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Full text of "The Little Lychetts, and Other Stories"

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ROBERT CARTER & BROTHERS, 

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1866. 



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CONTENTS. 



OHAP. a . '^*" 

L A SAD la^iypobjsb^lENX ,/.../......,. 5 

n. AN UNEkPEOTED I^BIEKID . . .V. . : 80 

iiL LIAS LEE'S sio]jY^:;:i :....:.: se 

IV. A NI<%T Ay! Q:E^^^..^.-a.V, 

V. FALLEN OAeT^lSs/.i;.A/.r.v.^.v..» 






VI. TH^ YOUNG MUSICIAN 86 

yil. THE GOOD MASTER 100 

VIII. A VISIT TO THE MENAGEBIB IIT 

X THE WIDOW ABOHEE 188 

X. THE BIBTH-DAY GIFTS 164 

XL THE DBOWNED LAD ITl 

XIL THE OOBNU AMMONIS 18T 

XIIL A LONG ILLNESS 218 

XIV. KIND FBIENDS 288 

XV. THE NEW PIANO .• 261 

XVL SEVEN YEABS AFTEB 260 

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IV CONTENTS. 

PA«B 

IIABY GEEY 26T 

OEATEPUL DICK 296 

CLABA AND HES BEOTHEB 810 

THE BBOEEN PITOSEB 



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THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 



I. 

$ S^alr iisajpiHtment. 

N the 5th of March, 18 — , no matter 
what, at eight in the morning, I stood 
-by my bed-room fire, alternately warm- 
ing my hands and looking at my face 
in the glass. 
Nbw there was very little advantage or 
pleasure in the latter occupation, for I was not 
a pretty girl, nor, in general, was I overmuch 
given to that sort of self-examination. It 
wearied me, and wounded my vanity. But 
on this special day, even if I did devote half 
an hour to contemplating my own likeness, it 
was on many points excusable. 

1* (5) 




U THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

I was thirteen that morning. Nobody 
neemed to hare noticed the circnmstance, or 
wished to do it hononr, which I snppose was 
impossible in a boarding-school, where, though 
I was hj far the most important pnpil, there 
were ten other scholars of a lower order, who 
had birth-days as well as I. Some of them, 
however, were accustomed to receive home 
letters on that day; little Janie AUardyce 
bad last week shown me hers. I never had any 

But I usually had, what many of my school- 
mates would have valued still more, a hand- 
some present, either an Indian shawl or a 
Trichinopoli chain, or something of the sort. 
Being dispatched by my father's London agent, 
who had no great interest in little girls' birth- 
days, it always arrived some days too late, 
when I cared nothing about it. But all the 
girls envied me, and thought it very fine to be 
Col. Lychett's daughter ; and I noticed that 
Mrs. Dangerfield, the school-mistress, though 
she talked a good deal about not valuing the 
vanities of the world, always treated me with 
especial consideration for at least a week after^ 



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CONTENTS. 



OHAP. 9AQm 

L A SAD lJl§ifpobjX»ri5Nx/.-*..-.sV-f/. 5 

*,•• •••• •••-•<• 

n. AN UNEXPECTED ^EIElft)..V.'..:.. •.:..". 20 

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V. FALLEN OASTilSs-'.J.A/.r.Vi^..; 09 

VL T^JJ YOUNG MUSIOL/LN 86 

yn. THE GOOD MASTER 100 

VIII. A VISIT TO THE MENAGERIE 117 

X. THE WIDOW ARCHER 188 

X. THE BIRTH-DAY GIFTS 164 

XL THE DROWNED LAD ITl 

XIL THE CORNU AMMONIS 187 

Xm. ALONG ILLNESS 218 

XIT. KIND FRIENDS 288 

XV. THE NEW PIANO ." 251 

XVL SEVEN YEARS AFTER '. 260 

m) 



8 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

were left in company ; for I had unfortunately 
the honour of spending my weary evenings in 
her dull drawing-room. Once she came in, 
and discovered my occupation. She took the 
newspaper away, saying it was not suitable 
reading for any young lady, especially a young 
lady of fortune. My heart rose to my mouth, 
but I checked myself. I could not tell her 
what I wanted "The Times" for. Scarcely 
ever, or to anybody, did I speak of my dear 
parents. 

They were to me only a name, — I had never 
sfeen them, to my knowledge. They went out 
to India when I was a mere baby, whom they 
dared not take with them, lest the climate 
should kill me. So I was deposited with an 
old aunt and my nurse. The former died, the 
latter married ; and I, like a parcel of goods 
with no owner^s name, was passed from hand 
to hand, until I subsided into Mrs. Danger- 
field^s fashionable boarding-school. 

Transferred to so many people, and remain- 
ing permanently with none, I had naturally 
contracted few likings. Everybody was very 



A SAD DISAPPOINTMENT. 9 

tivil, and paid me a vast deal of attention ; 
my schoolfellows looked up to me with great 
respect, especially when my handsome quar- 
terly allowance came in ; yet I often thought, 
when I went up to my little bed at night — my 
usual time for thinking — that, supposing I 
were found dead the next morning, there was 
not a single creature in England who would 
cry, except perhaps the little half-boarder who 
was set to wait on me, Janie Allardyce. 

No wonder, then, that I had looked forward 
eagerly to the coming home of my parents. It 
was only for two years, they said, since my 
father had not saved money enough to settle 
in England yet. But the health of both re- 
quired a " furlough," and they wanted to bring 
little Bion for his education. It would be 
very hard to part with him, my mother wrote ; 
I wondered whether, ten years before, it had 
been as hard to part with me, and was half 
inclined to be jealous of my brother Bion. 

They had told me he was a very pretty boy, 
and that was the reason I was looking so 
earnestly in the glass on my birth-day morn- 



10 THE LITTLE LYCEiETTsl" 

ing. As I have stated, the result was noi 
favourable. To this day I remember, and could 
draw— some time, when I am a very clever 
artist, I will draw— ^the image I there viewed. 
The best word to describe myself I had the 
previous day found in my Italian lesson, and 
wondered why some of the other pupils slyly 
laughed,—" Unajigliaccia, a great, ugly, awk- 
ward girl." This not very flattering descrip^ 
tion painted me exactly. I was large-boned, 
large-faced, large-handed. Nothing could im- 
part to my appearance the grand quality, in 
Mrs. Dangerfield's estimation, " refinement." 
I was the sort of girl of whom people say, from 
her cradle, " What a pity she wasn't a boy 1 " 
Nothing could. alter this fact — not the hand- 
some, over-womanly dresses I constantly wore — 
not the lazy motions and attitudes which I was 
instructed to call lady-like — not the dancing- 
master's skill, and the lectures on deportment 
given in my daily walks with Mrs. Danger- 
field round the squares, or across Kensington 
Gardens. All these cares left me, as they 
found me, — uruifigli<xccia. 






A SAD DISAPPOIKTMENT. 11 

' As tc my face, it was broad and rcund, witii 
a turn-up nose and a wide mouth. Sometimes 
I hoped my eyes were not so bad, being large 
and blue, and I know I had plenty of hair, 
from the trouble it gave me. But otherwise, 
in spite of hints from time-serving teachers^ 
that Miss Lychett would grow up into " a fine 
woman," and some consolations from honest 
little Janie, that, plain as I was, I looked 
pleasant when I happened to smile, — ^my own 
good sense, and my study of all the engravings 
and pictures I could lay hold of, assured me of 
one melancholy fact, that Eunice Lychett never 
would be anything but an ugly woman. 

On this thirteenth birth-day I seemed to 
have grown uglier than usual, taller, awk- 
wardef, paler. And this just when my stately 
papa and my beautiful mamma, — of course they 
must he stately and beautiful, I thought, — 
were coming home to see me I How could 
they ever love me, they who had been used 
only to my pretty brother Bion I I could not 
help it ;— -it was not my fault that T was ugly 1 
Should I grow angry, and take to hating little 



'J ^ 

12 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

Blon and them all ? or should I run away, as 
I had often longed to do, and live by myself in 
a cottage on a moor ? 

I could not decide. The only thing I did 
was to throw the cruel looking-glass face fore- 
most on the bed, and stand, half-dressed as I 
was, by the mantel-piece, in a very melancholy 
state of mind. 

A knock at the door ! How very odd ! I 
hurried my frock on, wrong side before, and 
answered. 

Mrs. Dangerfield's voice 1 " Are you there, 
my dear Einice ? " 

Now, nobody ever addressed me as anything, 
but "Miss Lychett." I started to hear the 
sound of my Christian name — the name my 
parents and my little brother would call^ie by. 

" May I come in, my dear ? " 

" Certainly, ma'am." I first looked flarfuUy 
round, to see if the room were tidy, and no 
stray shoes and stockings lying about, — then 
I regarded my governess. She was all smiles, 
and she held out to me the forbidden " Times ^ 
newspaper. 



A SAD DISAPPOINTMENT. 13 

I horrified her dignity by flying forward, 
and tearing it out of her hand. 

It was as I thought! — "Arrived off the 
DoimSy the Burhampore, East Indiaman" I 
threw myself on the bed; Oh! how I did! 
cry! 

" Compose yourself, Miss Lychett. These 
feelings are all very graceful and natural, but 
do compose yourself." 

I sprang up from the pillows. There was- 
Mrs. Dangerfield standing by me, bland an^ 
demure ; not a fold in her dress, or a feature 
in her face, altered. She never had any chil- 
dren 1 and she must have quite forgotten the 
time when she was a child herself. It was the 
first time I had ever cried before her ; I de- 
termined it should be the last. I dried my 
eyes, and sat upright. 

"There, that is better. And now, let me 
congratulate you, my dear young lady. I have 
as yet not had the pleasure of receiving any 
communication from your papa and mamma ; 
but considering the date of their arrival, I 
think it is quite possible that you may see 
2 ^ *• 



14 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

them, — will you give me the paper again for a 
moment?" (oh, what an interminable moment 1) 
—that you may see them to-day." 

" To-day 1 this very day I" How I/trem- 
bled ! 

" Therefore, in order that your feelings may 
subside, and you may be in readiness to re- 
ceive Col. and Mrs. Lychett in a becoming 
manner, I will, my dear, excuse you from 
the school-room." 

She shook hands with more than ordinary 
graciousness, and disappeared, leaving me to 
my ** feelings." I don't know clearly what 
became of me after then, — I was in such a 
maze. I only remember Janie AUardyce bring- 
ing up my breakfast, and crying for joy on my 
neck ; which was more familiarity than she 
had ever ventured on before, poor little thing I 
seeing she was only a Dorsetshire farmer's 
daughter, while my papa was Col. Lychett, of 
the H. E. I. C.'s service. We were very par- 
ticular about rank and respectability at Mrs. 
Pangerfield's. 

Janie went down-stairs. No one else came 



A SAD DISAPPOINTMENT. 15 

near me, though I occasionally heard footsteps 
and whisperings at my door, and knew it was 
my school-mates, the happy girls who had 
fathers and mothers coming to see them I So 
should I have, soon ! And a natural impulse 
of proud satisfaction mingled with my other 
and better feelings. 
It passed away, and I fell into a state of 

•great trepidation. What would my parents 
think of me ? How should I make the best of 
myself, so as to appear before them? First, 

* how should I dress ? For I still sat shiver- 
ing without my frock, with my poor hair all 
tangled. I fastened it up, and turned over all 
my rich silk dresses, one after the other, uncer- 
tain which to choose. When suddenly it 
struck me how little they would care what 
dress I had on. It was myself they wanted — 
me, their own child. What did it matter 
whether I appeared in fine clothes or plain, so 
that I were my own natural self, their good 
and loving daughter ? I would try to be this ; 
and as -for anyj^hing else, why — I would not 
care. 



16 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

So I took my last new frock, a simple grey 
merino, which Janie had said I looked best in, 
made my hair as neat as I could, and dressed 
myself with a steadfast mind. 

I would not descend until after the school- 
hour, when I knew the house was all quiet, and 
nobody could intrude on me. Then I stole into 
the drawing-room, and sat there, waiting — 
waiting, hour after hour, and an hour seems so 
long when one is a child. Once, almost driven 
crazy with my restlessness, I sent for Janie, who 
was mending my clothes up-stairs. All she 
gave me was sympathy, and a wise, gentle hint, 
that the time would pass quicker if I employed 
myself. 

" Employed myself I " I had never done it 
in my life, I had been brought up so entirely 
as a fine lady. Out of school-hours I had 
never done anything but a little practising, a 
little drawing, or a solemn, genteel walk round 
the square. When I saw Janie's fingers flying 
nimbly, I felt so useless and miserable, I could 
have cried. 

The bell rang for lunch, which was the other 



A SAD DISAPPOINTMENT 17 

girl's dinner, I knew how they would all 
stare at me. To bear that was impossible. 
Again I fled up-stairs and hid myself in my 
room, thinking the day never would be over. 

Perhaps, my parents had not reached Lon- 
don yet ; perhaps — dreadful thought ! — they 
might be in no hurry to see me. They had 
little Bion and were satisfied. But no ! that 
was impossible. I took out their last letters 
— long, kind letters, as theirs always were, and 
read them again and again, with many tears 
of joy. 

" Fajpajinamma" — I sat saying the unfamiliar 
words over to myself, that I might say them 
quite naturally in their hearing. Of course, I 
should call them thus, and not "sir" or "ma'am," 
even though they would seem quite strangers. 
To think that, going out to-day, I might meet 
my own father and mother in the street and 
not know them ! They had never sent me any 
portrait, only a lock of cither's hair, and my 
mother's hair was just like my own. My mother, 
— my very own mother 1 Would she feel her- 
self as such, and kiss me and love me ? If so, 
2* 



18 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

I shd aid lov e her, all in a minute, aLd for ever 1 
Thinking of them so much, I ceased to remem- 
ber mj'self at all. It altogether passed from 
me, — the cruel thought I was so ugly I ' 

About four o'clock, when the sunshiny day 
was clouding over, and I felt myself growing 
dull with despair, little Janie came running 
into my bed-room. 

" Oh, Miss Lychett, do you see the cab at 
the door ? And there are people in the draw- 
ing room I And-^and — I heard your name I " 

I trembled so I could hardly stand. The 
next minute I had made a dart at the bed- 
room door. 

'Miss Lychett! dear Miss Lychett! stop, 
pray ! Mrs. Dangerfield has not sent for you 
yet. Don't go down." 

" I will I " I cried, desperately. " They are 
come, — I know they are, and all the Mrs. 
Dangerfields in the world shall not keep me 
from my owii father and mother I " 

I ran — ^how T cannot tell — until I found my- 
self at the drawing-room door. Mrs. Danger- 
field was just opening it ; at the sight of me 



A SAD DISAPPOINTMENT. 19 

she started back, " Is it you, child ? Go up- 
stairs — go 1 " But I forced my way in. 

There were three strange people in that 
room. I can see them now! — a gentleman, 
like a ship's captain— an Indian ayah, — and a 
little yellow-faced, sickly boy. 

"That is your brother, Eunice. Go and 
kiss him. There I " said Mrs. Dangerfield, in 
the kindest tone I ever heard frohi her. 

The boy turned peevishly from me, and set 
up a whimper. 

" But papa and mamma ? " I cried, all con- 
fused and bewildered. " Where are my papa 
and mamma ?".... 

— Alas I they had been left side by side, in 
' two graves on the rock of St. Helena I 




n. 

T is a strange feeling when Death first 
enters the child's little world, and takes 
"^^ away some one whom, consciously or 
not, it had tacitly believed to be immortal. 
Thus, of the numerous possibilities I 
had dreaded with regard to my parents, it had 
never once come into my mind that they might 
die, — die without my ever having beheld them, 
or called them by the sweet name of " father" 
and " mother." The blow was so sudden, that 
for the time it stunned me, and I woke out 
of it a changed creature. From that thirteenth 
birthday I was never again a " child." Even 
now the whole event often seems impossible 
and unnatural, and I think of that bare rock 
in the Atlantic, where the Indian ships t >uch 
at and the great Napoleon died, as some happy 

(20) 



AN UNEXPECTED FRIEND. 21 

island in the far-off seas, where these my un- 
known and never-beheld parents sit waiting for 
Bion and me. 

It is time I spoke of Bion as he first appear- 
ed to my sisterly eyes, clinging, whimpering, 
to his ayah's rob^. I never saw — ^he will not 
mind my sajing it of him now — I never saw a 
piore peevish-looking or Sickly child. 

At first sight my heart had positivdy turn- 
ed against him ; nay — God forgive me — ^not 
quite that ; but it seemed suddenly to grow 
cold. And his first action — ^how long it ran- 
kled in my mind I — was to shrink crying from 
me. The next minute the dreadful tidings fell, 
and everything became confused. 

The first thing I remember clearly after that 
instant was sitting in my own room by candle- 
light and alone ; that is, nearly alone, for there 
was the soft breathing of a sleeper in my bed. 
I sat listening, outside the curtains. For two 
days I had lived in the midst of a strange con- 
fusion, both around me and within me ; but at 
last I found myself in this my quiet bed-room, 
with its familiar furniture — everything just as 



22 THE LITTIE LYCHETTS. 

it was before this great whirlwind of trouble 
came. The storm had passed over,, and left 
nothing in the wide world but the sickly sleeper, 
whom I had carried up-stairs and put into my 
own bed — ^my little eight-year-old brother, Bion.' 

I drew the curtain gently and peeped at him. 
He did not look so cross now he was asleep- 
children seldom do. ' And when his features 
were in repose and not pinched up by that 
perpetual peevish whine, I could see that they 
were delicate and regular. I remembered thai 
in some old letter my mother had said that 
Bion was. considered very like herself : eager- 
ly I gazed, trying to guess from his face what 
hers must have been. And I felt my heart 
yearn over the child, which was all she had 
left me — the little peevish child, who had never 
yet given me one kind word. 

Stooping, I kissed one of his ringlets, his long 
rich chestnut ringlets, the only thing about him 
that was natural and healthy-like — and even 
in his sleep he knitted his brows. I put my 
hand gently on his little curled-up fingers — ^he 
drew his arm away. So I could but look at 



AN UNEXPECTED FRIEND. 28 

him from a distance, feeling very mournful, and 
wondering how we two poor orphans would 
get through the world, and whether T should 
ever love my little brother enough to teach 
him to care for me. For some strong convic- 
tion wa8*in my mind, even then, that only love 
creates love. ^ 

I did not love him then ; it was beyond the 
bounds of hum»n possibility that I could ; but 
I was drawn to him by some instinct of kindred, 
and, above all, by a sense that was always 
strong in me — though how it came I do not 
know — the sense of duty. 

I turned from the bed-side, rubbed my eyes 
(they were very sore and hot), and began wrap- 
ping up and putting in order Bion's little 
clothes that were strewn about the floor. I 
had been obliged to undress him myself, he 
screaming all the while for his nurse^ who had 
gone away. I have heard of Indian ayahs 
being very faithful through all misfortune to 
the children under their charge ; this woman 
was, fortunately for me, an exception' to the 
rule. She placed Bion under Mrs. Dangerfield's 



24 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

roof, managed to take my mother's clothes and 
jewels instead of 'her wages, and we never saw 
anything of her afterwards. 

I sat smoothing Bion's velvet frock beneath my 
hands, and vaguely wondering what I should do, 
with his nurse away, and the sole management 
of such a feeble and sickly child left to me, as 
seemed probable, for all the help any one gave 
me, — when one of the under-teachers appeared. 

" Miss Lychett, you • are wanted. Come 
down-stairs directly." 

I was not used to be addressed so unceremo- 
niously, even by a teacher. I merely turned 
my head, and made no reply. 

**Miss Lychett 1" spoken louder and more 
rudely. It roused me. 

** Miss Ward, I will thank you not to waken 
my little brother." And in saying the word 
" brother,'' and in keeping guard over him in 
this way, a new tenderness crept into my heart. 

'* One can't be troubled with you and your 
brother always. I am sure there has been 
quite fuss enough made over you both in this 
house ; and it is my opinion Mrs. Dangerfield 



J 



AN UNEXPECTED FRIEND. 25 

thinks so too. She desires you to come to her 
directly." 

The tone of this speech, half careless, half 
rude, was something so entirely new to my ears, 
that at first it only astonished me. " Really, 
Miss Ward, it is so late, and I am very tired ; 
and my little brother is asleep.'^ 

" Let him alone then. He will have to shift 
for himself often enough, I suspect, and you 
too. You must come down I " 

"Excuse me, but I shall not do any such 
thing." I rose and shut the door upon her as 
she stood outside. I did it angrily, for Bion 
had already been disturbed jn his sleep. I 
waited till he was quiet again, and then sat 
down, my cheeks burning with wrath, mingled 
with some slight fear. 

Could it*be possible that she spoke thus to 
me — Miss Ward, who flattered me most, and 
whom I, consequently, most steadily disliked 
of the whole establishment ? Was the (?ause 
something which I had heard, though the con- 
fusion of my mind prevented my fully appre- 
hending it — ^that, from some misfortune or 
8 



26 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

other, our parents' sudden death had left me no 
longer a rich young lady, petted and caressed, 
but the meanly-pensioned orphan of an Indian 
officer, who had died penniless? Bion, too, 
was as poor as I. Could anybody be so wick- 
ed as to change their behaviour towards us 
because of our poverty? I had heard of 
such things, but I would not believe them. 
Never ! 

Jane AUardyce knocked at the door — ^little 
Janie, whose gentle, respectful manner had 
never altered. She spoke entreatingly, — 

"Dear Miss Lychett, Mrs. Dangerfield is 
growing so angry." 

" Let her. I shall not come. I shall stay 
and take care of my brother." And for the 
moment, in the pride and isolation of this new 
tie, I lost sight of what was due, even to Mrs. 
Dangerfield. ** There, Janie, don't cry. Tell 
her she must either come and speak to me here, 
or wait until morning." 

And, thoroughly worn out, I laid my throb- 
bing head on a mattrass which Janie had 
brought, and prepared myself to sleep on the 



AN UNEXPECTEp FRIEND. 27 

floor: — I who had been so luxurious and 
particular in my sleeping I But I did not seem 
to care much about anything now. Everything 
was so unnatural, that the strangest things 
came quite as a matter of course. 

I had hardly shut ray eyes when I had again 
to open them, to see my governess standing 
over me. 

" Miss Lychett, this conduct " 

"I can't help it, ma'am. What did you 
want to say to me ? I am so tired." 

Possibly there was a broken-heartedness in 
my manner which touched her, and made her 
remember — what, not seeing me all day, she 
had doubtless forgotten — that I was newly 
orphaned. She took my hand rather kindly 
than otherwise. 

" I am sorry for your fatigue, my dear ; but 
time is precious. I cannot keep that boy in 
my establishment. Especially as he looks ill 
and feverish ; there is no saying — really, this 
is a very perplexing business." 

Doubtless it was ; altogether out of the com- 
mon run of events in young ladies' schools, 



26 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

and not to be measured by the line-and-rule 
standard of proprieties which guided the con- 
duct of Mrs. Daugerfield. 

" My dear Miss Lychett," said she, at last, 
** I shall speak to you as if you were a grown- 
up young la young person, which you 

must become as fast as ever you can. Those 
who are in reduced circumstances cannot 
afford to remain children. You must finish 
your education — ^less will be required now — 
and learn to earn your own living, I could 
offer you a situation as half-boarder." 

I started. What! Miss Lychett — Colonel 
Lychett's only daughter — to become a poor 
" half " — that name of scorn in our school ; to 
be looked down upon by teachers, laughed at 
by pupils, treated familiarly or rudely by ser- 
vants ; in short, made a common household 
drudge and byword — a second Janie Allardyce I 

" A half-boarder ! I thank you, Mrs. Dan- 
gerfield, but — --" 

" You cannot afford * buts,' Miss Lychett. 
It is the only plan I see. Hitherto I haye 
been unsuccessful in finding a single relation 



AN UNEXPECTED FRIEND. 29 

you possess. There is no one to take charge 
of jou but myself; and even in that case, what 
is to be done with the boy? Some orphan 
asylum, now " 

" An orphan asylum ! Put my brother into 
an orphan asylum ! '' And I saw a visionary 
troop of starved, shivering, wretched little 
charity boys, with Bion among them — poor 
Bion, the only living creature I had belonging 
to me in ttie world I 

" Never, Mrs. Dangerfield ! never ! I'd starve 
first ! " 

She looked down on my violence in her 
calm, ladylike way, — she had such very lady- 
like manners. " My dear, you should not 
speak lightly of such an extremely possible 
alternative.". 

I did not quite comprehend her, being far 
too much excited to have a clear understand- 
ing of anything. I walked up and down the 
bedroom — ^my old quick, passionate walk — 
repeating, " Orphan Asylum I " " Half-boarder ! ' * 
Alasl there had been such a fearful amount 
of pride taught me in my thirteen years, ere I 
3* 



80 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

had wisdom to see more than the outside of 
things. 

Mrs. Dangerfield sat patiently — more pa- 
tiently than I then gave her credit for. Per- 
haps she was even sorry for the poor frantic 
girl, that is, so far as her cold nature allowed. 
We cannot make people otherwise than they 
are; and I have often thought since, that I 
did not suflBciently estimate the stern way in 
which she invariably fulfilled what she believed 
to be her duty. There are many worse people 
in the world than my former schoolmistress ; 
and the older one grows the more one learns 
to respect any not unjust authority. 

My governess let me pace the room and sob, 
till I was quieted — not by her, but by the face 
of my little brother appearing through the bed- 
curtains. He looked white and frightened — 
scarcely peevish this time. 

" What is the matter ? I want papa and 
mamma. Oh, papa and mamma, do come to 
little Bion ! " 

Alas, the pitiful, helpless cry, which there 
was none to answer, none but me I My pas* 



I m— 






AN UNEXPECTED FRIEND. 31 

Bion was calmed at once. I ran iind snatched 
him to my arms, kissing him as I had never 
kissed any one in my life before. 

He go to an asylum I my own brother — my 
darling boy? Sooner would I beg — no, not 
beg, but work for him — in the open street ! 

Mrs. Dangerfield watched us all this while, 
sitting stately at the foot of the bed, or occa- 
sionally walking to the fireplace, with her 
short, nervous cough. Perhajps even she^ severe 
woman as she was — she, who had never had 
any children — felt sorry for us orphans. 

When the room was quiet, and Bion had 
fallen into a half-doze, beginning to whimper 
again at intervals (and he felt himself bound by 
necessity to do so), little Janie AUardyce, with 
a flushed countenance, in which was more 
eagerness and less shyness than I had ever 
before seen there, opened the door and asked 
for Mrs. Dangerfield. 

" There's a gentleman wanting you, ma'am," 

My governess drew herself up. " Not at 
this hour. Say I shall be visible to-morrow." 

"Oh, to-night, ma'am I Please, to-niglit! 



32 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

•He has come such a long way. And he said, 
when he asked for me " 

"Asked for you, Miss AUardycel" Janie 
nearly sank into the floor with the stern rebuke. 
'* Who is the gentleman ? " 

"He is only a farmer," answered Janie 
hastily, and trembling. " He lives near us at 
home, and everybody knows him. I wrote to 
my mother, two days ago, to ask — well, it 
doesn't signify now — and he has brought me . 
the answer to my letter." 

" But of what moment is all this ? Eetire 
and deliver my message," said Mrs. Danger- 
field, coldly. 

" Oh, ma'am, do see him. He has something 
to say to you, and he is such a good old man. 
All Dorset knows Mr. Reuben Linnington." 

As she said the name, it somehow struck me 
that I had heard it before, probably when I 
was a very little child. I turned towards the 
door, which looked upon the staircase. 

" Madam, my name is Reuben Linnington.'* 
^" Sir ! " 

I can see him now, as my horrified governess 



AN UNEXPECTED FRIEND. 38 

' then saw him, standing at the bedroom door : ^ 
a tall, but stooping old man, with a long thin 
face, remarkable for nothing save the extreme 
gentleness of its expression. He looked far 
less like a farmer than a poor country clergy- 
man. His manner was shy and much excited. 

" Ma'am, if you be the schoolmistress, tell 
me where I shall find Eunice Linnington's — ■ 
that, is, Mrs. Colonel Lychett's two children." 

Mrs. Dangerfield pointed to Bion and me. 
The old man hardly looked at me, but was 
attracted by Bion, then fast asleep, with his 
delicate girlish face and his pretty, pretty 
curls. 

" Oh, cousin Bunicb ! cousin Eunice I " he 
muttered to himself, us forgetting everything, 
he walked right in — sat down at the foot of the 
bed — looked at Bion — sobbed — took out his 
handkerchief— and dri^d his eyes. Nobody 
could laugh at those tears, even though they 
burst out so childishly, and were wiped oflF by 
that queer red cotton pocket-handkerchief. 

Again Mrs. Dangerfield sternly said, ** Sir 1" 
and he hurriedly answered, "Madam." I 



/ 



84 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

stared at both with unfeigned wonder ; Jauie 
stood half laughing, half crying, at the door ; 
and little Bion quietly slept. 

"Madam, I am cousin to Mrs. Lychett — 
Eunice Linnington that was, and I am come to 
take home with me her two children." At 
which he laid hold of me with one hand, and 
tried to lift Bion with the other, seemingly in- 
diflferent to everything except carrying us 
away. 

The boy woke and cried. I pushed the old 
man away angrily, and took my little brother 
in my arms. Mr. Linnington noticed me for 
the first time. 

" Who are you, Miss ? Are you " 

" I am Eunice Lychett." 

" Eunice ? " peering at me eagerly. " You're 
not like her — not at all." And then, taking 
my hand with a simple straightforwardness, 
all the while wiping the tears away with the 
other, he said, "I was your mother's cousin. 
Miss Eunice, and I was very fond of her, but 
she married and went away. I have never 
married, and have no children. If you like. I 



* AN UNEXPECTED FRIEND. 85 

will take you two for my children hencefor- 
ward. I am not rich, but you shall share the 
little I have, while I live and when I die. Will 
you come, Eunice ? " 

I looked at him, the honest, simple old man, 
who had been "very fond of my mother." 
Somehow, it was a good face, and I trusted it. 
Even Bion let him approach, and did not 
whimper. I put one arm round my little 
brother, gave the other to Mr. Linnington, 
and said, " We will come." 

So we Ti ent. 




ni 

T is a rather keen, but sunny and pleas- 
ant morning. I sit in the railway car- 
riage, with my face to the iron horses, 
and the sharp wind blows my hair and 
my bonnet-strings in all directions. I 
have a consciousness that this is not agreeable 
— that it makes my eyes water and my nose 
turn red, but there is no other vacant seat, 
except the one opposite, which my little 
brother has just crept to, and I could not be 
so selfish as to want it of a poor, shivering, 
East Indian child. So I tie my veil tighter, 
and endure the blast. 

Little Bion lolls about pallid and restless. He 
will half-condescend to speak to me now, and 

allow me to do anything I like for him, but- he 
r36] 



LIAS lee's stoby. 37 

positively refuses to kiss me ; and if he ever 
calls me " sister," it is with the trying adjective 
" ugly" affixed. A hundred times a day my 
spirit rises, and I am on the point of hating 
him ; and then his poor little delicate face, 
that wx)uld be so pretty if he were less fretful, 
comes between me and my wrath. I remember 
he is all I have left of those whom I never 
saw. And I forgive him, thinking of the far- 
off grave in the island of St. Helena. 

Our good cousin sits beside me, leaning on 
his large thin hand ; he does not talk much, 
but alternately takes out and readfe two or 
three well-thumbed books, which I suspect to. 
be hymn-books. When he closes them, he- 
generally sits vaguely looking before him — 
probably at little Bion. 

I think our cousin Reuben — as he desires us 
to call him — a simple, good creature ; but in- 
the precocity of my thirteen years, I rather* 
look down upon his old-fashioned country- 
ways. I wonder what is our fellow-passen- 
gers' opinion of him, and am half ashscmed to 
belong to him and to his rough farmer's coat ; 
4 



38 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

but I comfort myself with thinking how ex- 
quisitely refined the boy Bion looks, with the 
pretty fair curls straying over his black mourn- 
ing-frock — the deep, deep mourning that we 
both wo "e, scarcely heeding by whom it was 
provided. And now — strange to say, and yet 
not strange— even I am beginning to get used 
to it, and to my sorrow likewise. Both grow 
easier in the wearing. 

Ere many miles of this journey have gdne 
by, I am laughing and trying to make Bion 
laugh — not the easiest task in the world ; biit 
the more he repels me the more I. am deter- 
mined on the undertaking ; I never could en- 
dure to be beaten in anything. At last he 
deigns to look up and give me a half-smile." 

" How like his mother I" sighs our worthy 
old cousin, noticing him. "You'll be a good 
boy now, little Bion ?" 

But as if the very idea of being a good boy 
were insulting to his feelings. Master Bion 
relapses into his old ways immediately, and 
does not recover himself till we reach South- 
ampton. There, at sight of the ships' masts 



LIAS lee's story. 39 

and the narrow glitter of sea that one 3an 
view from the railway, he starts up. 

"I want to go home, across the beautiful 
blue water. I want to go back to the ship, 
and to papa and mamma and Lulu, and every- 
body." 

And then again whimperings and tears, at 
which our cousin sighs once more from the bot- 
tom of his heart. I feel a kind of shame that 
we should be such a trouble to the good old 
man. 

" Cousin Reuben, perhaps we had better not 
go home with you, but try and live by our- 
selves, i can work hard when I like, and I 
don't much mind being hungry, or having 
shabby clothes ; or, at the worst" (my heart 
recoils at this alternative, remembering how I 
left the house that morning, in a miserable cab, 
receiving just a civil message of adieu from my 
governess, and not one of the girls coming to 
say good-bye to me, except poor Jane Allar- 
dyce), " at the worst, I can but go and be a 
half-boarder at Mrs. Dangerfield's." 

" And what of Bion ?" 



40 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

" He shall go to some place where he will 

be happy and merry, and not be teased with 

seeing his ugly sister more." 

At my saying this — in a voice more hurt 

than angry, though I wonder at myself for 

feeling so— I am astonished by seeing little 

Bion stop whimpering. His great eyes are 

fixed on my face — my poor ugly face — with a 

curious expression. It is not affection, but it 

is a sort of pitiful up-looking, a clinging appeal 

for protection, such as no child ever turns to 

one Whom it dislikes. The look pleases me, 

*yi spite of the rude words that accompany it. 

.* I don't believe you. YouVe telling stories, 

- V Eunice." 

. am not ! I never tell stories ;'' and, 

^f TT "embittered, I turn away. " You don't 

that I should care for you. I wish 

' would take me away, that you might 
boy now, ^ ^y. „ 

But as if' 

, ..s no answer, but still sits watch- 
were msultu 

. , his great eyes. The carriage 
relapses into , , , . 

, ^ , xaa slower — we are reaching 

does not recovt . o. -n i ., -i 

_, terminus. Suddenly the door 
ampton. There, 



F 






1 ' r\ 



<f ■> ' 1 ■ ' , 



Ill upoD oar bDi or DioUiw, m; brother uid I- " 



LIAS lee's story. 41 

flies open, and a strange man catches hold of 
me. 

" How be you, Mr. Reuben ? These the 
poor little 'uns, eh? Beg pardon, but I'm 
sent for you, Miss Lychett." 

And he proceeds to help me out on the plat- 
form, but my little brother holds *me back with 
all his force. 

" Oh, no, no ! I'll be good, I'll be good ; 
only don't take away sister Eunice. I couldn't 
do without sister Eunice." 

And he clings and sobs, even after I have 
turned and comforted him with the assurance 
that I am not going ; and when I ask him> he 
puts up* his mouth willingly to kiss me, which 
favour I take with a beating heart. We sit 
upon our box of clothes, my little brother and 
I, surrounded by all the confusion of the ter- 
minus, and I quiet his fears and hold his 
hand ; and feel that I am beginning to be con- 
tent. . « 

The man who opened the carriage-door at 
Southampton was afterwards such a favorite 
companion of ours, that I must say a little 
4* 



42 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

more about him. He looked something be- 
tweeL a working-man and a gentleman ; I 
remember he had on a rather shabby frock- 
coat, a very bright waistcoat, and kerchief 
with flying ends. He was a middle-aged man, 
with extraordinary red cheeks, eyes that re- 
sembled a round 0, with a dot in the middle, 
bushy eye-brows, and a great, overhanging, 
wise-looking forehead. Nevertheless he touch- 
ed his hat to Mr. Linnington with the instinct- 
ive respect of lower rank. 

" I- thought you'd be arriving about this 
time, sir. I told the Master so. And he said 
if you like to make use of our steamer and come 
with us to Swanage, 'twill be easier than coach- 
ing it ; and we'll try to make the young folk 
as comfortable as we can." 

" You are very kind, very kind indeed. Lias 
Lee," said Mr. Reuben, in his meek, mechanical 
voice, as he tried to collect our luggage with 
his most useless-looking hands. I saw that, 
child as I was, my hands, and brains too, were 
^ a great deal the more active of the two, so I 
jumped up and did tbe business, aided by Lias, 



LIAS lee's ""story. . 43 

« 

or, as I afterwards discovered the etymology 
of his odd name, Elias Lee. 

Of the next hour or two I remember little, 
save that I was hungry, cold and tired ; and 
should have felt very cross, only that Bion, as 
usual, cried, and I couldn't afford to lose my 
temper likewise. I thought of myself — my old 
self — sitting genteel in silk dresses by Mrs. 
Dangerfield's drawing-room fire, and feeling so 
peevish and discontented the while ; then of my 
•new self in a common black marino gown and 
cloak, that was already half-soaked with a 
sudden shower, standing shivering on the 
damp deck of a miserable little steamer, try- 
ing vainly to persuade a crying child that it 
was quite warm, that we were not a bit hungry 
and must not complain. . And yet I would not 
have changed places with my " genteel " old 
self for the world. 

At last, our cousin Reuben landed, from 
wandering about Southampton streets, where 
he had foraged what he called ** dinner for the 
children." 

Dinner 1 Mercy on ui^ 1 Just some sickly- 



:ar-candy I 
jhelor had 
od how to 
ht this as 
if childish 
: Bat down 
bread and 
I Lias Lee 
juben was 
d that he 
w circnm-* 
J two chil- 

gobbling 
:Way, with 

cry more 
uzzled my 

that was 
ecided on 
ssitatiogly 
le sent for 
y, for " we 



LIAS lee's story. 45 

hurriedly turned out the whole contents of his 
pocket (some shillings only) into the hands of 
Lias Lee. 

" Quick ! let them have anything they want. 
Hungry ! The idea of my letting Eunice's 
children go hungry 1 Bring anything you 
can think of, Lias, do 1" 

But, at a hint from me, Lia* was wiser ; so 
we got a big loaf and plenty of butter. No 
milk was to be had. 

"Now, Bion, sit down by me," and I spread 
half my frock-skirt over some sail-cloth as a . 
cushion, and put a clean pocket-handkerchief 
on my lap by way of a table-cloth ; and bor- 
rowed Lias Lee's shining new clasp-knife, which 
greatly attracted the attention of my brother. 

" That's right, I see the sun's coming out f. 
and so it was, both in the sky and in the little 
fellow's face. *' Here's a lovely loaf^— see how 
grandly I'll cut it. Who likes kissing-crust, 
Bion ? I do—but — there ! Now for butter 
— well, that is a contrivance. (The indefati- 
gable Lias Lee had taken out a nlariner's com- 
pass, with its case — lined the case with a piece 



46 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

of scribbled paper, and made it into an admir- 
abie butter-dish.) 

" But you'll spoil the writing on the paper?" 

" Oh, nev^r mind that, Miss !" said he, hia 
Ted •cheeks blushing' redder than ever ; " I can 
put'un down out o' my head again. It's only 
my poetry." 

Lias Lee a poet! That teas funny. But 
his confusion was such that I did not like to 
push inquiries ; especially as Mr. Linningtou 
began shaking his head, — 
. " Oh, Lias---Lias ! Better be writing on the 
master's oflSce-desk, and getting more money 
for the wife and the little ones.'' 

" Never you mind, sir. It be no harm to 
nobody," said Lias, good-humouredly. " Miss, 
your wrist's tired wi' cutting. I ha' gotten 
clean hands ; shall I cut your piece ? The 
little gentleman likes his dinner now." 

He did indeed. Never did food taste nicer 
than that clumsy meal, eaten cheerfully and 
with loving-kindness to and from everybody. 
I think I .could see us all — Bion munching 
away wrth an eagerness very foreign to his 



LIAS lee's story: 47 

usual pampered appetite, and Lias Lee squat- 
ting on the wet deck, cutting slices off the loaf, 
with his big knife, as daintily as a cook ; and 
our cousin Reuben, seated on the roof which 
coviered the companion-ladder, with his long 
legs dangling down, and his mild eyes fixed 
on us — nay, not on us^ but on Bion — with a 
pathetic satisfaction. All the while the getting 
up of the steam kept on with its whizzing noise ; 
now and then the boat gave a heave, and at 
last, almost without our knowing, we were 
fairly afloat in the bay, the quay and its bus- 
tling scenes vanishing from us, with the watery 
space rising between. 

When we had done our dinner and began to 
look about us, enjoying the afternoon sun and 
the fresh sea air, Bion and I were mightily 
amused at the odd figure we cut on " the vasty 
deep." Imagine a kite, with its long tail of 
paper cross-bars, floating over a pond I That's 
just what we must have looked like in South- 
ampton Water. Our little steamer was drag- 
ging at her stern a string of at least eight 
empty boats, fastened one behind the -other 



48 ' THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

with a chain. It was the funniest thing im- 
aginable to see them all steadily following iu 
our wake, like a kite's tail. 

Bion, who, wrapped in my old woollen 
shawl, sat warm and comfortable now, wanted 
to know what they were. I turned to ask 
cousin Reuben, but he had got out his little 
hymn-books again, and was dreamily contem- 
plating the sea. So I applied to Lias Lee. 

" They're the master's clay-boats. We took 
them loaded to Southampton^ and now we're 
bringing them back empty. So we shall have 
a shorter voyage than usual, and that was why^ 
I was told to take in Mr. Linnington and you. 
The Master thought it ^ould save him trouble 
and expense, you see," — in under tones, with a 
knowing but kindly wink. 

I asked who was " the Master." 

" He's a clay-merchant ; bless you 1 his pits 
stretch miles across the country. He's as rich 
as he's good, and as good as he's rich — that he 
be I An I'm a clerk in his counting-house." 

" Rich ! and only a clay-merchant," said I, 
rather contemptuously. ." How can anybody 



. LIAS lee's story. 49 

get rich by selling such a useless thing as 
clay ?" and I thought of the miserable old men 
whom I had sometimes seen in the environs of 
London, sauntering after their donkey-carts, 
and holloaing out, in cracked voices, " Movld 
for your gar-dens /" " Clay 1 what's the good 
of clay ?" 

" Miss !" said Lias, not without dignity and 
a certain grave meaning, '* that's the mistake 
that people very often make, especially with 
regard to us poor working-folk. They think 
us just common earth, and so we are, a great 
. many of us, only fit to grow corn on and make 
gardens of. But now and then there turns up 
among us a bit of valuable clay. You, miss, 
nor a thousand others, couldn't tell it from com- 
mon marl, till comes a man like the Master, or 
his father, or his grandfather before him, and 
finds out what its really worth. And so he 
digs it up and uses it properly, and it goes 
through many hands, and at last it turns 

out to be ^Did you ever see a china vase, 

miss?'^ 
." I should rather think so." 
5 * 



60 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

"Did yoa ever hear o' the Potterie.;, where 
they make all sorts of beautiful earthenware 
that is sent over the whole civilised world ? 
Well, that ware — ^not the china, but the earth- 
enware — is all made out o' the clay from, the 
Master's pits." 

" Hark, Bion, listen I" said I, greatly inter- 
ested, though not so much but that I stopped 
to see the weary, peevish look again troubling 
the child's face, and was anxious by any means 
to send it away. 

** Yes, my little gentleman," continued Lias, 
aiding me goodnaturedly — "if you'd listen, 
I'd tell you something as good as a fairy tale. 
The prettiest tea-cup that ever you drank out 
of has probably come up to Soi^tharapton as a 
lump of clay in one of those very boats." 

Bion shook his head, and said he wanted to 
get home and go to bed ; the sea air made him 
very sleepy. 

" But he won't get home till rather late, for 
it's a good way to Swanage, and a puzzling 
coast for the steamer to hold her course by, 
with ail those boats in her wake. I'll try and 



52 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

•with men running about with faces and clothes 
as dirty-white as its own clay. 

" The poor lump goes through a deal of hard 
usage. It is torn to pieces and drowned with 
water, and mixed with other clays and sub- 
stances still more unlike itself. It is pressed 
into a wheel and turned till it forces itself out, 
only to find itself in the hands of a man who 
moulds it into a strange shape, just as he 
chooses. It is put into an enormous oven and 
burned. It is dipped into some curious liquid 
and glazed. It is painted various colours, till 
it quite forgets the original colour it wore in 
the earth. Its roughnesses are chipped ofiF, and 
it is made quite smooth. Lastly, it is packed 
up in soft paper, put into a wooden crate, and 
sent miles upon miles across the land or sea, 
sometimes to the other end of the world. And 
there it is taken' out, and washed, and set upon 
a table, and looked at and admired. And it 
finds itself out to be " 

" What ?" cried little Bion, breathless. 

" A tea-cup /" .... 

" Elias," said cousin Reuben, stealing upon 



LIAS lee's story. 53 

us in the dark, " don^t talk any more, but take 
the children down below. The men say they 
don't like this haze." 

But what befell us in the haze, now over- 
spreading the whole gloomy sea, I must tell in 
another chapter. 



6» 



IV. 



^ |iiSfet St »n. 




HT did you send us down belo-w, 
cousin Reuben?" said I, as we 
were all huddled down in the small 
cabin of .the steamer, anything but 
the pleasantest place in the world, 
and redolent of the smells of some hundred 
past dinners and tobacco-pipes* "I have a 
great mind to go on deck again." 

" I can't hinder you, Miss Eunice," said the 
old man, pathetically. I am afraid he had al- 
ready found out that my will was stronger than 
his own. " But I have been so long dwelling on 
shore, that it troubles Ae to see the wonders 
and perils of the deep. And if you please, I 
would rather keep the ^y safe here with me.' 



A NIGHT AT SEA. ^5 

Bion had at last dropped asleep from sheer 
weariness. " You can go where you like." 

I did go, and took a wild pleasure in pacing 
up and down the deck, my bonnet tied firmly 
down, and my cloak wrapped tightly round me. 
It was not a stormy night, nor was it very 
cold, but it was as dark as pitch, — or rather, 
everything was hidden from the sight with a 
grey haze. I could not see the boats behind 
us ; even the men at the bows of the steamer 
looked indistinct and far away. I could hear 
their voices? through the mist, mixing with the 
dash of the waves in the paddle wheels. 

Unaccustomed as I was to the sea, the thought 
gave me a strange feeling, not exactly of fear 
— I was not bof n for fear — but of curiosity and 
wonder. And far through the haze my mind 
seemed to stretch out, and see, with nothing 
between me and it but these sounding invisible 
waves, the object which even now in my soli- 
tary hours I constantly beheld — the island of 
St. Helena. 

I wondered, with a vague longing that would 



T 

:i^; 



almost gladly have se^iAself fulfilled, whether 



66 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 



« 



we might not lose our course and be drifted 
there ? 

At last, in spite of my musings, which were 
very pleasant to a precociously romantic child, 
I grew cold; and crept near the funnel to warm 
myself. Two of the steamer's men — there 
were but three, besides Lias Lee — were talking 
close by. 

"Do 'ee think, Jim, well get 'un safe into 
Swanage Bay to-night?" 

" I bean't sure." 

" This be a black night, it be ; but her's a 
tidy little craft. Whereabouts might 'un be 
now r 

" I doen't know." 

The last sentence made me feel rather un- 
comfortable. I did not walk the deck any 
more, but by an irrepressible impulse went 
down below to see after my little brother. 

He had been all the while asleep, his head 
on Mr. Reuben's knees. It touched mv heart 
to see how kind our poor, simple, old cousin 
was to the child. But at my entrance Bion 
started : ^ 



A NIGHT AT SEA. 57 

% 

"Please, Lulu, — please, mamma. What a 
noise the ship is making I Take care of me, 
mamma, — Lulu." 

He hud woke up fancying himself on board 
the Burhampore. 

" Don't'ee cry, now don^t'ee, my poor little 
fellow 1" said Mr. Reuben, mournfully ; " eat a 
bit of sugar-candy, do I There, we shall soon 
get to Swanage, and then you shall have some 
nice supper and go to bed. Here, Lias ! Lias 
Lee !" 

Elias's big frame, legs foremost, was soon 
seen descending the companion-ladder. . 

" Lias," said Mr. Linnington, in great per- 
plexity, " you have children of your own, can't 
you help us to amuse thft poor little boy ?" 

"Ay, sir, with pleasure. It's hard for a child 
to be awake at this hour." 

"Ah, indeed," and Mr. Reuben took out his 
watch ; " why, dear me, it's eleven and more. 
What time shall we get into Swanage ?" 

"I can't exactly tell'ee, sir." And Elias 
looked somewhat glum. " It!s not easy sailing 
in this fog, especially with eight boats to tug 



58 THE LITTLE LYCHETT3. 

after'un, though Jim do know the coast veil. 
He thinks, somehow, we're wrong in our course, 
and are close ashore o' the Isle o' Wi^^ht yet.'' 

" The Isle of Wight 1 Why, we shall not 
get home to-night. And what shall I do with 
the children ? Why did I bring them on the 
perilous sea ?" 

" If you please, Mr. Reuben," I whispered at 
his elbow, dreading lest his dreary looks might 
frighten Bion, " I'm not a bit afraid ; and I 
like being at sea very much indeed, and " 

Here there was an unusual motion of the 
vessel, as if the engines were working heavily 
and with difficulty. We seemed to move 
slowly and \xy jerks, then the keel below us 
grated against something, — there was an un- 
easy quiver in the boat. A pause, in the sound 
of the paddle-wheels — one plunge — and we 
came to a dead stop. 

" There's something wrong," cried Mr. Reu- 
ben. 

"Nothing much, don't'ee be frightened,'' 
cried Lias, as he sprang up the ladder. A 
minute afterwards he holloaed down to us 



A NIGHT AT SEA. 69 

in his loud, cheerful voice, "All right, sir, I 
say ! She's only run aground." 

''^Only run aground 1" muttered- Mr. Linning- 
ton tc himself. "Lord, save us I Not me ; 
I'm ready and glad to go, any day ; but the 
children, Eunie's children." And he clutched 
the astonished Bion, who by this time had half 
comforted himself with his susrar-candv. 

I had nothing to do but to catch hold of 
Bion on the other Side, and listen to the harsh 
voices and hasty feet overhead. It was an ex- 
citing moment. I was not exactly afraid, but 
I felt my heart beat quicker. All the ship- 
wrecks I had ever read or heard of came into 
my head all in a niinute ; and I pictured to 
myself the whole of what might happen — ^how 
we should save ourselves in boats — or make a 
raft — or how I would lash Bion and myself to 
a spar, float over the ocean, for miles and miles, 
and be picked up half alive. In all these pos- 
sible cases I was to perform prodigies of female 
heroism ; and — so much for the rose-tint of a 
child's in agination — in no cas;e was any harm 
to befall us. Of drowning, and death, and 



60 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

sleeping with the fishes in awful sea-depths, I 
never once thought. The thing seemed impos* 
•sible with relation to Bion and me. 

It was a very long five minutes in which Tve 
three sat together, and listened to the shouting 
of the men and the vain working of the engines. 
At last I could bear inactivity no longer. 

" Cousin Reuben, I am going on deck." 

" My poor child, no ! Let us meet our fate 
here." 

"Please God": — something impelled me to 
use that phrase — and I meant it too, though it 
was almost the first time that my foolish child's 
heart had ever seriously thought of the Eternal 
and His will ; — '^ Please God, no harm will 
come to us. Ill certainly go, cousin Reuben.'' 

And I went, leaping up the companion-lad- 
der with a bold heart that almost enjoyed the 
danger. There we were in our poor little 
steamer, lying like a log upon the water, noth- 
ing to be heard but the drowsy dash of the 
waves, — nothing to be seen but fog close 
round us and blackness bey find. No coast, no 
Bea-view, no sky, no stars. The men were 



A NIGHT AT SEA. 61 

talking together, one near the silent paddle- 
wheels, one down below in the engine-room, 
from the opening of which came the only light 
that was visible. Jim stood leaning against 
his useless helm ; beside him was Lias Lee. I 
stole up to the lattfer. 

" " Are we going to be shipwrecked ? Please 
tell me, because I'm not frightened, — only I 
want to get time to save Bion. Please tell me, 
Mr. Lee." 

•* There's a bold little lady 1" He patted me 
on the head. " Beg pardon, Miss Lychett 1 but 
IVe a little lass at home. No, Miss" — and he 
clieared his throat. " Please God we shall not 
be shipwrecked. We've only got on a sand- 
bank, or something o' the sort, Jim doen't 
know where ; and there we must stick till the 
tide turns, or till daylight. It's hard for you, 
Miss, but can't be helped. Won't you go down 
below and quiet tbe old gentleman ?" 

There was an end of all my nice little 

tragedy! Nothing but ingloriously sticking 

on a sand-bank till morning t And nobody 

seemed to mind it in the least ; the men, all 

6 



62 ' THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

but Jim, laid themselves down on the deck for 
a sleep, and Lias hinted that I had better go 
down below and take a doze likewise. 

" There bean't no food left aboard, Miss, and 
you'll be terrible huuo:ry I" 

Ay, there was the trouble ! My excitement 
over, T began to feel porfectly ravenous. S(f 
would Bion be soon, — I heard him crying even 
where I stood. And we had nothing in the 
shape of edibles but the fragments left of the 
bread which Lias had bought. I hunted these 
out of my basket, and eyed them by the light 
of Jim's lantern. There was a big, substan- 
tial crust and a little bit of crumb ; I could 
have devoured both in a minute, and longed 
for more. 

" If I was you, I wouldn't eat 'un yet, Miss. 
It's a good while to morning." 

I frowned disdainfullv on Lias Lee. As if 
I were going to eat a morsel ! Yet now, for 
the first time in my life, I began to fancy what 
the poor street-beggars felt when they said 
they were "starving." Me — Miss Lychett — 
to be " starving /" I could have laughed, only 



A NIGHT AT SEA* ' 63 

to a healthy, active, growing girl, the pain of 
hunger was so cruelly real. I have been 
praised for many a less self-denying act than 
when I then pushed the crust out of ray sight 
and fastened up my basket. 

While I was doing so, Mr. Linnington and 
*Bion had crawled on deck. I explained, with 
a certain pride in my own information, how we 
were stuck on a rock, nobody knew where, and 
must stay there till morning. Mr. Reuben only 
wrung his hands, and sighefi out for the twen- 
tieth time something about " Eunie's poor chil* 
dren." 

"Never mind us, cousin Reuben,'' said I, 
stoutly, taking Bion from him, and the little 
lad seemed willing to come. " We two will 
not go below again ; well make a bed of these 
sails, and be very comfortable till morning." 

So we lay down, not so miserable as might 
have been, for it was a calm night, and I 
hugged Bion close and kept him warm. Lias 
whispered to me not to 'let him go to sleep, so 
I talked incessantly*; told him all the fairy 
tales I could remember, which were not many, 



c 



64 THE LITTLE LYCHfiTTS. 

but I made up the rest out of my own head. 
And through them all broke out now £^,nd then 
the pitiful, whimpering cry, " I am so hungry I" 
And oh ! wasn't / hungry, too I I could have 
eaten an ox I When, in telling Bion the story 
of Jack-the-Giant-Killer, I came to the account 
of the giant's smoking bowl of pudding, my 
heart almost leaped into my mouth. It may 
be ridiculous, but to this very day I should 
give my last penny to the most reprobate-look- 
ing beggar who put forth. the plea of being 
" hungry." 

" Oh, sister Eunice, have you got anything 
to eat ?" 

" Presently, Bion. When we have come to 
the end of this one story." And I spun it out 
to its utmost length ; but at last we both 
gave in. 

I sat up, got my basket, and took out the 
precious bits of bread by the light of Jim's 
lantern. And even gruff Jim grunted out 
something that was nreant for a regret over 
"the poor little 'uns," that weie as badly off 
as himself on this unlucky night. 



« 



A KIGHT AT SEA. 65 

" There, Bion, I haven't anything for you but 
dry bread, but it's a good big crust, and very 
nice. Bat away." 
. He did, most voraciously. He had half done, 
and I was lingering over the last of my three 
mouthfuls — I had no more — when he turned 
fretfully round. 

" Sister Eunice, you're as greedy as Lulu 
was. There you've given me the hard, ugly 
crust, and kept for yourself all the nice 
crumb 1" 

I burst into tears 

It was very foolish,— very ; because he could 
not know anything, and he had been such a 
spoiled child. But at the moment I don't think 
I ever felt a keener pang. 

The pain was but momentary however, for 
the next instant Bion had crept up to me with 
his little warm arms ; and though he never 
begged my pardon, which, indeed, was more 
than I could expect at any time, still in a 
thousand quiet ways he showed ho^ sorry he 
was. Nay, he munched his last fragment of 
burnt crust with an air of complete satisfac- 
6 



66 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

tion, saying how nice it was, and that he would 
like a little bit more. 

" But I haven't any more, Bion ? We must 
be content with this, and must not even think 
of being hungry again." 

I dried my eyes and tried valorously to 
practice what I preached, but it was very hard 
work. At intervals I grew faint and ill ; but 
the night was so still and even warm, that we 
did not suffer anything like what we might 
have done. By degrees the fog lightened, and 
we saw a star or two peeping out ovet* our 
heads, — such pretty, blessed stars they seemed ! 
I tried to point them out to Bion, who, refresh- 
ed by his sound sleep and his crust, and amused" 
by his novel position, was becoming quite 
lively, for him. But every time I stirred I felt 
so sick and exhausted, that at last I could only 
lie and listen to his childish babble — some- 
times English, sometimes mixed with Hin- 
dostanee. The large bright stars came out 
over our heads, till the sky was all thick with 
them ; and the morning breeze began to 
freshen over the sea. Lias Lee came and 



A NIGHy AT SEA. 67 

wrapped us up closer than ever in our shelter- 
ed nook by the funnel, whence all oar good 
cousin's entreaties could not draw us, such was 
our horror of the musty hole below. ' 

At last the stars grew paler, and the breeze 
fresher, and the littlo steamer began to heave 
slightly with the rising tide. I heard the men 
stirring, trying to work the paddle-wheels, and 
get her off the sand-bank. Jim shook himself 
broad awake, and peered out to discover our 
whereabouts. I tried to raise myself oh my 
elbow and look about too, but I only saw a 
streak of light where the sea and sky met, just ' 
sufficient to show the outline of the string of 
boats we w^e towing after us. We lay far in 
the midst of the sea — I was sure of that — only * 
on one side Were dim black things like low- 
lying clouds. 

" Ah ! we shall never get home," moaned I, 
giving way at last ;^and, sinking drearily back, 
I felt so weak and ill. Then the broad back 
of Lias Lee came between us and the dawn. 
He looked all round tlie horizon, and burst into 
one of his hearty, cheery laughs. 

*' Don't 'ee see, Jim ? Law, what fools o' 



68 THE little;^ LYCHETTS. 

fresh-water sailors we ha' been ! If we bean't 
lying all tjiis while on the sand-bank off Poole 
Harbour 1 There be Old Harry, and there 
StudlandBay,.and — Work away at th' engines, 
my lads, and we'll be at Swanage in no time." 

I gave a great sigh, kissed little Bion, and 
told him he should have a good breakfast soon, 
then dropped niy head down again on the 
pillow of coiled ropes, and never stirred it 
afterwards. The paddle-wheels began their 
monotonous noise, the steamer rose up and 
down on the waves, which were growing rough 
• now, and all about the deck became lighter and 
lighter, but I took very little notice of anything. 

At length the paddles stopped once more. I 
saw Mr. Linnington, who had been sitting close 
beside us, take Bion up in his weak old arms 
and stagger with him on to the quay. I tried 
to follow, but could not, and was obliged to let 
worthy Lias Lee do the same kind othce for 
me. They took us to the inn, and gave us 
some breakfast, at least Bion ate — for I could 
scarcely touch it — and then I laid myself down 
on a quiet bed, and did not lift my head up 
again for eight-and-forty hours. 




V. 

N the morning of the third day I woke 
quite recovered^ and began to think of 
rising. Especially, as I heard little 
Bion, who slgpt in a closet off my room, 
muttering to himself " what a fine morn- 
ing it was, anii how he wished sister Eunie 
would not be so lazy." So I dressed myself, 
and then him ; at the latter business being 
very rough and awkward still, I fear, for he 
constantly lamented over the lost Lulu. How- 
ever, we managed somehow, and I felt rather 
proud when I led him down-stairs to the inn- 
parlour — my pretty little brother, with his fair 
features and his curling hair, which I had ex- 
hausted all my small patience in brushing out 
of its tangles. I was beginning to have a 
sense of property in him. The landlady half 

(69) 



70 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

smiled, I saw, when she met us on the stairs, 
and I answered her inquiries with a womanly 
motherliness— at least so it must have been, 
for I felt very motherly. Afterwards I heard 
her whispering with the chambermaid about 
" those poor little Lychetts." 

I drew myself i*p with dignity, and desired 
that Mr. Linnington might be informed " Miss 
Lychett " was down-stairs. 

Pride mufet have a fall ; I was informed that 
Mr. Reuben had gone Over with Lias Lee to 
" the Master's '■ pits to borrow a dog-cart to 
take the children home. 

A dog-cart/ We, "the children," to be 
hauled off like brutes, in a dog-cart I I was 
shocked inexpressibly. I had some vague 
thoughts of taking Bion up in my arms and 
running away withhiin across the sunny curv- 
ing sand and over the hills which shut in this 
beautiful little bay. But, someliow, breakfast 
looked so tempting — and, alas, we knew so 
well what it was to be desolate and hungry ! — 
I put off the running away to another and 
more favourable opportunity. 



FALLEN CASTLESjr 71 

After breakfast — at which cousin Reuben 
had left orders that we should have everything 
we liked — Bion and I sat in the window-seat, 
looking at the quiet bay, with its great heaps 
of white stone lying piled along one side, and 
along the other a smooth deserted shore. A 
few little fishing-boats, some with sails, some 
without, were moving slowly across the bay, 
or scudding oflF seaward round the point. 
Everything looked sleepy, lazy, sunriy and calm. 

Byt we, true children as we were, had no in- 
clination for lazy enjoyment. We wanted to 
be moving. We began to wonder about the» 
new home we were going to in the objection- 
able " dog-cart." Bion confided to me his 
notions on the subject ; that it was to be a fine 
bungalow, with rooms twice as large as this, 
and a beautiful punkah in each of them, ready 
against the hot weather came. Also there 
were to be gardens, and. carriages; and plenty 
of servants, — he even thought it was possible 
lie might again find Lulu. 

But I, ingeniously and half-jealously passing 
over Lulu, told him not to expect so much, for 



72 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

we in England lived quite differently from 
what they did in India. And, partly to console 
him, partly out of my own sincere conviction, 
I explained my notions of what we might 
expect. A house in the country — and, of 
course, in the midst of woods and fields. It 
would likely not be high, like London houses, 
but large and commodious, with plenty of 
galleries and winding staircases. Probably an 
oaken hall, adorned with stags' horns, and 
drawing-room windows from which we ^ould 
step out on the lawn. I did not think there 
would be a park or pleasure-grounds, for I 
knew cousin Reuben was not rich ; but there 
was sure to be a lovely garden, and roses and 
woodbine climbing over the windows, and all 
that sort of thing. In fact, I drew such a 
pretty picture, that Bion at last gave up his 
bungalow, and condegcende4 to "my house in 
the country." We built it, room by room, in 
our busy imaginations, and were so longing to 
prove it by reality, that when Mr. Linnington 
came in we both ran to him and besought him 
to take us home. 



FALLEN CASTLES. 73 

He was quite ready — indeed, so couched by 
our eagerness, that, during the getting ready 
of the dog-cart, he drew out his pocket-handr- 
kerchief and wiped his eyes many times. 

We beheld the abhored vehicle, which was^ 
not 'so bad as I expected. We were not 
stowed away like dogs in a cart, but mounted 
on a lofty sort of a gig, with a seat behind; the 
height and insecurity of which was great f&n. 
I was always slipping off a little, and for some 
time had to hold on with both hands. We 
drove through the steep, narrow, jolting streets 
of Swanage, and finally came out upon a bleak, 
hilly road, whence a long sweep of inland, 
country and sea-eoast was visible, extending, 
miles and miles. 

It was a sort of country very different from- 
anything I had ever before seen, or even im^ 
agined. There were ino woods, or winding 
lanes, or green-hedged meadows, the whofe 
scenery was bleak and bare. The land rose 
in great ridges, like the backbone of a fish ;; 
between these ridges were valleys, generally 
long and narrow, with a farmhouse or a white 
7 



74 TIIE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

stone quarry peeping out here and there. In 
fact, this seemed a country of, stone. The 
highroad was fenced with it — it lay about the 
fields in big white blocks, — the houses, even to 
the tiniest cottage or pigstye, were built of it. 
There ;vere quarries scattered about in every 
direction ; the few labourers we met had a 
whitened, dustied appearance, and were big 
powerful men, who looked as if they had been 
lifting great masses of stone all their lives. 
They were mostly handsome men too, — ^not at 
all like the clownish, heavy-looking, smock- 
frocked labourers whom I had seen years 
before when I went to my old aunt's in Surry, 
which labourers, even then, constantly offended 
my sense of the beauMful. Now these country 
fellows 1 admired very much, and asked Mr. 
Reuben what they were. 

" Marblers, my dear. . They are all marblers 
here.. But Lias Lee will tell you more about 
them than I can.*' 

And cousin Reuben relapsed into his grave 
silence, neither cross nor sullen, but still very 
distressing to young folk, who were interested 



FALLEN CASTLES. 7o 

and excited by every new thing, and wanted 
a companion who had as high spirits as them- 
selves. 

I began to feel my own spirits flag, as I sat 
by myself in the hinder^ seat of the dog-cart, 
back to* back with Mr. Linnington and little 
Bion, who was too busy in shivering and wrap- 
ping himself up in cousin Reuben's big coat to 
take much notice of anything. , My.interest in 
the journey seemed to lessen, the highroad we 
swept along grew tame and dull, and I won- 
dered where among these monotonous bare 
sweeps would lie the beautiful little country- 
house I had promised to myself and Bion. 

At last, turning round, and piteously twist- 
ing my neck in the act, I caught sight of some- . 
thing wonderful and interesting. 

There was a break in the hilly ridge (" the 
fish's backbone," as I had ca-Iled it), just as if 
two giant hands had cloven it down^and rolled 
the intervening space into a nice round dump- 
ling of a hill — like a pork-pie before it is 
"raised" — (but I forget that my young lady 
readers may not have learnt, as I quickly did 



76 THE 'little lychetts. 

at cousin Reuben ^s, how to " raise" a pork-pie 
— if not, the sooner they do learn the better.) 
On this hill, standing out against the sky ex- 
actly as in landscape sketches, was something 
I had often longed to §ae,.but never yet beheld 
in nature — a castle — in ruins, probably, as far 
as I could distinguish from the distance, but 
still a real old castle I 

I clapped my hands in ecstasy ; for the mo- 
ment the delicious thought came that Mr. 
Reuben was taking us there — ^might he not be 
an old retainer, in whose charge was the cas- 
tle ? — that we might live there in the habitable 
part, and run about the uninhabitable ruins — 
see strange sights — owls,. jackdaws, perhaps 
even ghosts 1 A shiver of mingled horror and 
delight ran through me, and my strong desire 
almost grew into belief. Alas, I always was a 
great adept in building "castles in Spain," and 
jumping to conclusions from anything or 
nothing ! 

My heart beat so, I had not courage to set- 
tle all uncertainty by putting the plain ques- 
tion to Mr. Reuben. I sat, screwed into a 




FALLEN CASTLES. 7T 

painful twist, staring at the wonderful c«stle 
with all my eyes, and tracing down the valley 
the road which led to it, which I could see 
marked out distinctly as on a map. 

At length, to my dii^may, we turned from 
the direct highroad across a common, which 
had hardly any road atall. 

" Hold fast, children,*' said cousin Reuben, 
as he began to guide his horse more carefully, 
along a track which seemed chiefly composed 
of two enormous ruts, in the which we rose 
and fell, and jolted and stuck, till Bion was 
heard screaming, and I had all the breath 
shaken out of me. And there was my beauti- 
ful castle, which I had now a free view of, 
slowly vanishing in the opposite direction I 
Alas, we were' not going there at all I 

" Hold on, children ; don't cry; my pretty 
boy," repeated Mr. Linnington, in the comical- 
ly tender voice he always used toward Bion. 
" We shall soon be at home, my little darling." 

" Home, cousin Reuben 1" cried I. ** Where 
ure you taking us ? I don't see any house." 

** You will presently, not far from my quarry 

. 7* 



78 THE LITTLE LYCHBTTS. 

there. The carts that take away the marble 
make tliese ruts. There isn't any road to my 
house. It is not often that a carriage comest 
and when it does it has to go across the fields." 

And so we went, after a fashion that 1 never 
heard of! driving direct from gate to gate, 
the wheels of the dog-cart running smoothly 
over the soft pasture-grass. Now and then 
some sheep, or horses out grazing, would lift 
up their heads and look at us with contemptu- 
ous indifference ; they were apparently accus- 
tomed to such litter solitude that they did not 
even know what it was to be afraid. 

All the while I saw no country-house— ^no 
lawn — no gardens. Nothing but fields, and 
here and there some buildings which I thought 
farm-stables or pigstyes, or something of the 
sort. Where on earth were we going to ? 

The dog-cart was at last stopped inglorious- 
ly by a big sow and litter of pigs, that were 
clustered round a farmyard gate. The little 
pigs would get under the horse's heels, and the 
burly mother set up the most despairing 
grunts. Mr. Reuben threatened them with his 



FALLEN CASTLES. 79 

whip — but it was only threatening — ^he had 
not the heart to strike any living creature. 
After various efforts, which set me and even 
Bion laughing heartily, the pigs got the better 
of it. 

" I think, Miss Eunice," said our cousin, 
meekly, " we might as well get out here. We 
have only a dozen yards to run across that 
field. There's the door. Hallo !— Sally, 
Sally ! — ^here we are at home." 

Home! 

It was a little farmhouse, the door of which 
opened direct upon the field. It had no gar- 
dens—not even a flower-bed. A paved walk 
led to a well, another to the gate of the farm- 
yard. The whole establishment seemed no 
larger or more refined than a common labour- 
er's cottage. This our home ? — my home and 
little Bion's I I could not believe my eyes. 

"Sally! Sally !"• called out Mr. Reuben 
again. 

" I be coming, master," was the answer ; 
and an active, fresh-coloured, blithe-looking 
woman ran across the little field, opened the 



80 THE LITTLE LYOHETTS. 

gate, drove the pigs away, lifted dowa Sion, 
shook hands — ay, actually shook hands i — 
with me, and stood holding the horse. All 
this she did before we well knew what we 
were about. 

The old gentleman looked benevolently on 
his domestic, who seemed to serve him as maid, 
housekeeper, groom, and all. 

" Well, we are at home safe, thank God for 
it. Sally, these be poor Miss Eunice's — I 
mean Mrs. Colonel Lychett's — children. My 
dear, this be Sally, who has lived with me as a 
good and faithful servant for thirty years." 

" Come Michaelmas next, sir, when I shall 
be forty-five years old," said Sally, with a 
pleased countenance. " Bless you, you be a 
pretty lad, my little dearie." 

This was addressed to Bion, whom she pro- 
ceeded to bundle along in one hand, leading 
the horse with the other. I stood, for the mo- 
ment, perfectly confounded. To shake hands 
with me was unheard-of presumption, but to 
carry off my little brother, and he struggling 
against her too I 






FALLEN CASTLES. 81 

" Let me alone — I don't like you, ugly old 
woman. I won't go into that nasty little cot- 
tage. Eunie I sister Eunie 1" ^ 

I leaped forward and snatched him to my- 
self. " He shall not be tormented I We will 
not go in 1 You have brought us into quite 
trouble enough already, cousin Reuben. I will 
not suffer my brother to enter that poor, mean, 
dirty little house." 

" Dirty 1" screamed Sally, flaming up indig- 
nantly — too indignantly to utter more. I also 
was in a great passion, or should not have said 
what I had done. It seemed to cut the old 
man to the heart. He looked piteously round 
at his dwelling, then at us, and shook his head. 

" It is poor and mean — very mean for Ker 
children, but I haven't any better. Miss 
Eunice." 

" And it be far too good for fine misses o' 
thick fashion — and, master, you be a great 



She Was possibly going to add " fool," but 
stopped. Mr. Reuben leant against the door- 
post. He looked so sorrowful, that my heart 



82 THE LITTLE LYCHETT3. 

and my conscience combined vehemently to 
accuse me. 

" Sir," I said, humbly, too humbly to call him 
^* cousin Reuben," " perhaps I was very wrong. 
I don't mind a bit for myself; I am strong 
and can live anyhow or anywhere ; it's only 
fun. But Bion is such a poor, sickly, delicate, 
little boy, and was always taken such care of. 
I'm very sorry, sir, I am, indeed" — (here a sob, 
which I choked down). ** Perhaps I don't 
know what is right, nobody ever taught nae." 
(Here a full gush of crying, utterly undignified 
in such a "fine ijiiss" ad Sally thought me. 
But it saved my character in Sally's eyes.) ^ 

I very soon found there was no alternative 
— that we must take our cousin's kindness for 
better, fpr worse — there was no home open to 
us but his. I peered in at the narrow door, 
where a back kitchen and house-place Idd to 
still narrower stairs, up which Sally said was 
the parlour. The parlour, alas I — there wajS 
but one. Disconsolately I returned Without 
doors, where Bion still sat lamenting, and 
resolutely refusing to go in. His repugnance 



FALLEN CASTLES. 83 

Burprise<l me, for children of his age usually 
notice external things little enough, and are as 
happy in a cottage as a palace. But my Bion. 
had from his babyhood such a keen sense of 
refinement and beauty ; he would not soil his 
Lands or wear a dirty collar for the world. I 
. feared I should never get him to cross the 
threshold of that dark, mean farmhouse. At 
last a bright thought struck mo. 

" Bion," said I — taking him on my lap as 
I sat down on a turned-up milk-pail, after hav- 
ing stood talking till I had exhausted all my 
powers of reasoning and entreaty — " I'll tell 
yqu a story. — There was once a swan and her 
cygnets, who lived very happy in a great shin- 
ing, crystal pond. But the mother-swan was 
obliged to fly away, and the two little swans 
could not live any longer in the beautiful pool. 
They had to go wandering about the country, 
hungry and tired, with no one to take care 
of them. It much grieved the mother-swan 
when, in the far-off place where she was oblig- 
ed to stay, she thought of them thus. At last 
there came a worthy old drake and said, * Li^ 



84 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

tie ones, I was very fond of the. swan your 
mother ; therefore come and live with me and 
swim in my duck-pond.' But the young swans 
did not like the idea at all, and greatly despis- 
ed the duck-pond. So the mother, who, 
wherever she was flying about on her white 
beautiful wings, always thought of the poor 



little cygnets who were wandering desolate 
over the country, came and said — that is, one 
of them dreamt she said, * My little ones, you 
grieve me very much. My old friend would 
be fond of you for my sake, and take care of 
you, so that I should be quite happy on your 
account. But you are ungrateful to his good- 
ness, and laugh at his poor little duck-pond, 
though it is the best he has to give. Nay, my 
children, go in and swim and be merry, and 
make your mother content.' So the two little 
cygnets obeyed, and lived a long time in the 
duck-pond, and grew to be beautiful swans, 
and were always very kind to the worthy old 

drake ; and " 

" Stop, sister," said Bion, putting his finger 
between his lips — ^his usual trick when he was 



FALLEN CASTLES. 85 

thoughtful, while his eyes deepened, and there 
appeared the sweet, grave look he sometimes 
had, the look which I felt was our mother's — 
" sister Eunie, do you think mamma would like 
us to go in and live there ? " He pointed to 
the farmhouse. . , 

" I know she would." 

He peered timidly in at the door, drew back, 
then shutting his eyes, gave himself up to my 
guidance. I led him in, up the crooked stairs, 
and into the parlour. 




VI. 

T*is a trite maxim, that one can get use to 
anything when one is yoiing. In a few 
weeks after our coming to Stonyhide 
(which queer name had belonged to Mr. 
Reuben's farm from time immemorial; 
I believe because it had consisted of a " hide 
of land," and very " stony" land too) — the place 
seemed quite natural and familiar to both Bion 
and me. Bion, especially, grew very content. 
India and Lulu vanished apparently from his 
mind ; he occupied himself entirely with the 
present. And for me, when I ever did think of 
Mrs. Dangerfield's and my school-life there, it 
seemed far back like a dream. All belonging 
to it was as closely locked up as the trunk 
▼hich contained my fine coloured silk dresses 

[86] 



THE YOUNG MUSICIAN. 87 

and laces and Indian shawls, of which trunk, 
having lost thq key, I made a capital washing- 
stand for little Bion's sleeping-closet. 

For, in Mr. Linnington's household, every- 
thing was on the most frugal and homely scale. 
Comforts, hitherto familiar to me as light and 
air, were here unheard-of luxuries. I never 
shall forget Sally's look on the first morning 
when I came down stairs, as I thought very 
early — at half-past eight — and gently hinted 
that I always liked a fire to dress by, and that 
Bion couldn't eat anything for breakfast but 
Bweet*biscuits and coffee. 

" Coffee I Biscuits I There bean't no such 
things heard of at Stony hide. And — Miss — 
I make bold to say, that in my young days 
children never had nothing but milk or por- 
ridge. And they got up at six to eat it, too. 
Mr. Linnington be done his breakfast and off 
to th' quarry an hour sin'." 

I was dumb-foundered I not by Sally's blunt- 
ness, for she was too good-natured to be really 
rude ; but by the prospect before me of our 
coming life I And as things began so they 



88 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

went on. Always plain fare, roughly cooked 
and seryed, which nothing but intense hunger 
could have impelled me to eat. All our din- 
ners came from the farm : fat pork or bacon — 
mutton, which I knew I had seen running 
about the fields — large long-legged barn-door 
fowls, which I first missed from the yard, then 
saw hanging up by the neck in mortal struggles, 
and finally beheld dished at table. It was very- 
dreadful ! 

Then all day long we had nothing to do. 
No books — no playthings. " The " parlour " 
was assigned to our use ; for though SaHy was 
rough and familiar, she treated " poor Miss 
Bunie's little 'uns" with great consideration. 
It — the parlour, though scrupulously neat, was 
the barest room imaginable ; just a table, 
chairs, and carpet ; not a book scattered about 
— not a print — not an ornament, except two 
china (or, as Sally called them, *' chany") shep- 
herdesses, with big peacock's feathers stuck 
under their arms in warlike fashion. The rest 
of the chimney-piece was filled with what we 
disrespectfully called " b?ts of stone," but which 



THE YOUNG MUSICIAK, 8? 

were probably rough specimens oi Purbeck 
marble. The centre-piece was of the same 
marble, cut and polished ; it represented a 
miniature coffin, with a cross lying on. the top, 
and a Latin legend twisted round. Sally told 
us, with some little pride and awe, that this 
wonderful piece of ingenuity was the work of 
Lia» Lee. 

Day after day — long boisterous March days, 
when the wind howling without made Bion 
refuse to stir from the fire-side — did we spend 
our time in the little dull parlour — rising 
generally very late, lolling on the hearth till 
noon-time, when Ml*. Reuben sauntered in, 
smiled kindly on " the children," ate his dinner 
silently, and went away. Then we used to sit 
telling stories ; or watching the hens and pigs 
from the windows ; or having sham-fightn with 
the peacock's feathers ; or, more frequently, 
poor little Bion grew cross with doing nothing 
and went to sleep. At dusk we had our s ip- , 
per of milk. Afterwards Mr. Reuben usually 
asked me to read a chapter or two in the Bible ; 
he Mmself read a prayer, and we went to bed. 



90 THE LITTLE LYCHBTT3. 

Oh, the long, restless nights after such daj s 
spent in the weariness of doing nothing I How 
I used to lie awake and yearn for the old busy 
school-life— once so hated! The hardest les- 
son, the most interminable exercises — nay, 
even the three hours of piano-strumming, then 
the most abhorrent of all my tasks, would have 
been a blessing now. V 

And oh ! when I heard Sally's voice as she 
scolded the farm-servants, and my ears were 
haunted by the noises attendant on killed pigs 
and chickens, and live pigs and chickens ran 
under my feet whenever I descended to the 
farm-yard, and almost every sight, sound, and 
taste which reached me was coarse and un- 
pleasant to my young-ladyish senses, and 
everybody and everything I met caused ^ 
revulsion of dislike in my ultra-refined and pre- 
cociously-conceited mind — oh, how gladly 
would I have gone back to the silk frocks, the 
school-books, and the dancing lessons — even 
the formal walks with Mrs. Dangerfield I 

I had l.ad dreams of freedom and liberty 
and life in the backwoods ; but, after life in a 



THE YOUNG MUSICIAN. 91 

farm-house for a week, I sent freedom and 
liberty to Jerich(), and would thankfully have 
returned to school. 

Then came much ill-humor and disappoint- 
ment, though, from long habit, I kept my feel- 
ings to myself pretty well, and was not so un- 
just as to vent them on other people. I got 
out my few school-books and read them over 
and over again. I even, from sheer weariness, 
took Sally's hint, together with one of her 
needles, and began to darn my own and Bion's 
stockings. But I would not go out anywhere 
- — ^not even to church. As for walking, where 
was the use of it ? — ankle-deep in muddy fields, 
or across ugly commons. I wasn't a plough- 
boy — ^I was a young lady. And a young lady 
I was detormined to keep myself, in spite of 
Mr. Reuben and Sally and the abominable 
farm-house. 

When I got into this sullen state of mind, I 
am ashamed to say that I rather neglected my 
little brother. He, child-like, began to accom- 
modate himself to his new position ; and then, 
having been always used to Indian laziness, 



&2 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

our dull life from morning till night did not 
weary him as much as it did me. He played 
with his jackstraws and peacock^s feathers, or . 
with the little old-fashioned toys that Mr. 
Reuben brought him home not unfrequently — : 
or else he sat for hours looking out of the 
window in his sickly, dreamy way, enjoying 
the sun when it came out, or amused by the 
scudding of the sudden April showers. For 
now the spring was coming on fast, and the 
little parlour became close and hot, and we 
both felt languid of mornings. 

But still I would not go out, even though 
sometimes Bion looked as if he half-wished I 
I would. I was obstinate as a mule. 

At last, one day, Bion found an amusement 
quite independent of me. Hunting^ round the 
room, he lighted upon a queer piece of mahog- 
any furniture in the corner, which nobody ever 
touched. 

" I wonder what this is, sister," he said. " It 
has got a handle. Ill turn it." 

" Don't 'ee, now, my little dear," said Sally, 
pouncing upon him as she was laying our bowls 



THE YOUNG MUSICIAN. 93 

of milk for supper. " It be th' organ. Master 
dimnot like Anybody's touching th' organ." 
, But Bion persisted with his coaxing ways,- 
and finally Sally relented, and showed him 
how to make it sound. It was a hand-organ, 
that could grind out twelvd psalm tunes. 
Great was Bion's delight when it began to 
. growl out a few dreary noT;es, with. unearthly 
drones intervening, as he turned the handle 
slowly and unequally. Gradually his method 
improved, and in a few minutes his quick ear 
caught something like thie ghost of an air. 

" It's a tune, sister Eunie ! A real tune I I 
do like it so I " 

I did'nt. Love of music never was in me, 
or had been strummed out of me by those three 
hours of daily practising against my will, the 
result being that I have never touched a piano 
since. But listening or not, I saw the rapt 
expression of my little brother's face — his own 
beautiful look, only drawn out at rare mo- 
ments. I smiled to see him so pleased, and 
said it was " very pretty I " — which of course 
il was, if he thought so. 






94 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

He went on grinding away with an air of 
intense delight and attention, besting time to 
.the tune or humming it softly to himself; 
though his little voice — till this minute I never 
knew he had one — was almost drowned in the 
noise of the organ. I watched him, glad that 
he should be amused and happy. 

Sally listened to3, with her eyes wide opened 
in admiration, and her hands fidgeting abont 
her apron-strings. " Lor' bless us I What a 
clever young gentleman he be I And he do 
look the picture o' his mother when she was a 
little 'un and used to stand a-playing of the 
organ and learning the school children to sing. 
Lor' ! what will master say ? " 

And lo I in the midst of the performance, 
who should walk in but Mr. Reuben himsejf, 
followed by Lias Lee I 

The old man was all in a tremble — half 
anger, half emotion. "Who's playing my or- 
gan ? Who has gone and touched my organ ? " 

But little Bion, quite absorbed, went on 
without taking the least notice. 

" Let 'un alone, Mr. Reuben," whispered Lias 



THE YOUNG MUSICIAN. 95 

Lee. " He bean't doing it badly, either. Clever 
little lad. Singing, too — hark ye I " 

" Singing? Yes, I think we ought to sing. 
We will sing ;" said Mr. Linnington. ** Eunice, 
my dear I Sally, sit you down. Here, Elias." 

He took from the shelf a handful of his 
queer little hymn-books and distributed them 
to each of us, with a grave face, though tears 
were running down it. Odd as the thing was, 
his manner was so simple, and withal so rev- 
erent, that it was impossible to laugh. Even 
Lias suppressed a twitching at the corners of his 
comical mouth; and settled it into seriousness. 

"This hymn suits the tune — ay, that's it. 
It was your mother's favourite, Miss Eunice, 
my dear. Now then " 

And with his uncertain, quivering voice he 
\)egan that hymn of old Isaac Watts — always 
beautiful, whether we learn it by rote as chil- 
dren, or it flashes upon our memory during the 
3)any troubles and cares of after years. 

There is a land of pure delight, 

Where saints immortal reign : 
Infinite day excludes the night, 

And pleasures banish pain." 



96 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

Lias chimed in with his hearty bass — even 
Sally, after wiping her eyes and sighing, put 
in a respectful feeble note here and there ; and 
so, with the red glow of the April sunset 
crawling down the wall, and lingering on Bion 
and his organ, we sat and sang. I could fancy 
i hear the old hymn now, even though Bion 
always said sifter had no taste for music : — 

There everlasting spring abides, 

And never- withering flowers ; 
Death, like a narrow sea, divides 

That heavenly land from ours. 

"Sweet fields beyond the swelling flood 

Stand, deck'd in living green ; 
So to the Jews old Canaan stood. 
While Jordan roll'd between 

" Oh, couFd we bid our doubts remove, 

Those gloomy doubts that rise ; 
And view the Canaan that wiq love 
With unbeclouded eyes ! 

" Oh, could we stand where Moses stood, 

And view the landscape o'er, 
Not Jordan's stream, nor death's cold Aood, 
Should fright us from the sliorel " 

I know not why, but now even as a woman I 
never hear this hymn without recollecting a 



THE TOUNG MUSICIAN. 97 

vivid dream I had after reading " Pilgrim's 
Progress," of standing with Christiana and 
her children by the river-side, and seeing afar 
in the clouds the Land of Beulah. 

When the hymn ceased, I started. I had 
been looking at Bion's face, lit by the sunset, 
and thinking it not unlike the angels' in that 
beautiful childish dream. It seemed almost a 
sacrilegious impertinence when Lias Lee took 
the delighted organ-grinder on his knee, there- 
by stopping, the music, and turning Bion into 
his fretful self once more. 

"Now, my pale little gentleman, youVe 
played tunes enough, and want some supper." 

The " little gentleman" muttered something 
impatient, then began to complain piteously. 
My " angel" had laid his angelhood down with 
his music. W6 had a good deal of whimper- 
ing, and at last I was obliged to coax him to 
bed. When I came back Mr. Reuben anl Lias 
were sitting over the hearth, smoking. That 
is, the latter was, Mr. Reuben never smoked. 
There was no light but from the fire ; they did 
not see me comeTin at all. I sat down quietly 
9 



98 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

by the door, — nay, without the door, and 
thought what a very horrible habit smoking 
was, hoping that when Bion grew a man, he at 
least would never be fond of it. 

Bion ! Lias was talking of him now. 

" That be a fine little lad ; I do think, Mr. 
Reuben, many folk would call 'un a genius." 

"May-be," said cousin Reuben, pensively. 
He is very like his mother." 

" Too like," muttered Lias, compassionately. 

" Eh ?" said Mr. Linnington. 

" I have heard tell she was the . only one 
reared out o' six, that all went off in consump- 
tions. Sir, if I might make so bold, being a 
father of a family myseP, mind that boy." And 
Lias snapped his hand on his knee, making the 
old man start. 

I started too, a cold tremble running through 
me. But I listened more intently than ever. 

"He bean't managed right, sir, I think. 
You ought for to make him hardy, not coddle 
him. If you do, hell pine away like the fuch- 
sia in my wife's kitchen. Grow him out i' the 
open air, sir. He could stand it well enough. 



THE YOUNG MUSICIAN. 99 

If he had an elder brother now, — a steady lad 
that would take him over the country, and let 
liim knock about so as to get strong and hearty, 
and stilt keep a good look-out after him. But, 
poor lad, he's only got a sister — and she's a 
fine lady. Well, Mr. Reuben, I only hope 
you'll rear him, that' all." 

And Lias pufiFed away. 

I passed noiselessly down the staircase. I 

couldn't go to my bedroom, it was so close to 

Bion's. I ran out into the farmyard — to the 

well, where nobody could see me. Oh, what 

^n hour I spent there I 

Christiana and the Land of Beulah — " Jor- 
dan's stream and death's cold flood" — the beau- 
tiful angelic look that I watched in the face of 
my pretty singing boy — I thrust all out of my 
mind with a shudder. I walked up and down 
by the well-head until the stars came out thick 
overhead, and I grew quite cold. 

But I laid my plans — then and there ; and 
next morning I rose a different girl, with a 
different scheme of life arranged for both Bion 
and me. 



^ ^ ^ C' fy f * 



vn. 

fliOSE very early the next morning, and 
persuaded Bion to do the same — rather 
^^ a hard task for my ingenuity, but accom- 
^3 plished at last by hinfa of a wonderful 
^ and mysterious plan for amusing our-^ 
selves — far finer than battles with peacocks' 
feathers. Bion camo down stairs, to Sally's 
great surprise, by seven o'clock. 

" Eh, my little lad, that's the way to get rosy 
cheeks — if ever you could get 'un. Poor sickly 
fellow 1" she added, with a half sigh. 
I could almost have killed Sally ! 
Fortunately, at this moment Bion, creeping 
timidly out of the kitohen-door to look, at the 
Boft spring morning, exclaimed, " There's Lias 
Lee!" He was fond of Lias Lee — so mnch bo 



sr ' 



THE GOOD MASTER. 101 

that it vexed me sometime^. He would go and 
sit on his knee and hear about the clay-pits 
and the marble quarry ; and listen to the wor- 
thy man's " little bits o' poetry," written on 
important subjects, such as the Queen's visiting 
Southampton, or the Great Exhibition, of which 
fragments of genius Lias Lee was mighty proud. 
I didn't think much of them, but then I had 
read all through the " English Classic Poets," 
and wa^ rather particular. 

" Hollo, my little gentleman !" said Lias, 
jumping from the light spring-cart, in which he 
had come tearing across the meadow — " you be 
an early bird to-day ! Would 'ee like a ride 
wr I ?" 

Little Bioh drew back shyly, but'I took 
boldness. " Yes, that we should, both of us, 
very much. We want to go and see the pits, 
as you have often offered to take us, Mr. Lee." 

" Laio ! as the Master would say — (you 
never hear th' Master swear. Miss Lychett, or 
say anything worse, than 'Law 1' ") 

There was something very funny and expres- 
sive in the way Lias Lee ejaculated this '' Law !" 
9* 



102 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

— ^with his mouth open as a round 0, and his 
merry twinkling eyes. 

" Well, I be terrible glad youVe taken a new 
turn,- Miss ; and the Master has often asked 
after the little Lychetts — ^so I sha'n't be sorry 

if we meet wi' he. Had breakfast ? Then 

we'll be off in ten minutes." 

This was accomplished, though I put on my 
bonnet with rather a pang of humiliation, ear- 
nestly homing we might not meet " the Master,*' 
or any body respectable, who could note my 
woeful downcoming in the world. Miss Eu- 
nice Lychett — to be roaming about the country 
in a shabby spring*cart, and with a common 
working man like Lias Lee 1 

But when, as we dashed across the field, I 
saw Bion clap his little hands, saying how nice 
it was to be going out a-riding — and as he sat 
on Lias's knee, the soft west wind brought a 
colour in his cheeks, till he looked almost like 
a country boy — then somehow, I smothered 
down my annoyance, and could bear it. I even 
laughed when Lias apologized for *Hh' pits" 
being rather a rough place to bring a young 



THE GOOD MASTER. 103 

lady to ; because we should have to take care 
of ourselves all day, when he was in the coun- 
ting-house — only he would manage to get us 
some dinner, and drive us home after oflSice 
hours. 

" And they're a decent set o' folk i' the work- 
shops. Th' Master's children often come there 
— ^may-be you'll see 'un, Miss. Lychett. 

I hoped not — I earnestly hoped not I But I 
made up my mind to anything. • 

It was not a very long ride, though I wished 
it shorter, for the wind came sharply across 
the moors ; it always does in this part of the 
country, except in the height of summer. ' Bion 
shivered. I took him from Lias Lee, and hug- 
ged him tight under my. shawl : I was now glad 
I was such a big, strong girl, and forgot that 
my coarseness of appearance had ever been a 
trouble. * 

All the road we passed was moorland, ex- 
cept the little town wherein stood my beautiful 
ruined castle ; but I cannot stay to speak of 
that now. Now and then we saw a cottage, 
built of hardened white clay and thatched with 



104 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

heather, or a cow or a donkey wandering by 
the roadside, cropping the scanty moorland 
grass. Once we passed the big, toppling 

Swanage coach, whereon the coachman and 

« 

half the outside passengers nodded pleasantly 
to. Lias Lee. 

" Bless .'ee, Miss," said he, with a gratified 
smile, " in my popr way I be like the good 
Master — I knows everybody, and everybody 
knows me. But here we be coming to the pits, 
not our pits though. The Master^s father worked 
these out, sixty years ago. No more clay 
is to be got there now. Look, Master Bion." 

Bion looked and was rather frightened. 
On either side of the road were deep excava- 
tions, some half filled with water; and the 
water was anything bu£ beautiful, being in 
some places coffee colour, in others almost as 
red as Wood. 

" That be a curious thing. Miss," said Lias, 
with a sagacious look. "Bog-water is often 
a queer colour, and has a queer, bitter, iron 
taste, which it gets from the peat it runs 
through. This Ugly colour is gi\ en by the clay, 



THE GOOD MASTER. 105 

Fd explain it ail, but maybe you wouldn't 
unlerstand it. Wonderful study is chemistry, 
and geology too ; one shows you the cleverness 
of man, but the other leads you direct to the 
Origin of all things." 

I was surprised to see how superior the 
worthy man's language and expressions grew 
at times. And to this day I think that if it 
had not been for his poetry and his laziness 
the poor clerk at the clay-pits might have 
" made a noise in the world." 

" Now," exclaimed he, " here's a wonderful 
sight 1 Here we come upon our pits, or rather 
our land, that will be turned into pits in time. 
Miss Eunice, do you see those chimneys far 
away across the moor, and the masts of boats, 
and the funnel of our steamer ? There she 
comes, right up the river, only you can't see 
the water, 'tis so narrow a channel and the 
banks high ; well, by that river we ship out to 
sea all our clay." • 

" Oh !" said I, not knowing what else to say, 
but rather interested nevertheless. So was 
little Bion. 



106 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

" You see, it's a long way from the pits to 
the river, nearly three miles of moorland, and 
clay 's a heavy commodity. So when the 
Master came to the business as a young man 
— though he carried an old head on young 
shoulders — ^he set himself a-thinking whether 
he could not make the transit of the clay- wag- 
ons easier and cheaper, for it cost a lot o' 
money even to pay the turnpikes. At last he 
planned — what do'ee think ? — a railway !" 

And Lias pointed it out with great pride — 
the narrow line of rails intersecting the moor. 
Grossing the road, and sloping down an inclined 
plane to the river. 

" He made it. He did the planning, en- 
gineering, all himself. And making a railway 
fti those desolate parts, where all the work- 
people are clay-cutters or marblers, is no 
easy matter. The Master had to set up a 
blacksmith's shop to forge the iron rails, and a 
carpenter's shop to make the wooden sleepers. 
He had, and still has, to do everything within 
himself as it were. Oh, he be wonderful clever, 
he be !" 



THE GOOD MASTER. 107 

Here Lias stopped the spring-cart, to let a 
train of clay-wagons p£^s across the road. 
They glided on first slowly, then rapidly, as 
they caught the impetus of descent. There 
was no need of a locomotive ; they ran down 
the whole three-mile declivity by the impetus 
of their own weight. It was a pretty sight. 

" How I should like to ride on the railway !" 
whispered Bion. 

" Would^ee, my little man ? Bravo ! Holloa, 
Jim I" 

Here a big, white, clayey figure emerged 

* 

from the line of rail, and was addressed by, 
and answered Lias in, speech that was such 
broad Dorset as to be utterly incomprehensible 
to us. It ended, however, in our crossing the 
moor, along a road (or rather, no road) which 
threatened every minute to upset the spring- 
cart, until we reached the counting-house. 

" Past nine," said Lias, looking at his silver 
watch — old as the hills — ;with a sigh. " Must 
go' in, and take to pen, and in^, and ledger, and 
all that. Rather hard, this spring morning. 
Now then, Jim I" 



' % 



THE GOOD MASTER. 109 

closer, and threw overboard altogether Mrs. 
Dangerfield and her gentilities. 

The wagon began to move. Oh, how nice- 
it was to feel the rushing of the fresh air as- 
we sped like an arrow across the open moor I 
What fun there was, even in the rocking of • 
our eccentric carriage, which nearly shook us to- 
pieces 1 And when Bion, instead of complaiur 
ing, only laughed and enjoyed it, how truly 
happy I was ! 

" Keep un wa-arm" (pronounced as a rhyme 
to harm). " Rain a-coming,'' gruffly obsei*ved 
Jim, as he squatted like a clay statue on the 
next wagon and puflFed at his pipe. This was- 
the only remark he made. 

Before we came to the end of our descent, 
the far hills grew misty, and a heavy shower 
swept suddenly after us across the moor. A 
few drops were already falling, when. Jim un- 
linked our empty wagon from the rest and^ 
helped us out. 

" Smithy's there," said he, pointing to a clus- 
ter of workshops that were seen a little dis- 
tance beyond a great heap of marl, which ex- 
10 



110 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS, 

tended the whole way between, and waa 
evidently to be crossed. 

But the crossing, especially in that pelting 
shower, was no such easy matter. Firm as it 
looked and clean, the clav was all sodden and 
slippery as glass. In two minutes we got our 
feet caked with it, till our boots looked like 
the big snow shoes of the Esquimaux. We 
slid at every step, and the rain, beating in our 
faces, bewildered us as to the right way. 
There was not a soul about ; the men had 
gone in out of the rain. Here we were, like 
Christian in the Slough of Despond, and could 
neither get back nor forward. 

Poor Bion began to cry and cling to me. 
*"*■ sister! sister! I'm so wet, and IVe lost 

' e. Oh, I wish we were at home again." 

^ "^T mind, JSion, we'll fight through. 

^^^^ me round the neck, I'll try to carry 

soled* mysv 

Janie AUara ^.^_.^^^ a^ step or two— to the 
in being and av ^^^^^^^^ ^^^^ ^^ ^^^^.^^ ^^.^^^ . 
dental circumsta.,.^ j ^^^^^^^ ^^ ^^^^^ ^^^^^^ 
the horror of last ^ g^^. ^^ ^^^^^^ . ^ ludicrous, 



THE GOOD MASTER. Ill 

was as pitiable an one as any I ever was in 
during my life. And my poor little brother, 
too 1 Oh, if somebody would but come I Any- 
body — Lias Lee, or even grim-looking Jim, 
would have appeared * as an angel of con- 
solation. 

I looked up helplessly. Lo and behold, 
somebody was coming. 

He was a gentleman, on a tall black horse. 
I could picture him now, as he came riding 
down the line of rails, full speed — ^his hat 
slouched and his head bent forward, because 
of the pelting rain. What a kind-looking 
gentleman he was I 

" Hey, children I" he reined up at sight of 
our distress. I don't think he ever could pass 
by a case of distress in his life — the good 
Master I — ^for so I felt sure he was. (And so 
during all this history I intend to call him, for 
he might not like to be known by his own 
honest name, and I would not put a false one.) 

" Oh, sir, please help us I We have got in 
the mud and we can't get out, and it rains so 
fltst, and my little brother isn't strong." 



112 THE LITTLE LYOHETTa 

Many a gentleman would have rode on and 
sent some of his work-people to help the poor 
children out of the mire, and thought that a 
very kind act, too. But this gentleman got 
off his horse— he was a very tall and strong 
man, of middle age — strode through all the 
slough, took Bion on his shoulder and me in 
his hand, and fairly landed us safe on level 
ground, in the shelter of some out buildings. 

" Run in, little folk. — Here, you lads, see 
after them," said he, with a benevolent smile. 
" Now, children, don't 'ee get into trouble any 
more." 

He jumped on his horse again and rode 
down to the river wharf, out of our sight. I 
don't know how it was ; possibly my girlish 
feelings were over-excited by the disaster we 
had been in, jnd by his kindness, which corres- 
ponded so exactly to what I had incessantly 
heard of him from Mr. Reuben and Lias Lee, 
— ^but as I watched him ride away, I thought 
bitterly of the tie which I was never to know 
in this world, and fancied what a good girl,^ 
and a loving girl, and a happy girl, I should 

^ 

■\ 
\ 



I 

J 



THE GOOD MASTER, llB 

have made, if I had had such au one as this 
gentleman for my father. 

" Come, Bion," said I, as I shook away a 
drop or two that were not rain, from my eye- 
lashes, " we must try and get dry now/' And 
I felt a warm air come from within and heard 
the noise of a steam-engine. The men whom the 
Master had called to were civil enough — took 
my wet cloak and Bion's, and dried them in- 
geniously outside the boiler. We scraped our 
shoes free from clay, warmed ourselves, and 
grew comfortable. Bion brightened up, and 
began peering about at the machinery. It was 
curious how completely he forgot his fretful- 
ness and physical weakness when his mind 
was interested. 

" See, sister, how it turns and turns I And 
the big wheel moves ever so many lesser 
wheels. Oh, what a pretty sight !" 

" Is it, my lad ? Do 'ee like it ? Did 'ee 
never see a steam-engine before ? " 

I recognised at ouce the kind voice, though 
it, too, spoke a little Dorset — the gentle, good- 
natured manner. Yes, it was thS'Master eom« 



114 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

■ 

back again, to see after ** the children." We 
both felt reassured, and at ease with him at 
once. 

"You are the little Lychetts, I tear? I 
know Mr. Reuben very well. You can come 
here and amuse yourselves as often as you like," 

" Thank you, sir." 

" Hey, you're but a light weight, my pretty 
lad." He had lifted Bion on his tall shoulder 
to show him some of the machinery. " Not 
half so heavy and big as some of my boys." 

" He is very delicate, and I waijt him to run 
about that he may grow hardy and strong. 
Please, sir, would you tell me what I am to do 
to make my little brother strong ? " 

I spoke very earnestly, I know. I was not 
afraid to speak to him, even though he was 
**the Master." I felt from the first minute 
that I saw him that he was kind, and good, 
and fatherly— would listen to everybody's 
troubles, and aid them too. 

" Is there nobody but you to take care of 
your brother, my little maid ? " said he, after 
a long, silent examination of us both. 



THE GOOD MASTER. 115' 

" No, sir. * We are orphans." 
. "Ahl" A thoughtful, slow monosyllable, 
of much expression. 

He eyed us over again. I was glad that I 
had put Bion's curls in order ; but, however 
mean his clothes, no one could doubt from his 
appearance that he was a little gentleman. 

" My girl, you are but young to have such a 
charge — and he does not look strong, though 
I think there is nothing really the matter with 
him, and I^m a bit of a doctor, too. The best 
thing you can do* is to let him have plenty of 
food and fresh air, and keep him merry, and 
ipake him hardy. One of my lads is delicate 
too, but I never do anything more than this. 
Except — what do you do the last thing at 
night, and the first thing in the morning, my 
child ? " 

His grave, searching smile, his taking of my 
hand, taught me what he meant. 

* 

Colouring and half-ashamed, I yet answered 
truly — ** I — I say — my prayers." 

"Just so! just so!" the Master repeated 
gontly, and with the same inexpressibly kind 



116 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. • 

smile, nodded to us a good-bye, and quitted 
the workshop. In a few minutes we watched 
him mount his horse and ride away across the 
moor. 

But, after we had lingered about for two or 
three hours in the blacksmith's shop, and the 
carpenter's shop, and among the boat-builders, 
seeing all sorts of wonderful things, such as 
neither of us had ever seen before, a decent- 
looking woman came up to us from the farm- 
house, close by, with - a jug of milk and an 
enormous plateful of bread ani cheese. 

The Master had left word that we were to 
have as much dinner as we liked, stay as long^ 
as we liked, and that afterwards the grim but 
trustworthy Jim was to see us safe into the 
care of Lias Lee. 

"He be a good gentleman, he be," said Lias, 
emphatically, on being told all this. " There 
bean't his like in all Dorset." 

And truly — then and now-^I, Entice Lychett, 
tliink the same. • 



U! irilh sjog of milk iui|l > pliUfUl of bi 



fS 



\bUO 






,o'< 



tl!'-' 






vm. 




PTER our first expedition to the 
wharf — as the place where the Master 
had his workshops was generally called 
— ^Bion and I used to go there at every 
possible opportunity. Nothing could 
be more delicious than skimming across the 
moor in the railway clay-wagons, and then 
spending the whole day among the workshops, 
where the men soon knew us, and were very 
civil and kind. We came and went just as we 
chose — watching everybody, an^ interrupting 
nobody. 

But, above all things we delighted in the 
forge. Bion would sit for enS hour at a time, 
pel ihed on some unused anvil, with the glare of 

[117] 



118 THE LITTLE LYCHETrS. 

the fire lighting up his quiet, intent, un-childlike 
face, watching tne wonderful process of mak- 
ing nails, or horse-shoes, or iron bolts for the 
railroad wagons. I, too, liked the black- 
smith's shop amazingly ; it was so beautiful to 
see the red, glowing iron beat out into form 
as easily as clay — so grand to see the sparks 
flying, and hear the Ineasured, musical fall of 
the hammers, which gave Handel the first idea 
of the tune that Bion thinks so fine, "The 
Harmonious Blacksmith." Also, it was so 
pretty to watch the hissing iron turning all 
colours, one after the other, as it was thrown 
into the water to cool. And then there was 
the dusk atmosphere of the smithy, with the 
red lights falling so mysteriously on the work- 
men's faces and figures as they moved about. 

I keep to the belief — ^I always shall — that 
there ai*e few things more interesting than a 
blacksmith's forge. 

We were lingering about there one morning, 
when the Master came in ; he generally came 
down to the wharf every day, and always met 
us with a nod and smile — ^rarely more, he was 



A VISIT TO THE MENAGERIE. 110 

too busy. But we liked to watch him going 
about simong his workmen, and to notice how 
every one of them brightened up, and was 
more civil, sociable, and pleasant-looking 
wherever he c£^me. He used sometimes to 
talk to them, in a frank, familiar way, about 
their own affairs. Everybody that was in 
trouble, or sickness, or that needed advice, 
always came to the Master. And I don't bo^ 
lieve the good Master ever sent them away 
unsatisfied. 

He came into the smithy, carelessly took up 
a hammer and beat out a nail-head, — ^he could 
turn his hand to anything of mechanical work, 
and amused himself thus very often, which 
was probably one reason why his people liked 
him so well, — then took Bion on his shoulder, 
which seemed familiar to the weight of little 
boys. 

" Would 'ee like some fun to-day. Master 
Bion ? Would 'ee like to go with my lads to 
see the show ? I think you both might, my 
dear " — turning to me. " There's a wild-beast 
ehow in the town to-night, and I intend all my 






120 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

young folk to go — ^this . lad, too, if he would 
like." 

" Oh, I should ! I should I " cried Bion, who 
had already overheard the men talking of it. 
(A wild-beast show being a wonderful rare 
sight in these parts.) " And will there be 
tigers, such as papa used to hunt in India ; 
and a big elephant, which he used to ride ? 
sister I wouldn't it be nice to see the show ?" 

I thought so too, for my life was very dull 
just now ; and, besides, having a weak pro- 
pensity for growing fond of people, especially 
people who were kind to Bion, I had grown 
very fond of the good Master, and would 
almost have gone anywhere or done anything 
he desired me. 

Matters were soon arranged, even to send- 
ing word to Sally at Stonyhide, lest the 
good soul might think that Bion and I had 
both come to a fatal end. We had also seen, 
more than once, the Master's little children, 
and the Master's kind wife, so were not afraid 
of them as strangers. And when I found we 
were received cordially in a respectable house 



• A VISIT TO THE MENAGERIE. ' 121 

— ^a gentleman's house — I began to feeL less 
humiliated under my changed fortunes. I 
remembered that, though we did live in a poor 
farmer's cottage, we were still Eunice and 
Bion Lychett — children of an honest man and 
a gentleman ; and that all good people would 
regard us as such so long as we continued to 
deserve it. 

We sat down to tea round the Master's 
plentiful table. It was a curious fact, but nev- 
ertheless true, that this was the first time in 
all my life I had sat at a family table — ^that 
cheerful circle, which few prize who have it, 
and those who have it not almost always de- 
sire. 

The tea-table was a perfect picture. It was 
large, for they were a large family. The chil- 
dren sat round it, one height above another, 
from the beautiful ten-month-old baby, perched 
on mamma's knee, and greatly hir dering her 
duties by insisting on poking its fingers into 
every scalding cup of tea, up to the eldest 
missy, in long curls and a womanly apron, who 

thought herself quite as much grown up as I 

» 

11 



122 THE UTTLE LYCHETTS. * 

was, and treated me with dignified condescen- 
sion. Between these came ever so many little 
boys, of whom I could not tell one from the 
other the whole evening, and made all sorts 
of mistakes in their names, greatly to the mam- 
ma's astonishment. She was a pretty-looking, 
merry mamma, who treated me very kindly, 
and as an equal, too, calling me always " Miss 
Lychett." But I noticed she fixed on Bion 
more than once that half-tender, half-thought- 
ful look which mothers of many children turn 
to orphans. 

Also she gave him a large cupful of new 
milk, and flooded his bread with luscious hon- 
ey, saying to me, half-aside, " You should give 
your little brother everything that will make 
him strong, my dear !" 

Then, even she thought what *every one 
thought — what I had overheard Lia^ saying ! 
I disbelieved them all — passionately deter- 
mined it coidd not be. But I choked over my 
bread and honey, and remained silent for a 
long while. 

After tea there was a great hurry of getting 



A VISIT TO THE MENAGERIE. . 123 

ready, for all were going to the wild-beast 
show. Papa, mamma, and every one of their 
little troop, except the baby — which mamma 
seemed privately to think a great slight to her 
darling, and was quite sure " baby would like 
it as much as any of them." At which the 
papk laughed and said, " Certainly ;" and told 
a marvellous story (which Bion proudly cor- 
roborated as being Indian-born and knowing 
all about it), how elephants had a great fancy 
for lifting little babies up in their trunks, and 
how one elephant took such an affection for an 
infant that he kept it between his fore-feet, 
and would not suffer it to be removed, for a 
whole day 1 After which anecdote I observed 
that Miss Baby mysteriously disappeared, and 
we heard no more of her going to the show. 

It was almost dusk when we started to walk 
through a street or two of the little town to 
an open square, where the caravans had been 
set up. We were quite ai procession as we 
threaded our way through the well-filled streets 
"' — ^the Master going first, plainly visible above 
everybody, with his tall stature and brawny 



124 . THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

shoulders, where sat throned his youngest boy 
— the only delicate one, and whom, I fancied, 
the sturdy father loved the best. Though only 
in his inmost heart ; he was too just to show 
favouritism. 

We all passed on to the square, which was 
thronged with a gaping crowd, chiefly work- 
ing-people, among whom almost every second 
man took off his hat to the Master. He nodded 
or spoke to nearly all — he seemed to know 
everybody and everybody to know him. 

Bion and I followed. I never let go the 
child's hand. He was rather timid, but great- 
ly delighted ; and so, in truth, was I. All the 
promenades which Mrs. Dangerfield's young 
ladies had taken in the Zoological Gardens 
were never half the fun of this country-shov?'. 
Oh, the wonder of the people ! — the open-eyed, 
open-mouthed curiosity with which they gazed 
on the outside platform of the menagerie, — 
here stood a dashing young fellow in a green 
coat, cracking a whip — whom they probably 
believed to be the real original Worabwell— 
that mysterious man, whose very name suggests 



A VISIT TO THE MENAGERIE. 125 

lions and elephants to the youthful mind! 
Then, the melancholy envy with which those 
outside, who couldn't afford to go in, eyed 
those who could — ^yet, neyertheless, one or two 
of them lifted the Master's little children up 
the ladder, and received smiling his kindly 
" Tlank'ee my man, and I wish I could treat 
you all to the show." Truly, it was great fun. 

We got to the pay-place at last, where sat a 
pale pretty young woman, alternately taking 
money and mending diligently a child's braid- 
ed frock, which the women who passed by 
regarded with some awe, as if wondering 
whether its future wearer were not a little lion 
or tiger I " * 

Now, a few steps in the dark — a slash of a 
whip heard, followed by a premonitory savage 
growl, unfamiliar to English farmers' ears — a 
whiff of that peculiar wild-beast odour, not 
strictly agreeable — and we were in the middle 
of the show. Bion clung to me, dazzled by the 
light, which thowed dimly the perpetually- 
moving, low-growling forms in the cages ; but 
I reminded him that a little East Indian boy 
11* 



126 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

ought not to be afraid to look at the beasts 
who were his brothers and country-folk, and 
made him laugh until his alarm ceased. 

" Now, come on, little ones. Mamma, youVe 
got two to look after. Here, Will, take hold 
of Pa's hand. Missy, you go with Eunice and 
Bion." Thus the good father disposed of us 
all, losing sight of none of his flock. But he 
still kept the weakly younger one on his shoul- 
der. It was touching to see the little fellow 
sitting half-frightened, half-delighted, with his 
tiny hands buried in his father's hair ; and his 
great eyes— he had, like my Bion and many 
another sickly child, remarkably beautiful and 
intelligent eyes — dilated with intense wonder- 
ment at all he beheld. And the father's occa- 
sional gaze injto those childish eyes, as he 
shifted him from shoulder to shoulder, and 
asked him if he were quite comfortable and 
not getting tired — ^was the most beautiful thing 
in the world. , 

I noticed all this, partly because I was fond 
of the Master and liked to watch him, partly 
because I understood something of what he 



A VISIT TO THE MENAGEBIB. 127 

• 

must feel towards his sickly boy. When, after 
a few minutes, I took Bion up in my arms — 
rather a weight to carry, but he could not see 
the animals well without — the Master and I 
interchanged a smile as if we had been grown- 
up friends. He said nothing ; but in a little . 
while, distinguishing in the crowd a face he 
knew, nodded to him. 

" Here, Lias, mount this little fellow like mv 
boy Eddie, and then he'll see quite well, and 
his good sister too. Come round with Eddie 
and me, Miss Eunice." 

I obeyed, though I kept fast hold of Bion 
still. Merrily we made the circuit of the cages, 
following the keeper, whose eccentric explana- 
tion of the beasts produced many a smile from 
the Master and Lias Lee. Nevertheless, I 
being myself a free, wild creature at heart, felt 
a certain pity for the poor captive animals, and 
would rather .have seen the tigers and leopards 
bounding over their native jungle than pacing 
to and fro in those wretched cramped cages. 
And, when, after the horrible fashion Van Am- 
burgh first set, the keeper, a sallow young man 



128 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

• 

with a consumptive cough, entered the dens, put 
his foot upon a miserable-looking blind old lion- 
ess, made flie leopards leap through hoops, and 
the tigers perform jpo5e« plastiqties in attitudes 
like feline opera-dancers, I felt downright un- 
, comfortable in my pity for the poor beasts* 
Nay, when at last he performed literally the 
figurative feat of " putting his head into the 
lion's mouth," I almost wished the enslaved 
monarch of the desert had taken his revenge 
on his tyrant by biting the head right off. 

" Don't 'ee think, sir,'' said Lias Lee, when 
the feats were over, and the poor consumptive 
keeper stepped down from the cages, coughing 
violently, with large drops of perspiration 
standing on his brow, — " Don't 'ee think, sir, 
that in tricks o' that sort the man looks a ter- • 
rible deal more contemptible than the brute ?" 

" It's a bad thing ! a bad thing, Lias I" said 
the Master, shaking his head. " But, no doubt, 
the young man was brought up to it, and must 
earn his living how he can. It's an honest liv- 
ing, anyhow, and he works hard enough, poor 
fellow 1" 



-J 



A VISIT TO THE MENAGERIE. 129 

And when, having ended the . series of feats 
with the elephant, whose dignity resolutely re- 
fused to perform in any* way except catching 
gingerbrf»*id nuts with his trunk, the poor 
keeper came round for his dole of pence, I no- 
ticed that the Master put in the hat a bright 
shilling. 

" But," said he, " I'd far rather see the poor 
brutes let alone. They'll be one too many for 
you some day, my man." . 

" Can't help it, sir. IVe got a wife and 
children." 

It is a curious fact, that after this conversa- 
tion I saw two more bright shillings in the 
keeper's hat ; though how they came there no- 
body ever found out. But I had my suspicions. 

We still lingered about the show, whith for 
country children was such a wonderful sight. 
Lias Lee after a while put Bion down, and 
went the round of the cages with his own chil- 
dren. Many of the better-class town's folk 
came in to see the sight, and ladies and gen- 
tlemen were mingled with working-men and 
their wives. People began to form groups, and 



130 THE LITTLE LYOHETTS. 

the hum of talking and laughter disturbed the 
sleepy brown bears, made the wild-eyed tigers 
show theii* teeth, and moused the monkeys into 
a clatter that almost emulated that of their 
human cousins a few degrees removed — of 
which there were some specimens even here. 

The heat, noise, and leonine and feline odour, 
became insupportable. I took Bion near to 
the entrance where a breath of fresh air crept 
in, and we stood watching a trough where the 
seals were kept. The poor animals I how de- 
plorable they looked, lifting their heads out of 
the narrow vessel where they could not at- 
tempt to swim, and gazing up at us with eyes 
so pathetic, large, and human-like, that any- 
body who has noticed the eye of a seal will 
readij^ account for stories of mermaids. 
. I was showing this to Bion, and explaining 
that many tales I had told him about sea-maid- 
ens might have their origin in nothing but 
seals, seen at twilight among rocks and weedy 
banks — when my little brother's attention 
seemed . wandering. 

" Yes — I know — I understand. Bat, sister, 



A VISIT TO THE MENAGERIE. 181 

\ ' 

I see such a pretty young lady there — a great 
deal prettier than you, and not so big — and 
she has been watching us and looking at me 
and smiling, for such a long time. I wish you'd 
speak to her." 

I turned to see the pretty young lady, who 
was " a great deal prettier than I." A speech 
I heartily forgave for the pleasure o.f knowing 
the sense of beauty so strong in the child, 
which sense, indeed, I had cultivated with all 
my power. 
;" Which is she, Bion ?" 

"There — a grown-up young lady nicely- 
dressed — with long beautiful curls, and such 
blue eyes ! Oh, I wish you were as pretty as 
she is, and then shouldn't I love you, sister^ 
Eunice !" 

A foolish child's speech, but it stung me a 
little— nay, so much that for the next minute I 
would not— could not, turn to look at " the 
pretty young lady." When I did, I knew the 
face— much altered, but still I knew it. She 
came up to me at once. 



132 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

" I thought you had forgotten me — of course 
your little brother had — but you, Eunice?" 

It was the poor friendless girl — half teacher, 
half pupil, who at Mrs. Dangerfield's had been 
called " little Janie AUardyce." 




ANIE ALLARDYCE went back with 
us to supper at the Master's house ; they 
knew her well, it seemed — ^nay, she was 
even some sort of a distant cousin. 
These facts, though they surprised me 
much at first, I soon found were quite natural, 
since I had already known she came from this ^ 
part of Dorsetshire : in Dorsetshire everybody 
knew everybody, and two-thirds of the county 
were related to one another. 

But the thing which surprised me most was 
the change in Janie herself. At school nobody 
had ever thought her pretty, — not even I, who 
had a talent for discovering the faintest trace 
of good looks in anybody I liked. Then, 

12 [133] 



134 THE LITTLE LYC5HETTS. 

m 

though more than sixteen, sift had always been 
treated as a mere child — "little Janie Allar- 
dyce." Little she was still — would probably 
never be tall — but she looj^ed quite the woman. 
A thoughtful woman too— and a happy one — 
with her painful shyness worn oflF, and leaving 
only a graceful, retiring manner, as if she had 
now woke to a knowledge of her own position, 
and was gently conscious of it, but not proud. 
What was her present position — she, former- 
ly the despised " half" at Mrs. Dangerfield's ? 
« 

Determined to find out, I asked her when she 
was going back there ? 

" I left soon after you did, and am not going 
back at all," she answered, smiling and blush- 
ing. " My father is better oflF than he was, 
and is going to give up his English farm and 
take one in .Australia 1" 
" And are you going to Australia ?" 
"N — no, I — I think not!" hesitated Janie— 
while the Master's wife looked at her and 
laughed, and a gentleman who had also come in 
with the Master to supper, and been very kind 
in amusing sleepy Bion, said decidedly " No." 



A 



THE .WIDOW ARCHEB. 185 

I was bat a child in years, and had a child's 
ignorance about many things, yet in some I wag 
precociously acute. I could not help under- 
standing that Janie AUardyce at seventeen — a 
very early, but not impossible age — was going 
to be married. 

Now, being " married " was a subject that 
had never filled my foolish thoughts, as it does 
some girls', even at thirteen ; and I always 
heartily despised the vain nonsense of my 
elder school-fellows. But I did think that 
being loved must be very sweet, whether it was 
the love of parents, brothers and sisters, or 
husband ; and I marvelled not to see the 
wondrous change in Janie AUardyce. 

For days, — ay, weeks, after then, the meet- 
ing with her, and the continually harping 
which Bion kept up on the one subject of his 
"pretty young lady," made me almost sad. 
Yet I knew not why, except for the thought — 
most painful at my age — that I was so plain, 
nobody, neither brother, friend, nor lover, 
would ever care for me. 

It seems strange that young girls, between 



138 THE LITTLE LYCHETT8. 

childhood and womanhood, should never be 
talked to or written for on the subject of love, 
when, heaven knows ! it is often the one sub- 
ject which fills their heads, and on which — 
wrongly or rightly — they are constantly specu- 
lating. Little maidens ! I blame you not ; I, 
Eunice Lychett, did the same in my time. But 
I have often felt since, that it would have been 
well for me had I had a friend by me to whom 
I could have unfolded all mv dreams, foolish 
or not, and who would have said to me, as I, 
now grown a woman, say to you, " My children, 
do not perplex yourselves. Sufficient unto the 
day is — not only the evil-^but the good 
thereof. Make yourselves happy in the pres- 
ent, and the future will more surely bring its 
own happiness. My merry girls, keep chil- 
dren while you may I" 

This sermon, of which Jane AUardyce amd 
her affairs have been the text, is all I shall 
preach now. 

The gentleman Miss AUardyce was going 
to marry was a young sailor, captain of a littl^ 
vessel that traded between Swanage and the 



THE, WIDOW ARCHER. 137 

coast of Spain. I found out these facts through 
her being so very fond of going to spend long 
summer mornings on the sands of Swanage 
Bay, never seeming either dull or melancholy, 
always good-natured -and cheerful, but still 
constantly watching the little sails that rose 
ov^r the horizon upward from the Channel. 
And though she was invariably kind to us — 
would sit for hours helping Bion to make his 
castlfes and moats in the sand, or talking with 
me merrily about our old school-Says, still I 
felt that* there had come a change, far greater 
than the few years between us, and that Jane 
AUardyce, gentle, thoughtful, womanly, and 
wise, was a creature very diflferent from the 
" little Janie " of Mrs. Dangerfield's establish- 
ment. 

I know not whether I altogether liked this 
— I, who had been accustomed to think myself 
so much her superior in talent and strength of 
character. And I still believe I was, she being 
never very clevei or energetic, though she was 
so good. It was irksomfi to a self-opinionated 
young damsel to see her quietly crossing the 
12* 



138 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

Rubicon of life, and taking up her position in 
the ranks of womanhood, while I was still 
treated as a child. Then, too, she began to 
have great influence with Bion ; he constantly 
followed her about, and talked of her being 
" so pretty," — while I, alas 1 was s» cruelly 
plain. 

The old trouble, lately half-forgotten — for 
St6nyhide was not a place favourable to the 
development of personal vanity — rose up 
again in my mind. Not that I was conceited, 
or valued good looks as a means of Securing 
admiration — not the least 1 I would have 
been content all my life to look in the glass at 
that image, so unpleasant and jarring to my 
keen sense of beauty, could I only have been 
sure that people loved me in spite of my face. 
But, oh ! when Bion pulled Janie's curls, and 
sat on her lap, and looked up into her sweet 
eyes, his own beaming with satisfied admira- 
tion — I — I felt much inclined to go and knock 
my head against the wall I 

But I did not wani: to do any mischief tq 
those two — only to myse?f,— my poor, ugly, 



THE WIDOW ARCHER. 189 

nnfortunate self ! It seemed so hard that for 
the few yea:s of human existence, — for what 
arc threescore years ? — one should not have an 
exterior that was pleasant to one's self and to 
other people. In vain I said to myself, look- 
ing at my irregular features and coarse hands, 
" What does it signify ? in thirty years I shall 
be an old woman — ^in thirty mbre, probably a 
skeleton — and my soiil will remain just the 
same." But still, during the time ope wore a 
body it would have been nice to wear a body 
that one liked. 

I tell all this — confessing sorrows now quite 
conquered — ^for the benefit of ugly people; 
especially young people. It is useless to 
preach to the young that nonsOTse about 
" handsome is that handsome does," and 
" beauty signifying nothing." It signifies a 
great deal I It is a most precious gift, the 
outward type of all that charms and refines 
humanity. I know few harder things than for 
a sensitive girl, with a keen appreciation of 
tbe beautiful, in advancing to womanhood, to 
discover that sha is extremely plain. But, my 



140 THE LITT3.E LYCHETTS. 

dear ugly girl, take heart I One grows out of 
these troubles in time. Your face will not 
vex you so much when you are used to it. 
And kindly Nature has so caused the soul to 
shine out through the body, that I never yet 
knew a woman, however externally ugly, who 
had a beautiful soul, but the body acquired a 
certain atmosphere of beauty likewise. A 
thoroughly good, single-hearted, refined wo- 
man, however little gifted with personal 
charms, can never be repulsive. And many* 
of these lovely-plain women have been loved 
with an intensity that rarely falls to the lot of 
mere " beauties." 

So much for that matter, the world-wide 
question ^f beauty and ugliness — which T, 
poor silly child I lay mournfully pondering 
over one sunny afternoon at Swanage Bay. 
Bion and Janie were a little distance off, 
discussing an important consideration — viz. 
whether the sand-castle they had so c^rrfuUy 
built with spades should have the flood-gates 
of its moat opened to the advancing tide. In 
which case, Bion urged, the trench would b^ 



THE WIDOW ARCHER. 141 

filled with " real water :" but Janie hinted. 

that if the water were once let in, it would 

• 

soon sweep away moat, castle, and all. The 
approaching ruin was, at the farthest, a mere 
question of minutes, as half-an-hour would settle 
all, yet they urged it as earnestly — ay, as I 
had just been arguing to myself the matter of 
ray own poor face, which matter in a few 
years, nay, at any moment, the will of Heaven 
might finally settle by converting it into a 
jnere handful of dust and bones. 

Yet, open-eyed to my neighbours' folly, 
though blind to my own, I called out to them, 
"How can you two weary yourselves about 
such nonsensical trifles ?" 

"It pleases the boy," said Bion's companion, 
gently ; and she went on making a sea-weed 
portcullis to the moat. 

Bion glanced rather angrily at me, and 
crept closer to Jane AUardyce. He always 
, looked contented when at her side. I rose, 
and went and sat a little farther off, on a big 
stone. I felt how useless I was in adding 
to their happiness, and I had not yet grown 



142 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

80 naughty as to wish to take anything from 
it. 

How well can I picture my old self — that 
restless, melancholy, discontented girl, sitting, 
all crouched in an ungainly heap, her hands 
clasped round her knees, her eyes aching with 
the glare of the sunny sea, her head dizzied 
with the monotonous bass of the tide, — think- 
ing of all sorts of things or of nothing in par- 
ticular, except that it was a very miserable 
world, and she didn't know what to do with 
herself in it. 

Bion and Janie came up at last, the former 
rather disconsolate, because the sea had washed 
away his castle, moat, and all, until Janie re- 
minded him that he could build another any 
day. She would come to-morrow with him, if 
he liked. 

" Will you ? oh, how nice I And sister Eu- 
nice, too ?" 

Sister Eunice replied rather sharply that she 
didn't know. 

" Don't tease her 1" whispered Janie, inter- 
fering to prevent Bipn's fretful entreaties. 






THE WIDOW AKCHEB. 143 

" And it is time for us to go, if we would not 
keep Mrs. Archer waiting tea, which always 
vexes her." 

Mrs; Archer was the yoting captain's mother, 
who lived near Swanage in a little cottage, all 
alone, except when her son came ashore for a 
day or two between his voyages. Sally at 
Stonyhide had told us a good deal about her> 
and for a long time we had looked forward as 
a great treat to this " going to tea to Mrs. 
Archer." 

We left the sands, and walked along the 
road by the shore. I asked Bion if he would 
take hold of my hand, or let me carry him, as 
I. had often used to do, though he was growing 
much less delicate now. But he repulsed all 
my advances, and clung to Janie. She whis- 
pered him — for I overheard — to be a kind- boy 
and give his hand to sister ; but I was not 
going to be treated with kindness at her bid- 
ding. So I pretended to take no notice and 
walked on, pulling the roses from the hedge, 
for the road had turned abruptly from the 
shore and become a beautiful country lane. 



144 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

t 

" What are you doing there ? Look at your 
hands, Eunice!'' 

I had been playing nervously with the 
thorny stems, prickftig finger after finger, till 
they were marked with blood. It did not 
hurt me — I never felt it. 

** Janie!" I said, crossly, "I do wish you'd 
let me alone. Go forward, you Ifwo. I'll 
follow at my leisure." They obeyed. 

How well I remember the solitude of that 
June afternoon, warm and still — not a creature 
to be seen along the road — not a sound or a 
stirring anywhere, except the occasional glitter 
of a young bird in the hedge. What a hedge 
it was ! larger and richer than any hedges seen 
now — ^byplaces all pink with the withering 
May, or budding crimson with newly-come 
brier-roses. Here and there, too, an oak- 
branch mingled with the thorn-hedge, startling 
one with its vivid exquisite green — of the tint 
that I never found in anything in nature save 
young oak-leaves the first week 6f June. 

Watching these pretty things, I uncon- 
Bciously became soothed and cheered, until I 



THE WIDOW ARCHER. 145 

half forgot my ill-humour and dreariness. By 
the time I reached Mrs. Archer's cottage 1 
had grown fit for decent company. 

It was a cottage^ — not remarkably fine out- 
side — just red brick, with a green door and as 
tiny garden ; it is a mistake to suppose that 
country people delight in roses, and posies, 
and jessamine-porches, most of them like a 
town-built house much better. Doubtless Mrs. 
Archer did. There was nothing the least bit 
sentimental about her. 

I found Bion with his curls already smoothed 
and his face washed — (how durst Janie do 
that? it was my business) — ^sitting prim and. 
shy in the little parlour, watching Mrs. Archer 
make the tea. She had on a ]3lack skirt, short; 
enough to exhibit feet and ankles as slender as^ 
her hands — a dimity bed-gown, such as poor 
people wear, only so exquisitely white and fine- 
that it looked quite gtaceful, and a mob-cap^ 
equally snowy, with an immense border. A 
perfect picture was that old lady ! for a lady 
she certainly was, though of the rustic sort- 
Indeed, as she told me, hearing I had come 
13 



lady answered with " Ah, well I Poor things !" 
and went oat of the room to fill her tea-pot. 

My heart turned to Bion, as It always did 
when I thonght of that island. I took him in 
my arms to amuae him and disperse hia shyness 
by showing him varions tilings about the room. 
Especially his attention was caught fay « 



THK WIDOW ABOHER. 147 

coloured drawing which hung over the mantel- 
piece. It represented a ship in full sail, all her 
tackle bdrig made out with most mathematical 
precision — a true, correct portrait, such as & 
sailor delights to have of his beloved vessel. 
Underneath was written, "Adventure, Bast 
Indiaman, Captain John Archer, 1801." 

" Hush !" said Janie, in a whisper, as I was 
going to inquire about it of Mrs. Archer, who 
just then re-entered, a plate of seed-cake in 
one hand and the tea-pot fn the other, the v^ery 
picture of contented benevolence — ^^ hush 1 it 
was her husband's ship. She sailed the year 
after for Bombay — and was never more heard 
of." ' ' 

I felt all cold. " Sailed^ and was never 
more heard of^^ — that most mournful fending 
of a ship's history 1 And it happened more 
than forty years ago. Could anybody endure 
such a horror as that, and yet live after it for 
forty years ? Yet such things did happen in 
the world — ^this strange world, upon whose 
real vicissitudes I was just entering. Think- 
ing 80 much of its least troubles too — making 



148 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

myself downright miserable because I lived in 
a dull farm-ho7ise, or because I was rather ugly 
to look at, or because little Bion was getting 
fonder of Jane AUardyce than he was of me!- 
What contemptible nothings to fret about when 
life had such sorrows as these ! 

I resolved to shake myself free of mine, and 
try to make myself generally agreeable. We 
had a merry tea, and plenty of talk afterwards, 
for Mrs. Archer had a great gift that way, and 
Janie had an equal talent for listening. It 
was chiefly the small chit-iehat of the neigh- 
bourhood — how Mrs. Smith and her husband 
had quarrelled ; how Mrs. Jones's eldest boy 
had turned out ill, and gone off to sea ; how 
the Williams's donkey had got into Mrs. 
Archer's little back garden and spoiled the 
cabbages ; and how, when she was laid up with 
rheumatism last week, that wicked Sally had 
managed to break the best tea-pot; and all 
that fiort of talk, which astonished me very 
much in a woman who had sailed half over the 
world. But Canton, and* Honduras, and the 
West Indies, had with her all dwindled down , 



THE WIDOW AROfiEB. 149 

into the tiny world, in and about Swanage 
Bay. 

" Those poor .cabbages !" continued the old 
lady, still moaning over the devastations of the 
donkey, " that reminds me what beautiful cab- 
bages I had, and how useful they were, the 
summer my son George came liome from 
Buenos Ayres. I'll tell you how it was, Miss 
Lychett, if you like to hear." Of course I 
assented. 

" Well, my George, that was captain of the 
' Alice ' schooner — (he's gone now, poor fellow ! 
he was the third I lost at sea, nis ship struck 
one night and went down just off the Scilly 
Isles). — well, George had been away six years 
altogether ; I hadn't heard from him for a long 
time, when one day (I was at my breakfast) 
the boy that brings letters from Swanage 
holloaed out at the window, * Here's some'at 
for'ee, Mrs. Archer.' And sure enough, it was 
a* bit of a crumpled p'aper in my boy's own 
hand-writing, just three lines : — ' Dear mother,. 
' — ^We've put in here at Swanage Bay ; come 
on board, and bring lots of green vegetables 
13* 



150 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

* 

and meat." Up I started — ^I was a sailor's 
wife and understood all these things. First, I 
went and cut all my cabbages-r-then I begged 
and purchased till I had stripped the neigh; 
bours' gardens, too — then I went to Swanage 
and bought up nearly; all the meat in the place. 
Lastly, I put on my best bonnet and shawl, 
locked the house-door, and went down to see 
my boy. I hadn't had time to cry before, — 
but when I saw the * Alice ' lying in the bay, 
you might have knocked me down with a 
feather." 

I drew a long breath — the poor old soul was 
growing interesting now. We listened eagerly, 
Bion and I. 

** George was a little fair lad when he went 
away ; and when I got on board, and a stout, 
brown-whiskered young man helped me over 
the side, I didn't know him. I said, all in a 
tremble, * Sir, I wanted to see Captain Archer.' 
* Hey, mother I don't you know me ?" and he 
burst out into a hearty laugh, and wasn't 
ashamed to hug and kiss me before all the 
crew. He was a good lad, my George I" 




THE WIDOW ARCHER. 161 

Here Mrs. Archer stopped to wipe her eyes ; 
mine were running over too, for I imagined my 
Bion going to sea and coming home in his ship 
in this way. 

" I stayec' on board all day, Miss Lychett, 
and we had such a dinner ! all West-India pre- 
serves and the like. But George declared 
othing tasted half so nice as his mother's cab- 
bages 1 — Well, my dear, the *Alice' was bound 
to London, so I was rowed on shore before 
dark. I walked down the very next morning, 
but, as I expected, the *Alice' had sailed." 

" But you saw your son after that ?" 

' Oh, yes I he came and stayed with me a 
week ; and another week three years after- 
wards, just before the 'Alice' sailed on her last 
voyage. Poor dear George I he never could 
help talking of those cabbages. He brought 
me many curious things from abroad." 

Janie looked up and begged that we might 
see them — she had often told Bion and me of 
the pretty things Mrs Archer had. 

So we went and looked them all over, the 
old lady exhibiting them with considerable 



152 THB LITTLE LYOHBTTS. 

pride, and adding to each a little explanation, 
often funny enough, and yet pathetic. There 
were two lovely nautilus-shells which Captain 
John Archer, her husband, had presented. 
" That was when he came a-courting, my dear ; 
he brought me useful things afterwards." In 
the window hung a queer fungous plant. "An 
air-plant, Mkster Lychett, which grows npoa 
nothing I My son George brought it from 
South America, and hung it up himselL" 
Janie unrolled a piece of rich Turkey carpet 
that lay neglected in a corner. " Oh ! that was 
the folly of Jack and Jim on their first voyage ; 
but I never had the heart to lay it down on my 
brick floor. Poor lads; they never brought 
home anything else. In landing at Calcutta 
they were both swept off a catamaran and 
drowned I" 

It astonished me to hear her thus calmlv 
allude to these tragical episodes, which, I sup- 
pose, must be so common among people con- 
nected with sea-life as to lose something of 
their horror. I learnt that of Mrs. Archer's 
seven sons five had gone to sea, and four bad 



THE WIDOW ARCHER. 15S 

perished there in some way or other. The 
only one now left was the youngest, Harry 
Archer, who was engaged to marry Janie. 

" Poor Janie 1 I saw that every mournful al- 
lusion made her turn paler and paler; and 
when Mrs. Archer happened to ask what day 
was fixed for the Allardyce family's departure 
for Australia, the tears bubbled and suffused 
her pretty face. I forgave her that prettiness 
— I forgave even that winning manner which 
I dreaded might steal my little brother's love 
from me. Poor Janie Allardyce ! she had her 
troubles, and bore them so patiently and un- 
complaining I I would try not to . feel angry 
with her any more. 

When we walked home, and I bade her good- 
bye at the gate of the fields leading to Stony 
hide, I put my arms a^'i'^und her neck and kiss 
ed her — rather a new thing for me to do. And, 
though I did not say anything — indeed, it 
would have been useless, seeing she did not 
know I had wronged her, — still in my heart I 
fervently begged her pardon. 




NE after another the days went by- 
faster than I can count, and it was al- 
ready near the end of June. 

Now my Bion was a June bird ; he 
had come into the world in the beauti- 
ful midsummer time — in feet, his birth-day was 
St. John's Eve. Mine was in the blustering 
March season — sunshiny at times, but bleak. 
I often thought the difference between us was 
just like that of our birthdays : I was March 
and he was June. His life was a June life, 
too. Now that returning health banished the 
peevishness from his face, everybody found him 
pleasant and lovelj . Prom Sally at Stonyhide 
up to the Master himself, everybody petted 

(154) 



THE BIRTH-DAY GIFTS. 155 

Biou. He was, as it were, cradled in roses. 
But — and on this hut rested much of my com- 
fort- -they could not often get time and oppor- 
tunity to spoil him, Mr. Reuben being busy 
withliis farm and his marble-quarry, Sally with 
her house affairs, while Lias Lee lived four miles 
off, and Janie AUardyce three I I myself had, 
after all, the chief hand in spoiling Bion, and 
I did it with great content. 

The latter weeks of that June was the sweet- 
est weather I ever remember, — or it seems so, 
looking back upon it. My little brother had 
grown strong enough for long walks, and we 
used to spend whole gummer days out on the 
moors, which were all yellow with furze-blos- 
som, while the heather was just beginning to 
make patches of .purple tint, when seen faintly 
through half-shut eyes on a sunshiny noon. 
There, sitting on some dry hillock, or on one 
of the queer stones — Lias Lee said they were 
Druid stones — that were scattered about the 
moors, I used to tell Bion fairy-tales, or, 

r 

harder task ! try and teach him to read in a 
little old-fashioned primer, which solemnly in- 



156 THE LITTLE LYCHETTa 

forms us how "eToAw was a good boy" Ao., <fec. 
Bion hated it — and, privately, so did I. 

'* Oh, I can't learn to read, sister I it's very 
unkind of you to teach me ! I wish I was a 
big man, and then nobody would tease me, and 
I might do whatever I liked all day I" 

" What would that be ?" asked I, half-cross, 
half-amused, for we had been sitting a full hour 
conning the history of "«7bAn," the prosiest of 
all " good boys ;" and it was a lovely afternoon, 
and the bees were humming in the moor-land 
thyme-beds. Also, it had been no little dif- 
ficulty for me to keep my attention steadily 
fixed on '^John," since to-morrow was Bion's 

birthday — and — and . But all that in 

good time. 

Bion sat cogitating : — " If I were a man ? 
let me see ! Ah, I know what I would do 1 Vd 
buy a great, big organ, with all sorts of tunes, 
and I'd turn it and turn it, and make music all 
day long. I'd never read in ugly spelling- 
books again." 

" But," cried I, breathless with anxiety, for 
a reason of my*own — " if it were a pretty story- 



THE BIRTH-DAY GIFTS. 157 

book, with pictures in it — such books as we 
saw at the Master^s the other day ?" 

"Ah, those" — he had liked them very much, 
I knew. " When may I have them to read, 
sister. ? Those books were nice." 

" Not particularly so, I returned, with a cun- 
ning pretence of indifference, and led his 
thoughts to something else. But inwardly I 
was very proud and pleased. 

I made myself so funny, and coaxed Bion 
into so long a walk, that what with scampering 
and laughing, he came home quite tired, and 
was thankful to go to. bed directly after tea — 
the very thing I had been aiming at all day. 
For at seven o'clock Lias Lee was coming, 
and he and I had a little private business to 
transact. 

It was this. For weeks I had been thinking 
of St. John's Eve, and what I should give Bion 
on this the first birth-day of any one belonging 
to me to whom I could give a present. At last 
I decided on the usual school-gift — a cake, if 
I only knew how to make one ; Sally could, 
but I was too proud to ask Sally. Besides, 
14 



158 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

the present most be mine — the work of my own 
hands. While in this quandary, I was one 
day at the Master's and saw a book that the 
Master's wife was reading to her little ones. 
It was " Grimm's Tales." 

Anybody who has ever seen that delicious 
coUection of queer German baby-tales, alike 
mirth-creating to old and young, will imagine 
how it fascinated me. Bion, too ; he sat with 
his great eyes dilated with wonder or brimming 
with laughter. • " Ah, Eunice ! " said the 
Master's wife, "this is the book that would 
make lazy Bion learn to read." 

My determination was taken. But the price 
of the book was six shillings I and I had just 
—sixpence I Oh, for one-tenth of my wasted 
pocket-money of old : the ribbons, the con- 
fections, the gloves, all eaten or worn out, and 
their value not to be recovered. Still, there 
was the locked box of which I had lost the 
key. . One day I got Sally to break it open 
with the poker, and out of the cliaos of finery 
I secretly took an Indian shawl. 

Next morning, my cheeks burning and my 



THE BIBTH-DAY GIFTS. 159 

heart beating, I went i nd asked the Master's 
wife if she wanted such a thing. 

** Bless you ! no, child ! Is it yours ? You 
were not going to give it me ? " 

"No," I said bluntly ; my pride was writhing, 
and I longed to get the struggle over — " No, 
but to sell it. I want some money." 

She looked so kind, that in another minute 
I had told her the reason why. 

"Nonsense I" — and she laughed, but still so 
kindly 1 " I'll give you half-a-dozen Grimm's 
Tales ! " 

I explained that I must exirn a gift, or it 
would not be a gift at all. We talked the 
matter over ; but, although much moved by her 
goodness, I was very firm. It ended in — ^in — 
how Mrs. Dangerfield's young ladies would 
have jeered I — ^in Miss Eunice Lychett's turning 
sempstress and sewing for money I 

The Master's wife had six little child's shirts 
to make. I made them for her, and she gave me 
a shilling a-pieoe. It was not easy work, for I 
hated sewing — we all did at Mrs. Dangerfield's. 
But during the long June evenings they got 



160 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

finished at last ; and I had given my important 
order to Mrs. Jones — the onlv bookseller at 

. A " Grimm's Tales" was coming from 

London, and was to be brought to Stony hide this 
very evening in the safe pocket of Lias Lee. — 
This was the whole story. 

Seven o'clock struck — half-past — ^then eight. 
I became very fidgety indeed, the more so as 
I had nothing to do. The little shirts had, 
however unwelcomely, given me the habit of 
employing my fingers ; and now the time hung 
heavily, as heavily as my lazy hands.' Cousin 
Reuben was absent from home, — Sally busy in 
the kitchen : I paced the solitary parlour till 
I was like to cry. 

And cry I did — though it was with pleasure 
— ^when Liases heavy foot sounded on the stair- 
case, and I had a brown-paper parcel — ^that 
lovely sort of parcel in which booksellers 
envelope their treasures-=-fairly in my hands. 
It was a real " Grimm's Tales" — a beautiful, 
new, uncut copy I I opened some leaves, and 
admired one or two of the quaint pretty 
pictures ; but I vouM not look at more, lest it 



THE BIETH-DAY GIFTS. 161 

Bliould take the zest away when I showed them 
all to Bion. I got a pen, a capital new one 
of Lias Lee's mending, and wrote — (the inscrip- 
tion is yet extant, the tremulous, ill-formed B 
remaining to the eternal disgrace of my 
caligraphy 1)— my brother's name in full, " Bion 
WiUiam Lychett" 

There I paused, inventing and discarding a 
score of pretty inscriptions. Finally, ^^from 
his sister y^' was the only one I chose. 

This done — and many a conqueror has sign- 
ed his coronation oath, and many a happy maid- 
en her marriage settlement, with less of emo- 
tion, — I wrapped the book again in its brown- 
paper covering, tied it up, directed it, and, 
stealthily creeping into Bion's little closet, laid 
it on his pillpw. He was sound asleep, looking 
00 pretty, that the tears almost came into my 
eyes. 

" Ah ! " I thought,- " how happy he will be 
. when he wakes in the morning I " But he 
could not be happier than I was that night. 

After a while I re-opened my bed-room door, 
and wen^out to sec Lias Lee. He was coming 
14* 



182 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

up the stairs laden with a considerable burtben, 
Sally helping him. 

"It be only an old piano, Miss. The 
AUardyce folk sailed yesterday for Australia, 
and Janie is gone to live with the young 
Captain's mother till he comes home from sea ; 
and she said, Would you take in her old piano ? 
Master Bion, she thinks, might like the music. 
Now, I say that's be very kind o' Miss Janie." 

" Very 1 '' answered I, in an indififerent 
manner, being absorbed in ijiy " Grimm's 
Tales." I just asked after Janie, whom we 
had not seen for some time ; and felt a twinge 
of remorse when Lias told me that she was 
not well, and very unhappy at parting from 
her own people — ^her father, mother, and 
brothers, who were gone to Australia. 

" Tell her," said I — ^it was a tolerable 
sacrifice, but I made it to ease my conscience 
— " tell her to come to Stony hide to-morrow. 
It will amuse her." 

As for the piano, I hardly noticed it ; I was 
not fond of music — and the very sight of its 
white keys turned me sick at the recollection 



THE BIRTH-DAY GIFTS. 163 

of those three-hours' daily practising of scales. 
But, thank goodness, though we had a hateful 
piano in the house, this was not Mrs. Danger- 
field's. I shut down the instrument, forgot it 
altogether, and went contentedly to my bed. 

Next morning, I rose, dressed, and sat wait- 
ing. I thought the child should wake of his 
own accord to-day. I listened for his softened 
breathing, and the two or three sleepy sighs 

with which he was accustomed to rouse him- 

« 

self. Then the half drowsy, half cross call for 
" sister" — finally, a pause — a rattling of brown 
paper. The' next minute, all in his little white 
night-gown, and trembling with pleasure, 
he had abounded into my room and into my 
arms. 

" It's your birth-day. Master nine-year-old 1 
many happy returns, sir I "said I, with assumed 
laughter to hide something not unlike tears. 

" And this is for me — ^really for me I Oh, 
what a kind sister ! Won't I learn to read 
fast now ? " 

" Very fast I And it's high time too, little 
dunce'' said I, smothering him with kisses, 



164 THE LITTLE LYCHB/rTS. 

which he gave me freely back. I was so happy 1 
I felt sure I had made him love me at last. 

We went down-stairs in great triumph and 
showed Bion's book to all the house. Sally 
laughed heartily over the funny pictures. Mr. 
Reuben was half afraid they were more funny 
than improving, and mildly hinted what a good 
book "Dr. Watts' Hymns" was. But I scouted 
^he Doctor, and held fast to my "Grimm." 
And when he saw little Bion's delight, Mr. Lin 
nington smiled tfto in his gentle, meek way. He 
was a worthy man — ^poor old Cousin Reuben f 

All this time nobody noticed the new piece 
of furniture, which Sally had covered with, a 
cloth and made a side-board of. At length, in 
the pauses between my reading aloud — for 
Bion had insisted on hearing tale after tale 
from his new book— his eye noticed the innova- 
tion in the parlour. — " What's that, sister ? " 

" Only a piano, — Janie AUardyce's. She 
will be here to-day ; let us make haste and 
finish the reading before she comes." For, 
somehow, I thought it would not be half so nice 
with three as with two. 



THE BIRTH-DAY GIFTS. 165 

But Bion jumped oflF ray knee. " A piano ! 
mamma had a piano, and ^he used to play to 
me, and it was, oh, so beautiful I Please, 
Eunice, I want to see the piano." 

His little hands were trembling with excite- 
ment. I put down the book, and opened the 
instrument for him. " There, look at it. — And 
now I'm quite ready to go on, Bion." 

But Bion seemed to have forgotten the read- 
ing. He stood at the key-board, striking one 
note after another — sometimes pulling a wry 
face — ^for it was an old piano shockingly out of 
tune— then again turning, his countenance all 
beaming as he hit upon a pleasant chord. At 
last, note by note, he picked out a whole tune — 
one of the hymn-tunes he was accustomed to 
grind out upon the organ. Oh, the delight 
which illumined his little face as he played it, 
over and over again 1 

It was very wicked of me, but — ^but — ^my 
sore heart began to rebel. I spoke rather 
crosslv, — 

" Bion, I'm waiting to finish the story. Come 
away — that noise is very disagreeable 1 " 



166 THE LITTLE LYOHETTS. 

" Oh, no ! I think it very pretty. It's a 
tune, do you hear Z And heroes a bit of another, 
which mamma used to play. Oh, I ^'ish any- 
body could play to me now 1 " 

" I like reading far better." 

'^ But I don't. Oan you play on the piano, 
sister Eunice?'' 

" Yes — but I hate it," I answered roughly, 
shutting ** Grimm" with a loud clap. Bion 
never minded, he was wholly absorbed in his 
new pleasure. For nearly an hour he sat 
there, strumming out tune after tune : taking 
no notice of me, nor I of him, except once ; 
when seeing he looked pale with standing, I 
pushed a chair towards him, which he ac- 
knowledged with a smiling " Thank you, sis- 
ter." He was perfectly happy. 

I sat, suffering keen pain. I had some idea 
of going out and throwing " Grimm" to the 
bottom of the well, and possibly, jumping in 
after, when the parlour-door opened, and Janie 
Allardyce's small figure and pretty little face 
appeared. She kissed us both. 



THE BIRTH-DAY GIFTS. 167 

"I thought my poor old piano would turn 
out useful here. Was Eunice playing ?" 

" No —it was me ; Eunice wouldn't. But 
you can— oh, I know you can. Please, do I" 

He dragged her to the piano and stood 
entranced while she played tune after tune. 
Slowly his countenance saddened. 

" I wish I could play like you, Miss Janie. 
It would be a great deal nicer than learning 
to read*" 

I stayed to hear no more, but went out of 
the room, fortunately leaving ** Grimm" behind 
me, or it would now be mouldering away at 
the bottom of the well. I wandered through 
the farm-yard and into the field, and did not 
come back again for a very long time. 
- When I did, I had bv main force smothered 
down my evil temper, though I was still bitter 
at heart. It was a very hard struggle, indeed. 
It took me three frantic walks round the 
meadow before I could get rid of that choking 
passion which made me feel as if I hated Bion, 
Janie, everybody. Three more in conquering 
a frantic desire to run away to the farthest 



168 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

end of the world, that they two might be Lap* 
py together, and I — might die ! Three final 
and quieter strolls were occupied in trying to 
see the justice of the case ; my conscientious- 
ness, never wholly deadened even by my wild- 
est passions, whispering how. wrong it was to 
wish to debar my little brother from a gratifi- 
cation because it happened to be none to me. 
Also, how wrong to hate Jane Allardyce be- 
cause she could give Bion one pleasure which 
I could not I Above all, how utterly mean 
and disgraceful it was of me to be exacting 
equal gratitude for the benefits I bestowed — 
.loving my little helpless brother in a sort of 
bartering way : " I give you so much, and you 
must give me so much back again, or, if you 
don% 1^11 hate you !" This was the turning 
point, I think — which from very shame drove 
the badness out of me. 

I tell all this, that my readers may know I 
do not set myself up as a pattern of perfection 
— the "good child" of young folk's story- 
books, which " good child" I don^t believe in — 
not a bit of it ! We all. from babyhood to old 



THE BIRIH-DAY GIFTS. 169 

age, have strong temptations to be naughty, 
which we must fight against from day to day. 
I, Eunice Lychett, a grown-up woman, have 
often as hard a battle to fight with myself as 
little Eunice had that morning in the field. 
But when, with the blessing of Heaven, one 
has conquered, and feels one's self good again, 
how sweet it is I Children, vou don't know 
how sweet until you try. 

I went in-doors. Janie and Bion were still 
sitting together at the piano, she guiding his 
little fingers over the keys. There was a scrap 
of ruled paper before them, on which she had 
written the gamut. Hateful gamut ! I sicken-* 
ed at the sight of its remembered horror. And 
Janie was teaching it, patiently and kindly, 
and, still more wondeiful, the child liked to 
learn 1 His tastes must be very different from 
mine. 

As I peeped through the half-open door, and 
saw Bion's radiant face, . involuntarily I 
thought of the story of the young Mozart, the 
baby-musician. Could my brother have some- 
thing in him which not even I could under- 
15 



170 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

stand? Would my little Bion turn out a 
great musical genius? At this proud and 
happy thought, the last fragment of my wrath 
crumbled down ; I entered the room " as good 
as gold." 

Bion sprang towards me. " Sister, sister, 
come and hear I I have learnt three tunes, 
and Janie says she will teach me music ; and 
I shall some day play as well as ever mamma 
did — and oh !" — a slight shadow rose in his 
beaming eyes — " wouldn't mamma have liked 
to hear me ?" 

As I kissed him, I also looked grave and 
dropped one soft, repentant tear over my boy 
— ^his mother's boy. 




XL 

FTER that day I never heard the last 
of Janie's piano. It was kept going 
from morning till night. As soon as 
Bion rose in the morning — and he 
woidd condescend to get up now — 
down he sat, or oftener stood, by the key-board, 
and began poking out his little tunes. Had I 
been gifted with an ear for music, doubtless it 
would have tortured me very much — as it was, 
I was bored to death with the perpetual noise. 
Breakfast over, the same thing began again. 
Spelling-book, slate, were all thrown aside, 
and even the pleasant walks were put an end 
to. For weeks there was nothing but strum- 
ming all day long. 

As for poor old " Grimm," he went back 

into his brown paper, then retired to the top- 

[in] 



172 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

most shelf of the cupboard, and nobody heard 
of him for months, — nay, years. Ifcbody eyer 
remembered him, except me. I will not tell 
of the sore place that was left in my heart, it 
is quite healed now. 

Strum-^strum — strum ! all day over and 
every day I Siich was the pleasant life T led. 
From morning till night it was always, " Bion, 
come to breakfast," or dinner ; " Bion, leave 
that piano alone for just five minutes ;" *• Bion, 
do go out with sister this lovely day." And 
Bion usually responded cheerfully at the time, 
for- 1 noticed that while he was at his playing 
he never looked cross — indeed, he had been 
quite a diflferent creature since he took to his 
music. But at the first opportunity he would 
rush away from meals, or walks, or lessons, and 
back again to his old place, to begin those 
dreary little tunes. 

One day, when my patience was tried to the 
uttermost, I threatened to lock up the instru- 
ment and take the key. .He laughed — he was 
so amused to see me really cross that he ap- 
parently could not believe it. 



THE DBOWNED LAD. 173 

** It's for your own good, Bion ;"* and I tried 
inwardly to persuade myself that it really was 
BO. " If I let you go ou in this way you will 
grow up an ignorant dunce. I am your. elder 
sister and I have authority over you ; take 
care, for I will use it." 

"Will you?'' 

Though in a great passion myself at the 
time, I was startled by the defiance in the lit- 
tle fellow's face. He had often been peevish, 
sullen, cross — but he. had never openly set him- 
self against me before. I had touched some 
chord which awoke a new spirit in the child. 
Instead of bursting into fretful tears he grew 
quite pale and quiet. 

" Please, sister, would you say that over 
again ?" 

" I say," repeated I, in a dignified manner, 
" if you are not a good boy and will not learn 
your lessons, and do what I tell you, I shall 
think it right to lock up the piano and take 
the key, and only let you play now and then. 
Do yon hear, Bion ?" 

He made no immediate answer, his childish 
15* 



174 THE' LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

Bpirit seeming for the minute cowed before my 
resoluteness : I certainly always was the 
Btronger of the two. Poor little Bion, his 
eyes rested lovingly on the key-board, and be- 
gan to brim over ! 

" I am so fond of it," he whispered to him- 
self piteously. " I love Janie^s piano better 
than any thing in the world." 

" Except Janie herself I" said a merry voice 
at the door, and Miss AUardyce came in, 
sweet, kind, and unconscious. 

He sprang towards her with a cry half de- 
light, half tears, " Janie, Janie, help me ! Sis- 
ter says " 

I could not stand that. Human nature 
would not bear it. I ran to the piano to fulfil 
my threat of locking it up, but Bion was there 
before me. With a passion that I never saw 
in the child before, and have rarely seen since, 
he snatched the key from me and threw it out 
of the open window as far as ever he could 
reach. It struck against the windlass of the 
draw-well, ai|^ bounded down — down — ^till we 
heard, or fancied we heard, its dropping into 



THE DROWNED LAD. 175 

I 

the water beneath. Then Bion, bursting into 
a flood of tears, hid his face in Janie's arms. 

God forgive me I but I have been a very 
wicked girl in my time. If anybody thinks 
me at all good now, it is a living warning of 
how much one can conquer if one tries, with 
the mercy and blessing of Heaven. 

As I passed and saw these two — for Janie, 
quite innocent and understanding nothing, was 
of course soothing Bion in her own kind way 
— I put out ray clenched hand. And, some- 
how — it seemed not myself that did it, but 
some evil power within me — I struck at them. 
And — my heart bleeds as I write it — ^I hurt my 
little brother — my own little brother — my darl- 
ing — my pride — whom I would have died for, 
any day. And yet — ^I hurt him ! . 

It was not much, for he scarcely cried out. 
The minute I had done it I was on my knees 
kissing the place, the cruel red 'mark .on his 
dear shoulder. But I had done it, and the 
consequence came : I saw it in Bion's eyes. 
My little brother^s heart turned from me and 
turned towards- Jane AUardyce. 



176 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

I was never overmuch troubled with false 
pride, and as soon as I really felt I had done 
wrong was always ready enough to atone. I 
begged my child's pardon a hundred times, 
made him kiss me. and be friends. Then he 
crept back again to Jane to be comforted 
for his troubles, and rested his head on her 
shoulder. As for me, I ran out of the room. 

• • •*• • • • • • 

# 

We had a very unhappy morning ; and I 
have often thought since what a kind, patient, 
sensible girl Jane AUardyce was, in trying to 
smooth over matters, so as to make us forget 
the quarrel, and enjoy ourselves as she had at 
first intended. For she had come, according 
to a long-arranged plan, to take us to see a 
very ancient village church near the sea, and 
afterwards we were going to meet Lias Lee at 
some old stone quarry on the coast, whither 
either .his own business or tho Master's took 
him. It was a day's "out" which we had 
looked forward to for I know not how long. 
Alas, that it should have been so troubled at 
the beginning ! 



THE DROWNED LAD. 177 

We started, Janie, Bion, and I. We had a 
good way to walk ; but country people who 
keep no carriage are usually tolerable pedes- 
trians. And the bleak sea wind sweeping 
across the bare downs strengthened us amaze- 
ingly. The remembrance of that walk has 
left on my mind a sense of vague dreariness. 
It was a cloudy day, and cold, though in 
August : the sky was grey, the downs were 
grey, and so were the stone " dykes " or low 
boundary walls, the only objects which relieved 
the sameness of the view. Beyond the cliflFs, 
even the horizon-circle of sea was grey like- 
wise. And as I walked along, sometimes be- 
hind, sometimes ahead of Bion and Janie — for 
the child, when tired, ran back to her hand, 
not mine — ^all my spirit within me felt dull 
and grey too. 

Janie often turned and talked to me, and 
about all sorts of cheerful things, never 
once touching on the painful subject. But 
cheerfulness was not in me — and conscience 
was gnawing hard, even above the angry sor- 
row of being Wroriged. I thought if I had 



178 THE LITTLE LYCHETTSw 

treated my boy better, he would never l»ave 
gone from me to Jane Allardyce. 1 thought 
also that there must be something inherently 
wicked in me, or I could never feel such a bit- 
ter revulsion against her, every time I looked 
at that 'good, bright, happy, loving face, which 
made every one call her " pretty Jane Allar- 
dyce." 

I thought — ^and this was the vilest thought 
of all (oh, dearest Janie, tender-hearted, long- 
suffering Janie, smile now at it and forgive it I) 
—what a comfort it would be if I could but 
make her a little naughty like myself, or a 
little miserable I Only a little, God knows I 
only a very little. And had I known what a 
burthen of trouble she was already bearing, 
spite of all her blithe manner to us children, 
I would not have added thereto a feather's 
weight of pain. 

Janie never said a word, or betrayed by a 
look, that she was unhappy in her mind ; but 
when she reached the village (to which, for 
reasons of my own, I shall give no name) she 
went gaily in and out among the cottagers, 



THE DROWNED LAD. 179 

• 

where she seemed to be quite familiar. The 
place was entirely inhabited by stone-qnarriers 
(" marblers," as Lias Lee called them) and a few 
fishermen; though on this rocky and thinly- 
inhabited coast there was not much opportunity 
for the latter trade, still, now and then, Janie 
told me, a stray fishing-sail was seen creeping 
about the little bay, in which terminated a 
gloomy narrow ravine that sloped seaward, 
an4 was called by the elegant name of Hell- 
bottom. 
And floating about the village, Janie also 

' said — and her voice altered- much in* tfie say- 
ing— was. many a story of wrecks which had 
taken place there, on the sharp rocks which 
formed the bay. " And many a time," added 
an old woman to whom she was talking, — 
'* many a time bodies of drowned folk had been 
washed ashore, and carried up Hell-bottom, 
and buried in the very churchyard where we 
were now standing." 

" Indeed I" said I, being in that fierce mood 
which makes one take pleasure in horrible 

* stories. " I should like to hear about this." 



180 "THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

"Don't I" whispered Janie,. tremulously; 
" such things are not good for the boy to hear. 
Come away, Bion, love." 

"He shall not! He'll stay if I choose!" 
cried I, rather savagely ; and I made the tired 
child sit down on a flat tomb-stone. Janie 
remained beside him — she did not attempt to 
thwart me in my wilfulness. I could fancy I 
see her now, standing silent — her arm on 
Bion's shoulder and her quiet, sad blue eyes 
looking seaward. Nay, I could call up the 
whole picture ; the queer, witchlike old woman 
— ^the i^ebple in that benighted village really 
thought her a witch, and I am sure she looked 
* as old as Methuselah ; the tiny ancient church, 
under the ledge of whose roof, surmounting a 
common wooden spout, was a row of the oddest 
stone faces — half-human, half-grotesque, from 
whose noses and chins the rain was dropping, 
for there had just been a heavy sSower. The 
sky was lowering and leaden still, and the 
long churchyard grass all sodden with wet. A 
more desolate and gloomy spot could hardly 
be imagined. 



THE DROWNED LAD. . 181 

" Miss," "said the old woman, but .n a rich 
Dorset that it is quite impossible I can imi- 
tate, and must put into common Queen's En- 
glish, " I could tell'ee some'at, I could ! But 
it be a-comin' on rain. Do'ee get in th' 
church." 

I would rather have stood to be soaked, but 
was ashamed, and we went in. 

It was a small, plain, barn-like place, where 
probably for centuries there had come no 
worshippers but the handful of villagers and 
the clergyman. In the pavement were one or 
two old brasses, almost trodden out, and a 
monument equally ancient and obliterated, 
showing the church must have been important 
in its day. But the poor folk of the neighbours- 
hood knew nothing of archseology — they had 
whitewashed over the oak-carvings, the stone- 
mouldings, and the monuments — ^nay, some* 
atrocious churchwarden had cut a piece clean 
' out of the ornamental arch of the chancel in 
order to stick the pulpit there. I remember,, 
young as I was, being greatly shocked at this 

last barbari<=»m ; so much so, that my interest 
Ifi 



182 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

for the beautiful in art and architecture almost 
restored my temper to its equilibrium. 

But only for a moment. Soon I saw Janie 
seat herself on the chancel step, and the tired 
Bion creep up and " cuddle " to her in childish 
fashion, listening drowsily to the pouring rain. 

I turned fiercely away. Now then for the 
horrible stories Janie disliked. Anything to 
punish them I 

The woman began a long-winded talk, of 
which I could make out very little. Half of 
it was directed to Miss AUardyce, whom she 
knew well. It seemed about her own troubles 
in having been a fisherman's wife, and about 
the dangers of the seas. Janie's cheek paled 
once or twice. But I was hardened, and 
would hear all. Tired out, at length, I rose 
and lounged away, read a tablet on the wall, 
newly erected — a plain white marble slab, with 
an inscription. 

I will not write out this inscription. I feel 
almost guilty in telling out in this glaring 
printed book the fact, so mournful and sacred isit 
in its literal truth, and so deeply did it touch me. 



THE DROWNED LAD. 183 

It was to the memory of a young man only 
twenty years old, for I calculated his age by 
the dates of birth and death. The name was 
not belonging to these parts — ^he was of a well- 
known noble family, I think in either Ireland 
or Scotland. This fact was just mentioned in 
the tablet, and no more. The wording was 

simply, " In memory of ." Here came 

the young man's name and when he died. The 
simplicity of the record, the strangeness of 
finding it in that solitary, out-of-the-way coun- 
try church, touched my curiosity. I stood 
looking at it a long while. 

" Oh, that be the poor young lad as was 
washed • up last summer. A gentleman from 
London has just been a-putten on'un up. I'd 
tell'ee about 'un, miss, but itll hurt sAe." 

" Never mind sAe," cried I, just glancing at 
Jane, who looked mournful, restless, as if stie 
could hardly bear herself. 

" Well — well, only them's tender-hearted as 
has got folk at sea, and the young captain and 
my son Jack be a month or more due." 

** Never mind," repeated I — I am ashamed to 



184 THE LITTLE LYOHBTTS. 

think how crossly, but every contradiction 
jarred so against my humour. I was deter- 
mined to have my will. * 

I got the story at last. One summer night 
too boys, fishing in the little bay at the end of 
Hell-bottom, had seen something coming up 
with the tide. It was a drowned body, so long 
dead as to be quite unrecognizable. The dead 
man was apparently not a common sailor — he 
had on fragments of fine linen, gentleman's 
clothes. These out-of-the-world, village folk 
did not know what to do, and the clergyman 
happened to be absent. So they fetched the 
nearest Coast-guard officer, and he examined 
the lK>dy. It was merely a body — the cruel 
work of the waves had obliterated all traces 
of its identity. No one could tell whether he 
was young or old — handsome or ugly — one 
only clue the Coast-guard seized upon, before 
finally laying in earth this poor relic of hu- 
manity. 

On the middle finger — kept firm there by 
the tight clench of the hand over a piece of 
rope — ^was a ring, witi a name engraved inside. 



THE DROWNED LAD. 185 

The Coast-guard remembered having seen 
lately in tlie papers an account of four youug 
gentlemen having been lost on a yachting ex- 
pedition, and he thought this was one of the 
names given. The circumstance had happened 
at a distant part of the coast, two months ago. 
The body must have drifted several hundred 
miles. 

He wrote to the family concerned, and found 
this circumstance was true. But the youth's 
parents, broken-hearted, had gone abroad to 
recover from their grief. There was no one 
left even to bury the dead. The family law- 
yer came down from London, and he and the 
Coast-guard man laid the poor drowned lad in 
that lonely little churchyard. 

Nothing more was heard for several months, 
after which the lawyer appeared again, put up 
the tablet, and went away. The old woman 
overheard him say " that the young gentleman's, 
mother and sister would be coming down some; 
time." Ah, that poor mother and sister ! 

"And only to think, miss," said the tale- 
teller, as she ended, " that they would never 
16* 



186 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

ha' found 'im at all but for the ring. For his 
own mother wouldn't ha' known he when him 
was washed up ; and our folk didna like to 
touch 'up, but got 'un ashore with boat-hooks, 
andj " ' 

Here Janie, standing behind us, uttered a 
loud wild sob, — " Hush ! I can't bear it ! Oh, 
Harry, Harry ! — what has become of my 
Harry ?" 

And she burst into such heaf t-breaking tears 
that we did not know how to quiet her. 

" I told'ee so," said the old woman, looking 
reproachfully at me, and crying bitterly her- 
self, " Miss AUardyce, dont'ee take on. No 
harm will happen to the young captain and my 
boy Jack." 

But it was a long time before Janie. was 
comforted, and even when she ceased sobbing 
her poor face looked pale and sad enough, I 
had managed to make her miserable at last ; 
but in doing it had tnade myself ten times 
more so. 

" I went out of the church with a conscience 
as heavy as lead . 




f |[t €atm l^mmiOfitis. 

UTSIDE the church yre met, Lias Lee, 
sitting in his spring-cart, merrily whist- 
ling. Good soul, he had an easy mind ! 
I, tossed with all sorts of erring pas- 
sions — hard to be governed by one so 
young — envied him from the bottom of my 
heart. 

It is a curious fact how few of us, when we 
grow older, recollect how real were our emo- 
tions and endurances as children ; how preco- 
cious were our feelings, how intense our suffer- 
ings. Now, we look round on our little friends, 
and speak to them in babj-talk, and -suppose 
they are only thinking baby-thoughts — but if 

we only remember our own childhood we shall 
find we are mistaken. 

[187] 



188 THE' LITTLE LYCHETTS. • 

I am sure there were seething and boiling 
in me that day, the last of what I call my 
childish days, the elements of an entire tragedy. 

We mounted the spring-cart and drove oflF, 
Janie and Bion sitting with Lias Lee in front, 
and I squatting down behind. — I tried to quiet 
myself with gazing" seaward, across the soli- 
tary sunshiny, downs, for the afternoon had 
brightened up — but it would not do. I felt 
very miserable. I did not know how I should 
ever make myself happy again. Here was I 
trying daily as hard as any poor girl could try 
to be good, and yet somehow being always 
naughty ; not knowing clearly what to do in . 
anything, and having no one to teach me ; 
obliged to fight out the battles and settle the 
troubles of my own little spirit, to say nothing 
of Bion's. 

Also, with the knowledge always present to 
me, that I loved Bion better than anything 
else in the world ; and that Bion loved Janie 
Allardyce — ^perhaps two or three more peo- 
ple besides — a great deal better than me. 
This was — ^not pleasant ! 



THE CORNU AMMONIS. 189 

Doubtless, many of my feelings were exag- 
gerated and foolisli — ^but they were most pain- 
fully real at the time. Wise people may think 
it ridiculous of me to be so engrossed by, and 
so miserable on account of, a little innocent 
fellow like Bion — ^but then he was the only 
creature belonging to me,*and the first I had 
ever been fond of. Mv nature had lain as 
black and dry as a winter-garden, until this 
strong affection came down upon it like the 
rain' and dew of April, making everything 
that was hidden in the soil sprout up in equal 
luxuriance — weeds and flowers together — only, 
of the two, I fear my weeds grew rather faster 
than my flowers. 

After driving a short distance along the 
barren, dyke-bordered ro&d; and seeing noth- 
ing pretty except the distant glimpses of 
sunny sea, which made me feel a little more 
good and comfortable, we discarded the spring- 
cart, and took to walking along the green 
sloping cliffs. Lias mounted Bion on his back, 
and with his bag for geological specimens in 
one hand and his small pickaxe and hammer in 
the other, leisurely took his way. 



190 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

It was not easy walking,. except for the sheep^ 
which we saw feeding composedly everywhere, 
even on the edge of the cliflf. The ground rose 
and fell in steep undulations, where the short 
fine grass made slippery footing. Sometimes 
a few yards of turfy slope, as smooth as glass 
to the feet, were all that lay between us and 
the clifiFs, beneath which we faintly heard the 
waves breaking, a long^way down — oh, such a 
dizzy sound 1 The height of these perpendic- 
ular cliffs prevented our seeing anything below 
— ^their edges seemed to cut right against the 
mid-sea, as if one step from them would take 
us far into the channel, where a score of ships, 
tiny as sea-birds, lay stationary, as it appeared, 
each miles and miles apart. 

" This be some'at like, bean't it. Miss Jane ?" 
said Lias Lee, stopping and gazing round him 
from under his bushy brows, with an air of intense 
enjoyment in the scene. Bion, too, grasping 
the worthy man's coat-collar to steady himself, 
seemed trembling between fear and delight. 
Janie had hold of one of his hands — ^but, for 
once, Jeanie was not thinking of the boy. 



THE CORNU AMMONIS. 191 

Child as I was, I guessed what and whom 
she was thinking of: I knew that Bion and I 
and everybody else in the worlcf were as nothing 
to her compared with the little sloop that was 
so long in coming home from the coast of Spain. 
And yet she* had the cruelty to lure my little 
brother to forget me for her, and make me feel 
continually, as I did now, quite alane and apart, * 
wretched in my mind and wretched in my tem- 
per — enjoying nothing in the beautiful world, 
and ready to hate everybody it contained. 

dear Janie, ten times more good than I, 
always I once more forgive me for such injus- 
tice and unkind wrong ! 

By a precipitous steep path — ^in descending . 
which I was twice nigh pitching forward and 
ending all my woes among the rocks below, 
had not Janie caught hold of me — we came at 
last to the quarry whither we were bound. It 
was a most curious place, composed of various 
caverns, hollowed out of the rock — so long 
deserted, that though I believe they were made 
by quarry-men's hands, they now seemed the 
work of Nature alone. The stone Lias show- 



192 THE LITTLE LrCHETTS. 

ed US — (to this day I marvel how that poor 
working-man got his immense stock of general 
information, but I suppose the Master helped 
him) — was a remarkable *^ formation," peculiar 
to this part of the coast. It was entirely com- 
posed of fossil-shells, mostly in small frag- 
ments, oll/rozen up together — so to speak, for I 
don't know the proper geological, term — ^in 
limestone. Of this " formation " the clifiFs 
were composed ; and huge .masses of it, many 
tons in weight, lay about in all directions 
below, the tide as it came in foaming and boil- 
ing about them in perfect whirlpools. 

It was a very dangerous place. Lias said 
the quarry had been given up on that account, 
in spite of the value of the stone, because land- 
ing in such a spot was so difficult — ^nay, im- 
possible. Hundreds of quarryers had been 
drowned, and scores of boats had gone to 
pieces, in trying to Ship the stone from among 
these rocks. 

" Take care, miss, take care I" shouted he to 
me at almost every step, as, leaving Bion and 
Janie to eat some cake she had brought him 



THE aORNU AMMONIS. 198 

1 4&shed off scrambling among the c Averns and 
leaping from rock to rock. In my excited 
state danger was delicious to me. I crawled 
between the masses of rock, on the narrowest 
paths, when a false step would have pitched 
me 'among t}ie waves, whose spray almost 
touched my feet. It was such a satisfaction to 
think that, if I chose, in one minute there 
would be an end of me I 

There was one particular spot where I sat, 
I think, for almost half-an-hour. In my dreams, 
to this day, I sometimes fancy myself sitting 
there again. 

It was a place where the rock had been 
worn into ledges, rising one after the other, 
curiously smooth and regular, like a flight of 
stairs. Above the topmost ledge the rock be- 
came again broken up — two or three masses 
being thrown together, and their jagged edges 
fitted against one another, so as to be mutually 
sustained. But between the interstices there 
was left what children call Sbpeep-Jicle, through 
which rose every minute or so a little jet of 
spray. Kneeling down I peered through, and 
17 



• 



194 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

there 8aw the waves beneath tossing imd 
tumbling and howling, beating about in their 
fury poor little helpless sea-weed — ^beautiful 
red sea-weed I which I should dearly have 
liked to seize upon for Bion. He was so fond 
of sea- weed and shells. 

I half knelt, half lay, my^'face pressed to the 
peep-hole, glorying to see the passion the 
waves were in, and scarcely starting even 
when they dashed the spray in my eyes. Con- 
sidering also, in practical fashi6n, whether it 
would be possible by means of Liases stick or 
Janie's umbrella, to catch and fish out' of the 
whirlpool those delicious bits of sea-weed. 
True, I should have to lean over a good way, 
and it might be rather dangerous — but then 
how pleased my boy would be ! 

Just at this minute, when I had almost made 
up my mind, and was listening for the sound of 
Lias's hammer and pickaxe among the caverns, 
that I might go and consult with him as to the 
most possible plan, I heard voices close above 
me, — ^Bion's too I 

I started, alarmed. Now, whatever danger- 



THE coRNU A^uroxis. 196 

ous scrambling I might choose for myself, of 
course I was not likely to have been so foolish 
as to let the bov do the like, or even to lose 
sight of him while I went on my solitary ad- 
ventures. In fact, I had never taken my eyes 
from him until I saw him safely lodged in that 
nook of the rock 'to eat his cake, and have a 
little rest on Janie's lap, I thought, so happy 
as he seemed, he would safely stay there — ^yet 
here he was, clambering right above my head. 

" Bion ! — Bion ! you naughty child I hold 
still till I get to you. Where's Janie ?" 

"Janie's here, but she wants to go back. 
She's frightened." 

" Let her go back then I^' laughed I, rather 
unkindly. " Come down to me, Bion. — ^No, 
stay ! — FU come to you. Hold fast round my 
neck. There!'' 

He held me, and looked about liim, timid, 
yet pleased — the boy was always so pleased 
with any beautiful- sight. I lifted him up in 
my arms, which I could easily do, being a big 
strong girl of my age, and we stoc d watching 
the gathering and recoiling of the waves. 



\ 

196 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

"What a noise they come in with, sister, 
and how they burst with a crash I So regular, 
too — almost like the bars of a tune. I think 
I could make a tune out of it. I'll try when 
I go back to the piano." 

** Oh, do let the horrible piano alone for 
once!" said I, half to myself. Perhaps the 
boy heard me, perhaps not. However, he 
drew his arms from my neck, and begged to be 
set down. 

" That you may go to Janie ! Go then — I'll 
not keep you. It doesn't matter to me !" 

He was going, until, child-like, his attention 
was caught by a new object of interest. 

" Eunice I Eunice I I see something so 
funny I" 

He pointed to a ledge of ro6k, broad and 
level as a- dining-table, which the receding tide 
had left bare since we came. On it were two 
or three holes, exactly like footmarks in snow, 
left full of water, and beside these holes, im- 
bedded in the rock, was a very curious thing. 

" I think it's a big sea-snail shell," observed 
Bion, sagely. 



THE COBJsU AMMONIS. 191 

"No — ^it's more like a petrified serpent, 
curled round with its tail in. its mouth. I 
wonder how it got in the rock I It must have 
been there since the days of Adam." 

" Or an age or two before then, most like," 
said Lias Lee, who had come behind us, quit- 
ting even his hammering in his anxiety for the 
safety of " the young'uns." " Bless us, I've 
been here dozens o' times and never seen that 
big ammonite afore." " That what ?'' 

" Ammonite, miss — cornu ammonis, th' Mas- 
ter 'ud say ; but I bean't very good at Latin. 
Well, you be the finest fellow o' your sort o' 
fossil that ever I see," added he, leaping down 
on the ledge, and examining it. Bion also was 
so interested that I had g^reat difficulty to hold 
him up. 

" Ammonite" he repeated, thoughtfully. " I 
wonder if it belonged to the children of Am- 
mon that sister was reading about last Sun- 
day 1" 

Lias laughed heartily. " Well, it might 
ha' done, though it didn't. 'Twould ha' made 
a nice thumb-ring though, or a bracelet, for 
17* 



19d THE LITTLE LYCHBTTS. 

those giants that belonged to the early ages of 
the world. Or a pretty plaything for their 
babies, perhaps.' 

" Oh I" cried Bion, clapping his hands, " I 
should so like it for a plaything I It would 
roll round and round so pretty. Do, Lias, dig 
it out and give it me !" 

Lias laughed more merrily than ever. 
" Well, if that bean't a funny idea ! My little 
gentleman, there's many a learned man would 
be mighty glad of that cornu ammonis for his 
museum. Think of turning a curious pre- 
Adamite fossil into a child's plaything ! If 
that doesn't beat everything I" 

He laughed so loud and long that Bion 
began to look disappointed ; finally, a tear or 
two marked the intensity of his childish long- 
ing, and his grief at its being thwarted. I 
grew vexed 

" Lias Eee, you shall not tease my little 
brother. Please will you get him the thing he 
wants— that is, if it is possible ?" 

"Possible? Yes, miss," said he, carelessly 
lungeing at the rock with his pickaxe. " Bat 



THE CORNU AMMONIS. 199 

'twould be a tough job — ^limestone's hard, 
rather. Come, don't cry, Master Bion, and 
I'll try. and get it for you some other day. 
Lor' bless us," cried he, bursting out laughing 
afresh, " to make a child's plaything of a cornu 
ammonis /" 

He climbed up again to the higher ledge — 
it was about four or five feet — and, taking the 
child in his arms, tried to comfort him. But 
Bion was for a long time inconsolable. He 
had set his heart upon the ammonite. 

It was certainly a most fascinating " speci- 
men." I don't know why, but in my memory 
there lingers a charm about it to this day. I 
see it still as I then saw it with wishful, child- 
ish eyes, the oddest and most mysterious relic 
of the ancient world ; and I wonder if it yet 
keeps its place on that lonely, rugged Dorset 
coast, with the tide washing over it twice a- 
day, month by month, and year by year, in 
summer and winter, calm and storm. I have 
a queer hankering after it, as ^e often have 
for the impossible, or all-but-impossible things 
of life. And I confess to this day, Eunice 



200 THE LITTLE LYCHETT9. 

Lychett would give a considerable amount of 
gratitude to any one who would bring her that 
identical cornu ammonis. 

When Bion found his friend Janie, he un* 
folded his woes, and she comforted him ; reason- 
ing with him, too, gently, on the folly of 
wanting so unattainable a thing. As if no 
child or man «ver desired, or ought to desire, 
what was not quite within his reach 1 

Very fine doctrine, Miss Janie 1 thought I ; 
and very nice and easy to be acted up to by 
such a meek little thing as you — but I^m differ- 
ent. You dared not even go to look at the 
ammonite, though Bion begged you so hard. 

Which he did — perhaps with a vague hope 
of her influence over Lias Lee, who, quite ob- 
durate, wn^ beginning to collect his various 
matters, and talk about returning home. 

" Or, perhaps, Janie," whispered Bion, with 
a child's full faith in the unlimited powers of 
one he loves very much — "perhaps, if Lias 
is so unkind ^s to refuse me, you might even 
take his pickaxe and dig it out for me yourself. 
Please do." 



THE CORNU AMMONIS. 201 

Janie lifted her eyebrows in mild astonish- 
ment, and declared gently the impossibility of 
her Ooing such. a thing. At which I laughed 
and fully agreed. Slie to handle a pickaxe — 
such a small, weak, delicate creature I So tim- 
id, too. Little enough would she dare, though for 
the sake of giving Bion pleasure. Now, I 

I thought of my strong stout arms, my lithe 
limbs and steady feet — above all, my entire 
fearlessness of personal danger. A notion 
came into my head — ^I sat down, apparently 
picking fossil-shells out of the limestone, but, 
in reality, planning a daring feat 

We had got clear out of the quarry. I car- 
ried Bion beyond the dangerous path, and then 
gave him into Janie's care. It was still early 
in the evening. They had not fap to walk 
along the cliflFs, and at the nearest point' the 
spring-cart was waiting to take them home. 

** Where be my pick gone to, I wonder?" 
said Lias Lee, as he emerged, all rerady to start. 
Telling us to go forward, he went back to the 
quarry to look for it. He searched a good 
while, and searched in vain. Of course 1 



202 • THE LITTLE LTCHETTS. 

" Gk) on, both of you, as quick as yc u can- 
never mind me, I shall walk home," said I to 
the others. " Bion is so tired IV and I stooped 
and kissed him. How my heart beat 1 A few 
hours afterwards I was so glad I had kissed 
the child. 

They hastened on, and I — stayed behind. 

As soon as they were gone a little distance, 
I crept into one of the caves. It was light 
enough, being the size and proportions of a 
large room. But in one corner was a hole, 
just big enough for me to creep through, lead- 
ing to a place all dark. Here, resting on the 
lost pickaxe, and laughing to myself at the 
though of what a clever girl I was, I took up 
my position. I knew that Lias Lee had not 
been in this particular cavern, which contained 
nothing interesting, so of course he was not 
likely to look for his pickaxe here. Neverthe- 
less, when I saw him come to the entrance and 
peep in, I quaked slightly. 

" Ugh 1" said he to himself, with a troubled 
expression. "Well, can't be helped! Must 
go I Won't do to keep those young folks out 



M 



THE CORNU AMMONIS. 208 

later in the night !" And he started oflF, up the 
sheep path. 

Here my couscience experienced a twinge— 
my pleasure in the successful trick was damped. 
I felt NQTy much like a deceiver/ How uncom- 
fortable poor honest Lias seemed at the loss of 
his pickaxe I And it was till my doing I Also 
the sentence, " I shall walk home," though not 
literally a lie, was meant to answer the intent 
.of one. I began to doubt if, after all, I was 
acting quite right. Not that my purpose was 
wrong in itself, but it entailed some conse- 
quences that were certainly wrong. I ques- 
tioned both it and its motives faintly then— I 
question them more now. But if I did ill, I 
paid for it to the full cost. 

I suppose my readers will scarcely need to 
be told what this plan of mine was. It was to 
do — what Janie Allardyce dur^t not have done 
— myself, with my own hands and Lias Lee's 
pickaxe, to get the ammonite for little Bion ? 

For some time I lay concealed there, lest, in 
spite of my declaration about walking home — 
which was not a very great distance, and I 



204 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

knew the road — Lias should come back to look 
for me. Not that this was likely, as both he 
and Janie were well used to my headstrong 
and independent ways, and rarely thwarted 
me or interfered. 

When a faint purple gloom was creeping 
over the far sea, I came out of my hiding-place, 
and stood among the rocks. Everything was 
very lonely. The tumbling of the sea below 
almost frightened me — that is, so far as any- 
thing could frighten me, which was not saying 
much. In those days I never knew what it 
was to feel afraid — at least for myself. 

As I sat, just above the rocky ledge, leaning 
on the pickaxe and trying to find out how best 
to handle it, I felt very pleased and proud in 
^ my achievement. Carefully I scanned the 
treasure — ^the milch-desired cornu ammonis — it 
did not seem very hard to get at, in spite of 
what Lias Lee had said. Then my arms were 
strong — ^and my heart was, oh, so strong like- 
wise I It was the boldest young heart in its 
infinite daring I There was scarcely any feat 
in the whole world that it would not have atr 
tempted for the sake of those it loved. 



THE CORNU AMMONIS. 205 

Of course I smile now at the ludicrous im- 
possibility of a girl like me " picking" an amr 
monite out of a limestone rock ; but no such 
word as '* impossible" was to be found in my 
youthful dictionary. I utterly scouted the idea ! 

So, eyeing my treasure very closely at all 
points — ^noticing that the tide had gone a long 
way, and that the ledge was quite high and 
dry, I prepared to descend, after Liases fashion. 
To be sure, it was some height to let one's self 
down — and he was tall, over six feet, while I 
was only five feet five — still the thing was quite 
practicable. Before attempting it, I had pru- 
dence enough to look about and consider how 
I should scramble up again, which also seemed 
not difficult, there being one or two foot-holes 
worn in the rock. Still, some vague feeling 
made me hesitate at the final descent, as if it 
were a plunge for life and death. I glanced 
round, lest there might be anybody lurking 
among the rocks, but no I the place was quite 
solitary. The sun had just set, and the purple 
mist over the sea was growing — growing. It 

would soon be twilight — then night. 
18 



206 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

There was no time to be lost. Without a 
moment's consideration, I lowered myself 
down. 

Down — down — it seemed as if I never 
should get to the bottom ! I clung hard with 
my hands, but my toes slid along the perpen- 
dicular rocky wall. I had somehow mistaken 
my footing. A half-minute of terror, which 
seemed an age, — and my hands let go their 
hold. 

I fell— it was but a little way to fall — just a 
few feet — ^yet the shock was very great ! I lay, 
breathless and sick, on the ledge — all in a heap, 
with my limbs doubled up under me. At last 
I began to recover myself and feel whereabouts 
my pain was, for I knew I had hurt myself 
somewhere. 

I tried to rise to my feet, but one foot gave 
way, and down I sank again in intolerable suf- 
fering. 

I began to tremble — ^I, who five minutes 
before had been so bold. I had heard of such 
things as broken limbs, but it had never come 
to me as a possibility th^t I should break 



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THE CORNl AMMONIS, 207 

mine. Also, if so I should of course have 
fainted. It could not be very much after all. 

Yet there the pain was, and I growing every 
minute more sick and exhausted. Something 
must be done ; the unutterable terror and 
desolation of my position, in case I had really 
broken my leg, gave me a sort of desperate 
strength. I dragged myself along past the 
ammonite — the unlucky ammonite ! — to the 
little pools that looked like footprints, dashed, 
sea-water on my feet and hands — then, some- 
what refreshed, with a daring indifference to 
pain, I felt all down the bone of my right leg.. 
It was sound and whole. 

" Thank God !'' I' said aloud, and for the 
first time burst out sobbing, thinking of the 
horror that might have been. But it was not 
over yet. My ankle was swelling fast and 
aching terribly. It was either sprained or 
dislocated, I felt sure. As for moving, that 
soon became . impossible. A pretty plight I 
was in 1 All alone here, quite helpless — night 
coming on, with its darkness and cold. My 
child's heart failed — I wept most piteously. 



208 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

t 

But, after very early childhood, a tempera- 
ment like mine usually rises with the occasion, 
and gathers strength to meet almost any 
trouble. I dried my tears and began to think 
what I had better do. 

Everything around was utterly desolate — 
the quarry caves, the rocks, the green cliffs 
sloping away overhead — I heard no sound but 
the never-ceasing bellow of the waves. Par 
away seaward, the mist grew and grew every 
minute greyer and more indistinct. Near me 
it was tolerably light still ; I could see the 
ammonite — in fact, I was lying close beside it, 
— ^harmless cause of all my woes ! Lias's pick- 
axe, which I had left behind on the upper ledge, 
to be lifted down afterwards, was also discern- 
ible. Once I thought of trying to reach it, and 
desperately setting about my plan, in defiance 
of all pain, that nothing should thwart my 
boy's longing. But I might as well have tried 
to climb to the moon : I was quite incapable 
of moving. 

There was nothing for me but to lie there, 
as patiently as I couM, until some of them 



THE CORNU AMMCNIS. 209 

came to look for me. I felt sure they would, 

before night came on ; if not but the love 

of life and youth was too strong in me to dare 
to contemplate that alternative. 

Like a wise girl, I did all I could to make 
my misfortune tolerable and avoid ill results — 
bathed my ankle in sea-water, wrapped my 
shawl warmly round me, and lay dgwn in a^ 
easy a position as might be. Possibly I should 
have to lie there many hours. Well, it was still 
summer, and a moonlight night too. But the 
tide— oh, the sickening horror with which I 
thought of the tide 1 At last, forcing myself 
to consider the matter clearly, I reflected that 
the ledge had been only just covered at high 
water, which was at six o^clock this evening. 
It would not be high water again till daylight 
to-morrow. There was iio immediate fear of 
drowning before me — only solitude, cold and 
pain. These were bad enough — ^but they might 
be worse. I would try and bear them. 

So I lay quiet, dropping at times a few 
tears which my pain wrung, from me, and at 
intervals, when it would let me, falling into 
18* 



210 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 



deep thought. Strange, precocious, womanly 
thought, as if I had grown old and wise all of 
a sudden. 

Clearly, as clearly as in a glass, I saw my- 
self for weeks and months — all my passions, 
errors, injustices and follies — down to the last 
folly of all. For what had been the real 
motive of. this freak of mine, which looked so 
fine and generous ? Alas I it sprang less from 
the- desire that Bion should have his wish, than 
that / should be the one to give it to him — 
thereby showing him how much better I was 
to him than was Janie, and overwhelming him 
with a sense of gratitude for my devotion! 
Ah, Eunice, Eunice, you were a selfish little 
fool ! that is not the right kind of love, and, 
however much it may exact, it never succeeds 
in winning a return from anybody. 

Truly, when I remember my own stormy 
feelings, I see it was necessary I should have 
been stopped in some way, ere I rushed head- 
long into all sorts of wrong. I saw this fact 
dimly, even that niglit, when suclj strange 
fancies name over me with every moan of the 



THE CORNU AMMONIS. 211 

tide. I knew, or felt — ^for I always /eZ^ things 
far more than I kneio — that with the Unseen, 
whose presence in that solitude seemed nearer 
and more real than ever before — with Him, 
our merciful Father, nothing is accident or 
chance, — that if I were now about to have a 
long illness, there must be some reason which 
made it necessary to my good. 

I grew awe-struck and calm. Even my 
pain became less. When the stars came out 
one by one over the sea, I looked up and said 
my prayers. It seemed as if I were almost 
going to die, I felt so quiet and so weak. 
Every sweep of the tide swept luUingly over 
my brain. I thought, as I always do in every 
solemn crisis, of the grave in St. Helena, 
wondering whether my never-seen father and 
mother watched me lying here, and what they 
felt towards me. Nay, looking into the grey 
shadowy nothingness, which I knew was sea, 
I almost fancied I saw two figures gliding 
across it towards me. I even heard them 
whispering through the dark, '^Eunice — 
Eunice /" 

It must be my parents I They were come 



212 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS 

to fetch me to them. Then good-bye to all I 
knew 1 Good-bye, gentle, ill-used Janie — and 
honest Lias Lee I Good-bye to the kind Mas- 
ter, whom, perhaps, I was fonder of th^n all 
my friends. Above all, good-bye to my own 
Bion, my darling, darling boy, who • was 
lying quietly asleep in his little bed, and did 
not know his sister was dying. 

No, not yet. She was not fated to die yefc 
—^heaven had more work for her to do I It 
was not spirits she heard calling her, it was 
kindly human beings. 

*' Holloa, there! — Miss Eunice I — ^Miss Eu- 
nice 1 Here be my pick, sir — ^but she bean't 
anywhere near." 

" Eunice 1 Eunice I — answer, child 1" 

I did answer, with all my poor strength, to 
that cheering, yet gentle, voice — gentle with 
deep compassion. 

"Hurrah, I hear her. Where are you, 
child V 

He leaped down on the ledge, and in another 
minute I felt myself safe in the tender, fatherly 
arms of the good Master. 

I don't remember anything more. 



J 




XIII. 

. ^ f Jtrng ^llnsL 

HAD, as I foreboded, a long illness. 

First, was a chaotic time, in which 
I took no count of days or nights, — 
they were all the same. A time of burn- 
ing fever and dreadful pain, in which 
nobody came near me but the doctor and 
Sally — Sally, who was never cross now. A 
time when everything seemed unreal — a sort 
of horrible nightmare, as, indeed, it appears 
even now, looking back upon it. 

At last I began to know myself and the 
tilings about me ; and the agony in my wound- 
ed ankle abated — ^it had been dislocated and 
some of the little bones broken : to this day it 
makes me rather lame at times. Also those 
hours .of exposure to coW and, wet, to say 

[213] 



214 THE LITTLE LYCilETTS. 

nothing of bodily and mental, suffering, gare 
me what doctors call ** a brain-fever/' I pray 
Heaven that neither I nor any one I love may 
ever know the like again. 

Well, I shall pass over this hard timie, be- 
cause, though one must meet sickness face to 
face during one's life — ^perhaps often epough — 
it is never good to dwell upon it when it is 
over. I shall go on to the day when I first 
woke up as out of a long sleep, weak as a little 
babv, and remembered what had befallen me. 
I tried to move my limbs, but might as easily 
have stirred leaden weights.; they felt as if 
they did not belong to me. I made an effort 
to speak, but before I had said, " Where's 
Bion?" Sally altogether quenched me into 
silence. There was nothing for it but to lie 
mute and helpless, and watch Sally, or contem- 
plate the furniture of the room. 

How drearily familiar it grew to me, that 
little bedroom at ^tonyhide, during many 
days and nights following I How I knew by 
heart every turn in the stencilled pattern which 
stood in the .place of papering on the wall I 



A LONG ILLNESS. 215 

How I tried to form faces and hands, and 
whole pictures out of the damp stains on the 
ceiling. Then the chimney-piece at 'the foot 
of the bed, with its two china dogs, one barking, 
tlie other lying asleep — ^its two wooden card- 
rackS, one cut into a shepherd and his cur, the 
other a shepherdess and her lamb ; though it 
took aC whole day to decide which was the cur 
and which the lait.b, they were so much alike. 
But my grand object of view was a coloured 
.print over the mantelpiece — Jacob and Bachel 
kissing one another — ^he in red and she in 
green, very staring and unnatural. In my 
worst illness it positively haunted me. They 
seemed to be kissing one another day after 
day and all day long. Sometimes I even saw 
them through the dark, when they grew large 
and shapeless with disjointed limbs, such as 
they in truth had in that execrable print, — 
perfect monsters of humanity ! Once I begged 
Sally, whose bedchamber this had been before 
we young folk came, to " take away that ugly 
picture," but she flushed up and went out of the 
room. Afterwards she told me it had been 



216 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

given her when a girl by some cousin who 
was now dead. So I complained no more, but 
let poor' Sally's Jacob and Rachel kiss one 
another to the end of time. 

After another day or two came the blissful 
moment when I was allowed to sit up in bed 
and feed myself. And who was it that brought 
in this first delicious cup of tea but my little 
Bion 1 

He opened the door-— all smiles — but as 
soon as he saw me ho let the teacup fall with a 
crash, and burst out crying 1 

There was a great confusion. Sally rushed 
upstairs to the rescue, began, " you naughty 
boy I" and stopped. She couldn't scold. She 
picked up the broken cup and saucer in the 
meekest manner possible, just looked at where 
my little brother was sobbing round ray neck, 
and went away again. 

After a minute or two she reappeared with 
another cup of tea, which I still think was a 
wiser course of proceeding than any wrathful 
lecturings. 

" Come, Master Bion, you must let your sis- 



A LONG 1. LNESS. 247 

ter have her tea — she's too weak to bear ery- 
iDg and that sort o' thing. No, Miss BunicCi, 
donVee be frightened, I shan't take hinii 
away !" 

For I had clutched Bion with all my little^ 
strength — ^no power on earth should have made- 
me let him go. 

In a minute or two he was perched beside^ 
me, holding the cup while I drank out of the 
saucer — eyeing me wistfully, even with a slight 
fear, while every now and then a tear came 
bubbling up. 

" What have they been doing to you, sister ? 
Won't you speak? one word?" For I had' 
not, as yet ; I could not. 

" Presently, Bion, dear. It hurts me." 

"Have you been very ill, sister?" — ^I nod- 
ned. — ^** And why did they cut oflF all your hair 
and make you look so — sa " 

" Pgly ?" Yes ; I suppose it naust haven 
been so. I must have appeared a spectre of 
horror to the child's eyes. Perhaps I showed" 
this consciousness, faint as I was, for he clung 
to me once more. 
19 



218 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

" Oh, no — ^no — I don't mean that ! Sister, 
they wouldn't let me come and see you ; and 
they told me you were going to papa and 
mamma — and I couldn't spare you — and I've 
been so miserable I" 

I thought, and think still, that every jot of 
my illness was cheaply purchased by such a 
minute as this. It was a minute that sent its 
blessing and comfort far forward, like an ar- 
row of light, into my whole future life. I felt 
quite sure now that my little brother loved 
me. 

Too weak to speak or shed happy tears, or 
to do anything but faintly smile, I lay back on 
my pillow, entirely content. Bion sat beside 
me on the bed, not allowed to talk, but hold- 
ing my hand tight. The room was perfectly 
still. I remember the evening sun came in 
through the edges of the close-drawn blind, 
danced in a thin stream of light over Jacob 
and Rachel, then down to the floor, and disap- 
peai-ed. We lay, Bion and I — ^for at last he 
put his arm round .my neck and shared the 
corner of my pillow — ^until it was quite dusk. 



-4 



A LONG ILLNESS. 219 

After awhile the child's breathing grew louder, 
and I found he was fast asleep. 

I did not disturb him — it was very pleasant 
to me to lie and think. The chief of my 
thoughts being how glad I was I had not died, 
else I never should have known that Bion 
loved me. 

When Sally came in with the candle, I, too, 
was peacefully asleep. 

Next day there were more candidates for 
admission to my poor little sick-room — but 
Sally was inexorable. The utmost she would 
allow was cousin Reuben's putting his head in 
for a minute with a low *'How d'ye do, 
Eunice ?" Dear, kind old soul I the tears were 
running down his cheeks, and I saw between 
the half-open door a vision of a red pocket-* 
handkerchief. 

Bion and I had a great battle with Sally 
likewise— ^but at last she found the struggle 
did me more harm than the »,hild's company — 
so she let him stay. He moved about the 
room . as quiet as a mouse, watching me, or 
playing with his few toys, or sometimes even 



220 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

gravely conning over his spelling-book. I 
heard him reading to himself, " John is a good 
boy^^ quite fluently now. 

Once I asked, whom he had been saying his 
lessons to while I was ill ? and he answered, 
" Janie." But ^ had no pang at that name 
now. 

Ere long another visitor was admitted. First 
there appeared through the door an immense 
bunch of garden-roses and tall white lilies — 
then a basket of strawberries — then, almost 
hidden by her burdens, Jane AUardyce. 

She, too, when she came and looked at me, 
dropped a tear or two. It seemed very odd 
that my recovery should make people so glad 
that they even cried. 
• " Well, Eunie dear I" ' 

"Well, Janier 

" This illness has been very tard for you I" . 

** Yes— but I don't mind." 

She looked at me earnestly, from which mute 
inquiry I slightly shrunk, afraid lest she might 
ask qu3stions. Nobody had hitherto spoken 
to me about my disaster of that day — they 



A LONO ILLNESS. 221 

eeemed to take il for granted that I had been 
seized with some wilful desire of rambling, and 
had accidentally lost my footing among the 
rocks. I let them think so. I never breathed 
a word about the cornu ammonis. 

But still I dreaded Janie's penetration, and 
was not sorry when, after a minute or two, she 
turned away her eyes, and my secret was left 
safe in my own breast. 

" There's a nosegay, Eunice ! The roses 

came from Mrs. " (the Master's wife), 

" with her kind love ; the lilies I brought from 
Mrs. Archer's garden." 

" Thank you. Is Mrs. Archer well ?" I asked 
mechanically. 

** Not very." 

" Janie 1" — and I' was struck by the peculiar 
tone of her answer, together with a certain 
pale, worn, unnatural look she had. I remem- 
bered my cruel carelessness of her feelings in 
the matter of that history we heard in the 
churchyard the last day we were together — 
" Janie, has Captain Archer come home ?'* 

" No." 

Id* 



222 rHE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

She sat down behind the curtain, but I heard 
one little gasp. 0, poor Janie I How my 
conscience smote me for every hard word — 
hard thought toward her ! 

I supposed they could not have given up all 
hope, for she was not in mourning — but I 
dared not ask. What a horrible time of sus- 
pense for Janie 1 Yet had she come to see me, 
and brought me roses and lilies, and kind mes- 
sages ; nay, after a minute or two she emerged 
from behind the curtain, called Bion to her lap 
— ^I did not grudge him that place now — and 
they two began feeding me with strawberries. 

I couldn't eat — I choked 1 " Come and kiss 
me— and, oh, forgive me, Janie !" 

She said, smiling, **What for?" and then 
wonld not let me reply. If she ever guessed 
the real answer, she certainly never betrayed it. 

After then she came almost every day to see 
me, and brought great comfort and cheerful- 
ness to the sick-room. She did not speak 
again of Captain Harry Archer, and of course 
it was not for me to allude to her troubles. 
But I learnt privaldy from Sally that they 



J 



\ 

\ 



A LONG ILLNESS. 228 

were very sore, since the little vessel that 
traded with Spain had been due many weeks, 
and no tidings of her had reached England. 
It was supposed she had either gone down 
suddenly, or been taken by an Algerine priva- 
teer. And, remembering the story of Captain 
John Archer, — the father, — people began to 
have a melanclioly foreboding that poor young 
Harry would never come home any more. 
Meantime there was nothing to be done but 
patient waiting and trust in God. 

It is good for young people to learn early 
how to bear sorrow. I think it will be a les- 
son to me all my life to have seen the way in 
which Jane AUardyce bore hers. 

Steadily she fulfilled all her duties abroad 
and at home ; the latter must have been hard 
indeed, for she was living with poor Mrs. 
Archer. Except fcom her paleness, nobody 
would have guessed there was anything wrong. 
She always entered my room with a smile ; in- 
vented all sorts of practicable amusements for 
me — alay, I led a dreary life in bed ! — lectured 
me vhei: I was fretful, though in the gayest. 



224 THE LITTLE LYCHBTTS. 

gentlest nanner ; took By on walks and heard 
him his lessons. When I begged her not to 
tire herself, all the answer she ever made was 
a dim smile, which had B, certain pitiful 
meaning. 

" Yes, Eunie — but you know I miist be busy." 

I now think it is that same* " being busy'' 
that has saved many poor afflicted creatures 
from going clean out of their minds. 

But nobody so good as Janie is ever afflicted 
more than they can bear. Her trouble was 
not fated to last long, only long enough to 
make me love her a,nd reverence her from the 
bottom of my soul, and for all the days of my 
life. 

I kept on slowly improving. One day I 
made my first excursion from bed to the floor — . 
a very great event. From the mattress laid 
there I could look up at a bit of blue overhead 
— ^my first peep at the sky for such a long, 
dreary time I It moved me even to tears. I 
never knew before how beautiful the sky was. 
All that day I did nothing but watch that yard 
or two of blue — first with clouds passing and 



A LOKG ILLNESS. 225 

repassing over it, afterwards all sprinkled with 
stars. I wanted no other amusement. 

But the next day, growing stronger, I wea- 
ried terribly for something to do. Bion 
brought his playthings — down to the old pea- 
cock's feathers we used to battle with — ^but I 
had grown so much older during my illness, 
too old for feather-fights. I smiled at Bion, 
but I seemed to have forgotten all childish 
'things. 

In fact, this sickness made such a gulf of 
time out of a few weeks, that all which had 
happened before was apparently erased from 
my memory. Else how am I to account for 
not noticing a fact which then never once 
crossed my thoughts, that by no chance did I 
hear the sound of the piano ? Whether Bion 
was in ray room or down below, made no dif 
ference ; the house was always silent. 

This silence was often rather soothing to me 
than otherwise — had it not been for the pitia- 
ble want of something to do. Read I could 
not — my head was too weak ; and, beside, 
there were no books at Stonyhide. Sally, the 



226 THE LITTLK LYCHKTTS. 

indefatigable Sally, hinted at " a little bit o' 
needle- work" being ^ very amusing^-I thought 
otherwise. At last my sole entertainment 
rested with Bion. We spent hour after hour 
together on my mattress on the floor — some- 
times talking, sometimes turning over my old 
school-books, or anything we could lay our 
hands upon. 

One day the child got hold of my drawing- 
book. " Give it me, Bion I" I exclaimed, with* 
a vague thrill of recollection, rather pleasant 
than otherwise; For if there had been any 
lesson I really liked at Mrs. Dangerfield's it 
was my drawing-lessons. True, the teaching 
was of a mediocre, young-ladyish order, as J 
even then discerned. Miss Chrome gave us as . 
copies miserable bits of landscape, houses that 
were like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, trees 
that might have been of any sort of woodland 
vegetation, or no sort at all. Also, a few 
heads, with marvellously big eyes, marvellously 
tiny mouths, and features generally awry. As 
for the human figure, that pure and beautiful 
form which God made Adam and Eve in Para- 



A. LONG ILLNESS. 227 

dise, Miss Chrome would not have allowed us 
to draw it upon any account whatever,! Mrs. 
Dangerfield thought it " not proper for 3'oung 
ladies !" These recollections I laughed over 
to myself as I turned over the leaves of the 
old drawing-book. Contemptible the sketches 
were — poor copies of poor originals. Yet, 
somehow, they had interested me, and did so 
now. I sat up explaining them to Bion, lin- 
gering on the few that I had really liked : the 
portrait of Chaucer, with lifted hand holding 
a stylus or pen — an etching from some picture, 
I know not what ; the tall closely-draped Ro- 
man matron, whom I had christened Agrippina ; 
lastly, the half-length — copied from Morland, 
somebody said — a village girl in close cap and 
bed-gown, shyly withdrawing from the clasp 
of some male arm and hand, which was ingen- 
iously cut off at the wrist by Miss Chrome, 
so that our sole notion of a lover consisted in 
four fingers and a thumb ! Yet even that was 
BO interesting to us school-girls as to make this 
particular o)py more popular than all the rest. 
All these with a dozen wretched landscapes, 



228 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

I and Bion laughed over together. Then I got 
my case of pencils-^— alas, one only remained ! — 
and began scribbling the backs of the leaves ; 
drawing bits of faces, and here and there a 
nose and mouth — I always delighted in a pretty 
mouth. 

"Bion, let me look at yours?" I turned it • 
up and kissed it — then examined it gi*avely. 
" Bion, an idea strikes me. Sit still and 111 
draw you. It will be so amusing." 

A questionable fact that — at least to the 
sitter ; but he was very patient — ^for five min- 
utes. And I knew his face so well that it was 
not diflScult for me to copy. A sweet childish 
profile it was, with the curls pushed back be- 
hind the little ears — oh, how they " bothered" 
me, those curls ! I had scarcely begun them when 
Bion grew restive and wanted to run and play. 

" Oh, one minute — only one minute, dear boy ! 
It is so nice — ^so very like 1" And, strange to 
say, whether or not the inspiration of love 
guided my ignorant pencil, but there is some 
vague likeness in that unworthy sketch even 
now. 



A LONG ILLNESS. 229 

He jumped up — ^full of childish vanity, to 
look at it — and all the pretty attitude was lost I 

" Yes, sister, it's very like. I think so — 
. only I want a hat and feather, such as my papa 
used to wear. Give ^e the pencil — I'll draw 
it." 

But I snatched the unlucky sketch away, 
thereby saving it from such a fearful catastro- 
phe. At this fortunate crisis in came Janie 
Allardyce. 

She was laden, as usual, with bounties from 
herself and other people. She had a basket 
on her arm, and her .hands were full of flow- 
ers, contrasting pitifully with her white, worn 
look. Janie had lost the roses from her poor 
cheeks now. 

Yet she sat down, and gave me in a cheerful 
manner many messages from the good Master 
and his wife, who promised to come and see 
me as soon as ever I was down-stairs. 

" They are very kind — though nobody is so 
kind as you. Take off your bonnet. I have 
been looking for you all the morning, Janie* 
And besides — ^but 111 tell you presently." 
20 



280 THE LIITLE LYGHETTS. 

**What?— tell me what!" A bitter story 
was betrayed, in her poor eager face at even 
this acci(?.ental phrase of mine. 

"Oh, nothing I Only I have been drawing 
Bion's face, and I want ^o draw yours — ^may I, 
Janie ?" 

"Anything you like, dear. She sat down in 
a passive, listless way — ^her shawl falling down, 
and her hands wrapped together on her knee. 

There could not have been a better attitude, 
only it was so mournful. 

Though most people called her pretty, until 
I was ill I had never found out how very 
pretty Janie AUardyce was. But when I came 
to watch her about the room, her slight figure 
moving so softly and gracefully— or looked at 
her profile and drooping curls as she sat read- 
ing — there gradually dawned upon me the 
sense of her extreme beauty. I saw it with 
my heart now — not only with my eyes. 

As I drew her, my pencil worked* with a 
pleasant will. I became absorbed in the de- 
light of "form," that exquisite harmony of. 
lines which gives me a sense like what Bion 



-1 



A LONG ILLNESS. 331 

used to say of his musical harmonics— it is so 
" comfortable." . 

" Janie, do you know you are very pretty ?" 

" Am I r 

" In fact, downright beautiful. Did nobody 
ever tell you so before ?" 

" Yes." 

" And are you not very proud and pleased ?'' 

" I used to be, because it pleased other people. 
I don't much care now." 

There was a little quiver in the lip — so that 
I could not draw it for a minute or two — that 
was all. Janie sat absorbed in thought. A 
statue could not have been an easier model. 

We sat in this way almost an hour. I was 
too much engrossed to notice time — so was 
she. At last Bion, who had found it dull and 
escaped, came running in. 

" Janie 1 Janie 1 somebody wants you. 
There's a man talking to Sally, and asking 
if you are here." 

*' A man I What sort of a man ?" I cried.; 
for Janie sat motionless — paralysed. 

" He is not a big man — ^looks very shabby, 



232 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

and walks lame. He has on a sailor's hat, 
and under it such black curls !" 

" Ah !" But before I could draw that breath 
— almost a gasp, from excitement — Janie had 
darted from the room. 

There was a confusion below — ^the suspense 
was agonising, for Janie's sake. 

" Oh I And I can't move I Bion, run and 
see. No, better stay with me. Set the door 
open — let me hear " 

I did hear. Sally, half laughing, half-crying 
— a hearty, manly sailor's voice saying some- 
thing about " My own little Janie 1" But from 
Janie herself not one word. 

"He's come safe, Bion. Captain Harry^s 
come home !" , 

And I burst out crying — ^for very joy. 



»Tr,R LENOX ^MO 




XIV. 

|APTAIN Harry Archer had, indeed, 
come home. He had loBt his ship and 
everything he was worth in the world ; 
but that signified little — ^he had come 
safe home. I believe he had to work 
his passage back as a common sailor-— nay, 
had to begin his career again in a scarcely 
higher capacity. But they were content — he 
and Janie. Theirs was no juvenile romance, 
but a quiet, steadfast affection, ready and able 
to bear all the troubles of life together. 

When Janie bade me good-bye that evening, 
I said to her, half-laughing, yet in earnest, 
" Now, I won't allow you to come and see me 
again for a whole week.^' 

She did come, for all that : as kindly and 

20* [233] 



234 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

thoughtful over others in h<jr happiness as she 
had been in her trouble. And one day she 
brought with her — ^bethat day ever memorable, 
for it sealed my after fate — she brought, out 
of the Master's library, chosen by his wife's 
own hand, a present for»me. 

It consisted of threa books — ^three wonderful 
books, — my pet books to this day. 

First, a large thick volume, closely printed, 
containing voluminous depths of reading, 
which promised as much treasure for future 
fishing-up, as the mysterious bottom of the sea. 
It was entitled, " The Plays of William Shaks- 
pere." 

Second, a tiny duodecimo, bound in sweet- 
smelling Russia leather, which gave a sense 
of pleasure to the very opening of the book, 
" The Iliad of Homer." 

Lastly, a long, thin book, which opened wide 
its leaves, like two wings, across my lap — oh, 
what a paradise was revealed to me there. It 
was " Flaxraan's Illustrations of the Iliad of 
Homer." 

" There f* said Janie, half-laughing to see my 



i 



KIND FRIENDS. 235 

perfectly mute ecstasy of satisfaction. " Now 
ni leave you 1o enjoy your feast. Come, Bion, 
and take a walk with Harry and me." 

I "v^ as left alone for two hours — a blissful two 
hours, which coloured all the rest of my life. 
From that day I was.— from the depth of my 
heart, however feebly and unworthily my hand 
worked out its conceptions — ^wholly an artist. 

All the time I lay on that mattress on the 
floor — some weeks altogether, for there was 
no sofa in our one parlour, and, besides, it was 
not quiet enough for an invalid — I did nothing 
but read Shakspere and Homer, and study 
Flaxman. For a change, I would get out my 
wretched old drawing-book and pencil, trying 
to copy for myself the seizure of Briseis, or 
Thetis pleading before Jupiter, or the sea- 
nymphs consoling Achilles for the death of 
Patroclus. But all these copies were miserable 
failures. I coul(3 not bear the sight of them. 

Then I thought I would try to draw " out 
of my own head." Not Homer — I was scarce- 
ly bold enough for that, after Flaxman — but I 
tried my hand at an independent flight of 



' 



236 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

genius. divine Shak^pere !"how thy wander- 
ing ghott would have shuddered could it have 
beheld my pencilled portraits of Ophelia, Des- 
demona, Miranda, Ariel I But 

^' Fools rush in where angels fear to tread ;*' 

and, goodness knows, I was a most arrant 
little fool I Yet I was happy, absorbingly 
happy — so much so, that still, by a strange and 
woefully selfish unconsciousness, I never once^ 
noticed the silent house, the untouched piano. 
I wondered sometimes why Bion roamed aboat 
the house, restless and dull ; and then I would 
' call him to my side and pet him, and try to 
interest him in the things that interested me. 
Yet there was a something wanting — some- 
thing which made him unlike himself ; though 
he never complained. Bion was growing a 
very good boy now. And I doubt — that is, I 
fear — no, I will candidly and gratefully ack- 
nowledge — that the change in his character 
was mainly attributable to the good influences 
of Jan€ Allardyce. 

One day — it was a lovely Aug-jst day, hai^ 



KIND FRIENDS. 237 

vest time, for Bion had brought me a bunch of 
wheat-ears from the only corn-field on the 
farm of Stonyhide — the Master's good wife 
came to see me. It was quite an event, for 
she was greatly kept at home, owing to a large 
houseful of children, and one a- very tiny baby, 
which she brought with her to Stonyhide, and 
which I drew as it lay asleep on her knee. 

The Master's wife always imparted fresh* 
ness, and cheerfulness, and energy, wherever 
ste went. Before she had been in our house 
an hour its aspect seemed quite changed. She 
waged a terrible war against the close bed- 
room and the floor-mattress, insisting on my 
being quite strong enough to be reintroduced' 
to society at large. She even set Sally at 
' defiance — Sally, dear faithful nurse, who would 
not have let me run any risk for the world. 
But even Sally respected the authority of the 
Master's wife. 

" Want of sofas ? Nonsense 1 — as if one 
couldn't find one immediately I Here, Sally, 
get one of the farm-lads to go to the wharf 
with that note. Tell my husband I shall 



238 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

expect him here to tea. Now, Eunice, Janie, 
Bion, let us make ourselves comfortable. 

She sat down rocking her little baby, and 
chattered merrily for a long time — chiefly to 
Miss Allardyce. Their conversation passed 
idly through my brain at the time, but I re- 
membered it afterwards. 

The Master's wife was saying how busy she 
was, and that she did not know how she could 
find time to teach her younger boys. They 
were not advanced enough for a regular 
governess, and, besides, she did not want any 
one who would interfere with the mother's 
instruction, which she had always given them. 
She wished she could find some one — ^some 
young girl— just to teach Eddie his letters, 
hear Will's lessons, and look over Tom's writ- 
ing — all easy duties, and she would give the 
young lady twenty pounds a year, at leaat, and 
always send her too and fro in tlie dog-cart 
with Lias Lee. 

I think — though she said nothing — the kind 
lady had sou^p secret intention with regard to 
Jane Allardvce. But it was fruitless. Jane 



KIND FRIENDS. 239 

said, in her gentle, straightforward, simple 
way, that she would have liked very much to 
undertake the office . herself, but that Mrs. 
Archer would not spare her, she required such 
constant attendance. 

" Besides," she added with a faint blush, " I 
wanted to try some such employment, but 
Harry said, however poor we were, he would 
work himself to death before he would let me 
help in any way. I don't think he is quite 
right— but " 

" Well, never mind " — and the Master's wife 
laughed off her evident disappointment at the 
frustration of her kindly intentions — " I must 
get some one else for my governess." 

"Perhaps" — and with a sudden idea Jane 
turned towards me — "perhaps, Eunie, you 
would like " 

I flushed up in a moment. It was an in- 
voluntary emotion, the last lingering remnant 
of my old pride. I — the daughter of Colonel 
Lychett — to become a daily governess, teach- 
ing the alphabet to little boys ! Impossible ! 

"Don't you see," smiled the lady, "that 



240" THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

Buhice wouldn't like it at all ? Else I might 
really have asked her, she managed Bion so 
well, and is so sensible and clever — almost too 
clever to spend her time altogether over Jittle 
boys. — Well— Janie, do you know my new 
grand piano came home yesterday ?" 

(Most grateful was this turn of the conver- 
sation to me.) 

" Is it a nice piano ?" asked Janie. "And 
what shall you do with your old one ?" 

" Oh, sell it if I can ; it is still worth ten 
pounds- or more, which would buy Missy some 
new music. Otherwise she can have it to prac- 
tise on out of papa's hearing." 

" It was a very good piano*" said Janie, in 
an absent way. My mind was wandering too. 

I began thinking whether I had not acted un- 
graciously in never even saying " thank you" 
to the Master's wife about teaching her litle 
boys. But she did not take this amiss — she 
was far too kind. 

We spent a merry day with her and her lit- 
tle baby. After dinner she compelled me to- 
sleep, ** to strengthen myself for. the evening's 



KIND FRIENDS. 241 

totertainment." Prom this slumber I was 
roused by a mysterious noige in the house, ac- 
companied by a voice that I knew was the 
Master's. I jumped up eagerly. 

Now, I had never seen the good Master 
since the night he carried me in his arms from 
the quarry, when, humanly speaking, I owed 
ray life to his promptitude kttev he had met 
Lias Lee, learnt my absence, and immediately 
planned and headed the search. 

It was no wonder that my heart thrilled 
with gratitude and pleasure at hearing the 
voice of the good Master. If I could only rise 
and go to him ! I might crawl somehow, lame 
as I was, to the parlour-door to thank him. 

"Bah — ^nonsense I" cried his wife, as I began 
to explain this to her. "You are to do no 
such thing. You are to be dressed in a civil- 
ised fashion, and allowed to join the civilised 
world at the tea-table. Come, haste — Janie. 
. help her! ^ Smooth her hair, and — well, I 
think she shall keep on her cap for to-day, if 
•only to please Mr. Reuben." 
J X ought to explain that this invalid cap waa 
21 , 



242 THE LITTLE LYCHETTa 

a chef-d^oeuvre of Sally's workmanship, and 
since I had worn it, Cousin Beuben had often 
regarded me with a melancholy tenderness^ say- 
ing I looked something like my poor mother. 
Alas, that was impossible, seeing she was so 
beautiful I But, since my illness, I had at times 
discerned in my poor face a gentle " good" ex- 
pression, which might have resembled hers. I 
hope so. , 

" Now," cried the kind lady — when all w^ 
arranged, and I was trying to stand upright on 
one feeble limb, the other being quite power- 
less, and thinking how changed I was from the 
once bold) active, energetic Eunice Lychett — 
" now, he may enter, I suppose. Here, William, 
come in and help us to carry this poor child." 

" Hey, Eunice I Why, my poor little girl I" 
He looked at me a minute with compassion ; I 
must, indeed, have been greatly changed. Then 
he took me up in his kind arms, and, heading 
a triumphal procession as it were^ carried me 
fairly out into what his merry wife called " the 
civilised world." 
. Bion clung to my skirts, protesting energeti- 



KIND FRIENDS. 243 

cally, that " if he were a big man, Sister should 
never need to walk again,— he would carry 
her about everywhere." 

The master laughed, and then said,- gravely, 
" that he hoped not : it was a great blessing 
for young people to be strong and healthy." 

I knew from his tone that he was thinking 
of his own weakly boy, whom he was accustom- 
ed to carry about so tenderly. And out of my 
love and sympathy for this good father, I did 
—what was a foolish thing, perhaps, but I 
could not help it — as he laid me down, I kissed 
surreptitiously, his coat-sleeve. Il did him no 
harm, for he never knew it ; and it was a very 
great relief to my feelings. 

But the sofa — ^where did the sofa come from ? 
There was no such luxury before at Stonyhide. 

" Oh, that was nothing ! A good fairy had 
sent it," the worthy pair both protested. I 
was to lie down and ask no questions. Doubt- 
less, as soon as I was well, the good fairy 
would come and carry it away again. 

So we sat down to tea with great mirth— 
with an occasional strong inclination to tears 



244 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

• 

on my part, for I was weak in body ani like* 
wise in mind — and it moved me to see so many 
people I was fond of making such a festival of 
the recovery of poor useless me. I had Bion 
perched on the end of my sofa, with his little 
fondling arms around my neck — Janie making 
tea beside mo— the Master, his wife, and Cousin 
Reuben, sitting opposite, all talking together 
with evident satisfaction. Sally hovered 
about, to watch that they were not all killing 
her patient, of which she seemed exceedingly 
apprehensive. Altogether, it. was one of the 
happiest meals I ever ate in my life — sweet ex- 
ceedingly to my palate, but unutterably sweet 
to my heart. It made me feel abundantly the 
tSohes — ^first, of loving — secondly, of being 

"d. 
He Ion afterwards (seeing, perhaps, that I was 
must, iDvercome, being very feeble still) the 
he tooknd his benevolent wife took their de- 
a triumpLThe parlour was left quiet, with no 
fairly out irt Janie and Bion, except Mr. Reu- 
civilised wo. pathetically watching me, having 

Bion clungnately to his little hymn-books 



KIND FRIENDS. 245 

and his red pocket-handherchief. Worthy old 
soul I there never was a jnore affectionate, 
simple-minded man. 

Janie forbade me to talk, so I lay noticing 
the familiar furniture of the parlour, which I 
had not seen for so long. There was the 
chimneypiece, with its various ornaments of 
Purbeck marble ; the two book-shelves, thinly 
peopled ; the organ in the corner, all the same 
as when Bion and I first saw it. Yet there 
was something not right. I could not at first 
think what, but afterwards remembered clearly. 

The piano — so well beloved of little Bion — 
was gone ! 

It could not have been sent away in readi- 
ness for Janie's house-furnishing, for, alas, her 
marriage was not to be for a long time ! Years 
of patient struggling lay before, the young 
couple before they could hope to win for them- 
selves a home. 

What could have become of Janie's piano ? 

This was the first question I asked, as soon 
as she would allow me to speak. Bion had 
gone out of the room, and was faintly heard 
21* 



2A6 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

from ihe kitchen, half humming, half whistling, 
in a childish way, one of his little times, 

" The piano, Janie? why don't you tell me ?" 

Janie hesitated still longer^— but I would 
know. 

" It happened when you were very ill," she 
Baid. ** Bion was so miserable about you. He 
used to cry and tell me how often he had vex- 
ed Sister, but that if she only lived he never 
would vex her again. He hardly did anything 
all day, but sat at your room door — ^he never 
thought of the piano." 

My throat felt very queer, but I would not 
let Janie think I was crying. " Go on," I said ; 
" tell me all about it." 

"When you were a little better, and we 
were no longer afraid for you every hour, I 
noticed cfne day that Bion was sitting very 
thoughtful. I asked him what he was think- 
ing about. He said, 'About what he should 
do. He was a big boy now, and intended to 
be very good. Especially as they said it would 
be some time before poor Sister got quite well 
— several weeks, or ' " 



KIND . FBIENDS. 247 

" Janie, you need not hesitate," I said ; " I 
am not afeaid. Perhaps months — ^years. Well, 
I'll try to bear them. Now, tell me all my boy 
said." 

" It was little more ^.bont you. Only * that 
he had made up his mind, since Sister did not 
like the piano, that he would qaot tease her 
with it any more. It did not signify, he could 
learn to play when he was a man,' he said. 
* Would I take it away out of the house V So I 
took it."— 

" When 1" 

" Lias fetched it one day when we were out 
walking." 

" Did he fret after it, my poor Bion ?" 

" Not much. He cried a very little when 
he first missed it, but I dare say he is quit^ 
content now." 

I made no answer— my spirit was moved to 
its inmost depth. I should have been broken- 
hearted at the pain I had caused my darling 
child, had it not been for the sweetness of 
knowing he had given up so much for Sister, 
' and must therefore love her so well. For the 



248 THE LIITLE LYCHETTS. 

« 

stern sense of duty, which can perform any sao 
rifices, is not in a child. What h^ had done 
must have been for love, and love only. . Yet 
how hard for him I No wonder he sometimes 
wandered drearily up and down- the house, not 
knowing what to do ; no wonder he made out 
his little tunes in whistling or singing, or any- 
thing he could. His despairing passion for 
music was ineradicable. But it was not too 
late. 

" Has Lias got the piano still ?" asked I, so 
quickly that Janie, doubtless, thought me the 
most heartless sister in the world. She merely 
answered, " No — ^it is -sold ;" and weat to put 
on her bonnet, for Harry Archer was come. 

They left us. I lay on the sofa, which in 
this mysterious way had been lately added to 
the Stonyhide furniture — the dear old sofa, 
which afterwards grew so familiar to me, dur- 
ing many days, weeks, months — when, in dreary 
but salutary loneliness, I learnt some of the best 
lessons of my life. My heart was very full ; 
every time I caught snatches of Bion^j; little 
voice humming down below, it brimmed over 



KIND FRIENDS. 249 

* 

— my darling boy ! But I was not long in 
settling a plan in my mind ; when he really 
appeared, I smothered down all outbursts of 
tenderness, just as if I did not know or care 
how good he had been. Very likely Janie 
thought so. But,* no, she was too good herself 
to think ill of anyv human being 1 

After tea I S8(,id, indiflferently as it were, 
" Bion, I want something to amuse me. Go 
and grind at the organ." 

He looked surprised ; but went. His per- 
formance was brief. Poor little fellow 1 his 
countenance soon became annoyed, and at last 
he ceased grinding. 

." Why do you stop, Bion ?" 

"It teases mc — ^it sounds so ugly — all out 
of tune." (I had never discovered. the fact, of 
course.) " I don't know how to make it bet- 
ter, so I'll give up playing." 

He did so, but very disconsolately. It 
seemed strange the child should be so .unhappy 
after such a trifle— but, then, he was born a 
musical genius. All the stories about the 
young Mozart and little Joseph Haydn rushed 



250 THE LITTLE LYCHHTTS. 

into my mind, confirming me the more in my 
resolution. 

When Sally came to carry me off to bed, I 
persuaded her, instead, to bring me pen, inl^, 
and paper, for I wanted to write a letter to 
the Master's wife. 

" That I will — ^I do like for to see young 
folk grateful," was Sally's answer. 

What I wrote I will tell in the next charier. 



^\t l^tlv |isn0. 





THINK it must have been a very miser- 
able specimen of a letter. I know I 
^^ wrote it with a trembling hand — with 
many heart-burnings and tears, until the 
latter washed away the former in course 
of time. My chief aim, whatever might be 
the composition and result of the letter, was to 
write tJie truth. This truth was simply as 
follows. 

I told how hardly I had treated my little 
brother before I was ill ; how he had given up 
for me his favourite, almost his sole pleasure, 
the piano ; and how I found it impossible to 
restore it to him. 
Then putting together the two points in her 

C261] 



252 THE LITrLE LYCHETTS. 

< 

conversation which I remembered, I entreated 
the Master's wife to sell me her old piano, and 
let me pay for it in the way I could, by accept- 
ing what had before been so repugnant to me, 
— the situation of teacher to her little boys. 
I assured her that my bad feeling shown to- 
day was only the relics of most foolish and 
desperate pride, that I had overcome now ; 
that I should like to be her children's gov- 
erness very much, and would do my utmost to 
deserve her goodness. That for my qualifica- 
tions — Pride, this was thy last dying pang ! 
— she might inquire of my former instructress, 
Mrs. Dangerfield. 

Finally — and I hardly know how I screwed 
my courage to ask this favour, save that any 
favours seemed less painful coming from the . 
Master and his wife, because I loved them — I 
begged that, if they would trust me, Bion 
might have his piano at once, even though it 
would be like paying me my year's salary in 
advance, and I was suck a young girl to be 
depended upon. Yet I felt so old, I thought 
they need not fear. 



THE NEW PIAXO. 253 

How the letter ' ended I forget: doubtless 
abruptly, for towards the last I had a great 
liesitation and terror of its failure ; and what 
should I do with my poor Bion then? j 
closed and sealed it all in a hurry, for Sally 
came in rubbing her eyes, and protesting she 
would not wait another minute. She took the* 
letter in her care, to be sent next day, and the 
matter was so far decided. 

I must have lain awake half the night pon- 
dering over it, and thinking how I should 
manage, supposing, as I had very little doubt, 
my plan was agreed to, and I became governess 
to the Master's children. A wild zebra in 
harness was no extravagant type of what I 
should then be, compared to my old self ; but, 
' latterly, the young zebra had been mournfully 
tamed. 

Also, though an apt girl to learn, I hated 
teaching excessively. Yet, perhaps, that was 
as well, as it gave me something to struggle 
against, and astqut warfare either with my- 
self or anything else was always more grateful 
to my nature than passive endurance. Then 
22 



254 THE LITTLE LTCHETTS. 

my pupils would be little boys, and I liked 
boys — could understand them a great deal 
better than I could girls. Perhaps I might 
turn out not such a bad governess, after all. 

So, some time before dawn, I settled myself 
to sleep with a quiet heart. 

The next day — oh, how long it was ! — Sally 
carried me in and made me comfortable on my 
sofa, with my books all round me.; but even 
" Plaxman " failed me now. The sight of Bion 
was really painful to me. I longed to tell 
him all, and kiss him and thank him, and speak 
of the prospect opening before him — a beauti- 
ful piano of his own, that he might play on 
from, morning till night, and Sister would not 
once be angry ! 

But suppose my scheme should fail ? No, I 
must not tell the child anything. 

So I comforted myself with being especially 
tender to him, making him sit on the head of 
the sofa and sing over all his little tunes. 
Though, on the whole, he did not much care 
for singing ; his rich ear wanted the full har- 
monies of instrumental music to satisfy it. 



THE NEW PIANO. 255 

At tea-time Mr. Reaben came in. He 
seemed pleased to see me. but did not notice 
me much. I had left off the invalid cap to- 
day, and, being restless and weary in my mind, 
I did not look like my dear mother. 

Bion jumped on Mr. Linnington's knee — 
they had become wonderfully good friends 
now — and amused himself with pulling out, 
one after another, the contents of the old man's 
pockets. Among the rest was a sealed letter. 

" Bless my heart ! I was quite forgetting ! 
Yes — ^I believe that's the one." And he slowly 
put on his spectacles to look at the address. 

" Is it for me ? Cousin Reuben, make haste ! 
Bring it to me, Bion. Oh, if I could only get 
across the room I" 

" My dear 1" said Mr. Reuben, in mild aston- 
ishment — ^^ yes, it is for you. * Miss Eunice ' 
— ^no, * Miss Lychett.' What a oareless hand 
she writes ! Yes, the Master's wife gave it to 
me for you, my dear. Take it, Bion, to your 
poor sister. Always wait upon her, like a 
good boy." 

Bion ran, active and kind, but I forgot to 



256 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

thank him. I turned my face to the wall, lest, 
were there bad news, I should in any way be- 
tray myself, and tore the letter open. 
Here it is, I have kept it ever since : — 

" My dear Eunice, — My husband and I both 
think that so good a sister will make the best 
teacher we could desire for our little boys. 

" Your piano shall come home to-day. And 
that all may be clear between us for a year to 
come, I here inclose ten pounds as payment for 
instruction — to commence, if you are able, 
next New Year's Day. 

" I am, ever your aflFectionate friend, 

Oh, joy 1 it was settled now. Bion would 
have his piano. Should I tell him ? No ; he 
had run dowa below to Sally. I was forced 
to turn my face into the sofa-pillow and weep 
out, all by myself, my happy, happy tears. 

Suddenly there was the stopping of a spring- 
csiH in the yard outside, and Sally's voice was 
hoard loid in contradiction of somebody. 



THE NEW PIANO. 267 

Bion crept away upstairs ; he could not bear 
sharp tongues and quarrelling. 

" What is the matter, my dear ?" asked Mr. 
Reuben, meekly, from over his tea. 

Bion did not know. 

" But I know. Wait a minute, and youll 
see, Cousin Reuben. Youll see, my darling, 
darling boy 1" And I hugged the child, almost 
beside myself with joy. 

Sally was heard volubly, — " I'll gp and 
speak to th' Master. It be all a mistake, I tell 
'ee." 

" No, Sally,'' I called out, "it's no mistake. 
Oh I will nobody help me to crawl to the top 
of the stairs ?" 

A merry, jolly laugh, which we recognised, 
now burst forth. Sally grew furious. 

" Get along I" she cried ; " you be all drunk 
together, I reckon 1 Nobody 'd be sending 
planners to we." 

"Pianos!" I shouted from the top of the 
stairs. Alas I I couldn't run down ; I was a- 
poor, helpless thing now. " Let it come in, 
Sally. It's my piano, — that is, my brother's ; 
I bought it my very own self." 



258 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

"That 'un did. I heard the whole story. 
Bless 'ee, Miss Lychett! what a good sister 
you be ! " answered Lias's hearty voice, as he 
and two other men began to coax the precious 
burden up the narrow stairs. 

Bion and I watched them ; he trembling 
with eagerness. I don't know how I looked, 
because I only thought of him. 

" Sister, is that Janie's piano come back ? " 

" No, a great deal better one than Janie's. 
Shall you like it?" 

"Shall I?" His eye flashed unutterable 
delight. Ah I that boy was a born genius. 

The instrument was put safely together. It 
was large for the tiny parlour, but that did 
not signify ; it looked so nice. The men went 
to the kitchen, Mr. Linnington following in 
a state of entire mistiness and astonishment as 
to the whole affair. No one was left but our 
two- selves and Lias Lee, who stood by the 
fire, warming his coat-tails, and beaming all 
over with satisfaction. 

" Sister, may I open it ? " I nodded. Bion 
rushed to the piano, and his slender fingers 
ran like wild-fire over the keys. It was a 



THE NEW PIANO. 259 

pleasant-toned instrument; even I could dis- 
tinguish that Bion was enchanted. " Oh, how 
beautiful I Janie's was nothing to it." And 
he played tune after tune, tears of delight run- 
ning down his cheeks. At last he paused, 
thoughtful. 

" Sister, where did it come from ? Whose 
is it ? How long will it stay here ? " 

" Always. It is my Bion's very own. Sister 
gives it to him, that he may learn to play, and 
play all day over, as much as ever he likes." 

Here I pause. It is impossible to tell how< 
happy Bion was— how happy we both were. 
In truth, I hardly know what either of us did, 
or looked, or said. I only remember the one 
fact — of our intense happiness. 

Until very late that night, Bion sat playing ; 
and I lay listening to him, — as I have listened 
ever since, year by year liking ^it better, 
whether I understand it or not. In so far has 
my appreciative faculty been cultivated, that 
Bion now smiles merrily and incredulously 
when he declares, after his old fashion, ** that 
sister has no taste for music." 




XYI. 

S^tiitn %ms ^fUt. 

T is now seven years since that day, and 

the well-used and well-beloved piano 

^ still stands its ground, and keeps up a 

tolerable reputation for harmony. But 

many changes have taken place, as must 

necessarily happen in seven long years. 

Worthy and dear cousin Reuben has gone 
to that place where he will sing the praise of 
Him he so faithfully and simply worshipped ; 
not in his old cracked voice and from his little 
hymn-books, but in the song of saints and 
angels. I nursed him till he died, — ^when 
dying, he mistook me for my mother, and called 
me lovingly many times "his dear cousin 

• 

Eunice." I must have looked like her then. 
Janie Alfardyce has been the young cap- 

(260) 



SEVEN YEARS AFTER. 261 

tain's wife three years. She lives at Swanage 
with old Mrs. Archer, except when she goes 
with her husband on his voyages — the happiest 
thing for a sailor's wife. She is no better a 
matron than she was a girl-; in fact, she 
couldn't be, for she never had a fault that I 
could find. 

The Master and his excellent wife both live 
and prosper. So does worthy Lias Lee ; 
though he still remains a counting-house clerk, 
and his sole attempt at literary fame is the 
publication of an eccentric little poem now 
and then in the country paper. Perhaps he is 
happier than if he were a greater man. 

Bion and I have lived at Stonyhide until 
now, when the death of our cousin leaves us 
free to wander, — ^in fact, makes removal neces- 
sary. Mr. Reuben constituted us his sole heirs, 
and we are richer than we ever thought to be 
in the eighty pounds per annum that we share 
between us. Therefore I have concocted a 
plan — the last of my many schemings — which, 
having won the master's approbation, is shortly 
to take effect. 



262 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

My brother and I are going to study for 
three years in Germany. 

It may seem very ridiculous and altogether 
impossible, — ^indeed, I can hardly believe it 
myself, — ^but, last year, a stranger, an artist, 
staying at the master's house, saw my poor 
drawings, and said that I had absolute " genius;" 
that, if I studied properly abroad, at Munich 
especially, I might soon earn a living and in 
time become a real artist ! I thought it all 
carefully over, and then made up my mind, 
that, genius or no genius, I would try. 

Another reason greatly biased me, — that 
Bion has, I find, likewise made up his mind to 
be a great musician and composer. I think 
him one already ; but, of course, he must 
study, and Germany is the best place for musi- 
cal instruction. So we shall try our fortunes 
together. We are not afraid, having so great 
love for one another ; and I being so much the 
elder and rather a wise woman in my way. 
" Besides," as Sally says — (poor old Sally, who 
will not go with us, but would rather live and 
die near the old place, on the little income her 



SEVEN YEARS AFTER. 263 

master left her) — ^** you know, Miss, — and it's a 
blessing of Heaven, considering all things, — 
that you're not too goodrlooking." 

Certainly not, honest Sally. But I smile, 
and do not mind. 

• However, Sally cannot pay this questionable 
compliment to my brother Bion. As I stood 
clearing out parlour-shelves and packing up 
boxes, I watched that boy, sitting at his piano, 
which he is loth to part with, even for three 
years, and vows it never shall be sold as long 
as the wood holds together. He is, I think, 
the very perfection of boyhood. His fair curls, 
all clipped short now, cluster rouad his head ; 
he is rather thin, having grown a little too fast 
for a lad of fifteen ; he is not so delicate as to 
awaken any fears. As to his face, the Master's 
wife will have it he is just like a head of 
the young Beethoven. I only know it is my 
boy's face — the most beautiful to me in the 
world. 

But I can't waste time in looking at him, so 

must go on with my labours Tutsi 

what is this dusty brown-paper parcel coming 



264 THE LITTLE LYCHETTS. 

tumbling down from the topmost shelf? Bion 
starts, and stops in his playing. 

" What's that? Sister, have you hurt 3'^our- 
self?" 

He comes to look, and watches me unwrap 
the little pfiircel. Out of it'slips a book, 

"Well, I declare! After all these years I 
See, Bion, it's our old ' Grimm's Tales.' Do 
you remember ? " 

He does not the first moment, being such a 
child then ; but gradually all comes back into 
his mind. He handles the book very tenderly, 
and with a thoughtful face. 

"I remember all about it now, Eunice." 
And then he comes over and kisses me. I kiss 
him, too, laughing, but am so weak-minded as 
to let fall a tear or two amidst the laughter. 

" What shall we do with it, Bion ? You are 
are a great boy, now — too big to care for 
' Grimm's Tales ? ' " 

" Don't I, though ? I'll keep it as long as 
ever I live." And he walks oflF with it under 
his arm — my dear, good boy I 

We had a great laugh that evening over the 



SEVEN YEARS AFTER. 265 

queer pictures. In fact, Grimm is henceforth 
constituted one of our household gods. 

I do think, when to-morrow the Master's 
little steamer bears us and our worldly goods 
on the way to another country, and we take 
our last look, foi* a time, of the Dorset coast, 
I shall f Ittck up courage and tell Bion the 
whole true history of Sister and 



^lii €bxm ^mmam. 



MAEY GREY 




(HE room is dark, except for the round 
patches of light which the shade of 
the dim rushlight makes upon the 
walls and ceiling : you must tread 
quite softly for fear of disturbing the 
sick woman who lies on the bed there. 

A little girl, about fourteen, is sitting, her 
head in her hands, over the smouldering fire. 
She is very sad, for she knows that her mother 
is dying, and that nothing can save her. 

Outside it is bitter cold, and the snow is 
falling in broad, silent flakes. 
" Mary dear I " said a feeble voice. 
" Mother, I'm here I " 

" Come here, dear child, — close to me, and 
take my hand in yours, dear ' 

(267) 



268 MARY GREY. 

Mary knelt by the bedside, and took the 
poor, thin hand. 

" Mary, I wish to speak to you whilst I have 
strength. I don't think I shall be here long 
— ^I feel to be going very fast." * 

The child held back her sobs, though she 
could not help the hot tears running over her 
cheeks. 

"When Fm gone, Mary, you must try to 
take my place, and be a mother to the little 
ones. I know youVe young, dear, but I know 
you're good and brave, and will try to do your 
best." 

Mary could not speak, but she kissed her 
mother's hand every now and then, to show 
that she was attending to her. 

" There's Sally, you'll mind her, and try to 
teach her all I've taught you. She's sharp 
sometimes, you know, but you'll not be sharp 
in turn, that never comes to any good — ^a soft 
answer, Mary dear, turneth awaj^ wrath. . . . 
Look well to the boys, to keep them out of 
bad 'frays, and teach them their duty when 
they're young, so it will co^e natural to them 



MARY GBET. 289 

aa they get older. You'll see to little Moggy, 
and make hei mind you whilst she's little. . . 
There are many things I should like to tell 
you, dear, how to take care of the house, and 
make your father comfortable, but I haven't 
time — only to say this. Never waste anything 
— ^your time particularly, every minute is worth 
something ; and remember that you'll never be 
too poor to prevent your helping some one else 
in something ; and, above all, remember, Mary 
dear, that whatever comes, it's God's will it 
should be so, and never murmur. You must 
do all you can for yourself, and leave the rest 
to Him — ^He is caring for you, be sure. Have 
you understood all I have been saying ? " 

The child tried to make her voice steady, as 
she answered, " Quite, mother dear, and I'll 
try never to forget it." 

" I think if you were to lie down by me, dear 
child, and I knew you were asleep, I could 
sleep a little too." 

Mary obeyed, and her eyes soon closed, for 
she was weary with sorrow and ii^atching ; but 
the mother lay awak,e praying to Glod to bless 
23* 



-^ I 



270 MARY GREY. 

and keep the poor children she was going to 
leave. 

A few days after this Mrs. Grey died. Her 
husband grieved sadly for her ; she had been 
a faithful wife and kind companion, and he 
knew that no one could ever be to him what 
she had been ; but he bore his loss as a 
Christian should do, knowing that it was God's 
will, and feeling that she was " not lost, but 
gone before." 

The children missed their dear mother 
terribly, but they were not so desolate as 
many thought, for she had always brought 
them up to do their duty towards God and 
towards their neighbour, so now, though she 
was gone, they remembered her words and her 
example, and tried to do what would have 
pleased her had she been alive. The spirit of 
their mother still watched over them. 

Grey was a labouring man, but as he had 
always been strong, and hearty, and in constant 
work, .earning twelve shillings a-week, his 
family had never known what it was to want, 
though certainly, amongst so many hungry 



MABY GREY. 271 

mouths, there seldom was more than just 
enough. 

Mary was, as Mrs. Grey said, a good and 
brave girl ; she remembered what her mother 
had said to her on her death-bed, and when all 
the cares of managing the family came upon 
her shoulders, she did her utmost that her 
mother's loss should be felt as lightly as possible. 
If she was ignorant at first, she soon learnt 
better, as all may who try. She recollected all 
her mother's little economical ways ; how she 
used to have a regular day when all the clothes 
were to be looked at and mended, for she 
always said that there was nothing for saving 
things like keeping them in repair ; how Satur- 
day was to be a day of thorough cleaning, be- 
cause, if once you let dirt get a-head of you 
there's twice the work to do ; she remembered 
how her mother every week laid by from her 
father's wages the schooling for the children, 
the club-money, and any little matter that 
might be owing to the shop, for Mr^. Grey 
always said, " A little bill was easier to pay 
than a large one, and that she'd no comfort in 



272 MARY GREY. 

having the things, unless she'd money to buy 
them with." 

Mary used to think of all these things as she 
was busy working, and tried to do everything 
as she thought her mother would have done it. 

People often said, that there were no children 
at school who came so punctually, or so tidily 
dressed, as the little Greys. 

Mary always took care to be up very early 
herself to give the children their breakfast, and 
see they were off in time ; she looked well to 
their clothes over-night to see they were not 
torn, when the children themselves were fast 
asleep. No wonder the little Greys were tidy 
and punctual. The children loved their sister 
vej-y much, for they saw how careful she was 
of them, and she managed to persuade them 
to help her in a great many little things on 
Saturday when they had their holiday ; in 
winter, the three eldest, Sally and the boys, 
would go and gather wood for her, for she used 
to laugh and tell them she would not cook 
their dinner unless they brought her wood. 
She was so good-humoured that they always did 



MARY GREY. 278 

what she told them willingly, and were yerj 
happy to' think they were helping in something. 
Even little Moggy used to be set to work, to 
something that she fancied was very useful. 
Mary used to say, that the sure way to be in 
mischief was to be idle. 

The neighbours said that' she was too young 
to be able to manage a family ; but her father 
always answered, that he knew Mary, and that 
he would rather trust her with the house and 
children than many an older person. 

You may be sure that, with so much to look 
after, she had not time to be idle herself ; in- 
deed, she was always at work, but always 
happy and smiling. But though so busy, she 
managed somehow to find time to lend a help- 
ing hand to any of her neighbours who might 
want her assistance. 

She was always ready to " mind the children" 
if their mother was obliged to leave them ; if 
iEtny one had a heavy wash to do, they might 
be sure of Mary to help them, even though she 
could only came for an hour, and more than 
one tired wife got a little sleep whilst Mary 
watched by the sickTiusband. 



274 MARY GREY. 

Everybody liked her, and was willing to do 
a good turn for one who never thought of her- 
self so long as she could be of any use. 

It was on a Saturday at the end of June, 
more than a year after Mrs. Grey's death, that 
as Mary was busy scrubbing her brick floor 
Jane Nixon dropped in to " have a chat." 

Mary would rather Jane had come any 
other day ; but as she was too good-natured 
to let her see that she wished her away, she. 
begged her to sit down whilst she went on 
with her work. 

Jane Nixon was a slattern and a dawdle, 
who imagined she had not strong health, be- 
cause she preferred being idle to employing 
herself. She watched Mary at her work for 
some time, and said at last, — 

" Dear me I don't that tire you dreadfully ?" 

" It does certainly tire my back a little, but 
then I'm used to it." 

" Well," said Jane, " I never found anything 
a bit less disagreeable for being used to it ; 
besides, what can be the good of so much* 
cleaning ? it'll all be dirty again as soon as 
the children come in." 



MARY GREY. 275 

" I don't think so, at least not so dirty as it 
was before ; the children will take care to 
wipe their shoes when they see I've been 
cleaning up. I do so like to have everything 
fresh and tidy for Sunday ; and then IVe 
hardly anything to do, and can go to church 
twice if I like." 

" Well, I don't call it having nothing to do 
to go toiling twice a-day two whole miles to 
church. I thought Sunday was a day of rest ;" 
and Jane yawned and stretched herself. 

" Oh, and so it is I I think that only those 
whoVe worked hard all the week can tell 
what a real rest Sunday is. We've time then 
to think of vhat makes us better all the week, 
and on Sunday I can have father and the chil- 
dren all day long ; and after church we go for 
some nice walk, and father tells us all about 
dear mother. Oh, there's no day like Sunday !" 

Jane did not take much interest in how Mary 
passed her Sunday,, so the subject dropped. 

" Mary," said her visitor, after a long silence. 
" what's that ?" 

"What? that on the table there? Ob, 



276 MARY GREY. 

that's a lot of list the lady^s-niaia at Fir Grove 
gave me ; she came into the kitchen when I 
was there, and said she'd been making the 
young ladies some new flannel petticoats, and 
that I might have all this. . You may be sore 
I was obliged to her, for it will make Moggy 
a capital tippet against the winter. I can buy 
gome coarse lining for a few pence, and then 
sew this on in strips ; she'll be quite set up 1" 

" It'll take a lot of work and time, and look 
very bad when it's done," said Jane contempt- 
uously ; " but, Mary, what were you doing at 
Fir Grove?" '" 

" Oh, I carried old Dame Richardson's can 
up for some broth they allow her ; her boy 's 
gone somewhere, and she asked me to do it for 
her, as she felt very cripply I but you see I 
hadn't my journey for nothing, for I got poor 
little Moggy a tippet." 

" How I shoyld like to be a lady's-maid I' 
g-ighed Jane. " Shouldn't you ?" 

" Oil, I'm afraid, Jane, to be a lady's-maid 
we must know a great deal more about many 
things than we do now I" 



^ MARY GKEY. 277 

I dok't know what Jane would have ans- 
wered, but the room became suddenly dark. 
The girls saw standing in the doorway an old 
man ; his hat was much battered, and his coat 
torn in more than one place ; all his dotjies 
looked soiled and dusty. 

" May I come in and rest for a few minutes ?" 
he said. " IVe sprained my foot very badly, 
and should be glad to sit down for awhile, il 
I could." 

" Oh, yes, and welcome too," said Mary, 
with her pleasant smile. " Sit in this comfort- 
able chair, sir." 

" Thank you, my dear," said the old man, as 
he sat down ; " and now do you think you 
oould give me a glass of water ?" 

As Mary was taking down a clean mug, 
Jane caught hold of her and whispered quite 
loud, " How can you let that dirty old fellow 
come in ? he's some tramp — ^hell rob the house, 
I'm sure 1" 

The old man ihust have heard what Jane 
said, though he took no notice ; but she did 
not care whether he did or not. Mary did 
24 



278 ' MARY GREY. r 

not answer, but fetched fresh cold water from 
the pump, saying, as she handed • it to her 
guest, " I'm sorry, sir, I cannot offer you any 
bread, but we haven't more than just enough, 
and when the children come in they're always 
so very hungry." 

" Oh, my dear, don't think of that," said the 
old man ; " I'm not in the least hungry, only I 
felt a little faint from the pain of my ankle." 

Jane, who was disposed to find fault with 
everything, now thought Mary very mean, for 
not giving the old man some bread, when she 
knew she had some in the cupboard. 

" I am sorry for your ankle, sir," said Mary ; 
" would you let me bathe it with warm water, 
I'm sure it would do it good, and bind it up 
with something." 

The old man was very much obliged, so 
Mary bathed his foot for some time as tenderly 
as she could. 

" Now here's a handkerchief to bind it up," 
said he, and he drew one from round his neck* 

Jane's sharp eyes noticed directly that it 
was a very nice silk one, and then she thought 



MABY GREY. . 279 

he could not be a tramp, particularly now that 
she looked again, and saw that £ill his clothes 
were very good, though his hat was battered, 
and his coat rather torn — it must have hap- 
pened somehow in an accident I 

" You^re a good girl, and a kind one," said 
the old man to Marv, when she had finished 
her job. " What's your name, my dear ?" 

" Mary Grey, sir. 

" And have you any brothers and sisters ?" 

" Oh, yes I First of all there's Sally, then 
come the two boys, and then little Moggy, 
dear little Moggy — ^you'd like her, sir, if you 
knew her I" 

" I'm sure I should like them all, if they're 
like you, Mary. You won't mind my resting 
a little while longer here, shall you ?" 

" Oh, as long as you please, though I must 
finish my work now, as my father will be com- 
ing home, and he likes to see the place tidy 
and comfortable." ' 

" Don't let me interrupt you — ^I should like 
to pee you work." 

So Mary went on scrubbing and dusting 



280 MART GREY. 

and polishing, whilst the old man sat resting 
himself. Jane did not say much, she was 
wondering who he could be. 

Presently a stout woman, with a red, anx- 
ious face, came into the cottage, leading two 
chubby little children. 

" Oh, Mary Grey, it's a shame to put upon 
you when youVe so busy, and on a Saturday 
too, but my husband is just taken with fits, 
and as I can't attend to him and them too, I 
thought I'd just run over and ask you to mind 
the children for awhile." 

" To be sure, Mrs. Wiggins," answered Mary, 
pleasantly ; " I'll take good care of them. 
Poor dears, they're shy at first, I dare say." 

" Oh, thank you, Mary I I really am obliged 
now I I'll* send Anne over with their suppers, 
as I know you've mouths enough of your own 
to feed, and come for them in the evening ;" 
and Mrs. Wiggins hurried back to her hus- 
band. 

Mary stopped in her work till she had found 
Bome old bits of toys for the children to play 
with, and spoken kindly to them to make them 



MARY GREY. 281 

feel at home, and then went oj as basily as 
ever. 

Jane Nixon felt rather affronted that Mrs. 
Wiggins had not trusted the children to her, 
as she saw she Vas there doing nothing, ** But 
people were so ill-natured, they never thought 
she was able to do anything." 

When the old man was quite rested he got 
up, and said he felt so much better that he 
could now walk home. 

" And now, Mary, as you've told me youi* 
name, I'll tell you mine — I'm Smith, Mr. Joseph 
Smith, of the nursery-garden, about three miles 
down the road. Do you know the place ?" 

Mary knew it quite well, she had often 
peeped through the gate in passing by, and 
thought how beautiful it must be inside. 

" Yes, sir — close to Burchat's." 

" Exactly so ; and to show you I'm not un- 
mindful of your kindness and good-nature to 
me, I'll invite you, and all your brothers and 
sisters, to come into my garden any day you 
can — Monday, if you like — to eat strawber- 



ties. 



24* 



282 MART GREY. 

" Oh, sir, how kind ! that will be delightful ; 
I have so often longed to go in." And Mary's 
eyes quite glistened with pleasure for thinking 
how the little' ones would enjoy it. . 

" Well, then, come on Monday," said the 
gardener, as he shook hands with her ; " that's 
arranged, all of you^-for the matter of that, 
you may bring as many as you like, for the 
strawberries won't keep this hot weather till 
next market-day, and it is much better some 
one should enjoy them than that they should 
all spoil. I except, however, that girl there," 
pointing to Jane ; " but I dare say she wouldn't 
wish to have anything to do with a dirty did 
fdlow like me. I am not a tramp, though I 
certainly do look rather shabby- now, with my 
battered hat and torn coat, but falling head- 
foremost over a heap of stones doesn't at all 
improve the look of one's clothes. Good-bye, 
Mary, I shall expect you to-morrow ;" and the 
old man left the cottage. 

Jane was very vexed with herself and with • 
the gardener, but ehe tried to appear as if she 
did not care. 



MARY GREY. 283 

■ • ■ 

" It was lucky for you, Mary, you called 
Aim ' sir,' " said she ; " what made you do 
that ?" 

" Oh, because he was old !" 

" Well, I don't see that it's any merit of his 
to be old I he can't help it." 

Mary thought for a moment, and then ans- 
wered, " Old people know so much more than 
we do, Jane, that we ought to be more respect- 
ful ; and, then, we're sorry for them when they 
can't do so much for themselves ; and, then, as 
they can't enjoy themselves as we do, it's right 
they should have something to make it up to 
them." 

Jane Nixon said she hadn't time to stop and 
hear Mary preach, so she wished her " good- 
day," and walked out. 

Mary thought a great deal about the straw- 
berry-feast, and arranged whom she should 
ask to go with her besides her own little ones 
—not too many, as that would be trespassing 
on Mr. Smith's good-nature. The little Wig- 
gins's should go, that would keep them out of 
their mother's way ; then she would ask Sally 



284 MABY GREY. 

White, because she had such a hard time of it, 
living alone with her cross old grandmother ; 
and Dick Benson, he had been so good-natured 
in helping her to get back her pig when it ran 
away. Oh, it was glorious I 

When Grey came in from his work, his 
daughter told him all about Mr. Smith and 
the strawberries, and he was almost as pleased 
as she was — the children could hardly sleep 
for thinking of it. Mary, however, did not 
forget, before she went to bed, to put aside 
from her father's wages, which he always 
trusted to her, sevenpence for the children's 
schooling — little Mt)ggy did not learn to write 
yet — the club-money, and something which was 
saved every week for the rent. Grey was not 
far wrong when he said that his little Mary 
was the cleverest housekeeper in all the parish. 
The day was lovely, and in the evening Mary 
collected her little troop of children, and they 
walked to Mr. Smith's nursery-garden. He 
met them at the gate very kindly, and told 
Mary, that, thanks to her care, he was able to 
walk about quite bravely to-day. 



MARY GREY. 285 

The strawberries were not less delicious 
than the children expected, and when they liad 
eaten as many as Mr. Smith thought was good 
for them, he took them all round the garden, 
telling them the names of many pretty flowers. 

Mary thanked Mr. Smith very much for his 
kindness when they took their leave, and the 
others, though they were too shy to speak, 
looked pleased and grateful. 



The summer and autumn passed away very 
quickly and happily, but in the winter a heavy 
trouble fell upon the Greys. The father, who 
had hardly ever had a day's illness before, was 
laid up with a severe attack of rheumatism, 
which threw him quite out of work, for if ever 
he tried to do a little job, he was sure to be 
much worse the next day. Grey had always 
belonged to a club, and now, in the hour of 
need, he felt the comfort of his providence — 
he was able to draw five shillings a-week 
whilst illness prevented his working ; but 



286 MARY GREY. 

poor Mary found it a hard matter to inandge 
on five shillings a-week when she had always 
been used to have twelve. When her father 
was first taken ill, she hoped and expected 
that a little rest and care would set him right, 
but as week after week went on and Grey 
could still do nothing, she began to grow very 
serious. They had none of them ever known 
want before, but now too often they had to go 
supperless to bed because there was nothing to 
eat. Mary could bear it bravely for herself, 

• 

but it went to her heart when poor little Moggy 
cried for the bread she could not give her. 
Sally and the boys were very good, for 
though they were so hungry sometimes they 
did not know what to do with themselves, 
they did their best to look cheerful, and not 
add to the troubles, but all their poor faces 
were beginning to look white and thin for 
want of proper food. Mary noticed, too, how 
often her father said he* had no appetite and 
could not eat, and she was sure he did k tbat 
he might leave more for them. It was very 
hard to be obliged to take the children from 



MARY GREY. 287 

school, where they were getting on so well, but 
it could not be helped, the money could not be 
spared. Their father heard them read every 
day, and taught them a little, but it added very 
much to Mary's troubles having to look to the 
children all day. Sally certainly helped her a 
great deal, and was a very good girl ; and 
Ned, the eldest boy, often managed to earn a 
shilling by doing odd jobs for a neighbouring 
farmer — that was always something ; but still 
they fared but badly on six shillings. 

Still Mary worked as diligently as ever, 
though she could not sing over her work as 
she used to do ; but for all that she would be 
cheerful, because she put her trust in God that 
He would help them in His own good time. 

Winter came and went, but still Grey got 
no better — the rheumatism seemed to have 
settled in his limbs, and made them quite stiff 
and powerless. He comforted the children as 
well as he could, telling them to keep up their 
hearts, for that when warm weather came in 
spring he should, please God, get round again. 

Mary hoped this would be the case, but her 



288 MABY GRET. 

spirits sometimes failed her, as she watched 
the nice furniture that she had known all her 
life disappear bit by bit — ^her father's Sunday 
coat, her own warm shawl, which had been her 
mother's, all gradually went to buy them bread. 
Day by day Mary turned it over in her head 
what she could do to earn soqaething. At 
last she remembered how she had seen boys 
weeding, raking, and tieing up flowers in Mr. 
Smith's garden, and she thought if he could 
giye her some employment in this way, she 
might gain a few shillings, and yet by coming 
eyery evening, take care of the house, and see 
that everything went on right. Her fathex* ap- 
proved of her plan, though he was very sorry 
to see her reduced to labour instead of him. 
, She went the next day to Mr. Smith, and 
found him busy in his garden. She made her 
request to him without fear, for she knew him 
to be a kind, benevolent man ; besides, he had 
never forgolten her care of his sprained foot, 
and woul^l often speak of it to her, and tell 
her she might walk in hia garden' whenever 
she liked^ 



MARY GREY. 209 

Mr. Smith looked rather surprised when he 
heard that Mary Grey wanted out-door work, 
and told her he did not think it would suit, 
her : but she begged so hard that she might try, 
that he said he would think about it, and she 
might come the next morning and hear what 
he had decid/sd. 

The following day, when Mary appeared at 
the gate, she met Mr, Smith . 

" Well, my dear,'' said he, taking her hand 
in a kind way, " I think IVe just got something 
to suit you ; youVe too young and delicate for 
out-door work, but IVe found something. My 
daughter, who lives with me, wants a little 
maid just like you to take care of her children;, 
and she says shell have you. Of course yoa 
won't expect any wages at first, but you'll get 
your keep, and most likely a bit or two ofi 
clothes." 

To his surprise Mary burst into tears. " Ohv 
sir, pray forgive me — ^you're so very good, but 
indeed I can't." • 

The old man, though very kind, was a little 
sharp, and he did not like being but out of his 
way. 25 



290 MARY GREY. 

*' Heyday, Mary child ! why, what's all this? 
f— you're too good for the place, I sappose ? " 

" Oh, no, sir, not that ! — ^I never thought of 
that for a moment, but you see, sir, if I was to 
be your maid, I should be well fed and clothed 
myself, but what would they do without me at 
home ? But if I could earn ever such a little 
trifle myself, I could share it with father and 
the children/' 

" Well, Mary, you're a good child, I must 
say ; you must not mind my having been a 
little hasty, my dear — you shall have your own 
way, and you may come and set to work as 
hard as you will with the boys ; they'll show 
you .what to do, and I'll give you three shillings 
a-week — so that's a bargain, and we'll shake 
hands upon it. You nlay begin to-morrow if 
you like." 

Mary had succeeded better than she ever ex- 
pected, and after thanking Mr. Smith over and 
over again, she ran home to tell her father. 

Mary was a good deal tired with her work 
at first, but she soon got used to it ; indeed, 
she was so active and diligent, that Mr. Smith 



MARY GBSY. 291 

said she did more work than two boys put 
together, and was well worth her three shillings. 

Happy Mary ! when she took home her first 
week's earnings, and felt that she could with a 
good conscience give the little ones a hearty 
supper, and send little Moggy quiet to bed 1 

. Three shillings does not seem much, but it 
made all the diflference to the Greys, I can 
assure you. 

Mary had been working two months now 
for Mr. Smith. 

One day, as she was very busy trimming 
some rose-bushes, she noticed a lady, who walk- 
ed all over the garden with Mr. Smith, and 
who seemed to take great interest in the 
flowers. Once, as they passed near, Mary 
thought she caught the sound of her own 
name ; but it must have been fancy, " what could 
they be talking about me f»r? '' thought she. 

Now though Mary cannot hear what Mrs. 
Taylor and Mr. Smith are saying, we can, and 
here it is ! — 

" Very well, Mr. Smith, you can send those 
dahlias and hollyhocks to Fir Grove to-morrow, 



292 MARY GBEY. 

without fail : and, whilst you are putting up 
the other things for me to take in the carriage, 
I will step into your house, and rest. I want 
to ask your daughter if she knows of any girl 
who would suit me as a nursery-maid, mine has 
gone* ofiF in a great hurry, and I^m left with 
only the nurse. You don't know of any such 
person, Mr. Smith ? " 

" No, indeed, ma'am, I don't," answered the 
gardener ; but just that instant his eyes fell on 
Mary, and a thought struck him, " Yet, now I 
think of it, I do know a girl, who'd be a credit 
in any family ; that's her, ma'am, — Mary Grey 
— trimming the roses, there." 

" Why you would not have me take a dirty 
girl like that for my nursery-maid, Mr. Smith ! 
she never can have been used to in-doors 
work." 

But when the gardener explained who Mary 
was, and told all her little story, Mrs. Taylor 
became quite interested, and said she would 
speak to her in the house, if Mr. Smith would 
send her in. 

When Mary appeared, in a clean white 



MART GRET. 298 

apron, which Mr. Smith's daughter had lent 
her, her hands washed, and her hair combed, 
she looked so nice, with her pleasant smile and 
modest way, that Mrs. Taylor was quite taken 
with her. 

After asking a few questions, and telling 
her the recommendation she had had from Mr. 
Smith, Mrs. Taylor said that if Mary was 
willing she would take her as her nursery-maid, 
and give her eight pounds a-year. 

Eight pounds a-year! Mary hardly knew 
what to say to Mrs. Taylor, she was so amazed 
and delighted. 

"Well, Mary," said Mrs. Taylor, smiling, 
" I see you intend to accept my situation, 
though you don't say so. Probably you will 
want some tidy gowns, or something to set you 
up ; so I shall leave some money with Mr. 
Smith's daughter, and she will see that you have 
sverything right. I shall expect you as soon 
as your things are ready, — the sooner the better* 
Good-bye, Mary." 

A happy girl was Mary when she told the 
news of her good fortune that evening at the 
25* 



294 MARY GREY. 

cottage ; she made a most difficult calculation 
of how much she should have a-week — her 
wages being eight pounds a-year, and found 
ther.e would bo more than three shillings, with 
one mouth less to feed. Sally, who was now 
as old as she was when their mother died, would 
be able to manage as well as sh^ had done, so 
that she did not mind leaving home at all. 

The father was equally delighted, the only 
diflference between them was, that Mary kept 
on wondering what she had done to deserve so 
much good luck, whilst Grey thought that any 
good fortune that came to Mary was no more 
than she deserved. They both agreed, how- 
ever, in thanking God, who had cared for them 
in the time of trouble. 

In a few days Mary was ready to go to her 
place. She soon learnt her work as nursery- 
maid, the nurse often told her mistress that 
she had never known a better or more active 
girl, and the children grew very fond of her. 

Mrs. Taylor gave her her wages weekly 
whilst her father was ill, that she might help 
her family ; and often, too, she got a holidayi 



MARY GREY. 295 

when she would run down to the cottage, and 
help Sally to wash or mend. When the warm 
weather came in. Grey recovered his strength, 
and was able to go to work again as usual, but 
he often remembered the time of his illness, 
and blessed God who had given him a child 
like Mary. 

. • • • • 

It is now several years since what I have 
been writing about took place. Mary still 
keeps her place with Mrs. Taylor, she is a 
favourite, both with her mistress, who likes 
the thorough way in which she does her duty, 
and her fellow-servants, for whom she finds 
time to do many little services, — indeed, they 
say in the house, that Mary gets through her 
work quicker and better than any of the 
others, so she is always able to lend a helping 
hand, if she is wanted. 

The greatest pleasure is to get leave to 
spend Sunday with her father at the cottage ; 
she likes so much to go to the old church, and 
screw herself into the old corner, where she 
always sat when she was a child. 



GRATEFUL DICK. 




T was a wild, stormy night ; the wind 
swept across the moor, and whistled 
among the fern and heather ; a star 
would peep 'out now and then between 
breaks in the clouds, as they scudded 
across the wintry sky ; but there was no 
moon ; *and though it was but seven o'clock 
it was quite dark, for the sun set three hours 
since ; it was icy cold, too, and snow began to 
fall. On such a night people draw near, the 
fire in their warm rooms, and say, " How 
pleasant it is to hear the wind outside, and to 
feel so snug and comfortable within 1 " 

But when people say so, do they sometimes 
think of those who are out in the storm, — of 
ships tossing on the. wide sea, — of the house 

(296) 



GRATEFUL DICK. 297 

less who have no place to shelter their heads, 
and the poor who have to toil and must brave 
the cold and the wind ? It is good for the 
heart to let the fancy wander off to these some- 
times, and not to rest satisfied always by our 
own fireside. 

On that wild December night, a woman was 
making her way across the dreary moor. She 
had been at work in the fields all day, and was 
going home ; but in Northumberland, where 
she lived, the farms are large and the cottages 
'thinly scattered, and she had to walk three 
miles, morning and night, to and from her v 
work. The last house she had passed was two 
miles behind her, and she had thought, as she 
passed, how cheerful the lights looked in its 
windows : but now she walked faster, and 
with more courage, for she could see another 
light glimmering through the falling snow, far 
up on the hill-side, and she Knew it shone from 
her own little cottage, and that she should 
soon rest and be with her children. " Poor 
things I " thought she ; " it's lonesome for them 
all day ; but I must earn their bread." 



298 GRATEFUL DICK. 

What sound was that she heard ? It was 
like the voice of a boy in distress. . . . There 
it was again, coming from the depths of the 
wild glen beneath ! She shouted as loud as 
she was able, and her shout was answered. 

She began to clamber down the precipice, in 
the darkness and storm, to help the poor boy. 
It is very difficult for thoffe who have never 
been as toil-worn as she was to know how 
great and good an action she was perforniing. 
It was a task of diffipulty, and of some danger, 
too. She had to cling by tree-stumps and 
points of rocks, and slipped down steep places, 
and had to catch' at ferns and branches to stop 
herself. Every now ^nd then she called aloud 
to the child, and by the answers she knew she 
was getting nearer and nearer to him ; at last 
she seemed to have reached the very spot 
where he must be. 

" Hold out your tand, and try to grip mine. 

Who are you, and how did you come here ?" 

A cold little hand soon caught hers, and 
held fast by it "I am little Dick, from 

Grai.by Manor Farm ; and I thought I could 



GRATEFUL DICK. 299 

find my way home by the ri^er, but the waters 
are out with the floods, and the path's covered 
and I lost myself ; and then I was afraid to 
move, for fear I should be drowned, so I was 
going to sleep all night in this tree, only I 
called out in hopes some one would hear." 

" Keep fast hold of me, and we must try to 
climb up again." "^ 

Dick kept tight hold of- his guide, and 
climbed sturdily after her. 

" Why, you're trembling with cold now," 
said she ; " you would have been frozen before 
morning. You must come home with me." 

By this time they had reached the top of the 
bank, and stood still for a moment to take 
breath. The snow fell faster than before, but 
through it still beamed the welcome light on 
the hill-side above them. 

" Thank you for coming fo help me," said 
Dick. " I am right glad to be safe up on the 
moor again -, — indeed, I do thank you heartily," 
and the boy's voice was full of gratitude ; " but 
I want to go home." 

" It's five long miles to Granby, and mainly 



300 GRATEFUL DICK. 

impossible for you to go such a night as this ; 
are you afraid your mother will be frightened 
about you ? 

Dick said he had no mother, only grand- 
father, and he would not be frightened, for he 
did not know of his coming till to-morrow. 

" And what's your grandfather's name ?" 

" Michael Holdfast ; we came out of SufiFoIk 
with the squire last year, to settle at the Home 
Farm, when he came to live in this wild coun- 
try. I don't like it as well as the old place, 
for my part." 

The woman grasped his hand convulsively, 
and then put her arm round his waist ; but 
she did not speak. However, Dick felt as if 
she led him on with her so resolutely, that it 
was of no use to think of going home. They 
climbed the hill-path silently, battling with 
the wind, and half-blinded by the snow, till 
they stopped at the door of a very small cot- 
tage, or cabin, built of rough stones, and she 
raised the latch and cpened it. 

Dick thought no more of longing to go 
home, it looked so bright and warm in there 



GRATEFLL DICK. 801 

after the darkness and cold of the hill ; there 
was a good fire, and a Hice smell of toasted 
oat-cakes, and a cloth on the table for supper, 
and two pretty little girls ran forward to wel- 
come their mother, and asked why she was 
so late. 

" I have brought you a little boy 'to fake 
care of," she said. "He had lost his way. 
Give him a stool close by the chimney-corner. 
Make haste, Lizzie, and take his wet coat and 
cap, and hang them on ihe peg. There now, 
you'll be all right soon." 

She had soon taken off her bonnet and 
shawl, and put on her cap and apron, and, 
scarcely taking a minute's rest, was busy mak- 
ing the porridge, while Lizzie helped her clev- 
erly, and little Effie stood staring at Dick, who 
began to make friends with her. Then they 
sat down to supper, and Dick, though used to 
wheaten bread and better fare, thought he 
never had enjoyed a supper so much. When 
it was over, Lizzie and her mother cleared all 
away, and they sat round the fire ; but even 
then the mother was not idle ; she took out 
26 



y 



302 GRATEFUL DICK. 

her knitting, and little Bffie sat on her knee, 
and Lizzie on a sto®l at her feet, knitting-, too, 
one of those woollen caps that the women of 
Northumberland make for sale. Dick had many 
questions to answer about his grandfather, and 
his father and .mother that were both dead, and 
the^woman who came to do for them in the 
farm, because there was no wife or mother in 
the house. But his eyes began to close before 
he had answered all the questions, and EflBe 
had been fast asleep for the last half-hour, so 
the mother put her into bed, and then spread 
for Dick a bed of dry heather, which she 
brought out of a sort of out-house behind the 
cottage ; and on this, with a plaid thrown 
over him, he was glad to stretch himself, and . 
was soon fast asleep, and heard no more of the 
wind that shook the door, and howled along 
the hill ; nor felt the kisses that she pressed 
on his cheeks. Long after both her children 
were asleep she knelt by his side and looked at 
him. "His brow is like father's," she whis- 
pered to herfeelf, as she put aside his hair, 
" very like, ve-'y like I " But at last weariness 



GRATEFUL DICK. 308 

overcame bcr, and she lay down in bed by her 
children, and slept too. 

She was gone out to work before Dick 
awoke, for the snow had disappeared in the 
night and work could still be done ; but she 
had left his breakfast for him, and told the 
little girls to put him on his way home after- 
wards. And so they (Jid. They walked by 
his side till he reached the cart-road that led 
to Granby, and then they turned back hand- 
in-hand, and began to climb the hill together. 
Dick looked after them, and as he saw Lizzie 
leading her little sister so carefully, he thought 
it was a very desolate thing for them to be 
left so all day. His kind heart would have 
been even more interested for tjiem if he could 
have seen how the little creatures went on in 
their loneliness. When they got home they 
had to clear away the breakfast-things, so they 
went down the rocks to the spring, carrying a 
little tin can, and they had to make two or 
three journeys before they got water enough, 
for they could not carry muih at a time ; then 
EflSe would sit on the flooi, playing witli the 



804 GRATEFUL DICK. 

stones she had picked up, while Lizzie Trashed 
the little basins, and plates and spoons, and 
swept up the room ; and then they tried to 
learn their spelling, ready for the evening, 
when their mother used to hear them their 
lessons, and then they would play again ; and 
when it grow dark Lizzie knew it was time 
to make up the fire, and put the cloth on the 
table, and listen for mo therms step on the path. 

Dick very soon came back to see them. He 
had thought of nothing since his adventure 
that night but how he could best show his 
gratitude to them ; so he came, bringing them 
some picture-books, which gave them great 
delight, and an invitation from his grandfather 
to spend New Year's day with hipi ; and 
"grandfather hop.es the mistress will come, 
that he may thank her himself," said Dick. 

She turned pale at first, and said, "No, oh, 
no, it was impossible ; " but, after a few 
minutes' thought, she agreed to go. What a 
grand thing it was for Lizzie and Effie to look 
forward to ! Dick had told them about his 
grandfatlier'a beautiful house that had four 



GRATEFUL DICK. 305 

roims in it, and about the pigs, and ducks, 
and geese, and hens : they longed for the day. 
Their mother washed their frocks, and mended 
up her Sunday gown ; and they were always 
talking and thinking about this visit, the first 
they had ever been asked to make in their 
lives. 

But such a sad misfortune happened on the 
last day of the year 1 There had been a great 
fall of snow, and the path was very slippery, 
and poor Effie fell d6wn and cut both her 
knees so badly she could not walk a step, so 
she must stay at home, and her mother and 
Jiizzie could iiot leave her. A message was 
sent by a boy who chanced to pass that way 
to Granby, to tell the reason why they could 
not come. Oh^ it was very sad I The poor 
little things cried, and could not be comforted. 

It was a bright, frosty New Year's day. 
How happy tliey would have been walking by 
their mother's side, over the sparkling snow, 
to see Dick at the farm I They could scarcely 
eat their breakfast, and their mother looked 
anxiously over the hill, and thought that if the 



806 GRATEFUL DICK. 

BDOW lay long she might soon have no break* 
fast to give them. 

They were roused by the barking of a dog, 
and then came a little tap at the door. Lizzie 
went to open it, and gave a cry of joy, for, 
whom sliould she see there but Dick, with a 
bright, rosy face ? and he said he was come to 
fetch them. 

"ButEffie " ' • 

" Effie shall come too 1 Look here 1 " said 
Dick. 

" Why, what a funny chair I " cried Lizzie. 
Is that for Effie?" 

" Let me see ! " exclaimed a little voice from 
inside the cottage ; and in a moment Effie 
appeared at the door, carried in her mother's 
arms. 

. " You see," said Dick, " when James Hosrs: 
brought the message, I was so grieved and 
vexed I did not know what to do with myself; 
and grandfather, he was so sorry, he would 
have come over in the light cart for you, only 
there's no road. So a thought came into my 
head, and I said to him, says I, there's that 



1 



GRATEFUL DICK. 807 

broken sledge that young master used to drive 
the young ladies in last winter ; it lies in the * 
yard, and he gave it to me. If we could fasten 
the bottom of it to an arm-chair, I could drag 
the little girl over the snow in it. So grand- 
father lent me a chair, and one of the carters 
nailed it all together for me, and here it is 1 " 

Little Effie had almost jumped out of her 
mother's arias for joy before he finished speak- 
ing, and Lizzie ran straight to the chest, .and 
took out their Sunday frocks and mother's 
gown, that had been put away again. And 
soon Effie was seated in her carriage. 

" Here's a little lady to sit beside you," said 
Dick, handing a paper parcel to Effie, who 
opened it eagerly, and found a pretty doll, 
which made her scream out with delight. 

" Grandfather bought it of a pedlar, arid 
sent it to comfort the little girl. And now, 
liere goes my coat on, and away we go ! " 

Effie and her doll sat side by side ; Dick 
and Lizzie drew them, chatting and laughing 
all the way ; and the mother followed, with a 
pale, anxious look. When they drew near the 



808 GKATEFUL DICK. 

• 

fariii-bouse, she said she must rest awhile, and 
•sent the children on before. She sat on a 
large stone for some minutes, and hid her face 
in her hands. When she raised it her cheeks 
were wet with tears, but *she walked with a 
firm step to the door, and went in. She heard 
cheerful voices and laughter in the parlor, 
and, looking in, saw her little EflSe seated on 
the knee of an old man, with white hair and 
a hale, good-humored face, while Dick and Liz- 
zie stood by his side. In a moment she, too, 
was at his side on her knees, looking up in his 
face, but she did not speak. 

He looked at her, then tried to start up, but 
EfiBe gave a cry of pain, and clung round his 
neck. He sunk down again, and - his lips 
trembled, but he put Effie down on the floor. 

^' Father 1 — will you not forgive me, father ?" 
said the kneeler at his side. " He is dead who 
caused strife between you and me, and I have 
been a widow these two years, and my chil- 
dren are fatherless. I have suffered sorely. 
Oh, love me again as you once did 1 " 

The old man did not speak, but he opened 



GRATEFUL DICK. 809 

his arms, and she fell upon his breast, and then 
he told her she should never leave him, but 
that he would be a father to her children, and 
they should share his home with Dick. " You 
remember your poor sister Effie," he said. 
" I lost her four years ago, and her boy lives 
with me ; and, now I have found you again, 
we will forget all our sorrows." 

It had been meant that this New Year's day 
should be a day of pleasure, but it was much 
more ;. it was a day of happiness and blessed- 
ness. Dick had little thought, when his grate- 
ful heart made him long to bring his new 
friends to 'his home, that he was bringing his 
own mother's sister and two dear little cousins 
there. They never went away. The cottage 
on the hill found another tenant, and its late 
mistress and her children lived happily at 
Granby Manor Farm. 



CLARA AID HER BROTHER. 





T was early spring, and the March wind 

careered over the open downs, but 

^^ scarcely touched the sheltered nook in 

which Mr. Wilmbt's house stood ; it ^9s 

within view of the sea, but high ground 

and thick plantations screened it from north 

and east. 

In a warm room ©f this warm house, half 

darkened by Venetian blinds and guarded by 

double windows from every breath of air, lay 

a pale young girl on a couch. It was for her 

sake that this residence had been chosen, for' 

she was the only daughter of the family, and 

her extreme delicacy alarmed them for her 

life. She had several books beside her, and 

dio 



CLARA AND HER BROTHER. 311 

sometimes tried to read a little ; but her eyes 
constantly wandered away to the clock on the 
mantle-piece ; than she listened as though 
expecting some one ; soon, as if disappointed, 
she sighed, took up another book, and at last, 
throwing that down, ended by covering her 
head with a shawl and trying to sleep. 
Presently she rose, walked up and down a little, 
and then rang the bell, 

" Are you sure my brother is not come in 
yet, Lydia?" she asked of the maid who 
answered it. 

" He came in an hour ago, Miss Wilmot," 
replied the maid. 

" Make up the fire, please, Lydia, then, and 
bring me another shawl ; I feel cold, and that 
is all, thank you." 

And having obeyed, Lydia left the room, 
and another hour passed, while the solitary 
occupant of the room tried to throw off the 
impatience which ruflSed even her gentle spirit 
by the rapid movement of her fingers in 
embroidering a group of flow^rs on canvas, 
till a quick step was heard on the stairs, and 



812 CLARA AND HER BROTHER. 

the door was thrown open so suddenly as to 
startlo the poor invalid, and a handsome boy, 
his cheeks glowing with health sparkling with 
animation and good spirits, came in. 

" Congratulate me, Clara 1 ^' he cried. " The 
sum I wanted is made up, and I am to order 
my boat to-morrow." 

** Dear George, I am so glad 1 " replied his 
pale sister, forgetting all her sad and lonely 
hours in a moment. 

" And my father has given me leave to go 
out in one of the fishing-boats this afternoon, 
to take a lesson in steering." 

" Oh, how nice I But this afternoon ? Do 
you not remember that Charles and Alice 
Qamilton are coming, and that we are all to 
have tea together in this room, and that Alice 
is to sing to me?" 

" Well, I suppose I must stay at home then. 
How provoking ! " 

*' No, you shall not stay at home on any 
account. I will write and ask them to come 
another day.''. 

''Yes, to be sure. That is. tie best* way. 



CLARA AND HER BROTHER. 313 

Ask them to-raorrow^. No, not to-morrow, 
because I go out for a long ride with Herbert ; 
nor next day, because I know I have some 
engagement. We will fix a time to-morrow." 

" Did you remember to go about my little 
bird ? " 

" Oh, I quite forgot I Really I have been 
able to think of nothing but my boat. How 
are you, by-the-bye, Clara ? Can't you come 
down to the pier this afternoon in the close 
carriage, and see me start ? " 

" It is too cold. I could not bear it," replied 
Clara. " At least I would try if you wish it." 

Everything "happened according to George's 
wish, for he was the darling of his father and 
mother, who were proud of their handsome 
son. Clara's little tea-party, to which she had 
looked forward for a week, was put off, and, 
wrapped up in shawls and furs, she was driven 
down to the pier.* A boat had just come in, 
and the fishermen were unloading it with the 
intention of going out again, while George, 
who had agreed witk them to take him on 
board, stood watching their proceedings. The 
27 



81i CLABA AND HER BROTHEB. 

busy scene deHgh,ted Clara, whose ready 
sympathy made her enjoy all bright and social • 
scenes. The wife of one of the men. with her 
baby in her arms, had come down to see him 
arrive, and the little thing crowed and held 
out its arms to its father, whilst he laughed 
and talked to it. Clara forgot the cold, drew 
down the glass, and laughed with them. 

" What a strange girl you are! " said George. 
" I only wish the fellow would mind his 
business and get oflf again." 

Clara never thought George wrong about 
anything, sov she supposed it was foolish to 
laugh, drew up the glass, and leaned back in 
the carriage, feeling tired and chilly ; and soon 
afterwards, the fish being all carried ashore in 
baskets, George jumped into the boat, they 
pushed off,* hoisted the large .square-sail, and 
away they went before the wind, merrily. 
Clara then di'ove home, and was laid on her 
couch very much exhausted, and spQnt a lonely 
evening, for her father and mother were en- 
gaged to a dinner-party. She often looked at 
the piax?.o and longed for the songs Alice had 



CLARA AND HER BROTHER. 315 

promised, and at -the window, and wished 
George had not forgotten her bird. She 
thought the evening very long, yet she delayed 
going to bed, in hopes George would come up 
to see her when he came in. He was expected 
at eight, but that hour had passed, — ^nine 
o'clock struck, — then ten, and still he had not 
come. Then she heard the carriage stop, and 
her m'amma, richly dressed and with jewels in 
her hair, entered her room and reproached her 
for being up so late. 

" But George has not come in, mamma, and 
I am anxious." 

" Not come in ? My dear boy I I never 
liked that excursion," cried Mrs. Wilmot, and 
hurried away to make inquiries. So poor 
Clara, trembling and agitated, and listening to 
every sound, was again alone, except when 
alarming reports were brought by Lydia of a 
fog over the sea, of fears entertained by the 
other fishermen, and of the unusual darkness of 
the night. 

" Oh !" thought she, " if he will but como 
home safe, I will never be unhappy about any- 



316 CLARA AND HER BROTHER. 

thing again. How could • I think about my 
bird, or Alice, or such trifles ? If he has got 
into any danger or is hurt, what will become 
of me ? Let me die if only he is safe. My life 
is worth so little — oh, so little 1" 

It was nearly twelve o'clock when a strange 
bustle in the house made Clara rush down stairs 
heedless of cold or weakness. As she ap 
preached the hall she saw her brother borne in 
by two men ; his head was bound up, 'his 
clothes were dripping wet, and his arm hung 
useless by his side. But he lived, he breathed ; 
her father and mother were beside him, and 
when Clara laid her nervous hand on his, and 
spoke to him, he uttered her name. She sank 
down on a chair unable to stand, and saw him 
carried up stairs, and heard directions given to 
prepare a warm bed for him, and to run for 
surgeons and physicians ; then a faintness came 
over her, and there Lydia found her, some time 
afterwards, in the dark by herself, and led her 
up to bed. • • 

The fishermen had been tempted lo remain 
out later than they intended by unusual success, 



CLARA A^J) HER BROTHEB. 317 

and then by George's wish for a longer sail, 
when they were suddenly enveloped in the fog 
which had been observed ashore, and while 
shrouded in impenetrable darkness they were 
run down by a steamer. The boat was com- 
pletely wrecked, but, as the whole party were 
good swimmers, they kept afloat till they 
caught hold of the mast and other portions of 
the boat, and were drifted ashore by the tide ; 
but George had been violently dashed upon a 
rock by a large wave, and had received some 
severe cuts about his head and face and broken 
his arm. 

Poor Clara scarcely knew whether to be 
most grateful that his life had been preserved 
or most miserable at his injuries. She wanted 
to go to him, but Lydia would not suffer it, and 
at last her mother calmed her by coming to tell 
her that the arm was sei^ the wounds were 
dressed, and the medical men did not apprehend 
danger. . 

After such a night it would have been natu- 
ral to expect that Clara would have a serious 
attack of. illness; but it was not so. Her 
27* 



318 CLARA AND H£B BROTHER. 

strength seemed to rise with the necessity of 
exertion and the conciousness that she was of 
use ; and she was of the greatest use. George 
had never been ill in his life, and his impa- . 
tience and irritability, now that he had severe 
pain to sufiFer, were so great that it was soon 
found no one could manage him at all except 
her. He would not take his medicine unless 
she gave it to him, nor allow the surgeon to 
remove the bandages unless she was near to 
hold his hand. Why it was that she had this 
power over him, people wondered much, for 
she had seemed to yield to him in everything ; 
but the secret was her great love, her entire 
forgetfulness of self, and therefore the soothing 
influence that her presence exerted over him. 
When he complained of pain, fretted about the 
disappointment of delaying his boat that was to 
have been such a pleasure to him, and found 
fault with everything that was done for him, a 
few kind words from Clara would quiet him 
directly. This influence was soon apparent in 
other ways. 
" How do you manage to be so * contented 



CLARA AND HER BROTHER. S19 

when we all go and leave you alone ?" he said 
one day to her. '* I should go distracted if you 
were to go and leave me in that way. And 
how is it you can sit up so long by me now ? 
You must be very tired. You are very tired. 
I can feel your hand shake. Go and lie down, 
Clara, or you will make me worse." 

George had caught a ray of sympathy from 
his sister, and no longer thought entirely of 
himself ; and this thoughtfulness of her, so un- 
usual with him, gave her a thrill of happiness 
which did her more good than the warm room 
and the double windows had ever done. She 
lay down because he wished it, but she did not 
feel tired. 

Little by little Clara contrived to make 
her brother feel that his impatience was pain- 
ful to his father and mother, and to bring 
them into his room in the evenings as he grew 
better, and make them all cheerful and happy 
again. When alone with him she could, now 
that he was able to bear it, tell him endless 
stories and legends; and repeat poetry to him, 
when Hhe room was darkened because of the 

(267) 



entl^^k Bome li* 
Qt for™ 
of hisl 



320 . , ajid read to 

. His eyes l.^'d «^^^*';?',;t HerhouB 
injuries hi^ «J ^^^ \ight. " 

of pomade iv^^dlefU" ^^.pectedW 

.ieb richer -f^^^^try ^^^"^'^ "^"''! 
fore ; he began H)^^ ^ ' ^j tet supenonl!. 
self, as he became cS||?^ ^ ^„ George's eatiiW 
As self thus began to^j^-e to extend **'^' 
tion, his thoughts had 
wider range. .^^^jatwith,"* 

" That poor Saherman I went 
he one day, after lying silent 
" is quite ruined. The loss of 
loss of all to him. I wonder wh 
about ? " 

" I hear of him, and his wife and ii1 

almost every day," said Clara. " I have be! 
able to comfort them a little, and help them i 
manage till he can get another boat. Perhaj; 
it will be a long time first, but I have ^Kut al 
my money into a savings-bank to begin, and h 
has got some money there himself, and whei 
you are well again I mean to ask papa an< 
mamma to subscribe, and get other people t< 
help. " Oh, I don't despair I " 



a^ 



CLARA AND U£R B BOTHER. 821 

" Clara ! how much better you are than I 
am ! " 

George was silent for some time ; then he 
told Clara that he wanted to see the*fisherman 
that evening) and asked her to send for him, 
which she promised to do, and in the evening he 
came. He was a line, strong young man, and 
bore his misfortune bravely, making no com- 
plaints ; but when he left the room a tear was 
trickling down his cheek, for his heart was 
full of gratitude. George had given him all 
Jihe money which he had accumulated for the 
lurpose of buying his own boat, and this, with 
hat he already had, was sufficient. 

Clara, who had stoqd by, threw her arms 
around her brother's neck when they were 

^In&y "It is good and beautiful 'of you, dear 

^^P ^eorgc," she cried ; " but I cannot bear you 

^* ^j} be disappointed of your boat." 

are f h <« ^^^ ^^^ ^^ ^^^^ ^^ sorry. It is good for 

P°' ^ 3e ; it is best for me ; besides I only lose a 
^ , Icasure, and he had lost his means of living.'^ 

P*P* Clara's face beamed with joy as she heard 

people ^^ ' 




822 CLAllA AND HEll BROTHER. 

words from George with which she could so 
entirely sympathise. 

When George at last recovered, his , face 
was by no means so smooth and handsome as 
it had been. A large scar on his cheek, and 
another on his forehead, disfigured him a good 
deal. Over these his mother often lamented, 
and, if the truth must be told, he often lament- 
ed too ; but if he had seen the working of his 
spirit more clearly, he would have rather. re- 
joiced over them, for it was wonderful how 
often these scars reminded him of his long ill- 
ness and Clara's love, and tenderness, and 
goodness, and cultivated intellect ; and re- 
called him to better feelings when he was in- 
clined to relapse into his old habits. Then it 
was that he recollected the friend he had found 
in his sister, and went to her to gain greater 
worth of character, and to try to repay to her 
some portion of the love he owed. This new 
interest and happiness in life worked like a 
charm on Clara. Though she had before had 
everv care bestowed on her, she had withered 
for want of love and sympathy, and now she 



r 



CLARA AND HEPw BROTHEB. 828 

felt a new strength breathed into her People 
thought it was the summer air that blew into 
her npw open window, filled by George^s care 
with flowers and birds, that had cured her, and 
it did its part ; but the aflFections can shed 
warmth over the spirit, and revive it, even as 
the sun lights up nature with his beams. 



THE BBOKEN PITCHER 




T was a beautiful day, and the birds were 
singing gaily among the trees, and hop- 
ping merrily from bough to bough ; and 
as gaily, too, Bessie Lee sang as she 
walked along the path which led from 
her aunt's cottage to the spring where she often 
went for water. 

This spring was in a lovely spot, and was 
iiself one of those rustic fountains which ar- 
tists love to sketch. It was just beyond the 
village, out of sight of the dust of the high- 
road, with trees growing round it, and wild- 
roses and honeysuckle clinging to the trees ; 
and there, in the centre of a rude stone basing 
the clear water bubbled up sparkling in the 
sunshine ; and, when the basin was full, poured 

(324) 



THE BROKEN PITCHER 826 

out through an opening in its rim, and flowed 
away through the meadows in a bright stream,, 
at which the cattle and sheep drank, and along: 
which blue and white water-lilies grew. 

All looked so beautiful in the cloudless sun- 
shine, that Bessie Lee forgot she ought at 
once to fill her pitcher and return home. In- 
stead of which, she seated herself on the brOad 
stone steps that led down to the little hollow 
where the fountain stood, and with the pitcher 
at her feet, sat looking idly round her at the 
trees and birds, and the bright butterflies dan- 
cing through the air, and the bees that came 
humming among the flowers. 

Now, while Bessie Lee was sitting there 
wasting her time, two boys were sauntering 
near — not exactly wasting their time, for 
the leisure was given to them to amuse 
themselves ; but for all that, I am afraid 
we shall find that they have misspent their 
time more than Bessie did hers. One of them,. 
Walter Clayton, was a lively, good-tempered 
boy, always ready for all sorts of sport — and 
too often ready for all sorts of mischief also. 



826 THE BROKEN PITCHER. 

• This was not owing so much to positive wick- 
edness of disposition as to recklessness, which 
prompted him to- do whatever he liked, without 
pausing to think of the vexation it might cause 
to others. 

And yet Walter Clayton was always con- 
sidered a generous boy, and selfishness was the 
very last fault he would have owned to. For 
he was always ready to share with his play- 
mates anything belonging to him, or give 
money to organ-boys, or to Savoyards with 
little white mice. But there may be just as 
much selfishness in pleasing ourselves at the 

expense of other people's feelings as in grasp- 
ing or keeping every thing we can. 

As the boys came near the fountain, they 
perceived through the trees, Bessie Lee sitting 
on the steps. She had taken oflF her bonnet 
because of the heat, and now it had slip;^ 
from her hold, and lay on the ground beyond 
the pitcher. 

" Look at that lazy girl," whispered Walter ; 
"it would be good fun to have a shy at her 
old bonnet, and give her a fright." 



THE BROKEN PITCHER. • 827 

** And perhaps make a hole in it," suggested 
the other boy. 

" And if I did, it would not be the first hole 
in it, ni engage,'' replied Walter, laughing. 
" So here goes 1" and he flung the stone. 

The next instant there was a crash. The 
stone had missed the bonnet and struck the 
pitcher, which it broke in pieces. Poor Bessie 
screamed with fright and started up. She 
looked- round, but* she did not know in what 
direction the stone had come ; and she could 
see nobody, fijr the boys were safely hidden 
behind the trees, where Walter was laughing 
heartily at the mischief he had done. 

Then Bessie Leg began to gather up tlie 
pieces of the pitcher, as though that could do 
any good, and to cry bitterly. 

" Poor girl I I dare say she's afraid of being 
scolded when she goes home," whispered Al- 
fred Amot. 

" She need not, for 111 give her the money 
to buy another," replied Walter, putting his 
hand in his pocket. Then, for the first time, 
he recollected that he had spent all his money 



828 • THE BEOKEN PITCHER. 

that morniDg in buying some white pigeons to 
which he had taken a fancy. 

Alfred felt his pockets, and found that he 
had no money either. 

"How provoking 1'' said Walter; but he 
only laughed all the more heartily. " See, Al- 
fred what a fright the girl seems in I I dare 
say she thinks that some ghost or fairy served 
her this trick. But what a fuss she makes 
about her worthless old pitcher 1 I should 
have liked to pay for it, but I can't, so what's 
the good of wishing ? The thing was of no 
value to anybody, and it was a shame to give a 
big pitcher like that to such a little girl to 
carry — she should be much, obliged to me for 
breaking it." 

" She does not look so," observed Alfred. 

" She's a silly, then. But I am not obliged 
to make a fool of myself also, by making a 
fuss over what can't be helped. So come away, 
Alfred, it's time we were going home. You 
know we are to have the ponies at three for a 
long ride." 

Young Arnot could not help thinking that 



THE BROKEN PITCHER. 829 

tfaoagh Walter had no money to give the little 
girl, he might have gone and spoken to her 
when he saw the distress she was in, and com- 
forted her by telling her that he would pay after- 
wards for the mischief he had done. But 
Alfred was too timid to say what he thought 
at the risk of being contradicted and laughed 
at by his bolder companion. So they went 
away together, and soon forgot the whole affair. 

But Bessie Lee was still crying. The pitcher 
was a much more valuable thing in her estima- 
tion than in that of the two boys. For they 
were the sons of rich gentlemen, while she 
belonged to poor people, and was, moreover, 
an orphan, living with an aunt who had several 
children of her own. And she was frightened 
to think what her aunt would say when she 
learned what had happened. 

For Bessie had been in the habit of being 
very careless, and had broken a number of 
things since she came to live with her aunt, 
which had occasioned her a great many 
scoldings. But she had very much improved* 
of Jate, and had felt so pleased and proud that 



380 THE BROKEN PITCHER. 

very morning when her aunt remarked how 
much more careful and steady she had grown, 
and now it seemed very hard to have the 
pitcher broken without any fault of hers. It 
was some time before she could make up her 
mind to go back and tell of this misfortune ; 
but at length she took up the pieces, and crept 
reluctantly homeward. 

Her aunt was getting impatient at her delay. 

" When is Bessie coming with the water, I 
wonder I " she said. " I want to fill the kettle 
and put it on the fire for tea." 

" Here^s Bessie I " cried one of the younger 
children. 

" What has kept you so long ? " began Mrs. 
Hallet, coming to the door, when the sight of 
Bessie's red eyes and the fragments of earthen- 
ware in her hands at once told what had delay- 
ed her. "Why, what have you been about, 
you naughty girl ? " continued the aunt, angrily. 

Bessie burst into tears again, saying as well 
as she could between her sobs, " Indeed, aunt, 
it wasn't my fault ; I did not break it ; indeed 
I did not do iti" 



THE BROKEN PITCHEB. 881 

" Then who did ?. Come, don't cry, then, 
bat speak plain, and tell me bow did it get 
broken ? '' 

" I had set it down, and somebody threw a 
stone and broke it." 

" Who threw the stone ? " 

" I don't knDw. I looked round and conld 
see nobody. And I didn't see where the stone 
came from." 

" I don't suppose you did," said Mrs. Hallet. 
" I don't doubt you struck the pitcher yourself 
against the «tone and broke it ; you naughty, • 
careless girl 1 " 

" Indeed, aunt, I did not do it ; I was not 
careless," said poor Bessie, beginning to cry 
again. 

" How *can you look ipe in the face, and tell 
me such a story ? " demanded her aunt. " You 
know very well you broke it yourself, as usual : 
and now you come with this lame account home, 
and expect me to believe it." 

" Indeed, aunt, I have told the truth 1 " was 
all that Bessie could say in her defence. 

" You wicked little storyteller 1 " cried the 



332 THE BROKEN PITCHKB. 

aunt, "how dare you persist in such an 
abominable falsehood? You were afraid I 
should be angry, I suppose ; because you knew 
how well you deserved it by your idleness and 
carelessness, and so you made up this story to 
screen yourself. But there is nothing I detest 
so much as a falsehood ; I would rather you 
broke twenty pitchers (though I'm sure I could 
afford it ill enough I) than told one story. So 
you had better own the truth at once, or it will 
be all the worse for you." 

But Bessie could only persist in her first 
account, which Mrs. Hallet was resolved to con- 
sider a falsehood ; and, after a good scolding, 
the poor little girl was sent upstairs in disgrace, 
with the intimation that she should have no 
tea that.evening. 

That seemed a very long afternoon to Bessie 
Lee, alone as she was in the little attic room, 
with nothing to employ her ; nothing to do 
but to cry, and think how hard it was her 
aunt did not believe her. This was not very 
amusing ; but when she got tired, and left oflf 
crying, she had nothing pleasanter to think 



THE BROKEN PITCHER. 333 



• 



about. Then at length she knew by the shout- 
ing of the little ones that her uncle had come 
home to tea, and she began to cry very bitterly 
as she thought of how he would ask what had 
become of her, and how her aunt would tell 
that she was upstairs there in disgrace, and 
wherefore. She could fancy to herself how 
shocked her uncle would be to hear such an 
account of her, and all he would say sCbout 
how wicked she was. 

Then, after a timis, she heard her cousins 
laughing, and they all seemed very merry and 
very happy, and nobody seemed to have time 
to think of the poor little girl who sat up there 
all alone, tealess and miserable. Not that 
Bessie cared about tea, for she was neither 
hungry nor thirsty, but she felt it har.d that 
every one else should be so merry while she 
was unhappy. And again, and again, she 
wondered who could have been so wicked as 
to break the pitcher, and bring all this sorrow 
upon her. 

When it grew dusk her aunt brought up a 
slice of dry bread and desired her to eat it 



I 



334 THE BROKEN" PITCHER. 

and go to bed. Bessie obeyed, crying all the 
while, for it was the first time, since she came. 
.0 live with her, that her aunt had parted from 
her at night without bidding her good night 
.dndly and kissing her. However much she 
might have displeased her, Mrs. Hallet had 
hitherto always forgiven her soon, and she 
now felt the difference. 

So' Bessie went to bed, and though she was 
not asleep when her two cousins, who shared 
the room, came up, she lay so still that they 
thought she slept, for she felt too vexed and 
sad at heart to speak to them. And they talk- 
ed together so cheerfully, and laughed so gaily 
(though it was low, not to. awaken her), that it 
made her heart heavier and sadder still. It 
made poor Bessie Lee also feel more than she 
had ever done before, since her first arrival 
among them, that she was nothing to any of 
them compared with what they were to each 
other, and that she must be very amiable and 
very good if she would hope that her aunt, and 
uncle, and cousins, should love her. For they 
all loved each other naturally ; but she had no 



THE BROKEN PITCHER. 835 

# 

father or mother to love her even if she did 
wrong, and no brothers and sisters to be griev- 
ed when she was unhappy. 

But what Bessie Lee felt as a little girl, is 
merely what every one is made to learn as he 
or she grows older, and begins to mix with 
the world in general. For it is only our 
nearest relatives who will look over our faults 
and love us in spite of them : other people are 
equally ready to like or dislike us as we give 
them cause. But Bessie thought it very hard, 
that when she was doing her best to be good 
she should be treated as if he were not worth 
any one's caring about. 

Next morning her uncle spoke to her very 
seriously, and told her how wicked it was to 
tell a falsehood, and how sorry he was to find 
she had done so ; promising, at the same time, 
her aunt's forgiveness as well as his own if 
she would now acknowledge her fault and tell 
the truth. 

Perhaps if Bessie had then tried gently and 
earnestly to convince her uncle that she had 
already told the truth, and had related simply and 



836 THE BROKEN PITCHER. 

distinctly all she knew about how the pitcher 
chanced to be broken, he might have believed 
her. But she had come to the conclusion that 
she had been very ill-treated in not being 
believed at once, and was rather inclined to 
be sullen this morning on finding herself 
lectured afresh ; so that there appeared more 
of obstinacy than truthfulness in her manner 
of asserting that she had told her aunt the 
truth the day before. 

The consequence was, that her uncle did not 
credit a word she said, and went out, after tel- 
ling his wife that Bessie seemed incorrigible, 
and that they must punish her severely, both to 
prevent her again doing the same, and as an 
example to their own children, who might 
otherwise learn, when they had done wrong, 
the dreadful habit of telling falsehoods to avoid 
being found fault with. 

Bessie heard him say all this, and crept 
away into a corner to cry ; and when one of 
her little cousins came up to her and asked 
what was the matter, her aunt told the child 
to go away, for that she was a very naughfy 
girl, and he must not speak to her. 



THE BROKEN PITCHER. 837 

Mrs. Hallet had accustomed all ilie children, 
who were old enough to be of use, to help her 
in putting her house to rights every morning, 
and Bessie was generally the most active and 
busiest among them. But .this morning, when 
she began as usual, her aunt bade her leave off^ 
for she did'not want any storytellers to help 
her. So Bessie had to sit down quietly to her 
knitting, at which she wrought as hard as 
possible, anxious to show diligence in some- 
thing. But nobody took the, least notice of 
her industry. 

All that day, and all the next, Bessie felt 
very lonely and unhappy. At meal-times she 
was called to take her place, and* helped the 
same as her cousins to whatever was on the 
table. No diflference was made in. this respect 
between her and the other children ; but her 
uncle and aunt never spoke to her or took any 
notice of her at other times, and her 
cousins were not allowed to play with her. 

The worst of all this was, as poor Bessie felt, 
that it showed how much her uncle and aunt 
must be displeased with her for persisting, as 
29 * 



888 THE BROKEN PITCHER. 

they believed she was doing, in a falsehood ; , 
and she wondered whether they would ever 
like her again, or believe what she said, as 
they used to do. Once or twice she was 
almost inclined to wish that she had really told a 
falsehood, and owned to breaking the pitcher 
when her aunt insisted she had done it ; and 
the poor little girl, in her loneliness and grief 
at seeing herself so ill thought of and avoided, 
felt tempted to say now that she had broken 
the pitcher and 'told the story. 

But her mother, who was not a twelvemonth 
dead, had taken great pains to teach her all 
that was good, and had carefully impressed on 
her the propriety and necessity of scrupulously 
telling the truth at all times and under all 
circumstances. And Bessie Lee had as great 
an aversion to a falsehood as either Mr. or 
Mrs. Hallet. She knew that it was both 
wicked and contemptible ; and so, in spite of 
the great temptation she felt to escape un- 
deserved punishment by owning to a fault she 
had not committed, she had the courage to 
persist in the truth, and bear patiently all the 



THE BROKEN PITCHER. 839 

unkindness and contempt with which she was 
treated. 

Two days passed in this manner. On the 
third, there was to be a fair held two or three 
miles distance. This was not, like the gener- 
ality of fairs, a place crowded with low people 
and tipsy men, where respectable persons have 
very little inclination to go. There was no 
noise nor disturbance in it, but plent}^ of nice 
stalls with beautiful toys and pretty things, 
such as they have at the bazaars, together with 
ribands and all sorts of finery to please the 
farmers' wives and daughters who used to 
come to buy at it, for the place was far from 
any large town. 

The ladies also who lived near used to take 
their children to walk through the fair. And 
there were many poorer people to be seen there j 
too, but that did not prevent their being re- '» 
spectable. And though, of course, they might 
have done much better by staying at home to 
work as usual, still it is not agreeable to be 
always working, any more than for children to 
be always studying without any recreation, and 



840 THE BROKEN PITCHER. 

the young people have much the best of it, for 
many of these poorer fair-goers were in the 
habit of working hard six days every week, and 
had scarcely another holiday all through the 
year. 

Bessie had hoard a great deal about this fair 
from her cousins, who had never in all their 
lives seen any other things so fine as they had 
seen there, and neither had she beheld anything 
so fine as they told her of. And she had been 
so delighted to learn that they were all going 
to the fair this year, and had counted so greatly 
on the pleasure it would give her, that she was 
ashamed to tell even her cousins how much 
she thought about it. 

* But this morning she got up wondering how 
it was to be, and whether after all she was to 
go. 

Showas not long left in doubt. As soon as 
breakfast was over and cleared away, Mts. 
Hallet told her two eldest daughters to go up 
and dress themselves while she got the younger 
children ready. 

" Come along Bessie," cried Marry Hallet 



THE BROKEN PITCHER. 341 

"No, Bessie need not," said Mrs. Hallet; 
** for she is not going with us." 

Bessie, who had been on her way to the door 
on her cousin's summons, stopped* short now 
and hung down her head. 

"Never mind, Bessie," whispered the second 
girl Annie, "never mind, we'll bring you a nice 
present back with us." 

But her father overheard, and said, " No, we 
shall not do anything of the sort. If Bessie 
wished for amusement and presents like other 
people, she knew what to do. But I am de- 
termined not to encourage obstinacy. How- 
ever, I hope that all this will prove a sufficient 
lesson for her, and that in future' she will behave 
so that her aunt and I can treat her with Jhe 
aJBfection which we would willingly show her." 

•Her uncle spoke very gravely, and Bessie 
got into her usual corner and cried quietly to 
herself, partly at his remarks on her, and partly 
from disappointment. But by the time the party 

were all dressed and ready to set out, she had 

■ • 

dried her eyes and tried to look as composed 
as she could. 
29* 



342 THE BROKEN PITCHER. 

Before they went, her aunt said to her more 
kindly than usual, '^ Now take care of the 
house and of yourself while we are away. I 
have put some cold meat and bread already 
cut, in a plate in the cupboard, for your dinner. 
And see that you have the kettle boiling, and 
a nice fire ready, when we come home, for we 
shall get no dinner to-day, and shall want 
something to eat with our tea." 

" Yes, aunt," said Bessie, as steadily as she 
could. And she was very brave, and never 
shed a tear until they were all out of sight, but 
then she cried very bitterly. 

And then I am not sure but what Bessie Lee 
for a little while thought! that it would have 
been better to have told a falsehood^ than to 
be accused of telling one, and punished for 
keeping .to the truth. For, after all, she said 
to herself, what was the good of doing right, 
if it only made people scold you and believe 
that you did wrong ? And if she had told the 
story she might have been with her cousins 
going to see all the beautiful things they told 
her of, and, more than all, she would have gone 



THE BROKEN PITCHEB. 343 

with them to look at the wil^ beasts, of which 
there was to be a good collection at the fair, 
and Bessie Lee had never seen a lion, a tiger, 
or an elephant, except in pictures, but they 
were all in the menagerie which her cousins 
would go and see, and she had so longed to see 
an elephant. 

But it was only for a little while that Bessie 
Lee thought this, for she knew and loved truth 
far too well. And then she began to remember 
how her mother had taught her to speak the 
truth and try to be good, no matter what 
should happen to her, for that God sees all 
we do, and knows all we think, and no 
one who does wrong wilfully can be happy. 
This she felt was very true, for had she been 
with her cousins, dressed in her Sunday clothes 
as they were, and going to see all they expected 
to find that was strange and beautiful to look 
at, she should not have been happy. For she 
should have felt ashamed and angry wHh her- 
self, and conscious that all was gained by tellinp^ 
a falsehood, for which she deserved punishment 
instead. 



844 THE BROKEN PITCHEK 

And was it not much better to be punished 
without deserving it, and to feel that whoever 
might believe that she had done wrong, God 
knew she had done right? So little Bessie 
Lee thought, and as she thought and thought 
she began to feel quite satisfied and happy in 
the consciousness that her Heavenly Father 
approved of her conduct. 

It seemed a long day to the little girl left alone * 
at the cottage. Yet it was more cheerful than 
yesterday or the day before,for it was pleasanter 
to be alone than to have people speaking to and 
looking at each other kindly, but taking no 
notice of her. And the sun was shining so 
gaily on the green fields round, and on the 
bright flowers in the little garden before the 
cottage, that it seemed to make her feel glad 
to look at them. 

So Bessie brdnght out her knitting and sat 
in the pleasant sunshine, and as her fingers 
moved busily she went on thinking more cheer- 
fully than she had yet been able to do under 
the pressure of unmerited disgrace, and more 
sensibly too, for all the anger against her uncle 



THE BROKEN PITCHER. . 845 

and aunt, which she had been carefully nursing 
up during the last two days, died gradually 
away, as she owned to herself that it was no 
wonder that they should have misjudged her 
as they had done. For she had been so very 
careless and unfortunate in breaking things, 
and her story about the pitcher was so unlikely, 
that it was perhaps natural they should suppose 
it false, as they had not known her long enough 
to be sure that she never told falsehoods. But 
by and by, Bt'^sie thought, if she' was always 
good and truthful as she meant to be, they 
might believe that after all she had spoken the 
truth on that occasion also. 

This was a pleasant thought to the little girl, 
and it made her heart grow lighter, until at 
length she found herself singing gaily for tl^^ 
first time since that unfortunate visit to the 
fountain. And so, as I have said, the day was 
a cheerful one to Bessie ; and though she often 
wondered what her cousins were then doing, 
and if they were enjoying any pleasure she 
should have especially prized, it was without 
any envy of their enjoyment, or foolish repining 
beca ise she did lot share it. 



846 THE BBOKEN PITCHER 

As the evening drew on, dark clouds began 
to gather in the sky which Uiad been so beauti- 
fully clear. The wind also rose, and swept 
along in noisy gusts, which whirled the dust 
of the highroad into the air. 

" I think there will be a storm," said Bessie 
to herself. " I hope they will get home before 
it comes on." 

And then for the twentieth time she ran into 
the house to see after the fire, and look at the 
preparations she had made for their return. 
She had, indeed, made all as nice as ever she • 
could. She had fresh swept the floor, and 
whitened the hearth, and dusted and arranged 
everything, and set the table already for tea, 
as neatly as possible ; and you would have 
wondered how so humble a room could look so 
comfortable and pleasant as that did when she . 
had put it all to rights. Bessie found some- 
thing more to do even now, she was so anxious 
that they should find everything right this 
evening when they came home. 

When she came out again the clouds had 
gathered over one third of the sky, their deep 



THE BROKEN PITCHER. 847 

leadcD hue contrasting darkly with the bright 

blue of the rest of the sky. She sat down to 

watch the clouds, they rose higher and higher, 

spreading every minute more and more over 

the sky. The storm was evidently coming 

quickly — more quickly than Bessie by any 

means liked, for she felt half frightened at the 

thought of being alone in the cottage during a 

thunder-storm, — a silly fear, for what difference 

could the company of other people make to 

her ? and she was sorry, besides, to think her 

relatives might be exposed to all its fury on the 

road. How anxiously she wished they would 

come before it commenced. 

At length large, heavy drops of rain fell 

all round, clattering on the roof and trees and 

pailings. Bessie was just going to run in from 

the gate where she had posted herself, when 

she caught sight of those she was looking for. 

She clapped her hands with delight, but then 

stood quite quiet as she remembered her being 

in disgrace. On they came, running as fast as 

they could, and her. uncle as he 'passed bade 

her comi^ in, and before the rain had time to 

t 



848 THE BROKEN PITCHER. 

wet any of them they were all safe in the room, 
which with its bright fire and neatly arranged 
tea-table, looked very cheerful after the threat- 
ening gloom out-of-doors. 

"How nice and comfortable everything 
looks !" said Mrs. Hallet, as she took oflF her 
bonnet and shawl, and shook^ the rain from 
them. " You are a good girl; Bessie, to have 
got all so nicely ready." 

These kind words made Bessie feel quite 
happy, but she did not say anything as she set 
to work to help in taking off her little, cousins' 
things. Her cousins were all in a flutter about 
what they had seen, only Mary and Annie did 
not talk so much of it for fear of vexing Bessie, 
but the little ones kept saying, — 

" Oh, Bessie, we have seen such beautiful 
dolls dressed just like queens and great ladies." 

"And such nice gingerbread, Bessie, all 
made into castles, and horses, and lambs I" 

"And weVe sejn such pretty funny little 
monkeys ; I wish we could have brought one 
home to play ytiih. And such a great big 
elephant ; wasn't it a big one, Mary ?" 



THE BROKEN PITCHER. 849 

" Never mind about it ; see, we're going to 
have some gingerbread nuts for tea," said the 
good-natured Mary, as she emptied the conteirts 
of a paper bag into a plate, for she was afraid 
Bessie might be vexed. 

But Bessie was not vexed. She should have 
liked to see the elephant and the monkeys, but 
was too well satisfied with having done what 
was right to feel vexed about what she had 
lost by it. 

The storm which they had half forgotten 
now burst over them in earnest. Vivid light- 
ning now shot from the dark clouds in quick 
successive flashes, and thunder roared and rat- 
tled loudly overhead. Just then a carriage 
was driving along the road, and as it came in 
front of the cottage, the horses, alarmed by the 
lightning, suddenly became violent and •un- 
manageable. The footman had sprung down 
and run to the heads of the horses, as Bessie 
observed them, and her uncle, seeing also what 
was the matter, ran out to assist m holding 
them. 

But the horses could not be quieted, and it 
30 



350 THE BROKJEN PITCHER. 

was found requiBite to tike them from the car- 
riage and lead them away. A lady with two 
boys was in the carriage. The lady had been 
a good deal frightened, and willingly accepted 
the invitation of Mrs. Hallet, who had gone 
out in the rain to ask her to walk into her 
cottage during the thunder-storm. 

The lady appeared quite pleased at the com- 
fortable appearance of the room she entered, 
and the nicely-dressed children she found there ; 
for though Bessie Lee was in her every-day 
frock, her hair was so smoothly arranged and 
Bhe was altogether so neat that she looked as 
nice as her cousins. Then- the lady talked to 
them and learned that they had just returned, 
from the fair, and asked them questions about 
how they liked it, but when Bessie was asked, 
she .had to reply she had not been there. 

" What hot been there ?" and the lady looked 
surprised. 

" No, ma'am," said Mrs. Hallet ; " Bessie has 
been a naughty girl, and was not ^allowed to 
go. But she is not going to be naughty any 
more," she addei, stooping to kiss her niecei 



THE BBOKEN PITCHER. 851 

who had turned very red with shame and held 
down her head. 

The lady took no more notice of the matter. 
but Bessie felt exceedingly vexed, and she 
stood'for some time looking at the rain falling 
and the lightning flashing, without attending 
to what was said, until she heard one of the 
young gentlemen whisper to the other, " It is 
she, I am sure it is." 

" Yes, I see it is," replied the other. " Are you 
not," said he to Bessie, "the little girl whose 
pitcher I broke at the spring the other day ?" 

" What, sir !" said Hallet, quickly, " did you 
break it ?" 

" Why, yes, I only meant to hit her bonnet, 
but the stone struck the pitcher." 

" Then her account was true, after all I As 
she did not know who had done it, we did not 
believe her, and punished her for telling stories." 

Walter Clayton looked very foolish. " I — 
I had no money that da)', and so did not like 
to speak to her," he stammered^, "but I 
wished to see her when I had money to pay her 
for it." 



S52 THE BROKEN PITCHER. 

" I don't want , your money, sir" replied 
Halle't. " It wa*? not th6 wo. th of the pitcher 
my wife or I cared about, it was the idea that 
our niece ha^ told a falsehood about anything, 
if it was not of the value of a crook<3d pin. 
And though you had no money, do you not 
think it might have been better for a young 
gentleman like you to have come forward and 
said you had done the mischief, than to leave 
all the blame to fall upon a poor little girl, 
who has been kept in disgrace ever since, and 
left at home to-day as a punishment for telling 
a story." 

The boy blushed deeply, for he saw that 
Hallet would have said more but for the pre- 
sence of Walter's mother. 

" I am very*sorry," said Walter, " but do let 
me pay for it now." 

" No, sir," said Hallet ; " I have told you I 
don't want your money, I only wanted to know 

the truth." 

" You are quite right," said Mrs. Clayton, 
who had sat listening to all in silence. "I 
hope," she continued, addressiug her son, *' that 



THE BROKEN PircrflBR. 853 

this will teach you that you may do mischief 
which money cannot remedy, as you seem 
always to fancy it can. And I trust it will 
also show you how much sorrow you may bring 
upon other people by your heedless love of 
fiport." 

Mrs. Clayton said this because she knew 
Walter well enough to guess how it had all 
happened. She then called Bessie to her, and 
spoke kindly to her, and praised her for per- 
sisting in the truth, as she heard she had done. 
And when the storm was over, and Mrs. Clay- 
ton drove ofiF in her carriage, to which fresh 
horses had been put, she promised she would 
come in the morning and take Bessie to the 
fair to make up for that day's unmerited dis- 
appointment. 

How happy Bessie felt that evpning, and how 
much her uncle and aunt and cousins made oi 
her. And how glad she felt that she had not 
told a falsehood, for if she had it would have 
been discovered now, and she should have been 
90 ashamed 1 

And the next day was very happy also. 
30* 



854 THE BROKEN PITCHER. 

Mrs. Clayton called for her as she had promised, 
and on the way talked to her and questioned 
her kindly, and Bessie's heart was quite opened 
by the lady's goodness, and she told all that 
she had felt and thought during the last three 
days, without ever thinking what Walter 
Clayton might feel about it until she noticed 
his gloomy face, and then she regr,etted her 
thoughtlessness. 

" Nay, don't be sorry about it now," said the 
good little girl timidly, " I did not mean to vex 
you." 

" I know you did not,'' said Walter. " But 
I was thinking that I would try and never do 
anything again which should cause any one so • 
much trouble and distress." 

Mrs. Clayton smiled approvingly, for she 
saw that Walter was sincere in whiat he said. 
But they had arrived now, and there was no 
more time for talking. And now Bessie was 
taken to see the elephant, lion, and all the 
other wild animals, about which she had read 
sufficient to make her curious. And she . saw 
many other things also which she had never 



THE BROKEN PITCHER. 855 

Been before, but Mrs. Clayton's kindness gave 
lier more pleasure than anything there, or even 
the 'beautiful presents that lady bought for her. 

Then, after a delightful drive back, Bessie 
was set down again at her own home. And 
how ^ifiFectionately her aunt and cousins receiv- 
ed her, as though she had been absent for days* 
instead of two or three hours, for they were 
desirous to make up to her for past unkindness* 

And how the young people gazed in wonder- 
ing admiration at the pretty things which were 
handed out of the carriage. All were for 
Bessie, except a handsome jug which Mrs. Clay- 
ton had brought Mrs. Hallet in place of the 
pitcher her son had broken. Walter had beg- 
ged very hard to be allowed to buy it 'himself, 
but his mother would not permit him. She 
preferred to -let him feel, that the only amends 
he could make was by telling the truth as he 
had done already, and teach him that it is 
impossible foi!' money to compensate for the 
sufferings which heedless folly may occasion. 



r 



Apru. 



ifMW M®il 




, J88a. \ 

. 1 






Rescued from £!ffypL 

By A. L.. O. E. 16mo. 



. $1.60 



This admirable story Is on the same plan as ^*The Shepherd of 
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struction. 

A. Nutshell of JSTnowtedge. 
By A. L. O. E. 

2%e Old "Picture Sible. 

By the Author of "Broad Shadows "—" Post of Honor/ 
Ac, 16mo. with 16 fine Engravings. 

This popular writer in a series of conversations between an Intel- 
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The conversations are spirited and well calculated to interest th« 
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and good. 

J\retHe's Stumblinff Sloek. 

By the Author of "Katy and Jolly Jim." |1.26 

A good story with an excellent purpose. Nellie^s Stumbling Block 
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School and JETome. 

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2 





" THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD.*' 

TMJB WO'RD^ JTjiBJrS IPldOM JEl>BJ\r. 

16mo. IllustratedL $1.50 

This is the first of a very interestinff Series of Yolames on the 
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**Word." A little family liyiDg in the depths of an American forest, 
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who has-been an extensive traveler, is the chief speaker, a'nd illna- 
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All the children take a part, while the aged grandmother puts in her 
word hero and there. Beginning with the €hutien of Eden, we follow 
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My the rnktiM Jiuihor» 

/. Melbourne Mouse. 

New Edition. JllastratecL In one volume. $2.00 

A very touching and beautifhl story, in which, through the history 
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By the Authors of " The Wide, Wide World," and "'Dol- 
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"Ellen Montgomery's Book-shelf** is a perfect treasure of good 
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The Ifycliffltes; or J^ngland in the J^ifteenth 

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This is a new and neat Edition of an excellent stoiy whUh has been 
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the present generation.' 





Bp the JIuihar of 

««THE SCHONBERQ-COTTA FAMILY." 

« 

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needed in all our families and Sabbath Schools. 



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It traces the religious history of two bright little girls from child- 
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S. Tales of Christian £/ife, 16mo. 



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ZITTZJE KITTY'S ZHS^RjiHT. 

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OONTAINmO 

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6 vols. ICmo. in a neat box, .... $7.50 

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\ An admirable series of books for boys, by one of oar most gifted } 
V writers. The voluD.es sold separately at $t.25 each. ^ 






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