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´╗┐Title: Aunt Judy's Tales
Author: Gatty, Alfred, Mrs., 1809-1873
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Aunt Judy's Tales" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



Transcribed from the 1859 Bell and Daldy edition by David Price,
***
AUNT JUDY'S TALES



TO THE "LITTLE ONES" IN MANY HOMES,
THIS VOLUME IS DEDICATED.
M. G.



Contents:
   The Little Victims
   Vegetables out of Place
   Cook Stories
   Rabbits' Tails
   Out of the Way
   Nothing to do



THE LITTLE VICTIMS.



"Save our blessings, Master, save,
From the blight of thankless eye."
Lyra Innocentium.


There is not a more charming sight in the domestic world, than that
of an elder girl in a large family, amusing what are called the
LITTLE ONES.

How could mamma have ventured upon that cosy nap in the arm-chair by
the fire, if she had been harassed by wondering what the children
were about?  Whereas, as it was, she had overheard No. 8 begging the
one they all called "Aunt Judy," to come and tell them a story, and
she had beheld Aunt Judy's nod of consent; whereupon she had shut her
eyes, and composed herself to sleep quite complacently, under the
pleasant conviction that all things were sure to be in a state of
peace and security, so long as the children were listening to one of
those curious stories of Aunt Judy's, in which, with so much drollery
and amusement, there was sure to be mixed up some odd scraps of
information, or bits of good advice.

So, mamma being asleep on one side of the fire, and papa reading the
newspaper on the other, Aunt Judy and No. 8 noiselessly left the
room, and repaired to the large red-curtained dining-room, where the
former sat down to concoct her story, while the latter ran off to
collect the little ones together.

In less than five minutes' time there was a stream of noise along the
passage--a bursting open of the door, and a crowding round the fire,
by which Aunt Judy sat.

The "little ones" had arrived in full force and high expectation.  We
will not venture to state their number.  An order from Aunt Judy,
that they should take their seats quietly, was but imperfectly
obeyed; and a certain amount of hustling and grumbling ensued, which
betrayed a rather quarrelsome tendency.

At last, however, the large circle was formed, and the bright
firelight danced over sunny curls and eager faces.  Aunt Judy glanced
her eye round the group; but whatever her opinion as an artist might
have been of its general beauty, she was by no means satisfied with
the result of her inspection.

"No. 6 and No. 7," cried she, "you are not fit to listen to a story
at present.  You have come with dirty hands."

No. 6 frowned, and No. 7 broke out at once into a howl; he had washed
his hands ever so short a time ago, and had done nothing since but
play at knuckle-bones on the floor!  Surely people needn't wash their
hands every ten minutes!  It was very hard!

Aunt Judy had rather a logical turn of mind, so she set about
expounding to the "little ones" in general, and to Nos. 6 and 7 in
particular, that the proper time for washing people's hands was when
their hands were dirty; no matter how lately the operation had been
performed before.  Such, at least, she said, was the custom in
England, and everyone ought to be proud of belonging to so clean and
respectable a country.  She, therefore, insisted that Nos. 6 and 7
should retire up-stairs and perform the necessary ablution, or
otherwise they would be turned out, and not allowed to listen to the
story.

Nos. 6 and 7 were rather restive.  The truth was, it had been one of
those unlucky days which now and then will occur in families, in
which everything seemed to be perverse and go askew.  It was a dark,
cold, rainy day in November, and going out had been impossible.  The
elder boys had worried, and the younger ones had cried.  It was
Saturday too, and the maids were scouring in all directions, waking
every echo in the back-premises by the grating of sand-stone on the
flags; and they had been a good deal discomposed by the family effort
to play at "Wolf" in the passages.  Mamma had been at accounts all
the morning, trying to find out some magical corner in which expenses
could be reduced between then and the arrival of Christmas bills;
and, moreover, it was a half-holiday, and the children had, as they
call it, nothing to do.

So Nos. 6 and 7, who had been vexed about several other little
matters before, during the course of the day, broke out now on the
subject of the washing of their hands.

Aunt Judy was inexorable however--inexorable though cool; and the
rest got impatient at the delay which the debate occasioned:  so,
partly by coaxing, and partly by the threat of being shut out from
hearing the story, Nos. 6 and 7 were at last prevailed upon to go up-
stairs and wash their grim little paws into that delicate shell-like
pink, which is the characteristic of juvenile fingers when clean.

As they went out, however, they murmured, in whimpered tones, that
they were sure it was VERY HARD!

After their departure, Aunt Judy requested the rest not to talk, and
a complete silence ensued, during which one or two of the youngest
evidently concluded that she was composing her story, for they stared
at her with all their might, as if to discover how she did it.

Meantime the rain beat violently against the panes, and the red
curtains swayed to and fro from the effect of the wind, which, in
spite of tolerable woodwork, found its way through the divisions of
the windows.  There was something very dreary in the sound, and very
odd in the varying shades of red which appeared upon the curtains as
they swerved backwards and forwards in the firelight.

Several of the children observed it, but no one spoke until the
footsteps of Nos. 6 and 7 were heard approaching the door, on which a
little girl ventured to whisper, "I'm very glad I'm not out in the
wind and rain;" and a boy made answer, "Why, who would be so silly as
to think of going out in the wind and rain?  Nobody, of course!"

At that moment Nos. 6 and 7 entered, and took their places on two
little Derby chairs, having previously showed their pink hands in
sombre silence to Aunt Judy, whereupon Aunt Judy turned herself so as
to face the whole group, and then began her story as follows:-

"There were once upon a time eight little Victims, who were shut up
in a large stone-building, where they were watched night and day by a
set of huge grown-up keepers, who made them do whatever they chose."

"Don't make it TOO sad, Aunt Judy," murmured No. 8, half in a tremble
already.

"You needn't be frightened, No. 8," was the answer; "my stories
always end well."

"I'm so glad," chuckled No. 8 with a grin, as he clapped one little
fat hand down upon the other on his lap in complete satisfaction.
"Go on, please."

"Was the large stone-building a prison, Aunt Judy?" inquired No. 7.

"That depends upon your ideas of a prison," answered Aunt Judy.
"What do you suppose a prison is?"

"Oh, a great big place with walls all round, where people are locked
up, and can't go in and out as they choose."

"Very well.  Then I think you may be allowed to call the place in
which the little Victims were kept a prison, for it certainly was a
great big place with walls all round, and they were locked up at
night, and not allowed to go in and out as they chose."

"Poor things," murmured No. 8; but he consoled himself by
recollecting that the story was to end well.

"Aunt Judy, before you go on, do tell us what VICTIMS are?  Are they
fairies, or what?  I don't know."

This was the request of No. 5, who was rather more thoughtful than
the rest, and was apt now and then to delay a story by his inquiring
turn of mind.

No. 6 was in a hurry to hear some more, and nudged No. 5 to make him
be quiet; but Aunt Judy interposed; said she did not like to tell
stories to people who didn't care to know what they meant, and
declared that No. 5 was quite right in asking what a victim was.

"A victim," said she, "was the creature which the old heathens used
to offer up as a sacrifice, after they had gained a victory in
battle.  You all remember I dare say," continued she, "what a
sacrifice is, and have heard about Abel's sacrifice of the firstlings
of his flock."

The children nodded assent, and Aunt Judy went on:-

"No such sacrifices are ever offered up now by us Christians, and so
there are no more real VICTIMS now.  But we still use the word, and
call any creature a victim who is ill-used, or hurt, or destroyed by
somebody else.

"If you, any of you, were to worry or kill the cat, for instance,
then the cat would be called THE VICTIM OF YOUR CRUELTY; and in the
same manner the eight little Victims I am going to tell you about
were the victims of the whims and cruel prejudices of those who had
the charge of them.

"And now, before I proceed any further, I am going to establish a
rule, that whenever I tell you anything very sad about the little
Victims, you shall all of you groan aloud together.  So groan here,
if you please, now that you quite understand what a victim is."

Aunt Judy glanced round the circle, and they all groaned together to
order, led off by Nos. 3 and 4, who did not, it must be owned, look
in a very mournful state while they performed the ceremony.

It was wonderful what good that groan did them all!  It seemed to
clear off half the troubles of the day, and at its conclusion a smile
was visible on every face.

Aunt Judy then proceeded:-

"I do not want to make you cry too much, but I will tell you of the
miseries the captive victims underwent in the course of one single
day, and then you will be able to judge for yourselves what a life
they led together.

"One of their heaviest miseries happened every evening.  It was the
misery of GOING TO BED.  Perhaps now you may think it sounds odd that
going to bed should be called a misery.  But you shall hear how it
was.

"In the evening, when all the doors were safely locked and bolted, so
that no one could get away, the little Victims were summoned down-
stairs, and brought into a room where some of the keepers were sure
to be sitting in the greatest luxury.  There was generally a warm
fire on the hearth, and a beautiful lamp on the table, which shed an
agreeable light around, and made everything look so pretty and gay,
the hearts of the poor innocent Victims always rose at the sight.

"Sometimes there would be a huge visitor or two present, who would
now and then take the Victims on their knees, and say all manner of
entertaining things to them.  Or there would be nice games for them
to play at.  Or the keepers themselves would kiss them, and call them
kind names, as if they really loved them.  How nice all this sounds,
does it not?  And it would have been nice, if the keepers would but
have let it last for ever.  But that was just the one thing they
never would do, and the consequence was, that, whatever pleasure they
might have had, the wretched Victims always ended by being
dissatisfied and sad.

"And how could it be otherwise?  Just when they were at the height of
enjoyment, just when everything was most delightful, a horrible knock
was sure to be heard at the door, the meaning of which they all knew
but too well.  It was the knock which summoned them to bed; and at
such a moment you cannot wonder that going to bed was felt to be a
misfortune.

"Had there been a single one among them who was sleepy, or tired, or
ready for bed, there would have been some excuse for the keepers; but
as it was, there was none, for the little Victims never knew what it
was to feel tired or weary on those occasions, and were always
carried forcibly away before that feeling came on.

"Of course, when the knock was heard, they would begin to cry, and
say that it was very hard, and that they didn't WANT to go to bed,
and one went so far once as to add that she WOULDN'T go to bed.

"But it was all in vain.  The little Victims might as well have
attempted to melt a stone wall as those hard-hearted beings who had
the charge of them.

"And now, my dears," observed Aunt Judy, stopping in her account,
"this is of all others the exact moment at which you ought to show
your sympathy with the sufferers, and groan."

The little ones groaned accordingly, but in a very feeble manner.

Aunt Judy shook her head.

"That groan is not half hearty enough for such a misery.  Don't you
think, if you tried hard, you could groan a little louder?"

They did try, and succeeded a little better, but cast furtive glances
at each other immediately after.

"Were the beds very uncomfortable ones, Aunt Judy?" inquired No. 8,
in a subdued voice.

"You shall judge for yourself," was the answer.  "They were raised
off the floor upon legs, so that no wind from under the door could
get at them; and on the flat bottom called the bed-stock, there was
placed a thick strong bag called a mattress, which was stuffed with
some soft material which made it springy and pleasant to touch or lie
down upon.  The shape of it was a long square, or what may be called
a rectangular parallelogram.  I strongly advise you all to learn that
word, for it is rather an amusing idea as one steps into bed, to
think that one is going to sleep upon a parallelogram."

Nos. 3 and 4 were here unable to contain themselves, but broke into a
peal of laughter.  The little ones stared.

"Well," resumed Aunt Judy, "for my part, I think it's a very nice
thing to learn the ins and outs of one's own life; to consider how
one's bed is made, and the why and wherefore of its shape and
position.  It is a great pity to get so accustomed to things as not
to know their value till we lose them!  But to proceed.

"On the top of this parallelogramatic mattress was laid a soft
blanket.  On the top of that blanket, two white sheets.  On the top
of the sheets, two or more warm blankets, and on the top of the
blankets, a spotted cover called a counterpane.

"Now it was between the sheets that each little Victim was laid, and
such were the receptacles to which they were unwillingly consigned,
night after night of their lives!

"But I have not yet told you half the troubles of this dreadful
'going to bed.'  A good fire with a large tub before it, and towels
hung over the fender, was always the first sight which met the
tearful eyes of the little Victims as they entered the nursery after
being torn from the joys of the room down-stairs.  And then, lo and
behold! a new misery began, for, whether owing to the fatigue of
getting up-stairs, or that their feelings had been so much hurt, they
generally discovered at this moment that they were one and all so
excessively tired, they didn't know what to do;--of all things, did
not choose to be washed--and insisted, each of them, on being put to
bed first!  But let them say what they would, and cry afresh as they
pleased, and even snap and snarl at each other like so many small
terriers, those cruel keepers of theirs never would grant their
requests; never would put any of them to bed dirty, and always
declared that it was impossible to put each of them to bed first!

Imagine now the feelings of those who had to wait round the fire
while the others were attended to!  Imagine the weariness, the
disgust, before the whole party was finished, and put by for the
night!"

Aunt Judy paused, but no one spoke.

"What!" cried she suddenly, "will nobody groan?  Then I must groan
myself!" which she did, and a most unearthly noise she made; so much
so, that two or three of the little ones turned round to look at the
swelling red curtains, just to make sure the howl did not proceed
from thence.

After which Aunt Judy continued her tale:-

"So much for night and going to bed, about which there is nothing
more to relate, as the little Victims were uncommonly good sleepers,
and seldom awoke till long after daylight.

"Well now, what do you think?  By the time they had had a good night,
they felt so comfortable in their beds, that they were quite
contented to remain there; and then, of course, their tormentors
never rested till they had forced them to get up!  Poor little
things!  Just think of their being made to go to bed at night, when
they most disliked it, and then made to get up in the morning, when
they wanted to stay in bed!  It certainly was, as they always said,
'very, very hard.'  This was, of course, a winter misery, when the
air was so frosty and cold that it was very unpleasant to jump out
into it from a warm nest.  Terrible scenes took place on these
occasions, I assure you, for sometimes the wretched Victims would sit
shivering on the floor, crying over their socks and shoes instead of
putting them on, (which they had no spirit for,) and then the savage
creatures who managed them would insult them by irritating speeches.

"'Come, Miss So-and-So,' one would say, 'don't sit fretting there;
there's a warm fire, and a nice basin of bread-and-milk waiting for
you, if you will only be quick and get ready.'

"Get ready! a nice order indeed!  It meant that they must wash
themselves and be dressed before they would be allowed to touch a
morsel of food.

"But it is of no use dwelling on the unfeelingness of those keepers.
One day one of them actually said:-

"'If you knew what it was to have to get up without a fire to come
to, and without a breakfast to eat, you would leave off grumbling at
nothing.'

"NOTHING! they called it NOTHING to have to get out of a warm bed
into the fresh morning air, and dress before breakfast!

"Well, my dears," pursued Aunt Judy, after waiting here a few
seconds, to see if anybody would groan, "I shall take it for granted
you feel for the GETTING-UP misery as well as the GOING-TO-BED one,
although you have not groaned as I expected.  I will just add, in
conclusion, that the summer GETTING-UP misery was just the reverse of
this winter one.  Then the poor little wretches were expected to wait
till their nursery was dusted and swept; so there they had to lie,
sometimes for half-an-hour, with the sun shining in upon them, not
allowed to get up and come out into the dirt and dust!

"Of course, on those occasions they had nothing to do but squabble
among themselves and teaze; and I assure you they had every now and
then a very pleasant little revenge on their keepers, for they half
worried them out of their lives by disturbances and complaints, and
at any rate that was some comfort to them, although very often it
hindered the nursery from being done half as soon as it would have
been if they had been quiet.

"I shall not have time to tell of everything," continued Aunt Judy,
"so I must hurry over the breakfast, although the keepers contrived
to make even that miserable, by doing all they could to prevent the
little Victims from spilling their food on the table and floor, and
also by insisting on the poor little things sitting tolerably upright
on their seats--NOT lolling with both elbows on the table-cloth--NOT
making a mess--not, in short, playing any of those innocent little
pranks in which young creatures take delight.

"It was a pitiable spectacle, as you may suppose, to see reasonable
beings constrained against their inclinations to sit quietly while
they ate their hearty morning meal, which really, perhaps, they might
have enjoyed, had they been allowed to amuse themselves in their own
fashion at the same time.

"But I must go on now to that great misery of the day, which I shall
call the LESSON misery.

"Now you must know, the little Victims were all born, as young kids,
lambs, kittens, and puppy-dogs are, with a decided liking for jumping
about and playing all day long.  Think, therefore, what their
sufferings were when they were placed in chairs round a table, and
obliged to sit and stare at queer looking characters in books until
they had learned to know them what was called BY HEART.  It was a
very odd way of describing it, for I am sure they had often no heart
in the matter, unless it was a hearty dislike.

"'Tommy Brown in the village never learns any lessons,' cried one of
them once to the creature who was teaching him, 'why should I?  He is
always playing at oyster-dishes in the gutter when I see him, and
enjoying himself.  I wish _I_ might enjoy myself!'

"Poor Victim!  He little thought what a tiresome lecture this clever
remark of his would bring on his devoted head!

"Don't ask me to repeat it.  It amounted merely to this, that twenty
years hence he would he very glad he had learnt something else
besides making oyster-dishes in the streets.  As if that signified to
him now!  As if it took away the nuisance of having to learn at the
present moment, to be told it would be of use hereafter!  What was
the use of its being of use by-and-by?

"So thought the little Victim, young as he was; so, said he, in a
muttering voice:-

"'I don't care about twenty years hence; I want to be happy now!'

"This was unanswerable, as you may suppose; so the puzzled teacher
didn't attempt to make a reply, but said:-

"'Go on with your lessons, you foolish little boy!'

"See what it is to be obstinate," pursued Aunt Judy.  "See how it
blinds people's eyes, and prevents them from knowing right from
wrong!  Pray take warning, and never be obstinate yourselves; and
meantime, let us have a good hearty groan for the LESSON misery."

The little ones obeyed, and breathed out a groan that seemed to come
from the very depths of their hearts; but somehow or other, as the
story proceeded, the faces looked rather less amused, and rather more
anxious, than at first.

What could the little ones be thinking about to make them grave?

It was evidently quite a relief when Aunt Judy went on:-

"You will be very much surprised, I dare say," said she, "to hear of
the next misery I am going to tell you about.  It may be called the
DINNER misery, and the little Victims underwent it every day."

"Did they give them nasty things to eat, Aunt Judy?" murmured No. 8,
very anxiously.

"More likely not half enough," suggested No. 5.

"But you promised not to make the story TOO sad, remember!" observed
No. 6.

"I did," replied Aunt Judy, "and the DINNER misery did not consist in
nasty food, or there not being enough.  They had plenty to eat, I
assure you, and everything was good.  But--"

Aunt Judy stopped short, and glanced at each of the little ones in
succession.

"Make haste, Aunt Judy!" cried No. 8.  "But what?"

"BUT," resumed Aunt Judy, in her most impressive tone, "they had to
wait between the courses."

Again Aunt Judy paused, and there was a looking hither and thither
among the little ones, and a shuffling about on the small Derby
chairs, while one or two pairs of eyes were suddenly turned to the
fire, as if watching it relieved a certain degree of embarrassment
which their owners began to experience.

"It is not every little boy or girl," was Aunt Judy's next remark,
"who knows what the courses of a dinner are."

"_I_ don't," interposed No. 8, in a distressed voice, as if he had
been deeply injured.

"Oh, you think not?  Well, not by name, perhaps," answered Aunt Judy.
"But I will explain.  The courses of a dinner are the different sorts
of food, which follow each other one after the other, till dinner is
what people call 'over.'  Thus, supposing a dinner was to begin with
pea-soup, as you have sometimes seen it do, you would expect when it
was taken away to see some meat put upon the table, should you not?"

The little ones nodded assent.

"And after the meat was gone, you would expect pie or pudding, eh?"

They nodded assent again, and with a smile.

"And if after the pudding was carried away, you saw some cheese and
celery arrive, it would not startle you very much, would it?"

The little ones did nothing but laugh.

"Very well," pursued Aunt Judy, "such a dinner as we have been
talking about consists of four courses.  The soup course, the meat
course, the pudding course, and the cheese course.  And it was while
one course was being carried out, and another fetched in, that the
little Victims had to wait; and that was the DINNER misery I spoke
about, and a very grievous affair it was.  Sometimes they had
actually to wait several minutes, with nothing to do but to fidget on
their chairs, lean backwards till they toppled over, or forward till
some accident occurred at the table.  And then, poor little things,
if they ventured to get out their knuckle-bones for a game, or took
to a little boxing amusement among themselves, or to throwing the
salt in each other's mugs, or pelting each other with bits of bread,
or anything nice and entertaining, down came those merciless keepers
on their innocent mirth, and the old stupid order went round for
sitting upright and quiet.  Nothing that I can say about it would be
half as expressive as what the little Victims used to say themselves.
They said that it was 'SO VERY HARD.'

"Now, then, a good groan for the DINNER misery," exclaimed Aunt Judy
in conclusion.

The order was obeyed, but somewhat reluctantly, and then Aunt Judy
proceeded with her tale.

"On one occasion of the DINNER misery," resumed she, "there happened
to be a stranger lady present, who seemed to be very much shocked by
what the Victims had to undergo, and to pity them very much; so she
said she would set them a nice little puzzle to amuse them till the
second course arrived.  But now, what do you think the puzzle was?
It was a question, and this was it.  'Which is the harder thing to
bear--to have to wait for your dinner, or to have no dinner to wait
for?'

"I do not think the little Victims would have quite known what the
stranger lady meant, if she had not explained herself; for you see
THEY had never gone without dinner in their lives, so they had not an
idea what sort of a feeling it was to have NO DINNER TO WAIT FOR.
But she went on to tell them what it was like as well as she could.
She described to them little Tommy Brown, (whom they envied so much
for having no lessons to do,) eating his potatoe soaked in the
dripping begged at the squire's back-door, without anything else to
wait--or hope for.  She told them that HE was never teazed as to how
he sat, or even whether he sat or stood, and then she asked them if
they did not think he was a very happy little boy?  He had no trouble
or bother, but just ate his rough morsel in any way he pleased, and
then was off, hungry or not hungry, into the streets again.

"To tell you the truth," pursued Aunt Judy, "the Victims did not know
what to say to the lady's account of little Tommy Brown's happiness;
but as the roast meat came in just as it concluded, perhaps that
diverted their attention.  However, after they had all been helped,
it was suddenly observed that one of them would not begin to eat.  He
sat with his head bent over his plate, and his cheeks growing redder
and redder, till at last some one asked what was amiss, and why he
would not go on with his dinner, on which he sobbed out that he had
'much rather it was taken to little Tommy Brown!'"

"That was a very GOOD little Victim, wasn't he?" asked No. 8.

"But what did the keepers say?" inquired No. 5, rather anxiously.

"Oh," replied Aunt Judy, "it was soon settled that Tommy Brown was to
have the dinner, which made the little Victim so happy, he actually
jumped for joy.  On which the stranger lady told them she hoped they
would henceforth always ask themselves her curious question whenever
they sat down to a good meal again.  'For,' said she, 'my dears, it
will teach you to be thankful; and you may take my word for it, it is
always the ungrateful people who are the most miserable ones.'"

"Oh, Aunt Judy!" here interposed No. 6, somewhat vehemently, "you
need not tell any more!  I know you mean US by the little Victims!
But you don't think we really MEAN to be ungrateful about the beds,
or the dinners, or anything, do you?"

There was a melancholy earnestness in the tone of the inquiry, which
rather grieved Aunt Judy, for she knew it was not well to magnify
childish faults into too great importance:  so she took No. 6 on her
knee, and assured her she never imagined such a thing as their being
really ungrateful, for a moment.  If she had, she added, she should
not have turned their little ways into fun, as she had done in the
story.

No. 6 was comforted somewhat on hearing this, but still leant her
head on Aunt Judy's shoulder in a rather pensive state.

"I wonder what makes one so tiresome," mused the meditative No. 5,
trying to view the matter quite abstractedly, as if he himself was in
no way concerned in it.

"Thoughtlessness only," replied Aunt Judy, smiling.  "I have often
heard mamma say it is not ingratitude in CHILDREN when they don't
think about the comforts they enjoy every day; because the comforts
seem to them to come, like air and sunshine, as a mere matter of
course."

"Really?" exclaimed No. 6, in a quite hopeful tone.  "Does mamma
really say that?"

Yes; but then you know," continued Aunt Judy, "everybody has to be
taught to think by degrees, and then they get to know that no
comforts ever do really come to anybody as a matter of course.  No,
not even air and sunshine; but every one of them as blessings
permitted by God, and which, therefore, we have to be thankful for.
So you see we have to LEARN to be thankful as we have to learn
everything else, and mamma says it is a lesson that never ends, even
for grown-up people.

"And now you understand, No. 6, that you--oh!  I beg pardon, I mean
THE LITTLE VICTIMS--were not really ungrateful, but only thoughtless;
and the wonderful stranger lady did something to cure them of that,
and, in fact, proved a sort of Aunt Judy to them; for she explained
things in such a very entertaining manner, that they actually began
to think the matter over; and then they left off being stupid and
unthankful.

"But this reminds me," added Aunt Judy, "that you--tiresome No. 6--
have spoilt my story after all!  I had not half got to the end of the
miseries.  For instance, there was the TAKING-CARE misery, in
consequence of which the little Victims were sent out to play on a
fine day, and kept in when it was stormy and wet, all because those
stupid keepers were more anxious to keep them well in health than to
please them at the moment.

"And then there was--above all--" here Aunt Judy became very
impressive, "the WASHING misery, which consisted in their being
obliged to make themselves clean and comfortable with soap and water
whenever they happened to be dirty, whether with playing at knuckle-
bones on the floor, or anything else, and which was considered SO
HARD that--"

But here a small hand was laid on Aunt Judy's mouth, and a gentle
voice said, "Stop, Aunt Judy, now!" on which the rest shouted, "Stop!
stop! we won't hear any more," in chorus, until all at once, in the
midst of the din, there sounded outside the door the ominous
knocking, which announced the hour of repose to the juvenile branches
of the family.

It was a well-known summons, but on this occasion produced rather an
unusual effect.  First, there was a sudden profound silence, and
pause of several seconds; then an interchange of glances among the
little ones; then a breaking out of involuntary smiles upon several
young faces; and at last a universal "Good-night, Aunt Judy!" very
quietly and demurely spoken.

"If the little Victims were only here to see how YOU behave over the
GOING-TO-BED misery, what a lesson it would be!" suggested Aunt Judy,
with a mischievous smile.

"Ah, yes, yes, we know, we know!" was the only reply, and it came
from No. 8, who took advantage of being the youngest to be more saucy
than the rest.

Aunt Judy now led the little party into the drawing-room to bid their
father and mother good-night too.  And certainly when the door was
opened, and they saw how bright and cosy everything looked, in the
light of the fire and the lamps, with mamma at the table, wide awake
and smiling, they underwent a fearful twinge of the GOING-TO-BED
misery.  But they checked all expression of their feelings.  Of
course, mamma asked what Aunt Judy's story had been about, and heard;
and heard, too, No. 6's little trouble lest she should have been
guilty of the sin of real ingratitude; and, of course, mamma
applauded Aunt Judy's explanation about the want of thought, very
much indeed.

"But, mamma," said No. 6 to her mother, "Aunt Judy said something
about grown-up people having to learn to be thankful.  Surely you and
papa never cry for nonsense, and things you can't have?"

"Ah, my darling No. 6," cried mamma earnestly, "grown-up people may
not CRY for what they want exactly, but they are just as apt to wish
for what they cannot have, as you little ones are.  For instance,
grown-up people would constantly like to have life made easier and
more agreeable to them, than God chooses it to be.  They would like
to have a little more wealth, perhaps, or a little more health, or a
little more rest, or that their children should always be good and
clever, and well and happy.  And while they are thinking and fretting
about the things they want, they forget to be thankful for those they
have.  I am often tempted in this way myself, dear No. 6; so you see
Aunt Judy is right, and the lesson of learning to be thankful never
ends, even for grown-up people.

"One other word before you go.  I dare say you little ones think we
grown-up people are quite independent, and can do just as we like.
But it is not so.  We have to learn to submit to the will of the
great Keeper of Heaven and earth, without understanding it, just as
Aunt Judy's little Victims had to submit to their keepers without
knowing why.  So thank Aunt Judy for her story, and let us all do our
best to be obedient and contented."

"When I am old enough, mother," remarked No. 7, in his peculiarly
mild and deliberate way of speaking, and smiling all the time, "I
think I shall put Aunt Judy into a story.  Don't you think she would
make a capital Ogre's wife, like the one in 'Jack and the Bean-
Stalk,' who told Jack how to behave, and gave him good advice?"

It was a difficult question to say "No" to, so mamma kissed No. 7,
instead of answering him, and No. 7 smiled himself away, with his
head full of the bright idea.



VEGETABLES OUT OF PLACE.



"But any man that walks the mead,
   In bud or blade, or bloom, may find,
According as his humours lead,
   A meaning suited to his mind."
TENNYSON.

It was a fine May morning.  Not one of those with an east wind and a
bright sun, which keep people in a puzzle all as day to whether it is
hot or cold, and cause endless nursery disputes about the keeping on
of comforters and warm coats, whenever a hoop-race, or some such
active exertion, has brought a universal puggyness over the juvenile
frame--but it was a really mild, sweet-scented day, when it is quite
a treat to be out of doors, whether in the gardens, the lanes, or the
fields, and when nothing but a holland jacket is thought necessary by
even the most tiresomely careful of mammas.

It was not a day which anybody would have chosen to be poorly upon;
but people have no choice in such matters, and poor little No. 7, of
our old friends "the little ones," was in bed ill of the measles.

The wise old Bishop, Jeremy Taylor, told us long ago, how well
children generally bear sickness.  "They bear it," he says, "by a
direct sufferance;" that is to say, they submit to just what
discomfort exists at the moment, without fidgetting about either a
cause or a consequence," and decidedly without fretting about what is
to come.

For a grown-up person to attain to the same state of unanxious
resignation, is one of the high triumphs of Christian faith.  It is
that "delivering one's self up," of which the poor speak so forcibly
on their sick-beds.

No. 7 proved a charming instance of the truth of Jeremy Taylor's
remark.  He behaved in the most composed manner over his feelings,
and even over his physic.

During the first day or two, when he sat shivering by the fire,
reading "Neill D'Arcy's Life at Sea," and was asked how he felt, he
answered with his usual smile; "Oh, all right; only a little cold now
and then."  And afterwards, when he was in bed in a darkened room,
and the same question was put, he replied almost as quietly, (though
without the smile,) "Oh--only a little too hot."

Then over the medicine, he contested nothing.  He made, indeed, one
or two by no means injudicious suggestions, as to the best method of
having the disagreeable material, whether powdery or oleaginous, (I
will not particularize further!) conveyed down his throat:  commonly
said, "Thank you," even before he had swallowed it; and then shut his
eyes, and kept himself quiet.

Fortunately No. 1, and Schoolboy No. 3, had had the complaint as well
as papa and mamma, so there were plenty to share in the nursing and
house matters.  The only question was, what was to be done with the
little ones while Nurse was so busy; and Aunt Judy volunteered her
services in their behalf.

Now it will easily be supposed, after what I have said, that the
nursing was not at all a difficult undertaking; but I am grieved to
say that Aunt Judy's task was by no means so easy a one.

The little ones were very sorry, it is true, that No. 7 was poorly;
but, unluckily, they forgot it every time they went either up-stairs
or down.  They could not bear in their minds the fact, that when they
encouraged the poodle to bark after an India-rubber ball, he was
pretty sure to wake No. 7 out of a nap; and, in short, the day being
so fine, and the little ones so noisy, Aunt Judy packed them all off
into their gardens to tidy them up, she herself taking her station in
a small study, the window of which looked out upon the family play-
ground.

Her idea, perhaps, was, that she could in this way combine the
prosecution of her own studies, with enacting policeman over the
young gardeners, and "keeping the peace," as she called it.  But if
so, she was doomed to disappointment.

The operation of "tidying up gardens," as performed by a set of
"little ones," scarcely needs description.

It consists of a number of alterations being thought of, and set
about, not one of which is ever known to be finished by those who
begin them.  It consists of everybody wanting the rake at the same
moment, and of nobody being willing to use the other tools, which
they call stupid and useless things.  It consists of a great many
plants being moved from one place to another, when they are in full
flower, and dying in consequence.  (But how, except when they are in
flower, can anyone judge where they will look best?)  It consists of
a great many seeds being prevented from coming up at all, by an
"alteration" cutting into the heart of the patch just as they were
bursting their shells for a sprout.  It consists of an unlimited and
fatal application of the cold-water cure.

And, finally, it results in such a confusion between foot-walks and
beds--such a mixture of earth and gravel, and thrown-down tools--that
anyone unused to the symptoms of the case, might imagine that the
door of the pigsty in the yard had been left open, and that its
inhabitant had been performing sundry uncouth gambols with his nose
in the little ones' gardens.

Aunt Judy was quite aware of these facts, and she had accordingly
laid down several rules, and given several instructions to prevent
the usual catastrophe; and all went very smoothly at first in
consequence.  The little ones went out all hilarity and delight, and
divided the tools with considerable show of justice, while Aunt Judy
nodded to them approvingly out of her window, and then settled down
to an interesting sum in that most peculiar of all arithmetical
rules, "The Rule of False," the principle of which is, that out of
two errors, made by yourself from two wrong guesses, you arrive at a
discovery of the truth!

When Aunt Judy first caught sight of this rule, a few days before, at
the end of an old summing-book, it struck her fancy at once.  The
principle of it was capable of a much more general application than
to the "Rule of False," and she amused herself by studying it up.

It is, no doubt, a clumsy substitute for algebra; but young folks who
have not learnt algebra, will find it a very entertaining method of
making out all such sums as the following old puzzler, over which
Aunt Judy was now poring:

"There is a certain fish, whose head is 9 inches in length, his tail
as long as his head and half of his back, and his back as long as
both head and tail together.  Query, the length of the fish?"

But Aunt Judy was not left long in peace with her fish.  While she
was in the thick of "suppositions" and "errors," a tap came at the
window.

"Aunt Judy!"

"Stop!" was the answer; and the hand of the speaker went up, with the
slate-pencil in it, enforcing silence while she pursued her
calculations.

"Say, back 42 inches; then tail (half back) 21, and head given, 9,
that's 30, and 30 and 9, 39 back.--Won't do!  Second error:  three
inches--What's the matter, No. 6?  You surely have not begun to
quarrel already?"

"Oh, no," answered No. 6, with her nose flattened against the window-
pane.  "But please, Aunt Judy, No. 8 won't have the oyster-shell
trimming round his garden any longer, he says; he says it looks so
rubbishy.  But as my garden joins his down the middle, if he takes
away the oyster-shells all round his, then one of MY sides--the one
in the middle, I mean--will be left bare, don't you see? and I want
to keep the oyster-shells all round may garden, because mamma says
there are still some zoophytes upon them.  So how is it to be?"

What a perplexity!  The fish with his nine-inch head, and his tail as
long as his head and half of his back, was a mere nothing to it.

Aunt Judy threw open the window.

"My dear No. 6," answered she, "yours is the great boundary-line
question about which nations never do agree, but go squabbling on
till some one has to give way first.  There is but one plan for
settling it, and that is, for each of you to give up a piece of your
gardens to make a road to run between.  Now if you'll both give way
at once, and consent to this, I will come out to you myself, and
leave my fish till the evening.  It's much too fine to stay in doors,
I feel; and I can give you all something real to do."

"I'LL give way, I'm sure, Aunt Judy," cried No. 6, quite glad to be
rid of the dispute; "and so will you, won't you, No. 8?" she added,
appealing to that young gentleman, who stood with his pinafore full
of dirty oyster-shells, not quite understanding the meaning of what
was said.

"I'll WHAT?" inquired he.

"Oh, never mind!  Only throw the oyster-shells down, and come with
Aunt Judy.  It will be much better fun than staying here."

No. 8 lowered his pinafore at the word of command, and dropped the
discarded oyster-shells, one by one--where do you think?--why--right
into the middle of his little garden! an operation which seemed to be
particularly agreeable to him, if one might judge by his face.  He
was not sorry either to be relieved from the weight.

"You see, Aunt Judy," continued No. 6 to her sister, who had now
joined them, "it doesn't so much matter about the oyster-shell
trimming; but No. 8's garden is always in such a mess, that I must
have a wall or something between us!"

"You shall have a wall or a path decidedly," replied Aunt Judy:  "a
road is the next best thing to a river for a boundary-line.  But now,
all of you, pick up the tools and come with me, and you shall do some
regular work, and be paid for it at the rate of half-a-farthing for
every half hour.  Think what a magnificent offer!"

The little ones thought so in reality, and welcomed the arrangement
with delight, and trudged off behind Aunt Judy, calculating so hard
among themselves what their conjoint half-farthings would come to,
for the half-hours they all intended to work, and furthermore, what
amount or variety of "goodies" they would purchase, that Aunt Judy
half fancied herself back in the depths of the "Rule of False" again!

She led them at last to a pretty shrubbery-walk, of which they were
all very fond.  On one side of it was a quick-set hedge, in which the
honeysuckle was mixed so profusely with the thorn, that they grew and
were clipped together.

It was the choicest spot for a quiet evening stroll in summer that
could possibly be imagined.  The sweet scent from the honeysuckle
flowers stole around you with a welcome as you moved along, and set
you a dreaming of some far-off region where the delicious sensations
produced by the odour of flowers may not be as transient as they are
here.

There was an alcove in the middle of the walk--not one of the modern
mockeries of rusticity--but a real old-fashioned lath-and-plaster
concern, such as used to be erected in front of a bowling-green.  It
was roofed in, was open only on the sunny side, and was supported by
a couple of little Ionic pillars, up which clematis and passion-
flower were studiously trained.

There was a table as well as seats within; and the alcove was a very
nice place for either reading or drawing in, as it commanded a pretty
view of the distant country.  It was also, and perhaps especially,
suited to the young people in their more poetical and fanciful moods.

The little ones had no sooner reached the entrance of the favourite
walk, than they scampered past Aunt Judy to run a race; but No. 6
stopped suddenly short.

"Aunt Judy, look at these horrible weeds!  Ah! I do believe this is
what you have brought us here for!"

It was indeed; for some showers the evening before, had caused them
to flourish in a painfully prominent manner, and the favourite walk
presented a somewhat neglected appearance.

So Aunt Judy marked it off for the little ones to weed, repeated the
exhilarating promise of the half-farthings, and seated herself in the
alcove to puzzle out the length of the fish.

At first it was rather amusing to hear, how even in the midst of
their weeding, the little ones pursued their calculations of the
anticipated half-farthings, and discussed the niceness and prices of
the various descriptions of "goodies."

But by degrees, less and less was said; and at last, the half-
farthings and "goodies" seemed altogether forgotten, and a new idea
to arise in their place.

The new idea was, that this weeding-task was uncommonly troublesome!

"I'm sure there are many more weeds in my piece than in anybody
else's!" remarked the tallest of the children, standing up to rest
his rather tired back, and contemplate the walk.  "I don't think Aunt
Judy measured it out fair!"

"Well, but you're the biggest, and ought to do the most," responded
No. 6.

"A LITTLE the most is all very well," persisted No. 5; "but I've got
TOO MUCH the most rather--and it's very tiresome work."

"What nonsense!" rejoined No. 6.  "I don't believe the weeds are any
thicker in your piece than in mine.  Look at my big heap.  And I'm
sure I'm quite as tired as you are."

No. 6 got up as she spoke, to see how matters were going on; not at
all sorry either, to change her position.

"I'VE got the most," muttered No. 8 to himself, still kneeling over
his work.

But this was, it is to be feared, a very unjustifiable bit of brag.

"If you go on talking so much, you will not get any half-farthings at
all!" shouted No. 4, from the distance.

A pause followed this warning, and the small party ducked down again
to their work.

They no longer liked it, however; and very soon afterwards the jocose
No. 5 observed, in subdued tones to the others:-

"I wonder what THE LITTLE VICTIMS would have said to this kind of
thing?"

"They'd have hated it," answered No. 6, very decidedly.

The fact was, the little ones were getting really tired, for the fine
May morning had turned into a hot day; and in a few minutes more, a
still further aggravation of feeling took place.

No. 6 got up again, shook the gravel from her frock, blew it off her
hands, pushed back a heap of heavy curls from her face, set her hat
as far back on her head as she could, and exclaimed:-

"I wish there were no such things as weeds in the world!"

Everybody seemed struck with this impressive sentiment, for they all
left off weeding at once, and Aunt Judy came forward to the front of
the alcove.

"Don't you, Aunt Judy?" added No. 6, feeling sure her sister had
heard.

"Not I, indeed," answered Aunt Judy, with a comical smile:  "I'm too
fond of cream to my tea."

"Cream to your tea, Aunt Judy?  What can that have to do with it?"

The little ones were amazed.

"Something," at any rate, responded Aunt Judy; "and if you like to
come in here, and sit down, I will tell you how."

Away went hoes and weeding-knives at once, and into the alcove they
rushed; and never had garden-seats felt so thoroughly comfortable
before.

"If one begins to wish," suggested No. 5, stretching his legs out to
their full extent, "one may as well wish oneself a grand person with
a lot of gardeners to clear away the weeds as fast as they come up,
and save one the trouble."

"Much better wish them away, and save everybody the trouble,"
persisted No. 6.

"No:  one wants them sometimes."

"What an idea!  Who ever wants weeds?"

"You yourself."

"I?  What nonsense!"

But the persevering No. 5 proceeded to explain.  No. 6 had asked him
a few days before to bring her some groundsel for her canary, and he
had been quite disappointed at finding none in the garden.  He had
actually to "trail" into the lanes to fetch a bit.

This was a puzzling statement; so No. 6 contented herself with
grumbling out:-

"Weeds are welcome to grow in the lanes."

"Weeds are not always weeds in the lanes," persisted No. 5, with a
grin:  "they're sometimes wild-flowers."

"I don't care what they are," pouted No. 6.  "I wish I lived in a
place where there were none."

"And I wish I was a great man, with lots of gardeners to take them
up, instead of me," maintained No. 5, who was in a mood of lazy
tiresomeness, and kept rocking to and fro on the garden-chair, with
his hands tucked under his thighs.  "A weed--a weed," continued he;
"what is a weed, I wonder?  Aunt Judy, what is a weed?"

Aunt Judy had surely been either dreaming or cogitating during the
last few minutes, for she had taken no notice of what was said, but
she roused up now, and answered:-

"A vegetable out of its place."

"A VEGETABLE," repeated No. 5, "why we don't eat them, Aunt Judy."

"You kitchen-garden interpreter, who said we did?" replied she.  "All
green herbs are VEGETABLES, let me tell you, whether we eat them or
not."

"Oh, I see," mused No. 5, quietly enough, but in another instant he
broke out again.

"I'll tell you what though, some of them are real vegetables, I mean
kitchen-garden vegetables, to other creatures, and that's why they're
wanted.  Groundsel's a vegetable, it's the canary's vegetable.  I
mean his kitchen-garden vegetable, and if he had a kitchen-garden of
his own, he would grow it as we do peas.  So I was right after all,
No. 6!"

That TWIT at the end spoilt everything, otherwise this was really a
bright idea of No. 5's.

"Aunt Judy, do begin to talk yourself," entreated No. 6.  "I wish No.
5 would be quiet, and not teaze."

"And he wishes the same of you," replied Aunt Judy, "and I wish the
same of you all.  What is to be done?  Come, I will tell you a story,
on one positive understanding, namely, that whoever teazes, or even
TWITS, shall be turned out of the company."

No. 5 sat up in his chair like a dart in an instant, and vowed that
he would be the best of the good, till Aunt Judy had finished her
story.

"After which--" concluded he, with a wink and another grin.

"After which, I shall expect you to be better still," was Aunt Judy's
emphatic rejoinder.  And peace being now completely established, she
commenced:  "There was once upon a time--what do you think?"--here
she paused and looked round in the children's faces.

"A giant!" exclaimed No. 8.

"A beautiful princess!" suggested No. 6.

"SOMETHING," said Aunt Judy, "but I am not going to tell you what at
present.  You must find out for yourselves.  Meantime I shall call it
SOMETHING, or merely make a grunting--hm--when I allude to it, as
people do to express a blank."

The little ones shuffled about in delighted impatience at the notion
of the mysterious "something" which they were to find out, and Aunt
Judy proceeded:-

"This--hm--then, lived in a large meadow field, where it was the
delight of all beholders.  The owner of the property was constantly
boasting about it to his friends, for he maintained that it was the
richest, and most beautiful, and most valuable--hm--in all the
country round.  Surely no other thing in this world ever found itself
more admired or prized than this SOMETHING did.  The commonest
passer-by would notice it, and say all manner of fine things in its
praise, whether in the early spring, the full summer, or the autumn,
for at each of these seasons it put on a fresh charm, and formed a
subject of conversation.  'Only look at that lovely--hm--' was quite
a common exclamation at the sight of it.  'What a colour it has!  How
fresh and healthy it looks!  How invaluable it must be!  Why, it must
be worth at least--' and then the speaker would go calculating away
at the number of pounds, shillings, and pence, the--hm--would fetch,
if put into the money-market, which is, I am sorry to say, a very
usual, although very degrading way of estimating worth.

"To conclude, the mild-eyed Alderney cow, who pastured in the field
during the autumn months, would chew the cud of approbation over the-
-hm--for hours together, and people said it was no wonder at all that
she gave such delicious milk and cream."

Here a shout of supposed discovery broke from No. 5.  "I've guessed,
I know it!"

But a "hush" from Aunt Judy stopped him short.

"No. 5, nobody asked your opinion, keep it to yourself, if you
please."

No. 5 was silenced, but rubbed his hands nevertheless.

"Well," continued Aunt Judy, "that 'SOMETHING' ought surely to have
been the most contented thing in the world.  Its merits were
acknowledged; its usefulness was undoubted; its beauty was the theme
of constant admiration; what had it left to wish for?  Really
nothing; but by an unlucky accident it became dissatisfied with its
situation in a meadow field, and wished to get into a higher position
in life, which, it took for granted, would be more suited to its many
exalted qualities.  The 'SOMETHING' of the field wanted to inhabit a
garden.  The unlucky accident that gave rise to this foolish idea,
was as follows:-

"A little boy was running across the beautiful meadow one morning,
with a tin-pot full of fishing bait in his hand, when suddenly he
stumbled and fell down.

"The bait in the tin-pot was some lob-worms, which the little boy had
collected out of the garden adjoining the field, and they were spilt
and scattered about by his fall.

"He picked up as many as he could find, however, and ran off again;
but one escaped his notice and was left behind.

"This gentleman was insensible for a few seconds; but as soon as he
came to himself, and discovered that he was in a strange place, he
began to grumble and find fault.

"'What an uncouth neighbourhood!'  Such were his exclamations.  'What
rough impracticable roads!  Was ever lob-worm so unlucky before!'  It
was impossible to move an inch without bumping his sides against some
piece of uncultivated ground.

"Judge for yourselves, my dears," continued Aunt Judy, pathetically,
"what must have been the feelings of the 'SOMETHING' which had lived
proudly and happily in the meadow field for so long, on hearing such
offensive remarks.

"Its spirit was up in a minute, just as yours would have been, and it
did not hesitate to inform the intruder that travellers who find
fault with a country before they have taken the trouble to inquire
into its merits, are very ignorant and impertinent people.

"This was blow for blow, as you perceive; and the TEAZE-AND-TWIT
system was now continued with great animation on both sides.

"The lob-worm inquired, with a conceited wriggle, what could be the
merits of a country, where gentlemanly, gliding, thin-skinned
creatures like himself were unable to move about without personal
annoyance?  Whereupon the amiable 'SOMETHING' made no scruple of
telling the lob-worm that his BETTERS found no fault with the place,
and instanced its friend and admirer the Alderney cow.

"On which the lob-worm affected forgetfulness, and exclaimed, 'Cow?
cow? do I know the creature?  Ah!  Yes, I recollect now; clumsy legs,
horny feet, and that sort of thing,' proceeding to hint that what was
good enough for a cow, might yet not be refined enough for his own
more delicate habits.

"'It is my misfortune, perhaps,' concluded he, with mock humility,
'to have been accustomed to higher associations; but really, situated
as I am here, I could almost feel disposed to--why, positively, to
wish myself a cow, with clumsy legs and horny feet.  What one may
live to come to, to be sure!'

"Well," Aunt Judy proceeded, "will you believe it, the lob-worm went
on boasting till the poor deluded 'SOMETHING' believed every word he
said, and at last ventured to ask in what favoured spot he had
acquired his superior tastes and knowledge.

"And then, of course, the lob-worm had the opportunity of opening out
in a very magnificent bit of brag, and did not fail to do so.

"Travellers can always boast with impunity to stationary folk, and
the lob-worm had no conscience about speaking the truth.

So on he chattered, giving the most splendid account of the garden in
which he lived.  Gorgeous flowers, velvet lawns, polished gravel-
walks, along which he was wont to take his early morning stroll,
before the ruder creatures of the neighbourhood, such as dogs, cats,
&c. were up and about, were all his discourse; and he spoke of them
as if they were his own, and told of the nursing and tending of every
plant in the lovely spot, as if the gardeners did it all for his
convenience and pleasure.

"Of the little accidents to which he and his race have from time
immemorial been liable from awkward spades, or those very early
birds, by whom he ran a risk of being snapped up every time he
emerged out of the velvet lawns for the morning strolls, he said just
nothing at all.

"All was unmixed delight (according to his account) in the garden,
and having actually boasted himself into good humour with himself,
and therefore with everybody else, he concluded by expressing the
condescending wish, that the 'SOMETHING' in the field should get
itself removed to the garden, to enjoy the life of which he spoke.

"'Undeniably beautiful as you are here,' cried he, 'your beauty will
increase a thousand fold, under the gardener's fostering care.
Appreciated as you are now in your rustic life, the most prominent
place will be assigned to you when you get into more distinguished
society; so that everybody who passes by and sees you, will exclaim
in delight, 'Behold this exquisite--hm--!'"

"Oh dear, Aunt Judy," cried No. 6, "was the 'hum,' as you will call
it, so silly as to believe what he said?"

"How could the poor simple-minded thing be expected to resist such
elegant compliments, my dear No. 6?" answered Aunt Judy.  "But then
came the difficulty.  The 'SOMETHING' which lived in the field had no
more legs than the lob-worm himself, and, in fact, was incapable of
locomotion."

"Of course it was!" ejaculated No. 5.

"Order!" cried Aunt Judy, and proceeded:-

"So the--hm--hung down its graceful head in despair, but suddenly a
bright and loving thought struck it.  It could not change its place
and rise in life itself, but its children might, and that would be
some consolation.  It opened its heart on this point to the lob-worm,
and although the lob-worm had no heart to be touched, he had still a
tongue to talk.

"If the--hm--would send its children to the garden at the first
opportunity, he would be delighted, absolutely charmed, to introduce
them in the world.  He would put them in the way of everything, and
see that they were properly attended to.  There was nothing he
couldn't or wouldn't do.

"This last pretentious brag seemed to have exhausted even the lob-
worm's ingenuity, for, soon after he had uttered it, he shuffled away
out of the meadow in the best fashion that he could, leaving the
'SOMETHING' in the field in a state of wondering regret.  But it
recovered its spirits again when the time came for sending its
children to the favoured garden abode.

"'My dears,' it said, 'you will soon have to begin life for
yourselves, and I hope you will do so with credit to your bringing
up.  I hope you are now ambitious enough to despise the dull old plan
of dropping contentedly down, just where you happen to be, or waiting
for some chance traveller (who may never come) to give you a lift
elsewhere.  That paradise of happiness, of which the lob-worm told
us, is close at hand.  Come! it only wants a little extra exertion on
your part, and you will be carried thither by the wind, as easily as
the wandering Dandelion himself.  Courage, my dears! nothing out of
the common is ever gained without an effort.  See now! as soon as
ever a strong breeze blows the proper way, I shall shake my heads as
hard as ever I can, that you may be off.  All the doors and windows
are open now, you know, and you must throw yourselves out upon the
wind.  Only remember one thing, when you are settled down in the
beautiful garden, mind you hold up your heads, and do yourselves
justice, my dears.'

"The children gave a ready assent, of course, as proud as possible at
the notion; and when the favourable breeze came, and the maternal
heads were shaken, out they all flew, and trusted themselves to its
guidance, and in a few minutes settled down all over the beautiful
garden, some on the beds, some on the lawn, some on the polished
gravel-walks.  And all I can say is, happiest those who were least
seen!"

"Grass weeds! grass weeds!" shouted the incorrigible No. 5, jumping
up from his seat and performing two or three Dervish-like turns.

"Oh, it's too bad, isn't it, Aunt Judy," cried No. 6, "to stop your
story in the middle?"

Whereupon Aunt Judy answered that he had not stopped the story in the
middle, but at the end, and she was glad he had found out the meaning
of her--HM--!

But No. 6 would not be satisfied, she liked to hear the complete
finish up of everything.  "Did the 'HUM'S' children ever grow up in
the garden, and did they ever see the lob-worm again?"

"The--hm's--children did SPRING up in the garden," answered Aunt
Judy, "and did their best to exhibit their beauty on the polished
gravel-walks, where they were particularly delighted with their own
appearance one May morning after a shower of rain, which had made
them more prominent than usual.  'Remember our mother's advice,'
cried they to each other.  'This is the happy moment!  Let us hold up
our heads, and do ourselves justice, my dears.'

"Scarcely were the words spoken, when a troop of rude creatures came
scampering into the walk, and a particularly unfeeling monster in
curls, pointed to the beautiful up-standing little--hms--and shouted,
'Aunt Judy, look at these HORRIBLE WEEDS!'

"I needn't say any more," concluded Aunt Judy.  "You know how you've
used them; you know what you've done to them; you know how you've
even wished there were NO SUCH THINGS IN THE WORLD!"

"Oh, Aunt Judy, how capital!" ejaculated No. 6, with a sigh, the sigh
of exhausted amusement.

"'The HUM was a weed too, then, was it?" said No. 8.  He did not
quite see his way through the tale.

"It was not a weed in the meadow," answered Aunt Judy, "where it was
useful, and fed the Alderney cow.  It was beautiful Grass there, and
was counted as such, because that was its proper place.  But when it
put its nose into garden-walks, where it was not wanted, and had no
business, then everybody called the beautiful Grass a weed."

"So a weed is a vegetable out of its place, you see," subjoined No.
5, who felt the idea to be half his own, "and it won't do to wish
there were none in the world."

"And a vegetable out of its place being nothing better than a weed,
Mr. No. 5," added Aunt Judy, "it won't do to be too anxious about
what is so often falsely called, bettering your condition in life.
Come, the story is done, and now we'll go home, and all the patient
listeners and weeders may reckon upon getting one or more farthings
apiece from mamma.  And as No. 6's wish is not realized, and there
are still weeds {1} in the world, and among them Grass weeds, _I_
shall hope to have some cream to my tea."



COOK STORIES.



"Down too, down at your own fireside,
With the evil tongue and the evil ear,
For each is at war with mankind."
TENNYSON'S Maud.

Aunt Judy had gone to the nursery wardrobe to look over some clothes,
and the little ones were having a play to themselves.  As she opened
the door, they were just coming to the end of an explosive burst of
laughter, in which all the five appeared to have joined, and which
they had some difficulty in stopping.  No. 4, who was a biggish girl,
had giggled till the tears were running over her cheeks; and No. 8,
in sympathy, was leaning back in his tiny chair in a sort of ecstasy
of amusement.

The five little ones had certainly hit upon some very entertaining
game.

They were all (boys and girls alike) dressed up as elderly ladies,
with bits of rubbishy finery on their heads and round their
shoulders, to imitate caps and scarfs; the boys' hair being neatly
parted and brushed down the middle; and they were seated in form
round what was called "the Doll's Table," a concern just large enough
to allow of a small crockery tea-service, with cups and saucers and
little plates, being set out upon it.

"What have you got there?" was all Aunt Judy asked, as she went up to
the table to look at them.

"Cowslip-tea," was No. 4's answer, laying her hand on the fat pink
tea-pot; and thereupon the laughing explosion went off nearly as
loudly as before, though for no accountable reason that Aunt Judy
could divine.

"It's SO good, Aunt Judy, do taste it!" exclaimed No. 8, jumping up
in a great fuss, and holding up his little cup, full of a pale-buff
fluid, to Aunt Judy.

"You'll have everything over," cried No. 4, calling him to order; and
in truth the table was not the steadiest in the world.

So No. 8 sat down again, calling out, in an almost stuttering hurry,
"You may keep it all, Aunt Judy, I don't want any more."

But neither did Aunt Judy, after she had given it one taste; so she
put the cup down, thanking No. 8 very much, but pulling such a funny
face, that it set the laugh going once more; in the middle of which
No. 4 dropped an additional lump of sugar into the rejected buff-
coloured mixture, a proceeding which evidently gave No. 8 a new
relish for the beverage.

Aunt Judy had got beyond the age when cowslip-tea was looked upon as
one of the treats of life; and she had not, on the other hand, lived
long enough to love the taste of it for the memory's sake of the
enjoyment it once afforded.

Not but what we are obliged to admit that cowslip-tea is one of those
things which, even in the most enthusiastic days of youth, just falls
short of the absolute perfection one expects from it.

Even under those most favourable circumstances of having had the
delightful gathering of the flowers in the sweet sunny fields--the
picking of them in the happy holiday afternoon--the permission to use
the best doll's tea-service for the feast--the loan of a nice white
table-cloth--and the present of half-a-dozen pewter knives and forks
to fancy-cut the biscuits with--nay, even in spite of the addition of
well-filled doll's sugar-pots and cream-jugs--cowslip-tea always
seems to want either a leetle more or a leetle less sugar--or a
leetle more or a leetle less cream--or to be a leetle more or a
leetle less strong--to turn it into that complete nectar which, of
course, it really IS.

On the present occasion, however, the children had clearly got hold
of some other source of enjoyment over the annual cowslip-tea feast,
besides the beverage itself; and Aunt Judy, glad to see them so
safely happy, went off to her business at the wardrobe, while the
little ones resumed their game.

"Very extraordinary, indeed, ma'am!" began one of the fancy old
ladies, in a completely fancy voice, a little affected, or so.  "MOST
extraordinary, ma'am, I may say!"

(Here there was a renewed giggle from No. 4, which she carefully
smothered in her handkerchief.)

"But still I think I can tell you of something more extraordinary
still!"

The speaker having at this point refreshed his ideas by a sip of the
pale-coloured tea, and the other ladies having laughed heartily in
anticipation of the fun that was coming, one of them observed:-

"You don't SAY so, ma'am--" then clicked astonishment with her tongue
against the roof of her mouth several times, and added impressively,
"PRAY let us hear!"

"I shall be most happy, ma'am," resumed the first speaker, with a
graceful inclination forwards.  "Well!--you see--it was a party.  I
had invited some of my most distinguished friends--really, ma'am,
FASHIONABLE friends, I may say, to dinner; and, ahem! you see--some
little anxiety always attends such affairs--even--in the best
regulated families!"

Here the speaker winked considerably at No. 4, and laughed very
loudly himself at his own joke.

"Dear me, you must excuse me, ma'am," he proceeded.  "So, you see, I
felt a little fatigued by my morning's exertions, (to tell you the
truth, there had been no end of bother about everything!) and I
retired quietly up-stairs to take a short nap before the dressing-
bell rang.  But I had not been laid down quite half an hour, when
there was a loud knock at the door.  Really, ma'am, I felt quite
alarmed, but was just able to ask, 'Who's there?'  Before I had time
to get an answer, however, the door was burst open by the housemaid.
Her face was absolute scarlet, and she sobbed out:-

"'Oh, ma'am, what shall we do?'

"'Good gracious, Hannah,' cried I, 'what can be the matter?  Has the
soot come down the chimney?  Speak!'

"'It's nothing of that sort, ma'am,' answered Hannah, 'it's the
cook!'

"'The cook!' I shouted.  'I wish you would not be so foolish, Hannah,
but speak out at once.  What about Cook?'

"'Please, m'm, the cook's lost!' says Hannah.  'We can't find her!'

"'Your wits are lost, Hannah, _I_ think,' cried I, and sent her to
tidy the rooms while I slipt downstairs to look for the cook.

"Fancy a lost cook, ma'am!  Was there ever such a ridiculous idea?
And on the day of a dinner-party too!  Did you ever hear of such a
trial to a lady's feelings before?"

"Never, I am sure," responded the lady opposite.  "Did YOU, ma'am?"
turning to her neighbour.

But the other three ladies all shook their heads, bit their lips, and
declared that they "Never had, they were sure!"

"I thought not!" ejaculated the narrator.  "Well, ma'am, I went into
the kitchens, the larder, the pantries, the cellars, and all sorts of
places, and still no cook!  Do you know, she really was nowhere!
Actually, ma'am, the cook was lost!"

Shouts of laughter burst forth here; but the lady (who was No. 5) put
up his hand, and called out in his own natural tones:-

"Stop!  I haven't got to the end yet!"

"Order!" proclaimed No. 4 immediately, in a very commanding voice,
and thumping the table with the head of an old wooden doll to enforce
obedience.

And then the sham lady proceeded in the same mincing voice as
before:-

"Well!--dear me, I'm quite put out.  But however, you see--what was
to be done, that was the thing.  It wanted only half an hour to
dinner-time, and there was the meat roasting away by itself, and the
potatoe-pan boiling over.  You never heard such a fizzling as it made
in your life--in short, everything was in a mess, and there was no
cook.

"Well!  I basted the meat for a few minutes, took the potatoe-pan off
the fire, and then ran up-stairs to put on my bonnet.  Thought I, the
best thing I can do is to send somebody for the policeman, and let
HIM find the cook.  But while I was tying the strings of my bonnet, I
fancied I heard a mysterious noise coming out of the bottom drawer of
my wardrobe.  Fancy that, ma'am, with my nerves in such a state from
the cook being lost!"

No. 5 paused, and looked round for sympathy, which was most freely
given by the other ladies, in the shape of sighs and exclamations.

"The drawer was a very deep drawer, ma'am, so I thought perhaps the
cat had crept in," continued No. 5.  "Well, I went to it to see, and
there it was, partly open, with a cotton gown in it that didn't
belong to me.  Imagine my feelings at THAT, ma'am!  So I pulled at
the handles to get the drawer quite open, but it wouldn't come, it
was as heavy as lead.  It was really very alarming--one doesn't like
such odd things happening--but at last I got it open, though I
tumbled backwards as I did so; and what do you think, ma'am--ladies--
what DO you think was in it?"

"The cook!" shrieked No. 4, convulsed with laughter; and the whole
party clapped their hands and roared applause.

"The cook, ma'am, actually the cook!" pursued No. 5, "one of the
fattest, most POONCHY little women you ever saw.  And what do you
think was the history of it?  I kept my up-stairs Pickwick in the
corner of that bottom drawer.  She had seen it there that very
morning, when she was helping to dust the room, and took the
opportunity of a spare half-hour to slip up and rest herself by
reading it in the drawer.  Unluckily, however, she had fallen asleep,
and when I got the drawer out, there she lay, and I actually heard
her snore.  A shocking thing this education, ma'am, you see, and
teaching people to read.  All the cooks in the country are spoilt!"

Peals of laughter greeted this wonderfully witty concoction of No.
5's, and the lemon-coloured tea and biscuits were partaken of during
the pause which followed.

Aunt Judy meanwhile, who had been quite unable to resist joining in
the laugh herself, was seated on the floor, behind the open door of
the wardrobe, thinking to herself of certain passages in Wordsworth's
most beautiful ode, in which he has described the play of children,


"As if their whole vocation
Were endless imitation."


Truly they had got hold here of strange


"Fragments from their dream of human life."


Where COULD the children have picked up the original of such absurd
nonsense?

Aunt Judy had no time to make it out, for now the mincing voices
began again, and she sat listening.

"Have YOU had no curious adventures with your maids, ma'am?" inquires
No. 5 of No. 4.

No. 5 makes an attempt at a bewitching grin as he speaks, fanning
himself with a fan which he has had in his hand all the time he was
telling his story.

"Well, ladies," replied No. 4, only just able to compose herself to
talk, "I don't think I HAVE been quite as fortunate as yourselves in
having so many extraordinary things to tell.  My servants have been
sadly common-place, and done just as they ought.  But still, ONCE,
ladies--once, a curious little incident did occur to me."

"Oh, ma'am, I entreat you--pray let us hear it!" burst from all the
ladies at once.

No. 4 had to bite her lip to preserve her gravity, and then she
turned to No. 5 -

"The fan, if you please, ma'am!"

The rule was, that the one fan was placed at the disposal of the
story-teller for the time, so No. 5 handed it to No. 4, with a
graceful bow; and No. 4 waffed it to and fro immediately, and began
her account:-

"People are so unscrupulous you see, ladies, about giving characters.
It's really shocking.  For my part, I don't know what the world will
come to at last.  We shall all have to be our own servants, I
suppose.  People say anything about anything, that's the fact!  Only
fancy, ma'am, three different ladies once recommended a cook to me as
the best soup-maker in the country.  Now that sounded a very high
recommendation, for, of course, if a cook can make soups, she can do
anything--sweetmeats and those kind of things follow of themselves.
So, ma am, I took her, and had a dinner-party, and ordered two soups,
entirely that I might show off what a good cook I had got.  Think
what a compliment to her, and how much obliged she ought to have
been!  Well, ma'am, I ordered the two soups, as I said, one white,
and the other brown; and everything appeared to be going on in the
best possible manner, when, as I was sitting in the drawing-room
entertaining the company, I was told I was wanted.

"When I got out of the room, there was the man I had hired to wait,
and says he:-

"'If you please, ma'am where are the knives?  I can't find any at
all!'

"'No knives!' says I.  'Dear me, don't come to me about the knives.
Ask the cook, of course.'

"'Please, ma'am, I have asked her, and she only laughed.'

"'Then,' said I, 'ask the housemaid.  It's impossible for me to come
out and look for the knives.'

"Well, ladies," continued No. 4, "would you believe it?--could anyone
believe it?--when I sat down to dinner, and began to help the soup,
no sooner had the silver ladle (MY ladle is silver, ladies) been
plunged into the tureen, than a most singular rattling was heard.

"'William,' cried I, half in a whisper, to the waiter who was holding
the plate, 'what in the world is this?  Surely Cook has not left the
bones in?'

"'Please, ma'am, I don't know,' was all the man could say.

"Well--there was no remedy now, so I dipped the ladle in again, and
lifted out--oh! ma'am, I know if it was anybody but myself who told
you, you wouldn't believe it--a ladleful of the lost knives!  There
they were, my best beautiful ivory handles, all in the white soup!
And while I was discovering them, the gentleman at the other end of
the table had found all the kitchen-knives, with black handles, in
the brown soup!

"There never was anything so mortifying before.  And what do you
think was Cook's excuse, when I reproached her?

"'Please, ma'am,' said she, 'I read in the Young Woman's Vademecum of
Instructive Information, page 150, that there was nothing in the
world so strengthening and wholesome as dissolved bones, and ivory-
dust; and so, ma'am, I always make a point of throwing in a few
knives into every soup I have the charge of, for the sake of the
handles--ivory-handles for white soups, ma'am, and black-handles for
the browns!'"

Thunders of applause interrupted Cook's excuse at this point, and No.
7 was so overcome that he pushed his chair back, and performed three
distinct somersets on the floor, to the complete disorganization of
his head-dress, which consisted of a turban, from beneath which hung
a cluster of false curls.

Turban and wig being replaced, however, and No. 7 reseated and
composed, No. 4 proceeded:-

"Cook generally takes them out, she informed me, ladies, before the
tureens come to table; 'but,' said she, 'my back was turned for a
minute here, ma'am, and that stupid William carried them off without
asking if they were ready.  It's all William's fault, ma'am; and I
don't mean to stay, for I don't like a place where the man who waits
has no tact!'

"Now, ladies," continued No. 4, "what do you think of that by way of
a speech from a cook?  And I assure you that a medical man's wife, to
whom I mentioned in the course of the evening what Cook had said
about dissolved bones, told me that her husband had only laughed, and
said Cook was quite right.  So she hired the woman that night
herself, and I have been told in confidence since--you'll not repeat
it, therefore, of course, ladies?"

"Of course not!" came from all sides.

"Well, then, I was told that, before the year was out, the family
hadn't a knife that would cut anything, they were so cankered with
rust.  So much for education and learning to read, as you justly
observed, ma'am, before!"

When the emotions produced by this tale had a little subsided, No. 7
was called upon for his experience of maids.

No. 7, with the turban on his head, and a fine red necklace round his
throat, said he took very little notice of the maids, but that he
once had had a very tiresome little boy in buttons, who was extremely
fond of sugar, and always carried the sugar-shaker in his pocket, and
ate up the sugar that was in it, and when it was empty, filled it up
with magnesia.

"But ONCE," he added, "ladies, he actually put some soda in.  It was
at a party, and we had our first rhubarb tart for the season, and the
company sprinkled it all over with the soda and began to eat, but
they were too polite to say how nasty it was.  But, of course, when I
was helped I called out.  And what do you think the boy in buttons
said?"

Nobody could guess, so No. 7 had to tell them.

"He said he had put it in on purpose, because he thought it would
correct the acid of the pie.  So I said he had best be apprenticed to
a doctor; so he went--I dare say, ma'am, it was the same doctor who
took your cook--but I never heard of him any more, and I've never
dared to have a boy in buttons again."

"A very wise decision, ma'am, I'm sure!" cried Aunt Judy, who came up
to the wonderful tea-table in the midst of the last mound of
applause.  "And now may I ask what game this is that you are playing
at?"

"Oh, we're telling Cook Stories, Aunt Judy," cried No. 6, seizing her
by the arm; "they're such capital fun!  I wish you had heard mine;
they were laughing at it when you first came in!"

"It must have been delicious, to judge by the delight it gave,"
replied Aunt Judy, smiling, and kissing No. 6's oddly bedizened up-
turned face.  "But what I want to know is, what put Cook Stories, as
you call them, into your head?"

"Oh! don't you remember--" and here followed a long account from No.
6 of how, about a week before, the little ones had gone somewhere to
spend the day, and how it had turned out a very rainy day, so that
they could not have games out of doors with their young friends, as
had been expected, but were obliged to sit a great part of the time
in the drawing-room, putting Chinese puzzles together into stupid
patterns, and playing at fox-and-goose, while the ladies were talking
"grown-up conversation," as No. 6 worded it, among themselves; and,
of course, being on their own good behaviour, and very quiet, they
could not help hearing what was said.  "And, oh dear, Aunt Judy,"
continued No. 6, now with both her arms holding Aunt Judy, of whom
she was very fond, (except at lesson times!) round the waist, "it was
so odd!  No. 7 and I did nothing at last but listen and watch them;
for little Miss, who sat with us, was shy, and wouldn't talk, and it
was so very funny to see the ladies nodding and making faces at each
other, and whispering, and exclaiming, how shocking! how abominable!
you don't say so! and all that kind of thing!"

"Well, but what was shocking, and abominable, and all that kind of
thing?" inquired Aunt Judy.

"Oh, I don't know--things the nurses, and cooks, and boys in buttons
did.  Almost all the ladies had some story to tell--all the servants
had done something or other queer--but especially the cooks, Aunt
Judy, there was no end to the cooks.  So one day after we came back,
and we didn't know what to play at, I said:  'Do let us play at
telling Cook Stories, like the ladies at  -- .'  So we've dressed up,
and played at Cook Stories, ever since.  Dear Aunt Judy, I wish you
would invent a Cook Story yourself!" was the conclusion of No. 6's
account.

So then the mystery was out.  Aunt Judy's wonderings were cut short.
Out of the real life of civilized intelligent society had come those


"Fragments from their dream of human life,"


which Aunt Judy had called absurd nonsense.  And absurd nonsense,
indeed, it was; but Aunt Judy was seized by the idea that some good
might be got out of it.

So, in answer to No. 6's wish, she said, with a shy smile:-

"I don't think I could tell Cook Stories half as well as yourself.
But if, by way of a change, you would like a Lady Story instead,
perhaps I might be able to accomplish that."

"A LADY Story!  Oh, but that would be so dull, wouldn't it?" inquired
No. 6.  "You can't make anything funny out of them, surely!  Surely
they never do half such odd things as cooks, and boys in buttons!"

"The ladies themselves think not, of course," was Aunt Judy's reply.

"Well, but what do you think, Aunt Judy?"

"Oh, I don't think it matters what I think.  The question is, what do
cooks and boys in buttons think?"

"But, Aunt Judy, ladies are never tiresome, and idle, and
impertinent, like cooks and boys in buttons.  Oh! if you had but
heard the REAL Cook Stories those ladies told!  I say, let me tell
you one or two--I do think I can remember them, if I try."

"Then don't try on any account, dear No. 6," exclaimed Aunt Judy.  "I
like make-believe Cook Stories much better than real ones."

"So do I!" cried No. 7, "they're so much the more entertaining."

"And not a bit less useful," subjoined Aunt Judy, with a sly smile.

"Well, I didn't see much good in the real ones," pursued No. 7, in a
sort of muse.

"Let us tell you another make-believe one, then," cried No. 6, who
saw that Aunt Judy was moving off, and wanted to detain her.

"Then it's MY turn!" shouted No. 8, jumping up, and stretching out
his arm and hand like a young orator flushed to his work.  And
actually, before the rest of the little ones could put him down or
stop him, No. 8 contrived to tumble out the Cook Story idea, which
had probably been brewing in his head all the time of Aunt Judy's
talk.

It was very brief, and this was it, delivered in much haste, and with
all the earnestness of a maiden speech.

"_I_ had a button boy too, and he was a--what d'ye call it--oh, a
RASCAL, that was it;--he was a rascal, and liked the currants in
mince-pies, so he took them all out, and ate them up, and put in
glass beads instead.  So when the people began to ear, their teeth
crunched against the beads!  Ah! bah! how nasty it was!"

No. 8 accompanied this remark with a corresponding grimace of
disgust, and then observed in conclusion:-

"Perhaps he found it in a book, but I don't know where," after which
he lowered his outstretched arm, smiled, and sat down.

The company clapped applause, and No. 4 especially must have been
very fond of laughing, for the glass-bead anecdote set her off again
as heartily as ever, and the rest followed in her wake, and while so
doing, never noticed that Aunt Judy had slipped away.

They soon discovered it, however, when their mirth began to subside;
but before they had time to wonder much, there appeared from behind
the door of the wardrobe a figure, which in their secret souls they
knew to be Aunt Judy herself, although it looked a great deal
stouter, and had a thick-filled cap on its head, a white linen apron
over its gown, and a pair of spectacles on its nose.  At sight of it
they showed signs of clapping again, but stopped short when it spoke
to them as a stranger, and willingly received it as such.

Ah! it is one of the sweet features of childhood that it yields
itself up so readily to any little surprise or delusion that is
prepared for its amusement.  No nasty pride, no disinclination to be
carried away, no affected indifference, interfere with young
children's enjoyment of what is offered them.  They will even help
themselves into the pleasant visions by an effort of will; and
perhaps, now and then, end by partly believing what they at first
received voluntarily as an agreeable make-believe.

If, therefore, after the cook figure of Aunt Judy had seated itself
by the doll's table, and the little ones had looked and grinned at it
for some time, hazy sensations began to steal over one or two minds,
that this WAS somehow really a cook, it was all in the natural course
of things, and nobody resisted the feeling.

Aunt Judy's altered voice, and odd, assumed manner, contributed, no
doubt, a good deal to the impression.

"Dear, dear! what pretty little darlings you all are!" she began,
looking at them one after another.  "As sweet as sugar-plums, when
you have your own way, and are pleased.  Eh, dears?  But you don't
think you can take old Cooky in, do you?  No, no, I know what ladies
and gentlemen, and ladies' and gentlemen's YOUNG ladies and YOUNG
gentlemen are, pretty well, dears, I can tell you!  Don't I know all
about the shiny hair and smiling faces of the little pets in the
parlour, and how they leave parlour-manners behind them sometimes,
when they run to the kitchen to Cook, and order her here and there,
and want half-a-dozen things at once, and must and will have what
they want, and are for popping their fingers into every pie!

"Well, well," she proceeded, "the parlour's the parlour, and the
kitchen's the kitchen, and I'm only a cook.  But then I conduct
myself AS Cook, even when I'm in the scullery, and I only wish
ladies, and ladies' YOUNG ladies too, would conduct themselves as
ladies, even when they come into the kitchen; that's what I call
being honourable and upright.  Well, dears, I'll tell you how I came
to know all about it.  You see, I lived once in a family where there
were no less than eight of those precious little pets, and a precious
time I had of it with them.  But, to be sure, now it's past and gone-
-I can make plenty of excuses for them, poor things!  They were so
coaxed and flattered, and made so much of, what could be expected
from them but tiresome, wilful ways, without any sense?

"'If your mamma would but put YOU into the scullery, young miss, to
learn to wash plates and scour the pans out, she'd make a woman of
you,' used I to think to myself when a silly child, who thought
itself very clever to hinder other people's work, would come hanging
about in the kitchen, doing nothing but teaze and find fault, for
that's what a girl can always do.

"It was very aggravating, you may be sure, dears, (you see I can talk
to you quite reasonably, because you're so nicely behaved;)--it was
very aggravating, of course; but I used to make allowances for them.
Says I to myself, 'Cook, you've had the blessing of being brought up
to hard work ever since you were a babby.  You've had to earn your
daily bread.  Nobody knows how that brings people to their senses
till they've tried; so don't you go and be cocky, because ladies and
gentlemen, and ladies' and gentlemen's YOUNG ladies and YOUNG
gentlemen, are not quite so sensible as you are.  Who knows but what,
if you'd been born to do nothing, you might have been no wiser than
them!  It's lucky for you you're only a cook; but don't you go and be
cocky, that's all!  Make allowances; it's the secret of life!'

"So you see, dears, I DID make allowances; and after the eight little
pets was safe in bed till next morning, I used to feel quite
composed, and pitiful-like towards them, poor little dears!  But
certainly, when morning came, and the oldest young master was home
for the holidays, it was a trying time for me, and I couldn't think
of the allowances any longer.  Either he wouldn't get up and come
down till everyone else had had their breakfast, and so he wanted
fresh water boiled, and fresh tea made, and another muffin toasted,
and more bacon fried; or else he was up so outrageous early, that he
was scolding because there was no hot water before the fire was lit--
bless you, he hadn't a bit of sense in his head, poor boy, not a bit!
And how should he?  Why, he went to school as soon as he was out of
petticoats, and was set to all that Latin and Greek stuff that never
puts anything useful into folks' heads, but so much more chatter and
talk; so he came back as silly as he went, poor thing!  Dear me, on a
wet day, after lesson-time, those boys were like so many crazy
creatures.  'Cook, I must make a pie,' says one.  'There's a pie in
the oven already, Master James,' says I.  'I don't care about the pie
in the oven,' says he, 'I want a pie of my own.  Bring me the flour,
and the water, and the butter, and all the things--and, above all,
the rolling-pin--and clear the decks, will you, I say, for my pie.
Here goes!'  And here used to go, my dears, for Master James had no
sense, as I told you; and so he'd shove all my pots and dishes away,
one on the top of the other; and let me be as busy as I would, and
dinner ever so near ready, the dresser must be cleared, and
everything must give way to HIS pie!  His pie, indeed--I wish I had
had the management of his pie just then!  I'd have taught him what it
was to come shaking the rolling-pin at the head of a respectable
cook, who wanted to get her business done properly, as in duty bound!

"But he wasn't the only one.  There was little Whipper-snapper, his
younger brother, squeaking out in another corner, 'I shan't make a
pie, James, I shall make toffey; it's far better fun.  You'd better
come and help me.  Where's the treacle pot, Cook?  Cook!  I say,
Cook! where's the treacle-pot?  And look at this stupid kettle and
pan.  What's in the pan, I wonder?  Oh, kidney-beans!  Who cares for
kidney-beans?  How can I make toffey, when all these things are on
the fire?  Stay, I'll hand them all off!'

"And, sure enough, if I hadn't rushed from Master James, who was
drinking away at my custard out of the bowl, to seize on Whipper-
snapper, who had got his hand on the vegetable-pan already, he would
have pulled it and the kettle, and the whole concern, off the fire,
and perhaps scalded himself to death.

"Then, of course, there comes a scuffle, and Master Whipper-snapper
begins to roar, and out comes Missus, who, poor thing, had no more
sense in her head than her sons, though she'd never been to school to
lose it over Latin and Greek; and, says she, with all her ribbons
streaming, and her petticoats swelled out like a window-curtain in a
draught--says she:-

"'Cook!  I desire that you will not touch my children!'

"'As you please, ma'am,' says I, 'if you'll be so good as to stop the
young gentlemen from touching my pans, and--' I was going to say
'custard,' but Master James shouts out quite quick:-

"'Why, I only wanted to make a pie, mamma.'

"'And I only wanted to make some toffey!' cries Whipper-snapper; and
then mamma answers, like a duchess at court:-

"'There can't possibly be any objection, my dears; and I wish, Cook,
you would he a little more good-natured to the children;--your temper
is sadly against you!'

"And out she sails, ribbons and window-curtains and all; and, says I
to myself, as I cooled down, (for the young gentlemen luckily went
away with their dear mama,)--says I to myself, 'It's a very fine
thing, no doubt, to go about in ribbons, and petticoats, and grand
clothes; but, if one must needs carry such a poor, silly head inside
them, as Missus does, I'd rather stop as I am, and be a cook with
some sense about me.'

"I don't say, my dears," continued the supposed cook, "that I spoke
very politely just then; but who could feel polite, when their dinner
had been put back at least half-an-hour over such nonsense as that?
Missus used to say the 'dear boys' came to the kitchen on a wet day,
because they'd got NOTHING ELSE TO DO!  Nothing else to do! and had
learnt Latin and Greek, and all sorts of schooling besides!  So much
for education, thought I.  Why, it would spoil the best lads that
ever were born into the world.  For, of course, you know if these
young gentlemen had been put to decent trades, they'd have found
something else to do with their fingers besides mischief and waste.
And, dear me, I talk about not having been polite to Missus just
then, but now you tell me, dears, what Missus, with all her
education, would have said if she'd been in my place, when one young
gentleman was drinking her custard, and another young gentleman was
pulling her pans on the floor!  Do you think she'd have been a bit
more polite than I was?  Wouldn't she have called me all the stupid
creatures that ever were born, and told the story over and over to
all her friends and acquaintance to make them stare, and say there
were surely no such simpletons in the world as ladies and gentlemen,
and ladies' and gentlemen's young ladies and young gentlemen?

"However, I did not go as far as that, because, you see, I had some
sense about me, and could make allowances for all the nonsense the
poor things are brought up to."

There was no resisting the twinkle in Aunt Judy's eye when she came
to this point, though it shone through an old pair of Nurse's
spectacles; and the little ones clapped their hands, and declared it
was every bit as good as a Cook story, ONLY A GREAT DEAL BETTER!
That twinkle had quite brought Aunt Judy back to them again, in spite
of her cook's attire, and No. 6 cried out:-

"Oh! don't stop, Aunt Judy!  Do go on, Cooky dear! do tell some more!
Did you always live in that place, please?"

"There now!" exclaimed Aunt Judy, throwing herself back in the chair,
"isn't that a regular young lady's question, out and out?  Who but a
young lady, with no more sense in her head than a pin, would have
thought of asking such a thing?  Why, miss, is there a joint in the
world that can bear basting for ever?  No, no! a time comes when it
must be taken down, if any good's to be left in it; and so at the end
of three years my basting-time was over, and the time for taking down
was come.

"'Cook,' says I to myself, 'you must give in.  If you go on with
those cherubs (that was their company name, you know) much longer,
there won't be a bit of you left!'  And, sure enough, that very
morning, dears, they'd come down upon me with a fresh grievance, and
I couldn't stand it, I really couldn't!  The sweeps had been by four
o'clock to the kitchen chimney, and I'd been up and toiling every
minute since, and hadn't had time to eat my breakfast, when in they
burst--the young ladies, not the sweeps, dears, I mean:- and there
they broke out at once--I hadn't fed their sea-gulls before
breakfast--(a couple of dull-looking grey birds, with big mouths,
that had come in a hamper over night as a present to the cherubs;)
and it seems I ought to have been up before daylight almost, to look
for slugs for them in the garden till they'd got used to the place!

"Oh, these ladies and gentlemen! they'd need know something of some
sort to make amends, for there are many things they never know all
their life long!

"'Young ladies,' says I, 'I didn't come here to get meals ready for
sea-gulls, but Christian ladies and gentlemen.  If the sea-gulls want
a cook, your mamma must hire them one on purpose.  I've plenty to do
for her and the family, without looking after such nonsense as that!'

"'That's what you always say,' whimpers the youngest Miss; 'and you
know they don't want any cooking, but only raw slugs!  And you know
you might easily look for them, because you've got almost nothing to
do, because it's such an easy place, mamma always says.  But you're
always cross, mamma says that too, and everybody knows you are,
because she tells everybody!'

"When little Miss had got that out, she thought she'd finished me up;
and so she had, for when I heard that Missus was so ungenteel as to
go talking of what I did, to all her acquaintance, and had nothing
better to talk about, I made up my mind that I'd give notice that
very day.

"'Very well, miss,' says I, 'your mamma shall soon have something
fresh to talk about, and I hope she'll find it a pleasant change.'

"There was some of them knew what I meant at once, for after they'd
scampered off I heard shouts up and down the stairs from one to the
other, 'Cook's going!'  'We shall have a new cook soon!'  'What a
lark we'll have with the toffey and the pies!  We'll make her do just
as we choose!'

"'There, now,' thought I to myself, 'there'll be somebody else put
down to baste before long.  Well, I'm glad my time's over.'  And
thereupon I fell to wishing I was back again in father and mother's
ricketty old cottage, that I'd once been so proud to leave, to go and
live with gentlefolks.  But, you see, it was no use wishing, for I'd
my bread to earn, and must turn out somewhere, let it be as
disagreeable as it would.  Father and mother were dead, and there was
no ricketty cottage for me to go back to, so I wiped my eyes, and
told myself to make the best of what had to be.

"Well, dears," pursued Cooky, after a short pause, during which the
little ones looked far more inclined to cry than laugh, "Missus was
quite taken aback when she heard I wouldn't stay any longer.

"'Cook,' she said, 'I'm perfectly astonished at your want of sense in
not recognizing the value of such a situation as mine! and as to your
complaints about the children, anything more ridiculously
unreasonable I never heard!  Such superior, well-taught young people,
you are not very likely to meet with again in a hurry!'

"'Perhaps not, ma'am,' says I, 'in French, and crochet, and the
piano, and Latin, and things I don't understand, being only a cook.
But I know what behaviour is, and that's what I'm sure the young
ladies and gentlemen have never been taught; or if they have, they're
so slow at taking it in, that I think I shall do better with a family
where the behaviour-lessons come first!'

"Missus was very angry, and so was I; but at last she said:-

"'Cook, I shall not argue with you any longer; you know no better,
and I suppose I must make allowances for you.'

"'I'm much obliged to you, ma'am, I'm sure,' was my answer; 'it's
what I've always done by you ever since I came to the house, and I'll
do it still with pleasure, and think no more of what's been said.'

"I spoke from my heart, I can tell you, dears, for I felt very sorry
for Missus, and thought she was but a lady after all, and perhaps I'd
hardly made allowances enough.  I'd lost my temper, too, as I knew
after she went away.  But, you see, while she was there, it was so
mortifying to be spoken to as if all the sense was on her side, when
I knew it was all on mine, wherever the French and crochet may have
been.  Well, but the day before I left, I broke down with another of
them, as it's fair that you should know.

"I'd felt very lonely that day, busy as I was, and in the afternoon I
took myself into the scullery to give the pans a sort of good-bye
cleaning, and be out of everybody's way.  But there, in the midst of
it, comes the eldest young gentleman flinging into the kitchen,
shouting, 'Cook!  Cook!  Where's Cook?' as usual.  I thought he was
after some of his old tricks, and I HAD been fretting over those
pans, thinking what a sad job it was to have no home to go to in the
world, so I gave him a very short answer.

"'Master James,' says I, 'I've done with nonsense now, I can't attend
to you.  You must wait till the next cook comes.'

"But Master James came straight away to the scullery door, and says
he, 'Cook, I'm not coming to teaze.  I've brought you a needle-book.
There, Cook!  It's full of needles.  I put them all in myself.  Keep
it, please.'

"Dear, dear, I can't forget it yet," pursued Cook, "how Master James
stood on the little stone step of the scullery, with his arm
stretched out, and the needle-book that he'd bought for me in his
hand.  I don't know how I thanked him, I'm sure; but I had to go back
to the sink and wash the dirt off my hands before I could touch the
pretty little thing, and then I told him I would keep it as long as
ever I lived.

"He laughed, and says he, 'Now shake hands, Cooky,' and so we shook
hands; and then off he ran, and I went back to my pans and fairly
cried.

"'Why, Cook,' says I to myself, 'that lad's got as good a heart as
your own, after all.  And as to sense and behaviour, they haven't
been forced upon him yet, as they have upon you.  Latin's Latin, and
conduct's conduct, and one doesn't teach the other; and it's too bad
to expect more of people than what they've had opportunity for.'

Well, dears, that was the rule I always went by, and I've been in
many situations since--with single ladies, and single gentlemen, and
large families, and all; and there was something to put up with in
all of them; and they always told me there was a good deal to put up
with in me, and perhaps there was.  However, it doesn't matter, so
long as Missus and servant go by one rule--TO MAKE ALLOWANCES, AND
NOT EXPECT MORE FROM PEOPLE THAN WHAT THEY'VE HAD OPPORTUNITY FOR;
and, above all, never to be cocky when all the advantage is on their
own side.  It's a good rule, dears, and will stop many a foolish word
and idle tale, if you'll go by it."

Aunt Judy had finished at last, and she took off the old spectacles
and laid them on the doll's table, and paused.

"It IS a good rule," observed No. 4, "and I shall go by it, and not
tell real Cook Stories when I grow up, I hope."

"I love old Cooky," cried No. 6, getting up and hugging her round the
neck; "but is it wrong, Aunt Judy, to tell funny make-believe Cook
Stories, like ours?"

"Not at all, No. 6," replied Aunt Judy.  "My private belief is, that
if you tell funny make-believe Cook Stories while you're little, you
will be ashamed of telling stupid real ones when you're grown up."



RABBITS' TAILS.



"Death and its two-fold aspect! wintry--one,
Cold, sullen, blank, from hope and joy shut out;
The other, which the ray divine hath touch'd,
Replete with vivid promise, bright as spring."
WORDSWORTH.

"Well then; but you must remember that I have been ill, and cannot be
expected to invent anything very entertaining."

"Oh, we do remember, indeed, Aunt Judy; we have been so miserable,"
was the answer; and the speaker added, shoving her little chair close
up to her sister's:-

"I said if you were not to get better, I shouldn't want to get better
either."

"Hush, hush, No. 6!" exclaimed Aunt Judy, quite startled by the
expression; "it was not right to say or think that."

"I couldn't help it," persisted No. 6.  "We couldn't do without you,
I'm sure."

"We can do without anything which God chooses to take away," was Aunt
Judy's very serious answer.

"But I didn't want to do without," murmured No. 6, with her eyes
fixed on the floor.

"Dear No. 6, I know," replied Aunt Judy, kindly; "but that is just
what you must try not to feel."

"I can't help feeling it," reiterated No. 6, still looking down.

"You have not tried, or thought about it yet," suggested her sister;
"but do think.  Think what poor ignorant infants we all are in the
hands of God, not knowing what is either good or bad for us; and then
you will see how glad and thankful you ought to be, to be chosen for
by somebody wiser than yourself.  We must always be contented with
God's choice about whatever happens."

No. 6 still looked down, as if she were studying the pattern of the
rug, but she saw nothing of it, for her eyes were swimming over with
the tears that had filled into them, and at last she said:-

"I could, perhaps, about some things, but ONLY NOT THAT about you.
Aunt Judy, you know what I mean."

Aunt Judy leant back in her chair.  "ONLY NOT THAT."  It was, as she
knew, the cry of the universal world, although it broke now from the
lips of a child.  And it was painful, though touching, to feel
herself the treasure that could not be parted with.

So there was a silence of some minutes, during which the hand of the
little sister lay in that of the elder one.

But the latter soon roused up and spoke.

"I'll tell you what, No. 6, there's nothing so foolish as talking of
how we shall feel, and what we shall do, if so-and-so happens.
Perhaps it never may happen, or, if it does, perhaps we may be helped
to bear it quite differently from what we have expected.  So we won't
say anything more about it now."

"I'm so glad!" exclaimed No. 6, completely reassured and made
comfortable by the cheerful tone of her sister's remark, though she
had but a very imperfect idea of the meaning of it, as she forthwith
proved by rambling off into a sort of self-defence and self-
justification.

"And I'm not really a baby now, you know, Aunt Judy!  And I do know a
great many things that are good and bad for us.  I know that YOU are
good for us, even when you scold over sums."

"That is a grand admission, I must own," replied Aunt Judy, smiling;
"I shall remind you of it some day."

"Well, you may," cried No. 6, earnestly; and added, "you see I'm not
half as silly as you thought."

Aunt Judy looked at her, wondering how she should get the child to
understand what was passing through her own mind; wondering, too
whether it was right to make the attempt; and she decided that on the
whole it was; so she answered:-

"Ay, we grow wise enough among ourselves as we grow older, and get to
know a few more things.  You are certainly a little wiser than a baby
in long petticoats, and I am a little wiser than you, and mamma wiser
than us both.  But towards God we remain ignorant infants all our
lives.  That was what I meant."

"But surely, Aunt Judy," interrupted No. 6, "mamma and you know--"
There she stopped.

"Nothing about God's dealings," pursued Aunt Judy, "but that they are
sure to be good for us, even when we like them least, and cannot
understand them at all.  We know so little what we ought really to
like and dislike, dear No. 6, that we often fret and cry as foolishly
as the two children did, who, while they were in mourning for their
mother, broke their hearts over the loss of a set of rabbits' tails."

No. 6 sprang up at the idea.  She had never heard of those children
before.  Who were they?  Had Aunt Judy read of them in a book, or
were they real children?  How could they have broken their hearts
about rabbits' tails?  It must be a very curious story, and No. 6
begged to hear it.

Aunt Judy had, however, a little hesitation about the matter.  There
was something sad about the story; and there was no exact teaching to
be got out of it, though certainly if it helped to shake No. 6's
faith in her own wisdom, a good effect would be produced by listening
to it.  Also it was not a bad thing now and then to hear of other
people having to bear trials which have not fallen to our own lot.
It must surely have a tendency to soften the heart, and make us feel
more dependent upon the God who gives and takes away.  On the whole,
therefore, she would tell the story, so she made No. 6 sit quietly
down again, and began as follows:-

"There were once upon a time two little motherless girls."

No. 6's excitement of expectation was hardly over, so she tightened
her hand over Aunt Judy's, and ejaculated:-

"Poor little things!"

"You may well say so," continued Aunt Judy.  "It was just what
everybody said who saw them at the time.  When they went about with
their widowed father in the country village where 'they lived, even
the poor women who stood at their cottage door-steads, would look
after them when they had passed, and say with a sigh:-

"'Poor little things!'

"When they went up to London in the winter to stay with their
grandmamma, and walked about in the Square in their little black
frocks and crape-trimmed bonnets, the ladies who saw them,--even
comparative strangers,--would turn round arid say:-

"'Poor little things!'

"If visitors came to call at the house, and the children were sent
for into the room, there was sure to be a whispered exclamation
directly among the grown-up people of, 'Poor little things!'  But oh,
No. 6! the children themselves did not think about it at all.  What
did they know,--poor little things,--of the real misfortune which had
befallen them!  They were sorry, of course, at first, when they did
not see their mamma as usual, and when she did not come back to them
as soon as they expected.  But some separation had taken place during
her illness; and sometimes before, she had been poorly and got well
again; and sometimes she had gone out visiting, and they had had to
do without her till she returned; and so, although the days and weeks
of her absence went on to months, still it was only the same thing
they had felt before, continued rather longer; and meantime the
little events of each day rose up to distract their attention.  They
got up, and dined, and went to bed as usual.  They were sometimes
merry, sometimes naughty, as usual.  People made them nice presents,
or sent for them to pleasant treats, as usual--perhaps more than
usual; their father did all he could to supply the place of the lost
one, but never could name her name; and soon they forgot that they
had ever had a mamma at all.  Soon?  Ay, long before friends and
strangers lead left off saying 'Poor little things' at sight of them,
and long before the black frocks and crape-trimmed bonnets were laid
aside, which, indeed, they wore double the usual length of time."

"And how old were they?" asked No. 6, in a whisper.

"Four and five," replied Aunt Judy; "old enough to know what they
liked and disliked from hour to hour.  Old enough to miss what had
pleased them, till something else pleased them as well.  But not old
enough to look forward and know how much a mother is wanted in life;
and, therefore, what a terrible loss the loss of a mother is."

"It's a very sad story I'm afraid," remarked No. 6.

"Not altogether," said Aunt Judy, smiling, "as you shall hear.  One
day the two little motherless girls went hand in hand across one of
the courts of the great Charity Institution in London, where their
grandmamma lived, into the old archway entrance, and there they stood
still, looking round them, as if waiting for something.  The old
archway entrance opened into a square, and underneath its shelter
there was a bench on one side, and on the other the lodge of the
porter, whose business it was to shut up the great gates at night.

The porter had often before looked at the motherless children as they
passed into the shadow of his archway, and said to himself, 'Poor
little things;' for just so, during many years of his life, he had
watched their young mother pass through, and had exchanged words of
friendly greeting with her.

"And even now, although it was at least a year and a half since her
death, when he saw the waiting children seat themselves on the bench
opposite his door, the old thought stole over his mind.  How sad that
she should have been taken away so early from those little ones!  How
sad for them to be left!  No one--nothing--in this world, could
supply the loss of her protecting care.--POOR LITTLE THINGS!--and not
the less so because they were altogether unconscious of their
misfortune; and here, with the mourning casting a gloom over their
fair young faces, were looking with the utmost eagerness and delight
towards the doorway,--now and then slipping down from their seats to
take a peep into the Square, and see if what they expected was
coming,--now and then giggling to each other about the grave face of
the old man on the other side of the way.

"At last, one, who had been peeping a bit as before, exclaimed, with
a smothered shout, 'Here he is!' and then the other joined her, and
the two rushed out together into the Square and stood on the
pavement, stopping the way in front of a lad, who held over his arm a
basket containing hares' and rabbits' skins, in which he carried on a
small trade.

"They looked up with their smiling faces into his, and he grinned at
them in return, and then they said, 'Have you got any for us to-day?'
on which he set down his basket before them, and told them they might
have one or two if they pleased, and down they knelt upon the
pavement, examining the contents of his basket, and talked in almost
breathless whispers to each other of the respective merits, the
softness, colour, and prettiness, of--what do you think?"

At the first moment No. 6, being engrossed by the story, could not
guess at all; but in another instant she recollected, and exclaimed:-

"Oh, Aunt Judy, do you mean those were the rabbits' tails you told
about?"

"They were indeed, No. 6," replied Aunt Judy; "their grandmamma's
cook had given them one or two sometime before, and there being but
few entertaining games which two children can play at alone, and
these poor little things being a good deal left to themselves, they
invented a play of their own out of the rabbits' tails.  I think the
pleasant feel of the fur, which was so nice to cuddle and kiss,
helped them to this odd liking; but whatever may have been the cause,
certain it is they did get quite fond of them--pretended that they
could feel, and were real living things, and talked of them, and to
them, as if they were a party of children.

"They called them 'Tods' and 'Toddies,' but they had all sorts of
names besides, to distinguish one from the other.  There was,
'Whity,' and 'Browny,' and 'Softy,' and 'Snuggy,' and 'Stripy,' and
many others.  They knew almost every hair of each of them, and I
believe could have told which was which, in the dark, merely by their
feel.

"This sounds ridiculous enough, does it not, dear No. 6?" said Aunt
Judy, interrupting herself.

No. 6 smiled, but she was too much interested to wish to talk; so the
story proceeded.

"Now you must know that I have looked rather curiously at hares' and
rabbits' tails myself since I first heard the story; and there
actually is more variety in them than you would suppose.  Some are
nice little fat things--almost round, with the hair close and fine;
others longer and more skinny, and with poor hair, although what
there is may be of a handsome colour.  And as to colour, even in
rabbits' tails, which are white underneath, there are all shades from
grey to dark brown one the upper side; and the patterns and markings
differ, as you know they do on the fur of a cat.  In short, there
really is a choice even in hares' and rabbits' tails, and the more
you look at them, the more delicate distinctions you will see.

"Well, the poor little girls knew all about this, and a great deal
more, I dare say, than I have noticed, for they had played at fancy-
life with them, till the Tods had become far more to them than any
toys they possessed; actually, in fact, things to love; and I dare
say if we could have watched them at night putting their Tods to bed,
we should have seen every one of them kissed.

"It was a capital thing, as you may suppose, for keeping the children
quiet as well as happy in the nursery, at the top of the London
house, in one particular corner of which the basket of Tods was kept.
But when grandmamma's bell rang, which it did day by day as a
summons, after the parlour breakfast was over, the Tods were put
away; and it was dolls, or reasonable toys of some description, which
the motherless little girls took down with them to the drawing-room;
and I doubt whether either grandmamma or aunt knew of the Tod family
in the basket up-stairs.

"After the affair had gone on for a little time, the children were
accidentally in the kitchen when the rabbit-skin dealer called, and
the cook begged him to give them a tail or two; and thenceforth, of
course, they looked upon him as one of their greatest friends; and if
they wanted fresh Tods, they would lie in wait for him in the archway
entrance, for fear he should go by without coming in to call at their
grandmamma's house.  And on the day I have described, two new
brothers, 'Furry' and 'Buffy,' were introduced to the Tod
establishment, and the talking and delight that ensued, lasted for
the whole afternoon.

"Nobody knew, I believe; but certainly if anybody had known how the
hearts of those children were getting involved over the dead rabbits'
tails, it would have been only right to have tried to lead their
affection into some better direction.  What a waste of good emotions
it was, when they cuddled up their Tods in an evening; invented
histories of what they had said and done during the day, and put them
by at last with caresses something very nearly akin to human love!"

"Oh, dear Aunt Judy," exclaimed No. 6, "if their poor mamma had but
been there!"

"All would have been right then, would it not, No. 6?"

No. 6 said "Yes" from the very depths of her heart.

"AS IT SEEMS TO US, you should say," continued Aunt Judy; "but that
is all.  It could not have seemed so to the God who took their mother
away."

"Aunt Judy--"

"No. 6, I am telling you a very serious truth.  Had it indeed been
right for the children that their mother should have lived, she would
NOT have been taken away.  For some reason or other it was necessary
that they should be without the comfort, and help, and protection, of
her presence in this world.  We cannot understand it, but a time may
come when we may see it all as clearly as we now see the folly of
those children who so doted upon senseless rabbits' tails."

"Oh, Aunt Judy, but it was still very, very sad."

"Yes, about that there cannot be a doubt, and I am as much inclined
as anybody else to say, 'Poor little things' every time I mention
them.  But now let me go on with the story, for it has a sort of end
as well as beginning.  The Tod affair came at last to their
grandmamma's ears."

"I am so glad," cried No. 6.

"You will not say so when I tell you how it happened," was Aunt
Judy's rejoinder.  "The fact was, that one unfortunate day one of the
Tods disappeared.  Whether it lead been left out of the basket when
grandmamma's bell rang, and so got swept away by the nurse and burnt,
I cannot say; but, at any rate, when the children went to their play
one morning, 'Softy,' their dear little 'Softy,' was gone.  He was
the fattest-furred and finest-haired of all the Tod family, and the
one about whom they invented the prettiest stories; he was, in fact,
the model, the out-of-the-way-amiable pattern Tod.  They could not
believe at first that he really was gone.  They hunted for him in
every hole and corner of their nursery and bed-room; they looked for
him all along the passages; they tossed all the other Tods out of the
basket to find him, as if they really were--even in their eyes--
nothing but rabbits' tails; they asked all the servants about him,
till everybody's patience was exhausted, and they got angry; and then
at last the children's hope and temper were both exhausted too, and
they broke out into passionate crying.

"This was vexatious to the nurse, of course; but her method of
consolation was not very judicious.

"'Why, bless my heart,' was her beginning, 'what nonsense!  Didn't
the children know as well as she did, that hares' and rabbits' tails
were not alive, and couldn't feel? and what could it signify of one
of them was thrown away and lost?  They'd a basket-full left besides,
and it was plenty of such rubbish as that!  They were all very well
to play with up in the nursery, but they were worth nothing when all
was said and done!'

This was completely in vain, of course.  The children sat on the
nursery floor and cried on just the same; and by-and-by went away to
the corner of the room where the Tod-basket was kept, and bewailed
the loss of poor 'Softy' to his brothers and sisters inside.

"As the time approached, however, for grandmamma's summoning bell,
the nurse began to wonder what she could do to stop this fretting,
and cool the red eyes; so she tried the coaxing plan, by way of a
change.

"'If she was such nice little girls with beautiful dolls and toys,
she never would fret so about a rabbit's tail, to be sure!  And,
besides, the boy was sure to be round again very soon with the hare
and rabbit skins; and if they would only be good, and dry their eyes,
she would get him to give them as many more as they pleased.  Quite
fresh new ones.  She dared say they would be as pretty again as the
one that was lost.'

"If nurse had wished to hit upon an injudicious remark, she could not
have succeeded better.  What did they care for 'fresh new' Tods
instead of their dear 'Softy?'  And the mere suggestion that any
others could be prettier, turned their regretful love into a sort of
passionate indignation; yet the nurse had meant well, and was
astonished when the conclusion of what was intended to be a kind
harangue, was followed by a louder burst of crying than ever.

"It must be owned that the little girls had by this time got out of
grief into naughtiness; and there was now quite as much petted temper
as sorrow in their tears; and lo! while they were in the midst of
this fretful condition, grandmamma's summoning bell was heard, and
they were obliged to go down to her.

"You can just imagine their appearance when they entered the drawing-
room with their eyes red and swelled, their cheeks flushed, and
anything but a pleasant expression over their faces.  Of course,
grandmamma and aunt immediately made inquiries as to the reason of so
much disturbance, but the children were scarcely able to utter the
usual 'good morning;' and when called upon to tell their cause of
trouble, did nothing but begin to cry afresh.

"Whereupon their aunt was dispatched up-stairs to find out what was
amiss; and then, for the first time, she heard from the nurse the
history of the Tod family, the children's devotion to them, and their
present vexatious grief about the loss of a solitary one of what she
called their stupid bits of nonsense.

"Foolish as the whole affair sounds in looking back upon it, it
certainly was one which required rather delicate handling, and I
doubt whether anybody but a mother could have handled it properly.
Grandmamma and aunt had every wish to do for the best, but they
hardly took enough into consideration, either the bereaved condition
of those motherless little ones, or their highly fanciful turn of
mind.  Yet nobody was to blame; the children spent all the summer
with their father in the country, and all the winter with their
grandmamma in London; and, therefore, no continued knowledge of their
characters was possible, for they were always birds of passage
everywhere.  Certainly, however, it was a great mistake, under such
circumstances, for grandmamma and aunt to have broken rudely into the
one stronghold of childish comfort, which they had raised up for
themselves."

Aunt Judy paused, and No. 6 really looked frightened as to what was
coming next, and asked what Aunt Judy could mean that they did.
"Were they very angry?"

"No, they were not very angry," Aunt Judy said; "perhaps if they had
been only that, the whole thing would have passed over and been
forgotten.

"But they held grave consultation upon the subject, and made it too
serious, in my opinion, and I dare say you will think so too.
Meantime the naughty children were turned out of the room while they
talked, and the mystery of this, sobered their temper considerably;
so that they made no further disturbance, but wandered up and down
the stairs, and about the hall, in silent discomfort.

"At one time they thought they heard the drawing-room door open, and
their aunt go up-stairs towards the nursery department again; but
then for a long while they heard no more; and at last, childlike,
began to amuse themselves by seeing how far along the oil-cloth
pattern they could each step, as they walked the length of the hall,
the great object being to stretch from one particular diamond to
another, without touching any intermediate mark.

"In the midst of the excitement of this, they heard their aunt's
voice calling to them from the middle of the last flight of stairs.
There was something in her face, composed as it was, which alarmed
them directly, and there they stood quite still, gazing at her.

"'Grandmamma and I,' she began, 'think you have been very silly
indeed in making such a fuss about those rabbits' tails; and you have
been very naughty indeed to-day, VERY NAUGHTY, in crying so
ridiculously, and teazing all the servants, because of one being
lost.  You can't play with them rationally, nurse is sure, and so we
think you will be very much better without them.  Grandmamma has sent
me to tell you--YOU WILL NEVER SEE THE TODS, AS YOU CALL THEM, ANY
MORE.'

"Aunt Judy, it was horrible!" cried No. 6; "savage and horrible!" she
repeated, and burst the next instant into a flood of tears.

"Oh, my old darling No. 6," cried Aunt Judy, covering the sobbing
child quite round with both her arms, "surely YOU are not going into
hysterics about the rabbits' tails too!  I doubt if even their little
mammas did that.  Come! you must cheer up, or mamma will leave to be
sent for to say that if you are so unreasonable, you must never
listen to Aunt Judy's stories any more."

No. 6's emotion began to subside under the comfortable embrace, and
Aunt Judy's joke provoked a smile.

"There now, that's good!" cried Aunt Judy; "and now, if you won't be
ridiculous, I will finish the story.  I almost think the prettiest
part is to come."

This was consolation indeed; but No. 6 could not resist a remark.

"But, Aunt Judy, wasn't that aunt--"

"Hush, hush," interrupted Aunt Judy, "I apologized for both aunt and
grandmamma before I told you what they did.  They meant to do for the
best, and


'The best can do no more.'


They cured the evil too, though in what you and I think rather a
rough manner.  And rough treatment is sometimes very effectual,
however unpleasant.  It was but a preparation for the much harder
disappointments of older life."

"Poor little things!" ejaculated No. 6, once more.  "Just tell me if
they cried dreadfully."

"I don't think I care to talk much about that, dear No. 6," answered
her sister.  "They had cried almost as much as they could do in one
day, and were stupified by the new misfortune, besides which, they
had a feeling all the time of having brought it on themselves by
being dreadfully naughty.  It was a sad muddle altogether, I must
confess.  The shock upon the poor children's minds at the time must
have been very great, for the memory of that bereavement clung to
them through grown-up life, as a very unpleasant recollection, when a
thousand more important things had passed away forgotten from their
thoughts.  In fact, as I said, the motherless little girls really
broke their hearts over a parcel of rabbits' tails.  But I must go on
with the story.  After a day or two of dull desolation, the children
wearied even of their grief.  And both grandmamma and aunt became
very sorry for them, although the fatal subject of the Tods was never
mentioned; but they bought them several beautiful toys which no child
could help looking at or being pleased with.  Among these presents
was a brown fur dog, with a very nice face and a pair of bright black
eyes, and a curly tail hung over his back in a particularly graceful
manner; and this was, as you may suppose, in the children's eyes, the
gem of all their new treasures.  The feel of him reminded them of the
lost Tods; and in every respect he was, of course, superior.  They
named him 'Carlo,' and in a quiet manner established him as the
favourite creature of their play.  And thus, by degrees, and as time
went on, their grief for the loss of the Tods abated somewhat; and at
last they began to talk about them to each other, which was a sure
sign that their feelings were softened.

"But you will never guess what turn their conversation took.  They
did not begin to say how sorry they had been, or were; nor did they
make any angry remarks about their aunt's cruelty; but one day as
they were sitting playing with Carlo, in what may be called the Tod
corner of the nursery, the eldest child said suddenly to her sister,
in a low voice

"'What do you think our aunt has REALLY done with the Tods?'

"A question which seemed not at all to surprise the other, for she
answered, in the same mysterious tone:-

"'I don't know, but I don't think she COULD burn them.'

"'And I don't, either,' was the rejoinder.  'Perhaps she has only put
them somewhere where WE cannot get at them.'

"The next idea came from the younger child:-

"'Do you think she'll ever let us have them back again?'

"But the answer to this was a long shake of the head from the wiser
elder sister.  And then they began to play with Carlo again.

"But after that day they used often to exchange a few words together
on the subject, although only to the same effect--their aunt COULD
not have burnt them, they felt sure.  She never said she had burnt
them.  She only said, 'YOU WILL NEVER SEE THE TODS ANY MORE.'

"Perhaps she had only put them by; perhaps she had put them by in
some comfortable place; perhaps they were in their little basket in
some closet, or corner of the house, quite as snug as up in the
nursery.

"And here the conversation would break off again.  As to asking any
questions of their aunt, THAT was a thing that never crossed their
minds.  It was impossible; the subject was so fatally serious! . . .
But I believe there was an involuntary peeping about into closets and
out-of-the-way places whenever opportunity offered; yet no result
followed, and the Tods were not found.

"One night, two or three months later, and just before the little
things were moved back from London to their country home; and when
they were in bed in their sleeping room, as usual, and the nurse had
left them, and had shut the door between them and the day nursery,
where she sat at work, the elder child called out in a whisper to the
younger one:-

"'Sister, are you asleep?'

"'No.  Why?'

"'I'll tell you of a place where the Tods may be.'

"'Where?'

"'The cellar.'

"'Do you think so?'

"'Yes.  I think we've looked everywhere else.  And I think perhaps
it's very nice down there with bits of sawdust here and there on the
ground.  I saw some on the bottle to-day, and it was quite soft.
Aunt would be quite sure we should never see them there.  I dare say
it's very snug indeed all among the barrels and empty bottles in that
cellar we once peeped into.'

"The younger child here began to laugh in delighted amusement, but
the elder one bade her 'hush,' or the nurse would hear them; and then
proceeded whispering as before

"'It's a great big place, and they could each have a house, and visit
each other, and hide, and make fun.'

"'And I dare say Softy was put there first,' interposed the younger
sister.

"'Ay, and how pleased the others would be to find him there!  Only
think!'

"And they DID think.  Poor little things, they lay and thought of
that meeting when 'the others' were put in the cellar where 'Softy'
already was, ready to welcome them to his new home; and they talked
of all that might have happened on such an occasion, and told each
other that the Tods were much happier altogether there, than if the
others had remained in the nursery separated from dear little Softy.
In short, they talked till the door opened, and the nurse,
unsuspicious of the state of her young charges, went to bed herself,
and sleep fell on the whole party.

"But a new world had now opened before them out of the very midst of
their sorrow itself.  The fancy home of the Tods was almost a more
available source of amusement, than even playing with the real things
had been; and sometimes in the early morning, sometimes for the
precious half-hour at night, before sleep overtook them, the little
wits went to work with fresh details and suppositions, and they
related to each other, in turns, the imaginary events of the day in
the cellar among the barrels.  Each morning, when they went down-
stairs, Carlo was put in the Tod corner of the nursery and instructed
to slip away, as soon as he could manage it, to the Tods in the
cellar, and hear all that they had been about.

"And marvellous tales Mr. Carlo used to bring back, if the children's
accounts to each other were to be trusted.  Such running about, to be
sure, took place among those barrels and empty bottles.  Such playing
at bo-peep.  Such visits of 'Furry' and his family to 'Buffy' and HIS
family, when the little 'Furrys' and 'Buffys' could not be kept in
order, but would go peeping into bungholes, and tumbling nearly
through, and having to be picked out by Carlo, drabbled and chilled,
but ready for a fresh frolic five minutes after!

"Such comical disputes, too, they had, as to how far the grounds
round each Tod's house extended; such funny adventures of getting
into their neighbour's corner instead of their own, in the dim light
that prevailed, and being mistaken for a thief; when Carlo had to
come and act as judge among them, and make them kiss and be friends
all round!

"Such dinners, too, Carlo brought them, as he passed through the
kitchen on his road to the cellar, and watched his opportunity to
carry off a few un-missed little bits for his friends below.  Dear
me! his contrivances on that score were endless, and the odd things
he got hold of sometimes by mistake, in his hurry, were enough to
kill the Tods with laughing--to say nothing of the children who were
inventing the history!

"Then the care they took to save the little drops at the bottom of
the bottles, for Carlo, in return for all the trouble he had, was
most praiseworthy; and sometimes, when there was a rather larger
quantity than usual, they would have SUCH a feast!--and drink the
healths of their dear little mistresses in the nursery up-stairs.

"In short, it was as perfect a fancy as their love for the Tods, and
their ideas of enjoyment could make it.  Nothing uncomfortable,
nothing sad, was ever heard of in that cellar-home of their lost
pets.  No quarrelling, no crying, no naughtiness, no unkindness, were
supposed to trouble it.  Nothing was known of, there, but comfort and
fun, and innocent blunders and jokes, which ended in fun and comfort
again.  One thing, therefore, you see, was established as certain
throughout the whole of the childish dream:- the departed favourites
were all perfectly happy, as happy as it was possible to be; and they
sent loving messages by Carlo to their old friends to say so, and to
beg them not to be sorry for THEM, for, excepting that they would
like some day to see those old friends again, they had nothing left
to wish for in their new home:-

"And here the Tod story ends!" remarked Aunt Judy, in conclusion,
"and I beg you to observe, No. 6, that, like all my stories, it ends
happily.  The children had now got hold of an amusement which was
safe from interference, and which lasted--I am really afraid to say
how long; for even after the fervour of their Tod love had abated,
they found an endless source of invention and enjoyment in the
cellar-home romance, and told each other anecdotes about it, from
time to time, for more, I believe, than a year."

When Aunt Judy paused here, as if expecting some remark, all that No.
6 could say, was:-

"Poor little things!"

"Ay, they were still that," exclaimed Aunt Judy, "even in the midst
of their new-found comfort.  Oh, No. 6, when one thinks of the
strange way in which they first of all created a sorrow for
themselves, and then devised for themselves its consolation, what a
pity it seems that no good was got out of it!"

It was not likely that No. 6 should guess what the good was which
Aunt Judy thought might have been got out of it; and so she said;
whereupon Aunt Judy explained:-

"Did it not offer a quite natural opportunity,--if any kind friend
had but known of it,--of speaking to those children of some of the
sacred hopes of our Christian faith?--of leading them, through kind
talk about their own pretty fancies, to the subject of WHAT REALLY
BECOMES of the dear friends who are taken away from us by death?

"Had I been THEIR Aunt Judy," she continued, "I should have thought
it no cruelty, but kindness then, to have spoken to them about their
lost mother, and told them that she was living now in a place where
she was much, much happier, than she had ever been before, and where
one of the very few things she had left to wish for, was, that one
day she might see them again:  not in this world, where people are so
often uncomfortable and sad, but in that happy one where there is no
more sorrow, or crying, for God Himself wipes away the tears from all
eyes.

"I should have told them besides," pursued Aunt Judy, "that it would
not please their dear mother at all for them to fret for her, and
FANCY THEY COULDN'T DO WITHOUT HER, and be discontented because God
had taken her away, and think it would have been much better for them
if He had not done so--(as if He did not know a thousand times better
than they could do:)--but that it would please her very much for them
to pray to God to make them good, so that they might all meet
together at last in that very happy place.

"In short, No. 6, I would have led them, if possible, to make a
comforting reality to themselves of the next world, as they had
already got a comforting fancy out of the cellar-dream of the Tods.
And that is the good, dear child, which I meant might have been got
out of the Tod adventure."

Aunt Judy ceased, but there was no chance of seeing the effect of
what she had said on No. 6's face, for it was laid on her sister's
lap; probably to hide the tears which would come into her eyes at
Aunt Judy's allusion to what she had said about HER.

At last a rather husky voice spoke:-

"You can't expect people to like what is so very sad, even if it is--
what you call--right--and all that."

"No! neither does God expect it!" was Aunt Judy's earnest reply.  "We
are allowed to be sorry when trials come, for we feel the suffering,
and cannot at present understand the blessing or necessity of it.
But we are not allowed to 'sorrow without hope;' and we are not
allowed, even when we are most sorry, to be rebellious, and fancy we
could choose better for ourselves than God chooses for us."

Aunt Judy's lesson, as well as story, was ended now, and she began
talking over the entertaining part of the Tod history, and then went
on to other things, till No. 6 was quite herself again, and wanted to
know how much was true about the motherless little girls; and when
she found from Aunt Judy's answer that the account was by no means
altogether an invention, she went into a fever-fidget to know who the
children were, and what had become of them; and finally settled that
the one thing in the world she most wished for, was to see them.

Nor would she be persuaded that this was a foolish idea, until Aunt
Judy asked her how she would like to be introduced to a couple of
VERY old women, with huge hooked noses, and beardy, nut-cracker
chins, and be told that THOSE were the motherless little girls who
had broken their hearts over rabbits' tails!--an inquiry which
tickled No. 6's fancy immensely, so that she began to laugh, and
suggest a few additions of her own to the comical picture, in the
course of doing which, she fortunately quite lost sight of the "one
thing" which a few minutes before she had "most wished for in the
world!"



"OUT OF THE WAY"



"Oh wonderful Son that can so astonish a Mother!"
HAMLET.

"What a horrid nuisance you are, No. 8, brushing everything down as
you go by!  Why can't you keep out of the way?"

"Oh, you mustn't come here, No. 8.  Aunt Judy, look! he's sitting on
my doll's best cloak.  Do tell him to go away."

"I can't have you bothering me, No. 8; don't you see how busy I am,
packing?  Get away somewhere else."

"You should squeeze yourself into less than nothing, and be nowhere,
No. 8."

The suggestion, (uttered with a jocose grin,) came from a small boy
who had ensconced himself in the corner of a window, where he was
sitting on his heels, painting the Union Jack of a ship in the
Illustrated London News.  He had certainly acted on the advice he
gave, as nearly as was possible.  Surely no little boy of his age
ever got into so small a compass before, or in a position more
effectually out of everybody's possible way.  The window corner led
nowhere, and there was nothing in it for anybody to want.

"No. 8, I never saw anything so tiresome as you are.  Why will you
poke your nose in where you're not wanted?  You're always in the
way."


"'He poked his flat nose into every place;'"


sung, sotto voce, by the small boy in the window corner.

No. 8 did not stop to dispute about it, though, in point of fact, his
nose was not flat, so at least in that respect he did not resemble
the duck in the song.

He had not, however, been successful in gaining the attention of his
friends down-stairs, so he dawdled off to make an experiment in
another quarter.

"Why, you're not coming into the nursery now, Master No. 8, surely!
I can't do with you fidgetting about among all the clothes and
packing.  There isn't a minute to spare.  You might keep out of the
way till I've finished."

"Now, Master No. 8, you must be off.  There's no time or room for you
in the kitchen this morning.  There's ever so many things to get
ready yet.  Run away as fast as you can."

"What ARE you doing in the passages, No. 8?  Don't you see that you
are in everybody's way?  You had really better go to bed again."

But the speaker hurried forward, and No. 8 betook himself to the
staircase, and sat down exactly in the middle of the middle flight.
And there be amused himself by peeping through the banisters into the
hall, where people were passing backwards and forwards in a great
fuss; or listening to the talking and noise that were going on in the
rooms above.

But be was not "out of the way" there, as he soon learnt.  Heavy
steps were presently heard along the landing, and heavy steps began
to descend the stairs.  Two men were carrying down a heavy trunk.

"You'll have to move, young gentleman, if you please," observed one;
"you're right in the way just there!"

No. 8 descended with all possible speed, and arrived on the mat at
the bottom.

"There now, I told you, you were always in the way," was the greeting
he received.  "How stupid it is!  Try under the table, for pity's
sake."

Under the table! it was not a bad idea; moreover, it was a new one--
quite a fresh plan.  No. 8 grinned and obeyed.  The hall table was no
bad asylum, after all, for a little boy who was always in the way
everywhere else; besides, he could see everything that was going on.
No. 8 crept under, and squatted himself on the cocoa-nut matting.  He
looked up, and looked round, and felt rather as if he was in a tent,
only with a very substantial covering over his head.

Presently the dog passed by, and was soon coaxed to lie down in the
table retreat by the little boy's side, and the two amused themselves
very nicely together.  The fact was, the family were going from home,
and the least the little ones could do during the troublesome
preparation, was not to be troublesome themselves; but this is
sometimes rather a difficult thing for little ones to accomplish.
Nevertheless, No. 8 had accomplished it at last.

"Capital, No. 8! you and the dog are quite a picture.  If I had time,
I would make a sketch of you."

That was the remark of the first person who went by afterwards, and
No. 8 grinned as he heard it.

"Well done, No. 8! that's the best contrivance I ever saw!"

Remark the second, followed by a second grin.

"Why, you don't mean to say that you're under the table, Master No.
8?  Well you ARE a good boy!  I'm sure I'll tell your mamma."

Another grin.

"You dear old fellow, to put yourself so nicely out of the way!
You're worth I don't know what."

Grin again.

"Master No. 8 under the table, to be sure!  Well, and a very nice
place it is, and quite suitable.  Ever so much better than the hot
kitchen, when there's baking and all sorts of things going on.  Here,
lovey! here's a little cake that was spared, that I was taking to the
parlour; but, as you're there, you shall have it."

No. 8 grinned with all his heart this time.

"I wish I'd thought of that!  Why, I could have painted my ship there
without being squeezed!"

It needs scarcely to be told that this was the observation of the
small boy who had watched an opportunity for emerging from the window
corner without fuss, and was now carrying his little paint-box up-
stairs to be packed away in the children's bag.  As he spoke, he
stooped down to look at No. 8 and the dog, and smiled his
approbation, and No. 8 smiled in return.

"No. 8, how snug you do look!"

Once more an answering grin.

"No. 8, you're the best boy in the world; and if you stay there till
Nurse is ready for you, you shall have a penny all to yourself."

No. 8's grin was accompanied by a significant nod this time, to show
that he accepted the bargain.

"My darling No. 8, you may come out now.  There! give me a kiss, and
get dressed as fast as you can.  The fly will be here directly.
You're a very good boy indeed."

"No. 8, you're the pattern boy of the family, and I shall come with
you in the fly, and tell you a story as we go along for a reward."

No. 8 liked both the praise, and the cake, and the penny, and the
kiss, and the promise of the rewarding story for going under the
table; but the why and wherefore of all these charming facts, was a
complete mystery to him.  What did that matter, however?  He ran up-
stairs, and got dressed, and was ready before anyone else; and, by a
miracle of good fortune, was on the steps, and not in the middle of
the carriage-drive, when the fly arrived, which was to take one batch
of the large family party to the railway station.

No one was as fond of the fly conveyance as of the open carriage;
for, in the first place, it was usually very full and stuffy; and, in
the second, very little of the country could be seen from the
windows.

But, on the present occasion, Aunt Judy having offered her services
to accompany the fly detachment, there was a wonderful alteration of
sentiment, as to who should be included.  Aunt Judy, however, had her
own ideas.  The three little ones belonged to the fly, as it were by
ancient usage and custom, and more than five it would not hold.

Five it would hold, however, and five accordingly got in, No. 4
having pleaded her own cause to be "thrown in:" and at last, with
nurses and luggage and No. 5 outside, away they drove, leaving the
open carriage and the rest to follow.

Nothing is perfect in this world.  Those who had the airy drive
missed the story, and regretted it; but it was fair that the pleasure
should be divided.

And, after all, although the fly might be a little stuffy and closely
packed, and although it cost some trouble to settle down without
getting crushed, and make footstools of carpet bags, and let down all
the windows,--the commotion was soon over; and it was a wonderful
lull of peace and quietness, after the confusion and worry of packing
and running about, to sit even in a rattling fly.  And so for five
minutes and more, all the travellers felt it to be, and a soothing
silence ensued; some leaning back, others looking silently out at the
retreating landscape, or studying with earnestness the wonderful red
plush lining of the vehicle itself.

But presently, after the rest had lasted sufficiently long to recruit
all the spirits, No. 7 remarked, not speaking to anybody in
particular, "I thought Aunt Judy was going to tell us a story."

No. 7 was a great smiler in a quiet way, and he smiled now, as he
addressed his remark to the general contents of the fly.

Aunt Judy laughed, and inquired for whom the observation was meant,
adding her readiness to begin, if they would agree to sit quiet and
comfortable, without shuffling up and down, or disputing about space
and heat; and, these points being agreed to, she began her story as
follows:-

"There were once upon a time a man and his wife who had an only son.
They were Germans, I believe, for all the funny things that happen,
happen in Germany, as you know by Grimm's fairy tales.

"Well! this man, Franz, had been a watchmaker and mender in an old-
fashioned country town, and he had made such a comfortable fortune by
the business, that he was able to retire before he grew very old; and
so he bought a very pretty little villa in the outskirts of the town,
had a garden full of flowers with a fountain in the middle, and
enjoyed himself very much.

"His wife enjoyed herself too, but never so much as when the
neighbours, as they passed by, peeped over the palings, and said,
'What a pretty place!  What lucky people the watchmaker and his wife
are!  How they must enjoy themselves!'

"On such occasions, Madame Franz would run to her husband, crying
out, 'Come here, my dear, as fast as you can!  Come, and listen to
the neighbours, saying, how we must enjoy ourselves!'

"Franz was very apt to grunt when his wife summoned him in this
manner, and, at any rate, never would go as she requested; but little
Franz, the son, who was very like his mother, and had got exactly her
turn-up nose and sharp eyes, would scamper forward in a moment to
hear what the neighbours had to say, and at the end would exclaim:-

"'Isn't it grand, mother, that everybody should think that?'

"To which his mother would reply:-

"'It is, Franz, dear!  I'm so glad you feel for your mother!' and
then the two would embrace each other very affectionately several
times, and Madame Franz would go to her household business, rejoicing
to think that, if her husband did not quite sympathize with her, her
son did.

"Young Franz had been somewhat spoilt in his childhood, as only
children generally are.  As to his mother, from there being no
brothers and sisters to compare him with, she thought such a boy had
never been seen before; and she told old Franz so, so often, that at
last he began to believe it too.  And then they got all sorts of
masters for him, to teach him everything they could think of, and
qualify him, as his mother said, for some rich young lady to fall in
love with.  That was her idea of the way in which he was one day to
make his fortune.

"At last, a time came when his mother thought the young gentleman
quite finished and complete; fit for anything and anybody, and likely
to create a sensation in the world.  So she begged old Franz to
dismiss all his masters, and give him a handsome allowance, that he
might go off on his travels and make his fortune, in the manner
before mentioned.

"Old Mr. Franz shook his head at first, and called it all a parcel of
nonsense.  Moreover, he declared that Master Franz was a mere child
yet, and would get into a hundred foolish scrapes in less than a
week; but mamma expressed her opinion so positively, and repeated it
so often, that at last papa began to entertain it too, and gave his
consent to the plan.

"The fact was, though I am sorry to say it, Mr. Franz was henpecked.
That is, his wife was always trying to make him obey her, instead of
obeying him, as she ought to have done; and she had managed him so
long, that she knew she could persuade him, or talk him (which is
much the same thing) into anything, provided she went on long enough.

"So she went on about Franz going off on his travels with a handsome
allowance, till Papa Franz consented, and settled an income upon him,
which, if they had been selfish parents, they would have said they
could not afford; but, as it was, they talked the matter over
together, and told each other that it was very little two old souls
like themselves would want when their gay son was away; and so they
would draw in, and live quite quietly, as they used to do in their
early days before they grew rich, and would let the lad have the
money to spend upon his amusements.

"Young Franz either didn't know, or didn't choose to think about
this.  Clever as he was about many things, he was not clever enough
to take in the full value of the sacrifices his parents were making
for him; so he thanked them lightly for the promised allowance,
rattled the first payment cheerfully into his purse, and smiled on
papa and mamma with almost condescending complacency.  When he was
equipped in his best suit, and just ready for starting, his mother
took him aside.

"'Franz, my dear,' she said, 'you know how much money and pains have
been spent on your education.  You can play, and dance, and sing, and
talk, and make yourself heard wherever you go.  Now mind you do make
yourself heard, or who is to find out your merits?  Don't be shy and
downcast when you come among strangers.  All you have to think about,
with your advantages, is to make yourself agreeable.  That's the rule
for you!  Make yourself agreeable wherever you go, and the wife and
the fortune will soon be at your feet.  And, Franz,' continued she,
laying hold of the button of his coat, 'there is something else.  You
know, I have often said that the one only thing I could wish
different about you is, that your nose should not turn up quite so
much.  But you see, my darling boy, we can't alter our noses.
Nevertheless, look here! you can incline your head in such a manner
as almost to hide the little defect.  See--this way--there--let me
put it as I mean--a little down and on one side.  It was the way I
used to carry my head before I married, or I doubt very much whether
your father would have looked my way.  Think of this when you're in
company.  It's a graceful attitude too, and you will find it much
admired.'

"Franz embraced his mother, and promised obedience to all her
commands; but he was glad when her lecture ended, for he was not very
fond of her remarks upon his nose.  Just then the door of his
father's room opened, and he called out:-

"'Franz, my dear, I want to speak to you.'

"Franz entered the room, and 'Now, my dear boy,' said papa, 'before
you go, let me give you one word of parting advice; but stop, we will
shut the door first, if you please.  That's right.  Well, now, look
here.  I know that no pains or expense have been spared over your
education.  You can play, and dance, and sing, and talk, and make
yourself heard wherever you go.'

"'My dear sir,' interrupted Franz, 'I don't think you need trouble
yourself to go on.  My mother has just been giving me the advice
beforehand.'

"'No, has she though?' cried old Franz, looking up in his son's face;
but then he shook his head, and said:-

"'No, she hasn't, Franz; no, she hasn't; so listen to me.  We've all
made a fuss about you, and praised whatever you've done, and you've
been a sort of idol and wonder among us.  But, now you're going among
strangers, you will find yourself Mr. Nobody, and the great thing is,
you must be contented to be Mr. Nobody at first.  Keep yourself in
the background, till people have found out your merits for
themselves; and never get into anybody's way.  Keep OUT of the way,
in fact, that's the safest rule.  It's the secret of life for a young
man--How impatient you look! but mark my words:- all you have to
attend to, with your advantages, is, to keep out of the way.'

"After this bit of advice, the father bestowed his blessing on his
dear Franz, and unlocked the door, close to which they found Mrs.
Franz, waiting rather impatiently till the conference was over.

"'What a time you have been, Franz!' she began; but there was no time
to talk about it, for they all knew that the coach, or post-wagon, as
they call it in Germany, was waiting.

"Mrs. Franz wrung her son's hand.

"'Remember what I've said, my dearest Franz!' she cried.

"'Trust me!' was Mr. Franz's significant reply.

"'You'll not forget my rule?' whispered papa.

"'Forget, sir? no, that's not possible,' answered

Mr. Franz in a great hurry, as he ran off to catch the post-wagon;
for they could see it in the distance beginning to move, though part
of the young gentleman's luggage was on board.

"Well! he was just in time; but what do you think was the next thing
he did, after keeping the people waiting?  A sudden thought struck
him, that it would be as well for the driver and passengers to know
how well educated he had been, so he began to give the driver a few
words of geographical information about the roads they were going.

"'Jump in directly, sir, if you please,' was the driver's gruff
reply.

"'Certainly not, till I've made you understand what I mean,' says
Master Franz, quite facetiously.  But, then, smack went the whip, and
the horses gave a jolt forwards, and over the tip of the learned
young gentleman's foot went the front wheel.

"It was a nasty squeeze, though it might have been worse, but Franz
called out very angrily, something or other about 'disgraceful
carelessness,' on which the driver smacked his whip again, and
shouted:-

"'Gentlemen that won't keep out of the way, must expect to have their
toes trodden on.'  Everybody laughed at this, but Franz was obliged
to spring inside, without taking any notice of the joke, as the coach
was now really going on; and if he had began to talk, he would have
been left behind.

"And now," continued Aunt Judy, stopping herself, "while Franz is
jolting along to the capital town of the country, you shall tell me
whose advice you think he followed when he got to the end of the
journey, and began life for himself--his father's or his mother's?"

There was a universal cry, mixed with laughter, of "His mother's!"

"Quite right," responded Aunt Judy.  "His mother's, of course.  It
was far the most agreeable, no doubt.  Keeping out of the way is a
rather difficult thing for young folks to manage."

A glance at No. 8 caused that young gentleman's face to grin all
over, and Aunt Judy proceeded:-

"After his arrival at the great hotel of the town, he found there was
to be a public dinner there that evening, which anybody might go to,
who chose to pay for it; and this he thought would be a capital
opportunity for him to begin life:  so, accordingly, he went up-
stairs to dress himself out in his very best clothes for the
occasion.

"And then it was that, as he sat in front of the glass, looking at
his own face, while he was brushing his hair and whiskers, and
brightening them up with bear's-grease, he began to think of his
father and mother, and what they had said, and what he had best do.

"'An excellent, well-meaning couple, of course, but as old-fashioned
as the clocks they used to mend,' was his first thought.  'As to
papa, indeed, the poor old gentleman thinks the world has stood still
since he was a young man, thirty years ago.  His stiff notions were
all very well then, perhaps, but in these advanced times they are
perfectly quizzical.  Keep out of the way, indeed!  Why, any
ignoramus can do that, I should think!  Well, well, he means well,
all the same, so one must not be severe.  As to mamma now--poor
thing--though she IS behindhand herself in many ways, yet she DOES
know a good thing when she sees it, and that's a great point.  She
can appreciate the probable results of my very superior education and
appearance.  To be sure, she's a little silly over that nose affair;-
-but women will always be silly about something.'

"Nevertheless, at this point in his meditations, Master Franz might
have been seen inclining his head down on one side, just as his
mother had recommended, and then giving a look at the mirror, to see
whether the vile turn-up did really disappear in that attitude.  I
suspect, however, that he did not feel quite satisfied about it, for
he got rather cross, and finished his dressing in a great hurry, but
not before he had settled that there could be only one opinion as to
whose advice he should be guided by--dear mamma's.

"'Should it fail,' concluded he to himself, as he gave the last smile
at the looking-glass, 'there will be poor papa's old-world notion to
fall back upon, after all.'

"Now, you must know that Master Franz had never been at one of these
public dinners before, so there is no denying that when he entered
the large dining-hall, where there was a long table, set out with
plates, and which was filling fast with people, not one of whom he
knew, he felt a little confused.  But he repeated his mother's words
softly to himself, and took courage:  'DON'T BE SHY AND DOWNCAST WHEN
YOU COME AMONG STRANGERS.  ALL YOU HAVE TO THINK ABOUT, WITH YOUR
ADVANTAGES, IS TO MAKE YOURSELF AGREEABLE;' and, on the strength of
this, he passed by the lower end of the table, where there were
several unoccupied places, and walked boldly forward to the upper
end, where groups of people were already seated, and were talking and
laughing together.

"In the midst of one of these groups, there was one unoccupied seat,
and in the one next to it sat a beautiful, well-dressed young lady.
'Why, this is the very thing,' thought Mr. Franz to himself.  'Who
knows but what this is the young lady who is to make my fortune?'

"There was a card, it is true, in the plate in front of the vacant
seat, but 'as to that,' thought Franz, 'first come, first served, I
suppose; I shall sit down!'

"And sit down the young gentleman accordingly did in the chair by the
beautiful young lady, and even bowed and smiled to her as he did so.

"But the next instant he was tapped on the shoulder by a waiter.

"'The place is engaged, sir!' and the man pointed to the card in the
plate.

"'Oh, if that's all,' was Mr. Franz's witty rejoinder, 'here's
another to match!' and thereupon he drew one of his own cards from
his pocket, threw it into the plate, and handed the first one to the
astonished waiter, with the remark:-

"'The place is engaged, my good friend, you see!'

"The young goose actually thought this impudence clever, and glanced
across the table for applause as he spoke.  But although Mamma
Watchmaker, if she had heard it, might have thought it a piece of
astonishing wit, the strangers at the public table were quite of a
different opinion, and there was a general cry of 'Turn him out!'

"'Turn me out!' shouted Mr. Franz, jumping up from his chair, as if
he intended to fight them all round; and there is no knowing what
more nonsense he might not have talked, but that a very sonorous
voice behind him called out,--a hand laying hold of him by the
shoulders at the same time -

"'Young man, I'll trouble you to get out of my chair, and' (a little
louder) 'out of my way, and' (a little louder still) 'to KEEP out of
my way!'

"Franz felt himself like a child in the grasp of the man who spoke;
and one glimpse he caught of a pair of coal-black eyes, two frowning
eye-brows, and a moustachioed mouth, nearly frightened him out of his
wits, and he was half way down the room before he knew what was
happening; for, after the baron let him go, the waiter seized him and
hustled him along, till he came to the bottom of the table; where,
however, there was now no room for him, as all the vacant places had
been filled up; so he was pushed finally to a side-table in a corner,
at which sat two men in foreign dresses, not one word of whose
language he could understand.

"These two fellows talked incessantly together too, which was all the
more mortifying, because they gesticulated and laughed as if at some
capital joke.  Franz was very quiet at first, for the other adventure
had sobered him, but presently, with his mother's advice running in
his head, he resolved to make himself agreeable, if possible.

"So, at the next burst of merriment, he affected to have entered into
the joke, threw himself back in his chair and laughed as loudly as
they did.  The men stared for a second, then frowned, and then one of
them shouted something to him very loudly, which he did not
understand; so he placed his hand on his heart, put on an expressive
smile, and offered to shake hands.  Thought he, that will be
irresistible!  But he was mistaken.  The other man now called loudly
to the waiter, and a moment after, Franz found himself being conveyed
by the said waiter through the doorway into the hall, with the remark
resounding in his ears:-

"'What a foolish young gentleman you must be!  Why can't you keep out
of people's way?'

"'My good friend,' cried Mr. Franz, 'that's not my plan at present.
I'm trying to make myself agreeable.'

"'Oh--pooh!--bother agreeable,' cried the waiter.  'What's the use of
making yourself agreeable, if you're always in the way?  Here!--step
back, sir! don't you see the tray coming?'

"Franz had not noticed it, and would probably have got a thump on the
head from it, if his friend the waiter had not pulled him back.  The
man was a real good-natured, smiling German, and said:-

"'Come, young gentleman, here's a candle;--you've a bed-room here, of
course.  Now, you take my advice, and go to bed.  You WILL be out of
the way there, and perhaps you'll get up wiser to-morrow.'

"Franz took the candlestick mechanically, but, said he:-

"'I understood there was to be dancing here tonight, and I can dance,
and--'

"'Oh, pooh! bother dancing,' interrupted the waiter.  'What's the use
of dancing, if you're to be in everybody's way, and I know you will;
you can't help it.  Here, be advised for once, and go to bed.  I'll
bring you up some coffee before long.  Go quietly up now--mind.  Good
night.'

"Two minutes afterwards, Mr. Franz found himself walking up-stairs,
as the waiter had ordered him to do, though he muttered something
about 'officious fellow' as he went along.

"And positively he went to bed, as the officious fellow recommended;
and while he lay there waiting for the coffee, he began wondering
what COULD be the cause of the failure of his attempts to make
himself agreeable.  Surely his mother was right--surely there could
be no doubt that, with his advantages--but he did not go on with the
sentence.

"Well, after puzzling for some time, a bright thought struck him.  It
was entirely owing to that stupid nose affair, which his mother was
so silly about.  Of course that was it!  He had done everything else
she recommended, but he could not keep his head down at the same
time, so people saw the snub!  Well, he would practise the attitude
now, at any rate, till the coffee came!

"No sooner said than done.  Out of bed jumped Mr. Franz, and went
groping about for the table to find matches to light the candle.
But, unluckily, he had forgotten how the furniture stood, so he got
to the door by a mistake, and went stumbling up against it, just as
the waiter with the coffee opened it on the other side.

"There was a plunge, a shout, a shuffling of feet, and then both were
on the floor, as was also the hot coffee, which scalded Franz's bare
legs terribly.

"The waiter got up first, and luckily it was the 'officious fellow'
with the smiling face.  And said he:-

"'What a miserable young man you must be, to be sure!  Why, you're
NEVER out of the way, not even when you're gone to bed!'

This last anecdote caused an uproar of delight in the fly, and so
much noise, that Aunt Judy had to call the party to order, and talk
about the horses being frightened, after which she proceeded:-

"I am sorry to say Mr. Franz did not get up next morning as much
wiser as the waiter had expected, for he laid all the blame of his
misfortunes on his nose instead of his impertinence, and never
thought of correcting himself, and being less intrusive.

"On the contrary, after practising holding his head down for ten
minutes before the glass, he went out to the day's amusements, as
saucy and confident as ever.

"Now there is no time," continued Aunt Judy, "for my telling you all
Mr. Franz's funny scrapes and adventures.  When we get to the end of
the journey, you must invent some for yourselves, and sit together,
and tell them in turns, while we are busy unpacking.  I will only
just say, that wherever he went, the same sort of things happened to
him, because he was always thrusting himself forward, and always
getting pushed back in consequence.

"Out of the public gardens he got fairly turned at last, because he
would talk politics to some strange gentlemen on a bench.  They got
up and walked away, but, five minutes afterwards, a very odd-looking
man looked over Franz's shoulder, and said significantly, 'I
recommend you to leave these gardens, sir, and walk elsewhere.'  And
poor Franz, who had heard of such things as prisons and dungeons for
political offenders, felt a cold shudder run through him, and took
himself off with all possible speed, not daring to look behind him,
for fear he should see that dreadful man at his heels.  Indeed, he
never felt safe till he was in his bed-room again, and had got the
waiter to come and talk to him.

"'Dear me,' said the waiter, 'what a very silly young gentleman you
must be, to go talking away without being asked!'

"'But,' said Franz, 'you don't consider what a superior education I
have had.  I can talk and make myself heard--'

"'Oh, pooh! bother talking,' interrupted the waiter; 'what's the use
of talking when nobody wants to listen?  Much better go to bed.'

"Franz would not give in yet, but was comforted to find the waiter
did not think he would be thrown into prisons and dungeons; so he
dined, and dressed, and went to the theatre to console himself, where
however he MADE HIMSELF HEARD so effectually--first applauding, then
hissing, and even speaking his opinions to the people round him--that
a set of young college students combined together to get rid of him,
and, I am sorry to add, they made use of a little kicking as the
surest plan; and so, before half the play was over, Mr. Franz found
himself in the street!

"Now, then, I have told you enough of Mr. Franz's follies, except the
one last adventure, which made him alter his whole plan of
proceeding.

"He had had two letters of introduction to take with him:  one to an
old partner of his father's, who had settled in the capital some
years before; another to some people of more consequence, very
distant family connections.  And, of course, Mr. Franz went there
first, as there seemed a nice chance of making his fortune among such
great folks.

"And really the great folks would have been civil enough, but that he
soon spoilt everything by what HE called 'making himself agreeable.'
He was too polite, too affectionate, too talkative, too instructive,
by half!  He assured the young ladies that he approved very highly of
their singing; trilled out a little song of his own, unasked, at his
first visit; fondled the pet lap-dog on his knee; congratulated papa
on looking wonderfully well for his age; asked mamma if she had tried
the last new spectacles; and, in short, gave his opinions, and
advice, and information, so freely, that as soon as he was gone the
whole party exclaimed:-

"'What an impertinent jackanapes!' a jackanapes being nothing more
nor less than a human monkey.

"This went on for some time, for he called very often, being too
stupid, in spite of his supposed cleverness, to take the hints that
were thrown out, that such repeated visits were not wanted.

"At last, however, the family got desperate and one morning when he
arrived, (having teazed them the day before for a couple of hours,)
he saw nobody in the drawing-room when he was ushered in.

"Never mind, thought he, they'll be here directly when they know I'M
come!  And having brought a new song in his pocket, which he had been
practising to sing to them, he sat down to the piano, and began
performing alone, thinking how charmed they would be to hear such
beautiful sounds in the distance!

"But, in the middle of his song, he heard a discordant shout, and
jumping up, discovered the youngest little Missy hid behind the
curtain, and crying tremendously.

"Mr. Franz became quite theatrical.  'Lovely little pet, where are
your sisters?  Have they left my darling to weep alone?'

"'They shut the door before I could get through,' sobbed the lovely
little pet; 'and I won't be your darling a bit!'

"Mr. Franz laughed heartily, and said how clever she was, took her on
his knee, told her her sisters would be back again directly, and
finished his remark by a kiss.

"Unfortunate Mr. Franz!  The young lady immediately gave him an
unmistakable box on the ear with her small fist, and vociferated

"No, they won't, they won't, they won't!  They'll never come back
till you're gone!  They've gone away to get out of YOUR way, because
you won't keep out of THEIRS.  And you're a forward puppy, papa says,
and can't take a hint; and you're always in everybody's way, and I'LL
get out of your way, too!'

"Here the little girl began to kick violently; but there was no
occasion.  Mr. Franz set her down, and while she ran off to her
sisters, he rushed back to the hotel, and double-locked himself into
his room.

"After a time, however, he sent for his friend the waiter, for he
felt that a talk would do him good.

"But the 'officious fellow' shook his head terribly.

"'How many more times am I to tell you what a foolish young gentleman
you are?' cried he.  'Will you never get up wiser any morning of the
year?'

"'I thought,' murmured Franz, in broken, almost sobbing accents--'I
thought--the young ladies--would have been delighted--with--my song;-
-you see--I've been--so well taught--and I can sing--'

"'Oh! pooh, pooh, pooh!' interrupted the waiter once more.  'Bother
singing and everything else, if you've not been asked!  Much better
go to bed!'

"Poor Franz!  It was hard work to give in, and he made a last effort.

"'Don't you think--after all--that the prejudice--is owing to--what I
told you about:- people do so dislike a snub-nose?'

"'Oh, pooh! bother a snub-nose,' exclaimed the waiter; 'what will
your nose signify, if you don't poke it in everybody's way?'

"And with this conclusion Mr. Franz was obliged to be content; and he
ordered his dinner up-stairs, and prepared himself for an evening of
tears and repentance.

"But, before the waiter had been gone five minutes, he returned with
a letter in his hand.

"'Now, here's somebody asking something at last,' said he, for a
servant had brought it.

"Franz trembled as he took it.  It was sure to be either a scolding
or a summons to prison, he thought.  But no such thing:  it was an
invitation to dinner.  Franz threw it on the floor, and kicked it
from him--he would go nowhere--see nobody any more!

"The 'officious fellow' picked it up, and read it.  'Mr. Franz,' said
he, 'you mustn't go to bed this time:  you must go to this dinner
instead.  It's from your father's old partner--he wishes you had
called, but as you haven't called, he asks you to dine.  Now you're
wanted, Mr. Franz, and must go.'

"'I shall get into another mess,' cried Franz, despondingly.

"'Oh, pooh! you've only to keep out of everybody's way, and all will
be right,' insisted the waiter, as he left the room.

"'Only to keep out of everybody's way, and all will be right,'
ejaculated Mr. Franz, as he looked at his crest-fallen face in the
glass.  'It's a strange rule for getting on in life!  However,'
continued he, cheering up, 'one plan has failed, and it's only fair
to give the other a chance!'

"And all the rest of dressing-time, and afterwards as he walked along
the streets, he kept repeating his father's words softly to himself,
which was at first a very difficult thing to do, because he could not
help mixing them up with his mother's.  It was the funniest thing in
the world to hear him:  'ALL YOU HAVE TO ATTEND TO, WITH YOUR
ADVANTAGES IS TO--MAKE YOURSELF--no, no! not to make myself
agreeable--IS TO--KEEP OUT OF THE WAY!--that's it!' (with a sigh.)

"When Franz arrived at the house, he rang the bell so gently, that he
had to ring twice before he was heard; and then they concluded it was
some beggar, who was afraid of giving a good pull.

"So, when he was ushered into the drawing-room, the old partner came
forward to meet him, took him by both hands, and, after one look into
his downcast face, said:-

"'My dear Mr. Franz, you must put on a bolder face, and ring a louder
peal, next time you come to the house of your father's old friend!'

"Mr. Franz answered this warm greeting by a sickly smile, and while
he was being introduced to the family, kept bowing on, thinking of
nothing but how he was to keep out of everybody's way!'

"He was tempted every five minutes, of course, to break out in his
usual style, and could have found it in his heart to chuck the whole
party under the chin, and take all the talk to himself.  But he could
be determined enough when he chose; and having determined to give his
father's rule a fair chance, he restrained himself to the utmost.

"So, not even the hearty reception of the old partner and his wife,
nor the smiling faces of either daughters or sons, could lure him
into opening out.  'Yes' and 'No;' 'Do you think so?' 'I dare say;'
'Perhaps;' 'No doubt you're right;' and other such unmeaning little
phrases were all he would utter when they talked to him.

"'How shy he is, poor fellow!' thought the ladies, and then they
talked to him all the more.  One tried to amuse him with one subject,
another with another.  How did he like the public gardens?  Were they
not very pretty?--He scarcely knew.  No doubt they were, if THEY
thought so.  What did he think of the theatre?--It was very hot when
he was there.  Had he any friends in the town?--He couldn't say
friends--he knew one or two people a little.  And the poor youth
could hardly restrain a groan, as he answered each of the questions.

"Then they chatted of books, and music, and dancing, and pressed him
hard to discover what he knew, and could do, and liked best; and when
it oozed out even from his short answers, that he had read certain
books in more than one language, and could sing--just a little; and
dance--just a little; and do several other things--just a little,
too, all sorts of nods and winks passed through the family, and they
said:-

"'Ah, when you know us better, and are not so shy of us as strangers,
we shall find out you are as clever again as you pretend to be, dear
Mr. Franz!'

"'I'll tell you what,' added the old partner, coming up at this
moment, 'it's a perfect treat to me, Mr. Franz, to have a young man
like you in my house!  You're your father over again, and I can't
praise you more.  He was the most modest, unobtrusive man in all our
town, and yet knew more of his business than all of us put together.'

"'No, no, I can't allow that,' cried the motherly wife.

"'Nonsense!' replied the old partner.  'However, my dear boy--for I
really must call you so--it was that very thing that made your
father's fortune; I mean that he was just as unpretending as he was
clever.  Everybody trusts an unpretending man.  And YOU'LL make your
fortune too in the same manner, trust me, before long.  Now, boys!'
added he, turning to his sons, 'you hear what I say, and mind you
take the hint!  As for the young puppies of the present day, who
fancy themselves fit to sit in the chair of their elders as soon as
ever they have learnt their alphabet, and are for thrusting
themselves forward in every company--Mr. Franz, I'll own it to you,
because you will understand me--I have no patience with such rude,
impertinent Jackanapeses, and always long to kick them down-stairs.'

"The old partner stood in front of Mr. Franz as he spoke, and
clenched his fist in animation.  Mr. Franz sat on thorns.  He first
went hot, and then he went cold--he felt himself kicked down-stairs
as he listened--he was ready to cry--he was ready to fight--he was
ready to run away--he was ready to drop on his knees, and confess
himself the very most impertinent of all the impertinent Jackanapes'
race.

But he gulped, and swallowed, and shut his teeth close, and nobody
found him out; only he looked very pale, which the good mother soon
noticed, and said she to her husband:-

"'My dear love, don't you see how fagged and weary it makes Mr. Franz
look, to hear you raving on about a parcel of silly lads with whom HE
has nothing in common?  You will frighten him out of his wits.'

"'Mr. Franz will forgive me, I know,' cried the old partner, gently.
'Jacintha, my dear, fetch the wine and cake!'

"The kind, careful souls feared he was delicate, and insisted on his
having some refreshment; and then papa ordered the young people to
give their guest some music; and Franz sat by while the sons and
daughters went through a beautiful opera chorus, which was so really
charming, that Mr. Franz did forget himself for a minute, clapped
violently, and got half-way through the word 'encore' in a very loud
tone.  But he checked himself instantly, coloured, apologized for his
rudeness, and retreated further back from the piano.

"Of course, this new symptom of modesty was met by more kindness, and
followed by a sly hint from the merry Jacintha, that Mr. Franz's turn
for singing had come now!

"Poor Mr. Franz! with the recollection of the morning's adventure on
his mind, and his father's rule ringing in his ears, he felt singing
to be out of the question, so he declined.  On which they entreated,
insisted, and would listen to no refusal.  And Jacintha went to him,
and looked at him with her sweetest smile, and said, 'But you know,
Mr. Franz, you said you could sing a little; and if it's ever so
little, you should sing WHEN YOU'RE ASKED!' and with that Miss
Jacintha offered him her hand, and led him to the piano.

"Franz was annoyed, though he ought to been pleased.

"'But how AM I to keep out of people's way,' thought he to himself,
'if they will pull me forward?  It's the oddest thing I ever knew.  I
can't do right either way.'

"Then a thought struck him:-

"'I have no music, Miss Jacintha,' said he, 'and I can't sing without
music;' and he was going back again to his chair in the corner.

"'But we have all the new music,' was her answer, and she opened a
portfolio at once.  'See, here's the last new song!' and she held one
up before the unfortunate youth, who at the sight of it coloured all
over, even to the tips of his ears.  Whereupon Miss Jacintha, who was
watching him, laughed, and said she had felt sure he knew it; and
down she sat, and began to play the accompaniment, and in two minutes
afterwards Mr. Franz found himself--in spite of himself, as it were--
exhibiting in THE song, the fatal song of the morning's adventure.

"It was a song of tender sentiment, and the singer's almost tremulous
voice added to the effect, and a warm clapping of hands greeted its
conclusion.

"But by that time Mr. Franz was so completely exhausted with the
struggles of this first effort on the new plan, that he began to wish
them good-night, saying he would not intrude upon them any longer.

"They would shake hands with him, though he tried to bow himself off
without; and the old partner followed him down-stairs into the hall.

"'Mr. Franz,' said he, 'we have been delighted to make your
acquaintance, but this has been only a quiet family party.  Now we
know your SORT, you must come again, and meet our friends.  Wife will
fix the day, and send you word; and don't you be afraid, young man!
Mind you come, and put your best foot forward among us all!'

"Franz was almost desperate.  His conscience began to reproach him.
What! was he going to accept all this kindness, like a rogue
receiving money under false pretences?  He was shocked, and began to
protest:-

"'I assure you, dear sir, I don't deserve--You are quite under a
mistake--I really am not--the fact is, you think a great deal better
of me than--"

"'Nonsense!' shouted the old partner, clapping him vigorously on the
back.  'Why, you're not going to teach me at my time of life, surely?
Not going to turn as conceited as that, after all, eh?  Come, come,
Mr. Franz, no nonsense!  And to-morrow,' he added, 'I'll send you
letters of introduction to some of my friends, who will show you the
lions, and make much of you.  You will be well received wherever you
take them, first for my sake, and afterwards for your own.  There,
there!  I won't hear a word!  No thanks--I hate them!  Good night.'

"And the old partner fairly pushed Mr. Franz through the door.

"'Oh dear, oh dear!' was the waiter's exclamation when Franz reached
the hotel, and the light of the lamp shone on his white, worn-out
face.  'Oh dear, oh dear!  I fear you've been a silly young gentleman
over again!  What HAVE you been doing this time?'

"'I've been trying to keep out of everybody's way all the evening,'
growled Mr. Franz, 'and they would pull me forward, in spite of
myself.'

"'No--really though?' cried the waiter, as if it were scarcely
possible.

"'Really,' sighed poor Mr. Franz.

"'Then do me the honour, sir,' exclaimed the waiter, with a sudden
deference of manner; and taking the tips of Franz's fingers in his
own, he bent over them with a salute.  'You're a wise young gentleman
now, sir, and your fortune's made.  I'm glad you've hit it at last!

"And Mr. Franz had hit it at last, indeed," continued Aunt Judy, "as
appeared more plainly still by the letters of introduction which
reached him next morning.  They were left open, and were to this
effect:-

"' . . . The bearer of this is the son of an old friend.  One of the
most agreeable young men I ever saw.  As modest as he is well
educated, and I can't say more.  Procure him some amusement, that a
little of his shyness may be rubbed off; and forward his fortunes, my
dear friend, as far as you can . . . '

"Franz handed one of these letters to his friend the waiter, and the
'officious fellow' grinned from ear to ear.

"'There is only one more thing to fear,' observed he.

"'And what?' asked Franz.

"'Why, that now you're comfortable, my dear young gentleman, your
head should be turned, and you should begin to make yourself
agreeable again, and spoil all.'

"'Oh, pooh! bother agreeable; _I_ say now, as you did,' cried Franz,
laughing.  'No, no, my good friend, I'm not going to make myself
agreeable any more.  I know better than that at last!'

"'Then your fortune's safe as well as made!' was the waiter's last
remark, as he was about to withdraw:  but Franz followed him to the
door.

"'I found out a rather curious thing this evening, do you know!'

"'And that was?--' inquired his humble friend.

"'Why, that I was sitting all the time in that very attitude my
mother recommended--with my head a little down, you know--so that I
really don't think they noticed my snub.'

"The waiter got as far as, 'Oh, pooh!' but Franz was nervous, and
interrupted him.

"'Yes--yes!  I don't believe there's anything in it myself; but it
will be a comfort to my mother to think it was her advice that made
my fortune, which she will do when I tell her that!'

"'Ah!--the ladies will be romantic now and then!' exclaimed the
waiter, with a flourish of his hand, 'and you must trim the comfort
to a person's taste.'

"And in due time," pursued Aunt Judy, "that was exactly what Mr.
Franz did.  Strictly adhering to his father's rule, and encouraged by
its capital success that first night, he got so out of the habit of
being pert, and foolish, and inconsiderate, that he ended by never
having any wish to be so; so that he really became what the old
partner had imagined him to be at first.  It was a great restraint
for some time, but his modest manners fitted him at last as easy as
an old shoe, and he was welcome at every house, because he was NEVER
IN THE WAY, and always knew when to retire!

"It was a jovial day for Papa and Mamma's Watchmaker when, two years
afterwards, Mr. Franz returned home, a partner in the old partner's
prosperous business, and with the smiling Jacintha for his bride.

"And then, in telling his mother of that first evening of his good
fortune, he did not forget to mention that he had hung down his head
all the time, as she had advised; and, just as he expected, she
jumped up in the most extravagant delight.

"'I knew how it would be all along!' cried she; 'I told you so!  I
knew if you could only hide that terrible snub all would be well; and
I'm sure our pretty Jacintha wouldn't have looked your way if you
hadn't!  See, now! you have to thank your mother for it all!'

"Franz was quite happy himself, so he smiled, and let his mother be
happy her way too; but he opened his heart of hearts to poor old-
fashioned papa, and told him--well, in fact, all his follies and
mistakes, and their cure.  And if mamma was happy in her bit of
comfort, papa was not less so in his, for there is not a more
delightful thing in the world than for father and son to understand
each other as friends; and old Franz would sometimes walk up and down
in his room, listening to the cheerful young voices up-stairs, and
say to himself, that if Mother Franz--good soul as she was--did not
always quite enter into his feelings, it was his comfort to be
blessed with a son who did!"

* * *

What a long story it had been!  Aunt Judy was actually tired out when
she got to the end, and could not talk about it, but the little ones
did till they arrived at the station, and had to get out.

And in the evening, when they were all sitting together before they
went to bed, there was no small discussion about the story of Mr.
Franz, and how people were to know what was really good manners--when
to come forward, and when to hold back--and the children were a
little startled at first, when their mother told them that the best
rules for good manners were to be found in the Bible.

But when she reminded them of that text, "When thou art bidden, go
and sit down in the lowest room," &c. they saw in those words a very
serious reason for not pushing forward into the best place in
company.  And when they recollected that every man was to do to
others as he wished others to do to him, it became clear to them that
it was the duty of all people to study their neighbours' comfort and
pleasure as well as their own; and it was no hard matter to show how
this rule applied to all the little ins and outs of every-day life,
whether at home, or in society.  And there were plenty of other
texts, ordering deference to elders, and the modesty which arises out
of that humility of spirit which "vaunteth not itself," and "is not
puffed up."  There was, moreover, the comfortable promise, that "the
meek" should "inherit the earth."

Of course, it was difficult to the little ones, just at first, to see
how such very serious words could apply to anybody's manners, and
especially to their own.

But it was a difficulty which mamma, with a little explanation, got
over very easily; and before the little ones went to bed, they quite
understood that in restraining themselves from teazing and being
troublesome, they were not only not being "tiresome," but were
actually obeying several Gospel rules.



"NOTHING TO DO."



"Had I a little son, I would christen him NOTHING-TO-DO."
CHARLES LAMB.

There is a complaint which is not to be found in the doctor's books,
but which is, nevertheless, such a common and troublesome one, that
one heartily wishes some physic could be discovered which would cure
it.

It may be called the NOTHING-TO-DO complaint.

Even quite little children are subject to it, but they never have it
badly.  Parents and nurses have only to give them something to do, or
tell them of something to do, and the thing is put right.  A puzzle
or a picture-book relieves the attack at once.

But after the children have out-grown puzzles, and picture-books, and
nurses, and when even a parent's advice is received with a little
impatience, then the NOTHING-TO-DO complaint, if it seizes them at
all, is a serious disease, and often very difficult to cure; and, if
not cured, alas! then follows the melancholy spectacle of grown-up
men and women, who are a plague to their friends, and a weariness to
themselves; because, living under the notion that there is NOTHING
for them TO DO, they want everybody else to do something to amuse
them.

Anyone can laugh at the old story of the gentleman who got into such
a fanciful state of mind--hypochondriacal, it is called--that he
thought he was his own umbrella; and so, on coming in from a walk,
would go and lay IT in the easy-chair by the fire, while he himself
went and leant up against the wall in a corner of the hall.

But this gentleman was not a bit more fanciful and absurd than the
people, whether young or old, who look out of windows on rainy days
and groan because there is NOTHING TO DO; when, in reality, there is
so much for everybody to do, that most people leave half their share
undone.

The oddest part of the complaint is, that it generally comes on worst
in those who from being comfortably off in the world, and from having
had a great deal of education, have such a variety of things to do,
that one would fancy they could never be at a loss for a choice.

But these are the very people who are most afflicted.  It is always
the young people who have books, and leisure, and music, and drawing,
and gardens, and pleasure-grounds, and villagers to be kind to, who
lounge to the rain-bespattered windows on a dull morning, and groan
because there is NOTHING TO DO.

In justice to girls in general, it should be here mentioned, that
they are on the whole less liable to the complaint than the young
lords of the creation, who are supposed to be their superiors in
sense.  Philosophers may excuse this as they please, but the fact
remains, that there are few large families in England, whose
sisterhoods have not at times been teazed half out of their wits, by
the growlings of its young gentlemen, during paroxysms of the
NOTHING-TO-DO complaint; growling being one of its most
characteristic symptoms.

Perhaps among all the suffering sisterhoods it would have been
difficult to find a young lady less liable to catch such a disorder
herself, than Aunt Judy; and perhaps that was the reason why she used
to do such tremendous battle with No. 3, whenever, after his return
from school for the holidays, he happened to have an attack.

"What are you groaning at through the window, No. 3?" she inquired on
one such occasion; "is it raining?"

A very gruff-sounding "No," was the answer--No. 3 not condescending
to turn round as he spoke.  He proceeded, however, to state that it
had rained when he got up, and he supposed it would rain again as a
matter-of-course, (for his especial annoyance being implied,) and he
concluded:-

"It's so horribly 'slow' here, with nothing to do."

No. 6, who was sitting opposite Aunt Judy, doing a French exercise,
here looked up at her sister, and perceiving a smile steal over her
face, took upon herself to think her brother's remark very
ridiculous, so, said she, with a saucy giggle:-

"I can find you plenty to do, No. 3, in a minute.  Come and write my
French exercise for me.

No. 3 turned sharply round at this, with a frown on his face which by
no means added to its beauty, and called out:-

"Now, Miss Pert, I recommend you to hold your tongue.  I don't want
any advice from a conceited little minx like you."

Miss Pert was extinguished at once, and set to work at the French
exercise again most industriously, and a general silence ensued.

But people in the nothing-to-do complaint are never quiet for long.
Teazing is quite as constant a symptom of it, as growling, so No. 3
soon came lounging from the window to the table, and began:-

"I say, Judy, I wish you would put those tiresome books, and
drawings, and rubbish away, and I think of something to do."

"But it's the books, and the drawings, and the rubbish that give me
something to do," cried Aunt Judy.  "You surely don't expect me to
give them up, and go arm and arm with you round the house, bemoaning
the slowness of our fate which gives us nothing to do.  Or shall we?
Come, I don't care; I will if you like.  But which shall we complain
to first, mamma, or the maids?"

While she was saying this, Aunt Judy shut up her drawing book, jumped
up from her chair, drew No. 3's arm under her own, and repeated:-

"Come! which? mamma, or the maids?" while Miss Pert opposite was
labouring with all her might to smother the laugh she dared not
indulge in.

But No. 3 pushed Aunt Judy testily away.

"'Nonsense, Judy! what has that to do with it?  It's all very well
for you girls--now, Miss Pert, mind your own affairs, and don't stare
at me!--to amuse yourself with all manner of--"

"Follies, of course," cried Aunt Judy, laughing, "don't be afraid of
speaking out, No. 3.  It's all very well for us girls to amuse
ourselves with all manner of follies, and nonsense, and rubbish;"
here Aunt Judy chucked the drawing-book to the end of the table,
tossed a dictionary after it, and threw another book or two into the
air, catching them as they came down.

"--while you, superior, sensible young man that you are, born to be
the comfort of your family--"

"Be quiet!" interrupted No. 3, trying to stop her; but she ran round
the table and proceeded:-

"--and the enlightener of mankind; can't--no, no, No. 3, I won't be
stopt!--can't amuse yourself with anything, because everything is so
'horribly slow, there's nothing to do,' so you want to tie yourself
to your foolish sister's apron string."

"It's too bad!" shouted No. 3; and a race round the table began
between them, but Aunt Judy dodged far too cleverly to be caught, so
it ended in their resting at opposite ends; No. 6 and her French
exercises lying between them.

"No. 6, my dear," cried Aunt Judy, in the lull of exertion, "I
proclaim a holiday from folly and rubbish.  Put your books away, and
put your impertinence away too.  Hold your tongue, and don't be Miss
Pest; and vanish as soon as you can."

Miss Pert performed two or three putting-away evolutions with the
velocity of a sunbeam, and darted off through the door.

"Now, then, we'll be reasonable," observed Aunt Judy; and carrying a
chair to the front of the fire she sat down, and motioned to No. 3 to
do the same, taking out from her pocket a little bit of embroidery
work, which she kept ready for chatting hours.

No. 3 was always willing to listen to Aunt Judy.

He desired nothing better than to get her undivided attention, and
pour out his groans in her ear; so he sat down with a very good
grace, and proceeded to insist that there never was anything so
"slow" as "it was."

Aunt Judy wanted to know what IT was; the place or the people,
(including herself,) or what?

No. 3 could explain it no other way than by declaring that EVERYTHING
was slow; there was nothing to do.

Aunt Judy maintained that there was plenty to do.

Whereupon No. 3 said:-

"But nothing WORTH doing."

Whereupon Aunt Judy told No. 3 that he was just like Dr. Faustus.  On
which, of course, No. 3 wanted to know what Dr. Faustus was like, and
Aunt Judy answered, that he was just like HIM, only a great deal
older and very learned.

"Only quite different, then," suggested No. 3.

"No," said Aunt Judy, "not QUITE different, for he came one day to
the same conclusion that you have done, namely, that there was
nothing to do, worth doing in the world."

"_I_ don't say the world, I only say here," observed No. 3; "there's
plenty to do elsewhere, I dare say."

"So you think, because you have not tried else where," answered Aunt
Judy.  "But Dr. Faustus, who had tried elsewhere, thought everywhere
alike, and declared there was nothing worth doing anywhere, although
he had studied law, physic, divinity, and philosophy all through, and
knew pretty nearly everything."

"Then you see he did not get much good out of learning," remarked No.
3.

"I do see," was the reply.

"And what became of him?"

"Ah, that's the point," replied Aunt Judy, "and a very remarkable
point too.  As soon as he got into the state of fancying there was
nothing to do, worth doing, in God's world, the evil spirit came to
him, and found him something to do in what I may, I am sure, call the
devil's world--I mean, wickedness."

"Oh, that's a story written upon Watts's old hymn," exclaimed No. 3,
contemptuously:-


"'For Satan finds some mischief still,
For idle hands to do.'


Judy!  I call that a regular 'SELL.'"

" Not a bit of it," cried Aunt Judy, warmly; "I don't suppose the man
who wrote the story ever saw Watts's hymns, or intended to teach
anything half as good.  It's mamma's moral.  She told me she had
screwed it out of the story, though she doubted whether it was meant
to be there."

"And what's the rest of the story then?" inquired No. 3, whose
curiosity was aroused.

"Well! when the old Doctor found the world as it was, so 'SLOW,' as
you very unmeaningly call it, he took to conjuring and talking with
evil spirits by way of amusement; and then they easily persuaded him
to be wicked, merely because it gave him something fresh and exciting
to do."

"Watts's hymn again!  I told you so!" exclaimed No. 3.  "But the
story's all nonsense from beginning to end.  Nobody can conjure, or
talk to evil spirits in reality, so the whole thing is impossible;
and where you find the moral, I don't know."

No. 3 leant back and yawned as he concluded.

He was rather disappointed that nothing more entertaining had come
out of the story of Dr. Faustus.

But Aunt Judy had by no means done.

"Impossible about conjuring and actually TALKING to evil spirits,
certainly," said she; "but spiritual influences, both bad and good,
come to us all, No. 3, without bodily communion; so for those who are
inclined to feel like Dr. Faustus, there is both a moral and a
warning in his fate."

"I don't know what about," cried No. 3.  "I think he was uncommonly
stupid, after all he had learnt, to get into such a mess.  Why, you
yourself are always trying to make out that the more people labour
and learn, the more sure they are to keep out of mischief.  Now then,
how do you account for the story of your friend Dr. Faustus?"

"Because, like King Solomon, he did not labour and learn in a right
spirit, or to a right end," replied Aunt Judy.  "Lord Bacon remarks
that when, after the Creation, God 'looked upon everything He had
made, behold it was VERY GOOD;' whereas when man 'turned him about,'
and took a view of the world and his own labours in it, he found that
'all' was 'vanity and vexation of spirit.'  Why did he come to such a
different conclusion, do you think?"

"I suppose because the world had got bad, before King Solomon's
time," suggested No. 3.

"Its inhabitants had," replied Aunt Judy.  "They had become subject
to sin and misery; but the world was still God's creation, and proofs
of the 'very good' which He had pronounced over it were to be found
in every direction, and even in fallen man, if Solomon had had the
sense, or rather I should say, good feeling to look for them.  Ah!
No. 3, there was plenty to be learnt and done that would NOT have
ended in 'vanity and vexation of spirit' if Solomon had LEARNT in
order to trace out the glory of God, instead of establishing his own;
and if he had WORKED to create, as far as was in his power, a world
of happiness for other people, instead of seeking nothing but his own
amusement.  If he had worked in the spirit of God, in short."

"But who can?--Nobody," exclaimed No. 3.

"Yes, everybody, who tries, can, to a certain extent," said Aunt
Judy.  "It only wants the right feeling; some of the good God-like
feeling which originated the creation of a beautiful world, and
caused the contemplation of it to produce the sublime complacency
which is described, 'And God looked upon everything that He had made,
and behold it was very good.'"

"It's a sermon, Judy," cried No. 3, half bored, yet half amused at
the notion of her preaching; "I'll set up a pulpit for you at once,
shall I?"

"No, no, be quiet, No. 3," exclaimed Aunt Judy, "I wish you would try
and understand what I say!"

"Well, then," said No. 3, "it appears to me that do what one might
now the world has grown bad, it would be impossible to pronounce that
'VERY GOOD,' as the result of one's work.  There would always be
something miserable and unsatisfactory at the end of everything; I
mean even if one really was to look into things closely, and work for
other people's good, as you say."

"There might be SOMETHING miserable and unsatisfactory, in the
result, certainly," answered Aunt Judy; "but that it would ALL be
'vanity and vexation of spirit' I deny.  Our blessed Saviour came
into the world after it had grown bad, remember; and He worked solely
for the restoration of the 'very good,' which sin had defaced.  It
was undoubtedly MISERABLE and UNSATISFACTORY that He should be
rejected by the very creatures He came to help; but when He uttered
the words 'It is finished,' the work which He had accomplished, He
might well have looked upon and called very good:  very very good;
even beyond the creation, were that possible."

"There can be no comparison between our Saviour and us," murmured No.
3.

"No," replied his sister; "but only let people work in the same
direction, and they will have more 'profit' of their 'labour,' than
King Solomon ever owned to, who had, one fears, only learnt, in order
to be learned, and worked, to please himself.  No man who employs
himself in tracing out God's footsteps IN the world, or in working in
God's spirit FOR the world, will ever find such labours end in
'vanity and vexation of spirit!'  Solomon, Dr. Faustus, and the
grumblers, have only themselves to thank for their disappointment."

"It's very curious," observed No. 3, getting up, and stretching
himself over the fire, "I mean about Solomon and Dr. Faustus.  But
what can one do?  What can you or I do?  It's absurd to be fancying
one can do good to one's fellow-creatures."

"Nevertheless, there is one I want you to do good to, at the present
moment," said Aunt Judy--"if it is not actually raining.  Don't you
remember what despair No. 1 was in this morning, when father sent her
off on the pony in such a hurry."

"Ah, that pony!  That was just what I wanted myself," interrupted No.
3.

"Exactly, of course," replied Aunt Judy.  "But you were not the
messenger father wanted, so do not let us go all over that ground
again, pray.  The fact was, No. 1 had just heard that her pet 'Tawny
Rachel' was very ill, and she wanted to go and see her, and give her
some good advice, and I am to go instead.  Now No. 3, suppose you go
instead of me, and save me a wet walk?"

No. 3, of course, began by protesting that it was not possible that
he could do any good to an old woman.  Old women were not at all in
his way.  He could only say, how do you do? and come away.

Aunt Judy disputed this:  she thought he could offer her some
creature comforts, and ask whether she had seen the Doctor, and what
he said, as No. 1 particularly wished to know.

What an idea!  No, no; he must decline inquiring what the Doctor
said; it would be absurd; but he could offer her something to eat.

- And just ask if she had had the Doctor.--Well, just that, and come
away.  It would not occupy many minutes.  But he wished, while Aunt
Judy was about it, she had found him something rather LONGER to do!

Aunt Judy promised to see what could be devised on his return, and
No. 3 departed.  And a very happily chosen errand it was; for it
happened in this case, as it so constantly does happen, that what was
begun for other people's sake, ended in personal gratification.  No.
3 went to see "Tawny Rachel," out of good-natured compliance with
Aunt Judy's request, but found an interest and amusement in the visit
itself, which he had not in the least expected.

Ten, twenty, thirty, minutes elapsed, and he had not returned; and
when he did so at last, he burst into the house far more like an
avalanche than a young gentleman who could find "nothing to do."

Coming in the back way, he ran into the kitchen, and told the
servants to get some hot water ready directly, for he was sure
something would be wanted.  Then, passing forward, he shouted to know
where his mother was, and, having found her, entreated she would
order some comfortable, gruelly stuff or other, to be made for the
sick old woman, particularly insisting that it should have ale or
wine, as well as spice and sugar in it.

He was positive that that was just what she ought to have!  She had
said how cold she was, and how glad she should be of something to
warm her inside; and there was nobody to do anything for her at home.
What a shame it was for a poor old creature like that to be left with
only two dirty boys to look after her, and they always at play in the
street!  Her daughter and husband were working out, and she sat
moaning over the fire, from pain, without anybody to care!

* * *

Tender-hearted and impulsive, if thoughtless, the spirit of No. 3 had
been moved within him at the spectacle of the gaunt old woman in this
hour of her lonely suffering.

Poor "Tawny Rachel!"  The children had called her so, from the
heroine of Mrs. Hannah More's tale, because of those dark gipsy eyes
of hers, which had formerly given such a fine expression to her
handsome but melancholy face.  Melancholy, because care-worn from the
long life's struggle for daily bread, for a large indulged family,
who scarcely knew, at the day of her death, that she had worn herself
out for their sakes.

Poor "Tawny Rachel!"  She was one day asked by a well-meaning
shopkeeper, of whom she had purchased a few goods, WHERE SHE THOUGHT
SHE WAS GOING TO?"

"Tawny Rachel" turned her sad eyes upon her interrogator, and made
answer:-

"Going to? why where do you think I'm going to, but to Heaven?--
'Deed! where do you think I'm going to, but to Heaven?" she repeated
to herself slowly, as if to recover breath; and then added, "I should
like to know who Heaven is for, if not for such as me, that have
slaved all their lives through, for other folk;" and so saying, Tawny
Rachel turned round again, and went away.

Poor "Tawny Rachel!"  The theology was imperfect enough; but so had
been her education and advantages.  Yet as surely as her scrupulous,
never-failing honesty, and unmurmuring self-denial, must have been
inspired by something beyond human teaching; so surely did it prove
no difficult task to her spiritual guide, to lead her onwards to
those simple verities of the Christian Faith, which, in her case,
seemed to solve the riddle of a weary, unsatisfactory life, and,
confiding in which, the approach of death really became to her, the
advent of the Prince of Peace.

* * *

"But she had quite cheered up," remarked No. 3, "at the notion of
something comforting and good," and so--he had "come off at once."

"At once!"--the exclamation came from Aunt Judy, who had entered the
room, and was listening to the account.  "Why, No. 3, you must have
been there an hour at least.  And nevertheless I dare say you have
forgotten about the Doctor."

"The Doctor!" cried No. 3, laughing,--"It's the Doctor who has kept
me all this time.  You never heard such fun in your life,--only he's
an awful old rascal, I must say!"

Mamma and Aunt Judy gazed at No. 3 in bewilderment.  The respectable
old village practitioner, who had superintended all the deceases in
the place for nearly half a century--to be called "an awful old
rascal" at last!  What could No. 3 be thinking of?

Certainly not of the respectable village practitioner, as he soon
explained, by describing the arrival at Tawny Rachel's cottage of a
travelling quack with a long white beard.

"My dear No. 3!" exclaimed mamma.

"Mother, dear, I can't help it!" cried No. 3, and proceeded to relate
that while he was sitting with the old woman, listening to the
account of her aches and pains, some one looked in at the door, and
asked if she wanted anything; but, before she could speak, remarked
how ill she seemed, and said he could give her something to do her
good.  "Judy!" added No. 3, breaking suddenly off; "he looked just
like Dr. Faustus, I'm sure!"

"Never mind about that," cried Aunt Judy.  "Tell us what Tawny Rachel
said."

"Oh, she called out that he MUST GIVE it, if she was to have it, for
she had nothing to pay for it with.  I had a shilling in my pocket,
and was just going to offer it, when I recollected he would most
likely do her more harm than good.  But the gentleman with the white
beard walked in immediately, set his pack down on the table, and
said, 'Then, my good woman, I SHALL give it you;' and out he brought
a bottle, tasted it before he gave it to her, and promised her that
it would cure her if she took it all."

"My dear No. 3!" repeated mamma once more.

"Yes, I know she can't be cured, mother, and I think she knows it
too; but still she 'TOOK IT VERY KIND,' as she called it, of him, and
asked him if he would like to 'rest him' a bit by the fire, and the
gentleman accepted the invitation; and there we all three sat, for
really I quite enjoyed seeing him, and he began to warm his hands,
remarking that the young gentleman--that was I, you know--looked very
well.  Oh, Judy, I very nearly said 'Thank you, Dr. Faustus,' but I
only laughed and nodded, and really did hold my tongue; and then the
two began to talk, and it was as good as any story you ever invented,
Aunt Judy.  Tawny Rachel was very inquisitive, and asked him:-

"'You've come a long way, sir, I suppose?'

"'Yes, ma'am; I'm a great traveller, and have been so a many years.'

"'It's a wonder you have not settled before now.'

"'I might have settled, ma'am, a many times.'

"'Ah, when folks once begin wandering, they can't settle down.  You
were, maybe, brought up to it.'

"'I was brought up to something a deal better than that, ma'am.'

"'You was, sir?  It's a pity, I'm sure.'

"'My father was physician to Queen Elizabeth, ma'am, a many years.'"

When No. 3 arrived at this point of the dialogue, mamma and Aunt Judy
both exclaimed at once, and the former repeated once more the
expostulatory "My dear No. 3!" which delighted No. 3, who proceeded
to assure them that he had himself interrupted the travelling quack
here, by suggesting that it was Queen Charlotte he meant.

"Old Queen Charlotte, you know, Judy, that No. 1 was telling the
children about the other day."

But the "gentleman," as No. 3 called him, had turned very red at the
doubt thus thrown on his accuracy, and put a rather threatening croak
into his voice, as he said:-

"Asking your pardon, young gentleman, I know what I'm saying, and it
was Queen Elizabeth, and not Charlotte nor anybody else!"

No. 3 described that he felt it best, after this, to hold his tongue
and say no more, so Tawny Rachel put in her word, and remarked, it
was a wonder the queen hadn't made their fortunes; on which the
gentleman turned rather red again, and said that the queen did make
their fortune, but wouldn't let them keep it, for fear they should be
too great and too rich--that was it!  This statement required a
little explanation, but the gentleman was ready with all particulars.
The queen used to pay his father by hundreds of pounds at a time,
because that was due to him, but being jealous of his having so much
money, she always set some one to take it away from him as he left
the place!  So that was the reason why these was no fortune put by
for him after his father died, and that was the reason why he
couldn't very well settle at first, though everybody wished him to
stay, and SO he took to travelling; for his father had left him all
his secrets, and he was qualified to practise anywhere, and had cured
some thousands of sick folks up and down!

No. 3 declared that he had not made the old man's account of himself
a bit more unconnected than it really was, and, on the whole, it
sounded very imposing to poor Tawny Rachel, who watched his departure
with a sort of respectful awe.

No. 3 added, that not liking to disturb her faith either in the man
or the bottle, he had himself helped her to the first dose, and had
then begun to talk about the creature comforts before described, the
very mention of which seemed to cheer the old lady's heart, and to
interest her at least as much as the biography of the travelling
quack.

"So now, mother," concluded he, "order the gruel, and we'll give
three cheers for Queen Elizabeth, and Dr. Faustus--eh, Judy?  But I
do think the poor old thing ought not to take that man's poisonous
rubbish; so here's my shilling, and welcome, if you'll give some
more, and let us send for a real doctor."

The "nothing-to-do" morning had nearly slipped away, between the
conversation with Aunt Judy, and the visit to Tawny Rachel; and when,
soon after, a friend called to take No. 3 off on a fossil hunt, and
he had to snatch a hasty morsel before his departure, he declared he
was like the poor governess in the song, who was sure to


   "Find out,
With attention and zeal,
That she'd scarcely have time
To partake of a meal,"


there was so much to do.  "But you're a capital fellow, Judy," he
added, kissing her, "and you'll tell me a story when I come back;"
and off he ran, shutting his ears to Aunt Judy's declaration that she
only told stories to the "little ones."

Nor would she, on his return, and during the cozy evening "nothing-
to-do" hour, consent to devote herself to his especial amusement
only.  So, after arguing the point for a time, he very wisely
yielded, and declared at last that he would be a "little one" too,
and listen to a "little one's" story, if Aunt Judy would tell one.

It was rather late when this was settled, and the little ones had
stayed up-stairs to play at a newly-invented game--bazaars--in the
nursery; but when No. 3 strode in with the announcement of the story,
there was a shout of delight, followed by the old noisy rush down-
stairs to the dining-room.

It is not a bad thing to be a "little one" now and then in spirit.
People would do well to try and be so oftener.  Who that has looked
upon a picture of himself as a "little one," has not wished that he
could be restored to the "little one's" spirit, the "little one's"
innocence, the "little one's" hopeful trust?  "Of such is the kingdom
of Heaven!"  And though none of us would like to live our lives over
again, lest our errors should be repeated, and so doubled in guilt,
all of us, at the sight of what we once were, would fain, very fain,
if we could, lie down to sleep, and awake a "little one" again.
Never, perhaps, is the sweet mercy of an early death brought so
closely home to our apprehension, as when the grown-up, care-worn man
looks upon the image of himself as a child.

Happily, however--nay, more than happily, MERCIFULLY--the grown-up
man, if he do but put on the humility, may gain something of the
peace of a "little one's" heart!

Aunt Judy had twisted up a roll of muslin for a turban on her head by
the time they came down, "for," said she, "this is to be an eastern
tale, and I shall not be inspired--that is to say, I shall not get on
a bit--unless there is a costume and manners to correspond, so you
three little ones squat yourselves down Turkish-fashion on the floor,
with your legs tucked under you.  There now! that's something like,
and I begin to feel myself in the East.  Nevertheless, I am rather
glad there is no critical Eastern traveller at hand, listening
through the key-hole to my blunders.

However, errors excepted, here is the wonderful story of


'THE KING OF THE HILLS AND HIS FOUR SONS.'


"A great many years ago, in a country which cannot be traced upon the
maps, but which lies somewhere between the great rivers Indus and
Euphrates, lived Schelim, King of the Hills.

"His riches were unlimited, his palaces magnificent, and his dresses
and jewels of the most costly description.  He never condescended to
wear a diamond unless it was inconveniently large for his fingers,
and the fiery opals which adorned his turban (like those in the
mineral-room at the British Museum) shimmered and blazed in such a
surprising manner, that people were obliged to lower their eyes
before the light of them.

"Powerful as well as rich, King Schelim could have anything in the
world he wished for, but--such is the perversity of human nature--he
cared very little for anything except smoking his pipe; of which, to
say the truth, he was so fond, that he would have been well contented
to have done nothing else all day long.  It seemed to him the nearest
approach to the sublimest of all ideas of human happiness--the having
NOTHING TO DO.

"He caused his four sons to be brought up in luxurious ease, his wish
for them being, that they should remain ignorant of pain and sorrow
for as long a period of their lives as was possible.  So he built a
palace for them, at the summit of one of his beautiful hills, where
nothing disagreeable or distressing could ever meet their eyes, and
he gave orders to their attendants, that they should never be
thwarted in anything.

"Every wish of their hearts, therefore, was gratified from their baby
days; but so far from being in consequence the happiest, they were
the most discontented children in his dominions.

"From the first year of their birth, King Schelim had never been able
to smoke his pipe in peace.  There were always messages coming from
the royal nursery to the smoking-room, asking for something fresh for
the four young princes, who were, owing to some mysterious cause,
incapable of enjoying any of their luxurious indulgences for more
than a few hours together.

"At first these incessant demands for one thing or another for the
children, surprised and annoyed their papa considerably, but by
degrees he got used to it, and took the arrival of the messengers as
a matter of course.

"The very nurses began it:-

"'May it please your Majesty, the young princes, your Majesty's
incomparable sons--may their shadows never be less!--are tired of
their jewelled rattles, and have thrown them on the floor.  Doubtless
they would like India-rubber rings with bells better.'

"'Then get them India-rubber rings with bells,' was all King Schelim
said, and turned to his pipe again.

"And so it went on perpetually, until one day it came to, -

"'May it please your Majesty, the young princes, your Majesty's
incomparable sons--may their shadows never be less!--have thrown
their hobbyhorses into the river, and want to have live ponies
instead.'

"At the first moment the king gave his usual answer, 'Then get them
live ponies instead,' from a sort of mechanical habit, but the words
were scarcely uttered when he recalled them.  This request awoke even
his sleepy soul out of its smoke-dream, and inquiring into the ages
of his sons, and finding that they were of years to learn as well as
to ride, he dismissed their nurses, placed them in the hands of
tutors, and procured for them the best masters of every description.

"'For,' said he, 'what saith the proverb?  "Kings govern the earth,
but wise men govern kings."  My sons shall be wise as well as kingly,
and then they can govern themselves.'

"And after settling this so cleverly, King Schelim resumed his pipe,
in the confident hope, that now, at last, he should smoke it in
peace.

"'For,' said he, 'when my sons shall become wise through learning,
they will be more moderate in their desires.'

"I do not know whether his Majesty's incomparable sons relished this
change from nurses to tutors, but on that particular point they were
allowed no choice; so if they bemoaned themselves in their palace on
the hill, their father knew nothing of it.

"And to soften the disagreeableness of the restraint which learning
imposes, King Schelim gave more strict orders than ever, that,
provided the young gentlemen only learnt their lessons well, every
whim that came into their heads should be complied with soon as
expressed.

"In spite of all his ingenious arrangements, however, the royal
father did not enjoy the amount of repose he expected.  All was quiet
enough during lesson-hours, it is true; but as soon as ever that
period had elapsed, the young princes became as restless as ever.
Nay--the older they grew, the more they wanted, and the less pleased
they became with what was granted.

"From very early days of the tutorship, the old story began:-

"'May it please your Majesty, the young princes, your Majesty's
incomparable sons--may their shadows never be less!--are tired of
their ponies, and want horses instead.'

"The king was a little disappointed at this, and actually laid down
his pipe to talk.

"'Is anything the matter with the ponies?' he asked.

"'May it please your Majesty, no; only that your incomparable sons
call them SLOW.'

"'Spirited lads!' thought the king, quite consoled, and gave the
answer as usual:-

"'Then get them horses instead.'  But when only a few days afterwards
he was informed that his incomparable sons had wearied of their
horses, because they also were 'slow,' and wished to ride on
elephants instead, his Majesty began to feel disturbed in mind, and
wonder what would come next, and how it was that the teaching of the
tutors did not make his sons more moderate in their desires.

"'Nevertheless,' said he, 'what saith the proverb, "Thou a man, and
lackest patience?"  And again,


"Early ripe, early rotten,
Early wise, soon forgotten."


My sons are but children yet.'

"After which reflection he returned to his pipe as before, and
disturbed himself as little as possible, when messenger after
messenger arrived, to announce the fresh vagaries of the young
princes.

"It is impossible to enumerate all the luxuries, amusements, and
delights, they asked for, obtained, and wearied of during several
years.  But the longer it went on, the more hardened and indifferent
their father became.

"'For,' said he, 'what saith the proverb?  "The longest lane turns at
last."  At last my sons will have everything man can wish for, and
then they will cease from asking, and I shall smoke my pipe in
peace.'

"One day, however, the messenger entered the royal smoking-room in a
greater hurry than ever, and was about to commence his usual
elaborate peroration respecting the incomparable sons, when his
Majesty held up his hand to stop him, and called out:-

"'What is it now?'

"'May it please your Majesty, your Majesty's in--'

"'What is it they WANT?' cried the king, interrupting him.

"'May it please your Majesty, SOMETHING TO DO.'

"'Something to do?' repeated the perplexed king of the hills;
'something to do, when half the riches of my empire have been
expended upon providing them with the means of doing everything in
the world that was delightful to the soul of man?

"'Surely, oh son of a dog, thou art laughing at my beard, to come to
me with such a message from my sons.'

"'Nevertheless, may it please your Majesty, I have spoken but the
truth.  Your Majesty's in--'

"'Hush with that nonsense,' interrupted the king.

"'Your Majesty's sons, in fact, then, have sickened and pined for
three mortal days, because they have got NOTHING TO DO.'

"'Now, then, my sons are mad!' exclaimed poor King Schelim, laying
down his pipe, and rising from his recumbent position; 'and it is
time that I bestir myself.'

"And thereupon he summoned his attendants, and sent for the royal
Hakim, that is to say, physician; and the most learned and
experienced Dervish, that is to say, religious teacher of the
neighbourhood.

"'For,' said he, 'who knows whether this sickness is of the body or
the soul?'

"And having explained to them how he had brought up his children, the
indulgences with which he had surrounded them, the learning which he
had had instilled into them, and the way in which he had preserved
them from every annoying sight and sound, he concluded:-

"'What more could I have done for the happiness of my children than I
have done, and how is it that their reason has departed from them, so
that they are at a loss for something to do?  Speak one or other of
you and explain.'

"Then the Dervish stepped forward, and opening his mouth, began to
make answer.

"'And,' said he, 'oh King of the Hills, in the bringing up of thy
sons, surely thou hast forgotten the proverb which saith, "He that
would know good manners, let him learn them from him who hath them
not."  For even so may the wise man say of happiness, "He that would
know he is happy, must learn it from him who is not."  But again,
doth not another proverb say, "Will thy candle burn less brightly for
lighting mine?"  Wherefore the happiness which a man has, when he has
discovered it, he is bound to impart to those that have it not.  Have
I spoken well?'

"Then King and the Hakim declared he had spoken remarkably well;
nevertheless I am by no means sure that King Schelim knew what he
meant.  Whereupon the Dervish offered to go at once to the four
incomparable princes, and cure them of their madness in supposing
they had nothing to do, and King Schelim in great delight, and
thoroughly glad to be rid of the trouble, told him that he placed his
sons entirely in his hands; then taking him aside, he addressed to
him a parting word in confidence.

"'Thou knowest, oh wise Dervish, that I have had no education myself,
and therefore, as the proverb hath it, "To say I DON'T KNOW, is the
comfort of my life," yet what better is a learned man than a fool, if
he comes but to this conclusion at last?  See thou restore wisdom and
something to do to the souls of my sons.'

"Which the Dervish promised to accomplish, accordingly in company
with the Hakim, he betook himself to the palace of the four princes,
his Majesty's incomparable sons.

"Well, in spite of all they had heard, both the Dervish and Hakim
were surprised at what they really found at the palace of the four
princes.

"It was as if everything that human ingenuity could devise for the
gratification, amusement, and occupation both of body and mind had
been here brought together.  Horses, elephants, chariots, creatures
of every description, for hunting, riding, driving, and all sorts of
sport were there, countless in numbers, and perfect in kind.
Gardens, pleasure-grounds, woods, flowers, birds, and fountains, to
delight the eye and ear; while within the palace were sources of
still deeper enjoyment.  The songs of the poets and the wisdom of the
ancients reposed there upon golden shelves.  Musicians held
themselves in readiness to pour exquisite melodies upon the air;
games, exercises, in-door sports in every variety could be commanded
in a moment, and attendants waited in all directions to fulfil their
young masters' will.

"The poor old Dervish and Hakim looked at each other in fresh
amazement at every step they took, and neither of them could find a
proverb to fit so extraordinary a case.

"At last, after a long walk through chambers and anti-chambers
without end, hung round with mirrors and ornaments, they reached the
apartment of the young princes, where they found the four
incomparable creatures lounging on four ottomans, sighing their
hearts out, because they had 'nothing to do.'

"As the door opened, the eldest prince glanced languidly round, and
inquired if the messenger had returned from their father, and being
answered that the Dervish and Hakim, who now stood before him, were
messengers from their father, he called out to know if the old
gentleman had sent them anything to do!

"'The king, your father's spirit is disturbed with anxiety,' answered
the Dervish, 'lest some sudden calamity should have deprived his sons
of the use of their limbs or their senses, or lest their attendants
should have failed to provide them with everything the earth affords
delightful to the soul of man.'

"'The king, our father's spirit is disturbed with smoke,' replied the
eldest prince, 'or he never would have sent such an old fellow as you
with such an answer as that.  What's the use of the use of one's
limbs, or one's senses, or all the earth affords delightful to the
soul of man, if we're sick of it all?  Just go back and tell him
we've got everything, and are sick of everything, and can do
everything, and don't care to do anything, because everything is so
'slow;' so we will trouble him to find us something fresh to do.
There! is that clear enough, old gentleman?'

"'The king, your father,' answered the Dervish, 'has provided against
even that emergency; I am come to tell you of something fresh to see
and to do.'

"No sooner had the Dervish uttered these words, than the four princes
jumped up from the ottoman in the most lively and vigorous manner,
and clamoured to know what it was, expressing their hope that it was
a 'jolly lark.'

"In answer to which the Dervish, lifting himself up in a commanding
manner, stretched out his arm, and exclaimed, in a solemn voice:-

"'Young men, you have exhausted happiness.  Nothing new remains in
the world for you, but misery and want.  Follow me!'

"There was something so unusual about the tone of this address, and
it was uttered in so imposing a manner, that the young princes were,
as it were, taken by storm, and they followed the Dervish and Hakim,
without a word of inquiry or objection.

"And he led them away from the palace on the beautiful hill--away
from all the sights and sounds that were collected together there to
delight the soul of man with both bodily and intellectual enjoyment--
down into the city in the valley, among the close-packed habitations
of common men, congregated there to labour, and just exist, and then
die.

"And presently the Dervish and the Hakim spoke together, and then the
Hakim led the way through a gloomy by-street, till he came to a
habitation into which he entered, and the rest followed without a
word.  And there, stretched upon a pallet, wasted and worn with pain,
lay a youth scarcely older than the young princes themselves, the
lower part of whose body was wrapped round with bandages, and who was
unable to move.

"The Hakim proceeded at once to unloosen the fastenings, and to
examine the limbs of the sufferer.  They had been crushed by a
frightful accident, while working for his daily bread, in the
quarries of marble near the palace on the hill.

"'Is there no hope, my father?' he ejaculated in agony as the bruised
thighs were exposed to the light, revealing a spectacle from which
the princes turned horrified away.

"But the Dervish stood between them and the door, and motioned them
back.

"'Is there no hope?' repeated the youth.  'Shall I never again tread
the earth in the freedom of health and strength? never again climb
the mountain-side to taste the sweet breath of heaven? never again
even step across this narrow room, to look forth into the narrow
street?'

"Sobs of distress here broke from the speaker; and, covering his face
with his hands, he awaited the Hakim's reply.  But while the latter
bent down to whisper his answer, the Dervish addressed himself to the
trembling princes:-

 "'Learn here, at last,' said he, 'the value of those limbs, the
power of using which you look upon with such thankless indifference.
As it is with this youth to-day, so may it be with you to-morrow, if
the decree goes forth from on high.  Bid me not again return to your
father to tell him you are weary of a blessing, the loss of which
would overwhelm you with despair.'

"The young princes," continued Aunt Judy, were, as their father had
said, but children yet; that is to say, although they were fourteen
or fifteen years old, they were childish, in not having reflected or
learnt to reason.  But they were not hard-hearted at bottom.  Their
tenderness for others had never been called out during their life of
self-indulgence, but the sight of this young man's condition, whom
they personally knew as one who had at times been permitted to come
up and join in their games, over-powered them with dismay.

"They entreated the Hakim to say if nothing could be done, and when
he told them that a nurse, and better food, and the discourse of a
wise companion, were all essential for the recovery of the patient,
there was not, to say the truth, one among them who was not ready
with promises of assistance, and even offers of personal help.

"And now, bidding adieu to this youthful sufferer, whose distress
seemed to receive a sudden calm from the sympathy the young princes
betrayed, the Hakim led the way to another part of the town, where he
entered a house of rather better description, in a small room of
which they found a pale, middle-aged man, who was engaged in making a
coarse sort of netting for trees.  Hearing the noise of the entrance,
he looked up, and asked who it was, but with no change of
countenance, or apparent recognition of anyone there.  But as soon as
the Hakim had uttered the words 'It is I,' a gleam of delight stole
over the pale face, and the man, rising from his chair, stretched out
his arms to the Hakim, entreating him to approach.

"And then the young princes saw that the pale man was blind.

"'Is there any change, oh Cassian?' inquired the Hakim, kindly.

"'None, my father,' answered the blind man, in a subdued tone.  'But
shall I murmur at what is appointed?  Surely not in vain was the
privilege granted me, of transcribing the manuscripts which repose on
the golden shelves in the palace of the royal princes.  Surely not in
vain did I gather, from the treasures of ancient wisdom, and the
divine songs of the poets, sources of consolation for the suffering
children of men.'

"'And has anyone been of late to read to you?' asked the Hakim.

"But this inquiry the blind man seemed scarcely able to answer.  Big
tears gathered into the sightless eyes, and folding his hands across
his bosom, he murmured out:-

"'None, oh my father.  Not to everyone is it permitted to trace the
characters of light in which the wise have recorded their wisdom.  I
alone of my family knew the secret.  I alone suffer now.  But shall I
not submit to this also with a cheerful spirit?  It is written, and
it behoves me to submit.'

"And, with tears streaming over his cheeks, the blind man took up the
netting which he had laid aside, and forced himself to the work.

"'Seest thou!' exclaimed the Dervish, turning to the prince who stood
next him, apparently absorbed in contemplating the scene.  'Seest
thou how precious are the powers thou hast wearied of in the spring-
time of life?  How dear are the opportunities thou hast not cared to
delight in?  Bid me not again return to the king, your father, to
tell him his sons can find no pleasure in blessings, the deprivation
of which they themselves would feel to be the shutting out of the sun
from the soul.'

"Then the young prince to whom the Dervish addressed himself, wept
bitterly, and begged to be allowed to visit the blind man from time
to time, and read to him out of the manuscripts that reposed on the
golden shelves in the palace on the hill; and which, he now learnt
for the first time, had been transcribed for his use, and that of his
brothers, by the skill of the sufferer before him.

"And when the blind man clasped his hands over his head, and would
have prostrated himself on the ground, in gratitude to him who spoke,
asking who the charitable pitier of the afflicted could be, the
prince embraced him as if he had been his brother, forced him back
gently into his seat, and bidding him await him at that hour on the
morrow, followed the Hakim from the house.

"And now the Dervish and Hakim spoke together once again, and the
place they visited next was of a very different description.

"Enclosed within walls, and limited in extent, because in the
outskirts of a populous town, the garden into which they presently
entered, was--though but as a drop in comparison with the ocean--no
unworthy rival of the gorgeous pleasure-grounds of the palace.
There, too, the roses unfolded themselves in their glory to the sun,
tiny fountains scattered their cooling spray around, and singing-
birds, suspended on overshadowing trees, of this scene of miniature
beauty a venerable was perceived, seated under the shadow of an
arbour, in front of a table on which were scattered manuscripts,
papers, parchments, and dried plants, and in one corner of which were
laid a set of tablets and writing materials.

"Although the door by which they entered had fallen to, with a noise
as they passed through, the old man did not seem to be aware of it,
nor did he notice their presence until they came so near, that their
shadows fell on some of the papers on the table.  Then, indeed, he
looked suddenly up, and with a smile and gesture of delight, bade
them welcome.

"It was not difficult to divine that the old man had lost the sense
of hearing, and the Dervish, taking up the tablets from the table,
wrote upon them the following words, which he showed to the young
princes, before presenting them to him for whom they were intended:-

"'Hast thou not wearied yet, oh brother, of thy narrow garden, and
the ever-recurring succession of flowers, and thy study of the
secrets of Nature?'

"Whereat the deaf man smiled again, and wrote upon the tablets:-

"'Can anyone weary of tracing out the skilful providence of the
Divine Mind?  Is it not a world within a world, oh my brother, and
inexhaustible in itself?'

"The youngest prince pressed forward to read the answer, and having
read it, turned to the Dervish, and said, 'Ask him why the singing-
birds are suspended in the garden, whose voices he cannot hear.'

"'Write on the tablet, my son,' said the Dervish; and when he had
written it, the old man answered, in the same manner as before:-

"'I would remember my infirmity, my son, lest my soul should be tied
to the beauties of the visible world, but now when I see the
twittering bills of the feathered songsters, I remember that one
sense has departed, and that the others must follow; and I prepare
myself for death, trusting that those who have rejoiced in the Divine
Mind--however imperfectly--here, may rejoice yet more hereafter, when
no sense or power shall be wanting!'

"After this, the venerable old man led them to a secluded corner of
the garden, where his young son was instructing one portion of a
class of children from the secrets of his father's manuscripts, while
another set of youngsters were engaged in cultivating flowers, by
regular instruction and rule.  Many a bright, cheerful face looked up
at the old man and his visitors as they passed, but no one seemed to
wish to leave his work, or his lesson, or the kind young tutor who
ruled among them.

"'We have wasted our lives, oh my father!' exclaimed the young
princes, as they passed from this sight.  'Tell us, may we not come
back again here, to learn true wisdom from this man and his son?'

"Having obtained the old man's willing consent to his, the Hakim
retiring conducted his companions back into the streets; and the
young princes, whose eyes were now opened to the instruction they
were receiving, came up to the Dervish, and said:-

"'Oh, wise Dervish, we have learnt the lesson you would teach, and we
know now that it is but a folly, and a mockery, and a lie, when a man
says that he has nothing to do.  There is enough to do for all men,
if their minds are directed right!  Have I not spoken well?'

"'Thou hast spoken well according to thy knowledge,' answered the
Dervish, 'but thou hast yet another lesson to learn.'

"The prince was silenced, and the Dervish and Hakim hurried forward
to a still different part of the city, where several trades were
carried on, and where in one place they came upon an open square,
about which a number of gaunt, wild-looking men, were lounging or
sitting; unoccupied, listless, and sad.

"'This is wrong, my father, is it not?' inquired one of the princes;
but the Dervish, instead of answering him, addressed a man who was
standing somewhat apart from the others, and inquired why he was
loitering there in idleness, instead of occupying himself in some
honest manner?

"The man laughed a bitter mocking laugh, and turning to his
companions, shouted out, 'Hear what the wise man asks!  When trade
has failed, and no one wants our labour, he asks us why we stand
idling here!'  Then, facing the Dervish, he continued, 'Do you not
know, can you not see, oh teacher of the blind, that we have got
NOTHING TO DO?--NOTHING TO DO!' he repeated with a loud cry--'NOTHING
TO DO! with hearts willing to work, and hands able to work,'--(here
he stretched out his bared, muscular arm to the Dervish,)--'and wife
and children calling out for food!  Give us SOMETHING TO DO, thou
preacher of virtue and industry,' he concluded, throwing himself on
the ground in anguish; 'or, at any rate, cease to mock us with the
solemn inquiry of a fool.'

"'Oh, my father, my father,' cried the young princes, pressing
forward, 'this is the worst, the very worst of all!  All things can
be borne, but this dire reality of having NOTHING TO DO.  Let us find
them something to do.  Let us tear up our gardens, plough up our
lawns, and pleasure-grounds, so that we do but find work for these
men, and save their children and wives from hunger.'

"'And themselves from crime,' added the Dervish solemnly.  Then
quitting his companions, he went into the crowd of men, and made
known to them in a few hurried words, that, by the order of their
young princes, there would, before another day had dawned, be
something found to do for them all.

"The cheer of gratitude which followed this announcement, thrilled
through the heart of those who had been enabled to offer the boon,
and so overpowered them, that, after a liberal distribution of coin
to the necessitous labourers, they gladly hurried away.

"'Now my task is ended,' cried the Dervish, as they retraced their
steps to the palace on the hill.  'My sons, you have seen the sacred
sorrow which may attach to the bitter complaint of having NOTHING TO
DO.  Henceforth seal your lips over the words, for, in all other
cases but this, they are, as you yourselves have said, a folly, a
mockery, and a lie.'

"It is scarcely necessary to add," continued Aunt Judy, "that the
young princes returned to the palace in a very different state of
mind from that in which they left it.  They had now so many things to
do in prospect, so much to plan and inquire about, that when the
night closed upon them, they wondered how the day had gone, and
grudged the necessary hours of sleep.  But on the morrow, just as
they were eagerly recommencing their left-off consultations, the
Dervish appeared among them, and suggested that their first duty
still remained unthought of.

"The incomparable sons were now really surprised, for they had been
flattering themselves they were most laudably employed.  But the
Dervish reminded them, that, although their duty to mankind in
general was great, their duty to their father in particular was yet
greater, and that it behoved them to set his mind at rest, by
assuring him, that henceforth they would not prevent him from smoking
his pipe in peace, by restless discontent, and disturbing messages
and wants.

"To this the young princes readily agreed, and thoroughly ashamed, on
reflection, of the years of harass with which they, in their
thoughtless ingratitude, had worried poor King Schelim, they repaired
to his presence, and without entering into unnecessary explanations,
(which he would not have understood,) assured him that they were
perfectly happy, that they had got plenty to do, as well as
everything to enjoy, that they were very sorry they had tormented him
for so long a period of his life, but that they begged to be
forgiven, and would never do so again!

"King Schelim was uncommonly pleased with what they said, although he
had to lay down his pipe for a few minutes to receive their
salutations, and give his in return; after which they returned to
their palace on the hill, and led thenceforward useful, intelligent,
and therefore happy lives, reforming grievances, consoling sorrows,
and taking particular care that everybody had the opportunity of
having SOMETHING TO DO.

"And as they never again disturbed their father King Schelim, with
foolish messages, he smoked his pipe in peace to the end of his
days."

"Nice old Schelim!" observed No. 8, when Aunt Judy's pause showed
that the story was done.  A conclusion which made the other little
ones laugh; but now Aunt Judy spoke again.

"You like the story, all of you?"

Could there be a doubt about it?  No!  "Schelim, King of the Hills,
and his four sons," was one of Aunt Judy's very, very, very, best
inventions.  But they had the happy knack of always thinking so of
the last they heard.

"And yet there is a flaw in it," said Aunt Judy.

"Aunt Judy!" exclaimed several voices at once, in a tone of
expostulation.

"Yes; I mean in the moral:" pursued she, "there is no Christianity in
the teaching, and therefore it is not perfect, although it is all
very good as far as it goes."

"But they were eastern people, and I suppose Mahometans or Brahmins,"
suggested No. 4.

"Exactly; and, therefore, I could not give them Christian principles;
and, therefore, although I have made my four princes turn out very
well, and do what was right, for the rest of their lives (as I had a
right to do); yet it is only proper I should explain, that I do not
believe any people can be DEPENDED UPON for doing right, except when
they live upon Christian principles, and are helped by the grace of
God, to fulfil His will, as revealed to us by His Son Jesus Christ.

"Certainly it is always more REASONABLE to do right than wrong, even
when the wrong may seem most pleasant at the moment; because, as all
people of sense know, doing right is most for their own happiness, as
well as for everybody else's, even in this world.

"But although the knowledge of this may influence us when we are in a
sober enough state of mind to think about it calmly, the inducement
is not a sufficiently strong one to be relied upon as a safe-guard,
when storms of passion and strong temptations come upon us.  In such
cases it very often goes for nothing, and then it is a perfect chance
which way a person acts.

"Even in the matter of doing good to others, we need the Christian
principle as our motive, or we may be often tempted to give it up, or
even to be as cruel at some moments, as we are kind at others.  It is
very pleasant, no doubt, to do good, and be charitable, when the
feeling comes into the heart, but the mere pleasure is apt to cease,
if we find people thankless or stupid, and that our labours seem to
have been in vain.  And what a temptation there is, then, to turn
away in disgust, unless we are acting upon Christ's commands, and can
bear in mind, that even when the pleasure ends, the duty remains.

"And now," said Aunt Judy in conclusion, "a kiss for the story-teller
all round, if you please.  She has had an invitation, and is going
from home to-morrow."

"Oh, Aunt Judy!" ejaculated the little ones, in not the most cheerful
of tones.

"Well," cried Aunt Judy, looking at them and laughing, "you don't
mean to say that you will not find PLENTY TO DO, and PLENTY TO ENJOY
while I am away?  Come, I mean to write to you all by turns, and I
shall inquire in my letters whether you have remembered, TO YOUR
EDIFICATION, the story of Schelim, King of the Hills, and his four
sons."



Footnotes:

{1}  "Weide," pasture, grass.





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