how can I bear
to see my dear daughter travelling the broad
road that leads to eternal death ! "
" Papa, pray for me, ask Jesus to help me to
do it just now," she sobbed, sinking to her knees
beside his couch.
He laid his hand tenderly on her bowed head,
and in low, earnest tones confessed for her that
she was a sinner, lost and undone without the
992 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK
atoning blood of Christ ; that she had in her-
self, no power and no desire to turn from sin
unto holiness, that she had often rejected God's
offered mercy and forgiveness, and refused to
accept the Saviour's gracious invitation, * Come
unto me ; ' then he pleaded for her that her sins
might be forgiven and blotted out, for Jesus'
sake ; that he would take away all the evil of her
nature, wash her thoroughly from her iniquity
and cleanse her from her sin, and enable her to
give herself wholly and unreservedly to his
As his voice ceased she followed him in a few
broken sentences :
" Dear Lord Jesus, I am a great sinner, just as
papa has said, and oh, I am afraid I don't want
to be any better, but please make me want to, and
to love to belong to thee even more than I do
to be papa's very own. I will, I do give myself
to thee. Oh, take me and make me all good,
no bad at all left in me. For thine own name's
For some moments there seemed a solemn
stillness in the room, she still kneeling
there, with her father's hand resting ten-
derly on her head, then in low tremulous
" Papa," she asked, " do you think he heard
me, and will take me for his ? "
" I know it, my child, if you asked with your
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN, 293
heart, as I believe jou did, for he is the hearer
and answerer of prayer ! "
Then again he poured out an earnest suppli-
cation on her behalf, asking that she might be
kept ever near the Saviour's side, growing in
grace and conformity to his will all the days of
her life on earth, and at last be taken to dwell
forever with him in heaven.
Again a solemn hush, broken at length by
Lulu's voice in low, sweet tones, " Papa, I think
he has heard our prayers. I do begin to love
him in my heart and to want to be his."
" * Bless the Lord, oh, my soul ; and all that
is within me, bless his holy name ! ' " ejaculated
her father, his tones tremulous with emotion*
Then, as she rose from her kneeling posture, he
drew her to his breast and held her there in a
long, tender embrace ere he bade her good-night,
and sent her away to her rest.
Quite early tlie next morning, fully half an
iiour before breakfast time, Lulu and Grace
came hand in hand, and with loving greetings,
to the side of their father's couch.
The young faces were very bright, and look-
ing searchingly into Lulu's, he thought it wore
a sweeter expression than he had ever seen on
" Papa, I am very happy this morning," she
said softly, putting her arm round his neck and
laying her cheek to his.
" I am very glad, my darling," he responded,
**your happiness lies very near your father's
" It's because Jesus loves me, papa," she went
on, in low, earnest tones. " Oh, I find his love is
even sweeter than yours ! though that has
always been so sweet to me. Oh, now I'm glad
to belong to him, and I want to serve him all
my days ! it seems strange that I haven't always
" It is passing strange," he sighed, " that it is
not the joy of every human heart to belong to
him and do him service."
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN. 295
" Papa, I want to be good and do every thing
he tells me. Do you think I shall ever be
naughty again ? disobedient to you ? willful ?
passionate ? "
"My dear child, to think you would not,
would be like expecting you to win the prize as
soon as you have started to run the race ; to gain
the victory as soon as the battle is begun. ^NTot
so easily can our spiritual foes, or the evil of our .
natures, be overcome ; the fight will go on till
we reach the verge of Jordan."
" Death, papa ? "
" Yes ; 'tis only then we can sing the victor's
song. And yet, trusting in the Lord Jesus, who
is called * the captain of our salvation,' we may
be sure of final victory : certain that we shall
be * more than conquerors through him that
loved us.' "
Max joined them presently, and asked his
father what orders he was to carry to the work-
men and men-servants.
When that matter had been attended to, the
captain, giving the lad a look of proud fatherly
affection, said : " Max, my boy, you are growing
fast ; you will be a man one of these days, should
it please God to spare your life ; what do you
think of making of yourself ? I mean," seeing
a slightly puzzled look on the lad's face, " what
would yon choose as your principal employment
296 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN'.
"I don't know, papa," Max answered, witli
some hesitation. " What would you like best
to have me do ? "
" Whatever you have most talent and incli-
nation for, if we can find out what that is,"
returned his father ; " for that will be the thing
you can do with the greatest enjoyment and
" That is very kind in you, papa," said Max ;
" but I would rather have you decide for me,
you are so much wiser than I ; and I don't think
I have any particular fancy for any one thing
" Well, my son, there is no need to decide in
haste," his father said ; " it will be better to take
plenty of time to consider the question, as
80 we will be more likely to come to a wise de-
" But, my boy, whatever your choice may be,
I want you to seek to glorify God in doing your
work ; to be the servant of God and not the ser-
vant of men.
" ' Ye are bought with a price, be not ye the
servants of men ! '
"Let not the question with you be *How
shall I obtain wealth and fame ? How gain the
approbation of my fellow men ? ' but ' What
shall I do that I may please God ? how shall I best
honor and glorify him ? how do the most f of
the upbuilding of his cause and kingdom ? *
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN. 297
** * For ye are bought with a price ; therefore
glorify God in your body and in your spirit
which are God's.'
" Gracie, can you tell me what that price was?"
" Yes, papa, one of my Bible verses says, * Ye
know that ye were not redeemed with corrupti-
ble things, as silver and gold, from your vain
conversation received by tradition from your
fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ,
as of a lamb without blemish and without
Here the conversation was interrupted by the
bringing in of the captain's breakfast.
Max sprang up and rolled a small table to the
side of the couch, while Lulu quickly brought
and spread upon it a snow-white damask cloth
which she took from a closet. Upon that the
servant set the silver waiter she had brought in.
Then Lulu poured out a cup of coffee for her
father, while Max broke and seasoned his Qggj
and Grace handed him a plate and the buttered
It was evidently a delight to each one of them
to wait upon him, and to him to receive their
They hovered lovingly about him till his meal
was finished, then went to the dining-room for
While they were thus engaged the captain
had a delightful surprise.
298 ELSIE'S FBIEKDS AT WOODBUBIT.
As he lay there quietly musing, thinkinsr, in
fact, of the wife and babies up-stairs, and long-
ing to go to them, particularly for a sight of her
sweet face, a slender, girlish, white-robed figure
glided in at the open door and to the side of
his couch, and, almost ere he was aware of its
vicinity, two arms were about his neck, two
lips were pressed to his in a long kiss of ardent
" Vi, my precious little wife ! my darling ! "
he cried, clasping her close in an ecstasy of
delight. " Can it be you, love ? I did not know
they would let you come to me yet. Ah, I hope
you are not exerting yourself too much, glad as
I am to see your dear face and have you in my
" I couldn't stay away another minute," she
said, repeating her caresses ; " but. Arthur gave
his consent, and now they shan't keep us apart
" Oh, my darling, tell me, are you suffering ?
Ah, it was so hard to know you were in pain
and not be able to come to you and at least try
to give you some relief."
" I think it has been pretty hard on us both,"
he said, stroking her hair and gazing fondly into
her eyes. " No, love, I don't suffer now when
I'm careful to obey orders, and not move the
injured limb," he added gayly, " here take this
easy chair close by my side. Ah, I begin to
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK 299
think Max knew what he was about when he
wheeled it up ! I rather wondered at the time,
but asked no questions."
" Yes," she said, leaning back in the chair and
gazing on him with devouring eyes. "I let
our Maxie into the secret — dear boy that he is —
but charged him not to tell his father. I wanted
to give you a surprise."
" You succeeded. Ah, dearest, what a feast
it is just to lie and look at you."
*' I echo your sentiments," she returned, gayly,
then sobering down, " My dear husband, I want
you to promise me that you will never mount
that horse again."
" You are making common cause with Lulu
against the poor fellow, I perceive," he said,
with a humorous smile.
*' Poor fellow, indeed ! he must be very
vicious to throw so good a master, and that
without the slightest provocation."
" Ah, my love, there you are mistaken, for
I have learned that the poor animal had been
subjected to very bad treatment just before
being brought from the stable. I have there-
fore dismissed Ajax and engaged another man
in his place. But set your heart at rest, for your
dear sake and my children's I have consented to
sell the horse. Negotiations are being carried
on now with a gentleman who desires to own
him, and will probably be completed to-day."
300 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN.
" Oh, I am glad to hear it," she cried. " Not
for twice his money's worth would I have him
given another opportunity to do you an injury."
" I'm afraid I must acknowledge," laughed
the captain, *' that I feel a strong desire to teach
him that I am his master ; but for your sake,
my love, I consent to forego that pleasure."
" Ah, who should ensure your success in that
effort?" she asked with a mischievous look.
" You are, I know, a man accustomed to obedi-
ence from those under your authority, but pos-
sibly you might fail in exacting it from Thun-
" Very true," he returned, good-humoredly,
" but perhaps the doubt makes me all the more
eager to prove my ability. Ah, here come the
children ! " as childish footsteps came pattering
down the hall.
" Mamma ! Mamma Vi ! " exclaimed the lit-
tle girls, catching sight of her as they crossed
the threshold, *'how nice to see you down
again ! " and they ran to her to give and receive
loving caresses, for even Lulu had grown fond
of their beautiful and lovable young mother.
Persevering, unvarying kindness had done its
" Thank you, dears," Violet said, " you can't
be more pleased to see me here than I am to be
here ; it has been very hard for me to stay
away from your papa while knowing that
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN, 301
he was suffering ; but a very great comfort to
feel so sure that he had loving attention from
"They have been the best and dearest of
narses," he said, smiling tenderly upon them.
" Here's the mail, papa," cried Max, coming
in with the bag, and handing it to his father.
The captain opened it with a key which he
took from his pocket, handed Yiolet her letters
and began opening his own.
" Ah ! " he exclaimed presently, " Mr. Mason
accepts my terms, ajid Thunderer is sold."
" Oh, good ! good ! " cried Lulu, dancing up
and down in delight. " Now, papa, I think
he'll never have a chance to throw you again."
" No, I presume not," said the captain. " And
I suppose you are all well pleased that he is
" I certainly am," said Violet.
" I too," said Grace ; " for O, papa, I should
have been afraid for you every time you got on
Max had not spoken, and his father, looking
at him with a humorous smile, asked, " And
you, my boy ? what have you to say about it ? "
" I suppose I ought to be satisfied, papa,"
returned the lad with some little hesitation,
" Well, out with it, my son," laughed the cap-
tain ; " you did not exactly want him sold, eh ?*^
302 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN.
" I — I believe I rather liked tlie idea of seeing
you conquer him, papa," answered Max, a trifle
shamefacedly. " I wouldn't have you hurt
again for any thing, I'm sure," he went on earn-
estly, " but I don't believe he could throw you
again ; for you would be on your guard another
time as you were not before, and you are a fine
horseman, and I'm certain, almost, could con-
quer any horse that ever was made."
At that his father laughed outright, but there
was certainly no displeasure in his mirth.
" Perhaps it is just as well for my reputation
for skill and prowess that they should not be
tested too far," he said.
" Max," said Violet, " I like that speech of
yours ; and I believe if I were a boy with
such a father as yours, I should feel just as you
do about it."
" What do you say to a holiday, children, in
honor of your mamma's coming down stairs ? "
asked the captain.
There was a unanimous vote in favor of the
" Then so it shall be," he said. " Ring for the
servants, Max ; it is time for family worship.
After that we will send for the two babies to
join us and see what a merry time we can
Little Elsie had been an almost daily visitor
to her father, but the new-comer only an occa-
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK, 30^
sional one. It was now some days since his last
" Does he grow, Yi ? " asked the captain while
thej were waiting for the coming of the nurses.
"Yes, indeed ; and develops new beauties
every day," she answered gayly. " At least so
his mother thinks. Ah, here they come, the
darlings ! "
" Papa, papa ! " shouted little Elsie, eagerly
reaching out her arms to her father. " Take
" Yes, bring her here," he said.
He was still unable to stand or walk, as the in-
jured limb had not yet gained strength to bear
his weight, but could now assume a sitting post-
ure ; so for the first time in several weeks, the
baby girl was treated to a seat upon his knee.
She seemed to appreciate the privilege. " Elsie
sit on papa's lap," she cooed triumphantly ; then
putting one arm round his neck, she patted his
cheek with the other hand, and showered kisses
upon him while he petted and fondled her.
But she was soon ready to get down and go
to her play.
Lulu had got possession of the tiny baby, was
holding it very carefully and gazing affection-
ately into the wee face. Max and Gracie standing
beside her, doing likewise.
"The little chap has grown sure enough,*
3-04 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBN.
" Whom does he resemble, Max ? " asked
" Nobody but himself, I think. Mamma Vi."
" O Max, how disappointing ! " she laughed.
** Now, I have been thinking I could see quite a
striking likeness to both your papa and your-
" Very complimentary to us both. Max,"
laughed the captain in his turn. " Bring him
here, Lulu, and let me see if I can find that resem-
" Well ? " Violet said enquiringly, as he took
the babe in his arms and regarded it with earn-
" I must say I think it is largely in your imag-
ination, my dear," replied her husband, " though
I can't say that he looks more like any one else
than like Max or his father."
" Well, time will show," she said, laughingly,
and gazing at the babe with all a mother's ad-
miring love, " we'll see what you and Max have
to say in another month."
After that no day passed without an inter-
view between the captain and his wife, and as
soon as both were able for the short journey,
they went to Ion for a week, taking all the chil-
dren with them. The Lelands were there at
the same time, and a very delightful holiday it
proved to all, old and young, guests and enter*
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN. 305
Then for another week the same company
gathered at Fairview.
It was now late in the summer, and it seemed-
that every body was longing for sea-breezes.
Some one, one evening as they sat in the ve-
randa, expressed the desire and started the
queries whether it would not be advisable to ga
to some sea-side resort, and which was most to
The first question was soon decided in the
Then Zoe exclaimed, "Let us go to Nan-
tucket ! We had such a delightful time there ;
and we can travel nearly all the way by sea, so-
that the journey will not be hard for our recov-*
The motion was carried by acclamation.
" Oh, I'm so glad ! " cried Lulu, clapping her
hands. " I'd rather go there than to any other
place I can think of. I liked it so much before,
and it'll be twice as nice for me with you along,
Eva ; 'twill be such fun to show you all the
interesting places. And O, papa, may we take
the ponies with us ? "
" Yes," he said, " I shall arrange for that ;
quite for their sakes, of course," he added, jest-
ingly, " for no doubt they will enjoy the sea-
breezes as much as the rest of us."
" Oh, you are such a dear, good, kind papa,"
laughed Lulu, giving him a vigorous hug.
306 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK
"You'd never allow ponies or horses to be
abused, but I guess I know which you care
most for — the ponies or your children."
" Yes, indeed, we do," Grace said, seizing his
hand and lifting it to her lips ; " you love us ever
so much more than you do the ponies ; but oh,
I am so glad we are going, and that we may
take them along ; it'll be so nice to ride them
But little preparation was needed, and in a
few days the voyage was begun. That and the
sojourn upon the island which followed, were
almost one long delight to the children, and
enjoyed but little less by the older members of
They went again to every place of interest
they had visited before, and with quite as much
pleasure ; they sailed again about the harbor
by both moonlight and daylight, went on fishing
excursions and " squantums," and had many a
delicious gallop over the breezy hills and
Every hour of the sojourn at Nantucket had
been enjoyed by the Raymonds, yet when they
came in sight of Woodburn, with its lawn trees,
shrubbery and woods glorious in their autumn
robes of crimson, scarlet, russet and gold, every
face was wreathed in smiles.
"Fleeting glories, but very beautiful while
they last," remarked the captain.
" Yes, indeed," said Violet ; " I know no
more charming place than home after all ! "
" Such a home as ours. Mamma Vi," supple-
" Yes ; it is just the very sweetest of homes,"
cried Lulu, with enthusiasm. " And yet it is
nice to go away to the sea sometimes."
" Yes," replied her father, " change is pleas-
ant and beneficial to almost every one ; and no
doubt we shall enjoy our own home all the
more for having been absent from it for a
The carriage drew up at the door, and they
all alighted, to receive a joyous welcome frora
Christine and the servants gathered about it.
^08 ELSIE'S FRIEKDS AT WOODS ITRK
A delicious supper was waiting, and was
presently served up. Ample justice was done
it by the hungry travellers, especially the chil-
dren. Then, as there was still a good half -hour
of daylight, they roamed over house and
grounds, delighted to renew their acquaintance
with all their old familiar haunts, and greatly
pleased to find every thing in perfect order.
The weather was charming, both on that day
and for several subsequent days, and the captain
and Violet thought it well to take advantage of
it for paying and receiving visits among the
family connection, before settling down to the
regular routine of home duties and occupations.
The days were pretty well-filled up with walks,
rides, drives, and social gatherings.
After that, while Violet busied herself with
the oversight of dressmakers and seamstresses,
the captain resumed his duties as owner of the
estate, employer of household servants and out-
of-door workmen, and tutor to his children ;
the latter being required to at once begin again
their long-neglected studies.
Confinement to the house for several hours
on the stretch, and steady application to their
books, were at first irksome ; but papa was
lenient, and his pupils were sincerely desirous
to merit his approbation. There were no repri-
mands or complaints ; study hours were made
short, and the afternoon walks and rides on th«
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN. 309
ponies found all the more enjoyable for the in,
dustry that had preceded them.
But the second week of November brought
with it a long, cold rain-storm that put an end,
for the time, to all out-door diversions.
Both Max and Lulu had always been very-
fond of exercise in the open air, and now found
it extremely wearisome to be shut up in the
house day after day. Lulu's trial of the con-
finement and sameness was rather more continu-
ous than her brother's, as he could occasionally
venture out in weather which their father con-
sidered quite too inclement to be braved by a
She had been remarkably good, docile and
obedient for months ; ever since that time when
she had had to do without Fairy for a week.
She began to look upon herself as quite a re-
formed character ; but her father, though
greatly pleased and encouraged by the improve-
ment in her behavior, felt quite certain that
there would be times when the old tempers and
habits would resume their sway for a season.
One morning when the sun had scarcely
shown his face for a week. Lulu woke feeling
dull and irritable ; all the more out of humor
on discovering that she had overslept herself,
and would have scarcely time to attend prop-
erly to the duties of the toilet before the break-
fast-bell would ring.
510 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUHX
She sprang up and began dressing in fever-
Punctuality was one of the minor virtues
which the captain was particular in enforcing ;
but to appear at the table looking otherwise
than neat, would be a still more serious breach
of discipline than to be a trifle behind time.
j " Oh, dear, why did I sleep so late ? " she said,
giving herself an impatient shake. "I sha'n't
have time to do every thing I ought to and get
to the dining-room to sit down with the rest, and
papa will be displeased ; and I do so hate to
have him displeased with me. There, I hear
his voice in the next room ! Gracie will have
him all to herself, and I shall miss every bit of
the nice talk before breakfast."
The old adage, "The more haste, the less
speed," found exemplification in her experience
on this occasion. In vain she tried to dress
with dispatch ; the comb tangled in her hair, a
button came oif her boot, she couldn't pin her
collar straight, and in the midst of her efforts to
do so, the bell rang.
" There it goes ! and I haven't said my prayers
yet ; I'll have to omit them this time. But per-
haps papa will ask me about it ; he sometimes
She knelt for a hurried sentence or two, put-
ting no heart into them, rose up hastily and ran
4own to the dining-room.
ELSIE'S FRIENDS A T WOODS VRK 3 1 1
The blessing had been asked and her father
was helping the plates. He gave her a grave
look as she took her place at the table.
" Good-morning, daughter," he said ; " you
are quite behind time ; what is your excuse ? "
" I overslept myself, papa ; and then every-
thing seemed to go wrong with my dressing."
" You must try to be more punctual," he said.
*' I was sorry to miss my morning kiss from my
eldest daughter, and the little chat we usually
have before breakfast," he added in a kindly
" Oh, mayn't I give you the kiss after break-
" No ; I will take it now, and another after
breakfast," he answered with a smile, and she
sprang to his side, eager to give and receive the
"Is that the punishment for being unpunc-
tual, papa ? " asked Max, facetiously.
" For the first offence," replied his father ;
** and I don't expect a repetition of it from my
usually prompt eldest daughter."
" She is that," acknowledged Max ; " i"'ll be
more likely to be unpunctual another time than
she ; and then, papa, I'll expect the very same
punishment you have given her."
" Ah, don't make too sure of it ; circum-
stances alter cases, and much will depend upon
the excuse you bring."
312 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN.
Lulu felt grateful at the time for lier fatlier's
leniency, but her fretfulness and irritability
soon returned, and all went wrong with her ;
her recitations were poor, and when told her
lessons must be learned over, she sulked and
Her father thought it best not to seem ta
notice her ill-humor, but did not relax in his
requirements. She must give her mind to her
tasks and recite them creditably, he said, before
she could be dismissed to her play. She had
scarcely succeeded in that when the dinner-bell
Her face did not wear its usual pleasant ex-
pression during the meal, and she had nothing
to say, though all around her were chatting in
their accustomed cheery fashion. Once or twice
her father gave her a troubled look, but he
administered no reproof.
On leaving the table he repaired to the library
to attend to some correspondence. He was giv-
ing all his thoughts to that when a jesting
remark in Max's voice, speaking from the ad-
joining room, caught his ear.
" What a very amiable countenance, Miss
Raymond ! and how very agreeable you have
made yourself all day ! "
" Max," returned Lulu's voice, in angry tones,
** if you don't quit teasing me, I'll — "
" Max ! Lulu ! " interrupted the captain,
ELSIE^S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN. 311
Sternly, *^ come Kere lo me ; both of
Max obeyed instantly, appearing before his
father looking very red and ashamed ; but Lulu
did not move.
" Lulu, did you hear me bid you come to me ? "
asked her father, with added sternness in his
" Yes, sir," she answered ; then immediately
added, in an under-tone, "but I'll not come a
step till I get ready."
But low as the tone was, he heard her ; a
deeply-pained expression swept across his feat-
ures, he turned suddenly pale, but rose without
a word and moved with a calm, quiet step in the
direction of his rebellious child.
Lulu started to her feet as he appeared in
eight. " I will, papa ; I'm coming."
"Tardy obedience following upon a most
insolent refusal to obey," he said, taking her
hand and leading her to the side of the chair
from which he had just risen.
He resumed his seat, dropping her hand, and
she stood there with burning cheeks and eyes
fixed on the carpet. Her refusal to obey had
been upon the impulse of the moment, and not
intended for her father's ear, but she had spoken
Uhe insolent words louder than she was aware of
The captain addressed himself first to Max i
814 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK
" I am sorry, my son, to find that you have not
sufficient regard for either your sister's feelings
or my wishes to lead you to refrain from teas-
ing her ; though you know it is an easy matter
to rouse her quick temper and so get her into
" It was very thoughtless and wrong in me,
papa," said Max, frankly. " I beg your pardon,
and Lulu's too, and will try not to do so again.'*
" That is right, my boy, and I am not angry
with you now ; but as this is not the first time
I have had to reprove you for the same fault, I
think I must inflict a slight punishment to im-
press the lesson upon your mind. You will go
to your room and stay there till the tea-bell
" Yes, sir ; it is a much lighter punishment
than I deserve," Max said, moving instantly to
He had gone and Lulu was left alone with
her justly-displeased father. There was silence
for a moment. She still stood by the side of
his chair, and though her eyes were downcast,
she felt that his were fixed upon her. Her
countenance was sullen ; he could perceive in it
no sign of penitence.
" I am quite certain," he said at length, speak-
ing in a grave, sad tone, " that it will not be
long before my little daughter will be almost
overwhelmed with remorse on account of thi&
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURJST, 315
day's behavior toward the father whom, I know
beyond a doubt, she loves with all her heart."
Before he had finished his sentence a change
had come over her. "O papa," she cried,
suddenly moving closer to his side and throwing
her arm round his neck, " I'm sorry now ; oh,
so, so sorry and ashamed ! Please, please forgive
me for saying such naughty, naught]/, rebellious
words to you ; and please punish me for it just
as hard as you can ! " and dropping her head on
his shoulder she ended with a storm of tears and
" I am afraid I must indeed punish you for
your own sake," he said, sighing deeply ; " it
would hardly do to pass lightly over so flagrant
a breach of discipline, so insolent a refusal to
submit to lawful authority."
" I didn't mean to speak so you'd hear me,
" Ah ! I am not at all sure that that admission
sets your conduct in a more favorable light."
*' Papa, I am sorry : oh, I didn't think I'd
ever be so bad again ! But every thing goes
wrong with me to-day."
"Surely then, you did not begin the day
aright ? Did you ask with your heart that you
might be kept from sin ? "
" I did say a prayer, papa, but I was so late I
had to hurry."
" And so offered only lip service ? "
3 1 6 ELSIE '8 FRIENDS A T WOODS URK
She was silent.
" Ah, my child," he said, " no wonder you
were left to fall into grievous sin ! Approach-
ing the King of kings with a haste and irrever-
ence that would be insulting to even an earthly
"Oh, I never thought how very wicked it
was ! " she sobbed. " You'll have to punish me
for that, too. Please do it now, papa, so I'll
have it over."
He did not answer her for several minutes ;
then he said : " I think I shall try a new plan
with you. As you were pleased to refuse obe-
dience to an order from me, I shall not give you
another for some days ; for the four remaining
days of this week you may try self-government ;
regulating your conduct to suit yourself, except
that you must not go out of the house while
the weather is inclement, or out of sight of it at
" I shall give you no command, direction,
instruction or advice concerning your daily du-
ties ; nor must you feel at liberty to come to me
for any, or to treat me with any greater famili-
arity than you would use toward a gentleman
in whose house you were only a visitor ; duties
and privileges are not to be separated, and while
released from the duties of a child, you can
have no right to claim a child's privileges."
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN. 317
" But I don't want to be released, papa," she
burst out in her vehement way ; " I want you to
order me, and I do mean to obey the very mo-
ment you speak ; always, always ! "
" So you think now," he said, " but I am not
at all sure that your good resolution would last
for any length of time ; you may be quite as
willful and rebellious to-morrow as you have been
to-day. You need, and must have the lesson I
hope you will gain by being left to be, for a
time, a law to yourself.
" Understand that I do not propose to subject
you to any harsh treatment ; on the contrary I
shall be as polite and as considerate of your
comfort as if you were my guest."
" I don't want to be company ! " she ex-
claimed. "I don't want you to be polite to
me ! I want you to punish me, and then let
me be your very own child, just as I always
have been ! O, papa, please, please do ! "
" It is very far from being a pleasure to me
to punish you," he returned, again sighing
deeply as he spoke, " and I have quite decided
to try this other plan. I do not expect to enjoy
it, either, any more than you will ; it will be a
sad thing to me to have to do without the lov-
ing attentions and caresses of my dear little
daughter Lulu, even for four days."
She looked up into his face in blank di»«
2J 18 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN,
" O, papa, you can't mean that I am not to
kiss you, or have you kiss me, for four whole
days ? I could never, never stand it ! "
" I do not say that ; I should not refuse a kiss
to a little girl visitor, should she ask for it — and
I might even offer her one — but I certainly
should not expect to treat her, or be treated by
her, with the same affectionate familiarity which
you and I have been accustomed to use toward
" Oh, I sha'n't know how to behave to you at
all ! " she cried despairingly.
" When in doubt, you will only have to con-
sider how you would expect a little girl visitor
— Eva, for instance — to act toward me. Now
you may go, for I have not time to talk any
more to you at present."
" Am I to go to my own room and stay there ? "
" You will go where you please, and do what
you please. You are your own mistress for
Her own mistress ! How often had she
looked longingly forward to the time v^hen her
right to be that should be acknowledged. But
now — Oh, it wasn't felicity at all ! it was misery
to think that for four whole days she was to be
only like a stranger guest to papa, instead of
his own dearly loved and petted child.
Slowly, and feeling very mucli like one who
had been suddenly turned out of paradise, she
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURK 319
went from his presence and on up the stairs to
her own rooms.
Grace was in the niirserv^ at play with the
baby-sister ; she heard their voices and merry
laughter as she passed the door ; but she had
Bo heart for joining them and sharing their
gayety ; she did not pause till she had reached
the tiny room in the tower ; the most private spot
to which she could have access at that time.
She sat down by the window, and leaning her
arms on the sill, gazed out into the grounds —
looking desolate enough just now under leaden
clouds and swept by wind and sleet.
" It looks exactly as I feel, out there ! " she
sighed to herself, " O, dear ! four whole days !
such a long, long while to be treated as only a
visitor ! ''
Then she fell to considering in what respect
her father's treatment of her would differ dur-
ing the four days, from what it ordinarily was,
and in what she must alter her conduct toward
Eva would certainly never think of running
to him to put her arms round his neck and gaze
lovingly into his eyes, or taking a seat uninvited
upon his knee ; nor would he invite her to that
seat, or draw her into his arms to hold her close
to his heart and kiss her over and over again,
as if he thought her one of the dearest and
sweetest things on earth.
1f20 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURI^.
Oh, no ; those were among the privileges
and delights that had to be dispensed with
Along with the duties of daughterhood ; and oh,
what delights they seemed now that they must
be resigned for a time ! Ah, if papa would but
relent and commute her sentence to the severest
punishment he could possibly inflict, what a re-
lief it would be !
Then recalling the insolent, rebellious words
she had addressed to him, she buried her face in
her hands, almost overwhelmed with shame
What would she not give never to have
spoken them ! Oh, what base ingratitude to the
kindest and dearest of fathers ! How those
dreadful words must have pained his loving
heart ! how had she found it in hers to hurt
him so ? for, oh, indeed, she did love him dearly,
dearly ; though she could hardly expect him
to believe it any more !
"What if he should decide that she didn't
love him, and so that he didn't want to keep
her for his own, and should tell her she must go
away and be her own mistress always, or some-
body else's child !
Her heart almost stood still at the dreadful
idea ; but in a moment she remembered with
relief, that he had once said he would have no
right to let her go away from his care and
authority — even if he wanted to be rid of her—
ELSIE'S FRIENDS A T WOODB UJRJV 51 2 \
because God had given her to him to be protect^^J
and provided for and trained up for his service ;
so there could be no danger of that ; for papj*
was a good Christian man who always tried to
do exactly as the Bible said.
It was growing dark ; the supper-bell would
soon ring, and — should she go down to the
She dreaded meeting the family, and felt
ashamed to look her father in the face ; and
since she was her own mistress, she could do as
she pleased about it ; but she would rather do
as she supposed papa would wish ; and besides
she began to feel hungry.
The bell rang and she obeyed the summons.
As she stepped out into the upper hall she and
Max met face to face.
His eyes opened wide in surprise.
" Why do you look at me so ; " she asked,
half angrily, and feeling her cheeks grow hot.
" Because T thought you would surely have to
stay in your room for at least a week, after talk-
ing as you did to papa this afternoon. I should
never dare to speak so to him, and I wouldn't
for the world hurt his feelings so. If you
had seen the pained look that came over his
" Oh, Max, don't ! " she cried, with a burst of
tears. " I could kill myself for it ! I don't
know what possessed me ! I didn't really mean
S 2 2 ELSIE' 8 FBIEND8 A T WOODB UBN.
to say the words, but I thought out ioud before
I knew it."
There was no time for any thing more, for
they had reached the door of the dining-room,
and, as they passed in. Lulu hastily wiping
away her tears, found themselves in the presence
of their parents who had just sat down to the
Max and Lulu took their places in silence,
the latter carefully keeping her eyes down, that
she might not meet those of her father. He
asked the blessing, then helped the plates, giving
her, when her turn came, what he knew she
liked, without question or remark. She ate in
silence, the others chatting pleasantly among
themselves as usual.
Presently a servant, passing a plate of waffles,
handed them to Lulu.
The captain thought it not best, as a rule, for
the children to eat hot bread at night, but he
sometimes made exceptions.
" Papa, may I have one ? " she asked.
" I have nothing to say about it," was his reply.
Violet gave her husband a look of surprise.
Lulu's lip quivered. " Pll not take it," she
said in a low tone to the servant ; then, a very
little louder, and with a perceptible tremble in
her voice, '' Mamma Vi, please excuse me," and
hardly waiting for an answer, she rose and left
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN. 323
Again Yiolet looked at her husband. " I f ear
the child is not well," she said enquiringly.
" Possibly not," he sighed, " though I have
heard no complaint of illness."
A light broke upon Violet, and she began talk-
ing of something else.
But the captain's fatherly heart was stirred
at the thought that perhaps his child was not
quite well ; that there might be found in threat-
ened illness, some excuse for the misconduct of
the day ; and on leaving the table he went in
search of Lulu.
She was in the little tower-room again, and
hearing him call to her from the adjoining room.^
hastened to obey the summons.
"I am here, papa," she said, appearing
before him with drooping head and downcast
" Are you not well ? " he asked, and his tone
was very kind.
"Yes, sir," she answered tremulously, and
without raising her eyes.
" I want you ahvaj^s to tell me when you feel
at all ill," he said. " We are all expecting to
spend the evening together in the usual way,
and will be glad to have you with us," he added ;
then turned and left the room.
" He didn't call me daughter, or his child, or
any thing, but Lulu," she sighed to herself j
" and any other time he would have taken my
S24 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBN,
liand and led me with him. Oh, it isn't nice at
all to be treated like a visitor ! "
She had always greatly enjoyed the evenings
when they were just a family by themselves,
yet she shrank from accepting her father's invi-
tation, feeling that she could not be one of them
But she found it lonely staying by herself,
and at length sought the room where the others
Grace, seated on her father's knee, hailed her
appearance with a glad, " O Lu, so you've
<;ome at last ! I was thinking I'd have to go
and find you. You've missed the fun with the
babies ; they've just been carried away. Here's
a chair Max has set for you close beside papa ;
or perhaps you can sit on his other knee."
" I'll sit here," Lulu said, taking possession of
an easy chair on the opposite side of the fire.
" Why, Lu ! " exclaimed Grace in astonish-
ment, " what can be the matter with you ? Al-
ways before you've wanted to get just as close
to papa as ever you could."
There was a moment of silence ; then Lulu
answered in a low, half -tremulous tone, " I have
not been a good girl to-day, Gracie^ and don't
deserve to sit close to papa."
Then Max made a diversion by asking his
father a question in regard to his lessons for the
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN. 325
*^ Grade, will you get papa his slippers ? " the
captain asked presently.
*' Oh, yes ! if I may, papa," she answered
brightly, but with an enquiring look at Lulu^
who had always hitherto claimed that little ser-
vice as belonging to her.
" Papa doesn't want me to do it, Gracie," she
said in a low, hurt tone.
He took no notice. Grace brought the slip-
pers and was rewarded with a smile and a kiss.
Then Violet came in with a bit of fancy work
in her hand. Max brought out the book tliey
had been enjoying together for several evenings
past, and handed it to his father.
While the captain was turning over the leaves
in search of the place where he had left off the
night before. Lulu drew quietly near the table
and took up a paper-cutter and a magazine that
had come by that afternoon's mail.
" Don't trouble yourself to cut those leaves,
Lulu," her father said ; " Max will do it for me."
She dropped magazine and knife as though
they had burned her, turned away with quivering
lip and eyes full of tears, and presently stole
aAvay to her own room, went to bed and cried
herself to sleep.
She knew it was not worth while to stay up
for the usual good-night visit from papa, for of
course he would never think of paying one to s
little girl guest.
326 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBUBK
And in the morning when he came to the
children's sitting-room Grace had him to her-
Lulu met him first at the table, when he
greeted her with a pleasant "Good-morning,
Lulu," but offered no caress, and she did not
ask for one, though she had never felt more
hungry for it.
She went to the school-room at the appointed
hour and applied herself industriousl}^ to her
tasks, but he did not call her to recite ; the
others were heard and dismissed, but she sat
unnoticed at her desk. Her father was at his,
writing letters, and at length she rose and drew
" May I say my lessons now, papa ? "
" I do not teach visitors," he said, in a tone of
polite astonishment ; " I instruct no one but my
" But I am your own ; your very very own !
I know I am for you have told me so many and
many a time ! " she cried, bursting into sobs and
" Yes, you are," he said gently, " and I pur-
pose to claim my right in you again one of these
days ; for not for all the gold of California would
I resign it entirely ; but you must remember
thnt for the present you are considered only a
visitor and your own mistress."
" But I don't want to be my own mistress /
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN. 32t
I want to be taught and directed and controlled
by you. O, papa, if you would only punish
me and forgive me, I don't think I'd ever want
to be rebellious again ! "
" You shall be restored to all a daughter's
duties and privileges when I deem that the
proper time has come ; but that is not yet," he
said ; " I love you just as dearly as ever, but I
think you need the lesson I am giving you, and
that you could get it in no easier way. It
grieves me more than I can tell to see my dear
little daughter unhappy, but now and always I
must seek her permanent good, rather than her
" You're kind to tell me that you love me yet,
papa," she said, wiping away her tears, " for I
don't deserve that you should, and I 'most
thought that you had stopped. Papa, I hate
myself for hurting you so yesterday."
*' I don't doubt it, my child, and when the
right time comes I will listen to all you wish to
say to me about it, but now I must attend to
" Then I'll go away ; but oh, mayn't I have
one kiss first ? you said you'd give Eva one if
she asked you for it."
Then he drew her to him, kissed her twice
with warmth of affection, and she went away
feeling less unhappy than she had since her
rebellious reply to the last order he had given her.
328 ELSIE'& FRIENDS AT WOODBURl^.
She found Grace in their sitting-room dress-
ing a doll.
" O Lii," she cried, glancing up at her sister
as she came in, " you've been crying ! What's
the matter ? is papa angry with you ? "
"He says I must be my own mistress all the
rest of this week, because — because I was disobe-
dient and rebellious yesterday."
Grace looked puzzled. " Don't you like it,
Lu ? I thought you always wished you could
" I used to, but oh, it isn't a bit nice, Gracie i
I'm ever so much happier when papa tells me
what to do."
" Yes, I like that best."
" And he won't let me do a single thing for
him," Lulu went on, " and it's dreadful ; for 1
just love to wait on him and do all his little
errands about the house."
She did not attempt it again, however, until
restored to a daughter's place.
Lulu joined the rest of the family that evening
and listened to the reading, but was careful not
to take any liberties inconsistent with her posi-
tion as only a guest. She asked for a good-
night kiss and received it, but that was all ;
there was no close, loving embrace given with
it, as in former days, no words of tender fatherly
affection were spoken.
The next day and the next passed very slowly
to her, with no lessons to learn, no loving little
services to render to her father, no delightfully
confidential chats with him ; while by reason of
mental disquietude all employments had lost
their usual interest for her ; her heart was very
heavy because she felt she was not in full favor
with either her earthly or her heavenly Father.
For months past she had been happy in the
consciousness that Jesus loved her ; that he was
her Saviour and she his disciple, his servant,
belonging to him even more entirely than to
the father whose " very own " she loved to call
But in rebelling against the authority of that
earthly parent she had broken God's command,
330 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN
"Honor thy father and thy mother," and the
light of his countenance was withdrawn from
The captain sat reading alone in the library
©n Friday evening, the rest of the family liaving
retired to their rooms for the night. A slight
Bound caused him to look up from his book to
find, much to his surprise, Lulu standing by his
side and wearing a very troubled countenance.
"What is it?" he asked. "You bade me
good-night some time ago, and I thought had
gone to bed. " Are you not well, my child ? "
" Yes, papa ; but — papa, if Eva was troubled
in her mind, and came to you for help, wouldn't
you listen to her and tell her what to do ? " she
asked, low and hesitatingly, her head droo]>ing,
her eyes on the carpet.
" Certainly ; I should be very glad to do any-
thing in my power to relieve her, and if instead
of Eva, it were one of my own children, I surely
Bhould not be less ready to help and comfort.
Tell me freely what it is that troubles you."
As he spoke he laid aside his book and took
one of the small hands in his, holding it in a
tender, loving clasp.
Lulu's tears began to fall. "Papa," she
sobbed, " when I behaved so rebelliously toward
you, I sinned against God, and I am afraid he
is angry with me. papa, what shall I do ? "
" Go at once and ask his forgiveness, daugh*
ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN. 331
ter ; ask in the name of Jesus, and for hii
" * If any man sin, we have an advocate with
the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous.'
" ' If we confess our sins, he is faithful and
just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us
from all unrighteousness.' "
" Papa, I thought I was a Christian ; I thought
I loved Jesus and had given my heart to him ;
but now I am afraid it was all a mistake. Oli,
do you think a real, true Christian could behave
80 wickedly as I did the other day ? "
" If a man running a race should step aside
for a moment from the path, or stumble and
fall, then get up and go on, I should not think
he had proved himself to have been mistaken in
believing that he had really set out to run it,
and in the right path. Should a soldier fall
back for a moment before the enemy, I should
not think that proved that he did not love his
country and his flag, and would never fight
bravely for them.
" But, my child, there is no need to settle the
question whether you really came at the time
you thought you did ; the way is open still and
you may come now ; come anew, or for the first
time. Jesus still invites you, still says sweetly
to you, * Come unto me and I will give you rest.'
* Him that comath to me I will in no wise cast
832 ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN.
** Papa, pray for me," she entreated ; " please
ask Jesus to forgive me and love me ; to help
me to come to him now, and always, always
keep close to him."
Then, with her hand still in his, he knelt with
her by his side, and earnestly besought the Lord
for her, " his dear, erring, but penitent child."
They rose from their knees, and lifting her
tearful eyes to his face with a look of ardent
filial love, " Thank you, dear papa," she said in
faltering tones ; " I said the words after you in
my heart, and I do believe Jesus heard and has
forgiven me and loves me now."
" Yes, dear child, we have his own word for
it, * Him that cometh to me I will in no wise
east out.' "
He still held her hand in his, and now, laying
the other tenderly on her head, he said sol-
emnly : " * The Lord bless thee and keep thee :
the Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be
gracious unto thee : the Lord lift up his coun-
tenance upon thee, and give thee peace.' "
Then, with a good-night kiss, he sent her
away to her rest.
" What a dear, dear father he is," she said to
herself as she went softly up the stairs again :
" how I do love him ! and oh, how I did want
to put my arms round his neck and hug him
tight ! It would have been disobedience, though,
and so I couldn't ; but to-morrow night I may |
ELSIE'S FMIENDS AT WOODBURN. 333
for then this dreadful time of being my own
mistress, and only a visitor, will be over, and
/he'll take me for his very own child again : tlieu
oh, how happy I shall be ! "
The next evening, as the good-nights were
being said, she gave him a most wistful, longing
" Yes," he said, in a grave, serious, yet kindly
tone, " I am coming to your room for a little
" Oh, I am so glad, papa ! " she cried, her face
lighting up with joy, then went skipping and
dancing to her room, hurried through her prep-
arations for the night, and when she heard his
approaching footsteps, ran to open the door and
bid him welcome.
" It seems such a long while I've been with-
out this, the pleasantest of all my times," she
said, as he sat down and drew her into his arms
with the old fond gesture and tender caress.
" Well, daughter," he said, " shall I give you
another week of freedom from my control and
being your own mistress ? or have you had
enough of it ? "
" Oh, quite, quite enough, papa ! a great deal
more than enough ! " she exclaimed, nestling
closer in his arms. " I do think I'll never want
to be my own mistress again while I have such
a dear, wise, kind father to rule and direct me ;
to love and care for me. Papa, I actually feel
334 ELSIE'S FIIIENDS AT WOODBURN.
hungry for an order from you, that I may have
the pleasure of obeying it. And oh, it will be
so delightful to wait on you and do all sorts of
little things for you again, if only you will let
" Gladly, dear child," he said, holding her
close to his heart ; " you can scarcely rejoice
more than your father does in your restoration
to a daughter's place. I have found it a sad
thing to have to do without the loving services
of my dear daughter Lulu, and this sweet inter-
change of endearments with her."
" Oh, it is ever so sweet to me ! " she said.
" But," as if struck by a sudden and not pleas-
ant thought, " aren't you going to punish me
now for my disobedience ? Don't you have to,
because of your Bible orders ? "
" I think not ; I think you are penitent enough
this time to make it right for me to accord jo\x
free forgiveness; and I am very, very glad t^
do so," he said, repeating his caresses.