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Title: The Angel Children - or, Stories from Cloud-Land
Author: Higgins, Charlotte M.
Language: English
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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 "The Angel Children - or, Stories from Cloud-Land" ***

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[Illustration: THE GARDEN OF GOD.--See pp. 40, 41.]

[Illustration:

Rosy Diamond Story Books For Girls
Illustrated
THE ANGEL CHILDREN
BOSTON, LEE & SHEPARD.]



THE

ANGEL CHILDREN;

OR,

STORIES FROM CLOUD-LAND.

BY

CHARLOTTE M. HIGGINS.

BOSTON:
LEE AND SHEPARD.


Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1854, by
PHILLIPS, SAMPSON & CO.,

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of
Massachusetts.

Stereotyped by
HOBART & ROBBINS,
New England Type and Stereotype Foundery
BOSTON.



CONTENTS.


                                                         PAGE
HEPSA AND GENEVIEVE,                                       5
THE GARDEN OF GOD; OR, THE BABY'S FIRST SMILE,            26
CYBELE, THE TAMBOURINE GIRL,                              44
THE STORY OF MAGGIE'S JOURNEY,                            63
THE OLD WOMAN AND THE ENCHANTED SONG,                     84
THE OLD MAN'S STORY,                                     102
A STORY OF THE CHRIST-CHILD,                             118



VACATION STORY BOOKS.

6 volumes. Each volume handsomely illustrated. 80 cents.

WORTH NOT WEALTH.
  COUNTRY LIFE.
    THE CHARM.
      KARL KEIGLER.
        WALTER SEYTON.
          HOLIDAYS AT CHESTNUT HILL.


ROSY DIAMOND STORY BOOKS.

6 volumes. Each volume handsomely illustrated. 80 cents.

THE GREAT ROSY DIAMOND.
  DAISY; or, The Fairy Spectacles.
    VIOLET: A Fairy Story.
      MINNIE; or, The Little Woman.
        THE ANGEL CHILDREN.
          LITTLE BLOSSOM'S REWARD.

These volumes are finely and profusely illustrated from designs by
Hoppin and other eminent artists. They are elegantly bound, and neatly
packed in ornamental boxes. As gifts for holidays and birthdays, where a
uniform value and appearance is desired, they are excellent.


=LEE & SHEPARD, Publishers, Boston.=



STORIES.

HEPSA AND GENEVIEVE.


Genevieve lived in a large, handsome house, which had beautiful gardens
all about it. She had no brother or sister, but she had a large
play-room, filled with the nicest toys, so that a good many children who
came to play in it thought she must be perfectly happy; but Genevieve
had often thought how willingly she would give the room and all its
playthings for a little brother of her own, whom she might take out in
the garden for a walk, and watch carefully, just as her mother watched
her.

One day, while she was walking in the garden, thinking of the little
brother she so much wanted, who she was sure would look like her dear
mother, with her blue eyes, and golden curls, what should she hear but
the noise of some one crying outside the garden fence. Now, as she
could not look through the fence,--for it was quite high and made of
thick boards,--she ran quickly to the gate, and then round to the place
where she had heard the crying. There she saw a little girl sitting upon
the side-walk, with bare feet and legs, which were none of the whitest,
wearing a dress of brown cloth with many tatters in it, and short black
hair hanging over her face and head. Genevieve looked at her in
amazement.

"Dear me!" she at last exclaimed, "where do you live?"

At this question the child stopped her crying, and pulling away her hair
with both of her hands from her face, disclosed a pair of large black
eyes, which, swollen with tears, regarded little Genevieve with sly,
sleepy wonder.

It was not wonderful she should be astonished to behold so neat and
pretty a child close by her side. Genevieve wore a blue frock and white
apron, neat stockings and slippers, and pantalettes with broad ruffles.
So she only gazed at Genevieve, without dreaming of answering her
question.

"What is your name?" asked Genevieve.

"What is yours?" demanded the child.

"Mine is Genevieve. Tell me what yours is?"

"Hepsa. Do you live in there?" and Hepsa nodded her head towards the
fence. Genevieve replied that she did.

"But tell me why you were crying?" she asked.

"Because Tom beat my black cat this morning and threw her into the pond,
and she was everything I had." Hepsa burst into tears again, and little
Genevieve's heart was so filled with compassion, that she sat down upon
the dirty ground, at the side of the afflicted child, without ever
thinking of the blue frock and clean pantalettes she was soiling.

"O, dear, dear!" she cried, shocked at Tom's cruelty. "How wicked he
was! What made him do so,--your brother, too?" Genevieve thought in her
heart that little brother, of whom she so often thought, never would
have done such a thing.

Hepsa looked up half angrily, as she replied:

"You needn't keep telling me he is my brother! I'm sure I don't want
him to be, and wish he wasn't. I don't love him a bit, he always plagues
me so much."

"O, Hepsa, don't say so; pray don't!" cried Genevieve, shocked at
Hepsa's passion. "If he is your brother, you ought to love him, you
know."

"I don't know any such thing, I tell you! You may love him yourself if
you want to; but I guess, when he kicks you, and beats you, and steals
your things, and knocks your mud-houses down, you won't love him. I'd
like to know why _I've_ got to love him?" Hepsa demanded this of
Genevieve in a very fierce manner.

"Because he is your brother I suppose, and because he ought to be good;
and perhaps he plagues you because you don't love him," answered
Genevieve, somewhat perplexed how she should answer the question,
thinking in her own heart Hepsa had a very wicked brother. "At any
rate," she continued, "God gave him to you; and I have read how he tells
us all to love each other."

"I never did," replied Hepsa; "and if God gave Tom to me, I wish he'd
take him back, for I don't want him."

"Why, Hepsa; how wicked you are! You shall not talk so!" almost shrieked
Genevieve. The tears came fast into her eyes, she was so grieved to hear
Hepsa talk in that way.

"But I'm not wicked!" retorted Hepsa indignantly. "I don't know who God
is. Why should I? He never comes to see me. I suppose he comes to see
you, and is some great person; while I am poor and live in a mean house,
and nobody comes to see me, of course." Hepsa looked away from
Genevieve's blue frock, and seemed to be searching for something away
down the street.

Genevieve could not sit still any longer, but, rising, she remonstrated
with Hepsa in this manner:

"God is not a man, Hepsa; and he goes into poor houses as often as into
rich ones."

Hepsa looked very sharply upon little Genevieve as she replied,

"Ha! Don't you be telling me stories; why don't I see him ever, I'd like
to know? Haven't I got eyes?"

"I don't know," said Genevieve, doubtfully. "Father was reading this
morning about people who had eyes, but could not see."

Hepsa looked at her a moment, and then nodded her head towards her, and
said, speaking low as to a third person, "She's cracked a little, I
think;" then, as she looked towards the fence, she remembered the garden
which was behind it, and asked Genevieve for some flowers. But Genevieve
only said "O, yes," and went on to say, "Of course you can't see God,
Hepsa! He lives in the skies."

"I shouldn't think he would come down here, then. I wouldn't!"

"But, Hepsa, God loves us; then, too, he is everywhere at once."

"Mercy!" said Hepsa to herself, in a low tone. "Worse and worse!"

"And he made everything you see, Hepsa, and a great deal more beside,"
continued Genevieve.

"There, there!" said Hepsa, impatiently; "don't talk any more; it sounds
odd." Genevieve looked at Hepsa, and the wild, petulant look of her
face grieved and shocked her so much, that she burst into tears.

"What is the matter?" said Hepsa. "I thought you were going to get me
the flowers."

"And so I will," said Genevieve, wiping up her tears as well as she
could; and she ran into the garden, and picked a large bunch of flowers.
There were the sweet mignonette and heliotrope, the pink verbena, and
the beautiful white scented verbena, the gay phlox, the pure candytuft,
bits of lemon blossoms, and the faithful pansies. It was such a
beautiful bunch as to melt poor Hepsa's heart to gratitude.

"I do think I should love to kiss you," she said to Genevieve, "if my
face were not so dirty, and you look _so_ clean."

"I don't care!" said Genevieve, and so she kissed Hepsa and said,
"Hepsa, I wish you would never again talk so about God, for I love him
very dearly, and so do my father and mother."

Hepsa began to think Genevieve was not crazy, and so she became more
serious.

"But did you never read about Him, Hepsa?" asked Genevieve.

"No, indeed; I can't read at all!" exclaimed Hepsa, astonished at
Genevieve's questions.

"Not read! Why, Hepsa, why don't you go to school?"

"I can't; mother keeps me at home to tend the baby while she goes to
washing."

A bright thought came into Genevieve's little head.

"Where do you live?" she asked.

"O, away down that lane, the other side of the village! I work nearly
all the time, some way or other."

"Have you any father?"

"Yes;" and Hepsa looked as though she did not love him better than she
loved Tom.

"May I teach you to read?" asked Genevieve, looking into Hepsa's eyes
entreatingly. The child turned away her head as she answered,

"I haven't any time. I have to stay at home."

"But," pursued Genevieve, "I'll come down to your house, and bring some
books, and help you tend the baby. O! don't you love the baby?"

"No! he is _too_ cross," was the crusty reply.

"But, he is a baby; he don't know any better."

"That don't make any difference."

"Yes it does, too; your big brother knew better than to kill your pretty
pussy, and that is why it was so naughty in him to do it." This was a
new kind of argument for Hepsa; but she thought over it a moment, and
then told her little teacher she thought she might be right. "I almost
wish you would come to teach me to read. I don't know but I might like
it; and then it would be rather good to see you. Now, are you sure there
is such a person as God?" said Hepsa, glancing at Genevieve from the
corners of her eyes.

"Of course I am, Hepsa; who do you think made the sky and the ground,
the trees and grass?"

"I don't know," replied Hepsa.

"And the sun and the moon, and the stars," continued Genevieve, with a
mysterious tone. Hepsa shook her head by way of saying no.

"And all the fathers and mothers and children?" at which question Hepsa
looked _so_ perplexed.

"I asked mother once," she said, musingly, "who made all these things;
but she told me I'd better be minding the cradle. I guess she didn't
know; but I've always had spells of wondering about it."

Genevieve looked very gravely at Hepsa as she said,

"It was God who made all these things."

"Well, I don't know but it was," replied Hepsa.

"But I _know_ it was; the Bible says so, and father and mother say so,
too; beside, I feel it in my heart, when I see the sun and the flowers,
and everything looks so pretty."

"Do you?" cried Hepsa, seeming to feel a new interest in her companion.
"I wonder if you ever hear pretty voices in the trees when the wind
blows, and in the night when it is warm, and you are looking up to the
moon, and see the light that comes down through the holes in the sky,
does something great seem to come close to you?"

"Why, yes, Hepsa, ever so many times, and I think it is God. And when
Katie leaves me to go to sleep, and it is all dark, I know God comes
then, for I feel him all around, and the room seems so big--bigger than
it ever did before, bigger than the garden, bigger than the fields,
bigger than the sky. I can't tell you how big."

"O, well--and--what did you say your name was?" asked Hepsa.

"Genevieve;" and she pronounced it very slowly.

"It is rather odd," said Hepsa, trying to repeat the name; "but I want
to know if you ever laid down on the ground when it rained, and
listened."

"No!"

"Well, it is real beautiful; in the grass, it sounds _like bells_--it
sounds better where the grass is tall."

"I wish I could hear it," said Genevieve, sadly; "but my mother wouldn't
like to have me lie on the ground when it rained."

"How would she know it," asked Hepsa, "if you didn't tell her?"

"Why, Hepsa, I shouldn't want to if she wouldn't like it--I shouldn't
want to at all."

"I suppose, then, she won't let you come to hear me read?"

"O, yes she will, I know! I'll ask her, and she will kiss me, and say
yes."

So Hepsa told her where she lived, and Genevieve went into the house,
and Hepsa went home, feeling very happy about the flowers, and thinking
of the things her new friend had told her.

"She says I must love Tom, and that is so queer; but if the God who gave
me Tom, is the One who comes so near to me sometimes, I'll try; and,
perhaps, if I hadn't called Tom such names this morning, he wouldn't
have killed my poor cat." So Genevieve's words had sunk into Hepsa's
heart already.

Genevieve went to her mother, and told her what a strange little girl
she had found that morning, and that she had promised to go and teach
her to read, that she might know about God.

[Illustration: GENEVIEVE READING THE BIBLE TO HEPSA.]

On the next day she took some of her books, and, with some of her
prettiest playthings for a present to Hepsa, she went in search of
the house down the lane, on the other side of the village.

She found a gentler pupil than on the day before; and Hepsa's hair was
laid smoothly upon her forehead, her face clean, and though there were
some tatters in her dress, Genevieve did not much mind them.

The baby was in his cradle, fast asleep, and Genevieve went and knelt
down by the side of it, and looked at it carefully, as though she was
afraid of awaking it, and then whispered to Hepsa her admiration of the
little hands, which lay cunningly upon the quilt, and said how much she
wanted to kiss him; would he wake, she wondered, if she just kissed his
cheek, and didn't make any noise? Hepsa told her no; so she kissed him;
and then, after looking at him to see how sweetly he slept,--now
frowning, and now smiling in his dreams,--she went away with Hepsa, and
they talked a great while together, telling each other what the other
didn't know. Genevieve was often shocked and grieved at Hepsa's
undutiful remarks about her father, mother and brother; and when she
felt they didn't love Hepsa, as her own dear father and mother loved
her, still she could not understand why Hepsa did not love them better.
She was often a good deal perplexed to know what she should say to the
strange child; but of one thing she felt always certain, that her new
companion needed to have her heart cleansed and purified before she
could be loved well. She felt a strong love for Hepsa, and longed to
teach her more of God, and show her how to read, that she might teach
herself.

Hepsa was amazed when her friend took out the playthings from the bag
and gave them to her; no one had before shown her such kindness; and
Genevieve thought in her heart she was just as happy giving those things
to Hepsa, as when they were given to her.

Poor Hepsa had never been to school, and so she didn't even know the
alphabet; but Genevieve sat down patiently to teach her, and found truly
that much patience was necessary to accomplish the work she had
undertaken. Hepsa would soon grow discouraged when she found so much to
learn, and saw her little teacher reading so readily; and her mother
would often scold when she saw Hepsa with a book in her hand, declaring
it was foolish nonsense; but, as time went on, and the first
difficulties were overcome, and her mother began to find Hepsa growing
very gentle, and Tom had less occasion to plague his sister, they all
felt that the books Hepsa had studied, and the little girl who came so
often to see her, were kind friends, and love began to bind them all
together. Hepsa no longer wore torn clothes; Genevieve's mother had
given her some neat dresses, and Genevieve had given her needles and
thread, and taught her to sew, and now many a rent was carefully mended,
and even Tom began to look neater than formerly. She was careful too to
keep the room nicely, and one day was amply rewarded for this, when Tom
came in before she had had time to do it, and complained of its being
dirty. "Tom begins to like a clean room," she said to herself with joy,
and received his few harsh words as though they had been those of love.
The baby too was always clean, for she knew Genevieve always depended
upon kissing him.

Hepsa's father was not a good man; he was unkind to his poor wife and
children; so it was no wonder Tom had gone on, following the example
constantly placed before him; but he was a child yet, and when he saw
how Hepsa began to love him, that she grieved without being angry when
he was unkind to her, it could not but touch his heart. He was half
ashamed, too, when she saved for him some of the good things Genevieve
had brought her. At first, 't is true, he thought little about it, but
when often, after he had been so ugly to her, she came just the same,
and offered him half of her orange, or a part of her nuts, he began to
feel that he was a naughty boy, and that Hepsa was better than she used
to be.

It was very natural he should ask her the reason of this, and very
natural, too, that she should answer in this way:

"Why, Tom, I have learned a great deal about God from Genevieve, and
then she has taught me to read, and I have learned a great deal that
way. Tom, where do you think Susan went when she died?"

Tom couldn't tell. Susan was an elder sister of theirs, whom they had
loved very dearly, and who had died some two years before.

"Well, Tom; there are angels who take all the children, as soon as they
die, and show them wonderful things, and teach them, so they can go into
a beautiful place called heaven, and live with God. Well, if you begin
to be good here, and love people, you will go into that heaven sooner,
when you die, than if you are naughty, and don't think about these
things while you are here. I want to go there very much, and so I try to
be good, though I don't always make out well." Tom looked thoughtful at
his sister's words, and then said:

"I think that little Genevieve will go very fast, when she dies. But I
don't think father will get there very soon, now I tell you!"

"O, but Tom," said Hepsa sadly, "we must not think who will not go, but
how _we_ may go."

"I wish I knew how to read," said Tom; "but I never can go to school,
father makes me saw so much wood."

Then Hepsa asked him to let her teach him; and, after a good deal of
hesitation, he told her he didn't care if she did.

Some time after this, Genevieve's father and mother went away from that
place, and she parted from Hepsa with many tears in her eyes, and much
grief in her heart. "If I never see you again," she said, "don't forget
we are both going into the gardens up there," and Hepsa always
remembered.

Genevieve was a very quiet girl, but she was always ready to do
something to please her dear mother, and at night brought her father's
slippers from the closet, and placed them ready by his chair. She did,
too, many little things for the servants, who all loved her very dearly;
so when, a few years afterwards, she fell sick, and nothing they could
do for her was able to make her any better, but the doctor said she must
die, they all wept very much, and no comfort or joy could come into
their hearts. But Genevieve gently kissed them, and told them a
beautiful peace had come into her heart, for that, in the night, Christ
often came to her, and told her how the angel was all ready to take her
into his beautiful garden, and teach her out of his great golden books.

At last, one morning she died, and they laid her away in the garden near
by the fountain; and they planted the mignonette and myrtle, that,
mingling with the moss, it might grow over her grave.

And her mother said in her heart, "Let her lie here, that, as often as I
come hither, I may be reminded of the more beautiful gardens of God, to
which she has flown. And when, in the cool night, the stars look down,
the soft fragrance of the mignonette shall tell them of her loveliness,
and the myrtle and the moss of the constant love twining together the
souls of the mother and the daughter."

It was as Christ had said; the angel stood ready, and when Genevieve
closed her eyes in death, he caught her in his arms, and placed her
before the Great Gate, which led into the gardens around the kingdom of
heaven. A great many men, women and children stood about it, waiting for
it to be opened, when suddenly a very bright angel, brighter than any
she had ever seen in her dreams, came among them, seated on glorious
clouds.

Then one by one did the crowd go before him, telling him what things
they had done on earth, in order to be admitted into the gardens, to be
prepared still more for the heavens. One said he had built a large
college, given it a large sum of money, and called it by his name, that
the world might see his works, and praise the Lord. Another told him how
he had toiled in heathen lands, and dwelt among savages, that they might
know and love God; another that he had prophesied; another that he had
built a hospital for the poor, and had sheltered them from the cold
winds; another still that he had delivered slaves from cruel masters,
and brought them to the light of freedom. O, there cannot be counted all
the men and women who came before the angel, and told of the things they
had accomplished! And, as the words came upon Genevieve, her heart
trembled for fear, and had it not been for the remembrance of those kind
tones of Christ, poor Genevieve would have shrieked aloud.

What should she do? Rapidly she recalled every act of her life; but
nowhere in it could she find one act worthy to be brought before the
great bright angel. Alas! she had neither founded colleges nor
hospitals; she had never toiled in heathen lands, nor prophesied, nor
delivered slaves from bondage. Alas! must she lose those gardens when
still so near?

The angel's glance fell upon Genevieve, and she drooped down in fear;
but what was her surprise when the angel came down from the cloud, and
raising her up, said, in tones of loving cadence,

"Look, little one, thy work was accepted long ago!" and, looking as he
bade her, she saw Hepsa at her side, to whom, so long ago, she had
spoken of heaven, when she had found her a dirty, ignorant girl.

"You have worked well," said the angel tenderly. "Go now into the
garden, and ere long I will come to put you into the Christ's arms."

So Hepsa and Genevieve together walked through the gates, and the angels
who would be their teachers went with them; but I cannot tell you of the
beauty and glory of those scenes. I only beg you too to work well, that
the angel may speak as lovingly to you.



THE GARDEN OF GOD;

OR,

THE BABY'S FIRST SMILE.


In a very lovely little cottage, around which grew sweet-briers and
rose-trees, and up whose windows climbed honeysuckles and jessamines,
lived a mother with her baby.

The mother was a young woman, with golden hair, kind blue eyes, and fair
white skin. There was always a look of love in her eye, and in the
gentle tones of her voice the most soothing tenderness. People said the
baby looked like her; but he cried so much that his face was continually
distorted, and so the resemblance was not of any use to him.

Now there was a great deal of discussion about the baby's looks, as to
which he most resembled, his father or mother; some decided in favor of
his father, who was a tall man, with black hair, and black eyes, and
large, sharp features. It was a difficult question to answer, inasmuch
as the baby had yet but a very few hairs on his head, and his features
were not easily distinguishable; and as each person's decision affected
only his own opinion, there was a great deal of discussion and comparing
of the poor baby's little face with those of his parents, and, through
dint of being often shown them, the father and mother began to find the
most remarkable resemblance to each other in their little child.

Well, one day he had been crying very hard, and his poor mother was
nearly worn sick with trying to quiet him. She had walked all over the
house, shown him everything on the tables, taken up books and shaken
them before his eyes, carried him to the windows and cried "See there!
see there!" with fresh tones of love and pity, without his seeming to be
in the least edified by it all. She tossed him before the looking-glass;
but he did not seem to be comforted by the glimpse of himself, done up
in a blanket, which he caught; until, at last, after putting everything
into every place in which it didn't belong, and trying to make him look
at things he didn't care to see, she resolutely put him in the cradle,
rocked him with his head moving now on this and now on that side of the
pillow, until he fell fast asleep.

He had no sooner closed his eyes to sleep than he left his baby's body
in the cradle, and ran straight off to the gardens of God in heaven,
towards that place where dwell the angel-children who are yet to go down
and live upon the earth. As he came near the tall flowers, whose golden
petals were spread, and in whose cups lay sweet dew, he clapped his
hands with joy, and a bright smile lay on his lips, which before had
been distorted with grief.

Not far from him there rose a bright fountain, which, falling, dashed
its water gently down into a broad, silvery basin beneath. In the midst
of the falling spray a large bird, with long, blue plumage, played, now
diving beneath the water, and now catching the drops as they fell from
the fountain. Then came other birds, some in gay scarlet plumage, with
white feathers about their necks and at the tips of their wings and
tails; they, too, played in the fountain, and chased each other over
the sparkling waters.

Then there were tall trees, of such a bright green as is seldom seen on
the earth, and on them were fruits which looked a little like those we
see here, but a thousand times more beautiful, for they shone like
precious stones. About everything was a glory which it is impossible to
describe.

At a little distance was a troop of fair children at play, and when they
had seen the little child from the earth they ran towards him, and would
have kissed him joyously, but that they saw the tears he had so recently
shed still standing upon his cheeks; at this, sorrow shone over their
faces, and tears like pearls entered their own eyes, as, in the
tenderest manner, they asked him the cause of his grief.

"Do not ask me, dear brothers and sisters," he entreated; "I wish only
to think how I am with you now for a little while, and I long to forget
the earth-scenes." Speaking thus he kissed them all, and led them away
off among the bright fields.

Very gayly they played a long time; they plucked the golden apples from
the trees, and threw them far up in the sky, and the apples bounded so
lightly that they still went on, till at last they dropped down to the
earth into some dark rooms where poor people lived, who, when they found
them, rejoiced exceedingly.

Then they went riding on the clouds, and the light of their faces gave a
brightness to the edge of the clouds, so that the people on the earth
loved to stand watching them, never fancying what a troop of
angel-children were frolicking on them.

At last they became weary of this sport, and bent their way quite
towards the earth. At this our earth-child saddened, and did not wing
his flight as quickly as the others did. Upon this they looked around
upon him and said:

"Why tarry you? Do you not know we go to the earth, to do there what our
dear Teacher bids us? You have played with us, and will you not now do
the work which you have so often done with us before?" So he sped on
with them, but his voice was silent and his heart wept.

They soon came to the earth, and then, unseen by any one, they made
their way towards a little, dingy house, in one room of which sat a
little boy upon a bench, driving pegs into the sole of a boot. On one
side lay all the boots in which he had driven pegs, and on the other a
great many more in which he must still drive them. He looked sad and
pale, and the sweat lay in large drops upon his forehead. By his side
sat a large, stout man, with his shirt-sleeves rolled up, displaying
strong, brawny arms, while his face was red and stern. He was also at
work, but watched the boy well, and if he saw his arm rested for a
moment he would give him a little push, bidding him mind his work; and
so the poor boy had to drive the pegs into the soles of the boots, even
though he was weary and his face pale and sad.

Then the angel-children, seized with one feeling of love and pity (for
they could remember how the poor boy used to be one of them and play in
the garden of God), soared above him. One came down and wiped off the
drops of sweat from his brow; another passed his soft hands over the
boy's face, and rested him; and another put comforting thoughts into his
soul.

Then the master looked up, and when he saw how the boy seemed suddenly
refreshed, he told him it was good to work and silly to be tired; and
when the boy heard these hard words, tears came into his eyes, and he
thought of his mother who used so tenderly to care for him, but had now
been gone long to the home of the angels.

Then some of the angel-children wiped away the tears which had come into
the boy's eyes, and another shook his beautiful wings over his head, so
that at once a cool breeze fell over him and hopeful words entered his
soul. Some of the children moved his arm up and down as he drove the
pegs into the boot, and he wondered how easily he was able to work.

All this time our earth-child stood apart, nodding his head sadly, and
when the others asked him the cause, he answered, "O, you do not know
how hard it is to live on the earth! See this poor boy; how far
different was it with him when he played with us in the gardens up
there!"

The children were silent; they knew not how to comfort him. They
thought, too, of the time when they should live on the earth.

Then they flew along and came to a large city, in which lived many
homeless children, who were led about by unkind and evil spirits; and
passed constantly by men and women, who did not so much as give them one
kind word.

As the angel-children wandered among them they shuddered: such strange
words filled the air, and so dark and dingy looked the houses where they
went in and out. Could it be that these children, who talked together in
angry moods, who rather sought the opportunity to trouble each other,
had ever played in that fountain, and laughed together in the heavenly
fields? "O," they sighed, "could we but once drive the evil spirits from
one of them, and whisper in his ear of the kind love of God!"

Then their wings fluttered and folded themselves over the head of a
large boy, whose clothes were dirty and tattered, his hair matted and
disordered, his body thin and wan, while the expression of his face was
very old and vacant. A slight girl, holding a little pail in her hand,
came along near him, and made as if she would go by him; but the boy
would not suffer her to pass on, and, stopping her, said to her,

"Well, and what have you got?"

The child looked at him fearfully, and remained silent; but the boy did
not heed her half-imploring look, but proceeded to lay hold of her pail,
in which she had had hot corn to sell, and, opening it, discovered there
six pennies instead.

"Ah," he cried exultingly, "that is what I wanted! You have done well
with your corn; you may go on now;" and, despite the poor child's cries,
he took away the pennies, and, in resisting the little struggle the
child was able to make, he threw her down upon the pavement.

This was in a dark street, filled with people wicked like this boy, and
where was no one who cared to take the child's part.

But those angel-children were silent witnesses of this scene, and they
put out their hands, so the little girl was not much hurt in her fall.
Then they looked at each other in dismay; the pearly tears again came
into their bright eyes, and they asked each other what they might do for
this wretched boy. They remembered when the boy and girl played together
in the fair garden of God; and it was not possible for them to remember
that, and look unmoved upon this fearful change which had come over
him. "O, this is a sad earth-life!" murmured the baby's spirit; and he
nodded his head again in sorrow. "Why may not I, too, become like this
boy?"

"But _must_ the earth-life bring this change?" asked another of the
angel-children, who saw the anguish of his friend, but knew not how to
comfort him. "Do we not remember the poor boy who worked so hard, and
had no rest, yet he was patient and good, and kept bright, and hung the
cord which tied his soul to heaven with the tear-drops which fell for
his dear, dead mother? When tried, he gave back no hard words. He was
better than we, who are happy always and have no trials."

Not long after, they found the wicked boy asleep; he had thrown himself
down, in the corner of a dirty alley, on a little straw. The children
hovered over him, trying how they might approach him. They drove hence
the dark spirits, one by one, who hindered their approach, and then they
carried him off by the sea-shore in a dream; they made him sit upon the
sand and listen to the roaring of the waters; the large rocks stood
scattered on the beach, and the sea-mosses and shells were thrown up by
the waves. Afar off, upon the water, he saw a long line of bright
clouds, which seemed to climb up to heaven to meet the bright, twinkling
stars. The moonlight shone softly down upon him.

Then they laid him down upon the sand, and made him look up into the sky
to feel the rest and peace of it; still more came the moonlight upon
him, and the stars seemed to open and close their eyes for pity. The
wind came towards him and passed along his brow and over his heart. Then
came into his soul an indescribable longing, such as he had never felt
before--a longing which the noise of the sea, the beauty of the clouds,
the peace of the sky, and the tenderness of the wind, had aroused in
him.

He felt that something inexpressibly dear had been lost to him, and he
feared never again to regain it; the quiet moon and the pitying stars
made him fear. A deep grief entered his heart, and he wept as from an
everlasting sorrow. As he wept the angels rejoiced, and hovered over his
head in a halo of light; for they knew that these tears would bring him
into the path that led to heaven!

Not far off lived a man who cared for destitute and ignorant children;
the angel-band flew to bring him, and when the boy opened his eyes, in
which the tears of repentance still lay, the ocean and bright clouds had
disappeared; but there was bent upon him a pitying, benignant look,
which went to the boy's heart, and a kind voice lingered in his ear,
subduing him by its very strangeness. So he at once received the
proffered hand, and arose and went with him to his home.

After that, the angel-children went into a splendid mansion, where, in a
large, handsome chamber, lay a little girl suffering under severe pain.
Her little couch was hung in blue silk, and rich laces adorned her
pillows. On a little table by the side of her bed stood golden goblets,
to refresh her parched mouth with pleasant drinks. Yet, still the little
girl moaned in pain. Her eyelids were closed, and her weary hand lay
still upon the bed. At her side sat her nurse, watching her wants and
longing to relieve them. Costly toys lay uncared for on the rich, heavy
carpet. The flowers had lost their charm, the delicious fruit lay, full
and ripe, neglected on their dish.

Sleep would not come to the child; weary and in pain, she had laid there
a long, long time, her poor little body wasting slowly away towards the
grave.

"Let us give her rest and comfort," said the angel-children; and, waving
their wings over her, she fell to sleeping.

The nurse said, then, there might be hope. Listen and hear,--what bright
hope there was, indeed!

They whispered to her, that soon her pain should cease, and that, for
her trust and patience, she should go to God's beautiful garden. They
showed her the fountains and the birds; they told her how she should
again ride upon the clouds, and study from the great books of God. Then
in her sleep she smiled, and the nurse, who was watching her face, wept
for joy, and exclaimed,

"There is hope! there is hope!"

Yes, there was hope!

When the little girl awoke, there was a more heavenly patience still,
in her soul, and a longing to meet the loving glances of the
angel-children again.

As the children wended their flight back to the gardens, and sat down
beneath the green trees, and ate of their delicious fruit, they strove
in vain to bring back the brightness to the face of the earth-baby.

"Ah, it would be so beautiful to stay with you!" he said. "I would like
always to comfort these afflicted ones; but, alas! I shall need comfort
myself, and you will come to me, as we have been to others. When I am on
the earth there seems something gone and lost, and what is before me is
confused and dim. I find myself so weak and helpless, when here I am so
sprightly and strong! I cannot move myself at all, and when I remember
these gardens I have left, and you with whom I have played, I can but
cry all the time! It looks cold and bleak there, as it never does here.
Then, should I grow up to be wicked, like those children we have seen,
and so go far away from heaven, how wretched should I become,--how much
better that I never had left these gardens!"

Thus he complained, and the other children were silent, for they knew
how they, too, at some time, must go down and try their fortunes upon
the earth; and, too, they sorrowed to lose their companion, for they
knew that soon he could not come to them any more;--and while they told
him, very eagerly, how they would come to watch over him, a soft tread
fell on their ears, and their dear teacher approached them.

Her hair floated in long curls upon the cool air, and her eyes were bent
down in sorrow upon the earth-child.

"Have you so soon forgotten the lessons you have learned from the book
of God?" she asked; and the tones of her voice were like the soft
harmonies of heaven. She held in her hand a book, along whose pages the
letters sparkled in the brightness of gold and silver. At the sight of
her, the earth-child threw himself at her feet, and besought her thus:

"Keep me with you, dear teacher, and teach me from your book! Why
should I go to the earth-home again?"

Tenderly did the angel-teacher embrace and uplift the imploring child.
She pointed to a distant part of the garden, towards a grate of
lattice-work, in gold, silver and pearls, whence issued a glorious
light. Beyond this they saw angels walking, in their hands bearing still
more glorious books than the one she held.

"When I taught you, long ago, how beautiful was the life there, how
_pure_ the love, did you not long to go thither? And when I told you
that the way thither was only through the earth,--that it was long and
difficult and narrow,--that many troubles must make you strong to walk
in it,--did you not long to go, promising not to complain? Do you so
soon falter? Have I not told you that the book you carry in your hands
there must first be formed on the earth?--that there you shall pick up
one by one the shining letters which compose it? Why do you
complain?--have you forgotten that your home is better than those
miserable ones which have been given to those who were your beloved
playmates here? This is your last visit to the garden of God. The
angel-children shall come and whisper to you in your dreams; and, when
they in their turns go down to live upon the earth, hold your arms out
to them, and, when their steps are weak, help them along. And when you
see children with tattered clothes, in poor cottages, look not proudly
on your own, but remember that here, in the garden of God, you played
together in the same fountain, drank the same dew; and think no more of
yourself or your beautiful earth-home, for God gave it to you for the
same purpose he gave the wretched cottage to the other. Remember, too,
the good mother, who has patiently hushed your cries, and will yet bear
you through many dark places. She has never yet tired in caring for you,
and you have given her little else but trouble. Go; be henceforth
patient and loving."

Sorrow came into the heart of the child for his selfishness; and, as he
thought of his beautiful mother, how she always smiled upon him, and
would help him to heaven, his heart filled up with love to her.

At that moment he opened his eyes, and there by his side sat the
mother, watching for his awaking; a heavenly smile stole over his
features, and he held up his arms to her. The mother caught him from the
cradle, and wept over him in the ecstasy of a new-found joy and love;
for it was the _First Smile_ her baby had given her.



CYBELE, THE TAMBOURINE GIRL.


Cybele was a little girl; she had large gray eyes, and brown hair
smoothly parted over her forehead, while there was a pitiful expression
round her mouth, that pleaded with you so earnestly, you could scarce
help stopping, as you met her, to give her a few pennies.

Her real home was not in this country. Long ago she had come over from
the bright land of Italy,--from its warm, sunny skies and beautiful
gardens, where the birds sang so joyfully, and gay music sounded on the
air,--all which she longed to see and hear again; and as all things
there had been so beautiful, and here so dreary, all beauty grew to be
the same thing as that dear Italy, so that when she even saw flowers in
the window of some lordly house, she would stand, gazing tearfully
through them at the far-off home!

Cybele's mother had died in that beautiful land, and it was in one of
its lovely gardens her body rested while her spirit soared heavenward.
The little girl knew this place so well;--the orange-trees grew about
it, and the song of the waterfall, near by, played and sparkled in the
tones of the birds. But Cybele's aunt had taken the little girl with her
to this distant land, and the child could no longer go and weep over the
grave where her mother's body had been laid; but her heart was there--it
could not forget. She dreamed of it in the long nights; and, when she
played upon her tambourine, the remembrance inspired her notes, making
people love to listen to her.

Away down in an uncomfortable, out-of-the-way part of the city dwell a
great many poor people, who have come from distant countries to find
here some bread, which may keep them from starving. The streets where
they dwell are dirty, and the houses look smoky and wretched. There are
queer little shops, with oranges and cigars, bread and tobacco, in the
windows, and if you go in you smell yeast, and see milk-cans standing
about, while a man in a green jacket sells you what you ask for. To such
shops do the people near by come for their bread and cent's worth of
milk. To such a shop little Cybele came, early in the morning, and late
at night; and so dingy looked the shops and people, that her aunt's room
seemed bright and cheerful in comparison. This room, nevertheless, was
small and quite dark, having but one window, which looked down into a
brown back-yard; but her aunt kept the room neat and clean; the bed
stood off by itself, in one corner, the two chairs on either side of the
table, and in the cupboard were a few plates and cups, with which the
scanty table was spread; yet was this room dear to the child, since the
dreams she had dreamed there hung over her still with their light and
love.

It chanced, one day, that her aunt fell sick--so sick as to be obliged
to lie on the bed. For a long time she had not been able to do any hard
work, but had sat at home and made little brooms for Cybele to take out
with her when she went to play the tambourine about the streets. And
Cybele had seen how her aunt grew pale, day by day, but she had not
dreamed the time would come when her aunt must lay still on the bed for
weariness.

With a heavy heart she took the brooms and the tambourine, and went out,
hoping to get a few pennies, and bring home a doctor for her aunt.

But it was a sad day for Cybele. She was rudely sent away from the doors
at which she stopped, and though she stood long before the windows of
lordly houses, in which she felt were many persons, still the sashes
were left down, and no kind group appeared to encourage her. So she
passed on, through quiet squares and noisy streets, but everywhere met
with a repulse.

What should she do? It was impossible to go home without money. She
thought of the poor aunt who was sick, and of the mother who lay away in
the gardens of Italy, and new courage came into her soul. A gentleman
came toward her, with ruddy cheeks and smooth, rich clothes. Surely he
will not turn away from the little child. So she stepped forward, and,
when he came near, she looked up in his face, saying,

"Please, sir, will you not buy one of my brooms?"

But he brushed by her, unheeding her gentle tones, and leaving her eyes
filled with tears.

Then came along a careless boy, whistling a merry tune, and with his
hands thrust into his pockets. Confidence and hope made her ask him
also.

"Please, will you buy a broom?"

The boy stopped, and, still whistling, looked into her face, glanced
over her dress, tambourine and brooms; and, as his eyes rested upon
these last, he replied:

"Buy a broom! Pray, what think you I want with one of those flimsy
things?" And then he looked at her as though he thought her so absurd!

Cybele was abashed by his manner, and began to think she had asked him
to do a very foolish thing, so she hurried to reply:

"I don't know, I'm sure; but they brush away flies with them."

"Flies!" he repeated, contemptuously, at the same time taking one of the
brooms from her little bundle, and thrusting it about him in all
conceivable ways; pulling open the brush, and altogether ruining it.
"Flies! it is getting too cool for flies; and, besides, my mother never
lets any get into the house; so it's no use any way. Why don't you go
home? It's a shame to be walking round the streets so. You ought to be
in school, or at work, or something else."

[Illustration: CYBELE THE TAMBOURINE GIRL.]

"I don't know how to do anything else," replied Cybele, the blood
rushing to her cheeks; "my aunt is sick, and I want to get some money."

"Tush!--always sick!" replied the boy, contemptuously; "how silly! I
wonder the beggars don't all die some day, they've been sick so long!"

"We are not beggars!" said Cybele, raising her head somewhat proudly,
and preparing to move away. "If you don't want the broom, I'll take it,
if you please."

The boy seemed half pleased, as he looked at her, and said:

"Proud, too--if it isn't funny! Here, don't go away--I want to hear your
tambourine."

So she laid down her bundle of brooms, and, arranging her tambourine,
played him some merry tunes.

"Can't you dance, too?" asked the boy, when she had finished. So she
danced and played to him; and, when she stopped, he placed a penny in
her hand, and coolly walked away.

She looked at the penny lying in her hand, and then after the boy, who
was walking up the street, and she couldn't help thinking how very
little it was, and how she hoped he would have given her more. She
looked at the little broom he had ruined, and everything seemed sadder
than before. Then, by some strange freak, her mind ran off to the
gardens where her mother slept, as it always did when darkness gathered
round her, and she longed, more than ever before, to throw herself on
the ground there, and quietly sleep a long, long time. During the whole
day she had received but a few pennies; so few, they would not induce a
doctor to go down to her sick aunt. If she only could have met some kind
heart, which would have gone home with her, and given kind words and
soothing draughts to the sick one! But it was not brought into her path.

When she came home and saw how much worse her aunt was than when she had
left her in the morning, her little heart grew sick; and Cybele, who had
seen her mother grow thin and die, began to be terrified, lest the aunt
too would be taken.

So, she went up to her gently, and kissed her brow, and the poor aunt
opened her eyes and smiled mournfully; and when she heard how little
money the tambourine had brought that day, she tried to conceal her
sorrow lest the little child should be grieved.

Then Cybele lighted a small fire in their bit of a fireplace, and made a
little tea for her aunt. It was the very last she had; but when she
thought how much her aunt needed it, and how she would need still more
on the morrow, hope whispered, quite cheerfully, that with the
tambourine she would win from people's pockets many a bright cent. With
these thoughts, she looked very lovingly towards the tambourine, which
lay quietly upon the floor in the corner, its gay bells silent, as if
it, too, felt sorrow for the aunt's sickness.

After Cybele had toasted a bit of bread, and given it, with the tea, to
the aunt--had received the kind kiss, and saw her close her eyes--she
thought she slept, and new courage filled her heart; she began to think
of the pleasant people she should see to-morrow. What a kind crowd she
drew about her! They looked on her with loving eyes, and the sweet
smiles played about their lips. There were the groups of pretty
children, in gay frocks and rosy cheeks, which should gather about the
parlor-window, when she should stop before it and strike the tambourine
with her hand; and they would smile upon her, and then the elder sister,
who should be so mild and gentle, would come and throw up the sash, and
speak with her; and, perhaps, even she would throw down to her a sprig
of the geranium which stood near by on the flower-stand. Then she was
lured further on, to think of a great fortune which was to be obtained,
that she might go back to the laughing skies of Italy, and spend her
days in the lovely garden where her mother slept.

But when Cybele arose in the morning, and told her aunt how she was
going out to gather in the pennies, the poor aunt sighed, and bade her
stay at home a while, for she could not bear to be alone.

So Cybele sat down upon the floor, and, taking the tambourine, sang and
played the softest and sweetest airs she could remember; and, as she
played, it seemed as though new tones, and words even, were given to
speak out of it.

She astonished herself, and a kind of sorrowful ecstasy came into her
soul. She played on, and on, and forgot that the day was passing off, in
which she was to earn so many bright pennies, in order to bring home the
kind physician who was to make the dear aunt well at once. She went to
the far-off land, and sang of the vineyards and the soft, warm air; of
the gently-moving waters, and the fragrant blossoms around the banks of
the lakes. O, the moon rose up before her, and she drank from its loving
beams; the stars sent down their misty light, as if shrouded because of
their great beauty! Once in that land, how had she forgotten all things
else! A holy inspiration had come down over her; an angel of light
appeared to her enchanted eyes, beckoning her to rest her head upon his
bosom.

"Fear not!" he said, "for I will yet take you to the lovely gardens
where your mother dwells."

But, when she eagerly stretched out her arms and cried, "Take me now,"
he disappeared, and she found the song stayed upon her lips, the room
hushed, and only the glory, which the angel's presence had shed about,
still lingered there. The holy stillness came into her heart also, and
she sat quietly upon the floor a long time; and when, at last, she rose
and went up to her aunt's bedside, she found the brow she kissed was
cold, the hand she clasped was chilly; and, in looking with fear upon
the aunt's face, she found the dews of death resting there.

The aunt was dead! Those songs, which flowed so easily from Cybele's
lips, had become the requiem of the dead, and those soft tones had been
the last sigh of a passing soul.

Cybele knew that when the angel had over-shadowed her, as she sang, he
had borne hence her aunt's spirit.

But, O, it was so hard to be left all alone! And when the people from
the other room came in and prepared her aunt for the burial; when they
took her from the bed and put her in the rude coffin, the child's heart
felt like breaking, and, had it not been for the words the angel had
spoken to her when he came to bear hence the dear aunt, she would have
wept without ever smiling again.

Then they carried away the coffin into a dismal place, where was neither
green grass nor pleasant brook, nor even a flower, might it be ever so
little; and there was a row of square, black doors against the walls,
one of which they opened, and shoved the coffin into a dark place.

O, it was so dreary a place, with the high fence all about it, and the
cold, dismal, gray clouds above! It did not seem to Cybele that she
could leave the aunt there. Could she only lie away in the beautiful
land where the mother slept, where the birds rested their wings upon the
lemon-trees, and the blue sky smiled in quiet peacefulness!

But the people who stood around could not understand her grief, and so
they hurried her from the yard and locked up the gate.

That night Cybele lay alone upon the bed on which her aunt had died, and
the lonely grief came so fast upon her that she could not sleep, and the
morning found her weary and heart-broken.

Then there came into her room a coarse man, who told her she must go
out, for she could no longer live there; that she might be allowed to
take her tambourine with her, but all the rest,--and there was little
enough, the two chairs, the bed, the kettle and the few things in the
cupboard,--were his, to pay for the rent of the room and he told her, if
she brought a few pennies to the people who lived in the next room, when
night was come, they would take care of her.

Now the man had no sooner spoken these words, than Cybele decided to
have nothing to do with the people in the next room, for she could not
love them. The father and mother were so coarse and cross, and the boys
were so rude and big;--they had often refused to help her aunt, and
while she was sick they had never come with kind words to smooth her
pillow. Even after she had died, they had but come to put her in a rude
coffin, and carry her to a dismal place, from which they thrust out the
only heart who yearned for her.

So Cybele did not think of going to them. She tied the large silk
handkerchief over her head, which had served her for a bonnet since she
had left Italy, and, taking her dear tambourine in her hand, and the
poor, neglected brooms, she went away out of the rooms where she had
lived so long, where she had seen the angel, and where her aunt had
died. Then, after standing upon the sill of the door a few moments,
looking down the long staircase, out into the world to which she was
going, she raised her gray eyes, and sweetly said, as though replying to
the angel's admonition, "I'm not afraid." Ah, dearest one, you need not
fear when the heavenly Father is so near unto your heart!

Without more hesitation she said "Good-by" to the room, and quickly sped
down the staircase out into the world, while thus she talked to her
tambourine:

"Don't you be afraid either, dear little Tambourine!" and she held it
tenderly in her arms; "nor you, dear Brooms! We shall have happy times
together yet. Only think of the beautiful tunes I'll play on you, and
how the children will clap their hands when they hear your bells! No,
don't be in the least afraid; I'll play on you as I never have before
since once,"--here the little lip quivered in spite of itself,--"only
try and play real pretty--do, so I shan't ever be lonesome with thinking
of the lovely gardens at home! Ah, Tambourine! Tambourine! you and I are
all alone!" Just then, a sweet tone came from the bells of the
tambourine, and comforted Cybele's heart.

She wandered up the streets, and stopped to look in upon the windows of
the toy-shops; but the toy-carts, and those wonderful witches, who would
always stand on their heads, had no charm for her longer. Her heart was
saddened, and when she tried to strike out gay tunes, they would not
come--only sad ones, and sad words from her lips. The children pitied
her grave looks, and, when they could not persuade her to dance for
them, they would leave her in silence.

When she looked about her and saw all the children, how they were never
alone, that their eye's danced, and their voices were mirthful, she
would ask herself why she, too, was not happy. Then courage would come
to her, and she would strike a gay air, and call the children to her
side; but, when she had finished, she was glad to creep away by
herself, and lean her head upon her tambourine to weep. Then, when the
voice of the angel sounded in her heart, she would raise her head to
reply, meekly, "No, I'm not afraid."

It chanced, one day, that she wandered into the obscure corner of a
church. It was evening service, and at first she was only glad to get
away from the cold, biting air; but she had not been there long before a
strange feeling of gladness rose up in her heart. The organ awoke from
its stillness, and the tones gladdened her as the tambourine, dear as it
was, had never done. The hazy light poured in through the windows, and
lit up the faces of the scattered worshippers with seraphic beauty, and
it gave golden edges to the spotless robe of the priest in the chancel,
played upon his white, flowing hair, and shone upon his uplifted
countenance. The priest spoke out blessed words of the Father in heaven,
how he calls the tired and weary to come and be folded up in his arms;
how he even says, "Suffer little children to come unto mo, and forbid
them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven." These words fell into
the parched heart of little Cybele, and ran all along there in low
sobs, and, stretching up her tiny arms, she murmured:

"Take me, take me now,--I want to come!" And she began to think of the
angel who had said to her:

"Fear not, for I will yet take you to the lovely gardens where your
mother dwells."

The organ ceased, the priest went out from the chancel, one by one the
people passed out from the church, the sexton closed up the doors and
went away, and Cybele sat in her corner, longing to see again the angel
who was so often in her thoughts, until the hazy light had faded away in
the darkness.

Then the moon rose, and streamed into the church, down the long aisles,
and up into the chancel; and from the window above the place where the
priest had spoken those holy words there flooded a glory of light, while
the columns and galleries stood still in their deepened shadows. It was
so holy a calm as to fill Cybele with a joyful awe. The tambourine slid
from her lap; she crossed her hands upon her breast, and bent forward
her head with closed eyes. Low notes of the sweetest music swelled on
the air; louder they grew; until they seemed like the voices of those
rejoicing for deliverance from great sorrow. Louder, louder yet the
voices of angels mingled with them. As Cybele looked up there she saw
great bands of holy angels rejoicing over her; among them the very one
whose words of consolation had been with her so many days. Quickly to
him she stretched out her arms, and he reached low down and raised her
up to him. And they soared up, up to the region of the sun and the moon,
hearing about them the soft voices of loving angels; the air was loaded
with the perfumes of celestial flowers, while every angel they met gave
them a word of welcome.

The angel did as he had promised, and the heavenly Father, whom Cybele
had prayed to take her, gave her into the loving arms of the mother, who
dwelt in lovelier gardens than those of fair Italy, even the gardens of
heaven.

     *     *     *     *

When the people next opened the church, they found a dead child in one
of its corners. A little tambourine lay by its side, which, when they
picked it up, gave out pleasant, cheering tones; but, when they laid the
dead body of the child in a cold, damp grave, they little thought what
happy songs the living spirit of it sang with its mother in the lovely
gardens of God.



THE STORY OF MAGGIE'S JOURNEY.


Little Maggie lived all alone in a small house which contained but one
room. She had lived alone ever since the time her mother had gone to the
palace of the Great King. At first Maggie had cried very bitterly to
think of living alone without her mother; so did her mother, too, as for
that matter, for no mother ever loved her child more dearly than she did
Maggie.

"Maggie," she had said to her, when she knew she must go, "I shall love
you just as tenderly as ever, and always think of you, even while I am
in the Great King's palace. It is a long journey thither, and I expect I
shall be obliged to go through a great many dark and strange places
before coming there; and I fear, the most of all, to leave you in this
little old house all alone; but you know I cannot disobey the King, and
so must follow this servant whom he has sent to bring me. But, O,
Maggie, do follow me _some time_, for I shall be anxiously watching for
you till you come! Be sure, now, and don't disappoint me; and when you
come I think you had better start early in the morning, for the road is
a long and dangerous one."

Perhaps this was a long speech to make; but when mothers go on such
journeys as Maggie's mother was to go on, it is not an unusual custom
for them to do so,--and especially when we remember how she would leave
Maggie all alone; it was only to be wondered she said no more.

When her mother had really gone, the first thing Maggie did was to sit
down upon the door-step and cry bitterly. She could not bear to think
her mother had really gone, and that if ever she wanted to see her she
must start upon that long, long journey. At first I don't think she
loved to think about the Great King who had taken her mother away, and
she was obliged to think over the beautiful things her mother had said
of him many times, before she could be glad he had called her mother.
But at last she rose from the door-step, and went into the house. She
had not much in it, 'tis true; she hadn't much to put in it; and if she
had had more, the house was so small there would have been no place for
anything but what already was there. The principal thing in the room was
the chimney-place. It was so large as to cover the whole of one side of
the room. There was a broad stone hearth, on which sometimes Maggie
would place a few sticks she had picked up in the streets, and light
them; but the little fire they made looked just as if it were ashamed of
itself for burning in such a great fireplace; and the winds, indignant
at its presumption, would rush down the chimney at a more desperate rate
than usual, blowing the ashes into Maggie's eyes, as she sat before the
little fire, and sending the smoke curling in funny forms about the
room. So Maggie would run and cover herself in her poor bed, and say to
herself that it was a comfort to have ashes and smoke; for, though they
did blow in her eyes, still they came from the fire. Sometimes she would
gather up sawdust, and by this fire she was able to warm her feet a
little, though not much; for, as fast as she warmed them, the winds
blew down again, so they were as cold as before.

You see it was a cold kind of a place in which Maggie lived; so cold
that, although it was summer, still a good many people's hearts were
frozen quite stiff, so their friends despaired of their ever being
thawed out; and their tongues too were affected, so they could not speak
gentle, kind words. I don't mean to say the cold ever dealt quite so
shabbily by Maggie or Maggie's mother, which was rather strange,
perhaps, since they could have but little fire; and the frost could walk
very boldly in through the cracks all about the house. Still it was
almost as bad that such things should happen to their neighbors, as
every one knows it is uncomfortable to behold such misery.

Beside the chimney-place and bed, Maggie had some cracked plates and
saucers, which she arranged on the chimney-shelf, and some bits of
china, which she had found in piles of rubbish, and which she thought
very beautiful. Now the chimney-shelf was very high, and she managed to
put these things up there by climbing up the bed-post, which was rather
a dangerous thing for her to do, and as it was a very little difficult,
too, she did not often take down those things.

Now those cracked plates and saucers, and bits of china, were all the
ornaments Maggie had for her house; and they were very precious to her.
She would sit and look at them, _wondering_ what people did who hadn't
got any, and thinking how strange it would seem there in her house if
they were taken away. You see Maggie knew how to prize little things;
and so some day great ones may fall to her.

I did wrong to say she lived all alone; for she had a beautiful white
Dove. Wasn't it nice? It was very white, and nestled close in Maggie's
bosom when she carried it out of the house, and in the night it lay
close to her heart. O, there was nothing Maggie prized like the Dove;
for it was given her by her mother just before she went away, and she
told her it would guide her when she began her journey; so it was not
strange Maggie should love it so well.

It was a lovely, sensitive thing. When Maggie had become thoroughly
weary and tired of living all alone by herself, she told her grief to
the Dove, and it would press nearer and nearer to her heart, and when
its mistress' tears fell on its head, its moans were so sorrowful that
Maggie quickly forgot her own grief, and strove to comfort it.

Now it was in the summer time, and Maggie got along pretty well, for all
the cold winds which blew in that region; but winter was coming on, and
she feared it might be more uncomfortable for her. It happened, one
night, that she heard a great noise, and awoke in a great fright. The
moon shone very brightly, and, by its light, she saw a tall,
strong-looking man carrying away her door. At first she thought she must
be mistaken, and that, if she waited a while, she would see that he was
about to do something very different. But no; he took first the door
well off the hinges, put the hinges in his pocket, the door on his back,
and went off. Then Maggie jumped quickly from her bed, and, running to
the open doorway, cried out,

"Don't take my door; I live here."

But the man certainly did not hear Maggie; at all events he did not once
turn back, but went away quite out of sight.

"But what could he want with my door?" said Maggie, in a high state of
amazement. "Houses all have doors; so he can't want it for his house."
She stood a long time, wondering and perplexed; and I must acknowledge,
if I had been there, I should have wondered too. It was quite a long
time before Maggie could persuade herself to go to bed again, and sleep
till morning, which she finally did, feeling very thankful the man
didn't take the bed.

In the morning a new joy was in store for her; she found that the sun
now, when it rose, could look directly in upon her, and his warm rays
would give warmth to her little room. As she looked up to the
mantel-shelf, on which her bits of broken china were glowing from the
sunshine, she jumped out of bed in an ecstasy of delight.

"O, dear, dear!" she cried, "what if that man had taken away those?--how
I should have cried! But now he has, by taking the door, given the sun a
chance to make them look more beautiful!"

Now she began to love the sun better than ever, for he had become one of
the things which beautified her little home; and she always woke early,
so as to meet his first look, when he came into the room.

Still it must be confessed that the absence of her door did at times
make her poor home more desolate; when, for instance, the winds went
mad, and the rain came down in torrents from the clouds, O, such a
frolicking as there was down her large chimney, and out through the
doorway! Then round and round the house they would run, chasing each
other,--now bursting into a boisterous mirth, now howling in low, dull
tones, until in again at the door they swept, and up through the
chimney.

In Maggie's mind, the chimney and open doorway belonged especially to
the winds. She always thought of them in connection, and, when they
began their frolicking, she would seat herself in one corner, and
listen. Sometimes it seemed as though the winds rushed at one
another,--one coming down the chimney, and the other in at the door;
then, when they met, there was a kind of explosion, a thick, quick
quarrel, and then they would draw off in merry laughter; then would
Maggie clap her hands with glee, thinking it fine sport; but when a
whole blast burst at once upon the house, and seemed desperately to
struggle through every crevice, she would crouch with fear, and upbraid
the winds with their sudden freaks.

There was one mystery which Maggie found herself unable to unravel; it
was this: She felt perfectly certain the chimney was made for the winds
to come down through, and still she knew it was intended for her to make
a smoky kind of fire once in a while on its hearth, with which the winds
quarrelled, and destroyed it. Here were two things irreconcilable. Often
would she stand on the hearth, and look up the black throat of the
chimney, wondering how this inconsistency happened, wishing again and
again that the winds would like the fire, and let it burn well; but she
never thought of asking them to desist. She looked upon their freaks as
privileged.

To the dear Dove did Maggie always turn for comfort and relief. Its love
was a guarantee of her mother's, and, as often as she looked upon and
held it to her heart, so often did she feel sure that one day she would
feel the pressure of her mother's hand upon her head.

Once, when Maggie was talking to the Dove, and thinking of her mother,
it came into her head to begin that journey to the Great King's palace.
"Why not?" said she; "why do I live here? The cold winter is coming, and
my door is gone, and the sun already gives me warning that he shall not
look in at the door as usual; the neighbors will be colder than ever,
and some of them will quite freeze. I've a mind to go away. What do you
think, Dovey?"

The Dove nestled close to her heart, and cooed joyfully.

"Would you like it? Well, I don't know but I had better start. But I
should have to leave the house,--and that would be rather bad,--and the
chimney where the winds play. I think it would seem lonesome for them,
and I don't know as they would like it, for there would be no one to
listen to them; still I do want to go, and I think I'd better."

"I'm sure," said Maggie, after some pause, during which she lovingly
caressed the Dove's head, "I'm sure I don't see why I didn't go before.
I don't know why I should have lived here so long alone. I can take some
of the best china, and leave all the rest. Perhaps some little child may
like to live here after I am gone, and watch the winds as I have done;
but I do hope they won't frighten her at first, or she will want to go
away."

Maggie was an expeditious child, and when she had decided to do
something, she went at once about accomplishing it. So she left the
door-step on which she had been sitting, and went in the house, to see
what she wanted to take; and, as she had so few things, the preparations
were not long, but she soon found herself with her blanket pinned over
her head, ready to start.

'Tis true a few tears came into her eyes as she bid farewell to the bed
which had been her shelter against every unpleasant sight and sound; but
when she turned to the chimney, and some perplexing thought of the
quarrels of the wind and the fire came over her, she rather rejoiced she
would soon be away from it, where this one mystery of their
disagreement should never again trouble her.

Laying the white Dove in her bosom, she turned from the house, and so
beheld herself fairly launched on her journey.

A little while she found it pleasant; the road was straight, and lined
with flowers; the Dove raised his head, and looked in Maggie's eyes with
delight.

But soon she came to a place where two roads met, forming the one she
had been travelling. Here was a perplexity: which should she take--which
would lead her where she wanted to go?

There was a house close by; so she stepped up to the door of it, and
knocked. A lady, who was very pretty to look at, and who wore a very
rich dress, opened the door; but just at the moment when Maggie asked,
"Will you tell me which road leads to the palace of the Great King?"
that same terrible cold wind came round and blew directly into the
lady's mouth, so that she replied, "I know nothing about it, and very
much doubt if there be any Great King at all;" and then she shut the
door in great haste, leaving poor Maggie in much distress and doubt.

She was astonished at the woman's words, and wondered why she shut the
door so soon; for, if she had not, she would have told her about the
King; how she was sure he was alive, and had a great palace. And, too,
she could have told her, his servant had come once and taken her mother
with him, and she could never forget him; he had been dressed in black,
but on his head he wore a crown of the most glorious stars, and their
brightness had filled the little house with holy light, so that, even
after he had departed, it still lingered around.

She thought some of knocking again and telling the poor lady, for she
thought it was sad enough not to know about the Great King; but, though
she knocked a long time, no one came to the door, and, finally, she was
obliged to leave the steps of the house and gather some directions
else-where.

One of the roads seemed cold, and looked narrow, and Maggie, who had
suffered so much from the cold, turned from it with a shudder towards
the other, which looked much gayer, and many more people walked in it;
but the Dove looked anxiously towards the narrow one, which grieved
Maggie, and made her cry out, "O, Dovey, Dovey! how can you love the
cold so well, or ask me to go where it is? Let us rather walk this way a
little, and do you not see there are plenty of cross-roads?--so, if we
wish, we can go on to that narrow road at any time."

So, notwithstanding the Dove's remonstrances, Maggie entered this road,
and found the air so pleasant and warm, that she liked nothing better
than to walk in it.

She saw a great many people here; but they took no notice of the little
girl, who walked along so quietly, with her Dove in her bosom, and the
bits of china in her pocket. But, if they did not notice her, she
noticed them well, and thought them strange enough.

To her surprise she found the air, which had at first seemed so warm,
began to grow cold, and more like the air about the old house; and,
shivering with cold, and seeing the people about her wearing large
cloaks, it was quite natural she should ask them to let her in beneath
the warm folds of them. To her civil request some of them paid no
attention; others looked at her in wonder, and some were so rude as to
speak cruel words to her, and bid her not dare speak to them again.

So Maggie saw them walk on, wrapped in their warm cloaks, and complained
not. Indeed, she had lived too long in the little house without a door,
not to be able to bear the cold bravely--only she could not help wishing
sometimes that she had the bed with her, that she might jump in between
its clothes and warm herself a while; but she was patient, remembering
that she was journeying towards the Great King's palace, where her
mother lived. Suddenly it occurred to her that the road to the Great
King's palace lay through a remarkably cold country, and that the people
who were travelling thither seemed in no haste, for they often sat down
by the road-side and played; and some even went back, instead of
forward, while all those little side-roads, which she thought she had
seen before, had vanished. So, one day, she said to one of the people
who sat down:

"Why do you not hasten that you may see the Great King?"

"The Great King, indeed!" he said whom she had addressed. "I am in no
hurry to see him."

And others intimated as much as the lady long ago had said, that they
themselves doubted very much if there were any Great King at all.

"What shall I do?" cried Maggie. "I cannot be in the right way. O, how
shall I get to the Great King's palace!" And, upon this, the Dove rose
up from Maggie's bosom, and turned backwards whither they had come.
Though long and dreary seemed the cold road she must retrace, yet, such
was her confidence in the Dove, she turned very gladly; and though not
one of those people had cared for Maggie before, now they clustered
around her, begging her not to leave them, and seeking to draw her away
from her purpose. And when she saw how they seemed to love her, and feel
sorrow at her going, she said to them:

"I am grieved to leave you, since you have just begun to love me; but I
promised my mother I would go to the Great King's palace, and I must go
where Dovey leads me."

"How silly to mind a bird!" cried one; and, picking up a stone, he
hurled it at the Dove, who was hovering in the air, and broke its wing,
so it could not fly.

Then, indeed, it seemed as though her grief was very great, and she
could not help wishing she were already in the Great King's palace, or
that he would send his servant for her, who was dressed in the black
robe, and wore the crown of stars. She often saw this servant now; he
came to bear many away; but the crown of stars was not on his brow, and
his face shed no light around, only gloom.

Well, Maggie was obliged to stop and bind up the Dove's wing, and tend
it a little before she could proceed on her journey. All delay was
unwelcome to her; for, as the journeying thus far had been in pain, the
true journey was still to begin. She was so hungry and thirsty, too! So
it seemed impossible she could proceed when once she had started
forward. There was no one to give her a crust of bread, or offer her a
cup of cold water; nevertheless, she wouldn't tell the poor Dove, who
was moaning with pain, for she thought, and well enough, that he had as
much of his own trouble as he could well endure.

She had another trouble, too; there were some people whom she could not
think desired to go away from the King's palace, and so she would tell
them how they were going altogether in the wrong path; but they would
either laugh or stare at her in wonder. Then she would almost have stood
weeping in the road at their strange conduct, but the Dove would
incessantly warn her to go on. At last, between grief and hunger, she
fell sick, and thought she should die there, without ever seeing her
mother or the Great King. But, lo! a gentle being, clothed in a white,
spotless garment, came and put to her lips a cup of medicine, which she
told Maggie, if she would but drink, would make her quite well again,
and protect her against hunger and thirst for the rest of the journey.
Upon this, Maggie drank it all but the dregs, and she found it so bitter
that she thought it far worse than any cold she had ever endured. But,
when the bright being saw she left the dregs in her cup, she was not
satisfied, and bade her drink those, even with tears in her eyes. Maggie
drank them as she bade her, and then the bright one vanished, leaving
the child quite well and vigorous. The weariness vanished from her
frame, the parching thirst from her mouth, and, what was yet more
amazing, she found the little Dove quite well, and she stood with it in
her arms before the two roads again.

So she commenced her journey upon the road she had so long ago rejected,
and soon found that the snow vanished from the ground and shook itself
from the tree-tops; the grass sprang up, the flowers played beneath her
footsteps, and gay birds hopped among the boughs of the trees, making
the air melodious with their songs; the brooklets ran murmuring by the
road-side, and Maggie's Dove cooed with joy.

O, Maggie knew this was the road leading to the palace of the Great
King--the very one her mother had travelled--the road, too, which she
had been told did not exist! She met many children here, who sought the
same she did; and they talked with Maggie, and she loved them, and with
them thanked the King who had made for them such a lovely road to his
palace.

At last, one day, there came the same servant who had carried away her
brother, and gently, softly, took her in his arms. So often had she
thought of his coming that she felt no kind of fear. He told her that
the Great King wanted her, and that her mother was all ready to receive
her. O, how her heart leaped at this, to hear a real word from her
mother, and to think the Great King wanted her! As she lay in his arms,
the servant, who wore on his head his bright stars, kissed her eyes and
her brow. He carried her a long distance, sped through many a long, dark
valley, and then they came out upon a bright shore, where were many
people dressed in shining clothes.

Maggie looked at herself, and saw, with amazement, that she too was
dressed likewise, and that the servant who had brought her hither had no
longer a black robe, but a silver one, which sparkled so, Maggie was
scarce able to look upon it. She had soon crossed the sea, and then her
mother caught her in her arms, and wept for joy.

"O, Maggie, Maggie!" she said; "I have watched your journey all along,
and my sorrow was so deep when I saw you mistake the roads. It was I
whom the Great King sent when you was sick, that I might bear his love
to you, and make you well. Come, now, and go with me before his throne."

Upon this they joined the crowd who were entering the palace;--but we
cannot enter it,--we must first finish our journey.



THE OLD WOMAN AND THE ENCHANTED SONG.


Ruth had two sisters,--Grace and Jessie. Now Grace and Jessie were
twins, and everybody praised their blue eyes and rosy cheeks, and when
they laughed, people said, "How sweetly they smile!"--and when they
wept, people said, "Poor little ones!" and immediately took them in
their arms, and strove to bring back the dimpling smile to their faces.

Grace and Jessie played together always, and little Ruth, who was
younger than either of them, was left often alone. No one ever called
her beautiful, nor stroked her hair, nor kissed her brow; and when she
stood by the side of the twin sisters at the gate, and the people, in
passing, praised the flaxen curls of Grace and Jessie, then they would
turn towards her, and, their smiles vanishing, they would regard her
with a pitiful air, turning silently away. Then she would creep off by
herself into some favorite nook of the garden, thoroughly ashamed that
she should so far have forgotten herself as to stand by the side of her
beautiful sisters.

Her mother, too, often took her in her lap, and, kissing her brow
sorrowfully, would exclaim, in sad tones:

"My poor, plain child,--my dear homely Ruth!"

Her father never caressed her. His love seemed to be kept for the twins,
whose two bright faces peered over his chair, and whose glad voices were
always ready to greet him on his return home.

And still Ruth loved her father so much, and, nestling close in the
corner of the garden away off by herself, mourned that he never kissed
her, nor called her his dear, pretty Ruth.

"O," thought the child, "how I do wish I could do something for my
father, which might please him, so that only once he might call me his
dear child! O, why was not I made a twin?" Thus the poor child mourned
to herself.

She had a doll, which she made her constant companion, and she played it
was very lovely like Grace and Jessie; she told it all her griefs, and
really came to feel that the doll understood all she said to it.

She had also another pleasure; it was that of reading. Her mother had
given her many books, and she loved to sit among the rose-bushes, and
read their beautiful stories. She liked to read about a man who lived
off alone upon an island, and had only some cats and monkeys for his
companions; how the cave was his house, and the skins of beasts were his
garments; how he looked off upon the ocean, and saw not one sail, and
wandered about upon his island, without hearing one human sound.

This story had a wild fascination for our little Ruth, so that she read
it again and again; yet still the book was as new to her in its interest
as at first.

Then there were other stories she loved to read; some about lonely,
patient, lovely young girls, who went out into the world alone to seek
their fortunes, and returned home with wealth and honor. She often
wished she might go forth in this way, so that when she came back no one
should dare call her plain or unlovable. Then she longed to hold some
secret charm, so that whoever she should desire to do so, should love
and caress her. But still no bright fairy stooped down from the skies to
change her black, stiff hair into shining ringlets, or her dark-brown
skin into the fairness of that of her sisters; and so Ruth only read,
and wondered, and wished.

One day when, as usual, Ruth had found herself quite alone,--Grace and
Jessie had gone to take a walk, and her mother was reading by
herself,--she had taken her book, and sat down beneath the shade of a
broad tree in the garden. She was reading the story of a fair princess,
who had many suitors and splendid gifts, and who was called the Queen of
Beauty.

"Alas!" she cried, "why was not I beautiful, so I might be loved! Then I
should not be the sober, odd thing I am now!"

"Would you, then, so much like to be beautiful, dear child?" said a
voice close at her side, and, when Ruth looked up, she saw an old woman
whom she never had seen before. She was clothed in a long blue dress,
and her face was full of motherly love. Ruth's heart was filled with
gladness, for seldom had so affectionate a glance been shed on her; and
when the old woman bent down and kissed her, how all remembrance of the
indifference of father, mother, friends, vanished from her mind, and it
seemed that her whole life was given to her new friend, that she might
do with her whatever she willed!

All strangeness at her sudden appearance vanished, too, as soon as she
had kissed her. Ruth felt under the control of a great power, and
watched her movements with as much love as confidence.

When the old woman had looked into Ruth's eyes, and had seen the
thoughts which beamed there, she looked up into the sky, and beckoned to
a very light, beautiful cloud, which was sailing carelessly along.

She had no sooner done this than the cloud began to descend slowly
towards them, just as though it understood her summons, and, when it
had reached the place where she stood, it remained motionless.

[Illustration: THE OLD WOMAN AND THE ENCHANTED SONG.]

Then she took up little Ruth in her arms, and stepped on to the cloud
and sat down; and, after arranging herself and Ruth quite comfortably,
she said something, which Ruth could not understand, and then the cloud
began to rise, moving as easily as it had done before it came down from
the sky.

While they were going up, Ruth was amazed to see how the garden and the
beloved tree below became continually smaller and smaller; how,
by-and-by, she could only distinguish the house, and how that became
dimmer and dimmer, until it entirely disappeared from her sight.

Then she turned towards the old woman, and saw that her kind blue eyes
lovingly regarded her; and so she still more forgot the home below,
where, without doubt, her departure would pass unnoticed.

New objects began to attract her attention. The cloud on which they sat
did not, like the others, just float over the earth, but it went proudly
on, and came among the stars, and constellations of stars, and she saw
how many were clustered together, and no tongue could describe their
beauty; and then the deep blue was ever about her, and she saw it away
off in the distance, growing to a darker and darker shade, until it
became like the air of midnight; while ever from its darkness shone out
those immense stars, and clusters of stars.

Then the most beautiful sight of all was when some star glided past her,
and shot afar off into the dark blue beyond--there was such dazzling
glory in it!

Sometimes they would be quite near enough to the stars they passed to
discern the people who dwelt upon them, and she felt for them a
friendship at once, and only longed that she might go down and tell them
so.

The child had forgotten she was plain and odd; she did not think to ask
herself whether the people on those bright stars, so beautiful and
happy, might not repulse her for her homeliness.

At last they did approach one bright star, and Ruth saw, to her delight,
that, when the cloud had come down into a lovely garden, the old woman
stepped off from it, then took her up also, and placed her on the
ground. Then the cloud, which had been their chariot (and a far better
one it was than ever king had to be drawn in), rose upward, and began
its gentle course in the sky.

When the old woman saw how Ruth looked after it, she said to her:

"I use all the clouds in that way, more or less, and all those about
your earth do many such a service while the people little dream of it.
In fact, every one there looks down upon the ground too much; they have
no idea of the goodly things they would find if they searched upwards
more."

The old woman sighed as she said this. Such a happy and pleasant looking
old woman to have sighed so deeply!

Then she took Ruth's hand, and led her towards her cottage, which was
the most beautiful thing you ever could imagine. Without, it had the
tints of the mother-of-pearl, while its framework was of silver. The
windows and doors were of diamonds, and there sparkled from them
continually all the rich tints of the rainbow. Within, everything was
wrought of the finest silver, and the rooms were hung, some in delicate
blue silk, others in rose colors.

Ruth was entirely overwhelmed with the beauty of the house,--so much so,
as to stand still, looking at the things about her.

"You must be tired with your long ride," the woman said, "and I wish you
to rest well; for there are many things I will show you. After you have
rested, I will bring you some food."

And, with this, she put Ruth upon a sofa, and made her lay quite down,
to refresh herself with sleep. But Ruth thought, in her heart, "Rest!
Does she think I can be tired, when I have been sitting upon that soft
cloud, looking at the wonderful stars? How could I ever be either tired
or hungry?" But she said nothing aloud, for the charm of the old woman's
presence hovered over her, and, as soon as she closed her eyes, she fell
into a soft and beautiful slumber.

O the dreams Ruth dreamed then! Strangely enough, she thought her father
and mother, as well as Grace and Jessie, were riding and playing on
clouds; and they were all so happy together, and they seemed to love her
very dearly; so that, in her dream, she remembered nothing of their
former neglect. She dreamed how her father called her to him, and laid
his hand upon her head; and it was _such_ a gentle pressure, and it made
her so happy, that she awoke,--and there really was a gentle hand upon
her head, and a soft kiss fell upon her lips,--such a touch, and such a
kiss, as poor Ruth had scarce ever known before, and which made her
quickly twine her arms around the old woman's neck, and kiss her warmly.

Then the old woman put her in one of the silver-wrought chairs, and put
before her, on plates sparkling with precious stones, soft, ripe fruit,
with a delicious flavor, such as she had never before tasted. She could
not help thinking how glad Grace and Jessie would be to see such before
them; and so, as at that moment she looked up, and saw the old woman
smiling upon her, she took two of the most beautiful and the largest of
the fruit and put them in her pocket, for she had no doubt but what, at
some time, all too soon, she should go back to the earth.

When she had done this, and finished her delicious repast, which,
however, was slowly, for she was so filled with delight, the old woman
bade her leave her chair, and come to her; upon which she took her in
her arms, and, looking lovingly down upon her, said:

"My dear Ruth, I am going to show you all the treasures which the
children upon the earth gather together, in order some time to take with
them to heaven. I call their treasures what they love most in their
hearts, and put into actions. Everything they do or say is kept very
carefully; for one day they will want them. So you see they cannot lose
anything. Everything in nature, every cloud that seems only leisurely
floating in the sky, is serving some purpose. And all that is done below
is borne up here."

Ruth could not help thinking that the old woman might show her some very
beautiful and some very curious things to keep; and in sorrow she began
to think what unpleasant things of her own were treasured up, to be
given back to her some day when she least expected or desired them.

But the old woman said nothing about Ruth's things, but, taking her
hand, led her forth into the garden again.

"I am going to show you some things there are here," said her friend;
"and if they seem ridiculous to you, don't laugh at them. For my part, I
think it sad children will treasure up such miserable things."

They had soon passed into the garden, where Ruth saw the most delicate
flowers she had ever seen--they were so tall, and nodded their heads
gayly to each other; but when she came to a bed of violets--white ones
and blue, _so large_, larger than she thought it was possible for them
to grow--she stopped to gaze upon them in complete admiration; the
fragrance, too, was delicious--more so than those her brother had,
although those were very fine ones.

"Take some, my child," said the old woman, who watched her delight with
a kind smile. So down upon her knees she dropped, and took them, and she
could not help thinking how beautiful and lovely a smile would fall upon
her from her mother's face, as she gave them to her. So the violets,
too, were carefully laid in her pocket for her mother.

Then they passed out from the garden, and came to a gray house; withered
flowers lay about it, while briers and nettle-bushes clung to its walls;
but, worse than all this, there came forth from the house angry, hateful
words, and noises of a mad strife. Ruth feared to pass this place, and
clung closely to the old woman's side.

"Here," said the old woman, kindly putting her arm around Ruth, "are
kept all those angry words which children speak to each other and their
friends; all their little fretful words when they are impatient, and
which they will never wish to see again, but which, alas! will be given
back to them at a most unwelcome time."

Then they went on to another house, the walls of which were black, and
not a green thing grew about it.

"There," said the old woman, "are the treasures of those children who
care most for themselves, and do not think of others' pleasures. Those
things which they have so loved are kept carefully for them; but they
will only tell them of what they have done for themselves." So she
opened the door, and Ruth looked in. There was such a medley of things!
Candies of gay colors, nice waxen dolls, a great many broken toys, nice
fruit, and, indeed, I could not begin to tell you of all Ruth saw there.
There had come, too, a mould upon many of the things, so many of them
had grown tarnished; and a bad stench rose from some fruit which had
been there a long time.

"You see, my child," said the old woman, as she locked up the door,
"these things cannot be preserved to look so brightly as when they were
first brought here; they all grow rotten; and I cannot prevent the worms
creeping in to corrupt them."

Then they met some very black-looking clouds, loaded with things like
those Ruth had seen in the two houses, and they were put in with the
rest.

"Alas," she sighed, "that the children will send up these things!"

Ruth rejoiced to see that, with quick step, her kind guide passed by
many more such houses; for they terrified her. She feared she might
hear, if she listened well, some complaint she had uttered, or should
see some tarnished toy which she had selfishly treasured. No wonder she
liked to hasten by the houses!

Then they passed away from the dreary desert places where black houses
were, into beautiful plains where the grass was mingled with bright and
lovely flowers, and rivulets gracefully flowed along; and here were
lovely temples, shining with precious stones, so that Ruth clapped her
hands at beholding them. "Here," said the old woman, "are more beautiful
treasures, which are my great glory and delight."

She showed Ruth one, round which the whitest blossoms grew among green
leaves, in which were treasured all the smiles ever given to comfort
people who had grief in their heart; and these smiles shed about the
whole temple a light like a halo of glory.

In another were the soft, loving words which many children had given
others, poorer and lowlier than themselves, to encourage their weak
hearts; words which they had given and forgotten, but which had yet been
carefully gathered up, and put in this temple. From this temple a low
sound of sweet music rose, which filled Ruth's heart with a perfect
peace, as if she had found everything she could ever desire.

In another temple yet were all the words of love, which children express
and feel in their hearts to each other. From this temple proceeded
louder tones, but yet those of sweetest harmony.

In another, all the gentle, loving words ever whispered to the animals.

"I prize these highly," said the old woman.

"It is very strange," said she, looking upon the temples, "that I find
these precious treasures thrown about very carelessly upon the earth.
The children never dream of their worth, and were I not always ready
there, some would be lost. But remember, Ruth, none are suffered to be
lost; and so, when the children to whom these belong are going into
heaven, they shall find there many a treasure they did not dream of
possessing. Thus shall the treasures they had forgotten grow brighter
and brighter, while others they had perhaps remembered have grown
corrupted and vain!"

At these words, Ruth longed to lay many treasures in the temples, and
she heard a song, which the different tones of the temple formed in the
air. It melted her heart with its divine harmony.

"O," cried Ruth "could I but sing such a song to my father! he who loves
songs so well. What joy it would be to him!"

"And would you patiently sing the song though he thanked you not?" asked
the old woman.

"I desire him only to hear it," replied Ruth; and at that moment the
power came to her, and such a song poured from her throat!

She was so enchanted! But, when glancing in the brook, she saw her own
figure so lit up with beauty as scarcely to be able to recognize it. The
old woman saw her amazement, and replied to it:

"I will send you back to your home that you may sing this song to your
father; and remember, little Ruth, that beauty only is worthy to have
which proceeds from the sweetness of thy words and the loveliness of thy
smile. In heaven thou mayst be as lovely as thou wilt. Send up, then,
fit treasures for the temple, and they will be kept safely until thou
needest them."

Then, as the tones of the old woman's voice died away, Ruth found
herself in the garden again, near her mother's house, and, had it not
been for the fruit and bunch of violets in her pocket, she would have
believed it a dream; but, when she went into the house, and gave Grace
and Jessie the peaches, and her mother the big, beautiful violets, and
began doing all sorts of kind things for every one, she felt how very
real it all had been. And then, too, she would sing that beautiful song
she had heard in the old woman's star, and her father, delighted, caught
her up in his arms, kissing her again and again.

Ruth did not forget what the old woman had told her--how she might bring
the beauty of heaven about her form; and when she grew up people loved
her, and said, "I would rather look like Ruth, to smile and speak like
her, than to have the brightest hair and bluest eyes of any court
beauty."



THE OLD MAN'S STORY.


Come about me, little ones, and I will tell you my story. I seem old to
you now; but once I was as young as you. I had twelve brothers and
sisters; but now they are all gone before me into the better land, and I
remain here alone upon the earth without them.

I am very old. My teeth have fallen away from my mouth one by one, until
they are all gone. My bald head has a very few gray hairs; my ears are
deaf, so I can scarcely hear your young, sweet voices: and the bright
sky is dimmed to my eyes. Slowly my footsteps totter along the earth, as
when I first stepped into my mother's outstretched arms.

My wife long ago went before me to the grave, and I have left many
children there. Many a time have I seen the green sod laid over the
grave of loved ones. Often have I wept at the sight of God's servant,
Death; but when next he comes I shall hail him with joy, for he will be
to me the beloved friend who bears me to my home above.

Now that I am grown old, God lovingly carries me back to the days of my
childhood. He sends many a loving spirit upon the wings of consolation
to bear me into the fair region of youth. The scenes of the few years
since--all the noise and bustle of my manhood's prime--are banished far
away from me, and only the stillness and quiet of my childhood close
around the last moments of my earthly existence. Thus, dear children,
bathing me in the innocence and trustful spirit of my childhood, does
God prepare me for my home in his beautiful garden.

I told you I had twelve brothers and sisters. O, well do I recall them
all! They come near, and I feel their presence as of old! I am glad to
linger mostly on their early days; for, in after life, their hearts were
filled with sorrow, their fresh spirits wearied, and care brought and
filled their souls with other feelings than those of love and sympathy
to others.

Our fairest and brightest brother was Fred. I was only one year younger
than he, and I remember well how I watched my mother while she nursed
him, and sent me away from the arms which a little before had been my
sole possession. I could not understand it, and my little heart was
filled with dismay. I would creep away by myself, sit down, and in the
most pitiful manner repeat to myself, "Poor Sammy! poor Sammy!" The
sense of desolation was very great; and in the whole course of my life I
do not remember to have known a more distressing grief. When I grew to
be a man, and disappointments came upon me; when I laid my wife and
children in their graves, and knew there was not one left of my line but
myself--a miserable old man--there was hope in my sorrow, light in my
darkness; for I knew the love of God and the life of eternity. These
deep sorrows had, also, bright heights; but it was not so then. I could
not feel God's love. My mother's care had been all I knew; and, now that
it seemed given to another, I was alone and wretched. There was a
terrible sense of injustice, which nearly broke my heart. I could not
understand how my little brother could have the right to what was
denied me.

I have always tenderly pitied children who had griefs; then they need
our care more than the grown children, who feel God's love and wisdom.
But these little ones grope in a kind of darkness. Suffering is a
mystery to them; they can perceive no cause or end for it; they only
know they suffer.

After a while, I, too, was allowed to sit on my mother's lap with this
brother, and then I began to love him, he was _so_ beautiful. There was
no child in the county which could be compared with him, and, simply
because of his beauty and his cunning ways, he gained the power of a
king over the household, so that as soon as he began to run about he
ruled it, and me even more than the rest.

The country was very new then, and all the gay, flourishing towns and
villages, which are now scattered in every direction, scarcely existed
even in the minds of the first sanguine settlers. Dark woods and sombre
swamps covered the surface; and what do you think we had instead of
roads, when we wanted to go from one town to another? The first one who
found his way along cut pieces of bark out of the trees, and others
followed these marks, until after a time they cut down the trees and
made a road. I think this is the reason old roads in this country are so
crooked; for you know a man cannot walk very straight through a forest.

Our near neighbors lived a mile from us, and it was quite a little
journey to go and see them. We had a village, too, in which were but two
buildings, the meeting-house and blacksmith's shop. You children would
hardly think you could live in such a place; yet such was the state of
things ninety-three years ago.

Well, my father and mother had come up from a town near Boston, because
my grandfather could give them some land here, and they built their
house, and made it their home. The house stands now; it is the very one
in which my brothers and sisters were all born.

In her parlor my mother had a very nice piece of furniture, which her
mother had given her as a wedding present, and of which she was very
proud, inasmuch as no parlor in the county could boast the like. It was
a looking-glass!

Well, laugh! No wonder it seems funny to you that any one should so
prize a looking-glass, when you all have so many of them; but you can
have no idea how different everything was then. The people were very
poor, and, although they owned many acres of land, yet they could
frequently sell it but for one dollar an acre, and thought that a fine
bargain. You see we had no money to buy the elegant luxuries you have in
your houses--the carpets, and sofas, and rocking-chairs. Our floors were
hard, covered now and then with a little sand, perhaps, as a great
luxury. The chairs were straight and high, while our tables were small
and low, and the cups from which we drank our tea as small as those you
play with. But, before I say any more, I want to tell you of the fate of
mother's looking-glass.

The _great room_ (as mother's parlor was called) was always kept
carefully closed, and a very sacred, awful and mysterious place it was
to us children. It so happened, one day when mother had gone away, that
my little brother Fred began to be acted upon very powerfully by a
desire to take one peep into that room. By some strange neglect mother
had left the door unlatched--for she kept her bonnet in there, and
always put it on before the glass. The temptation to go in was
altogether too powerful for Fred to withstand, and, especially as others
had never pronounced the little monosyllable no, to him, he had no mind
to begin by saying it to himself. So in he went, and almost the first
thing he saw was mother's looking-glass, hanging over the table between
the two front windows. As he went towards it he saw a little boy, who
seemed to be peering and staring at him from between the windows. He had
no idea it was himself he saw, never having seen the looking-glass
before, nor his own reflected image. You may be sure he looked right
earnestly upon the strange child. If he stepped forward, so did the boy;
if he turned away, and then looked cautiously back to watch the boy,
there he was, looking at him in a very sly manner. Freddy, enraged at
this, rushed out for a stone, and, bringing it in, hurled it at the
looking-glass. But it was all in vain, for, even after the glass
rattled down and strewed the floor with its many pieces, that impudent
boy peeped at him from every bit of glass in which he looked.

When my mother came home, and went to put away her bonnet in the great
room, as usual, she found her beautiful looking-glass lying on the
floor, broken into a hundred pieces. When she came out, and demanded of
us what it meant, Fred told her of a little boy he saw behind it, at
whom he was offended and hurled a stone, but that still the boy looked
at him from the pieces of glass and made him very angry.

Then mother laughed when she heard Fred's story, and, catching him up in
her arms, kissed him again and again. She forgot to chide him for his
disobedience in going where he had been forbidden to go, and for his
foolish anger at the supposed boy. She was so much amused at his version
of the story, that she did not explain to him what the boy was, and how
the looking-glass reflected figures before it, but he was left to find
that out by his experience afterwards.

If my brother, long before that, had learned lessons of love and
forbearance, this circumstance, slight as it may seem, would never have
occurred. Instead of the threatening and distrustful look in the mirror,
he would have found a laughing face, and a tiny, loving hand would have
been given him. O, my dear children, this story has a higher meaning
than I thought of when I commenced! In the feelings of those whom we
approach we see the reflection of our own; if we approach any one with
love, it is given to us from them. Think of this: it will serve you
well, and teach you to be careful, ere you hurl the stone, to know what
is the object of your anger.

I have often thought that we all helped to make my brother selfish. He
was so very beautiful that we indulged him in every whim he had; so he
came to look upon us at last as bound to serve him. I do not blame him
only; they who had the nurturing of him, they to whom his young spirit
was sent so fair from God's heavenly gardens, in their unwise love
taught him to think of himself, and make others serve his purposes.

These dear, helpless little ones--they come to us in fresh beauty like a
spring morning, and we taint their spirits with selfishness, and darken
them with worldly care!

Years after, when my brother and myself had grown to men, we bound our
interests in one. He had quicker parts than I--was a much better
scholar; so I trusted all our business confidently in his hands. But I
grieve to say he did not meet my confidence with honor--he took from my
purse to enrich his own; and when I stood by his bedside, at last, and
saw how the deep wrinkles were worn in by care upon his once round
cheek, I wept. I wept that he should die without having found in life
that peace which any one would have predicted for him over his cradle,
when the rosy cheeks sank into the soft pillow, and the long lashes of
his baby eyelids rested upon them! I love that brother now, and his
child, who had become penniless after his death, I warmed in my
chimney-corner, and held to my heart as though she had been my own
child. Brother, I know thou hast repented, long ago, of the wrongs thou
didst inflict, and that some time, in the presence of God, I shall clasp
thee in my arms, pure again as when we sat together on our mother's
knee!

See how I have wandered away off from my story!

Let me tell you how we got our clothes. Did you ever ask yourself what
we could do then, when there were so few shops, and so little money to
carry to the shops?

We had sheep, who gave us wool, which my mother spun, and wove it into
cloth. Just think of that! Do you imagine you would have as fine
clothes, if your mothers had to spin all the cloth? She knit, too, O, so
fast! as well in the dark as the light. I have known her to knit a
coarse stocking easily of an evening--her fingers _flew_ along the
needles! Cotton cloth was a great rarity among us. I remember once my
mother had a cotton gown, and it was esteemed very precious.

Father made our shoes, and rough ones they were too, and which we only
wore in the coldest part of the winter. The long winter evenings were so
beautiful to us! Father taught us to read and spell, and chalked out
sums on the wall for us; then we would draw profiles on the wall, for
the great blaze of the wood-fire cast a bright light, and, consequently,
the shadow was well marked. A huge chimney-place we had, with a broad
hearth, and all about this would we sit, roasting apples and popping
corn by the heat of the fire.

So we lived; in the summer, playing "hi-spy" around the corners of the
barn, and, in the winter, living snugly in the chimney-corner, telling
stories.

When the revolutionary war broke out,--you've heard of that, of course;
but then I'm afraid you'll never know how much we endured then; our
feeling against the injustice of Mother England was very great. You do
not know how we had loved her, nor how we children used to listen to
stories of that beautiful country beyond the sea. Our father and mother
spoke of it as "Home," and we all hoped that some time, when we were men
and women, we might go "Home." Then, when she began to tax us for more
money than we were able to pay, in order to build grand palaces, it
seemed hard to us; and, even after we had remonstrated again and again,
she took no notice of our petitions. She laid a heavy tax on some little
comforts we had, such as _sugar_ and molasses; and then, when we refused
to buy them rather than pay the tax, she imposed a heavy tax on tea,
and sent a great deal of it here to force us to buy it. We wouldn't have
the tea, however, and you must have heard how a party of men, disguised
as Indians, threw it all into Boston harbor.

All these things seemed the more cruel because they came from "Home."
And, finally, worn out with the injustice constantly experienced at
their hands, we prepared to resist them by war.

The declaration of independence, which you celebrate every fourth of
July, was received with mingled emotions of joy and sorrow. It was
severing an old tie which had once been sweet; but yet it promised us,
through the doubtful conflict, freedom and independence.

How enthusiastic we children were! Father made us rude wooden guns; and
drilled us every morning, for no one knew how long the war would last;
but we were determined to conquer, even though our fathers died in the
war, and our children succeeded to it. I remember when the recruiting
army came round. I seized my gun, and manfully joined its ranks. But to
my dismay I was sent back; my wooden gun, and extreme youth, were
thought insufficient to meet the demands of a soldier's duty. I remember
well when the battle was fought on Bunker Hill. A great part of the town
was gathered upon a slight elevation, from which we could distinctly
hear the roaring of the cannons and the clashing of the artillery. It
was a terrible day! There was many a woman there who had a father or
husband in the battle; and, at each report which filled their ears, they
fancied they saw them falling before the foe, and trampled beneath the
feet of the conquerors.

Those were trying times. Children, I pray God you may never know such;
and you never can, for you will not struggle with poverty as we did.
When I look upon your happy faces, and see the satchel full of books on
your arm,--when I look in upon your happy homes, upon the career of
honor and usefulness before you in the future,--I am, by the strong
contrast, transported to those "trying times" when we lived in the cold
houses, and wore the coarse cloth; when we sacrificed the refinements of
knowledge, and the pleasures of luxury, to the bold struggle of liberty
against tyranny; when our hard-working mothers at home melted their
last pewter plate, that the guns should know no lack of bullets, and
sent all the little comforts of food and clothing they could find, to
bless the husbands and fathers toiling in the war; and when the fathers
fought with the fangs of thirst and hunger fast upon them, and leaving
behind them, upon the sharp ice, the traces of their footsteps, engraven
by their bleeding feet. Then, children, tears of joy and gratitude fill
my eyes; for we did not toil in vain. In you all do I behold the fruits
of our labor. We were ignorant, that you might be wise; poor, that you
might be rich; outlawed and disgraced, that you might build up a free
and generous nation. And, in reaping these privileges, do not forget the
old man, and the old woman, who, bowed and wrinkled with age, need your
kind hand. _We_ have given you these things gladly; and now, before we
go to our further toil in eternity, let us hear your blessed voices
speaking to us in kind tones of love; let us feel your young lips
pressed upon our old brows; let us clasp your little hands, and feel the
gladness with which your attentions come to us. And when you see an old
man, alone, with those of his generation passed away, treat him
tenderly. Guide his tottering footsteps, and bear with him when he is
slow; for he is waiting for the kind servant, Death. He is thinking of a
dear little girl, who, long ago, with her blue eyes and golden hair, her
light step and soft embrace, went up to live with the angels; and the
tears fall fast over his worn cheeks, as he remembers the lone place she
left in his heart, for she was the last thing which had been left him
from his broken family. Speak to the old man gently, for his heart is
often in converse with the beautiful past! Speak to him gently, for his
soul dwells among the angels of heaven!



A STORY OF THE CHRIST-CHILD.


In one of those tall, splendid houses, standing in proud streets, in
which some poor people imagine heaven to dwell, lived a little girl by
the name of Helen.

It was Christmas-day; and early in the morning did she jump from her
bed, and run to look at her stocking by the fireplace, where it was hung
that Santa Claus need not be troubled to hunt for it.

There it hung, filled full, and all about on the sides had fallen the
presents it was not large enough to hold. O, how quickly did she empty
its contents; and how delighted were her exclamations!

"A beautiful bracelet!" she said to herself, sitting down on the carpet
and drawing her little white feet under her; "just such a one, with the
opal stone, as I saw in the window, yesterday, when I went to walk with
mamma on Washington-street; and she sent me home, I know, so she could
buy it. O, and this beautiful book! how its edges shine! What pictures!
Let me see;--'From your affectionate father,'--I knew father gave me
that;--and see the pretty cushion, and the box, and the china cups and
plates for my doll; and O, a new silk dress for dolly, and something
little, away down!" continued Helen, drawing out her hand and peeping
into the little stocking; then, putting her hand back, drew out a pretty
ring for her finger. "If this is not nice! I never _did see_ anything so
pretty,--a ring and a bracelet! O, dear, dear! how happy I am!" She
actually danced about the room for joy; and, when Katie came to wash and
dress her, she scampered around and around her, for she could not keep
still.

There was ever so much candy too, and she wanted only to sit down and
eat it, unmindful of Katie's remonstrances.

She had been so delighted with her presents as almost to forget the
merry Christmas she was to bid her father and mother; and so, when she
went down stairs into the breakfast-room, where the hot rolls were
smoking, and the loving parents waiting, they had almost surprised her
with their wishes before she bethought herself.

Then she began to think of a party which was to be at her teacher's
house, and of the Christmas-tree and the Christ-child, which so many
children would go to see in their best frocks and best looks.

So, after the famous Christmas-dinner with its nice roast-meats, and
puddings, and pies,--after the game of romps with her father, and the
ride on the rocking-horse with her brother, who, at last, from mere
mischief, had tipped her off, and sent her crying to her mother,--she
began to think about going there. She had seen herself nicely arrayed in
the pretty plaid dress, with the ring on her finger, and the opal
bracelet on her arm, which she had found in her stocking that morning.
Then she bethought herself of how all the children were to bring a few
pieces of silver for an offering to the Christ-child, that it might be
sent off into distant lands to children who knew nothing of the blessed
Christ-child and the Christmas he brought.

It is true Helen had a bright box with a hole in the lid, through which
she had dropped many a bright piece of silver; and it is also true that
the box had a lock, and the key of the lock lay quietly in one of
Helen's drawers; but the money there was destined to some very great and
vague purpose; and she never would have dreamed of unlocking the box and
taking from it any silver for the Christ-child. She knew well enough
papa would give her money for that purpose. So to papa she went, and
told him what she wanted; and he, proud that his little girl should
carry as much as others whom she would meet there, gave her a beautiful
gold piece of money--a veritable five dollars!

Then did Helen speed along with exultation in her heart--exultation for
the gold in her tiny pocket, and exultation in the very bright dress,
quilted pink bonnet, and pretty white furs. And she was so often
thinking, "What will Mary say when she sees this?" Not once did Helen
ask herself what the Christ-child, or he whom the Christ-child
represented, the Saviour in heaven would say to the gold she brought.

Poor Helen!

She was not bringing the gold for the children so far away. She was
bringing it because the others would bring some, and she wanted hers
seen of them!

     *     *     *     *

Away down in an obscure street, where you would not look for anything
kind or beautiful, lived a brother and sister, who made each other very
happy in their love. Their names were Johnny and Susan. Johnny was a
lame, sick boy, who could not run out of doors and play like other
children. It was Christmas morning there too, even, and early had Susan,
his sister, awoke to think of the pleasant visit she should make in the
afternoon at her teacher's house; and she had even stolen from her bed
up to Johnny's bedside to see if he, too, was awake; and when she saw
that he was awake and his countenance thoughtful, they began to talk
together about the day's pleasure, and how Susan was to remember
everything to tell it over by night to Johnny.

"O," said Susan, "to think how beautiful it will be, and I never in a
fine house before, and the two sixpences we have earned this week! How
glad shall I be to put them in my teacher's hand! Johnny dear," said
the little Susan, looking tenderly on her poor brother, "do you not
think you need the sixpence yourself? I could buy you a sweet orange, or
something nice for you to eat, it is so long since you had anything but
bread and water."

"No," said Johnny, "I'd rather much give it to the Christ-child. I love
to lie here and think about it, and of those children so far away, who
will be glad when they, too, know of this beautiful day. I think of them
so much that I love them, Susan, and I wish I had more than the sixpence
to send them."

Susan busied herself in preparing the breakfast of bread and water, and
then, when it was over and the work done up, she sat down by the side of
Johnny's bed, and read to him out of the little book she had brought
from her Sunday-school; and Johnny forgot, in the quiet peace of the
day, how hard it was to lie still upon the bed, when he so often longed
to run out and play; thoughts of love came into his heart, and tears of
gentleness into his eyes.

Their dinner was very different from the one Helen had eaten; but they
were happy, their hearts were full of expectation,--and Susan had got
herself quite ready, and, wrapping the two pieces of silver in a piece
of paper, she kissed Johnny, and set off on her way to the teacher's
house.

But when Susan came among the children there, somehow they all shunned
her. In their plays, if they had occasion to speak to her, they passed
on quickly, with a suppressed smile and hurried glance on each other.
If, by any means, she spoke to them, they looked upon her in
astonishment, without answering her words. They often whispered one to
another, casting curious looks upon her; so she knew easily they spoke
of her. What could it mean? What had she done?

I cannot answer this well. She had a gentle, sweet face; her manners
were neither rude nor obtrusive, and when she spoke, though her tones
were low, half fearful and trembling, still were her words as kind and
polite, if not kinder and politer, than those of the other children.

Poor Susan! and she had thought to be so happy that afternoon; she had
anticipated only kindly faces, and loving glances, and kind hands
stretched out to her in the plays. For once she had thought to mingle
with those pretty children as if they had been her sisters, and, when
she went back to dear Johnny, to tell him of their loving words. But
now--what! could she tell Johnny, to grieve him, of the sad afternoon
she was passing? She looked upon them more closely, trying to find out
what it was that separated her from them. 'Tis true she wore no bright
plaid dress and delicate cloth boots; she wore no bracelets on her arm;
she had not found them in her stocking that morning. There was no
necklace about her neck; her hair was not bright and curling; yet,
still, what could be the reason they shunned her so?

Susan tremblingly looked over her own dress. Her gown was scanty and of
cotton, her pantalets were long and narrow, but they were the best she
had; her mother had made them long ago, and Susan had so carefully
preserved them. On her feet she wore thick leather shoes; but she knew
how the money had been saved, little by little, from week to week, that
they might be bought. If they were thick, it was that they might last
the longer; and her hair was combed smoothly over her brow and braided
on her neck. Her hands, it is true, were not delicate, like theirs--they
were hard and red; but they had become so in working for the home, to
keep it clean, and working early and late, that the mother might not be
detained from her work out, and that the lame, sick brother should have
no little want unsupplied.

And was it that her hands were red and her clothes coarse that the
children shunned her--even, too, before they looked into her little
home, and saw what she did there, how she comforted Johnny, and swept
clean the floor, and even found some time to read out of her books?
Could they, with their bright frocks and rosy cheeks, have such very
weak and wicked causes for their displeasure against this poor child?
Could they so willingly hurt her heart, when she had come from so many
days of toil to what she had thought would be a day of pleasure, so that
she must often turn her head to wipe off the tears with her little red
hand? And these children, had they come to honor the Christ-child?

Their teacher had watched their games, and saw how they played among
themselves, and cast out the little Susan from their play; and she
thought that not only did they dishonor the Christ-child, but her who
had brought them all together.

But Susan still thought of the Christmas-tree, the present it should
bear for her, and how she should take hers home for Johnny; and she
thought, too, of the two little sixpences done up in the paper in her
pocket. Helen, too, was not unmindful of her bright gold-piece, and had
taken good care to show it before the eyes of all the children; and
Susan had seen it, and thought of Johnny,--how he had said he wished he
had still more to send to the children so far away,--and she thought the
little girl with the gold-piece must be happy enough to send it; and she
began to feel half ashamed that she had no more money, and, as their
unkind looks continued, she asked herself if she had any right to be
there.

But the Christmas-tree was ready. A servant came in and closed tightly
the shutters, so the room was all dark, and then the parlor-doors were
thrown open, and there stood the tall, beautiful tree, with candles of
all colors, which were burning like so many stars, and above it hung
the Christ-child, with a smile as of love, and his arms stretched out as
he would call them to him. And on the tree were nice gifts, books and
toys, pictures, and lace bags, tied with gay ribbons, filled with
candies. But Helen, and all the children who had found rich gifts in
their stockings that morning, turned indifferently from these, admiring
the novelty of the Christmas-tree.

But to the child they had neglected,--the little girl in the cotton gown
and coarse, thick shoes, the little Susan,--these gifts, as well as the
tree, were very precious; for she had not jumped eagerly from her bed
that morning to find rich presents in her stockings, for she did not
expect them to be there; she had awoke early to think of the visit to
the teacher's house, the sight at the tree, and the gifts it should bear
for her and Johnny.

So she prized her gift more than all!

When the children saw how carefully she put the little bags of
sweetmeats in her pocket, instead of eating them as they did, they
laughed among themselves, and said something about her which was _so
cruel_ and so unjust, that I shall not even tell you what it was. They
did not know she was saving the candy to eat with Johnny. Then, when she
pondered over her little book, in admiration, and held it carefully in
her hands, as though she was fearful of stretching it, they said to
themselves, she must be very ignorant to care for such a thing. But
Susan only shrank off by herself, thankful to have her portion in these
things.

After this, came the time when they would bring their offerings for
those children who live in the far-off lands, where there is no
Christmas; and the children began to wonder if Susan had any money, and
to show each other what they had. Then their teacher drew her chair
among them, and began to tell them what it really was to wish that
others might enjoy what we did; what it was to help them to do so, and
be careful not to rob them of one smile.

"This money which you would send to those children, that they may be
happy as you are, if it does not tell them of your love, is useless to
them. And if, to obtain it, you have, in any way, denied yourself of one
little thing, be sure God will look very lovingly upon you; and those
children, when you meet them in heaven, will put their arms about you,
and tell you of their gratitude."

When the teacher said these last words, Susan's lip quivered, and her
eye sparkled, for they were words of meaning to her; but they did not
affect the other children, for they were words of no meaning to them.

But Susan saw those children in heaven, in her fancy, and Johnny was
there, no longer lame and sick; they ran and played over bright fields,
and no one laughed at them, or repulsed them, or wore brighter clothes
than they. They threw garlands of flowers to each other, and when they
laughed the tones of their voices were like music.

Then the teacher called Susan to her side, and Susan put in her hand the
two little pieces of silver; and the children, when they saw how
carefully they had been wrapped in the bit of paper, exchanged glances,
and they who had the most money in their pockets smiled scornfully, as
children can, upon one another. The teacher asks Susan how the little
money was got, and the child answers in a low tone:

"Please, ma'am, they are Johnny's and mine; we saved them since you told
us so long ago."

And the teacher, as she thinks of the lame, sick Johnny, and what those
pennies might have bought him--how he had denied himself--feels the
tears come into her eyes, and she speaks to the children of Johnny, and
tells Susan that when she comes into heaven, she shall certainly see the
children she blesses now. But when she calls the others to her, and they
show her the money so easily obtained, the teacher will not take it.

"Since you denied yourself not one thing for it, how do I know _love_
made you bring it. And if love did not send it, how could it make the
far-off children happy? And how can you love those so far off, when you
have all helped to make this Christmas afternoon so unhappy a one to one
of the children I invited here with you? If you love not those close by
you, you cannot love those at a distance."

She told them how Susan nursed her sick brother; how she read to him,
watched over him with cheerful smile and kind love; what she did for her
brother's comfort, and she showed them that the two pieces of silver
from Johnny and Susan were really worth more in the sight of God than
their silver dollars and gold pieces.

Then she told them a story. When Christ was one day sitting in the
temple, he looked upon all those who came to put money in the treasury.
Many rich people, with proud airs and haughty hearts, threw in large
sums of money; people called them benevolent, and sang loud praises to
them.

But Jesus did not call them benevolent, neither did he praise them.

At last came a poor widow, bringing with her two mites, which made one
penny. She had saved them of all she had, and humbly, with love in her
heart, she threw them into the treasury. What a little, in comparison
with what the others had thrown there! and yet Jesus, who before had not
spoken, said of her:

"I say unto you, this poor widow hath cast more in than all they which
have cast into the treasury. For all they did cast in of their
abundance, but _she_, of her want, did cast in all that she had, even
her living!"

And the teacher was careful to tell them, it was the spirit of love in
which the two mites were brought, not simply that they were two mites,
which made Christ bless the woman; for if, in the same spirit, she had
brought twenty mites, her blessing would have been the same.

The children saw, then, how shameful had been their conduct, and it
seemed just to them that the Christ-child should refuse their offerings.

But they asked if they might not give their money to Susan and Johnny?

"No," replied the teacher; "she does not need your money; she could give
you nothing in return for it. But, instead, you may give her your
love;--that she would like, and can return;--and, by-and-by, when you
have learned well your lessons of kindness, give the money where love
prompts you."

And, from that time, they began to learn these lessons; they saw how
Susan, if her clothes _were_ coarse, had in her heart what was worth
more than fine clothes, and all the riches which are in the world; and
if they would have their gifts acceptable to the Christ-child, they
must have such in their hearts!

     *     *     *     *

Susan went home happy--bearing on her arm a basket of grapes and oranges
for Johnny, to tell him how the teacher had sent them to him, and that
they must be more and more loving and self-denying, since their God
would love them.



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more piquant; Hans Anderson's nutcrackers and knitting-needles are not
more thoroughly charged with life. There are six little green volumes in
the series, and of course other _dramatis personæ_ must figure; but one
eagerly watches for every reappearance of Prudy, as one watches at the
play for Owens or Warren to re-enter upon the stage. Who is our
benefactress in the authorship of these books, the world knows not.
Sophie May must doubtless be a fancy name, by reason of the spelling,
and we have only to be greatful that the author did not inflict on us
the customary alliteration in her pseudonyme. The rare gift of
delineating childhood is hers, and may the line of 'Little Prudy' go out
to the end of the earth.... To those oversaturated with transatlantic
traditions we recommend a course of 'Little Prudy,'"

Sold by all booksellers and newsdealers, and sent by mail, post-paid, on
receipt of price.

     *     *     *     *

LEE & SHEPARD, Publishers, Boston.

LEE & SHEPARD'S JUVENILE PUBLICATIONS.

     *     *     *     *

VACATION STORY BOOKS.

6 volumes. Each volume handsomely illustrated. 80 cents.

WORTH NOT WEALTH.
  COUNTRY LIFE.
    THE CHARM.
      KARL KEIGLER.
        WALTER SEYTON.
          HOLIDAYS AT CHESTNUT HILL.

     *     *     *     *

ROSY DIAMOND STORY BOOKS.

6 volumes. Each volume handsomely illustrated. 80 cents.

THE GREAT ROSY DIAMOND.
  DAISY; or, The Fairy Spectacles.
    VIOLET: A Fairy Story.
      MINNIE; or, The Little Woman.
        THE ANGEL CHILDREN.
          LITTLE BLOSSOM'S REWARD.

These volumes are finely and profusely illustrated from designs by
Hoppin and other eminent artists. They are elegantly bound, and neatly
packed in ornamental boxes. As gifts for holidays and birthdays, where a
uniform value and appearance is desired, they are excellent.

     *     *     *     *

=_Mrs. Madeline Leslie's Books._=

PLAY AND STUDY SERIES.

4 volumes. Each volume illustrated. Price, $1.50.

PLAY AND STUDY.
  THE MOTHERLESS CHILDREN.
    HOWARD AND HIS TEACHER.
      JACK, THE CHIMNEY-SWEEP.

     *     *     *     *

LITTLE AGNES' LIBRARY.

4 volumes. Each volume illustrated. Price, $1.50.

LITTLE AGNES.
  TRYING TO BE USEFUL.
    I'LL TRY.
      ART AND ARTLESSNESS.

For family reading and Sabbath School libraries there are no better
books written than these by Mrs. Leslie. With attractive and interesting
stories are mingled wholesome truths and moral lessons. Of all these
books large editions have been printed, and they may be found largely
circulated in Sabbath Schools.

Sold by all booksellers and newsdealers, and sent by mail, post-paid, on
receipt of price.

     *     *     *     *

=LEE & SHEPARD, Publishers, Boston.=

LEE & SHEPARD'S JUVENILE PUBLICATIONS.

     *     *     *     *

OLIVER OPTIC'S BOOKS.

     *     *     *     *

RIVERDALE STORY-BOOKS.

Six volumes, profusely illustrated from new designs by Billings. In neat
box. Cloth. Per vol., .45.

COMPRISING

Little Merchant.
Young Voyagers.
Dolly and I.
Proud and Lazy.
Careless Kate.
Robinson Crusoe, Jr.

These little volumes are very interesting and attractive, and they carry
a moral with them, which, if heeded, there is no doubt will set Youth in
the right direction for its own benefit.

FLORA LEE STORY BOOKS.

Companions to the above. Six volumes, profusely illustrated from new
designs by Billings. In neat box. Cloth. Per volume, .45.

COMPRISING

Christmas Gift.
Uncle Ben.
Birthday Party.
The Picnic Party.
The Gold Thimble.
The Do-Somethings.

These stories are written in "Oliver Optic's" best style, and all are
interesting and attractive.

OUR STANDARD BEARER; Or, The Life of Gen'l Ulysses S. Grant: His Youth,
His Manhood, His Campaigns, and his eminent Services in the
Reconstruction of the Nation his Sword has redeemed. As seen and related
by Captain Bernard Galligasken, Cosmopolitan, and written out by Oliver
Optic. Illustrated by Thos. Nast. 16mo. Cloth. $1.50.

"This is a book for young men to read; for boys to read; and old men
will find their dull blood stirred by its graphic descriptions, its
thrilling narrative, and its hearty enthusiasm."--_New Bedford Mercury._

THE WAY OF THE WORLD.

By William T. Adams (Oliver Optic). 12mo. $2.00.

"This excellent writer for children has here tried his hand at writing
for grown people, and has succeeded admirably."--_Times._

"It is long since we have read a more interesting book."--_Gazette._

"The Way of the World is a popular story of the intense class, full of
thrilling incidents and exciting scenes, such as boys delight to
read."--_Congregationalist._

Sold by all booksellers and newsdealers, and sent by mail, post-paid,
on receipt of price.

     *     *     *     *

LEE & SHEPARD, Publishers, Boston.

LEE & SHEPARD'S JUVENILE PUBLICATIONS.

     *     *     *     *

OLIVER OPTIC'S BOOKS.

ARMY AND NAVY STORIES.

     *     *     *     *

THE SOLDIER BOY; or, Tom Somers in the Army. 16mo. Illustrated. $1.50.

"This is a story of the rebellion, narrating the adventures of a
patriotic youth, who left the comforts of home to share the dangers of
the field. He is carried through several battles, and for a while shared
the hospitalities of the rebels as a prisoner. The story is true to
history, giving in the form of personal adventure correct accounts of
many stirring scenes of the war."--_Hartford Courant._

THE SAILOR BOY; or, Jack Somers in the Navy. 16mo. Illustrated. $1.50.

"Jack is the brother of Tom, the Soldier Boy, whose adventures in the
army were so much enjoyed. We have only to repeat that there are few
better stories for boys than these of Mr. Adams'. Always bright and even
sparkling with animation, the story never drags; there are no stupid
tasks or tiresome descriptions; the boys whose characters are drawn are
real boys, impulsive, with superabundant animal life, and the heroes are
manly, generous, healthy creations."--_Hartford Press._

THE YOUNG LIEUTENANT; or, The Adventures of an Army Officer. 16mo.
Illustrated. $1.50

"The Young Lieutenant" is a sequel to "The Soldier Boy," and carries the
reader through the stormy scenes of the rebellion, creates Thomas Somers
an officer, and as such he performs much difficult work in the
rebellion.

YANKEE MIDDY; or, Adventures of a Naval Officer. 16mo. Illustrated.
$1.50.

"The incidents of the story are those which have occurred on the ocean,
and on the bays, inlets, and rivers of the South, common in the
experience of all our naval officers who have been actively employed
during the war."--_Notices of the Press._

FIGHTING JOE; or, The Fortunes of a Staff Officer. 16mo. Illustrated.
$1.50.

"The description of battles and sieges, of picket and skirmishing, of
camp life and marching, are wrought out with thrilling detail, making
the story truly fascinating; while, in connection with this, useful and
practical information respecting men and places is conveyed, and a
proper spirit of morality and patriotism inculcated."--_Notices of the
Press._

BRAVE OLD SALT; or, Life on the Quarter-Deck. 16mo. Illustrated. $1.50.

A book of adventure, of personal experience, describing a living hero,
and exhibiting the great truth that, by fidelity of conscience, country,
and God, earthly and heavenly blessings are secured.

Sold by all booksellers and newsdealers, and sent by mail, post-paid, on
receipt of price.

     *     *     *     *

LEE & SHEPARD, Publishers, Boston.





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