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Title: The Children's Portion
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Children's Portion" ***

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THE CHILDREN'S PORTION.

Entertaining, Instructive, and Elevating Stories.

Selected and Edited by

ROBERT W. SHOPPELL.



Published by
The Christian Herald,
Louis Klopsch, Proprietor,
Bible House, New York.
Copyright 1895,
By Louis Klopsch.



CONTENTS.


  The Golden Age.  Rev. Alexander McLeod, D. D.
  The Merchant of Venice.  Mary Seymour
  The Afflicted Prince.  Agnes Strickland
  "His Ludship."  Barbara Yechton
  Pious Constance.  Chaucer
  The Doctor's Revenge.  ALOE
  The Woodcutter's Child.  Grimm Brothers
  Show Your Colors.  C. H. Mead
  Her Danger Signal
  A Knight's Dilemma.  Chaucer
  "His Royal Highness."  C. H. Mead
  Patient Griselda.  Chaucer
  Let It Alone.  Mary C. Bamford
  The Man Who Lost His Memory.  Savinien Lapointe
  The Story of a Wedge.  C. H. Mead
  Prince Edwin and His Page.  Agnes Strickland
  Cissy's Amendment
  The Winter's Tale.  Mary Seymour
  A Gracious Deed
  "Tom."  C. H. Mead
  Steven Lawrence, American.  Barbara Yechton



THE CHILDREN'S PORTION.


THE GOLDEN AGE.

REV. ALEXANDER MACLEOD, D. D.


I.

THE KING'S CHILDREN.

There was once, in Christendom, a little kingdom where the people were
pious and simple-hearted.  In their simplicity they held for true many
things at which people of great kingdoms smile.  One of these things
was what is called the "Golden Age."

There was not a peasant in the villages, nor a citizen in the cities,
who did not believe in the Golden Age.  If they happened to hear of
anything great that had been done in former times, they would say,
"That was in the Golden Age."  If anybody spoke to them of a good thing
he was looking for in years to come, they would say, "Then shall be the
Golden Age."  And if they should be speaking of something happy or good
which was going on under their eyes, they always said, "Yes, the Golden
Age is there."

Now, words like these do not come to people in a day.  And these words
about the Golden Age did not come to the people of that ancient kingdom
in a day.  More than a hundred years before, there was reigning over
the kingdom a very wise king, whose name was Pakronus.  And to him one
day came the thought, and grew from little to more in his mind, that
some time or other there must have been, and some time or other there
would be again, for his people and for all people a "Golden Age."

"Other ages," he said, "are silver, or brass, or iron; but one is a
Golden Age."  And I suppose he was thinking of that Age when he gave
names to his three sons, for he called them YESTERGOLD, GOLDENDAY, and
GOLDMORROW.  Sometimes when he talked about them, he would say, "They
are my three captains of the Golden Age."  He had also a little
daughter whom he greatly loved.  Her name was FAITH.

These children were very good.  And they were clever as well as good.
But like all the children of that old time, they remained children
longer than the children of now-a-days.  It was many years before their
school days came to an end, and when they ended they did not altogether
cease to be children.  They had simple thoughts and simple ways, just
like the people of the kingdom.  Their father used to take them up and
down through the country, to make them acquainted with the lives of the
people.  "You shall some day be called to high and difficult tasks in
the kingdom," he said to them, "and you should prepare yourselves all
you can."  Almost every day he set their minds a-thinking, how the
lives of the people could be made happier, and hardly a day passed on
which he did not say to them, that people would be happier the nearer
they got to the Golden Age.  In this way the children came early to the
thought that, one way or other, happiness would come into the world
along with the Golden Age.

But always there was one thing they could not understand: that was the
time when the Golden Age should be.

About the Age itself they were entirely at one.  They could not
remember a year in their lives when they were not at one in this.  As
far back as the days when, in the long winter evenings, they sat
listening to the ballads and stories of their old nurse, they had been
lovers and admirers of that Age.  "It was the happy Age of the world,"
the nurse used to say.  "The fields were greener, the skies bluer, the
rainbows brighter than in other Ages.  It was the Age when heaven was
near, and good angels present in every home.  Back in that Age, away on
the lonely pastures, the shepherds watching their flocks by night heard
angels' songs in the sky.  And the children in the cities, as they were
going to sleep, felt the waving of angel wings in the dark.  It was a
time of wonders.  The very birds and beasts could speak and understand
what was said.  And in the poorest children in the streets might be
found princes and princesses in disguise."

They remembered also how often, in the mornings, when they went down to
school, their teacher chose lessons which seemed to tell of a Golden
Age.  They recalled the lessons about the city of pure gold that was
one day to come down from heaven for men to dwell in; and other lessons
that told of happy times, when nations should learn the art of war no
more, and there should be nothing to hurt or destroy in all the earth.

"Yes, my dear children," their mother would say, in the afternoon, when
they told her of the teacher's lessons and the nurse's stories.  "Yes,
there is indeed a happy age for the children of men, which is all that
your nurse and teacher say.  It is a happy time and a time of wonders.
In that time wars cease and there is nothing to hurt or destroy.
Princes and princesses in poor clothing are met in the streets, because
in that Age the poorest child who is good is a child of the King of
Heaven.  And heaven and good angels are near because Christ is near.
It is Christ's presence that works the wonders.  When He is living on
the earth, and His life is in the lives of men, everything is changed
for the better.  There is a new heaven and a new earth.  And the Golden
Age has come."


II.

DIFFERENT VIEWS.

It was a great loss to these children that this holy and beautiful
mother died when they were still very young.  But her good teaching did
not die.  Her words about the Golden Age never passed out of their
minds.  Whatever else they thought concerning it in after years, they
always came back to this--in this they were all agreed--that it is the
presence of Christ that makes the Gold of the Golden Age.

But at this point their agreement came to an end.  They could never
agree respecting the time of the Golden Age.

Yestergold believed that it lay in the past.  In his esteem the former
times were better than the present.  People were simpler then, and
truer to each other and happier.  There was more honesty in trade, more
love in society, more religion in life.  Many an afternoon he went
alone into the old abbey, where the tombs of saintly ladies, of holy
men, and of brave fighters lay, and as he wandered up and down looking
at their marble images, the gates of the Golden Age seemed to open up
before him.  There was one figure, especially, before which he often
stood.  It was the figure of a Crusader, his sword by his side, his
hands folded across his breast, and his feet resting on a lion.  "Ay,"
he would say, "in that Age the souls of brave men really trod the lion
and the dragon under foot."  But when the light of the setting sun came
streaming through the great window in the west, and kindling up the
picture of Christ healing the sick, his soul would leap up for joy, a
new light would come into his eyes, and this thought would rise within
him like a song--"The Golden Age itself--the Age into which all other
Ages open and look back--is pictured there."

But on such occasions, as he came out of the abbey and went along the
streets, if he met the people hastening soiled and weary from their
daily toils, the joy would go out of his heart.  He would begin to
think of the poor lives they were leading.  And he would cry within
himself, "Oh that the lot of these toiling crowds had fallen on that
happy Age!  It would have been easy then to be good.  Goodness was in
the very air blessed by His presence.  The people had but to see Him to
be glad."  And sometimes his sorrow would be for himself.  Sometimes,
remembering his own struggles to be good, and the difficulties in his
way, and how far he was from being as good as he ought to be, he would
say, "Would that I myself had been living when Jesus was on the earth."
More or less this wish was always in his heart.  It had been in his
heart from his earliest years.  Indeed, it is just a speech of his,
made when he was a little boy, which has been turned into the hymn we
so often sing:--

  "I think when I read that sweet story of old,
    When Jesus was here among men,
  How He called little children, as lambs, to His fold,
    I should like to have been with Him then.

  "I wish that His hands had been placed on my head,
    That His arms had been thrown around me,
  That I might have seen His kind looks when He said,
    'Let the little ones come unto Me.'"


Goldmorrow's thoughts were different.  They went forward into the
future.  He had hardly any of Yestergold's difficulties about being
good.  He did not think much about his own state.  What took up all his
thoughts was the state of the world in which his brothers and he were
living.  How was that to be made better?  As he went up and down in his
father's kingdom, he beheld hovels in which poor people had to live,
and drink-shops, and gambling-houses, and prisons.  He was always
asking himself, how are evils like these to be put away?  Whatever good
any Age of the past had had, these things had never been cast out.  He
did not think poorly of the Age when Christ was on the earth.  He was
as pious as his brother.  He loved the Lord as much as his brother.
But his love went more into the future than into the past.  It was the
Lord who was coming, rather than the Lord who had come, in whom he had
joy.  "The Golden Age would come when Christ returned to the earth," he
said.  The verses in the Bible where this coming was foretold shone
like light for Goldmorrow.  And often, as he read them aloud to his
brothers and his sister, his eyes would kindle and he would burst out
with speeches like this: "I see that happy time approaching.  I hear
its footsteps.  My ears catch its songs.  It is coming.  It is on the
way.  My Lord will burst those heavens and come in clouds of glory,
with thousands and tens of thousands in His train.  And things evil
shall be cast out of the kingdom.  And things that are wrong shall be
put right.  There shall be neither squalor, nor wretched poverty, nor
crime, nor intemperance, nor ignorance, nor hatred, nor war.  All men
shall be brothers.  Each shall be not for himself but for the kingdom.
And Christ shall be Lord of all."

In these discussions Goldenday was always the last to speak.  And
always he had least to say.  I have been told that he was no great
speaker.  But my impression is that he got so little attention from his
brothers when he spoke, that he got into the way of keeping his
thoughts to himself.  But everybody knew that he did not agree with
either of his brothers.  His belief was that the present Age, with all
its faults, was the Golden Age for the people living in it.  And there
is no doubt that that was the view of his sister Faith.  For when at
any time he happened to let out even the tiniest word with that view in
it, she would come closer to him, lean up against his side, and give
him a hidden pressure of the hand.


III.

SEARCH FOR THE GOLDEN AGE.

When these views of the young Princes came to be known, the people took
sides, some with one Prince, some with another.  The greatest number
sided with Yestergold, a number not so great with Goldmorrow, and a
few, and these for the most part of humble rank, with Goldenday.  In a
short time nothing else was talked about, from one end of the kingdom
to the other, but the time of the Golden Age.  And this became a
trouble to the King.

Now there happened to be living at that time in the palace a wise man,
a high Councillor of State, whom the King greatly esteemed, and whose
counsel he had often sought.  To him in his trouble the King turned for
advice.

"Let not this trouble thee, O King," the Councillor said.  "Both for
the Princes and the people it is good that thoughts on this subject
should come out into talk.  But let the thoughts be put to the test.
Let the Princes, with suitable companions, be sent forth to search for
this Age of Gold.  Although the Age itself, in its very substance, is
hid with God, there is a country in which shadows of all the Ages are
to be seen.  In that country, the very clouds in the sky, the air which
men breathe, and the hills and woods and streams shape themselves into
images of the life that has been, or is to be among men.  And whosoever
reaches that country and looks with honest, earnest eyes, shall see the
Age he looks for, just as it was or is to be, and shall know concerning
it whether it be his Age of Gold.  At the end of a year, let the
travelers return, and tell before your Majesty and an assembly of the
people the story of their search."  To this counsel the King gave his
assent.  And he directed his sons to make the choice of their
companions and prepare for their journey.

Yestergold, for his companions, chose a painter and a poet.  Goldmorrow
preferred two brothers of the Order of Watchers of the Sky.  But
Goldenday said, "I shall be glad if my sister Faith will be companion
to me."  And so it was arranged.

Just at that time the King was living in a palace among the hills.  And
it was from thence the travelers were to leave.  It was like a morning
in Wonderland.  The great valley on which the palace looked down, and
along which the Princes were to travel, was that morning filled with
vapor.  And the vapor lay, as far as the eye could reach, without a
break on its surface, or a ruffled edge, in the light of the rising
sun, like a sea of liquid silver.  The hills that surrounded the palace
looked like so many giants sitting on the shores of a mighty sea.  It
was into this sea the travelers had to descend.  One by one, with their
companions, they bade the old King farewell.  And then, stepping forth
from the palace gates and descending toward the valley, they
disappeared from view.

The country to which they were going lay many days' distance between
the Purple Mountains and the Green Sea.  The road to it lay through
woods and stretches of corn and pasture land.  It was Autumn.  In every
field were reapers cutting or binding the corn.  At every turn of the
road were wagons laden with sheaves.  Then the scene changed.  The land
became poor.  The fields were covered with crops that were thin and
unripe.  The people who passed on the road had a look of want on their
faces.  The travelers passed on.  Every eye was searching the horizon
for the first glimpse of the mountain peaks.  In every heart was the
joyful hope of finding the Golden Age.  Can you think what the joy of a
young student going for the first time to a university is?  It was a
joy like his.  While this joy was in their hearts, the road passed into
a mighty forest.  And suddenly among the shadows of the trees a
miserable spectacle crossed their path.  It was a crowd of peasants of
the very poorest class.  A plague had fallen on their homes, and they
were fleeing from their village, which lay among the trees a mile or
two to the right.

Yestergold was the first to meet them.  He was filled with anguish.
His sensitive nature could not bear to see suffering in others.  He
shrank from the very sight of misery.  Turning to his companions, he
said, "If the Lord of Life had been traveling on this road as He was on
that other, long ago, when the widow of Nain met Him with her dead son,
He would have destroyed the plague by a word."  "Oh, holy and beautiful
Age!" exclaimed the poet, "why dost thou lie in thy soft swathings of
light, and power to do mighty deeds, so far behind us in the past?"
"But let us use it as a golden background," said the painter.  "That is
the beautiful Age on which Art is called to portray the Divine form of
the Great Physician!"  Saying these fine words, the party rode swiftly
past.

The terrified villagers were still streaming across the road when
Goldmorrow came up.  Nothing could exceed the pity which the spectacle
stirred in his breast.  Tears streamed from his eyes.  The bareness,
the poverty, the misery of the present time seemed to come into view
and gather into a point in what he saw.  "Oh!" he cried to his
companions, "if Christ were only come!  Only He could deal with evils
so great as these!"  Then, withdrawing his thoughts into himself, and
still moved with his humane pity, he breathed this prayer to Christ:
"Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly, and lay thy healing hand on the wounds
and sorrows of the world."  His companions were also touched with what
they saw.  And in earnest and reverent words one of them exclaimed:
"Blessed hope!  Light of the pilgrim!  Star of the weary!  The earth
has waited long thy absent light to see."  But, by the time the words
were spoken, the villagers were behind them, and, spurring their
horses, the travelers hastened forward on their way.


IV.

A PLAGUE-STRICKEN VILLAGE.

The dust raised by their horses' hoofs was still floating over the
highway when Goldenday, with his sister and their attendants, rode up
to the spot.  Two or three groups of the fugitives had made a temporary
home for the night under the shelter of the trees on the left.  Others
were still arriving.  The pale faces, the terrified looks of the
villagers, filled the Prince with concern.  "It is the pestilence,"
they said, in answer to his inquiries.  "The pestilence, good sir, and
it is striking us dead in the very streets of our village."  The Prince
turned to his sister.  She was already dismounted.  A light was in her
eye which at once went to his heart.  The two understood each other.
They knew that it was Christ and not merely a crowd of terrified
peasants who had met them.  They were His eyes that looked out at them
through the tear-filled eyes of the peasantry.  It was His voice that
appealed to them in their cries and anguish.  He seemed to be saying to
them: "Inasmuch as ye do it to one of the least of these, ye do it unto
Me."  In a few moments the Prince had halted his party and unpacked his
stores, and was supplying the wants of the groups on the left.  Before
an hour was past he had brought light into their faces by his words of
cheer, and, with his sister and his servants, was on his way to the
plague-stricken village.

Most pitiable was the scene which awaited him there.  People were
really dying in the streets, as he had been told.  Some were already
dead.  A mother had died in front of her cottage, and her little
children sat crying beside her body.  Another, with a look of despair
in her eyes, sat rocking the dead body of the child.  The men seemed to
have fled.

The Prince's plans were soon formed.  He had stores enough to last his
party and himself for a year.  He would share these with the villagers
as far as they would go.  He had tents also for the journey.  He would
use these for a home to his own party and for hospitals for the sick.
Before the sun had set, the tents for his own party were erected on a
breezy height outside the village.  And, ere the sun had arisen the
next morning, the largest tent of all had been set in a place by
itself, ready to receive the sick.

Goldenday and his sister never reached the country where the images of
all the Ages are to be found.  A chance of doing good met them on their
journey, and they said to each other, "It has been sent to us by God."
They turned aside that they might make it their own.  They spent the
year in the deeds of mercy to which it called them among the
plague-stricken villagers.

It would take too long to tell all that this good Prince and his sister
achieved in that year.  The village lay in a hollow among dense woods
and on the edge of a stagnant marsh.  The Prince had the marsh drained
and the woods thinned.  Every house in the village was thoroughly
repaired and cleaned.  The sick people were taken up to the
tent-hospital and cared for until they got well.  The men who had fled
returned.  The terrified mothers ventured back.  The sickness began to
slacken.  In a few months it disappeared.  Then the Prince caused wells
to be dug to supply water for drinking.  Then he built airy schools for
the children.  Last of all he repaired the church, which had fallen
into ruin, and trained a choir of boys to sing thanks to God.  But when
all these things had been accomplished, the year during which he was to
have searched for the Golden Age was within a few weeks of its close.
And, what was worse, it was too plain to his sister that the Prince's
health had suffered by his toils.  Night and day he had labored in his
service of love.  Night and day he had carried the burden of the
sickness and infirmities of the village in his heart.  It had proved a
burden greater than he could bear.  He had toiled on till he saw health
restored to every home.  He toiled until he saw the village itself
protected from a second visitation of the plague.  But his own strength
was meanwhile ebbing away.  The grateful villagers observed with grief
how heavily their deliverer had to lean on his sister's arm in walking.
And tears, which they strove in vain to conceal, would gather in their
eyes as they watched the voice that had so often cheered them sinking
into a whisper, and the pale face becoming paler every day.


V.

RETURN OF THE SEARCHERS.

The year granted to the Princes by the King had now come to a close.
And he and his nobles and the chief men of his people assembled on the
appointed day to welcome the Princes on their return and to hear their
reports concerning the time of the Golden Age.

The first to arrive was Prince Yestergold.  He was accompanied to the
platform on which the throne was set by the painter and poet, who had
been his companions during the year.  Having embraced his father, he
stepped to the front and said:--

"Most high King and father beloved, and you, the honorable nobles and
people of his realm, on some future occasion my two companions will,
the one recite the songs in which the Age which we went to search for
is celebrated, and the other exhibit the pictures in which its life is
portrayed.  On this occasion it belongs to me to tell the story of our
search, and of what we found and of what we failed to find.  We went
forth to discover the time of the Golden Age.  We went in the belief
that it was the time when our Lord was on the earth.  How often have I
exclaimed in your hearing, 'Oh that I had been born in that age!  How
much easier to have been a Christian then!'  I have this day, with
humbleness of heart, to declare that I have found myself entirely in
the wrong.  I have been in the country where images of the Ages are
stored.  I have seen the very copy of the Age of our Lord.  I was in it
as if I had been born in it.  I saw the scenes which those who then
lived saw.  I saw the crowds who moved in those scenes.  I beheld the
very person of the Divine Lord.  And oh! my father, and oh! neighbors
and friends, shall I shrink from saying to you, 'Be thankful it is in
this Age and not in that you have been born, and that you know the Lord
as this Age knows Him, and not as He was seen and known in His own.'

"We arrived at Bethany on the day when Lazarus was raised.  I mingled
with the crowd around the grave.  I saw the sisters.  I was amazed to
find that nothing looked to me as I had expected it to do.  Even the
Lord had not the appearance of One who could raise the dead.  And when
the dead man came forth, I could not but mark that some who had seen
the mighty miracle turned away from the spot, jeering and scoffing at
the Lord, its worker.

"When I next saw the Lord He was in the hands of the scoffers who had
turned away from the grave of Lazarus.  He was being led along the
streets of Jerusalem to Calvary.  The streets on both sides were
crowded with stalls, and with people buying and selling as at a fair.
Nobody except a few women seemed to care that so great a sufferer was
passing by.  He was bending under the weight of the Cross.  His face
was pale and all streaked with blood.  I said to myself: 'Can this be
He who is more beautiful than ten thousand?'  My eyes filled with
tears.  Sickness came over my heart.  I was like one about to die.  I
hurried away from the pitiless crowd, from the terrible spectacle, from
the city accursed.  And straightway I turned my face toward my home.
And as I came within sight of my father's kingdom, I gave thanks to God
that my lot had been cast in this favored Age, and that the horrors
through which the Lord had to pass are behind us; and that we see Him
now in the story of the Gospels, as the Son of God, clothed with the
glory of God, seated on the throne of heaven and making all things work
together for good."

As the Prince was bringing his speech to a close, a distant rolling of
drums announced that one of his brothers had arrived at the gates of
the city.  It was Goldmorrow.  And in a little while he entered the
hall, embraced his father, and was telling the story of his travel.

"My companions and I," he said, "have been where the Golden Age of my
dreams is displayed.  We have been in that far future where there is to
be neither ignorance nor poverty, neither sickness nor pain, and where
cruelty and oppression and war are to be no more.  It is greater than
my dreams.  It is greater than I have words to tell.  It is greater
than I had eyes to see.  We were not able to endure the sight of it.
We felt ourselves to be strangers in a strange land.  The people we met
looked upon us as we look upon barbarians.  Our hearts sickened.  We
said to each other: 'It is too high, we cannot reach up to it.'  The
very blessings we had come to see did not look to us like the blessings
of which we had dreamed.

"But our greatest trial was still to come.  The Lord had come back to
the earth and was living among the people of that Age.  We made our way
to the palace in which He lived.  It was like no palace we had ever
seen.  It was like great clouds piled up among the hills.  We were
present when the doors were thrown open.  We beheld Him coming forth.
But the vision of that glory smote our eyes like fire.  We were not
able to gaze upon it.  Our hearts failed within us.  This was not the
Christ we had known.  We shrank back from the light of that awful
presence.  We fell on the ground before Him.  'God be merciful to us
sinners,' we cried, 'we are not worthy to look upon thy face.'  And
when we could open our eyes again the vision had passed.

"Then, O father! then, O friends beloved, I knew that I had sinned.  In
that moment of my humiliation and shame I recalled a sight which I had
seen in the first days of my journey.  I remembered some peasants
fleeing from a plague-stricken village, whom we had passed.  I said to
myself, I say this day to you, we were that day at the gates of the
real Golden Age and we did not know it.  We might that day have turned
aside to the help of these peasants, but we missed the golden chance
sent to us by God."


VI.

THE FINDER OF THE AGE.

When Goldmorrow had finished, a strain of the most heavenly music was
heard.  It sounded as if it were coming toward the assembly hall from
the gates of the city.  It was like the chanting of a choir of angels,
and the sounds rose and fell as they came near, as if they were blown
hither and thither by the evening wind.  In a little while the singing
was at the doorway of the hall, and every eye was turned in that
direction.  A procession of white-robed children entered first.  Behind
them came a coffin, carried on men's shoulders, and covered with
wreaths of flowers.  Then, holding the pall of the coffin, came in the
Princess Faith, behind her the attendants who had accompanied her
brother and herself, and last of all a long line of bare-headed
peasants walking two and two.  It was the coffin of the Prince
Goldenday.   His strength had never come back to him.  He had laid down
his life for the poor villagers.  Having fulfilled his task in their
desolate home, the brave young helper sickened and died.

When this was known, the old King lifted up his voice and wept, and the
Princes, and the nobles, and all the people present joined in his
sorrow.  Then it seemed to be found out, that the dead Prince had been
of the three brothers the most beloved.  Then, when the weeping had
continued for a long time, the Princess Faith stepped forward, and in
few words told the story of the year.  Then silence, only broken by
bursts of sorrow, fell upon all.  And then the Councillor rose up from
his seat at the right hand of the King, and said:

"We have heard, O King, the words of the Princes who searched the Past
and the Future for the Age of Gold.  The lips that should have spoken
for the Age we are living in are forever closed; but in the beautiful
statement of our Princess we have heard the story they had to tell.

"Can there be even one in this great assembly, who has listened to the
story of the Princess, and does not know that the Age of Gold is found,
and that it was found by the Prince whose dead body is here?

"O King, and ye Princes and peers and people, it was the daily teaching
of the Sainted Lady, our Queen, that the Golden Age is the time when
Christ is present in our life.  In every form in which Christ's
presence can be felt, it was felt in the village for whose helping the
dear Prince laid down his life.

"A time of great misery had come to that village.  The harvest, year
after year, had failed.  Poverty fell upon the people.  Then, last and
worst of all, came the pestilence.  Through the story told by the
beloved Princess we can see that faith in God began to fail.  The
people cried out in their agony: 'Has God forgotten?'  And some, 'Is
there a God at all?'

"It was in the thick darkness of that time the Prince visited them.  He
met them fleeing from their home.  He gave up his own plans that he
might help them.  His coming into the village, into the very thick of
its misery, was like the morning dawn.  He was summer heat and summer
cheer to the people.  The clouds of anxiety and of terror began to
lift.  The shadow of death was changed for them into the morning.  He
made himself one with them.  He went from house to house with cheer and
help.  The burden seemed less heavy, the future less dark, that this
helper was by their side.  Best of all, faith came back to them.  It
was as if the Lord had come back.  In a real sense He had come back.
He was present in His servant the Prince.  The people beheld the form
of the Son of God going about their streets doing good.  They saw the
old miracles.  The blind saw, the deaf heard God, as in the days when
Jesus was in the flesh.  Even death was conquered before their eyes.  A
real gleam of heaven is falling this evening on the once-darkened
village.  The evil things that infested its life have been cast out and
a new heaven and a new earth have come to it.  It is the Golden Age
come down to them from God.

"In his great task the dear Prince died.  Our hearts are heavy for that
we shall see his face no more.  But count it not strange that he died,
or that this trial should have descended on our King and us.  It is the
rule in the kingdom of the Lord.  Whoever will bring the Golden Age
where sin is, must himself lay down his life.  For those peasants, as
Christ for all mankind, the Prince laid down his life."

The people listened till the Councillor reached these words, then, as
by one impulse, they rose and burst into a grand doxology.  Then a
company of torch-bearers entered.  Then, the children took up their
place at the head of the coffin and began again to sing.  The bearers
lifted the coffin.  The King and Faith and the two Princes followed;
after them the peasants from the village, then the chief nobles and the
people, and in this order the coffin was carried to the place of the
dead.

In the course of years the wise Pakronus died, and Yestergold became
King.  He made his brother Prime Minister.  And the two brothers became
really what their father called them when boys--"Captains of the Golden
Age."  In everything that was for the good of the people, they took the
lead.  They were Captains in every battle with sin and misery.  What
Goldenday did for the plague-stricken village, they strove to do for
the whole kingdom.  Their Sister Faith gave herself to the building and
care of schools and hospitals.  And the time in which those three lived
is described in all the histories of that kingdom as a Golden Age.

It is told by travelers who have visited the Royal city, that a statue
of the Prince Goldenday stands above the old gateway of the Abbey, and
that there are written below it the words:

"TO-DAY IF YE WILL HEAR HIS VOICE."



THE MERCHANT OF VENICE.

AS TOLD BY MARY SEYMOUR.

In the beautiful Italian city of Venice there dwelt in former times a
Jew, by name Shylock, who had grown rich by lending money at high
interest to Christian merchants.  No one liked Shylock, he was so hard
and so cruel in his dealings; but perhaps none felt such an abhorrence
of his character as a young man of Venice named Antonio.

This hatred was amply returned by the Jew; for Antonio was so kind to
people in distress that he would lend them money without taking
interest.  Besides, he used to reproach Shylock for his hard dealings,
when they chanced to meet.  Apparently the Jew bore such reproaches
with wonderful patience; but could you have looked into his heart, you
would have seen it filled with longing for revenge.

It is not strange to find that Antonio was greatly loved by his
fellow-countrymen; but dearest of all his friends was Bassanio, a young
man of high rank, though possessed of but small fortune.

One day Bassanio came to tell Antonio that he was about to marry a
wealthy lady, but to meet the expense of wedding such an heiress, he
needed the loan of three thousand ducats.

Just at that time Antonio had not the money to lend his friend, but he
was expecting home some ships laden with merchandise; and he offered to
borrow the required sum of Shylock upon the security of these vessels.

Together they repaired to the Jewish money-lender; and Antonio asked
for three thousand ducats, to be repaid from the merchandise contained
in his ships.  Shylock remembered now all that Antonio had done to
offend him.  For a few moments he remained silent; then he said:

"Signor, you have called me a dog, and an unbeliever.  Is it for these
courtesies I am to lend you money?"

"Lend it not as a friend," said Antonio; "rather lend it to me as an
enemy, so that you may the better exact the penalty if I fail."

Then Shylock thought he would pretend to feel more kindly.

"I would be friends with you," he said.  "I will forget your treatment
of me, and supply your wants without taking interest for my money."

Antonio was, of course, very much surprised at such words.  But Shylock
repeated them; only requiring that they should go to some lawyer,
before whom--as a jest--Antonio should swear, that if by a certain day
he did not repay the money, he would forfeit a pound of flesh, cut from
any part of his body which the Jew might choose.

"I will sign to this bond," said Antonio; "and will say there is much
kindness in a Jew."

But Bassanio now interfered, declaring that never should Antonio put
his name to such a bond for his sake.  Yet the young merchant insisted;
for he said he was quite sure of his ships returning long before the
day of payment.

Meanwhile Shylock was listening eagerly; and feigning surprise, he
exclaimed: "Oh, what suspicious people are these Christians!  It is
because of their own hard dealings that they doubt the truth of
others.--Look here, my lord Bassanio.  Suppose Antonio fail in his
bond, what profit would it be to me to exact the penalty?  A pound of
man's flesh is not of the value of a pound of beef or mutton!  I offer
friendship, that I may buy his favor.  If he will take it, so; if not,
adieu."

But still Bassanio mistrusted the Jew.  However, he could not persuade
his friend against the agreement, and Antonio signed the bond, thinking
it was only a jest, as Shylock said.

The fair and beautiful lady whom Bassanio hoped to marry lived near
Venice; and when her lover confessed that,--though of high birth,--he
had no fortune to lay at her feet, Portia prettily said that she wished
herself a thousand times more fair, and ten thousand times more rich,
so that she might be less unworthy of him.  Then, declaring that she
gave herself to be in all things directed and governed by him, she
presented Bassanio with a ring.

Overpowered with joy at her gracious answer to his suit, the young lord
took the gift, vowing that he would never part with it.

Gratiano was in attendance upon his master during this interview; and
after wishing Bassanio and his lovely lady joy, he begged leave to be
married also; saying that Nerissa, the maid of Portia, had promised to
be his wife, should her mistress wed Bassanio.

At this moment a messenger entered, bringing tidings from Antonio;
which Bassanio reading, turned so pale that his lady asked him what was
amiss.

"Oh, sweet Portia, here are a few of the most unpleasant words that
ever blotted paper," he said.  "When I spoke of my love, I freely told
you I had no wealth, save the pure blood that runs in my veins; but I
should have told you that I had less than nothing, being in debt."

And then Bassanio gave the history of Antonio's agreement with Shylock,
the Jew.  He next read the letter which had been brought: "Sweet
Bassanio--My ships are lost: my bond to the Jew is forfeited; and since
in paying it, it is impossible I should live, I could wish to see you
at my death.  Notwithstanding, use your pleasure: if your love for me
do not persuade you to come, let not my letter."

Then Portia said such a friend should not lose so much as a hair of his
head by the fault of Bassanio, and that gold must be found to pay the
money; and in order to make all her possessions his, she would even
marry her lover that day, so that he might start at once to the help of
Antonio.

So in all haste the young couple were wedded, and also their
attendants, Gratiano and Nerissa.  Bassanio immediately set out for
Venice, where he found his friend in prison.

The time of payment was past, and the Jew would not accept the money
offered him: nothing would do now, he said, but the pound of flesh!  So
a day was appointed for the case to be tried before the Duke of Venice;
and meanwhile the two friends must wait in anxiety and fear.

Portia had spoken cheeringly to her husband when he left her, but her
own heart began to sink when she was alone; and so strong was her
desire to save one who bad been so true a friend to her Bassanio, that
she determined to go to Venice and speak in defence of Antonio.

There was a gentleman dwelling in the city named Bellario, a
counsellor, who was related to Portia; and to him she wrote telling the
case, and begging that he would send her the dress which she must wear
when she appeared to defend the prisoner at his trial.  The messenger
returned, bringing her the robes of the counsellor, and also much
advice as to how she should act; and, in company of her maid Nerissa,
Portia started upon her errand, arriving at Venice on the day of the
trial.

The duke and the senators were already in court, when a note was handed
from Bellario saying that, by illness, he was prevented pleading for
Antonio; but he begged that the young and learned Doctor Balthasar (for
so he called Portia) might be allowed to take his place.

The duke marveled at the extremely youthful appearance of this
stranger, but granted Bellario's request; and Portia, disguised in
flowing robes and large wig, gazed round the court, where she saw
Bassanio standing beside his friend.

The importance of her work gave Portia courage; and she began her
address to Shylock, the Jew, telling him of mercy:

  "The quality of mercy is not strained;
  It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
  Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
  It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes:
  'Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
  The throned monarch better than his crown."


But Shylock's only answer was, that he would insist upon the penalty:
upon which Portia asked if Antonio could not pay the sum.  Bassanio
then publicly offered the payment of the three thousand ducats; the
hard Jew still refusing it, and declaring that he would take nothing
but the promised pound of flesh.

Bassanio was now terribly grieved, and asked the learned young
counsellor to "wrest the law a little."

"It must not be--there is no power in Venice can alter a decree
established," said Portia.  Shylock, hearing her say this, believed she
would now favor him, and exclaimed: "A Daniel come to judgment!  O wise
young judge, how do I honor thee!"

He never guessed what was coming, when the young counsellor gravely
asked to look at the bond.  She read it, and declared that the Jew was
lawfully entitled to the pound of flesh, but once more she begged him
to take the offered money, and be merciful.

It was in vain to talk to Shylock of mercy.  He began to sharpen a
knife; and then Portia asked Antonio if he had anything to say.  He
replied that he could say but little; and prepared to take leave of his
well-beloved Bassanio, bidding him tell his wife how he had died for
friendship.

In his grief, Bassanio cried out that, dearly as he loved his wife,
even she could not be more precious to him than Antonio's life; and
that he would lose her and all he had, could it avail to satisfy the
Jew.

"Your wife would give you little thanks for that, if she were by to
hear you make that offer," said Portia; not at all angry, however, with
her husband for loving such a noble friend well enough to say this.

Then Bassanio's servant exclaimed that _he_ had a wife whom he loved,
but he wished she were in heaven, if, by being there, she could soften
the heart of Shylock.

At this, Nerissa--who, in her clerk's dress, was by Portia's
side--said, "It is well you wish this behind her back."

But Shylock was impatient to be revenged on his victim, and cried out
that time was being lost.  So Portia asked if the scales were in
readiness; and if some surgeon were near, lest Antonio should bleed to
death.

"It is not so named in the bond," said Shylock.

"It were good you did so much for charity," returned Portia.

But charity and mercy were nothing to the Jew, who sharpened his knife,
and called upon Antonio to prepare.  But Portia bade him tarry; there
was something more to hear.  Though the law, indeed, gave him a pound
of flesh, it did not give him one single drop of blood; and if, in
cutting off the flesh, he shed one drop of Antonio's blood, his
possessions were confiscated by the law to the State of Venice!

A murmur of applause ran through the court at the wise thought of the
young counsellor; for it was clearly impossible for the flesh to be cut
without the shedding of blood, and therefore Antonio was safe.

Shylock then said he would take the money Bassanio had offered; and
Bassanio cried out gladly, "Here it is!" at which Portia stopped him,
saying that the Jew should have nothing but the penalty named in the
bond.

"Give me my money and I will go!" cried Shylock once more; and once
more Bassanio would have given it, had not Portia again interfered.
"Tarry, Jew," she said; "the law hath yet another hold on you."  Then
she stated that, for conspiring against the life of a citizen of
Venice, the law compelled him to forfeit all his wealth, and his own
life was at the mercy of the duke.

The duke said he would grant him his life before he asked it; one-half
of his riches only should go to the State, the other half should be
Antonio's.

More merciful of heart than his enemy could expect, Antonio declared
that he did not desire the Jew's property, if he would make it over at
his death to his own daughter, whom he had discarded for marrying a
Christian, to which Shylock reluctantly agreed.



THE AFFLICTED PRINCE.

A TALE OF THE ANCIENT BRITONS.


I.

It is said by some ancient historians, and by those who have bestowed
much pains in examining and comparing old conditions, that several
kings reigned over Britain before Julius Caesar landed in the country.
Lud Hurdebras is supposed to have been the eighth king from Brute, whom
the Bards, and after them, the monkish historians, report to have been
the first monarch of Britain.  I am going to tell you a story of Prince
Bladud, the son of this Lud Hurdebras, which, there is reason to
believe, is founded on fact.

Bladud was the only child of the king and queen, and he was not only
tenderly beloved by his parents, but was also considered as a child of
great beauty and promise by the chiefs and the people.  It, however,
unfortunately happened that he was attacked with that loathsome
disease, so frequently mentioned in Scripture by the name of leprosy.
The dirty habits and gross feeding of the early natives of Britain, as
well as of all other uncivilized people, rendered this malady common;
but at the time in which Prince Bladud lived, no cure for it was known
to the Britons.  Being highly infectious, therefore, all persons
afflicted with it were not only held in disgust and abhorrence, but, by
the barbarous laws of the times, were doomed to be driven from the
abodes of their fellow-creatures, and to take their chance of life or
death in the forests and the deserts, exposed alike to hunger and to
beasts of prey.

So great was the horror of this disease among the heathen Britons, and
so strictly was the law for preventing its extension observed, that
even the rank of the young prince caused no exception to be made in his
favor.  Neither was his tender youth suffered to plead for sympathy;
and the king himself was unable to protect his own son from the cruel
treatment accorded to the lepers of those days.  No sooner was the
report whispered abroad, that Prince Bladud was afflicted with leprosy,
than the chiefs and elders of the council assembled together, and
insisted that Lud Hurdebras should expel his son from the royal city,
and drive him forth into the wilderness, in order to prevent the
dreaded infection from spreading.

The fond mother of the unfortunate Bladud vainly endeavored to prevail
on her royal husband to resist this barbarous injunction.   All that
maternal love and female tenderness could urge, she pleaded in behalf
of her only child, whose bodily sufferings rendered him but the dearer
object of affection to her fond bosom.

The distressed father, however deeply and painfully he felt the queen's
passionate appeal, could not act in contradiction to the general voice
of his subjects; he was compelled to stifle all emotions of natural
compassion for his innocent son, and to doom him to perpetual
banishment.

Bladud awaited his father's decision, in tears and silence, without
offering a single word of supplication, lest he should increase the
anguish of his parent's hearts.  But, when the cruel sentence of
banishment was confirmed by the voice of his hitherto doating sire, he
uttered a cry of bitter sorrow, and covering his disfigured visage with
both hands, turned about to leave the haunts of his childhood forever,
exclaiming, "Who will have compassion upon me, now that I am abandoned
by my parents?"

How sweet, how consoling, would have been the answer of a Christian
parent to this agonizing question; but on Bladud's mother the heavenly
light of Revelation had never shone.  She knew not how to speak comfort
to the breaking heart of her son, in those cheering words of Holy Writ,
which would have been so applicable to his case in that hour of
desertion: _When thy father and thy mother forsake thee, I will take
thee up_.  She could only weep with her son, and try to soothe his
sorrow by whispering a hope, which she was far from feeling, that the
day might come, when he could return to his father's court, cured of
the malady which was the cause of his banishment.

"But years may pass away before that happy day, if it ever should
come," replied the weeping boy; "and I shall be altered in stature and
in features; the tones of my voice will have become strange to your
ears, my mother!  Toil and sorrow will have set their hard marks upon
my brow.  These garments, now so brightly stained with figures that
denote my royal birth and princely station, will be worn bare, or
exchanged for the sheep-skin vest of indigence.  How, then, will you
know that I am indeed your son, should I ever present myself before you
cleansed of this dreadful leprosy?"

"My son," replied the queen, taking a royal ring of carved agate from
her finger, and placing it on a stand before him, for so great was the
terror of contagion from those afflicted with leprosy, that even the
affectionate mother of Bladud avoided the touch of her child,--"this
ring was wrought by the master-hand of a Druid, a skillful worker in
precious stones, within the sacred circle of Stonehenge.  It was placed
upon my finger before the mystic altar, when I became the wife of the
king, your father, and was saluted by the Arch-Druid as Queen of
Britain.  In the whole world, there is not another like unto it; and,
should you bring it back to me, by that token shall I know you to be my
son, even though the lapse of thrice ten years shall have passed away,
and the golden locks of my princely boy shall be darkened with toil and
time, and no longer wave over a smooth, unfurrowed brow."


II.

The unfortunate Bladud, having carefully suspended his mother's ring
about his neck, bade her a tearful farewell, and slowly and sorrowfully
pursued his lonely way across the hills and downs of that part of
England which is now called Somersetshire.

Evening was closing in before Bladud met with a single creature to show
him the slightest compassion.  At length, he was so fortunate as to
encounter a shepherd-boy, who appeared in scarcely less distress than
himself; for one of the sheep belonging to his flock had fallen into a
ditch, the sides of which were so steep that he was unable to pull it
out without assistance.

"Stranger," said he, addressing the outcast prince, "if ever you hope
to obtain pity from others, I beseech you to lend me your aid, or I
shall be severely punished by my master, for suffering this sheep to
fall into the ditch."

Bladud required no second entreaty, but hastily divesting himself of
his princely garments, assisted the boy in extricating the sheep from
the water.  The grateful youth bestowed upon him, in return, a share of
his coarse supper of oaten cakes.  Bladud, who had not broken his fast
since the morning, ate this with greater relish than he had often felt
for the dainties of which he had been accustomed to partake at his
father's board.

It was a fine and lovely evening; the birds were singing their evening
song; and a delicious fragrance was diffused from the purple heath and
the blooming wild flowers.  The sheep gathered round their youthful
keeper; and he took up a rustic pipe, made from the reeds that overhung
the margin of a neighboring rivulet, and played a merry tune, quite
forgetful of his past trouble.

Bladud saw that a peasant boy, while engaged in the performance of his
duties, might be as happy as a prince.  Contentment and industry
sweeten every lot, while useless repining only tends to aggravate the
hardships to which it is the will of God that the human family should
be exposed.

"You appear very happy," said Bladud to his new friend.

"How should I be otherwise?" replied the shepherd-boy: "I have
wherewithal to eat and to drink; I have strength to labor, and health
to enjoy my food.  I sleep soundly on my bed of rushes after the toils
of the day; and my master never punishes me except for carelessness or
disobedience."

"I wish I were a shepherd-boy, also," said the prince: "can you tell me
of some kind master, who would employ me to feed his flocks on these
downs?"

The shepherd-boy shook his head, and replied, "You are a stranger lad
from some distant town; most probably, by your fine painted dress, the
runaway son of some great person, and unacquainted with any sort of
useful occupation.  Let me hear what you can do to get an honest
living."

Bladud blushed deeply.  He had been accustomed to spend his time in
idle sports with the sons of the chieftains, and had not acquired the
knowledge of anything likely to be of service in his present situation.
He was silent for some minutes, but at length replied, "I can brighten
arrows, string bows, and shoot at a mark."

Math, the shepherd-boy, advised his new companion, in his rustic
language, not to mention these accomplishments to the peaceful herdsmen
of Caynsham, (as the spot where this conference took place is now
called,) lest it should create a prejudice against him; "neither,"
continued he, "would I counsel you to sue for service in a suit of this
fashion."  He laid his sunburnt hand, as he spoke, on Bladud's painted
vest, lined with the fur of squirrels, which was only worn by persons
of royal rank.

"Will you, for charity's sake, then, exchange your sheep-skin coat for
my costly garments?" asked Bladud.

"Had you not so kindly helped me to pull my sheep out of the ditch, I
would have said to you nay," replied Math; "but as one good turn
deserves another, I will even give you my true shepherd's suit for your
finery."  So saying, he exchanged suits with the young prince.

"And now," said Bladud, "do you think I may venture to ask one of the
herdsmen of the valley to trust me with the care of a flock?"

"Trust you with the care of a flock, forsooth!" cried Math, laughing;
"I wonder at your presumption in thinking of such a thing, when you
confess yourself ignorant of all the duties of a shepherd-boy!"

"They are very simple, and can easily be learned, I should think," said
Bladud.

"Ay," replied Math, "or you had not seen them practiced by so simple a
lad as Math, the son of Goff.  But as all learners must have a
beginning, I would not have you aspire at first to a higher office than
that of a swineherd's boy; for remember, as no one knows who you are,
or whence you come, you must not expect to obtain much notice from
those who are the possessors of flocks and herds."

Bladud sighed deeply at this remark; but as he felt the truth of what
Math said, he did not evince any displeasure at his plain speaking.
He, therefore, mildly requested Math to recommend him to some master
who would give him employment.

Math happened to know an aged swineherd who was in want of a lad of
Bladud's age to attend on his pigs.  He accordingly introduced his new
friend, Bladud, as a candidate for that office; and his mild and sedate
manners so well pleased the old man, that he immediately took him into
his service.

Bladud at first felt the change of his fortunes very keenly, for he had
been delicately fed and nurtured, and surrounded by friends, servants,
and busy flatterers.  He was now far separated from all who knew and
loved him; exposed to wind and weather, heat and cold, and compelled to
endure every species of hardship.  He had no other bed than straw or
rushes; his food was far worse than that which is now eaten by the
poorest peasants, who deem their lot so hard; and he was clothed in
undressed sheep-skins, from which the wool had been shorn.  His drink
was only water from the brook, and his whole time was occupied in his
attendance on the swine.

At the earliest peep of dawn he was forced to rise, and lead forth into
the fields and woods a numerous herd of grunting swine in quest of
food, and there to remain till the shades of evening compelled him to
drive them to the shelter of the rude sheds built for their
accommodation, round the wretched hovel wherein his master dwelt.
Bladud was sure to return weary and hungry, and often wet and
sorrowful, to his forlorn home.   Yet he did not murmur, though
suffering at the same time under a most painful, and, as he supposed,
an incurable disease.

He endeavored to bear the hardships of his lot with patience, and he
derived satisfaction from the faithful performance of the duties which
he had undertaken, irksome as they were.  The greatest pain he endured,
next to his separation from his parents, was the discovery that several
of his master's pigs were infected with the same loathsome disease
under which he was laboring; and this he feared would draw upon him the
displeasure of the old herdsman.

But the leprosy, and its contagious nature, were evils unknown to the
herdsmen of Caynsham, or Bladud would never have been able to obtain
employment there.  His master was an aged man, nearly blind, who, being
convinced of the faithful disposition of his careful attendant, left
the swine entirely to his management; so the circumstance of several of
the most valuable of them being infected with leprosy, was never
suspected by him.  Bladud continued to lead them into the fields and
forests in quest of their daily food, without incurring either question
or reproach from him, or, indeed, from any one, for it was a
thinly-inhabited district, and there were no gossiping neighbors to
bring the tale of trouble to the old herdsman.

But though Bladud's misfortune remained undetected, he was seriously
unhappy, for he felt himself to be the innocent cause of bringing the
infection of a sore disease among his master's swine.  He would have
revealed the whole matter to him, only that he feared the evil could
not now be cured.

From day to day he led his herd deeper into the forests, and further
a-field; for he wished to escape the observation of every eye.
Sometimes, indeed, he did not bring them back to the herdsmen's
enclosure above once in a week.  In the meantime he slept at night,
surrounded by his uncouth companions, under the shade of some
wide-spreading oak of the forest, living like them, upon acorns, or the
roots of the pig-nuts, which grew in the woods and marshes, and were,
when roasted, sweet and mealy, like potatoes, with the flavor of the
chestnut.  These were dainties in comparison to the coarse, black
unleavened cakes on which poor Bladud had been used to feed ever since
his unhappy banishment.

The old herdsman was perfectly satisfied with Bladud's management of
the swine, and glad to find that he took the trouble of leading them
into fresh districts for change of food, of which swine are always
desirous.

So Bladud continued to penetrate into new and untrodden solitudes with
his grunting charge, till one day he saw the bright waters of the river
Avon sparkling before him in the early beams of the morning sun.  He
felt a sudden desire of crossing this pleasant stream.  It was the
fruitful season of autumn, and the reddening acorns, with which the
rich oaken groves that crowned the noble hills on the opposite side
were laden, promised an abundant feast for his master's swine, of whose
wants he was always mindful.

He would not, however, venture to lead them across the river without
first returning to acquaint his master, for he had already been abroad
more than a week.  So he journeyed homeward, and reached his master's
hovel, with his whole herd, in safety.  He then reported to the good
old man, that he had wandered to the side of a beautiful river, and
beheld from its grassy banks a rich and smiling country, wherein, he
doubted not, that the swine would find food of the best kind, and in
great abundance.  "Prithee, master," quoth he, "suffer me to drive the
herd across that fair stream, and if aught amiss befall them, it shall
not be for want of due care and caution on the part of your faithful
boy."

"Thou art free to lead the herd across the fair stream of which thou
speakest, my son," replied the herdsman, "and may the blessing of an
old man go with them and thee; for surely thou hast been faithful and
wise in all thy doings since thou hast been my servant."

That very day he set out once more to the shores of the silvery Avon,
and crossed it with the delighted pigs, at a shallow spot, which has
ever since that time, in memory thereof, been called Swinford, or
Swine's-ford.

No sooner, however, had they reached the opposite shore, than the whole
herd set off, galloping and scampering, one over the other, as if they
had one and all been seized with a sudden frenzy.  No less alarmed than
astonished at their sudden flight, Bladud followed them at his quickest
speed, and beheld them rapidly descending into a valley, towards some
springs of water, that seemed to ooze out of the boggy land in its
bottom, amidst rushes, weeds, and long rank grass.  Into this swamp the
pigs rushed headlong, and here they rolled and reveled, tumbling,
grunting, and squeaking, and knocking each other head over heels, with
evident delight, but to the utter astonishment of Bladud, who was
altogether unconscious of the instinct by which the gratified animals
had been impelled.

All the attempts which Bladud made to, drive or entice them from this
spot were entirely useless.  They continued to wallow in their miry
bed, until at length the calls of hunger induced them to seek the woods
for food; but after they had eaten a hearty meal of acorns, they
returned to the swamp, to the increasing surprise of Bladud.  As for
his part, having taken a supper of coarse black bread and roasted
acorns, he sought shelter for the night in the thick branches of a
large oak-tree.

Now poor Bladud was not aware that, guided by superior Wisdom, he had,
unknown to himself, approached a spot wherein there existed a
remarkable natural peculiarity.  This was no other than some warm,
springs of salt water, which ooze out of the earth, and possess certain
medicinal properties which have the effect of curing various diseases,
and on which account they are sought by afflicted persons even to the
present day.


III.

Bladud awoke with the first beams of morning, and discovered his
grunting charge still actively wallowing in the oozy bed in which they
had taken such unaccountable delight on the preceding day.

Bladud, however, who was accustomed to reason and to reflect on
everything he saw, had often observed that the natural instinct of
animals prompted them to do such things as were most beneficial to
them.  He had noticed that cats and dogs, when sick, had recourse to
certain herbs and grasses, which proved effectual remedies for the
malady under which they labored; and he thought it possible that pigs
might be endowed with a similar faculty of discovering an antidote for
disease.  At all events he resolved to watch the result of their
revelings in the warm ooze bath, wherein they continued to wallow,
between whiles, for several days.

The wisdom of this proceeding was shortly manifested; for Bladud soon
observed that a gradual improvement was taking place in the appearance
of the swine.

The leprous scales fell off by degrees, and in the course of a few
weeks the leprosy gradually disappeared, and the whole herd being
cleansed, was restored to a sound and healthy state.

The heart of the outcast prince was buoyant with hope and joy when the
idea first presented itself to his mind, that the same simple remedy
which had restored the infected swine might be equally efficacious in
his own case.  Divesting himself of his humble clothing and elate with
joy and hope, he plunged into the warm salt ooze bed, wherein his pigs
had reveled with so much advantage.

He was soon sensible of an abatement of the irritable and painful
symptoms of his loathsome malady; and, in a short time, by persevering
in the use of the remedy which the natural sagacity of his humble
companions had suggested, he became wholly cured of the leprosy and was
delighted to find himself restored to health and vigor.

After bathing, and washing away in the river the stains of the ooze, he
first beheld the reflection of his own features in the clear mirror of
the stream.  He perceived that his skin, which had been so lately
disfigured by foul blotches and frightful scales, so as to render him
an object of abhorrance to his nearest and dearest friends, was now
smooth, fair, and clear.

"Oh, my mother!" he exclaimed, in the overpowering rapture of his
feelings on this discovery, "I may then hope to behold thy face once
more! and thou wilt no longer shrink from the embrace of thy son, as in
the sad, sad hour of our sorrowful parting!"

He pressed the agate ring which she had given him as her farewell token
of remembrance, to his lips and to his bosom, as he spoke; then
quitting the water, he once more arrayed himself in the miserable garb
of his lowly fortunes, and guided his master's herd homeward.

The old man, who was beginning to grow uneasy at the unwonted length of
Bladud's absence, and fearing that some accident had befallen the
swine, was about to set forth in search of him, when he heard the
approach of the noisy herd, and perceived Bladud advancing toward him.

"Is all well with thyself and with the herd my son?" inquired the old
man.

"All is well, my father," replied Bladud, bowing himself before his
lowly master, "yea, more than well; for the blessing of the great
Disposer of all that befalleth the children of men, hath been with me.
I left you as a poor destitute, afflicted with a sore disease, that had
rendered me loathsome to my own house, and despised and shunned by all
men.  I was driven forth from the dwellings of health and gladness, and
forced to seek shelter in the wilderness.  From being the son of a
king, I was reduced to become the servant of one of the humblest of his
subjects, and esteemed myself fortunate in obtaining the care of a herd
of swine, that I might obtain even a morsel of coarse food, and a place
wherein to lay my head at night.  But, behold, through this very thing
have I been healed of my leprosy!"

"And who art thou, my son?" demanded the old herdsman, in whose ears
the words of his youthful servant sounded like the language of a dream.

"I am Bladud, the son of Lud Hurdebras, thy king," replied the youth.
"Up--let us be going, for the time seemeth long to me, till I once more
look upon his face, and that of the queen, my mother."

"Thou hast never yet in aught deceived me, my son," observed the
herdsman, "else should I say thou wert mocking me with some wild fable;
so passing all belief doth it seem, that the son of my lord the king
should have been contented to dwell with so poor and humble a man as
myself in the capacity of a servant."

"In truth, the trial was a hard one," replied Bladud; "but I knew that
it was my duty to submit to the direction of that heavenly Guardian who
has thus shaped my lot after His good pleasure; and now do I perceive
that it was in love and mercy, as well as in wisdom, that I have been
afflicted."  Bladud then proposed to his master that he should
accompany him to his father's court; to which the old herdsman, who
scarcely yet credited the assertion of his young attendant, at length
consented; and they journeyed together to the royal city.

In these days, many a mean village is in appearance a more important
place than were the royal cities wherein the ancient British kings kept
court; for these were merely large straggling enclosures, surrounded
with trenches and hedge-rows, containing a few groups of wattled huts,
plastered over with clay.  The huts were built round the king's palace,
which was not itself a more commodious building than a modern barn, and
having neither chimneys nor glazed windows, must have been but a
miserable abode in the winter season.

At the period to which our story has now conducted us, it was, however,
a fine warm autumn day.  King Hurdebras and his queen were therefore
dwelling in an open pavilion, formed of the trunks of trees, which were
covered over with boughs, and garlanded with wreaths of wild flowers.

Bladud and his master arrived during the celebration of a great
festival, held to commemorate the acorn-gathering, which was then
completed.  All ranks and conditions of people were assembled in their
holiday attire, which varied from simple sheep-skins to the fur of
wolves, cats, and rabbits.

Among all this concourse of people, Bladud was remarked for the poverty
of his garments, which were of the rude fashion and coarse material of
those of the humblest peasant.  As for the old herdsman, his master,
when he observed the little respect with which Bladud was treated by
the rude crowds who were thronging to the royal city, he began to
suspect either that the youth himself had been deluded by some strange
dream respecting his royal birth and breeding, or that for knavish
purposes he had practiced on his credulity, in inducing him to
undertake so long a journey.

These reflections put the old man into an ill humor, which was greatly
increased when, on entering the city, he became an object of boisterous
mirth and rude jest to the populace.  On endeavoring to ascertain the
cause of this annoyance, he discovered that one of his most valuable
pigs, that had formed a very powerful attachment to Prince Bladud, had
followed them on their journey, and was now grunting at their very
heels.

The herdsman's anger at length broke out in words, and he bitterly
upbraided Bladud for having beguiled him into such a wild-goose
expedition.  "And, as if that were not enough," quoth he, "thou couldst
not be contented without bringing thy pet pig hither, to make a fool
both of thyself and me.  Why, verily, we are the laughing-stock of the
whole city."

Bladud mildly assured his master that it was through no act of his that
the pig had followed them to his father's court.

"Thy father's court, forsooth!" retorted the old man, angrily; "I do
verily believe it is all a trick which thou hast cunningly planned, for
the sake of stealing my best pig.  Else why shouldst thou have
permitted it to follow thee thither?"

Bladud was prevented from replying to this unjust accusation by a
rabble of rude boys, who had gathered round them, and began to assail
the poor pig with sticks and stones.  Bladud at first mildly requested
them to desist from such cruel sport; but finding that they paid no
attention to his remonstrances, he began to deal out blows, right and
left, with his stout quarter-staff, by which he kept the foremost at
bay, calling at the same time on his master to assist him in defending
the pig.

But Bladud and his master together were very unequally matched against
this lawless band of young aggressors.  They certainly would have been
very roughly handled, had it not been for the unexpected aid of a
shepherd-lad who came to their assistance, and, with the help of his
faithful dog, succeeded in driving away the most troublesome of their
assailants.

In this brave and generous ally, Bladud had the satisfaction of
discovering his old friend Math of the Downs.  So completely, however,
was Bladud's appearance changed in consequence of his being cleansed of
the leprosy, that it was some time before he could convince Math that
he was the wretched and forlorn outcast with whom he had changed
clothes, nearly a twelvemonth before on the Somersetshire Downs.

Math, however, presently remembered his old clothes, in the sorry
remains of which Bladud was still dressed; and Bladud also pointed with
a smile to the painted vest of a British prince, in which the young
shepherd had arrayed himself to attend the festival of the
acorn-gathering.  Strange to say, the generous boy had altogether
escaped infection from the clothes of his diseased prince.

Bladud now briefly explained his situation to the astonished Math, whom
he invited to join himself and his master in their visit to the royal
pavilion, in order that he might be a witness of his restoration to the
arms of his parents, and the honors of his father's court.

Math, though still more incredulous than even the old herdsman, was
strongly moved by curiosity to witness the interview.  He stoutly
assisted Bladud in making his way through the crowd, who appeared
resolutely bent on impeding their progress to the royal pavilion,
which, however, they at length approached, still followed by the
persevering pig.


IV.

The last load of acorns, adorned with the faded branches of the noble
oak, and crowned with the mistletoe, a plant which the Druids taught
the ancient Britons to hold in superstitious reverence, was now borne
into the city, preceded by a band of Druids in their long white robes,
and a company of minstrels, singing songs, and dancing before the wain.
The king and queen came forth to meet the procession, and, after
addressing suitable speeches to the Druids and the people, re-entered
the pavilion, where they sat down to regale themselves.

Bladud, who had continued to press forward, now availed himself of an
opportunity of entering the pavilion behind one of the queen's favorite
ladies, whose office it was to fill her royal mistress' goblet with
mead.  This lady had been Bladud's nurse, which rendered her very dear
to the queen, whom nothing could console for the loss of her son.

Bladud, concealed from observation by one of the rude pillars that
supported the roof of the building, contemplated the scene in silence,
which was broken only by the agitated beating of his swelling heart.
He observed that the queen, his mother, looked sad and pale, and that
she scarcely tasted of the cheer before her.  She sighed deeply from
time to time, and kept her eyes fixed on the vacant place which, in
former happy days used to be occupied by her only son!

King Hurdebras endeavored to prevail upon her to partake of some of the
dainties with which the board was spread.

"How can I partake of costly food," she replied, "when my only child is
a wanderer on the face of the earth, and, perchance, lacketh bread?"

Bladud, unable longer to restrain the emotions under which he labored,
now softly stole from behind the pillar, and, unperceived, dropped the
agate ring into his mother's goblet.

"Nay," replied the king, "but this is useless sorrow, my lady queen.
Thinkest thou that I have borne the loss of our only son without grief
and sorrow?  Deeply have I also suffered; but we must not forget that
it is our duty to bow with humility to the wise decrees of the great
Disposer of all human events?"

"But canst thou feel our loss in like degree with me?" she exclaimed,
bursting into tears; "what shall equal a mother's love, or the grief of
her who sorroweth for her only one?"

"Fill high the goblet, Hetha," said the king, turning to the favorite
of his royal consort; "and implore the queen, thy mistress, to taste of
the sweet mead, and, for the happiness of those around her, to subdue
her sorrow."

The queen, after some persuasion, took the wine-cup, and raised it with
a reluctant hand; but, ere the sparkling liquor reached her lips, she
perceived the ring at the bottom of the goblet, and hastily pouring the
mead upon the ground, seized the precious token, and holding it up,
with a cry of joy, exclaimed, "My son! my son!"

Bladud sprang forward, and bowed his knee to the earth before her.
"Hast thou forgotten me, oh! my mother?" he exclaimed, in a faltering
voice; for the queen, accustomed to see her princely son attired in
robes befitting his royal birth, looked with a doubtful eye on the
ragged garb of abject indigence in which the youth was arrayed.
Moreover, he was sun-burnt and weather-beaten; had grown tall and
robust; and was, withal, attended by his strange friend, the pig, who,
in the untaught warmth of his affection, had intruded himself into the
presence of royalty, in the train of his master.

A second glance convinced the queen, the king, and the delightful
Hetha, that it was indeed the long-lost Bladud upon whom they looked;
and it scarcely required the testimony of the old herdsman, his master,
and that of his friend Math, the shepherd, to certify the fact, and
bear witness to the truth of his simple tale.

Touching was the scene when the king, recovering from the surprise into
which the first shock of recognition had plunged him, rushed forward
and clasped his long-lost son to his bosom.  The big tear-drops rolled
down his manly cheeks, and, relaxing the dignity of the king, and the
sternness of the warrior, all the energies of his nature were embodied
in the one single feeling, that he was a happy and a beloved father!

The news of the return of their prince spread throughout the assembled
multitudes, on wings of joy.  Loud and long were the shouts and
acclamations which burst forth in every direction, as the distant
groups became apprised of the event.  The Druids and the Minstrels
formed themselves into processions, in which the people joined; and the
harpers, sounding their loudest strains, struck up their songs of joy
and triumph.  The oxen, loosened from the wains, and decked with
garlands of flowers, were led forward in the train; and the dancers and
revelers followed, performing with energy and delight their rude sports
and pastimes around the king's pavilion.

Night at length closed upon the happy scene, and the king and queen
retired to their tent, accompanied by their son, to learn from his lips
the course of events by which his life had been preserved, and his
health restored.  They joined in humble thanks to the Great Author of
all happiness, for the special blessings that had been bestowed upon
them; and the king marked his sense of gratitude by gifts and benefits
extended to the helpless and the deserving among his subjects.  The
good old herdsman was among the most favored, and the worthy Math was
put in a path of honor and promotion, of which he proved himself well
deserving.



"HIS LUDSHIP."

BARBARA YECHTON.


You could not have found anywhere two happier boys than were Charlie
and Selwyn Kingsley one Saturday morning early in June.  In their
delight they threw their arms around each other and danced up and down
the piazza, they tossed their hats in the air and hurrahed, they sprang
down the stone steps two at a time, dashed about the grounds in a wild
fashion that excited their dog Fritz, and set him barking in the
expectation of a frolic, then raced across to their special chum and
playmate, Ned Petry.  They arrived there almost out of breath, but with
such beaming faces that before they reached the hammock where he lay
swinging Ned called out, "Halloa! what's happened?  Something good, I
know."

"We're going--" panted Charlie, dropping down on the grass beside him.

"To Europe!" supplemented Selwyn.

"No!" cried Ned, springing up.  "Isn't that just jolly!  When do you
sail, and who all are going?  Let's sit in the hammock together.  Now
tell me all about it."  The three boys crowded into the hammock, and
for a few minutes questions and answers flew thick and fast.

"You know we've always wanted to go." said Charlie.  Ned nodded.  "And
the last time papa went he promised he'd take us the next trip, but we
didn't dream he was going this summer."

"Though we suspected something was up," broke in Selwyn, "because for
about a week past whenever Charlie and I would come into the room papa
and mamma'd stop talking; but we never thought of Europe."

"Until this morning," continued Charlie, "after breakfast, when papa
said, 'Boys, how would you like a trip to Europe with your mother and
me?'"

"At first we thought he was joking," again interrupted eager little
Selwyn, "because his eyes twinkled just as they do when he is telling a
joke."

"But he wasn't," resumed his brother, "and the long and short of the
matter is that we are all--papa, mamma, sister Agatha, Selwyn, and
I--to sail in the Majestic, June 17, so we've only about a week more to
wait."

"Oh! oh! it's too splendid for anything!" cried Selwyn, clapping his
hands in delight and giving the hammock a sudden impetus, which set it
swaying rapidly.  "We're to spend some time with Uncle Geoffrey
Barrington--you know, Ned, Rex's father--and we're to see all the
sights of 'famous London town'--the Houses of Parliament, the Zoo,
Westminster Abbey, and the dear old Tower!  Just think of it, Ned,
papa's going to show us the very cells in which Lady Jane Grey and Sir
Walter Raleigh were shut up!  Oh, don't I wish you were going, too!"

"Wouldn't it be splendid!" said Charlie, throwing his arm across Ned's
shoulders.

"Wouldn't it!" echoed Ned, ruefully.  "I wonder when our turn will
come; soon, I hope.  I shall miss you fellows awfully."

"Never mind, Ned, we'll write to you," cried both boys, warmly, "and
tell you all about everything."

The next week was full of pleasant excitement for Charlie and Selwyn.
They left school a few days before it closed that they might help mamma
and sister Agatha, who were very busy getting things into what papa
called "leaving order."  There was a great deal to do, but at last
everything was accomplished, the steamer trunks had been packed, and
some last good-byes spoken.  Fritz and the rabbits had been given into
Ned's keeping with many injunctions and cautions.  Carefully wrapped in
cloths, the boys had placed their bicycles in the seclusion which a
garret granted.  Balls, tennis rackets, boxes of pet tools, favorite
books, everything, in fact, had been thought of and cared for, and at
last the eventful day of sailing arrived.

A number of friends came to the city to see the Kingsleys off.  They
sat in the saloon of the big steamer with Mrs. Kingsley and her
daughter, while the boys, under papa's care, remained on the dock for a
while, deeply interested in their unusual surroundings.  They were
almost wild with excitement, which not even the prospect of parting
with Ned could quiet, and it is not much to be wondered at, there was
so much going on.

The long covered dock was crowded with men, women, and children, nearly
all of whom were talking at the same time.  Large wagons were
unloading; trunks, boxes and steamer-chairs stood about, which the
steamer "hands" were carrying up the gangway as rapidly as possible;
huge cases, burlap-covered bundles, barrels and boxes were being
lowered into the hold by means of a derrick; men were shouting,
children crying, horses champing, and in the midst of the confusion
loving last words were being spoken.

When papa joined the grown people in the saloon, Charlie, Selwyn, and
Ned made a tour of the steamer.  Of course they were careful not to get
in the way of the busy sailors, but they found lots to see without
doing that.  First, wraps and hand-satchels were deposited in their
state-rooms, which were directly opposite each other, and the
state-rooms thoroughly investigated, each boy climbing into the upper
berths "to see how it felt."  Then they visited the kitchen, saw the
enormous tea and coffee pots, and the deep, round shining pans in which
the food was cooked.  But they did not stay here long, as it was nearly
dinner time, and everybody was very busy.  Next came the engine-room,
which completely fascinated them with its many wheels and rods and
bolts, all shining like new silver and gold.

From there they went on deck, clambered up little flights of steps as
steep as ladders and as slippery as glass; walked about the upper deck,
and managed to see a great deal in fifteen or twenty minutes.  By the
time they returned to the gangway all the baggage and merchandise had
been taken on board.  A man in a blue coat with brass buttons, and a
cap with a gilt band around it, called out in a loud voice, "All on
shore!" and then came last good-byes.  Smiles and laughter vanished,
tears and sobs took their places.  "Good-bye!"  "God bless you!"  "Bon
voyage!"  "Don't forget to write!" was heard on every side.  Mamma and
sister Agatha shed a few tears; even papa was seen to take off his
glasses several times to wipe the moisture which would collect on them.

Of course, Charlie, Selwyn, and Ned wouldn't cry, that was "too
babyish;" but they had to wink very hard at one time to avert such a
disgrace, and just at the last, when no one was looking, they threw
dignity to the winds, and heartily kissed each other good-bye.

"Write just as soon as you get over," cried Ned, as he ran down the
gangway.

"We will, indeed we will!" the boys answered, eagerly.  Then the
gangway was drawn on board, the engine began to move, and the big ship
steamed away from the pier in fine style, with flags flying and
handkerchiefs fluttering.

Mrs. Kingsley was confined to her berth for nearly all of the voyage,
but the rest of the family remained in excellent health and spirits,
and the boys thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

When about three days out the ship passed near enough to an iceberg for
the passengers to distinguish distinctly its castle-like outline, and
to feel the chill it gave to the air.

Our two boys were such courteous, kindly little gentlemen that all who
came in contact with them liked them, and returned to them the same
measure that they gave.  The captain even took them on the "bridge," a
favor which was not accorded to any other boy or girl on board.  And
what with visiting the engine-room, waiting on mamma and sister Agatha,
walking and talking with papa, sitting in their steamer-chairs, and
paying proper attention to the good things which were served four or
five times a day, Charlie and Selwyn found that the time fairly flew
away.  Selwyn had brought "An American Boy in London" to read aloud to
Charlie, but there were so many other interesting things to occupy
their attention that only one chapter was accomplished.

On the afternoon of the seventh day after leaving New York, the
Majestic steamed up to the Liverpool dock, and a few hours later the
Kingsleys found themselves comfortably settled in a railroad carriage
en route for London.  It was late when they arrived in the great
metropolis, and every one was glad enough to get to the hotel and to
rest as quickly as possible.

Early the next morning Uncle Geoffrey Barrington came to carry off the
entire family to his big house in Portland Place.  Here he declared
they should remain during their stay in London, and as he had a
charming wife and grown-up daughter, who devoted themselves to Mrs.
Kingsley and sister Agatha, and a son about Charlie's age, who was full
of fun and friendliness, all parties found themselves well satisfied
with the arrangement.

Uncle Geof was one of the judges of the Queen's Bench, and a very busy
man, so he could not always go about with his American relatives; but
Dr. Kingsley was well acquainted with London, and therefore able to
escort his party to all the places of interest.  I only wish I had time
to tell you of all the delightful trips they took, and all the
interesting things they saw in this fascinating old city.  Visits to
the Tower, the Houses of Parliament, where they heard "Big Ben" strike
the hour--and Westminster Abbey with its illustrious dead; excursions
to Windsor and the Crystal Palace; sails down the Thames, and dinners
and teas at Richmond and Kew Gardens, driving home by moonlight!  How
the boys did enjoy it all, and what long letters went home to America
addressed to Master Edward Petry!

All this sight-seeing took up many days; three weeks slipped by before
anybody realized it, and Dr. Kingsley was talking of a trip to the
Continent, when a little incident occurred of which I must tell you.

Rex and his American cousins had become the best of friends.  He knew
all about their pretty home in Orange, about Ned and the rabbits,
Fritz, the bicycling, and the tennis playing, while they in their turn
took the deepest interest in his country and Eton experiences.  They
took "bus" rides together, and played jokes on the pompous footman,
whom Charlie had nicknamed the "S. C." (Superb Creature).

One morning Rex and our two boys went to Justice Barrington's chambers.
There they expected to find Dr. Kingsley, but when they arrived only
Jarvis, the solemn-faced old servitor, met them.  He showed them into
the inner room and left them to their own devices, saying that "his
ludship and the reverend doctor" would, no doubt, soon be in.

The room was very dark; three sides were covered with
uninteresting-looking law books, and after gazing out of the window,
which overlooked a quiet little church-yard where the monuments and
headstones were falling into decay, the three boys were at a loss what
to do with themselves.  Charlie and Selwyn would have liked a walk
about the neighborhood, but Reginald demurred.  "It's a horrid bore
being shut up here," he admitted frankly, "but papa might return while
we were out, and I'm not sure that he would like to find us away.  I
wish I could think of some way to amuse you.  Oh, I know--we were
talking about barristers' robes the other day; I'll show you papa's
gown and wig.  I know where Jarvis keeps them.  Wouldn't you like to
see them?"

"Indeed we should," responded the American boys.  So, after hunting for
the key, Rex opened what he called a "cupboard" (though Charlie and
Selwyn thought it a closet), where hung a long black silk robe, very
similar in style to those worn by our bishops in America.  This he
brought out; next, from a flat wooden box, which looked very old and
black, he drew a large, white, curly wig.  The boys looked at these
with eager interest.  "These are like what are worn in the Houses of
Parliament," said Charlie.  "What a funny idea to wear such a dress."

"I think it's a very nice idea," Rex answered, quickly.  "I assure you
the judges and the barristers look very imposing in their robes and
wigs."

"I expect to be a lawyer one of these days; wouldn't I astonish the
American public if I appeared in such a costume?" said Charlie,
laughing.  "I wonder how I'd look in it?"

"Try it on and see," suggested Rex.

"Oh, do, do, Charlie! it'll be such fun!" pleaded Selwyn.  So, nothing
loth, Charlie slipped on the long black silk robe, then Rex and Selwyn
arranged the thin white muslin bands at his throat, and settled the big
white wig on his head.  His soft, dark hair was brushed well off his
face so that not a lock escaped from beneath the wig, and when he put
on a pair of Uncle Geof's spectacles, which lay conveniently near, the
boys were convulsed with laughter at his appearance.

"Good-day, your 'ludship,'" said Rex, with a mocking bow; "will your
'ludship' hold court to-day?"

"Yes, let's have court and try a prisoner," cried Charlie, who began to
feel rather proud of his unusual appearance.  "You don't mind, do you,
Rex?"

"Why, no!  I think it'll be no end of fun," was the merry reply.  "One
of us could be the prisoner, and the other the barrister who defends
him.  I'd better be the barrister, because I know more about English
law than Selwyn does.  And the furniture'll have to be the other
counsel and the gentlemen of the jury.  Sit over there, Charlie, near
that railing, and we'll make believe it's the bar.  The only trouble is
the barrister will have no gown and wig.  Isn't it a pity?"

"Let's take the table cover," suggested Selwyn, which was immediately
acted upon.  With their combined efforts, amid much laughter, it was
draped about Rex's shoulders in a fashion very nearly approaching the
graceful style of a North American Indian's blanket.  A Russian bath
towel, which they also found in the closet, was arranged on his head
for a wig; then Selwyn was placed behind a chair which was supposed to
be the prisoner's box, the judge took his place, and court opened.

The ceremony differed from any previously known in judicial experience,
and bursts of merry laughter disturbed the dignity of the learned judge
and counsel, to say nothing of the prisoner.

"The prisoner at the bar, your 'ludship,'" began the counsel, striving
to steady his voice, "has stolen a--a--a--what shall I say you have
stolen?" addressing Selwyn in a stage whisper.

  "Tom, Tom, the piper's son,
  Stole a pig,
  And away did run;
  The pig was eat,
  And Tom was beat,
  And Tom went roaring
  Down the street,"

sang the prisoner, in a sweet little voice.

"Your 'ludship,' singing is contempt of court; you will please fine the
prisoner at the bar," said the counsel, regardless of the fact that the
prisoner was supposed to be his client.

"Silence, both of you!" cried the judge, with impartial justice,
rapping his desk sharply with a brass paper-cutter.  "Now, Mr.
Barrister, state the case."  Then, in an aside, "Wasn't that well said?"

"The prisoner has stolen a pig, your 'ludship,'" said the counsel.  "He
admits it, but as the animal has been eaten--"

"And the prisoner has been beaten," put in the incorrigible Selwyn.

"And the prisoner is a stranger in a strange land," continued Rex,
ignoring the irrelevant remark, "a most noble and learned
American--ahem!--what sentence, your 'ludship,' shall be passed upon
him?"

"Hum, hum!" said his "ludship," resting his cheek on his hand
meditatively, trying to assume the expression which he had seen
sometimes on papa's face when he and Selwyn were under consideration
for some childish offence.

"The court waits, your 'ludship,'" remarked the counsel, throwing a
paper ball at the judge.

"Silence!" again shouted the judge, rapping vigorously.  "The sentence
is this: the prisoner shall stand on his head for two seconds, then
recite a piece of poetry, and then--in the course of a week--leave the
country."

"Your 'ludship' will please sign the sentence and we will submit it to
the jury," suggested the learned counsel, who, as you will perceive,
had rather peculiar ideas about court formula.

"What shall I sign?" asked his "ludship."

"Anything," said Rex.  "Those papers all look like old things--quick!
I think I hear Jarvis coming.  Sign the one in your hand.  Just write
Geoffrey Addison Barrington.  It's only for fun, you know."

He caught up a dingy-looking document, opened it, and, thrusting the
pen which was in his "ludship's" hand into the ink, he and the prisoner
at the bar crowded up to see the signature which Charlie wrote as he
had been told to do, in a distinct schoolboy's hand.  He had barely
crossed the "t" and dotted the last "i" when they heard a step, and
scurrying into the cupboard, they saw Jarvis come in, take something
from the desk, and go out without a glance in their direction.  As the
door closed behind him it opened again to admit Justice Barrington and
Dr. Kingsley.

"Where are they?" asked Uncle Geof, peering about the dark room as if
the boys might be hidden behind some table or chair.

"Boys," called the doctor, "where are you?"

Then they walked out--such a funny-looking trio!  Rex's table-cover
robe floated behind him, and the style of his wig was certainly unique.
Selwyn had brought away on his coat a goodly share of the dust of the
cupboard.  His brown hair stood on end, and his blue eyes were shining
with excitement.  But his "ludship" brought down the house.  He came
forth holding up his long gown on each side, his bands were almost
under his left ear, his wig was on one side, and his glasses awry!  The
contrast between his magisterial garb and his round young face and
merry hazel eyes was too much for the gravity of the two gentlemen.
With a glance at each other they burst into a long, hearty laugh, in
which the boys joined.

A little later, the gown and wig having been restored to their proper
places by the much scandalized Jarvis, the party returned to Portland
Square.  And none of the boys thought of mentioning that Charlie had
signed a document with his uncle's name, which he had not read.

A few days after this Dr. Kingsley and his family left England for the
Continent, taking Rex with them, and not until September did they
return to London for a short visit before sailing for America.

"I have an account to settle with you, Master Charlie," said Uncle
Geoffrey, the first evening, when they were all assembled in the
drawing-room.  "Do you recollect a certain visit to my chambers when
you represented a judge of the Queen's Bench?"

Charlie, Selwyn and Rex looked at each other, laughed, and nodded.

"Do you remember signing a paper?" asked the justice.

"Yes," said Charlie; "but it was an old dingy-looking one--we didn't
read it--I just signed it for fun."

"I told Charlie to put your name to it," broke in Rex, eagerly.  "Is
anything wrong, papa?"

"I will tell you the story and you shall judge for yourself," said the
justice, smiling.  "As it happened, the paper Charlie signed was not an
old one.  It was in reference to removing an orphan boy from one
guardianship to another.  He is about as old as Charlie, and it appears
that the first guardian ill-treated the little fellow under the guise
of kindness, being only intent on gain.  When the paper which 'his
ludship,'" with a deep bow in Charlie's direction--"signed arrived, the
boy was delighted, and he thoroughly enjoys the excellent home he is
now in.  Imagine my surprise when a letter reached me thanking me for
my wise decision.  I could not understand it, as I thought I knew the
paper in reference to it was lying on my desk waiting its turn.  You
may well laugh, you young rogues."

"How did you find out?" asked Charlie, divided between contrition and a
desire to enjoy the joke.

"Jarvis and I traced it out.  I paid a visit to Wales and put the
signature of the original Barrington to the document.  The present
guardian of the boy declares the little fellow's disposition would have
been completely ruined if he had remained much longer under his former
guardian's care, and I am afraid, in the ordinary course of the law,
which moves slowly, it would have been some time before the matter
could have been attended to.  So you have done that much good to a
fellow-boy.  Only be careful in the future, dear lad, to read a
document before signing it, for carelessness in that direction might
not always end as well as it has in this instance.  What puzzles me is
how you came to take that particular paper when so many others lay
about; it was but one chance in a million."

"'A chance--the eternal God that chance did guide,'" quoted Dr.
Kingsley, in his quiet, gentle voice.

"What lots we'll have to tell Ned!  O boys, do let's cheer!" cried
Selwyn eagerly, springing to his feet.  "Here goes--three cheers for
Uncle Geof and dear papa, and a big, big 'tiger' for his 'ludship!'"



THE PIOUS CONSTANCE.

Once upon a time the Emperor of Rome had a beautiful daughter named
Constance.  She was so fair to look on, that far and wide, she was
spoken of as "the beautiful princess."  But, better than that, she was
so good and so saintly that everybody in her father's dominions loved
her, and often they forgot to call her "the beautiful princess," but
called her instead, "Constance the good."

All the merchants who came thither to buy and sell goods, carried away
to other countries accounts of Constance, her beauty, and her holiness.
One day there came to Rome some merchants from Syria, with shiploads of
cloths of gold, and satins rich in hue, and all kinds of spicery, which
they would sell in the Roman markets.  While they abode here, the fame
of Constance came to their ears, and they sometimes saw her lovely face
as she went about the city among the poor and suffering, and were so
pleased with the sight that they could talk of nothing else when they
returned home; so that, after a while, their reports came to the ear of
the Soldan of Syria, their ruler, and he sent to the merchants to hear
from their lips all about the fair Roman maiden.

As soon as he heard this story, this Soldan began secretly to love the
fair picture which his fancy painted of the good Constance, and he shut
himself up to think off her, and to study how he could gain her for his
own.

At length he sent to all his wise men, and called them together in
council.

"You have heard," he said to them, "of the beauty and goodness of the
Roman princess.  I desire her for my wife.  So cast about quickly for
some way by which I may win her."

Then all the wise men were horrified; because Constance was a
Christian, while the Syrians believed in Mohammed as their sacred
prophet.  One wise man thought the Soldan had been bewitched by some
fatal love-charm brought from Rome.  Another explained that some of the
stars in the heavens were out of place, and had been making great
mischief among the planets which governed the life of the Soldan.  One
had one explanation and one another, but to all the Soldan only
answered,--"All these words avail nothing.  I shall die if I may not
have Constance for my wife."

One of the wise men then said plainly,--"But the Emperor of Rome will
not give his daughter to any but a Christian."

When the Soldan heard that he cried joyfully: "O, if that is all, I
will straight-way turn Christian, and all my kingdom with me."

So they sent an ambassador to the Emperor to know if he would give his
daughter to the Soldan of Syria, if he and all his people would turn
Christian.  And the Emperor, who was very devout, and thought he ought
to use all means to spread his religion, answered that he would.

So poor little Constance, like a white lamb chosen for a sacrifice, was
made ready to go to Syria.  A fine ship was prepared, and with a
treasure for her dowry, beautiful clothes, and hosts of attendants, she
was put on board.

She herself was pale with grief and weeping at parting from her home
and her own dear mother.  But she was so pious and devoted that she was
willing to go if it would make Syria a good Christian land.  So, as
cheerfully as she could, she set sail.

Now the Soldan had a very wicked mother, who was all the time angry in
her heart that the Soldan had become a Christian.  Before Constance
arrived in Syria she called together all the lords in the kingdom whom
she knew to be friendly to him.  She told them of a plot she had made
to kill the Soldan and all those who changed their religion with him,
as soon as the bride bad come.  They all agreed to this dreadful plot,
and then the old Soldaness went smiling and bland, to the Soldan's
palace.

"My dear son," she said, "at last I am resolved to become a Christian;
I am surprised I have been blind so long to the beauty of this new
faith.  And, in token of our agreement about it, I pray you will honor
me by attending with your bride at a great feast which I shall make for
you."

The Soldan was overjoyed to see his mother so amiable.  He knelt at her
feet and kissed her hand, saying,--"Now, my dear mother, my happiness
is full, since you are reconciled to this marriage.  And Constance and
I will gladly come to your feast."

Then the hideous old hag went away, nodding and mumbling,--"Aha!
Mistress Constance, white as they call you, you shall be dyed so red
that all the water in your church font shall not wash you clean again!"

Constance came soon after, and there was great feasting and
merry-making, and the Soldan was very happy.

Then the Soldaness gave her great feast, and while they sat at the
table, her soldiers came in and killed the Soldan and all the lords who
were friendly to him, and slaughtered so many that the banquet hall
swam ankle deep in blood.

But they did not slay Constance.  Instead, they bore her to the sea and
put her on board her ship all alone, with provisions for a long
journey, and then set her adrift on the wide waters.

So she sailed on, drifting past many shores, out into the limitless
ocean, borne on by the billows, seeing the day dawn and the sun set,
and never meeting living creature.  All alone on a wide ocean! drifting
down into soft southern seas where the warm winds always blew, then
driving up into frozen waters where green, glittering icebergs sailed
solemnly past the ship, so near, it seemed as if they would crush the
frail bark to atoms.

So for three long years, day and night, winter and summer, this lonely
ship went on, till at length the winds cast it on the English shores.

As soon as the ship stranded, the governor of the town, with his wife
and a great crowd of people, came to see this strange vessel.  They
were all charmed with the sweet face of Constance, and Dame Hennegilde,
the governor's wife, on the instant loved her as her life.  So this
noble couple took her home and made much of her.  But Constance was so
mazed with the peril she had passed that she could scarcely remember
who she was or whence she came, and could answer naught to all their
questionings.

While she lived with the good Hennegilde, a young knight began to love
her, and sued for her love in return.  But he was so wicked that
Constance would not heed him.  This made him very angry.  He swore in
his heart that he would have revenge.  He waited until one night when
the governor was absent, and going into the room where Dame Hennegilde
lay, with Constance sleeping in the same chamber, this wicked knight
killed the good lady.  Then he put the dripping knife into the hand of
Constance, and smeared her face and clothes with blood, that it might
appear she had done the deed.

When the governor returned and saw this dreadful sight, he knew not
what to think.  Yet, even then, he could not believe Constance was
guilty.  He carried her before the king to be judged.  This king, Alla,
was very tender and good, and when he saw Constance standing in the
midst of the people, with her frightened eyes looking appealing from
one to another like a wounded deer who is chased to its death, his
heart was moved with pity.

The governor and all his people told how Constance had loved the
murdered lady, and what holy words she had taught.  All except the real
murderer, who kept declaring she was the guilty one, believed her
innocent.

The king asked her, "Have you any champion who could fight for you?"

At this Constance, falling on her knees, cried out that she had no
champion but God, and prayed that He would defend her innocence.

"Now," cried the king, "bring the holy book which was brought from
Brittany by my fathers, and let the knight swear upon it that the
maiden is guilty."

So they brought the book of the Gospels, and the knight kissed it, but
as soon as he began to take the oath he was felled down as by a
terrible blow, and his neck was found broken and his eyes burst from
his head.  Before them all, in great agony, he died, confessing his
guilt and the innocence of Constance.

King Alla had been much moved by the beauty of Constance and her
innocent looks, and now she was proved guiltless, all his heart went
out to her.  And when he asked her to become his queen she gladly
consented, for she loved him because he had pitied and helped her.
They were soon married amidst the great rejoicing of the people, and
the king and all the land became converted to the Christian faith.

This king also had a mother, named Donegilde, an old heatheness, no
less cruel than the mother of the Soldan.  She hated Constance because
she had been made queen though for fear of her son's wrath she dared
not molest her.

After his honeymoon, King Alla went northward to do battle with the
Scots, who were his foemen, leaving his wife in charge of a bishop and
the good governor, the husband of the murdered Hennegilde.  While he
was absent heaven sent Constance a beautiful little son, whom she named
Maurice.

As soon as the babe was born, the governor sent a messenger to the king
with a letter telling him of his good fortune.  Now it happened this
messenger was a courtier, who wished to keep on good terms with all the
royal family.  So, as soon as he got the letter, he went to Donegilde,
the king's mother, and asked her if she had any message to send her son.

Donegilde was very courteous and begged him to wait till next morning,
while she got her message ready.  She plied the man with wine and
strong liquor till evening, when he slept so fast that nothing could
wake him.  While he was asleep she opened his letters and read all that
the governor had written.  Then this wicked old woman wrote to Alla
that his wife Constance was a witch who had bewitched him and all his
people, but now her true character became plain, and she had given
birth to a horrible, fiend-like creature, who, she said, was his son.
This she put in place of the governor's letter, and dispatched the
messenger at dawn.

King Alla was nearly heart-broken when he read these bad tidings, but
he wrote back to wait all things till he returned, and to harm neither
Constance nor her son.  Back rode the messenger to Donegilde once
again.  She played her tricks over again and got him sound asleep.
Then she took the king's letter and put one in its place commanding the
governor to put Constance and her child aboard the ship in which she
came to these shores and set her afloat.

The good governor could hardly believe his eyes when he read these
orders, and the tears ran over his cheeks for grief.  But he dared not
disobey what he supposed was the command of his king and master, so he
made the vessel ready and went and told Constance what he must do.

She, poor soul, was almost struck dumb with grief.  Then, kneeling
before the governor, she cried, with many tears,--

"If I must go again on the cruel seas, at least this poor little
innocent, who has done no evil, may be spared.  Keep my poor baby till
his father comes back, and perchance he will take pity on him."

But the governor dared not consent, and Constance must go to the ship,
carrying her babe in her arms.  Through the street she walked, the
people following her with tears, she with eyes fixed on heaven and the
infant sobbing on her bosom.  Thus she went on board ship and drifted
away again.

Now, for another season, she went about at the mercy of winds and
waves, in icy waters where winds whistled through the frozen rigging,
and down into tropical seas where she lay becalmed for months in the
glassy water.  Then fresh breezes would spring up and drive her this
way or that, as they listed.  But this time she had her babe for
comfort, and he grew to be a child near five years old before she was
rescued.  And this is the way it happened.  When the Emperor of Rome
heard of the deeds the cruel Soldaness had done, and how his daughter's
husband had been slain, he sent an army to Syria, and all these years
they had besieged the royal city till it was burnt and destroyed.  Now
the fleet, returning to Rome, met the ship in which Constance sailed,
and they fetched her and her child to her native country.  The senator
who commanded the fleet was her uncle, but he knew her not, and she did
not make herself known.  He took her into his own house, and her aunt,
the senator's wife, loved her greatly, never guessing she was her own
princess and kinswoman.

When King Alla got back from his war with the Scots and heard how
Constance had been sent away, he was very angry; but when he questioned
and found the letter which had been sent him was false, and that
Constance had borne him a beautiful boy, he knew not what to think.
When the governor showed him the letter with his own seal which
directed that his wife and child should be sent away, he knew there was
some hidden wickedness in all this.  He forced the messenger to tell
where he had carried the letters, and he confessed he had slept two
nights at the castle of Donegilde.

So it all came out, and the king, in a passion of rage, slew his
mother, and then shut himself up in his castle to give way to grief.

After a time he began to repent his deed, because he remembered it was
contrary to the gentle teachings of the faith Constance had taught him.
In his penitence he resolved to go to Rome on a pilgrimage to atone for
his sin.  So in his pilgrim dress he set out for the great empire.

Now when it was heard in Rome that the great Alla from the North-land
had come thither on a Christian pilgrimage, all the noble Romans vied
to do him honor.  Among others, the senator with whom Constance abode
invited him to a great banquet which he made for him.  While Alla sat
at this feast, his eyes were constantly fixed upon a beautiful boy, one
of the senator's pages, who stood near and filled their goblets with
wine.  At length he said to his host,--"Pray tell me, whence came the
boy who serves you?  Who is he, and do his father and mother live in
the country?"

"A mother he has," answered the senator: "so holy a woman never was
seen.  But if he has a father I cannot tell you."  Then he went on and
told the king of Constance, and how she was found with this bey, her
child, on the pathless sea.

Alla was overjoyed in his heart, for he knew then that this child was
his own son.  Immediately they sent for Constance to come thither.  As
soon as she saw her husband, she uttered a cry and fell into a deep
swoon.  When she was recovered she looked reproachfully at Alla, for
she supposed it was by his order she had been so ruthlessly sent from
his kingdom.  But when, with many tears of pity for her misfortunes,
King Alla told her how he had grieved for her, and how long he had
suffered thus, she was convinced.

Then they embraced each other, and were so happy that no other
happiness, except that of heavenly spirits, could ever equal theirs.

After this, she made herself known to the Emperor, her father, who had
great rejoicing over his long-lost daughter, whom he had thought dead.
For many weeks Rome was full of feasting, and merry-making, and
happiness.  These being over, King Alla, with his dear wife, returned
to his kingdom of England, where they lived in great happiness all the
rest of their days.



THE DOCTOR'S REVENGE.

BY ALOE.

Painfully toiled the camels over the burning sands of Arabia.  Weary
and thirsty were they, for they had not for days had herbage to crop,
or water to drink, as they trod, mile after mile, the barren waste,
where the sands glowed red like a fiery sea.  And weary were the
riders, exhausted with toil and heat, for they dared not stop to rest.
The water which they carried with them was almost spent; some of the
skins which had held it flapped empty against the sides of the camels,
and too well the travelers knew that if they loitered on their way, all
must perish of thirst.

Amongst the travelers in that caravan was a Persian, Sadi by name, a
tall, strong man, with black beard, and fierce, dark eye.  He urged his
tired camel to the side of that of the foremost Arab, the leader and
guide of the rest, and after pointing fiercely toward one of the
travelers a little behind him, thus he spake:

"Dost thou know that yon Syrian Yusef is a dog of a Christian, a
kaffir?" (Kaffir--unbeliever--is a name of contempt given by Moslems,
the followers of the false Prophet, to those who worship our Lord.)

"I know that the hakeem (doctor) never calls on the name of the
Prophet," was the stern reply.

"Dost thou know," continued Sadi, "that Yusef rides the best camel in
the caravan, and has the fullest water-skin, and has shawls and
merchandise with him?"

The leader cast a covetous glance toward the poor Syrian traveler, who
was generally called the hakeem because of the medicines which he gave,
and the many cures which he wrought.

"He has no friends here," said the wicked Sadi; "if he were cast from
his camel and left here to die, there would be none to inquire after
his fate; for who cares what becomes of a dog of a kaffir?"

I will not further repeat the cruel counsels of this bad man, but I
will give the reason for the deadly hatred which he bore toward the
poor hakeem.  Yusef had defended the cause of a widow whom Sadi had
tried to defraud; and Sadi's dishonesty being found out, he had been
punished with stripes, which he had but too well deserved.  Therefore
did he seek to ruin the man who had brought just punishment on him,
therefore he resolved to destroy Yusef by inducing his Arab comrades to
leave him to die in the desert.

Sadi had, alas! little difficulty in persuading the Arabs that it was
no great sin to rob and desert a Christian.  Just as the fiery sun was
sinking over the sands, Yusef, who was suspecting treachery, but knew
not how to escape from it, was rudely dragged off his camel, stripped
of the best part of his clothes, and, in spite of his earnest
entreaties, left to die in the terrible waste.  It would have been less
cruel to slay him at once.

"Oh! leave me at least water--water!" exclaimed the poor victim of
malice and  hatred.

"We'll leave you nothing but your own worthless drugs, hakeem!--take
that!" cried Sadi, as he flung at Yusef's head a tin case containing a
few of his medicines.

Then bending down from Yusef's camel, which he himself had mounted,
Sadi hissed out between his clenched teeth, "Thou hast wronged me--I
have repaid thee, Christian! this is a Moslem's revenge!"

They had gone, the last camel had disappeared from the view of Yusef;
darkness was falling around, and he remained to suffer alone, to die
alone, amidst those scorching-sands!  The Syrian's first feeling was
that of despair, as he stood gazing in the direction of the caravan
which he could no longer see.  Then Yusef lifted up his eyes to the sky
above him: in its now darkened expanse shone the calm evening star,
like a drop of pure light.

Yusef, in thinking over his situation, felt thankful that he had not
been deprived of his camel in an earlier part of his journey, when he
was in the midst of the desert.  He hoped that he was not very far from
its border, and resolved, guided by the stars, to walk as far as his
strength would permit, in the faint hope of reaching a well, and the
habitations of men.  It was a great relief to him that the burning
glare of day was over: had the sun been still blazing over his head, he
must soon have sunk and fainted by the way.  Yusef picked up the small
case of medicines which Sadi in mockery had flung at him; he doubted
whether to burden himself with it, yet was unwilling to leave it
behind.  "I am not likely to live to make use of this, and yet--who
knows?" said Yusef to himself, as, with the case in his hand, he
painfully struggled on over the wide expanse of dreary desert.  "I will
make what efforts I can to preserve the life which God has given."

Struggling against extreme exhaustion, his limbs almost sinking under
his weight, Yusef pressed on his way, till a glowing red line in the
east showed where the blazing sun would soon rise.  What was his eager
hope and joy on seeing that red line broken by some dark pointed
objects that appeared rise out of the sand.  New strength seemed given
to the weary man, for now his ear caught the welcome sound of the bark
of a dog, and then the bleating of sheep.

"God be praised!" exclaimed Yusef, "I, am near the abodes of men!"

Exerting all his powers, the Syrian, made one great effort to reach the
black tents which he now saw distinctly in broad daylight, and which he
knew must belong to some tribe of wandering Bedouin Arabs: he tottered
on for a hundred yards, and then sank exhausted on the sand.

But the Bedouins had seen the poor, solitary stranger, and as
hospitality is one of their leading virtues, some of these wild sons of
the desert now hastened toward Yusef.  They raised him, they held to
his parched lips a most delicious draught of rich camel's milk.  The
Syrian felt as if he were drinking in new life, and was so much revived
by what he had taken, that he was able to accompany his preservers to
the black goat's-hair tent of their Sheik or chief, an elderly man of
noble aspect, who welcomed the stranger kindly.

Yusef had not been long in that tent before he found that he had not
only been guided to a place of safety, but to the very place where his
presence was needed.  The sound of low moans made him turn his eyes
toward a dark corner of the tent.  There lay the only son of the Sheik,
dangerously ill, and, as the Bedouins believed, dying.  Already all
their rough, simple remedies had been tried on the youth, but tried in
vain.  With stern grief the Sheik listened to the moans of pain that
burst from the suffering lad and wrung the heart of the father.

The Syrian asked leave to examine the youth, and was soon at his side.
Yusef very soon perceived that the Bedouin's case was not
hopeless,--that God's blessing on the hakeem's skill might in a few
days effect a wonderful change.  He offered to try what his art and
medicines could do.  The Sheik caught at the last hope held out to him
of preserving the life of his son.  The Bedouins gathered round, and
watched with keen interest the measures which were at once taken by the
stranger hakeem to effect the cure of the lad.

Yusef's success was beyond his hopes.  The medicine which he gave
afforded speedy relief from pain, and within an hour the young Bedouin
had sunk into a deep and refreshing sleep.  His slumber lasted long,
and he awoke quite free from fever, though of course some days elapsed
before his strength was fully restored.

Great was the gratitude of Azim, the Sheik, for the cure of his only
son; and great was the admiration of the simple Bedouins for the skill
of the wondrous hakeem.  Yusef soon had plenty of patients.  The sons
of the desert now looked upon the poor deserted stranger as one sent to
them by heaven; and Yusef himself felt that his own plans had been
defeated, his own course changed by wisdom and love.  He had intended,
as a medical missionary, to fix his abode in some Arabian town: he had
been directed instead to the tents of the Bedouin Arabs.  The wild
tribe soon learned to reverence and love him, and listen to his words.
Azim supplied him with a tent, a horse, a rich striped mantle, and all
that the Syrian's wants required.  Yusef found that he could be happy
as well as useful in his wild desert home.

One day, after months had elapsed, Yusef rode forth with Azim and two
of his Bedouins, to visit a distant encampment of part of the tribe.
They carried with them spear and gun, water, and a small supply of
provisions.  The party had not proceeded far when Azim pointed to a
train of camels that were disappearing in the distance.  "Yonder go
pilgrims to Mecca," he said: "long and weary is the journey before
them; the path which they take will be marked by the bones of camels
that fall and perish by the way."

"Methinks by yon sand-mound," observed Yusef, "I see an object that
looks at this distance like a pilgrim stretched on the waste."

"Some traveler may have fallen sick," said the Sheik, "and be left on
the sand to die."

The words made Yusef at once set spurs to his horse: having himself so
narrowly escaped a dreadful death in the desert, he naturally felt
strong pity for any one in danger of meeting so terrible a fate.  Azim
galloped after Yusef, and having the fleeter horse outstripped him, as
they approached the spot on which lay stretched the form of a man,
apparently dead.

As soon as Azim reached the pilgrim he sprang from his horse, laid his
gun down on the sand, and, taking a skin-bottle of water which hung at
his saddle bow, proceeded to pour some down the throat of the man, who
gave signs of returning life.

Yusef almost instantly joined him; but what were the feelings of the
Syrian when in the pale, wasted features of the sufferer before him he
recognized those of Sadi, his deadly, merciless foe!

"Let me hold the skin-bottle, Sheik!" exclaimed Yusef; "let the draught
of cold water be from my hand."  The Syrian remembered the command, "If
thine enemy thirst, give him drink."

Sadi was too ill to be conscious of anything passing around him; but he
drank with feverish eagerness, as if his thirst could never be slaked.

"How shall we bear him hence?" said the Sheik; "my journey cannot be
delayed."

"Go on thy journey, O Sheik," replied Yusef; "I will return to the
tents with this man, if thou but help me to place him on my horse.  He
shall share my tent and my cup,--he shall be to me as a brother."

"Dost thou know him?" inquired the Sheik.

"Ay, well I know him," the Syrian replied.

Sadi was gently placed on the horse, for it would have been death to
remain long unsheltered on the sand.  Yusef walked beside the horse,
with difficulty supporting the drooping form of Sadi, which would
otherwise soon have fallen to the ground.  The journey on foot was very
exhausting to Yusef, who could scarcely sustain the weight of the
helpless Sadi.  Thankful was the Syrian hakeem when they reached the
Bedouin tents.

Then Sadi was placed on the mat which had served Yusef for a bed.
Yusef himself passed the night without rest, watching at the sufferer's
side.  Most carefully did the hakeem nurse his enemy through a raging
fever.  Yusef spared no effort of skill, shrank from no painful
exertion, to save the life of the man who had nearly destroyed his own!

On the third day the fever abated; on the evening of that day Sadi
suddenly opened his eyes, and, for the first time since his illness,
recognized Yusef, who had, as he believed, perished months before in
the desert.

"Has the dead come to life?" exclaimed the trembling Sadi, fixing upon
Yusef a wild and terrified gaze; "has the injured returned for
vengeance?"

"Nay, my brother," replied Yusef soothingly; "let us not recall the
past, or recall it but to bless Him who has preserved us both from
death."

Tears dimmed the dark eyes of Sadi; he grasped the kind hand which
Yusef held out.  "I have deeply wronged thee," he faltered forth; "how
can I receive all this kindness at thy hand?"

A gentle smile passed over the lips of Yusef; he remembered the cruel
words once uttered by Sadi, and made reply: "If thou hast wronged me,
thus I repay thee: Moslem, this is a Christian's revenge!"



THE WOODCUTTER'S CHILD.

Once upon a time, near a large wood, there lived a woodcutter and his
wife, who had only one child, a little girl three years old; but they
were so poor that they had scarcely food sufficient for every day in
the week, and often they were puzzled to know what they should get to
eat.  One morning the woodcutter went into the wood to work, full of
care, and, as he chopped the trees, there stood before him a tall and
beautiful woman, having a crown of shining stars upon her head, who
thus addressed him:

"I am the Guardian Angel of every Christian child; thou art poor and
needy; bring me thy child, and I will take her with me.  I will be her
mother, and henceforth she shall be under my care."  The woodcutter
consented, and calling his child gave her to the Angel, who carried her
to the land of Happiness.  There everything went happily; she ate sweet
bread and drank pure milk; her clothes were gold, and her playfellows
were beautiful children.  When she became fourteen years old, the
Guardian Angel called her to her side and said, "My dear child, I have
a long journey for thee.  Take these keys of the thirteen doors of the
land of Happiness; twelve of them thou mayest open, and behold the
glories therein; but the thirteenth, to which this little key belongs,
thou art forbidden to open.  Beware! if thou dost disobey, harm will
befall thee."

The maiden promised to be obedient, and, when the Guardian Angel was
gone, began her visits to the mansions of Happiness.  Every day one
door was unclosed, until she had seen all the twelve.  In each mansion
there sat an angel, surrounded by a bright light.  The maiden rejoiced
at the glory, and the child who accompanied her rejoiced with her.  Now
the forbidden door alone remained.  A great desire possessed the maiden
to know what was hidden there; and she said to the child, "I will not
quite open it, nor will I go in, but I will only unlock the door so
that we may peep through the chink."  "No, no," said the child; "that
will be a sin.  The Guardian Angel has forbidden it, and misfortune
would soon fall upon us."

At this the maiden was silent, but the desire still remained in her
heart, and tormented her continually, so that she had no peace.  One
day, however, all the children were away, and she thought, "Now I am
alone and can peep in, no one will know what I do;" so she found the
keys, and, taking them in her hand, placed the right one in the lock
and turned it round.  Then the door sprang open, and she saw three
angels sitting on a throne, surrounded by a great light.  The maiden
remained a little while standing in astonishment; and then, putting her
finger in the light, she drew it back and it was turned into gold.
Then great alarm seized her, and, shutting the door hastily, she ran
away.  But her fear only increased more and more, and her heart beat so
violently that she thought it would burst; the gold also on her finger
would not come off, although she washed it and rubbed it with all her
strength.

Not long afterward the Guardian Angel came, back from her journey, and
calling the maiden to her, demanded the keys of the mansion.  As she
delivered them up, the Angel looked in her face and asked, "Hast thou
opened the thirteenth door?"--"No," answered the maiden.

Then the Angel laid her hand upon the maiden's heart, and felt how
violently it was beating; and she knew that her command had been
disregarded, and that the child had opened the door.  Then she asked
again, "Hast thou opened the thirteenth door?"--"No," said the maiden,
for the second time.

Then the Angel perceived that the child's finger had become golden from
touching the light, and she knew that the child was guilty; and she
asked her for the third time, "Hast thou opened the thirteenth
door?"--"No," said the maiden again.

Then the Guardian Angel replied, "Thou hast not obeyed me, nor done my
bidding; therefore thou art no longer worthy to remain among good
children."

And the maiden sank down in a deep sleep, and when she awoke she found
herself in the midst of a wilderness.  She wished to call out, but she
had lost her voice.  Then she sprang up, and tried to run away; but
wherever she turned thick bushes held her back, so that she could not
escape.  In the deserted spot in which she was now enclosed, there
stood an old hollow tree; this was her dwelling-place.  In this place
she slept by night, and when it rained and blew she found shelter
within it.  Roots and wild berries were her food, and she sought for
them as far as she could reach.  In the autumn she collected the leaves
of the trees, and laid them in her hole; and when the frost and snow of
the winter came, she clothed herself with them, for her clothes had
dropped into rags.  But during the sunshine she sat outside the tree,
and her long hair fell down on all sides and covered her like a mantle.
Thus she remained a long time experiencing the misery and poverty of
the world.

But, once, when the trees had become green again, the King of the
country was hunting in the forest, and as a bird flew into the bushes
which surrounded the wood, he dismounted, and, tearing the brushwood
aside, cut a path for himself with his sword.  When he had at last made
his way through, he saw a beautiful maiden, who was clothed from head
to foot with her own golden locks, sitting under the tree.  He stood in
silence, and looked at her for some time in astonishment; at last he
said, "Child, how came you into this wilderness?"  But the maiden
answered not, for she had become dumb.  Then the King asked, "Will you
go with me to my castle?"  At that she nodded her head, and the King,
taking her in his arms, put her on his horse and rode away home.  Then
he gave her beautiful clothing, and everything in abundance.  Still she
could not speak; but her beauty was so great, and so won upon the
King's heart, that after a little while he married her.

When about a year had passed away, the Queen brought a son into the
world, and in that night, while lying alone in her bed the Guardian
Angel appeared to her and said:

"Wilt thou tell the truth and confess that thou didst unlock the
forbidden door?  For then will I open thy mouth and give thee again the
power of speech; but if thou remainest obstinate in thy sin then will I
take from thee thy new-born babe."

And the power to answer was given to her, but she remained hardened,
and said, "No, I did not open the door;" and at those words the
Guardian Angel took the child out of her arms and disappeared with him.

The next morning, when the child was not to be seen, a murmur arose
among the people, that their Queen was a murderess, who had destroyed
her only son; but, although she heard everything, she could say
nothing.  But the King did not believe the ill report because of his
great love for her.

About a year afterward another son was born, and on the night of his
birth the Guardian Angel again appeared, and asked, "Wilt thou confess
that thou didst open the forbidden door?  Then will I restore to thee
thy son, and give thee the power of speech; but if thou hardenest
thyself in thy sin, then will I take this new-born babe also with me."

Then the Queen answered again, "No, I did not open the door;" so the
Angel took the second child out of her arms and bore him away.  On the
morrow, when the infant could not be found, the people said openly that
the Queen had slain him, and the King's councillors advised that she
should be brought to trial.  But the King's affection was still so
great that he would not believe it, and he commanded his councillors
never again to mention the report on pain of death.

The next year a beautiful little girl was born, and for the third time
the Guardian Angel appeared and said to the Queen, "Follow me;" and,
taking her by the hand, she led her to the kingdom of Happiness, and
showed to her the two other children, who were playing merrily.  The
Queen rejoiced at the sight, and the Angel said, "Is thy heart not yet
softened?  If thou wilt confess that thou didst unlock the forbidden
door, then will I restore to thee both thy sons."  But the Queen again
answered, "No, I did not open it;" and at these words she sank upon the
earth, and her third child was taken from her.

When this was rumored abroad the next day, all the people exclaimed,
"The Queen is a murderess; she must be condemned;" and the King could
not this time repulse his councillors.  Thereupon a trial was held, and
since the Queen could make no good answer or defence, she was condemned
to die upon a funeral pile.  The wood was collected; she was bound to
the stake, and the fire was lighted all around her.  Then the iron
pride of her heart began to soften, and she was moved to repentance;
and she thought, "Could I but now, before my death, confess that I
opened the door!"  And her tongue was loosened, and she cried aloud,
"Thou good Angel, I confess."  At these words the rain descended from
heaven and extinguished the fire; then a great light shone above, and
the Angel appeared and descended upon the earth, and by her side were
the Queen's two sons, one on her right hand and the other on her left,
and in her arms she bore the new-born babe.  Then the Angel restored to
the Queen her three children, and loosening her tongue promised her
great happiness and said, "Whoeverwill repent and confess their sins,
they shall be forgiven."



SHOW YOUR COLORS.

BY REV. C. H. MEAD.

I was riding on the train through the eastern section of North
Carolina.  Nothing can be flatter than that portion of the country,
unless it be the religious experience of some people.  The rain was
pouring down fast, and, for a person so inclined, not a better day and
place for the blues could be found.   Looking out of the car windows
brought nothing more interesting to view than pine trees, bony mules
and razor-back hogs.  Groups of men, white and black, gathered at each
station to see the train arrive and depart.  Each passenger that
entered brought in more damp, moisture and blues.

Two men at last came in and took the seat in front of me.  Shortly
after, one of them took a bottle from his pocket, pulled the cork, and
handed the bottle to his companion.  He took a drink, and the smell of
liquor filled the car.  Then the first one took a drink, and back and
forth the bottle passed, until at last it was empty and they were full.
Then one of them commenced swearing, and such blasphemy I never heard
in all my life.  It made the very air blue--women shrank back, while
the heads of men were uplifted to see where the stream of profanity
came from.  It went on for some time, until I began talking to myself.
I always did like to talk to a sensible man.

"Henry, that man belongs to the devil."

"There is no doubt about that," I replied.

"He is not ashamed of it."

"Not a bit ashamed."

"Whom do you belong to?"

"I belong to the Lord Jesus Christ."

"Are you glad or sorry?"

"I am glad--very glad."

"Who in the car knows that man belongs to the devil?"

"Everybody knows that, for he has not kept it a secret."

"Who in the car knows you belong to the Lord Jesus?"

"Why, no one knows it, for you see I am a stranger around here."

"Are you willing they should know whom you belong to?"

"Yes; I am willing."

"Very well, will you let them know it?"

I thought a moment and then said, "By the help of my Master I will."

Then straightening up and taking a good breath, I began singing in a
voice that could be heard by all in the car:

  There is a fountain filled with blood,
    Drawn from Immanuel's veins;
  And sinners plunged beneath that flood,
    Lose all their guilty stains.

Before I had finished the first verse and chorus, the passengers had
crowded down around me, and the blasphemer had turned round and looked
at me with a face resembling a thunder cloud.  As I finished the
chorus, he said:

"What are you doing?"

"I am singing," I replied.

"Well," said he, "any fool can understand that."

"I am glad you understand it."

"What are you singing?"

"I am singing the religion of the Lord Jesus."

"Well, you quit."

"Quit what?"

"Quit singing your religion on the cars."

"I guess not," I replied, "I don't belong to the Quit family; my name
is Mead.  For the last half hour you have been standing by your master;
now for the next half hour I am going to stand up for my Master."

"Who is my master?"

"The devil is your master--while Christ is mine.  I am as proud of my
Master as you are of yours.  Now I am going to have my turn, if the
passengers don't object."

A chorus of voices cried out: "Sing on, stranger, we like that."

I sung on, and as the next verse was finished, the blasphemer turned
his face away, and I saw nothing of him after that but the back of his
head, and that was the handsomest part of him.  He left the train soon
after, and I am glad to say I've never seen him since.  Song after song
followed, and I soon had other voices to help me.  When the song
service ended, an old man came to me, put out his hand, and said, "Sir,
I owe you thanks and a confession."

"Thanks for what?"

"Thanks for rebuking that blasphemer."

"Don't thank me for that, but give thanks to my Master.  I try to stand
up for Him wherever I am.  What about the confession?"

"I am in my eighty-third year.  I have been a preacher of the Gospel
for over sixty years.  When I heard that man swearing so, I wanted to
rebuke him.  I rose from my seat two or three times, to do so, but my
courage failed.  I have not much longer to live, but never again will I
refuse to show my colors anywhere."



HER DANGER SIGNAL.

BY EMMA C. HEWITT.

She did--I am sorry to record it, but she did--Letty Bascombe salted
her pie-crust with a great, big tear.

Not that she had none of the other salt, nor that she intended to do
it, but, all of a sudden, a big tear, oh, as big as the end of your
thumb, if you are a little, little girl, ran zigzag across her cheek
down to her chin, and, before she could wipe it off, a sudden, sharp
sob took her unawares and, plump, right into the pastry, went this big
fat tear.  Of course, if you are even a little girl you must know that
it is as useless to hunt for tears in pie-crust as it is to "hunt for a
needle in a hay-stack."  So Letty did not even try to recover her lost
property.  But it had one good effect, it made her laugh, and, between
you and me (I tell this to you as a secret), Letty, like every other
girl, little or big, fat or thin, was much pleasanter to look upon when
she smiled than when she cried.  But she didn't smile for that.  Oh,
dear, no.  She smiled because she couldn't help it.  She was a
good-natured, sweet-tempered little puss, most times, and possessed of
a very sunny disposition.  "Why did she salt her pie-crust with tears,
then?" I hear you ask.  Ah, "Why?"  And wait till I tell you.  The most
curious part of it all was that it was a Thanksgiving crust.  There,
now.  The worst is out.  A common, every-day, week-a-day pie, or even a
Sunday pie, would be bad enough, but a Thanksgiving pie of all things.
Why, everybody is happy at Thanksgiving.

Well, not quite everybody, it seems, because if that was so Letty
wouldn't be crying.

Now let me tell you why poor Letty Bascombe, with her sunny temper,
cried on this day while she was making pies.

You see, she was only fifteen, and when one is fifteen, and there is
fun going on that one can't be in, it is very trying, to say the least.
Not that tears help it the least in the world, no, indeed.  In fact,
tears at such times always make matters worse.

Well, she was only fifteen, as I was saying, and, instead of going with
the family into town, she had to stay home and make pies.

Now the family were no relation to her.  She was only Mrs. Mason's
"help."  Eighteen months ago Letty's mother (a widow) had died.  Her
brother had gone away off to a large city, and she had come to Mrs.
Mason's to live.  Mrs. Mason was as kind as she could be to her, but
you know one must feel "blue" at times when one has lost all but one
relative in the world, and that one is a dear brother who is way, way
off, even if one is surrounded by the kindest friends.

So now, tell me, don't you think Letty had something to shed tears
about?

"I j-just c-can't help it.  I'm not one bit 'thankful' this
Thanksgiving, and I'm not going to pretend I am.  So there.  And here I
am making nasty pies, when everybody else has gone to town having a
good time.  No, I'm not one bit thankful, so there, and I feel as if
turkey and cranberries and pumpkin pie would choke me."

But after Letty "had her cry out" she felt better, and in a little
while her nimble fingers had finished her work and she was ready for a
little amusement.  This amusement she concluded to find by taking a
little walk to the end of the garden.  The garden ended abruptly in a
ravine, and it was a source of unfailing delight to go down there and,
from a secure position, see the trains go thundering by.

In fifteen minutes the train would be along and then she would go back.
Idly gazing down from her secure height, her eye was suddenly caught by
something creeping along the ground.  Letty's keen sight at once
decided this to be a man--a man with a log in his hand.  This log he
carefully adjusted across the track.

"What a very curious--" began Letty.  But her exclamation was cut short
by the awful intuition that the man meant to wreck the on-coming train.

All thought of private sorrow fled in an instant.  What could she do?
What must she do, for save the train she must, of course.  Who else was
there to do it?  And oh, such a little time to do it in.  To go around
by the path would take a half-hour.  To climb down the side of the
ravine would be madness.  Suddenly her mind was illuminated.  Yes, she
could do that, and like the wind she was up at the house and back
again, only this time she steered for a spot a hundred rods up, just
the other side of the curve.

In a trice she had whipped off her scarlet balmoral, the balmoral she
hated so, and had attached to it one end of the hundred feet of rope
she had brought from the house.

Could she do it?  Could she crawl out on that branch there and hold
that danger signal down in front of the train?

She shuddered and covered her face with her hands.  O, no, no, she
never could do it.  Suppose she should fall off or the limb break.  But
she wouldn't fall, she mustn't fall.  Hark!  There is the engine.  If
she is going to save the train there is no time for further delay.
With a prayer for guidance and protection, slowly, oh so slowly, that
it seemed hours before she got there, Letty crawled out to the branch
and dangled below her, across the track, her flag of danger.  She could
not see what was going on, because she dared not look down.  So,
looking constantly up (and, children, believe me, "looking up" is one
of the best things you can do when in danger or trouble), and sending a
silent wordless petition for the safety of the train, Letty held her
precarious post.  Hark, it is slowing up.  Her balmoral has been seen
and the train is saved.  The tension over, she cautiously turned and
crawled slowly back to land, and then dropped in a dead faint.
Recovering, however, she went slowly up to the house, trembling and
sick and shivering with the cold from the loss of the warm skirt
hanging on the clothes-line down in the ravine.

Relaxed and limp she sat down in the big rocker before the kitchen
stove, a confused mass of thoughts racing through her head.  Dazed and
excited, she hardly knew how time was passing until she heard the sound
of wheels.

"O, Letty, the funniest thing--" shouted Laura, bursting into the
kitchen.

"Wait, let me tell," interrupted Jamie.  "Why, Letty, somebody's hung--"

"Somebody hung," exclaimed Letty, in horror.  "Why, Laura Mason, how
dare you say that was funny?"

"I didn't--" began Laura, indignantly, but here Mrs. Mason interfered
with a "Sh-sh-sh, children, mercy, goodness, you nearly drive me wild.
Here.  Laura, take mother's bonnet and shawl up-stairs.

"Here, Jamie, take my boots and bring me my slippers.  I'm that tired I
don't know what to do with myself.  Goodness, but it feels good to get
home.  The strangest thing's happened, Letty.  The afternoon express
was coming into town this afternoon, and, when it was about two miles
out, all of a sudden the engineer saw a red flannel petticoat hanging
right down in the middle of the track, hanging by a clothes-line, mind,
from the limb of a tree.  He thought at first it was a joke, but
changed his mind and thought he'd look further, and would you believe
it, he found a great, big log across the track.  If the train had come
on that I guess there'd been more grief than Thanksgiving in this
neighborhood to-morrow."

Mrs. Mason had said all this along in one steady strain, while she was
walking round the room putting away her parcels.

Getting no response, she turned to look at Letty for the first time.
"Why goodness!  The girl has fainted.  What on earth do you suppose is
the matter with her?

"Jamie, come quick.  Get me some water.

"There," when the restorative had had the desired effect.  "Why, what
ailed you, Letty?  You weren't sick when I went away.  Bless me!  I
hope you ain't going to be sick, and such a surprise as we've got for
you, too, out in the barn.  But there.  If that isn't just like me.  I
didn't mean to tell you yet."

"Why, mother, mother," exclaimed Father Mason excitedly as he rushed
into the room.  "Somebody's just come from the village with this,"
flourishing Letty's skirt wildly around, "and they say the train was
stopped right back of our house."

"For the land's sake, Job!  Well, if that ain't our Letty's red
balmoral.  How did it--is that the--Letty, was it you?" she finished up
rather disjointedly.

Letty nodded, unable to speak just then.

"Well, who'd 'a' thought it.  So you saved the train!  Do tell us all
about it."

"Mother, don't you think we'd better wait a bit till she looks a mite
stronger," suggested kind-hearted Job Mason.

"Well, I don't know but you're right, but I'm clean beat out.  Don't
you think, Job, that we might bring Letty's surprise--but there's the
surprise walking in from the barn of itself.  Tired of waiting, likely
as not."

"Yes, Letty," broke in Laurie.  "Did you know your brother had come
home and that you saved his life this afternoon with that old red skirt
of yours?"  So the mischief was out at last, and though the excitement
and everything nearly killed Letty, it didn't quite, or I don't think I
would have undertaken to tell this story.  I don't like sad
Thanksgiving stories.  Not that there aren't any; I only say I don't
like them, that's all.

Well, sitting in her brother's lap--(what, fifteen years old?)--yes,
sitting in her brother's lap, she had to tell over and over again all
she thought and felt that afternoon, and to hear over and over again
what a dreadful time they had keeping the secret from her.  How they
were so afraid that she would find out that they expected to meet her
brother--how he had been so anxious that she should not be told lest by
some accident he shouldn't arrive, and then she would be bitterly
disappointed and her Thanksgiving spoiled.

Accident!  Letty shuddered each time that they reached that part of the
story, for she thought how nearly the accident had happened, and as she
knelt to say her prayers that night it was with a penitent heart that
she remembered how she had felt in the morning, and she had added
fervently, "Dear Lord, I thank Thee for this beautiful Thanksgiving."



THE KNIGHT'S DILEMMA.

(FROM CHAUCER.)

One of the nobles of King Arthur's court had grievously transgressed
the laws of chivalry and knightly honor, and for this cause had he been
condemned to suffer death.  Great sorrow reigned among all the lords
and dames, and Queen Guinevere, on bent knees, had sued the king's
pardon for the recreant knight.  At length, after many entreaties,
Arthur's generous heart relented, and he gave the doomed life into the
queen's hands to do with it as she willed.

Then Guinevere, delighted at the success of her suit with her royal
husband, sent for the knight to appear before her, in her own bower,
where she sat among the ladies of her chamber.

When the knight, who was called Sir Ulric, had reached the royal lady's
presence, he would have thrown himself at her feet with many thanks for
the dear boon which she had caused the king to grant him.  But she
motioned him to listen to what she had to say, before she would receive
his gratitude.

"Defer all thanks, Sir Knight," said the queen, "until first I state to
thee the conditions on which thou yet holdest thy life.  It is granted
thee to be free of death, if within one year and a day from this
present thou art able to declare to me what of earthly things all women
like the best.  If in that time thou canst tell, past all dispute, what
this thing be, thou shalt have thy life and freedom.  Otherwise, on my
queenly honor, thou diest, as the king had first decreed."

When the knight heard this he was filled with consternation and dismay
too great for words.  At once in his heart he accused the king of
cruelty in permitting him to drag out a miserable existence for a whole
year in endeavoring to fulfill a condition which in his thoughts he at
once resolved to be impossible.  For who could decide upon what would
please all ladies best, when it was agreed by all wise men that no two
of the uncertain sex would ever fix upon one and the same thing?

With these desponding thoughts Sir Ulric went out of the queen's
presence, and prepared to travel abroad over the country, if perchance
by inquiring far and wide he might find out the answer which would save
his life.

From house to house and from town to town traveled Sir Ulric, asking
maid and matron, young or old, the same question.  But never, from any
two, did he receive a like answer.  Some told him that women best loved
fine clothes; some that they loved rich living; some loved their
children best; others desired most to be loved; and some loved best to
be considered free from curiosity, which, since Eve, had been said to
be a woman's chief vice.  But among all, no answers were alike, and at
each the knight's heart sank in despair, and he seemed as if he
followed and ignis fatuus which each day led him farther and farther
from the truth.

One day, as he rode through a pleasant wood, the knight alighted and
sat himself down under a tree to rest, and bewail his unhappy lot.
Sitting here, in a loud voice he accused his unfriendly stars that they
had brought him into so sad a state.  While he spoke thus, he looked up
and beheld an old woman, wrapped in a heavy mantle, standing beside
him.  Sir Ulric thought he had never seen so hideous a hag as she who
now stood gazing at him.  She was wrinkled and toothless, and bent with
age.  One eye was shut, and in the other was a leer so horrible that he
feared her some uncanny creature of the wood, and crossed himself as he
looked on her.

"Good knight," said the old crone, before he could arise to leave her
sight, "tell me, I pray thee, what hard thing ye seek.  I am old, and
have had much wisdom.  It may happen that I can help you out of the
great trouble into which you have come."

The knight, in spite of her loathsomeness, felt a ray of hope at this
offer, and in a few words told her what he was seeking.

As soon as she had heard, the old creature burst into so loud a laugh
that between laughing and mumbling Sir Ulric feared she would choke
herself before she found breath to answer him.

"You are but a poor hand at riddles," she said at length, "if you
cannot guess what is so simple.  Let me but whisper two words in your
ear, and you shall be able to tell the queen what neither she nor her
ladies nor any woman in all the kingdom shall be able to deny.  But I
give my aid on one condition,--that if I be right in what I tell, you
shall grant me one boon, whatever I ask, if the same be in your power."

The knight gladly consented, and on this the old hag whispered in his
ear two little words, which caused him to leap upon his horse with
great joy and set out directly for the queen's court.

When he had arrived there, and given notice of his readiness to answer
her, Guinevere held a great meeting in her chief hall, of all the
ladies in the kingdom.  Thither came old and young, wife, maid and
widow, to decide if Sir Ulric answered aright.

The queen was placed on a high throne as judge if what he said be the
truth, and all present waited eagerly for his time to speak.  When,
therefore, it was demanded of him what he had to say, all ears
stretched to hear his answer.

"Noble lady," said the knight, when he saw all eyes and ears intent
upon him, "I have sought far and wide the answer you desired.  And I
find that the thing of all the world which pleaseth women best, is to
have their own way in all things."

When the knight had made this answer in a clear and manly voice, which
was heard all over the audience chamber, there was much flutter and
commotion among all the women present, and many were at first inclined
to gainsay him.  But Queen Guinevere questioned all thoroughly, and
gave fair judgment, and at the end declared that the knight had solved
the question, and there was no woman there who did not confess that he
spoke aright.

On this Ulric received his life freely, and was preparing to go out in
great joy, when suddenly as he turned to go, he saw in his way the
little old woman to whom he owed the answer which had bought his life.
At sight of her, more hideous than ever, among the beauty of the court
ladies, who looked at her in horror of her ugliness, the knight's heart
sank again.  Before he could speak she demanded of him her boon.

"What would you ask of me?" said Ulric, fearfully.

"My boon is only this," answered the hag, "that in return for thy life,
which my wit has preserved to thee, thou shalt make me thy true and
loving wife."

Sir Ulric was filled with horror, and would gladly have given all his
goods and his lands to escape such a union.  But not anything would the
old crone take in exchange for his fair self; and the queen and all the
court agreeing that she had the right to enforce her request, which he
had promised on his knightly honor, he was at last obliged to yield and
make her his wife.

Never in all King Arthur's court were sadder nuptials than these.  No
feasting, no joy, but only gloom and heaviness, which, spreading itself
from the wretched Sir Ulric, infected all the court.  Many a fair dame
pitied him sorely, and not a knight but thanked his gracious stars that
he did not stand in the like ill fortune.

After the wedding ceremonies, as Ulric sat alone in his chamber, very
heavy-hearted and sad, his aged bride entered and sat down hear him.
But he turned his back upon her, resolving that now she was his wife,
he would have no more speech with her.

While he sat thus inattentive, she began to speak with him, and in
spite of his indifference, Sir Ulric could but confess that her voice
was passing sweet, and her words full of wit and sense.  In a long
discourse she painted to him the advantage of having a bride who from
very gratitude would always be most faithful and loving.  She instanced
from history and song all those who by beauty had been betrayed, and by
youth had been led into folly.  At last she said:--

"Now, my sweet lord, I pray thee tell me this.  Would you rather I
should be as I am, and be to you a true and humble wife, wise in
judgment, subject in all things to your will, or young and foolish, and
apt to betray your counsels.  Choose now betwixt the two."

Then the knight, who had listened in much wonder to the wisdom with
which she spoke, and had pondered over her words while speaking, could
not help being moved by the beauty of her conversation, which surpassed
the beauty of any woman's face which he had ever seen.  Under this
spell he answered her:--

"Indeed I am content to choose you even as you are.  Be as you will.  A
man could have no better guidance than the will of so sensible a wife."

On this his bride uttered a glad cry.

"Look around upon me, my good lord," she said; "since you are willing
to yield to my will in this, behold that I am not only wise, but young
and fair also.  The enchantment, which held me thus aged and deformed,
till I could find a knight who in spite of my ugliness would marry me,
and would be content to yield to my will, is forever removed.  Now, I
am your fair, as well as your loving wife."

Turning around, the knight beheld a lady sweet and young, more lovely
in her looks than Guinevere herself.  With happy tears she related how
the enchantments had been wrought which held her in the form of an
ancient hag until he had helped to remove the spell.  And from that
time forth they lived in great content, each happy to yield equally to
each other in all things.



HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS.

BY REV. C. H. MEAD.

"Black yer boots, mister?  Shine 'em up--only a nickel."  Such were the
cries that greeted me from half a dozen boot-blacks as I came through
the ferry gates with my boots loaded down with New Jersey mud.  Never
did barnacles stick to the bottom of a vessel more tenaciously, or
politician hold on to office with a tighter grip, than did that mud
cling to my boots.  And never did flies scent a barrel of sugar more
quickly than that horde of boot-blacks discovered my mud-laden
extremities.  They swooped down upon me with their piercing cries,
until many of my fellow-passengers gazed on my boots with looks that
seemed to rebuke me for my temerity in daring to bring such a large
amount of soil to add to the already over-stocked supply of the city.
My very boots seemed to plead with me to let one of those boys relieve
them of the load that weighed them down.  But, behold my dilemma--six
persistent, lusty, vociferous boys clamoring for one job, while I, as
arbiter, must deal out elation to one boy, and dejection to the five.

"Silence!  Fall into line for inspection!"  Behold my brigade, standing
in line, and no two of them alike in size, feature or dress.  All
looked eager, and five of them looked at my boots and pointed their
index fingers at the same objects.  The sixth boy held up his head in a
manly way and looked me in the eye.  I looked him over and was affected
in two ways.  His clothes touched my funny bone and made me laugh
before I knew it.  If those pants had been made for that boy, then
since that time there had been a great growth in that boy or a great
shrinkage in the pants.  But, if the pants were several sizes too small
and fit him too little, the coat was several sizes too large and fit
him too much, so that his garments gave him the appearance of being a
small child from his waist down, and an old man from his waist up.  The
laugh that came as my sense of humor was touched, instantly ceased as I
saw the flush that came to the boy's face.  The other five boys wanted
to get at my boots, but this one had got at my heart, and I made up my
mind he should get at my boots as well, and straightway made known my
decision.  This at once brought forth a volley of jibes and jeers and
cutting remarks.  "Oh, 'His Royal Highness' gets the job, and he will
be prouder and meaner than ever, he will.  Say, mister, he's too proud
to live, he is.  He thinks he owns the earth, he does."

The flush deepened on the boy's face, and I drove his assailants away
ere I let him begin his work.

"Now, my boy, take your time, and you shall have extra pay for the job;
pardon me for laughing at you; don't mind those boys, but tell me why
they call you 'His Royal Highness?'"

He gazed up in my face a moment with a hungry look, and I said, "You
can trust me."

"Well, sir, they thinks I'm proud and stuck-up, 'cause I won't pitch
pennies and play 'craps' with 'em, and they says I'm stingy and trying
to own the earth, 'cause I won't chew tobacco and drink beer, or buy
the stuff for 'em.  They says my father must be a king, for I wears
such fashionable clothes, and puts on so many airs, but that I run away
from home 'cause I wanted to boss my father and be king myself.  So
they calls me 'His Royal Highness.'"

There was a tremble in his voice as he paused a moment, and then he
continued:

"If I ever had a father, I never seen him, and if, I had a mother, I
wish someone would tell me who she was.  How can a feller be proud and
stuck-up who ain't got no father and no mother, and no name only Joe?
They calls me stingy 'cause I'm saving all the money I can, but I ain't
saving it for myself--I'm saving it for Jessie."

"Is Jessie your sister?" I asked.

"No, sir; I ain't got no relatives."

"Perhaps, then, she is your sweetheart," I said.

Again he looked up in my face and said very earnestly, "Did you ever
know a boot-black without any name to have an angel for a sweetheart?"

His eyes were full of tears, and I made no answer, though I might have
told him I had found a boot-black who had a big, warm heart even if he
had no sweetheart.  Very abruptly he said:

"You came over on the boat; what kind of a land is it over across the
river?"

"It is very pleasant in the country," I replied.

"Is it a land of pure delight, where saints immortal reign?"

Having just come from New Jersey where the infamous race track, and the
more infamous rum-traffic legalized by law, would sink the whole State
in the Atlantic Ocean, if it were not that it had a life preserver in
Ocean Grove, I was hardly prepared to vouch for it being that kind of a
land.

"Why do you ask that?" I said.

"Because I hear Jessie sing about it so much, and when I asked her
about it, she said it's a land where there's green fields, and flowers
that don't wither, and rivers of delight, and where the sun always
shines, and she wants to go there so much.  I hasn't told anybody about
it before, but I eats as little as I can and gets along with these
clothes what made you laugh at me, and I'm saving up my money to take
Jessie to that land of pure delight just as soon as I gets enough.
Does yer know where that land is?"

"I think I do, my boy, but you haven't told me yet who Jessie is."

"Jessie's an angel, but she's sick.  She, lives up in a room in the
tenement, and I lives in the garret near by.  She ain't got no father,
and her mother don't get much work, for she can't go out to work and
take care of Jessie, too.  She cries a good deal when Jessie don't see
her, 'cause she thinks she is going to lose Jessie, but over in that
land of pure delight, Jessie says nobody is sick, and everybody who
goes there gets well right away, and, oh sir, I wants to take Jessie
there just as soon as I can.  I takes her a flower every night, and
then I just sits and looks at her face, until my heart gets warmer and
warmer, and do yer think I could come out of such a place and then
swear and drink, and chew tobacco, and pitch pennies, and tell lies?  I
tells Jessie how the boys calls me 'His Royal Highness,' and she tells
me I musn't mind it, and I musn't get mad, but just attend to my work.
And--and--and, oh sir, I wanted to tell somebody all this, for I always
tries to look bright when I goes in to see Jessie, and not let her know
I am fretting about anything; but I does want to take Jessie to the
land where flowers always bloom and people are always well.  That's so
little for me to do after all the good that's come to me from knowing
Jessie.  But, I begs yer pardon for keeping yer so long, and I thanks
yer for letting me tell yer about Jessie."

Ah, the boys named him better than they knew, for here was a prince in
truth, and despite his rags "His Royal Highness" was a more befitting
name than Joe.

"Where does Jessie live, my boy?"

"Oh, sir, yer isn't going to take Jessie to that land of pure delight,
and spoil all my pleasure.  I does want to do it myself.  Yer won't be
so mean as that, after listening to what I've been telling yer, will
yer?"

"Not I, my boy, not I.  Just let me go and see Jessie and her mother,
and whatever I can do for them, I'll do it through you."

A little persuasion, and then "His Royal Highness" and I made our way
to the tenement and began climbing the stairs.  We had gone up five
flights and were mounting the sixth, when the boy stopped suddenly and
motioned for me to listen.  The voice of a woman reached my ear--a
voice with deep grief in every tone--saying, "God is our refuge and
strength, a very present help in time of trouble."  A pause--then a
sob--and the voice wailing rather than singing:

  Other refuge have I none,
    Hangs my helpless soul on Thee;
  Leave, oh, leave me not alone,
    Still support and comfort me.
  All my trust on Thee is stayed,
    All my help from Thee I bring,
  Cover my defenceless head,
    With the shadow of Thy wing.


The boy grasped my hand a moment--gasped out "That's Jessie's mother,
something's happened"--and then bounded up the stairs and into the
room.  I followed him and found sure enough something had happened, for
Jessie had gone to the land of pure delight, and the mother stood
weeping beside her dead.  On the face of Jessie lingered a smile, for
she was well at last.  In her hand was a pure white rosebud, the last
flower Joe had carried to her the evening before.  Her last message to
him was that she had gone to the land of pure delight, and for him to
be sure and follow her there.

I draw the curtain over the boy's grief.  His savings bought the coffin
in which Jessie was laid under the green sod.  Where "His Royal
Highness" is, must for the present remain a secret between Joe and
myself.  His face and his feet are turned toward the land of pure
delight.  His heart is there already.  You have his story, and it may
help you to remember that some paupers wear fine linen and broadcloth,
while here and there a prince is to be found clothed in rags.



PATIENT GRISELDA.

Many years ago, in a lovely country of Italy, shut in by Alpine
mountains, there lived a noble young duke, who was lord over all the
land.  He was one of a long line of good princes, and his people loved
him dearly.  They had only one fault to find with him, for he made good
laws, and ruled them tenderly; but alas! he would not marry.  So his
people feared he would not leave any son to inherit his dukedom.  Every
morning his wise counsellors asked him if he had made up his mind on
the subject of marriage, and every morning the young duke heard them
patiently; and as soon as they had spoken, he answered, "I am thinking
of marriage, my lords; but this is a matter which requires much
thought."

Then he called for his black hunting-steed and held up his gloved hand
for his white falcon to come and alight upon his wrist, and off he
galloped to the hunt, of which he was passionately fond, and which
absorbed all the time that was not occupied with the cares of his
government.

But after a while, his counsellors insisted on being answered more
fully.

"Most dear prince," urged they, "only fancy what a dreadful thing it
would be if you should be taken from your loving people, and leave no
one in your place.  What fighting, and confusion, and anarchy there
would be over your grave!  All this could never happen, if you had a
sweet wife, who would bring you, from God, a noble son, to grow up to
be your successor."

The morning on which they urged this so strongly, Duke Walter stood on
the steps of his palace, in his hunting-suit of green velvet, with his
beautiful falcon perched on his wrist, while a page in waiting stood by
holding his horse.  Suddenly he faced about, and looked full at his
advisers.

"What you say is very wise," he answered.  "To-day I am going to follow
your advice.  This is my wedding-day."

Here all the counsellors stared at each other with round eyes.

"Only you must promise me one thing," continued the duke.  "Whoever I
marry, be she duchess or beggar, old or young, ugly or handsome, not
one of you must find fault with her, but welcome her as my wife, and
your honored lady."

All the courtiers, recovering from their surprise, cried out, "We will;
we promise."

Thereupon, all the court who were standing about gave a loud cheer; and
the little page, who held the horse's bridle, tossed up his cap, and
turned two double somersaults on the pavement of the court-yard.  Then
the duke leaped into his saddle, humming a song of how King Cophetua
wooed a beggar maid; tootle-te-tootle went the huntsmens' bugles;
clampety-clamp went the horses' hoofs on the stones, and out into the
green forest galloped the royal hunt.

Now, in the farther border of the wood was a little hut which the
hunting-train passed by daily.  In this little cottage lived an old
basketmaker named Janiculo, with his only daughter Griselda, the child
of his old age.  He had also a son Laureo, who was a poor scholar in
Padua, studying hard to get money enough to make himself a priest.  But
Laureo was nearly always away, and Griselda took care of her father,
kept the house, and wove baskets with her slender, nimble fingers, to
sell in the town close by.

I cannot tell you in words of the loveliness of Griselda.  She was as
pure as the dew which gemmed the forest, as sweet-voiced as the birds,
as light-footed and timid as the deer which started at the hunters'
coming.  Then her heart was so tender and good, she was so meek and
gentle, that to love her was of itself a blessing; and to be in her
presence was like basking in the beams of the May sun.

This morning she and her father sat under the tree by their cottage
door, as the hunting-train passed by.  They were weaving baskets; and,
as they worked, they sang together.

As the hunting party swept by, Griselda looked up, and noted again, as
had happened several mornings before, that the penetrating eyes of the
handsome duke were fixed on her.

"I fear he is angry that we sit so near his path," mused Griselda.
"How his eyes look into one's soul.  His gaze really makes me tremble.
I will not sit here on his return, lest it be displeasing to him."

Before the hunt was fairly out of sight, a gossiping neighbor came to
the hut of Janiculo, to tell the good news.  Now, indeed, the duke was
really going to wed.  He had promised to bring a wife with him when he
came back from the hunt.  People said he had ridden into the next
province, to ask the hand of the duke's beautiful daughter in marriage.
And it might be depended on he would bring the bride home on the
milk-white palfrey, which one of his squires had led by a silver bridle.

It was almost sunset when the trampling of hoofs told Griselda that the
hunting party were coming back; and remembering what the talkative
neighbor had said, she thought she would like to take a peep at the
young bride when they passed on their way to the palace.  She had just
been to the well for some water, and she stood in the doorway, with her
bare, round arm poising the earthen pitcher on her head, and the rosy
toes of her little bare feet peeping from beneath her brown gown, to
watch the hunt go by.

Nearer and nearer came the train; louder and louder sounded the
clatter, and full in sight came the duke, with the white palfrey, led
by its silver bridle, close beside him.  But the saddle was empty, and
no bride was among the huntsmen.

"Can it be possible the lady would refuse him,--so handsome and noble
as he looks?" thought Griselda.

How astonished she was when the duke, riding up to the hut, asked for
her father.  She was pale with fright, lest their humble presence had
in some way offended the prince; and, all in a tremble, ran in to call
old Janiculo.  He came out, as much puzzled and frightened as his
daughter.  "Look up, Janiculo," said the duke, graciously.  "You have
heard, perhaps, that to-day is my wedding-day.  With your good will, I
propose to take to wife your daughter Griselda.  Will you give her to
me in marriage?"

If a thunder-bolt had struck the earth at old Janiculo's feet, he could
not have been more stunned.  He gazed at the earth, the sky, and into
his lord's face, who had to repeat his question three times, before the
old man could speak.

"I crave your lordship's pardon," he stammered at length.  "It is not
for me to give anything to your lordship.  All that is in your kingdom
belongs to yourself.  And my daughter is only a part of your kingdom."

And when he had said this, he did not know whether he was dreaming or
awake.

Griselda had modestly stayed in-doors; but now they called her out, and
told her she was to be the duke's bride.  All amazed, she suffered them
to mount her on the snow-white steed, and lead her beside the duke, to
the royal palace.  All along the road the people had gathered, and
shouts rent the air; and at the palace gates the horses' feet sank to
the fetlocks in roses, which had been strewn in their pathway.
Everywhere the people's joy burst bounds, that now their prince had
taken a bride.  As for Griselda, she rode along, still clad in her
russet gown, her large eyes looking downward, while slow tears, unseen
by the crowd, ran over her cheeks, caused half by fear and half by
wonder at what had happened.  Not once did she look into her lord's
face, till the moment when they reached the palace steps; and leaping
lightly from his horse, Duke Walter took her from the palfrey in his
own royal arms.  Then he said, "How say'st thou, Griselda?  Wilt be my
true wife, subject to my will, as a dutiful wife should be?"

And looking in his face, she said solemnly, as if it were her marriage
vow, "I will be my lord's faithful servant, obedient in all things."

Then they brought rich robes to put on Griselda, and the priest
pronounced the wedding ceremony, and the bridal feast was eaten, and
patient Griselda became a great duchess.

For a time all went on happily in the country of Saluzzo, where Duke
Walter held reign.  The people loved the meek duchess no less that she
was lowly born; and when two beautiful twin babes were born to the
duke, a boy and girl, the joy was unbounded all over the kingdom.
Walter, too, was very joyful; or, he would have been very happy, if a
demon of distrust had not been growing up in his heart ever since he
had married the beautiful Griselda.  He saw how gentle she was, and how
obedient to him in all things, and he was all the time uncertain
whether this yielding spirit was caused by love of him, or by gratitude
at the high place to which he had lifted her, and the grandeur with
which he had surrounded her.  He remembered the vow she had taken when
she looked into his eyes and said, "I will be my lord's faithful
servant, obedient in all things," and thinking of it, day by day, there
arose in his heart a desire to put her love and faith to the test.

The resolution to which he came was so cruel, that we can scarcely
believe he could have loved Griselda, and had the heart to attempt to
carry out his design.  He took into his counsel only an old servant
named Furio, and to him he gave the execution of his plan.

One day Griselda sat in her chamber, caressing and playing with her two
babes.  She had never intrusted their care and rearing to any but
herself, and her chief delight had been to tend them, to note their
pretty ways, to rock them asleep, and to watch their rosy slumbers.  At
this moment, tired out with play, her noble boy, the younger Walter,
lay in his cradle at her foot; and the sweet girl, with her father's
dark eyes, lay on the mother's bosom, while she sang softly this cradle
song, to lull them to sleep:

  "Golden slumbers kiss your eyes,
  Smiles awake when you do rise;
  Sleep, pretty wantons, do not cry,
  And I will sing a lullaby;
  Rock them, rock them, lullaby.

  "Care is heavy, therefore sleep you,
  You are care, and care must keep you;
  Sleep, pretty wantons, do not cry,
  And I will sing a lullaby;
  Rock them, rock them, lullaby."


While the young duchess sang the last notes of her song, Furio appeared
on the threshold.  Some remorse for what he was to do, made the water
for an instant dim his eyes, as he watched the group.  But he had sworn
to do his lord's bidding, and he only hesitated for a moment, looking
up, Griselda saw him, and greeted him with a smile.

"Enter, good Furio," she said.  "See, they are both asleep.  When he
sleeps, my boy is most like his father; but awake, my girl's dark eyes
recall him most.  Have you any message from my lord, Furio?"

"My lady," answered the old man, hesitatingly, "I have a message.  It
is somewhat hard to deliver, but the duke must have his own will.  My
lord fears you are too much with the babes; that you are not quite a
fitting nurse for them.  Not that he fears your low birth will taint
the manners of his children, but he fears the people might fancy it was
so, and he must consult the wishes of his people."

"If my lord thinks so," answered Griselda, "he may find nurses for his
babes.  It seems as if no love could be so dear as mine.  But perchance
he is right.  My ways are uncouth beside those of royal blood.  I will
give my babes a better teacher.  Only I may see them often, and love
them still as dear, can I not, Furio?"

"That is not my lord's wish, madam," said Furio, not daring to look
full at the duchess, and keeping his eyes fixed on the ground.  "The
duke fears that even now the people murmur that an heir of base origin
shall grow up to rule over them.  And he is forced to study the will of
his people.  So he has sent me to take away the babes, and dispose of
them according to his royal orders."

When he had said this, Griselda looked at him as one who did not
understand the language which he spake.  All the blood forsook her
cheek, her strength gave way, and falling at the feet of the old
servant, still holding her baby clasped to her breast, she looked up in
his face imploringly, like the deer who lies under the knife of the
hunter.

But when Furio began to take up the babes, the boy from his nest among
his cradle pillows, the girl from her soft refuge in the mother's
bosom,--then the sorrow of Griselda would have melted the tough flint
to tears.  She prayed with moving words, she shed such floods of tears,
she gave such piteous cries of agony, that Furio, tearing the children
away with one strong effort, ran from the room with the screaming
infants, his own face drenched with weeping.  When the duke heard of
all this, though it did not move him from his obstinacy of purpose, he
yet grieved in secret, and wondered if Griselda's love could outlast
this trial.

The twin babes, torn so rudely from their mother, were sent to a noble
sister of the duke, who dwelt in Pavia; but no word was told to
Griselda of their fate; and she, poor mother, submissive to her
husband's will, because she believed it supreme, like God's, dared not
ask after them, lest she should hear that they were slain.

When the duke saw how Griselda had no reproaches, nothing but grief, to
oppose to his will, even his jealousy was forced to confess that her
faith had stood the test.  Whenever he looked on her, her gentle
patience moved his heart to pity, and many times he half repented his
cruelty.

Month after month, and year after year went by, and again and again did
this demon of suspicion stir the duke to some trial of his wife's
obedience and patience.  He drove out the aged Janiculo from the
comfortable lodgment in the palace in which Griselda had bestowed him,
and forced him to return to the hut where he had lived before his
daughter's greatness.  And though Griselda's paling face and sad eye
told her sorrow, she uttered no word of complaint or anger against the
duke.

"Is he not my liege lord?" she said to her own heart, when it sometimes
rose in bitter complainings, "and did I not swear to obey his will in
all things?"

At last the day came when they had been wedded twelve years.  Long ago
had Griselda won the hearts of the people by her gentle manners, her
sweet, sad face, her patient ways.  If Walter's heart had not been made
of senseless stone, he would now have been content.  But in his
scheming brain he had conceived one final test, one trial more, from
which, if Griselda's patience came out unmoved, it would place her as
the pearl of women, high above compare.

On this wedding morn, then, he came into her bower, and in cold speech,
thus spoke to her,--"Griselda, thou must have guessed that for many
years I have bewailed the caprice which led me to take thee, low-born,
and rude in manners, as my wife.  At last my people's discontent, and
my own heart, have told me that I must take a bride who can share fitly
my state, and bring me a noble heir.  Even now from Pavia, my sister's
court, my young bride, surpassing beautiful, is on her way hither.
Canst though be content to go back to thy father, and leave me free to
marry her?"

"My dear lord," answered Griselda, meekly, "in all things I have kept
my vow.  I should have been most happy if love for me had brought thy
heart to forget my low station.  But in all things I am content.  Only
one last favor I ask of thee.  Thy new wife will be young, high-bred,
impatient of restraint, tender to rude sorrow.  Do not put on her faith
such trials as I have borne, lest her heart bend not under them, but
break at once."

When she had done speaking, she turned to her closet, where all these
years she had kept the simple russet gown which she had worn on the day
Duke Walter wooed her, and laying aside her velvet robes, her laces,
and jewels, she put it on, went before the duke again, ready to depart
from the palace forever.  But he had one request to make of her.  It
was that she would stay to superintend the bride's coming, to see that
the feast was prepared, the wedding chamber ready, and the guests made
welcome, because none so well as she knew the management of the affairs
in the palace.

Then Griselda went among the servants and saw that the feast was made,
and all things were in order, concealing her aching heart under a face
which tried to smile.  When at evening she heard the fickle people
shouting in the streets, and saw the roses strewn as they had been on
her wedding-day, then the tears began to fall, and her soul sank within
her.  But at that moment the duke called, "Griselda, where is Griselda?"

On this, she came forth into the great feast chamber from whence he
called.  At the head of the room stood the duke, still handsome and
youthful; and on each side of him a noble youth and maiden, both fresh,
blooming and beautiful.

A sudden faintness overcame Griselda at the sight.  She grew dizzy, and
would have fallen, if Duke Walter had not quickly caught her in his
arms.

"Look up, Griselda, dear wife," he cried, "for thou art my dear wife,
and all I shall ever claim.  I have tried enough thy faith and
patience.  Know, truly, that I love thee most dear; and these are thy
children returned to thee, whom for so many years I have cruelly kept
hid from thee."

When Griselda heard these words, as one who hears in a dream, she fell
into a deep swoon, from which for a time neither the voice of her
husband, nor the tears and kisses of her children, could rouse her.
But when she was brought back to life, to find herself in the arms of
her lord, and meet the loving looks of her children, she was speedily
her calm and gentle self again.

Then they led her to her chamber, and put on her richest robes, and a
crown of jewels on her head; and, radiant with happiness, all the
beauty of her girlhood seemed to come back to her face.  Nay, a greater
beauty than that of girlhood; for, softened by heavenly patience, her
face was sweet as an angel's.  From that time forth the duke strove, by
every look and deed, and tender word, to make amends for her hard
trials.  And to all ages will her story be known, and in all poetry
will she be enshrined as the sweet image of wifely patience, the
incomparable Griselda.



LET IT ALONE.

BY MARY E. BAMFORD.

"Hold him tight, Sid!"

"I'm a-holding, Dave!"

The two-year colt, Rix, lay on the ground.  Sid was holding tightly to
the lasso, while Dave was trying to put the points of a pair of small
nippers into Rix's right eye.  Rix had objected very much, but Dave was
determined; he knew something was wrong with that eye.

"There!" said Dave at last, holding up the nippers.  "See?  Fox-tail,
just's I thought.  Got it in his eye."

Dave jumped up, holding the piece of fox-tail grass yet in the nippers.
Sid relaxed the lasso, and Rix rose slowly to his feet.  The colt shut
his eyes, and shook his head, as if wondering whether the agonizing
fox-tail was really out at last.

"Poor fellow!" said Sid.

"I knowed that was it," asserted Dave.  "I see something was the matter
with his eye when he come in this noon."

Rix, released, trotted away.

"Guess he'll stay out of fox-tail after this," said Sid.

"I dunno," said Dave.  "Critters walk right into trouble with their
eyes wide open.  I'm going to make bread now."

Sid followed into the shanty, and watched Dave stir together sour milk
and soda for bread.  The ranch was away in the hills, much too far from
any town for visits from the baker's wagon.  The treeless hills were
the ranging-place of cattle and horses.  Far away in the valley Sid
could see the river-bed.  It was dry now, but Dave said that if one dug
down anywhere in the sand, one could find a current of water a few feet
below the surface.  Dave always knew things.  Sid liked to hear him
talk.  All this country was new to Sid.

"Does your bread always rise?" he asked.

"If it don't I give it to the chickens," said Dave, putting in some
more soda.  "Tried yeast-cakes, but I couldn't make them work."

"Is fox-tail grass much bother to folks?" questioned Sid, seeing Rix
from the door.

"Awful!" said Dave.  "Gets in the hogs' eyes, and the sheep's too.
Sheep-men try to burn the fox-tail off the pasture land, and the fire
runs into the farmers' grain, lots of times.  That's what makes farmers
hate sheep-men so.  Folks down 'n the valley round up the hogs every
June to pick fox-tail out of their eyes.  If they didn't, half the
hogs'd go blind."

"Round up?" questioned Sid.

"Drive 'em together," explained Dave.  "You'll see a round-up of my
cattle 'fore long.  Got to go out and hunt the hills for 'em, and drive
'em away down to the railroad.  The other men are going to do it on
their ranches too.  Takes about a day for us little cattle-men to round
up, and then about two days more to drive them down to the railroad.
Big cattle-men it takes longer."

"You like it?" asked Sid.

Dave laughed.

"Well 'nough," he said.  "We stop, you know, and have a good time on
the road every little while."

"What do you do?" questioned Sid.

"Oh! drink--some," answered Dave.

"You don't though--do you?" asked Sid.

"Oh! well--some," said Dave slowly, as he poked the fire.  "Have to
drink with other men, you know.  They wouldn't think I was friendly if
I didn't."

Sid looked troubled.  Dave never used to drink when he worked for Sid's
father two or three years before, on the fruit ranch up country.

Dave's bread was done.  There were yellow streaks in it, but Sid ate it.

"The principal thing's to get something to eat when your [Transcriber's
note: you're?] ranching," apologized Dave.

About a week after this the round-up began.

"You take Rix," said Dave.  "I'll take another horse, and we'll hunt
the cattle up."

In and out of the gullies they rode, here and there through the hills.
Late in the afternoon all the cattle that were to be shipped were
together.  The moon rose full and bright, making the hills almost as
light as day.  Sid and Dave stood by the shanty, looking back at the
corral, where the cattle were.

"We'll start early to-morrow morning, Sid," said Dave.  "Guess we'll
meet some of the other ranchers on the road, most likely.  You tired?
Musn't let one day's riding use you up.  We'll be two days going down,
and one coming back.  We can ride nights some, maybe.  It'll be
pleasant."

Next night they were part way down the hills, far enough so that they
were leaving the bare portions behind, and entering the live-oak
districts.  Sid stood in the moonlight by an oak, and watched some of
the men.  They sat around a little fire, and played cards and drank.
Out in the moonlight were other men, taking charge of the droves of
cattle.  Sid could see horns and heads, and once in a while a man would
come to the fire and drink and joke with the others.  Dave came after a
time.  He saw Sid with Rix by the tree.  Sid had tied the horse there.

"Come over to the fire, and get warm," said Dave.

Sid went.  One of the men held out a bottle to Dave.  He took it, and
drank.

"Give some to the youngster," said the man good-naturedly.  "He's tired
driving cattle, I reckon."

Dave looked at Sid, but Sid shook his head.

"Too fine to drink with us cowboys?" asked the man by the fire.

"Let him alone," said Dave.  "He ain't going to drink if he don't want
to."

Sid went back to his tree.  He put an old gray quilt around him, and
lay down.  Then he remembered.  He rose again, and knelt in the dark by
the tree trunk.  He asked God to keep the cattle from injuring anybody,
and to keep the men and Dave from becoming very drunk.  Sid was afraid.

He lay down again.  Once in a while he looked over toward the fire.
Dave came to it sometimes, and always one or the other of the men
offered him a bottle.  Sometimes Dave acted as though he were going to
refuse; but the other men always joked, and then Dave drank.

"Why doesn't he stay away from the fire if he doesn't want to drink?"
thought Sid.  "Maybe he's cold.  I wonder if mother--"

He went to sleep.

Next day they drove the cattle again a long, long way.  At last they
came to a town.  There was the railroad, and there were the stock cars.
When the cattle were on board, Dave and Sid jumped on their horses.

"Want to stay in town over night?" asked Dave.  "Like a little change
from the hills?"

"Let's go and get something to eat," said one of the other men, who
rode up.  "I want somethin' different from ranch cookin'.  Ain't a
first-class cook myself."

Sid was glad to eat bread that did not have yellow streaks in it.  He
was glad to have some meat, too.  But, after eating, the other man said
to Dave:

"Come take a drink."

They were on the sidewalk, untying their horses.  Sid pulled Dave by
the sleeve.

"Don't," whispered Sid.

Dave stopped and smiled.

"Come on!" said the other man.

"I don't get down to town only once in a while," said Dave.  "Never
drink other times, Sid."

He went with the man.  Sid waited; it seemed to him that he had to wait
a long time.

"Round-ups are bad things for Dave," thought he.  "Mother'd be sorry."

There was a great noise from the saloon on the corner.  Pretty soon
Dave came out.  He looked very white as he came to the place where the
boy waited.  Dave leaned against Rix, and groaned.

"What's the matter?" asked Sid in alarm.

"It's my arm," said Dave, growing whiter.  "There was a fight--in that
place--somehow.  They knocked against me.  I fell.  One man fell on top
of me and my arm was sort of doubled up under me.  It hurts--awful.  I
don't know whether it's sprained--or broken--or--"

They had to stay in town a week before they could go back to the ranch.
When they went back Dave had his arm in a sling.

"It's a good thing the twenty-three tons of hay are in," said Sid.
"You couldn't do much with that arm."

Dave did not say anything.

Next Sunday night Sid sat in the door of the shanty on the ranch.  He
was singing to himself a little.  "Safely through another week," he
hummed.  His mother always sang that Sundays at home.  Sid was a bit
homesick Sundays in the hills.

Dave came and sat down by Sid, and looked out at the sunset and the dry
river away down in the valley.  Rix came trotting up near the shanty.

"He's a smart colt--ain't he?" said Sid.  "He hasn't been bothered with
fox-tail since that day you'n and I took that piece out of his eye.
He's kept his eyes away from the stuff, whether he's meant to or not.
Do you suppose he has as much sense as that?"

"Critters ain't the only things that walk into trouble with their eyes
open," said Dave.  "I ain't goin' to let Rix be smarter than I be.  I'm
goin' to keep out of trouble, too, Sid.  I ain't goin' to drink no
more, ever."

"Not round-up times?" asked Sid.

"Not round-up times, nor other times, if God will help me," said Dave,
soberly.

"He will," said Sid.  "Oh, I'm so glad!"



THE MAN WHO LOST HIS MEMORY.

It was on a morning of May, 1613, that a lady, still young, might be
seen, followed by her two children, going toward the cemetery of a
village near Haerlem.  The pale cheeks of this lady, her eyes red with
weeping, her very melancholy face, bespoke one of those deep sorrows over
which Time might fling its flowers, but it would be all in vain.  Her
children, the elder of whom was barely four years old, accompanied her,
with the carelessness natural to their age.  Indeed, they were astonished
to see their noble mansion still in mourning, and their mother and
themselves in mourning also, though a melancholy voice had said to them
one day, when they were shown a bier covered with funereal pall,
"Children, you have no more a father."

A month after this they were playing as gaily as ever.  Can it be that
the griefs of our early years are so terrible that heaven will not permit
them to dwell in remembrance?  It may be so; but at all events those
children forgot for whom they had been put into mourning.

As that lady arrived at the little cemetery gate, the passers-by asked
aloud (for curiosity respects neither modesty nor grief) who might be
that lady who passed on so sadly, and who it seemed had good cause for
her sadness.

And an old beggar-woman said, "That lady passing by is the widow of John
Durer, who died this three months gone, and who was in his time Minister
to his Majesty the Emperor."


II.

John Durer belonged to the family of a poor shepherd.  He worked hard as
a scholar, but even when he was at play he showed a violent disposition
to domineer over the rest.  He seemed to be devoured with ambition: at
all events he carried off every prize at school.  By the time he was
fifteen he was the admiration, he was the pride, of all his masters.  But
John was not loved by his schoolmates; he displayed a vanity which
repelled them, which sometimes provoked them.  He made few friendships,
spoke freely with few, and looked haughtily down on such of his little
companions as were less happily gifted than he was.  His words were
short, his look was cold, and the pride in which he shut himself up on
purpose, made him unapproachable.  He lived by himself.

One evening this young Durer, feeling, even more than usually, the
necessity of solitude and meditation, went out into the country,
dreaming, no doubt, of the grandeur to which his pride aspired, and which
he was hopeless of ever reaching; for his face was sad, and he walked
with a slow step, as does some discouraged traveler on a road without
end, toward something in the distance that perpetually escapes him.  At
last he stopped in a hollow, called the Valley of Bushes, on account of
the gigantic white-thorn trees that grew there.  He sat down in their
shadow: a small bird was fluttering about, and singing blithely overhead;
but he did not hear her.

When the storm is loud, all natural sounds are silenced.  Thus it was
with Durer; the throbbing of ambition in every vein with him absorbed all
the sweeter melodies which should charm the heart and fancy of youth.

He was dreaming of fame and fortune.  How to rise was his sole thought;
and it was not probable, except by some very rare circumstance and
chance, that his dream should be realized; for in those days of the
world, at least, it was thought that a shepherd's son should have a
shepherd's tastes.  The young man did not see a single path open in which
he could plant his foot--one was barred by wealth, another by position,
another by birth.  All that he could dream of was some blest chance that
should break down for him one of these barriers.  He was sullen,
afflicted, ashamed, indignant, and alarmed,--above all, when he thought
of one thing--that thing was his poverty.

For this had the shepherd of the village near Haerlem labored twenty
years; for this had he spent the savings of those twenty years, in giving
an education to this young nobleman.

John was buried deep in these reveries--too deep for his age--when some
one came up smiling to him.  This was a little, fat, chubby-faced man, as
round as a barrel, with a low brown hat on his head.  He had on a large
brown cloak, a handsome yellow doublet, black breeches in the old
fashion, and square-toed glossy shoes, with large roses of purple ribbon.
The glance of this man, whose hair was already becoming gray, was keen
and penetrating.  Though his lips were thick, there was an open, honest
expression about his mouth; while his clear eyes and sharply-cut eyebrows
seemed to belong to a man of strict uprightness.

"I do not like to see youth melancholy," said the little man, coming
close to John Durer, and examining him--"it is a sign of the disease too
common among young people--which is a desire to be something and somebody
before they are well born into the world.  I would bet my fortune against
this boy's dreams that he is already an old scholar.  Plague take those
parents who fill their children's heads with learning ere they have made
men of them! who neglect all care to form a character, and think only how
to bring forward the understanding!--Vanity kills right feeling!"

Mumbling thus to himself, the little man went up to John, and began to
question him.  The dreamer started as if a thunderbolt had fallen close
to his elbow.

"Young man, how far is it from the earth to the sun?"

"Thirty-three millions of leagues," replied John, without the least
hesitation.

"As if I did not know that he would know," said the little man to
himself, with a smile.

"And how long would it take a humming-bird who could fly a league in a
minute to get there!"

"Twenty-eight years, sir," was Durer's answer.

"When one calculates so well, and so rapidly, no wonder one is
melancholy," said the little man to himself.  Then going on--"Who was the
greatest man of antiquity?" asked he.

"Alexander."

"Who was the wisest?"

"Socrates."

"Who was the proudest?"

"Diogenes."

"Which of these do you like the best?"

"Alexander."

"What do you think of the neighbor who obliges his neighbor?"

"I think that the first has the advantage of the second."

The little gentleman considered a moment, and began again--

"What is your father's trade, young man?"

This simple question made Durer blush.  He did not say a word in answer.
The little man, who was very clear-sighted, said--"This young fellow is
ashamed to own that he belongs to a poor shepherd in the village hard by.
Bad heart--strong head--detestable nature!  This boy will never make
anything but a diplomatist."  Then, after a moment's reflection, he said
to himself--"But it's of no consequence."

The end was, that young Durer went back to the cottage wild with joy.  He
took leave of his father and his mother, who shed torrents of tears at
his leaving them.  John was turning his back on the shepherd's cabin for
ever: he was to go to Vienna, to finish his studies there.  For the
little man had put into his hand three purses full of gold, and had said,
"I am Counsellor Werter, favorite of his Majesty the Emperor.  Your
assiduity in study has become known to me.  Work on--for aught you know,
you may be on the high road."

Three years afterward, Durer entered the office of the Emperor's
secretary.  Later, he became, himself, private secretary.  Later still,
he received a barony and a handsome estate.--So much for the prophecies,
so much for the secret influence of the Counsellor Werter!

Durer was on the highway paved with gold;--but he forgot his father, and
he forgot his mother, too.

One day, when Counsellor Werter was going to court, he met Durer on the
staircase of the palace.  He said to him,--

"Baron Durer, I sent yesterday, in your name, twelve thousand crowns to a
certain old shepherd in a village not far from Haerlem."

The Counsellor said this in rather a scornful voice; and he saw that
Baron Durer turned as red as the boy had done in the Valley of the
Bushes, on the evening when he was asked what his father's trade was.
The two men looked steadily at each other: the Baron with that hatred
which is never to be appeased--the Counsellor with bitter indignation.

On the evening of that very day, the Emperor received his faithful old
friend, the incorruptible Counsellor, coldly.  On the morrow, Werter was
not summoned to the palace--nor the day after.  Disgrace had fallen on
him.  He had nourished a serpent in his bosom.  He left court, and
retired far away, to a small estate which he, too, chanced to possess in
the neighborhood of Haerlem.


III.

As to John Durer, he rose to higher and higher dignities.  The Emperor,
after having made him minister, married him to a noble heiress.  About
that self-same time, the old shepherd and his wife died.  Their village
neighbors accompanied them in silence to the humble churchyard.  A little
man, whose hair was now white as snow, followed the dead with his head
uncovered.  When the priest had cast on their coffins that handful of
dust which sounds so drearily, the old man murmured--

"There are bad sons, who, when they become fortunate, forget the aged
parents who cherished them when they were children.  May they be
requited! for of such is not the kingdom of heaven."--Then he knelt down
by the side of the grave and prayed.

This old man was Counsellor Werter.  Wearied of the world, he had retired
into obscurity, after having divided the larger part of his splendid
fortune among the poor.  He was gay, nimble--in the enjoyment of robust
health; and many a time would he thank heaven that no children had been
born to him, when he thought of the hard-heartedness of John Durer.

Not long after this, on the spot where the shepherd's cabin had stood was
seen a magnificent château.  It had been built so quickly, that it seemed
like an enchanted palace.  Toward the middle of summer, a fine young
lord, a fair noble lady of the castle, and two lovely children, entered
the village near to Haerlem in pride and triumph, escorted by the
peasants, who had assembled in their honor.  That fine young lord was
John Durer, first Minister to his Majesty the Emperor of Germany.

It had chanced that heavy losses had befallen Counsellor Werter, which
brought him within an inch of ruin.  Had it not been for a sister left
him who took care of him, the poor old gentleman would have been, indeed,
in a miserable plight.  A single word spoken by John Durer would have
restored his ancient benefactor to court, and replaced him in the
Emperor's favor.  But vanity is without a heart; and wounded pride never
forgives him who has wounded it.


IV.

One day the fine young lord took a fancy to go and visit all the spots in
which, once on a time, he had dreamed away so many anxious hours.  But he
would go alone, not choosing that any should witness his meeting with
those old friends, the haunts which might reveal to a companion the
poverty of his early life.  He set forth without attendants, mounted on a
magnificent courser.  He rode here, he rode there, not feeling even
surprised to see everything so much as it was when he had quitted the
country.  The day began to go down--it was evening--when at last he came
to the Valley of Bushes.  There was a small bird singing there, just as
it sang on that evening long ago.  The sight of the white-thorn trees
awakened painful recollections in his mind,--no doubt, perhaps, even a
pang of remorse; and he spurred his courser in order to get clear of the
place.  But the animal trembled, snorted, and refused to move a step.  He
spurred his courser: the animal began to neigh violently.

"Is it some serpent that he sees?" said the fine young lord.

It was a little old man, who stepped out from among the bushes.  He was
dressed in a black mantle.  Out he came, right into the middle of the
road, closed his arms on his breast, and said in a dull voice, "Baron
Durer, can you tell me what is the distance from a shepherd's hovel to a
king's palace?"

"That which there is betwixt the earth and the sun," was the reply of the
haughty upstart.

At this, the old man threw his cloak open, and showed himself to the
Minister, as he had shown himself twenty years before, on that very spot,
to the scholar John Durer.  The Counsellor was little changed in
appearance, except in his hair, which had been black, and was now white
as the snow of winter.

John Durer's visage was mostly pale; but when he recognized that old man,
it became as red as blood.  It was the third time that he had blushed
face to face with his former patron.  Then the old man cried in a louder
voice,--

"Does the scholar of the village remember one Counsellor Werter?"

"The Minister remembers nothing of the scholar," was the cold and
arrogant answer.

"What, then, does he remember?" said the old man, pressing a little
nearer.

"NOTHING!" cried the fine young lord, and he buried his spurs in the
sides of his courser.  They went off at a fierce gallop.


V.

But the fine young lord had only answered the truth.  Whether it was from
that sudden struggle of pride, and his hard-hearted resolution not to
remember the Counsellor who had befriended him formerly or whether the
labor of many years had caused it, from that evening, from that moment,
the memory of the Emperor's great Minister began to decay.  The ambitious
designs of the shepherd boy of twenty years ago came back to him; but of
all that had befallen him since, John Durer remembered nothing.  The hour
of requital was begun!


VI.

Thanks to his good courser, Baron Durer, the Minister, got home in safety
to his château.  The first person that he met was the baroness.  He
turned abruptly away from her.

"Whither are you hurrying so fast, my dear baron?" said she, seeing her
husband running away from her, which was not his custom, for he was fond
of his wife.

"Baron!" was his reply; "to what baron were you calling?  I am no baron,
madame--though one day, perhaps, I may be.  Let us hope I may."

The tone in which he spoke these words terrified the baroness.  Her
husband immediately afterward left the château, and began running as fast
as his legs could carry him, neither stopping nor slackening his pace.
His head was bent down, like the head of a miser who is seeking about
everywhere for the treasure which some one has stolen from him.  From
that day forward his face assumed a gloomy expression, his color became
sallow, his eye haggard; and he began bitterly to complain that heaven
had thought fit to send him on earth in a shepherd's form and a
shepherd's dress.

Some days later, a messenger from the Emperor's court arrived at the
château: "May it please my lord Minister," he began--

"I am no Minister," replied Durer, impatiently; "but have patience, sir,
have patience; I may be Minister one day."  Then he began to walk up and
down hastily in the gallery of the château, perpetually saying, "I might
have been a Minister by this time, sir, if your great ones did not leave
men of strong intellect, and ability, and purpose, in the jaws of a
misery which eats away the very brain as rust eats away the steel.
Why--why, I ask, debar these men from high offices--these men who have
nothing--merely out of a prejudice, which is as fatal to the individual
as it is deadly to the state?"  Then turning sharply on the Emperor's
emissary, "Go, and tell your master, sir," said he, "that yesterday I
was--I was--I was"--pressing his hand, as he spoke, above his forehead,
as though he was trying to find a coronet which had belonged to it.  Then
rushing away distractedly--"Minister!" cried he, "I am--I was--No, no--I
was not--but I soon will be!--Leave me, sir! leave me! leave me!"

Another day, his wretched family, who watched him with terror, overheard
him talking to his gardener: "What a magnificent piece of work you are
laying out, my good boy," said Durer; "a garden admirably designed, if
there ever was such a thing."  Then casting a disturbed glance toward the
château, "'Tis a grand place, this," said he; "rich and elegant, and
capitally situated--to whom does it belong, Joseph?"

"My lord baron knows right well that park, gardens, and château, belong
to his noble self," said the gardener, leaning on his spade, and raising
his cap.

Durer began to laugh to himself--but it was a piteous laugh--"Belong to
me, my good boy!" said he; "not yet--not yet--and yet it seems to me as
if I had owned--as if I had owned"--and he passed his hand over his
forehead, as if he could call back some recollection which had drifted
away out of his reach--murmuring, after a pause, "Is it to be this
shepherd's hovel--for ever?--for ever?--for ever?"  He fell on a turf
seat, sobbing bitterly; then raising his head, he saw his two fair little
children, who were at play in one of the alleys of the park.

"What lovely children!" sighed he; "ah!--he must, at least, be happy,
whoever he be, that is father to such a pair of angels!"

The children came and flung themselves, laughing, into the Minister's
arms, and hung about him with all manner of tender caresses.  In return,
he could but press their tiny hands in his, or let his lean, feverish
fingers play with their golden curls.  They kept calling him "Father."

"What are they saying!" murmured the Baron; "the blessing of being called
father I shall never know!  What is life--without a home, without a
family round me!  But these gifts only belong to fortune, and come with
it."  Then looking from one lovely little creature to another, with his
dim and bloodshot eyes, he said, "And yet these children--these
children--"  He could not finish his sentence, but again passed his hand
over his forehead; and the children became silent and awe-stricken, for
they saw that he was weeping to himself.

Not long after this, he ceased to know his wife, whom he called for
without ceasing; then he would bury himself deep in reading, without
recollecting a word of what he had read when he had ended.  All that was
left to him was the memory of his young desires; the power of retaining
anything had passed away utterly.  His ardor began to change into frenzy;
he was devoured with fever, and haunted with dream after dream that
tempted him to pursue them, and mocked him at the very moment when he
thought that he had reached them.  The struggle wore him out, life and
limb.  He was seen day by day to wither, and grow weaker.  The end was
not far.  On the last day of his illness, a strange fancy seized him: he
would get up--rushed out of the château, and began to run wildly across
the country, as if he were chasing something before him that no one, save
himself could see.  "Sire!" cried he, hoarsely, "deliver me from the
obscurity of this shepherd's life!  Sire! do listen to me!  I am John
Durer!  I have studied everything!  I have learned everything!  I have
fathomed everything!  Raise me from my lowly condition, sire!  Who knows?
one day you may have no one among your servants more devoted, more
enlightened, than your poor John Durer!"

The thing that he pursued, fled--fled.  Durer ran after it more wildly as
he grew weaker, trying to raise his voice higher and higher, and
stretching out his arms more and more eagerly.  They were now at the
Valley of Bushes.  "Sire!" cried he once again.

"John Durer, scholar, of the village near Haerlem," replied a voice from
the shadows of the wood, "his Majesty the Emperor does not love people
who have lost their memory."

The whole past--the long, long, years of his ambitious and glorious and
ungrateful life--seemed in one instant to come back, as in a flash of
lightning, before the weary, distracted man; and with this, too, the
consciousness of his present state.  He uttered one terrible cry, and
fell down dead.


VII.

Three months later, when his orphans were led by their mother a second
time to visit the humble cemetery of the village near Haerlem, they found
a little old man writing rapidly, with a piece of charcoal, a few strange
words on the stone under which the body of their father, the Minister,
had been laid.  When they came close to the spot, the old man ceased, and
pointed out to them, with an awful look, that which he had written.
After the inscription, "John Durer, formerly Minister to his Majesty the
Emperor of Germany," the old man had written--

"Heaven requites ingratitude."



THE STORY OF A WEDGE.

BY REV. C. H. MEAD.

For more than a hundred miles, I had traveled, having the entire seat to
myself.

Aside from the selfishness of the average traveler, who, while unwilling
to pay for more sitting, is more than willing to monopolize the whole
seat, I was glad of plenty of elbow room to enable me to answer some
pressing letters.

But as the car began to fill up, I knew the bag at my side must soon give
way to another kind of neighbor, and presently down the aisle he came.
From a perpendicular standpoint he was small, but horizontally, he was
immense, and I viewed his approach with some alarm.

There was a merry twinkle in his eye, and his face beamed with good
nature as he said, "Ah, I see you have room for a wedge at your side;
allow me to put it in place."  With considerable effort and a good deal
of tight squeezing, he at last settled down in the seat, remarking, with
a merry laugh, "Here I am at last;" and there I was too, and there I was
likely to remain, if that wedge did not fly out, or the side of the car
give way.

"Have you room enough?" I slyly inquired.

"Plenty of room, thank you," he replied; "I trust you are nice and snug."

"Never more snug in my life."

"That's right; the loose way in which most people travel is a continual
menace to life and limb.  I believe in keeping things snug, spiritually,
physically, socially, financially and politically snug.  And if things
are spiritually snug, all the others must be so, as a matter of course.
I learned that fact years ago in England."

"Are you an Englishman," I inquired.

"No, sir; I'm a Presbyterian" he laughingly replied; "my father was born
in England, my mother was born in Ohio, and I was born the first time in
New Jersey.  Then on a visit to England I was 'born again.'  My father
was a Methodist; my mother was a Quaker, so of course I had to be a
Presbyterian."

His unctuous laughter made the seat tremble.  "Not a blue one, mind you.
Blue?  Not a bit of it.  Why, bless you, when I became a Christian, all
the blue went out of my heart and went into my sky.

"My father was physically large--I take after him.  My mother--" he
stopped abruptly and lifted his hat reverently; the tears filled his eyes
and coursed down his cheeks, and presently, with choking voice he
continued:

"My mother, God bless her memory, was the best woman and the grandest
Christian I ever knew.  She lives in heaven, and she lives in my heart.
I would that I were as much like mother spiritually as I resemble father
physically."

The tender pathos of his voice, as he said this, made me feel that his
sainted mother, were she present, would have no reason to feel ashamed of
her son.

As he was about to replace his hat on his head, I noticed in large
letters pasted on the lining, these words, "Hinder nobody--help
everybody."

"Excuse me, sir;" I said, as I pointed to the words, "what is the meaning
of that?"

Quickly the tears on his cheeks, were illuminated by a smile as he
said--"That's my watchword; I carry it in my hat, have it hung up on my
wall at home, and since I went into my present business, I've tried to
make it the daily practice of my life."

"May I inquire what your business is?"

"Certainly, sir, my business is serving the Lord, and there is no
business like it in the universe.  It pays good dividends, brings me no
worry, insures me a good standing in the best society; feeds me on the
fat of the land, fills my heart with peace and makes me an heir to a
kingdom, a robe and a crown.  Bankruptcy and bad debts never stare me in
the face, and every draft I draw is honored at the bank.  Thus, I 'hinder
nobody,' and am able to 'help every body.'"

"Where do you reside?" I asked.

"On Pisgah's top"--and his face fairly shone as he repeated it--"on
Pisgah's top.  At first I lived down in the valley among Ezekiel's dry
bones, and used to help the multitudes sing--

  "'Could we but climb where Moses stood,
    And view the landscape o'er:
  Not Jordan's stream nor death's cold flood,
    Should fright us from the shore.'


"But I moved on and up to my present residence, and now I sing--

  "'From Pisgah's top, the promised land,
    I now exult to see:
  My hope is full, oh, glorious hope,
    Of immortality.'


"But I beg your pardon, sir; am I crowding you?"

"Crowding me? not a bit of it.  I trust I shall always have room for
company like you."

"Thank you, sir, thank you.  I'm only a wedge"--with a merry laugh--"but
I try to fill every opening the Lord shows me.  Excuse me but how far are
you going?"

"I get off at Albany," I replied.  He looked at me as if taking my
measure, and, after a moment he said:

"I hope you are not a member of the legislature."

"No, sir," I said, "I'm a Methodist."

"Give me your hand.  I am so glad to know you are going in the opposite
direction.  A man may go to heaven by way of the legislature, but I would
as soon think of going where I could get cholera in order to secure good
health, as expect to serve God by becoming a member of the legislature.
Ah, here is Albany!  Good day, sir; don't forget the wedge.  And if you
will, I wish you would remember the watchword--'Hinder nobody--Help
everybody.'"



PRINCE EDWIN AND HIS PAGE.

A TALE OF THE ANGLO-SAXONS.


CHAPTER I.

On a certain high festival, which was set apart by Saxon monarchs for
receiving the petitions of the poor, and the appeals of such of their
subjects as had any cause of complaint, the great King Athelstane sat
enthroned in royal state, to listen to the applications of all who came
to prefer their suits to him.

In one corner of the hall stood a noble-looking Saxon lady dressed in
deep mourning, and holding a little boy by the hand.  The lady was
evidently a widow, and of high rank, for she wore a widow's hood and
barb--the barb, a piece of white lawn, that covered the lower part of
the face, being worn only by widows of high degree.  The little boy,
too, was also arrayed in black attire; his youthful countenance bore an
expression of the utmost grief, and his large blue eyes were full of
tears.  This sorrowful pair did not press forward like the other
petitioners, but kept at a modest distance from the throne, evidently
waiting for the king to give them some encouraging signal before they
ventured to approach him.

The royal Athelstane's attention was at length attracted by the anxious
glances which both mother and son bent upon him; and as he perceived
that they were in distress, he waved his hand for them to draw near.

"Who are ye?" said the king, when the mournful widow and her son, in
obedience to his encouraging sign, advanced, and bowed the knee before
him.

"Will my royal lord be graciously pleased to answer me one question
before I reply to that which he has asked of me?" said the Saxon lady.

"Speak on," replied King Athelstane.

"Is it just that the innocent should suffer for the guilty, O King?"
said she.

"Assuredly not," replied the king.

"Then, wherefore," said the Saxon lady, "hast thou deprived my son,
Wilfrid, of his inheritance, for the fault of his father?  Cendric has
already paid the forfeit of his life for having unhappily leagued
himself with a traitor who plotted against thy royal life; but this
boy, his guiltless orphan, did never offend thee!  Why, then, should he
be doomed to poverty and contempt?"

"It was the crime of the traitor Cendric, not my will, that deprived
his son of his inheritance," said the king.

"I acknowledge it with grief, my royal lord," said Ermengarde, for that
was the name of the Saxon widow; "but it rests with thy good pleasure
to restore to his innocent child the forfeit lands of the unhappy
Cendric."

"Is this boy the son of the traitor Cendric?" asked the king, placing
his hand on the head of the weeping Wilfrid.

"He is, my gracious lord," replied Ermengarde.  "He has been carefully
brought up in the fear of God, and I, his widowed mother, will be
surety to thee, that the boy shall serve thee truly and faithfully all
the days of his life if thou wilt but restore him to his inheritance."

"Widow of Cendric, listen to me," said the king.  "Thy husband plotted
with traitors to deprive me of my crown and my life; and the laws of
his country, which he had broken, doomed him to death, and confiscated
his lands and castles to my use.  I might retain them in my own hands,
if it were my pleasure so to do; but I will only hold them in trust for
thy son, whom I will make my ward, and place in the college at Oxford.
If he there conducts himself to my satisfaction, I will, when he comes
of age, restore to him the forfeited lands of his father, Cendric."

Ermengarde and Wilfrid threw themselves at the feet of the gracious
Athelstane, and returned their tearful thanks for his goodness.

"Wilfrid," said the king, "your fortunes are now in your own hands; and
it depends on your own conduct whether you become a mighty thane or a
landless outcast.  Remember, it is always in the power of a virtuous
son to blot out the reproach which the crimes of a wicked parent may
have cast upon his name."

The words of King Athelstane were as balm to the broken spirit of the
boy, and they were never forgotten by him in all the trials, many of
them grievous ones, which awaited him in after-life.

King Athelstane, and his brother, Prince Edwin, were sons of King
Edward, surnamed the Elder, the son and successor of Alfred the Great.
After a glorious reign, Edward died in the year of our Lord 925, and at
his death a great dispute arose among the nobles as to which of his
sons should succeed him in the royal dignity.

Athelstane had early distinguished himself by his valor in battle, his
wisdom in council, and by so many princely actions, that he was the
darling of the people.  His grandfather, the great Alfred, had,
therefore, on his death-bed adjudged Athelstane to be the most suitable
of all Edward's sons to reign over England.  There were, however, some
of the Saxon lords who objected to Athelstane being made king, because
he was born before King Edward's royal marriage with the reigning
queen; Athelstane's mother, Egwina, having been only a poor shepherd's
daughter.  They wished, therefore, that Prince Edwin, the eldest son of
King Edward's queen, should be declared king; but as Edwin was very
young, the people decided on crowning Athelstane, he being of a proper
age to govern.

This election was very displeasing to some of the proud Saxon lords;
and Cendric, the father of Wilfrid, had been among those who conspired
with a wicked traitor of the name of Alfred, to take away the life of
Athelstane.  The conspiracy was discovered, and all who were engaged in
it were punished with death.

The college in which Wilfrid was placed at Oxford, had been founded by
Alfred the Great, for the education of the youthful nobles and gentles
of the land.  It had been deemed the most proper place for the
education of the king's younger brother, Prince Edwin, and some other
royal wards, for the most part sons of Anglo-Saxon and Danish nobles,
whose persons and estates had been committed to the guardianship of the
king during their minority.  King Athelstane, who, like his
grandfather, Alfred the Great, was very desirous of promoting learning,
had provided suitable masters for their instruction in every branch of
knowledge, leaving, therefore, men of distinguished learning and of
great wisdom to conduct the education, and form the minds and morals of
this youthful community; and being himself engaged in the cares of
government, and in repelling the attacks of the Danes, the king limited
his further attention to occasional inquiries after the health and
improvement of his brother and the rest of the royal wards.

He had, indeed, taken the pains to draw up the rules which he deemed
proper to be observed in this juvenile society.  One of the most
important of these, namely, that a system of perfect equality should be
observed toward all the individuals of whom it was composed, was,
however, soon violated in favor of Prince Edwin, who, because he was
the Atheling, as the heir apparent to the throne was called in those
days, was honored with peculiar marks of distinction.  Every person in
the college, from the masters to the humblest servitor, appeared
desirous of winning the favor of the future sovereign, and of this
Edwin too soon became aware.

Prince Edwin was the leader of the sports, and no amusement was adopted
unless his approbation had previously been asked and obtained.  All
disputed matters were referred to his decision, and no appeal from his
judgment was permitted.

It would have afforded subject of serious reflection, perhaps of
jealous alarm, to the king had he been aware of the injudicious courses
which were pursued by those around Prince Edwin; but Athelstane was
engaged in bloody wars with the Danes and the insurgent Welsh princes,
which kept him far remote from Oxford.  His brother, meanwhile,
continued to receive the most pernicious flattery from every creature
around him, except Wilfrid, the son of Cendric, who, by order of King
Athelstane, had been appointed his page of honor.

When Wilfrid was first admitted into the college he was treated with
great scorn by the royal wards.  Among them were many who, in the pride
of circumstance and the vanity of youth, were so unkind as to cherish
disdainful feelings against the unfortunate Wilfrid, and to murmur at
his introduction into their society.

Prince Edwin was, however, of a more generous disposition, and by
extending his favor and protection to the forlorn youth, rendered his
residence in the college less irksome than it otherwise would have
been.  But the very affection with which Wilfrid was regarded by his
young lord had the effect of increasing the hostile feeling of the
others against him; and in the absence of the Atheling, he had to
endure a thousand bitter taunts and cruel insults respecting his
father's crime and the ignominious death he had suffered.

Wilfrid was too noble-minded to complain to his young lord of this
treatment, although he felt it deeply.  It required all his firmness
and forbearance to endure it patiently; but he remembered the words of
King Athelstane--"that his future fortunes depended upon his own
conduct;" and he resolved, under all circumstances, to persevere in the
path of duty; and, if possible, by his own virtues to blot out the
remembrance of his father's fault.  He was also duly impressed with a
grateful sense of the king's goodness in extending to him the
advantages of a liberal and courtly education; of which he wisely
determined to make the most he could.  By unremitting exertions, he
soon made so rapid a progress in his studies that he outstripped all
his fellow-students; and, though the youngest boy in the college, he
obtained the highest place of all, except the seat of honor, which his
partial preceptors allowed Prince Edwin to retain.

Prince Edwin loved Wilfrid, and took real pleasure in witnessing his
repeated triumphs over those who regarded him with such unkindly
feelings.  But Prince Edwin himself was proud and capricious--his
naturally frank and noble disposition having been spoiled by the
adulation of those about him; and Wilfrid was, perhaps, more than any
other person, exposed to suffer from his occasional fits of passion.
Yet Wilfrid was the only person who ventured to represent to him the
folly and impropriety of conduct so unbecoming in any one, but
peculiarly unwise in a prince, who, on account of his elevated rank,
and the respect with which he was treated, is required to practice
universal courtesy, and to avoid, if possible, giving offence to any
one.

Prince Edwin, though often piqued at the plain dealing of his page,
knew how to value his sincerity and attachment.  However he might at
times give way to petulance toward him, he treated him, on the whole,
with greater consideration, and paid more attention to his opinions
than to those of any other person.  The regard of Prince Edwin for his
page was, however, soon observed with jealous displeasure by one of the
royal wards, named Brithric, who was older by two or three years than
any of the other young companions of the prince.


CHAPTER II.

Brithric was a youth of a specious and deceitful character: it was his
practice to dissemble his real sentiments, and to recommend himself by
flattering speeches to the favor of his superiors.  By constantly
addressing Prince Edwin in the language of adulation, he succeeded in
rendering his company very agreeable to him; for the prince's besetting
sin was vanity, and the artful Brithric was only too well skilled in
perceiving and taking advantage of the weak points of others.

Wilfrid beheld this growing intimacy with pain; nor did he attempt to
conceal his uneasiness whenever the prince spoke to him on the subject
of his evident dislike of the society of Brithric.  "I do not respect
Brithric, my lord," replied Wilfrid; "and where esteem is wanting,
there can be no true grounds for forming friendships."

"And what are your reasons, Wilfrid, for denying your esteem to
Brithric?" said the prince.  "He is obliging, and often says very
agreeable things to you."

"It costs more to win my esteem than a few unmeaning compliments, which
Brithric is accustomed to pay to every one with whom he is desirous of
carrying his point," said Wilfrid.

"And what should Brithric, who is the heir of the richest thane in my
brother's court, want to gain of a poor, landless orphan who owes his
sustenance and education to the compassion of King Athelstane?"
retorted the prince, angrily.

The pale cheek of Wilfrid flushed with unwonted crimson at this
unexpected taunt from the lips of his young lord.  It was with
difficulty that he restrained the tears which filled his eyes from
overflowing, but turning meekly away, he said--

"It is the first time the Atheling has condescended to upbraid his page
with the bounty of his royal brother, the generous Athelstane, whom may
heaven long preserve and bless."

"It is good policy, methinks, for the son of a traitor to speak loudly
of his loyalty to the mighty Athelstane," said Brithric, who, having
entered unperceived, was listening to this conversation.

"Nay, Brithric," said the prince, "Wilfrid could not help his father's
fault; though the remembrance of his crime and punishment ought to
restrain him from offering his opinion too boldly, when speaking of the
friends of his lord."

"Let every one be judged by his own deeds," replied Wilfrid.  "My
unfortunate parent offended against the laws of his country, and has
suffered the penalty decreed to those who do so by the loss of life and
forfeiture of lands.  As a further punishment, I, his only child, who
was born the heir of a fair patrimony, am reared in a state of
servitude and sorrow, and am doomed not only to mourn my early
bereavement of a father's care and my hard reverse of fortune, but to
endure the taunts of those who are unkind enough to reproach me with
the sore calamities which, without any fault of mine, have fallen upon
my youthful head."

The voice of Wilfrid failed him as he concluded, and he burst into a
flood of tears.

The heart of Prince Edwin smote him for the pain he had inflicted upon
his faithful page; but he was too proud to acknowledge his fault.  He
could not, however, bear to look upon his tears; so he left him to
indulge them in solitude, and, taking the ready arm of Brithric,
strolled into the archery ground to amuse himself by shooting at a mark.

His hand was unsteady and his aim uncertain that day, yet Brithric's
voice was louder than ever in praising the skill of the Atheling.  The
rest of the royal wards took their cue from the bold flatterer, and
addressed to the prince the most extravagant compliments every time his
arrow came near the mark, which they all purposely abstained from
hitting.

At that moment the pale, sorrowful Wilfrid crossed the ground; but,
wishing to escape the attention of the joyous group, he kept at a
distance.  The prince, however, observed him, and willing to obliterate
the remembrance of his late unkindness, called to him in a lively
voice: "Come hither, Wilfrid," said he, "and tell me if you think you
could send an arrow nearer to yonder mark than I have done."

"Certainly," replied Wilfrid, "or I should prove myself but a bad
archer."

The group of youthful flatterers, who surrounded the heir of the
throne, smiled contemptuously at the unguarded sincerity of the page in
speaking the truth thus openly and plainly to his lord.

"Wilfrid, if we may believe his own testimony, is not only wiser and
better than any of the servants of the Atheling," said Brithric
scornfully, "but excels even the royal Atheling himself, in all the
exercises of princely skill."

"He has yet to prove his boast," replied the prince, coloring with
suppressed anger; "but give him his bow, Brithric," continued he, "that
we may all have the advantage of taking a lesson from so peerless an
archer."

"It is far from my wish presumptuously to compete with my lord,"
replied Wilfrid, calmly rejecting the bow.

"He has boasted that which he cannot perform," said Brithric, with an
insulting laugh.

"You are welcome to that opinion, Brithric, if it so please you," said
Wilfrid, turning about to quit the ground.

"Nay," cried the prince, "you go not till you have made good your
boast, young sir, by sending an arrow nearer to the mark than mine."

"Ay, royal Atheling," shouted the company, "compel the vaunter to show
us a sample of his skill."

"Rather, let my lord, the Atheling, try his own skill once more," said
Wilfrid; "he can hit the mark himself, if he will."

Prince Edwin bent his bow, and this time the arrow entered the centre
of the target.  The ground rang with the plaudits of the spectators.

"Let us see now if Wilfrid, the son of Cendric, the traitor, can equal
the Atheling's shot," shouted Brithric.

"Shoot, Wilfrid, shoot!" cried more than twenty voices among the royal
wards.

"I have no wish to bend the bow to-day," said Wilfrid.

"Because you know that you must expose yourself to contempt by failing
to make your vaunt good," said Brithric; "but you shall not escape thus
lightly."

"Nothing but the express command of the prince, my master, will induce
me to bend my bow to-day," said Wilfrid.

"Wilfrid, son of Cendric, I, Edwin Atheling, command thee to shoot at
yonder mark," said the prince.

Wilfrid bowed his head in obedience to the mandate.  He fitted the
arrow to the string, and stepping a pace backward, took his aim and
bent the bow.  The arrow flew unerringly, and cleft in twain that of
Prince Edwin which already remained fixed in the centre of the mark.

This feat of skillful archery on the part of the page called forth no
shout, nor even a word of applause, from the partial group of
flatterers, who had so loudly commended the Atheling's less successful
shots.  Their silence, however, was best pleasing to the modest
Wilfrid, who, without so much as casting a single triumphant glance
upon those who had insulted and reviled him, dropped his bow upon the
earth, and, bowing to his royal master, retired from the scene without
uttering a syllable.

From that day there was a visible change in the manners of the Atheling
toward his page, for his vanity had been piqued by this trifling
circumstance, of which the artful Brithric took advantage to irritate
his mind against Wilfrid.  He now addressed him only in the language of
imperious command, and not unfrequently treated him with personal
indignity.

Wilfrid felt these things very acutely, and the more so because the
former kindness of his youthful lord had won his earliest affections.
But he now bore all his capricious changes of temper with meekness.  It
was only in his unrestrained confidence with his widowed mother that he
ever uttered a complaint of the young Atheling, and then he spoke of
him in sorrow, not in anger; for he rightly attributed much of Prince
Edwin's unamiable conduct to the pernicious influence which the artful
Brithric had, through flattery, obtained over his mind.

"Patience, my son," would the widowed Ermengarde say in those moments
when Wilfrid sought relief by venting his anguish in tears on the bosom
of his tender mother, "patience, my son; true greatness is shown most
especially in enduring with magnanimity the crosses and trials which
are of every-day occurence.  Let sorrow, sickness, or any other
adversity touch Prince Edwin, and he will learn the difference between
a true friend and a false flatterer.  In due time, your worth will be
proved, and your victory will be a glorious one: for it will be the
triumph of virtue!"


CHAPTER III.

The day which Ermengarde had predicted was close at hand.  An
infectious fever broke out in the college, which, in several instances,
proved fatal to those who were attacked by it, and spread such terror
throughout the college that when Prince Edwin fell sick he was forsaken
by almost every living creature.  His faithful page, Wilfrid, however,
watched him day and night, and supplied him with drink and nourishment,
which were brought to him by the widow Ermengarde.

For six days the young Atheling was insensible of everything but his
own sufferings, and gave no indications of consciousness.  On the night
of the seventh, as Wilfrid was supporting upon his bosom the head of
his afflicted master, and holding a cup of cooling drink to his parched
lips, he murmured, "Is it you, my faithful Brithric?"

"No," replied the page, "Brithric is not present, neither hath he
entered this chamber, my lord, since the term of your sore sickness
commenced."

"Surely, then, he must himself be sick, perhaps dead," said the prince.

"No," replied Wilfrid, with a smile; "he is only fearful of exposing
himself to the contagion of the fever."

"Who, then, hath nursed and attended upon me so kindly during these
many days of suffering while I have lain here unconscious of everything
around me?"

"Your servant Wilfrid," replied the page.

"And where then are my chamberlains and attendants, by whom I ought to
be surrounded?" asked the prince, raising his languid head from the
bosom of Wilfrid, and looking round the spacious but deserted room of
state, in which he lay.

"They are all overcome by the terrors of the contagion," said Wilfrid.

"And why did you not flee from it also, Wilfrid?" asked the prince.

"Because, my lord," said Wilfrid, "I knew that you must perish if I
abandoned you."

"Ah!  Wilfrid," said the prince, bursting into tears, "I deserve not
this goodness from you, for of late I have treated you very unkindly; I
know and feel that I have: can you forgive me?"

"Think no more of it, my lord, I pray you," replied Wilfrid, pressing
the burning hand of the prince to his lips.  "I freely forgive all that
has passed, and only wish you to remember it, whenever you feel
disposed to yield to the impulses of a defective temper, which, for
your own sake, rather than mine, I earnestly hope you will correct."

Prince Edwin bowed his face on the bosom of his faithful page, and wept
long and passionately, promising, at the same time, amendment of his
faults if ever it should please his Heavenly Father to raise him up
from the bed of sickness on which he then lay.

How careful should young people be to perform the resolutions of
correcting their evil habits which they make at moments when sickness
or adversity brings them to a recollection of their evil propensities.
Yet, alas! how often is it that such promises are forgotten, as soon as
they find themselves in a condition to repeat their faults.

Thus it was with Prince Edwin.  Instead of seeking the assistance of a
higher power than his own weak will to strengthen and support him in
the right path, he contented himself with saying, "I am determined to
begin a fresh course; to correct my hasty, imperious temper; to pursue
my studies steadily and perseveringly; and to shun the society of those
who, by flattery and false speaking, seek to increase my foolish
vanity, and impede my improvement!"

Now it was easy to say all this, but very difficult to put these good
resolutions into practice.  Prince Edwin, neglecting to implore the
Divine aid to strengthen him in their performance, soon yielded to
temptation, and in a little time, listened to the pernicious flatteries
of Brithric with as much pleasure as he had done before the period of
his sickness.

It was to no purpose that the faithful Wilfrid remonstrated with him,
and pointed out the fatal consequences that result from listening to
the false commendations of those who pay no regard to truth.  Prince
Edwin loved to hear himself praised, even for those very qualities in
which he was most deficient.  He grew weary of Wilfrid's admonitions,
and frequently reproved him when he ventured to reason with him, or
attempted to offer the counsel of a true friend.

Brithric was, as I said before, much older than the prince or any of
the royal wards.  He was artful and ambitious, and had formed in his
heart a wicked project for his own advancement, which was too likely to
plunge the country into the horrors of a civil war.  This project was
no less than that of attempting to induce Prince Edwin to set himself
up for king, and to claim the throne as the eldest legitimate son of
the late King Edward.

In all this, Brithric was very ungrateful to King Athelstane, who had
been very kind to him, and had recently appointed him to the honorable
office of his cup-bearer.  That employment, however, was not sufficient
to content Brithric, who perceived that King Athelstane was too wise a
prince to listen to artful flattery or to allow any person of his court
to obtain an undue influence over his mind.

"Ah!" said Brithric to himself, "if Edwin were king, I should be his
chief favorite.  Wealth and honors would be at my disposal; and as he
believes everything I say to him I should be able to govern him, and
persuade him to do whatever I wished."

Brithric had soon an opportunity of introducing this treasonable
project to Prince Edwin; for King Athelstane sent him with a letter to
the head of the college; and as soon as he had delivered it he paid a
visit to Prince Edwin, whom he found in his own chamber, engaged with
Wilfrid in brightening his arrows.

"So, Brithric," said the prince, "do you bring me an invitation to the
court of the king, my brother?"

Brithric shook his head, and replied, "No, my prince; King Athelstane
has no wish to see you there.  Take my word for it, he will never give
you an invitation to his court."

"Why not?" asked Prince Edwin, reddening with sudden anger.

"King Athelstane knows that you have a better title to the throne than
himself," replied Brithric.  "He knows, also, that were his valiant
Thames and Ealdormen to see you, they would be very likely to make you
king; for you are possessed of far more princely qualities than the
base-born Athelstane."

The eyes of Prince Edwin brightened at the words of Brithric, and he
grasped the arrow which he had in his hand with the air of one who
holds a sceptre.  "Fie, Brithric," said Wilfrid, "how can you be so
treacherous to your royal master as to speak of him with such
disrespect, and to put such dangerous and criminal ideas into the mind
of Prince Edwin?"

"Peace, meddling brat," cried Edwin, angrily; "who asked counsel of
thee in this matter?"

"There are some things which it would be a crime to hear in silence,"
replied Wilfrid; "and I implore you, my dear, dear lord, by all the
love that once united you and your faithful page in the bonds of
friendship, not to listen to the fatal suggestions of the false
Brithric."

"False Brithric!" echoed the wily tempter; "I will prove myself the
true friend of the Atheling, if he will only give consent to the deed
by which I will make him this very day the lord of England."

"Impossible," cried the prince; "you have no power to raise me to the
throne of my father Edward, albeit it is my lawful inheritance."

"The usurper Athelstane knows that full well," observed Brithric.
"Therefore it is that you are kept here, like a bird in a cage, leading
a life of monkish seclusion in an obscure college, instead of learning
to wield the battleaxe, to hurl the spear, and rein the war-horse, like
a royal Saxon prince."

"The wily tyrant shall find that Edwin the Atheling is not to be so
treated," exclaimed the prince, yielding to a burst of passion.

"You have no remedy, my lord," said Brithric; "for the people love the
usurper, and know nothing of his imprisoned brother, Edwin, the
rightful king of England."

"And shall I always be immured, like a captived thrush?" asked Edwin,
indignantly.

"Yes, while Athelstane lives, you must expect no other fate," said
Brithric.  "But what if Athelstane should die?" continued he, fixing
his eyes on the face of the prince.

"Oh! hear him not, my lord," cried Wilfrid, flinging himself at the
Atheling's feet; "he would tempt you to a crime as deadly as that of
Cain."

"Peace, son of Cendric, the traitor!" exclaimed Prince Edwin, leveling
at the same time a blow at his faithful page, which felled him to the
earth, where he lay covered with blood, and apparently without sense or
motion.

"And now speak on, my loving Brithric," continued the Atheling, without
paying the slightest regard to the condition of poor Wilfrid, who was,
however, perfectly aware of all that was passing, though, to all
appearance, insensible.

"My lord," said Brithric, drawing nearer to the Atheling, "I will now
speak plainly.  I am the cup-bearer of King Athelstane, and the next
time I present the red wine to him at the banquet it shall be drugged
with such a draught as shall make Prince Edwin lord of England within
an hour after the usurper has swallowed it."

"Traitor, begone!" exclaimed the prince, filled with horror at this
dreadful proposal.  "I would not stain my soul with the crime of
murder, if by such means I could obtain the empire of the world."

Brithric used many wicked arguments to induce Prince Edwin to consent
to the murder of his royal brother; but Edwin commanded him to leave
his presence, and never to presume to enter it again.  The vile wretch,
however, alarmed lest the prince should inform the king of the crime he
had meditated against him, went to his royal master and accused the
Atheling of having endeavored to persuade him to mix poison in the wine
cup of his sovereign.

Athelstane, justly indignant at the crime laid to the charge of his
royal brother, came with a party of guards to the college.  Here,
before his preceptors and all the royal wards, his companions, he
charged Edwin with having meditated the crime of treason and fratricide.

You may imagine the consternation of the prince on hearing this
dreadful accusation.  It was to no purpose that he protested his
innocence, and called on all his faithful associates to witness for him
that he had never uttered an injurious thought against the king.  Those
who had been most ready to flatter him were silent on this occasion,
for they perceived that King Athelstane was persuaded of his brother's
guilt; and some of them said, "They remembered that Prince Edwin had
often said that he had a better title to the throne than King
Athelstane."

Prince Edwin could not deny that he had used these words; but it seemed
to him very hard that they should be repeated to the king in the hour
of his sore distress.  Looking around, with a countenance expressive of
mingled sorrow and indignation, he said,--

"Unhappy that I am! they that were my most familiar friends are they
that speak against me!  Is there no one that can bear me witness that I
am guiltless of the crime of plotting to take away my brother's life?"

"I will, though I die for it!" cried a voice, feeble from bodily
suffering, but firm in the courageous utterance of truth.  It was that
of Wilfrid, the page, who, with his countenance still pale and
disfigured from the effects of the blow received from Prince Edwin,
stood boldly forward to bear witness of the scene which had taken place
in his presence between Brithric and the prince.

"Oh, Wilfrid, generous Wilfrid," cried Edwin, bursting into tears, "how
nobly do you fulfill the precepts of your heavenly Master by returning
good for evil!"

Now Athelstane had been so deeply prejudiced against his unfortunate
brother by the wicked Brithric, that he would not listen to Wilfrid's
honest evidence.  When, therefore, he heard that he was the son of the
traitor Cendric, who had been so deeply implicated in Alfred's plot, he
was so unjust as to believe all that Brithric said against him.
Accordingly, he took Wilfrid, as well as the young Atheling, and
carried them prisoners to London.   He there put them on board a ship
that was lying in the river Thames, and when night came, set sail with
them and went out to sea.


CHAPTER IV.

Prince Edwin was not greatly alarmed, for he thought the king, his
brother, was only going to banish him to some foreign country, where he
fondly thought that Wilfrid and himself might live together very
happily.  But when they were out of sight of land, and the moon had
risen over a wild waste of stormy billows, the king had both the
prisoners brought upon deck, and he then ordered the captain to put
them into a small boat and set them adrift at the mercy of the winds
and waves.

It was to no purpose that the wretched Edwin threw himself at his
brother's feet, and entreated for mercy.  Athelstane only replied, "You
tried to persuade my faithful cup-bearer to take my life--your own
life, therefore, is forfeited; but, as you are the son of my royal
father, I will not shed your blood upon the scaffold.  I commit you and
your guilty companion, the son of the traitor Cendric, to the mercy of
God, who can and will preserve the innocent if it be his good pleasure
so to do."

"And to His mercy, not thine, O king! do I, in full confidence of
innocence, commend both myself and my unfortunate master," said
Wilfrid, as the seamen hurried him, with the weeping Atheling, over the
side of the vessel into the little boat that lay tossing and rocking
among the tempestuous billows.

When the unhappy youths found themselves alone, without sails or
rudder, on the pathless ocean, they sank into each other's arms and
wept long and passionately.

At length Wilfrid lifted up his voice and heart in fervent prayer to
that Almighty and merciful God, who had delivered Daniel from the
lions' den, and preserved his faithful servants, Meshach, Shadrach and
Abednego, unharmed in the fiery furnace.  Prince Edwin, on the
contrary, gave himself up to despair, and when he saw the king's ship
spreading her canvas to the gale, and fast receding from his sight, he
uttered a cry that was heard above the uproar of the winds and waves.
Starting up in the boat, and extending his arms toward the disappearing
vessel, he unwittingly lost his balance, and was in a moment ingulfed
in the stormy billows.

We may imagine the anguish and terror of Wilfrid on witnessing the sad
fate of his young lord, which he had no power to prevent.  Thoughts of
his widowed mother's grief for himself, too, came over his mind and
filled his eyes with tears, for her, as well as for his ill-fated lord.
For himself, however, he felt no fears, even in this dreadful hour,
when left companionless on the tempestuous ocean, for his trust was
firm and steadfast in the mercies of his Heavenly Father.

That night the winds roared, and the waves raged mightily.  Many a
gallant bark foundered in the storm, and many a skillful seaman found a
watery grave before the morning dawned in the cloudy horizon.  But the
frail vessel into which the unfortunate Atheling and his page had been
thrust, weathered the gale and, with her lonely tenant, Wilfrid, was
driven ashore at a place called Whitesande, on the coast of Picardy, in
France.

When Wilfrid landed, he was drenched through and through.  He was
hungry, too, and sorrowful and weary.  He knew not where he was, but he
failed not to return thanks to that gracious God who had preserved him
from the perils of the raging seas to which he had been so awfully
exposed, and whose merciful providence, he doubted not, would guide and
sustain him in the strange land whither he had been conducted.

Thus meekly, thus nobly, did the young page support himself under this
fresh trial.  But when the remembrance of the unfortunate Atheling, his
royal master, came over him, his heart melted within him; he bowed his
face on his knees as he sat all lonely on the sea beach, and he wept
aloud, exclaiming--

"Oh, Edwin! royal Edwin! hadst thou patiently trusted in the mercy of
God thou slightest, notwithstanding thy late adversity, have lived to
wear the crown of thy father Edward."  Overpowered by his emotions, he
again sank upon the ground.

"Is it of Edwin of England that thou speakest, young Saxon?" asked a
soft voice in the sweet familiar language of his own native land.

He raised his head and found that he was surrounded by a party of
ladies, one of whom questioned him with an air of eager interest
respecting the expressions he had used touching the unfortunate Prince
Edwin.

Now this lady was no other than Ogina, Queen of France, the sister of
Prince Edwin.  Being on a visit at the house of a great lord on the
coast of Picardy, she had come down to the beach that morning, with her
ladies of honor, to bathe: a custom among ladies, even of the highest
rank, in those days.  Hearing that a Saxon bark had been driven on
shore by the storm, and seeing the disconsolate figure of Wilfrid on
the beach, she had drawn near, and, unperceived by the suffering youth,
had overheard his melancholy soliloquy.

While Wilfrid related the sad story of his master's untimely fate, the
royal lady wept aloud.  After he had concluded his melancholy tale, she
took him to the castle of which she was herself an inmate, and
commended him to the care of her noble host, who quickly attended to
all his wants, and furnished him with dry garments.

When Wilfrid had taken due rest and refreshment, the queen requested
that he should be brought into her presence.  He was, accordingly,
ushered into a stately apartment, where Ogina was seated under a
crimson canopy, fringed with gold.  She bade him draw near, and
extended her hand toward him.  Being well acquainted with courtly
customs, the youth respectfully bowed his knee and humbly kissed the
hand of the royal lady, who proceeded to say,--

"Thou hast been found true when the only reward thou didst expect for
thy faithfulness was a cruel death.  But surely thou hast been
conducted by a kind Providence into the presence of one who has both
the will and the power to requite thee for thy fidelity to the
unfortunate Atheling; for I am his sister, the Queen of France."

"And I have then the honor to stand before the royal Ogina, daughter of
my late lord, King Edward, and Queen of King Charles of France?" said
Wilfrid, again bowing himself.

"The same," replied the queen, taking a ring of great value from her
finger and placing it on that of the page.

"Take this ring," continued she, "in token of my favor; and if thou
wilt serve me in one thing, I will make thee the greatest lord in my
husband's court."

"Royal lady," said Wilfrid, "I have a widowed mother in my own land
whom I cannot forsake; neither would I desert my native country to
become a peer of France.  But tell me wherein I can be of service to
thee, and if it be in my power it shall be done."

"Darest thou," said the queen, "return to England and presenting
thyself before my brother Athelstane, thy king, declare to him the
innocence and the sad fate of Edwin, the Atheling, his father's son?"

"Lady, I not only dare, but I desire so to do," replied Wilfrid; "for I
fear my God, and I have no other fear."

Then the Queen of France loaded Wilfrid with rich presents, and sent
him over to England in a gallant ship to bear the mournful tidings of
poor Prince Edwin's death to England's king.  She thought that when
Athelstane should hear the sad tale told in the pathetic language of
the faithful page, his heart would be touched with remorse for what he
had done.

Now King Athelstane was already conscience-stricken for his conduct
toward his brother Edwin.  His ship, during the same night that he had
compelled him to enter the boat with Wilfrid, was terribly tossed by
the tempest, and he felt that the vengeance of God was upon him for his
hardness of heart.  The crew of the royal vessel had toiled and labored
all night, and it was with great difficulty that the ship was at length
got into port.  Every individual on board, as well as the king himself,
felt convinced that the storm was a visitation upon them for what they
had done.

King Athelstane had become very melancholy and offered large rewards to
any one who would bring him news of his unfortunate brother; and he
looked with horror upon Brithric as the cause of his having dealt so
hardly with Edwin.  One day, when Brithric was waiting at table with
the king's cup, it happened that his foot slipped, and he would have
fallen if he had not dexterously saved himself with the other foot:
observing some of the courtiers smile, he cried out jestingly, "See
you, my lords, how one brother helps the other."

"It is thus that brother should aid brother," said the king; "but it
was thee, false traitor, that did set me against mine! for the which
thou shalt surely pay the forfeit of thy life in the same hour that
tidings are brought me of his death."

At that moment Wilfrid, presenting himself before the king, said, "King
Athelstane, I bring thee tidings of Edwin the Atheling!"

"The fairest earldom in my kingdom shall be the reward of him who will
tell me that my brother liveth," exclaimed the king eagerly.

"If thou wouldst give the royal crown of England from off thine head it
would not bribe the deep sea to give up its dead!" replied the page.

"Who art thou that speakest such woeful words?" demanded Athelstane,
fixing his eyes with a doubting and fearful scrutiny on the face of the
page.

"Hast thou forgotten Wilfrid, the son of Cendric?" replied the youth;
"he who commended himself to the mercy of the King of kings, in that
dark hour when thy brother Edwin implored for thine in vain."

"Ha!" cried the king, "I remember thee now; thou art the pale stripling
who bore witness of my brother's innocence of the crime with which the
false-tongued Brithric charged him!"

"The same, my lord," said Wilfrid; "and God hath witnessed for my truth
by preserving me from the waters of the great deep, to which thou didst
commit me with my lord, Prince Edwin."

"But Edwin--my brother Edwin! tell me of him!" cried Athelstane,
grasping the shoulder of the page.

"Did not his drowning cry reach thine ear, royal Athelstane?" asked
Wilfrid, bursting into tears.  "Ere thy tall vessel had disappeared
from our sight the fair-haired Atheling was ingulfed in the stormy
billows that swelled round our frail bark, and I, only I, am, by the
especial mercy of God, preserved to tell thee the sad fate of thy
father's son, whom thou wert, in an evil hour, moved by a treacherous
villain to destroy."

"Traitor," said the king, turning to Brithric, "thy false tongue hath
not only slain my brother, but thyself!  Thou shalt die for having
wickedly induced me to become his murderer!"

"And thou wilt live, O king, to suffer the pangs of an upbraiding
conscience," replied the culprit.  "Where was thy wisdom, where thy
discrimination, where thy sense of justice, when thou lent so ready an
ear to my false and improbable accusations against thy boyish brother?
I sought my own aggrandizement--and to have achieved that I would have
destroyed thee and placed him upon the throne.  I made him my tool--you
became my dupe--and I now myself fall a victim to my own machinations."

The guards then removed Brithric from the royal presence, and the next
day he met with his deserts in a public execution.

As for the faithful Wilfrid, King Athelstane not only caused the lands
and titles of which his father, Cendric, had been deprived, to be
restored to him, but also conferred upon him great honors and rewards.
He lived to be the pride and comfort of his widowed mother, Ermengarde,
and ever afterward enjoyed the full confidence of the king.

The royal Athelstane never ceased to lament the death of his
unfortunate brother, Edwin.  He gained many great victories, and
reigned long and gloriously over England, but he was evermore tormented
by remorse of conscience for his conduct toward his youthful brother,
Prince Edwin.



CISSY'S AMENDMENT.

BY ANNA L. PARKER.

She was a dainty, blue-eyed, golden-haired darling, who had ruled her
kingdom but four short years when the events in our history occurred.
Very short the four years had seemed, for the baby princess brought
into the quiet old house such a wealth of love, with its golden
sunshine, that time had passed rapidly since her arrival, as time
always does when we are happy and contented.

Our little princess did not owe her title to royal birth, but to her
unquestioned sway over those around her; a rule in which was so happily
blended entreaty and command that her willing subjects were never quite
sure to which they were yielding.  But of one thing they were sure,
which was that the winning grace of the little sovereign equaled their
pleasures in obeying her small commands, and the added fact--a very
important one--that this queen of hearts never abused her power.

No little brothers nor sisters were numbered among the princess'
retainers, but she had had from her babyhood an inseparable companion
and playfellow in Moses.  Now Moses was a big brown dog who, like his
namesake of old, had been rescued from a watery grave, and it chanced
that baby-girl and baby-dog became inmates of the quiet old house about
the same time.  But the dog grew much faster than the little girl, as
dogs are wont to do, and was quite a responsible person by the time
Cissy could toddle around.  When she was old enough to play under the
old elm tree Moses assumed the place of protector of her little
highness, and was all the bodyguard the princess needed, for he was
wise and unwearied in his endeavors to guard her from all mishaps.
But, although Moses felt the responsibility of his position, he did not
consider it beneath his dignity to amuse his mistress, and so they
played together, baby and dog, shared their lunch together, and
frequently took their nap together of a warm afternoon, the golden
curls of the little princess tumbled over Moses' broad, shaggy shoulder.

One day when Cissy was about four years old an event occurred in her
life that seemed for a time to endanger the intimacy between the little
girl and her four-footed friend, and caused Moses considerable anxiety.
It was a rainy morning and she could not play under the trees as usual,
so she took her little chair and climbed up to the window to see if the
trees were lonesome without her.  Something unusual going on in the
house next door attracted her attention, and her disappointment was
soon forgotten.  No one had lived in the house since the little girl
could remember.  Now the long closed doors and windows were thrown wide
open, and men were running up and down the steps.  She was puzzled to
know what it could all mean, and kept her little face close to the
window, and was so unmindful of Moses that he felt quite neglected and
lonely.

The following morning was warm and bright, and the little princess and
her attendant were playing under the trees again.  Moses was so
delighted in having won the sole attention of his little mistress and
played so many droll pranks that Cissy shouted with laughter.  In the
midst of her merriment she chanced to look up, and saw through the
paling a pair of eyes as bright as her own, dancing with fun and
evidently enjoying Moses' frolic quite as much as the little girl
herself.  The bright eyes belonged to a little boy about Cissy's age,
whose name was Jamie, and who had moved into the house that had
interested her so much the day before.

Now our little princess in her winning way claimed the allegiance of
all that came within her circle, and so confidently ran over to the
fence to make the acquaintance of her new subject.  Jamie was quite
willing to be one of her servitors, and although they were separated by
the high palings they visited through the openings all the morning, and
for many mornings after, exchanging dolls, books, balls, and strings,
and becoming the best of friends.  This new order of things was not
quite satisfactory to Moses, who felt he was no longer necessary to
Cissy's happiness.  He still kept his place close beside her, and tried
to be as entertaining as possible.  But do what he would he could not
coax her away from her new-found friend, and all the merry plays under
the old elm tree seemed to have come to an end, but Cissy was not
really ungrateful to her old playfellow.  She was deeply interested in
her new companion and for the time somewhat forgetful of Moses, which
is not much to be wondered at when we remember what great advantage
over Moses Jamie had in one thing.  He could talk with Cissy and Moses
could not.  But although the dog's faithful heart ached at the neglect
of his little mistress, he did not desert his place of protector, but
watched and guarded the princess while she and her friend prattled on
all the long, bright days, quite unconscious of his trouble.

One afternoon Cissy's happiness reached its highest point.  Her mother
had been watching the visiting going on through the fence, and saw
Cissy's delight in her new companion, so, unknown to her, she wrote a
note asking that Jamie be permitted to come into the yard and play
under the elm tree.  When Cissy saw Jamie coming up the walk in her own
yard, her delight knew no bounds.  She ran to meet him, and dolls and
buggies and carts and everything she prized was generously turned over
to her visitor.  How quickly the afternoon passed.

Moses was as happy as the children themselves--for if he could not talk
he could at least bark, and now they were altogether under the tree,
his troubles were forgotten and which were the happier, children or
dog, it were hard to say.  So with merry play the beautiful day came to
a close.  The sun was sending up his long golden beams in the west.
Jamie was called home, and Cissy came into the house.  The tired little
eyes were growing drowsy and the soft curls drooped over the nodding
head when mamma undressed her little girl to make her ready for bed.
Then Cissy knelt beside her little bed and repeated the prayer she had
been taught: "Now, I lay me down to sleep," and "God bless papa and
mamma and everybody, and make Cissy a good girl."  But when she had
done she did not rise as usual; looking up earnestly at her mother, she
said: "Please, mamma, I want to pray my own prayer now."  Then folding
her little hands, the sweet childish voice took on an earnestness it
had not shown before, as she said: "Dear Father in heaven, I thank you
for making Jamie, and 'cause his mamma let him come in my yard to play.
Please make lots more Jamies," and with this sincere expression of her
grateful heart, and her loving recognition that all our blessings come
from the Father above, the tired, happy little girl was ready for bed,
and soon asleep.

Moses lay sleeping contentedly on the rug beside the princess' little
bed.  He too had had a happy day.  I wonder if he had any way to
express his thankfulness to his Creator, the same Father in heaven to
which Cissy prayed, for the love and companionship of his little
playfellows, and for the bright, happy day he had spent?  I believe he
had.  What do you think about it?



THE WINTER'S TALE.

AS TOLD BY MARY SEYMOUR.

Leontes of Sicily, and Hermione, his lovely queen, lived together in
the greatest harmony--a harmony and happiness so perfect that the king
said he had no wish left to gratify excepting the desire to see his old
companion Polixenes, and present him to the friendship of his wife.

Polixenes was king of Bohemia; and it was not until he had received
many invitations that he came to visit his friend Leontes of Sicily.

At first this was the cause of great joy.  It seemed that Leontes never
tired of talking over the scenes of bygone days with his early friend,
while Hermione listened well pleased.  But when Polixenes wished to
depart, and both the king and the queen entreated him to remain yet
longer, it was the gentle persuasion of Hermione which overcame his
resistance, rather than the desire of his friend Leontes, who upon this
grew both angry and jealous, and began to hate Polixenes as much as he
had loved him.

At length his feelings became so violent that he gave an order for the
King of Bohemia to be killed.   But fortunately he intrusted the
execution of this command to Camillo--a good man, who helped his
intended victim to escape to his own dominions.  At this, Leontes was
still more angry and, rushing to the room where his wife was engaged
with her little son Mamillius took the child away, and ordered poor
Hermione to prison.

While she was there, a little daughter was born to her; and a lady who
heard of this, told the queen's maid Emilia, that she would carry the
infant into the presence of its father if she might be intrusted with
it, and perhaps his heart would soften toward his wife and the innocent
babe.

Hermione very willingly gave up her little daughter into the arms of
the lady Paulina, who forced herself into the king's presence, and laid
her precious burden at his feet, boldly reproaching him with his
cruelty to the queen.  But Paulina's services were of no avail: the
king ordered her away, so she left the little child before him,
believing, when she retired, that his proud, angry heart would relent.

But she was mistaken.  Leontes bade one of his courtiers take the
infant to some desert isle to perish; and Antigonus, the husband of
Paulina, was the one chosen to execute this cruel purpose.

The next action of the king was to summon Hermione to be tried for
having loved Polixenes too well.  Already he had had recourse to an
oracle; and the answer, sealed up, was brought into court and opened in
the presence of the much-injured queen:

"Hermione is innocent; Polixenes blameless; Camillo a true subject;
Leontes a jealous tyrant; and the king shall live without an heir, if
that which is lost be not found."

Thus it ran; but the angry king said it was all a falsehood, made up by
the queen's friends, and he bade them go on with the trial.  Yet even
as he spoke, a messenger entered to say that the king's son Mamillius
had died suddenly, grieving for his mother.  Hermione, overcome by such
sad tidings, fainted; and then Leontes, feeling some pity for her, bade
her ladies remove her, and do all that was possible for her recovery.

Very soon Paulina returned, saying that Hermione, the queen, was also
dead.  Now Leontes repented of his harshness; now he readily believed
she was all that was good and pure; and, beginning to have faith in the
words of the oracle which spoke of that which was lost being found,
declared he would give up his kingdom could he but recover the lost
baby he had sent to perish.

The ship which had conveyed Antigonus with the infant princess away
from her father's kingdom, was driven onshore upon the Bohemian
territory, over which Polixenes reigned.  Leaving the child there,
Antigonus started to return to his ship; but a savage bear met and
destroyed him, so that Leontes never heard how his commands had been
fulfilled.

When poor Hermione had sent her baby in Paulina's care to be shown to
her royal father, she had dressed it in its richest robes, and thus it
remained when Antigonus left it.  Besides, he pinned a paper to its
mantle upon which the name Perdita was written.

Happily, a kind-hearted shepherd found the deserted infant, and took it
home to his wife, who cherished it as her own.  But they concealed the
fact from every one; and lest the tale of the jewels upon Perdita's
little neck should be noised abroad, he sold some of them, and leaving
that part of the country, bought herds of sheep, and became a wealthy
shepherd.

Little Perdita grew up as sweet and lovely as her unknown mother; yet
she was supposed to be only a shepherd's child.

Polixenes of Bohemia had one only son--Florizel by name; who, hunting
near the shepherd's dwelling, saw the fair maiden, whose beauty and
modesty soon won his love.  Disguising himself as a private gentleman,
instead of appearing as the king's son, Florizel took the name of
Doricles, and came visiting at the shepherd's dwelling.  So often was
he there, and thus so frequently missed at court, that people began to
watch his movements, and soon discovered that he loved the pretty
maiden Perdita.

When this news was carried to Polixenes, he called upon his faithful
servant Camillo to go with him to the shepherd's house; and they
arrived there in disguise just at the feast of sheep-shearing, when
there was a welcome for every visitor.

It was a busy scene.  There was dancing on the green, young lads and
lassies were chaffering with a peddler for his goods, sports were going
on everywhere; yet Florizel and Perdita sat apart, talking happily to
each other.

No one could have recognized the king; even Florizel did not observe
him as he drew near enough to listen to the conversation of the young
people.  Perdita's way of speaking charmed him much--it seemed
something very different to the speech of a shepherd's daughter; and,
turning to Camillo, Polixenes said:

        "Nothing she does or seems
  But tastes of something greater than her self,
  Too noble for this place."


Then he spoke to the old shepherd, asking the name of the youth who
talked to his daughter.

"They call him Doricles," said the man; adding, too, that if he indeed
loved Perdita, he would receive with her something he did not reckon
on.  By this the shepherd meant a part of her rich jewels which he had
not sold, but kept carefully until such time as she should marry.
Polixenes turned to his son, telling him jestingly that he should have
bought some gift for his fair maid--not let the peddler go without
seeking anything for her.

Florizel little imagined it was his father talking to him, and he
replied that the gifts Perdita prized were those contained within his
heart; and then he begged the "old man" to be a witness of their
marriage.

Still keeping up his disguise, Polixenes asked Florizel if he had no
father to bid as a guest to his wedding.  But the young man said there
were reasons why he should not speak of the matter to his father.

Polixenes chose this for the moment in which to make himself known; and
reproaching his son bitterly for giving his love to a low-born maiden,
bade him accompany Camillo back to court.

As the king retired thus angry, Perdita said, "I was not much afraid;
for once or twice I was about to speak, to tell him plainly,--

  "The self-same sun that shines upon his court
  Hides not his visage from our cottage, but
  Looks on alike."


Then she sorrowfully bade Florizel leave her.

Camillo felt sorry for the two, and thought of a way in which he could
stand their friend.  Having known a long time that his former master,
Leontes, repented of all his cruelty, he proposed that Florizel and
Perdita should accompany him to Sicily to beg the king to win for them
the consent of Polixenes to their marriage.

The old shepherd was allowed to be of the party, and he took with him
the clothes and jewels which had been found with Perdita, and also the
paper on which her name had been written.

On their arrival, Leontes received Camillo with kindness, and welcomed
Prince Florizel; but it was Perdita who engrossed all his thoughts.
She seemed to remind him of his fair queen Hermione, and he broke out
into bitter self-accusation, saying that he might have had just such
another lovely maiden to call him father, but for his own cruelty.

The shepherd, listening to the king's lamentations, began to compare
the time when he had lost the royal infant with the time when Perdita
was found, and he came to the conclusion that she and the daughter of
Leontes were one and the same person.  When he felt assured of this he
told his tale, showed the rich mantle which had been wrapped round the
infant, and her remaining jewels; and Leontes knew that his daughter
was brought back to him once more.  Joyful as such tidings were, his
sorrow at the thought of Hermione, who had not lived to behold her
child thus grown into a fair maiden, almost exceeded his happiness, so
that he kept exclaiming, "Oh, thy mother! thy mother!"

Paulina now appeared, begging Leontes to go to her house and look at a
statue she possessed which greatly resembled Hermione.  Anxious to see
anything like his much-lamented wife, the king agreed; and when the
curtain was drawn back his sorrow was stirred afresh.  At last he said
that the statue gave Hermione a more aged, wrinkled look than when he
last beheld her; but Paulina replied, that if so, it was a proof of the
sculptor's art, who represented the queen as she would appear after the
sixteen years which had passed.  She would have drawn the curtain
again, but Leontes begged her to wait a while, and again he appealed to
those about him to say if it was not indeed a marvelous likeness.

Perdita had all the while been kneeling, admiring in silence her
beautiful mother.  Paulina presently said that she possessed the power
to make the statue move, if such were the king's pleasure; and as some
soft music was heard, the figure stirred.  Ah! it was no sculptured
marble, but Hermione, living and breathing, who hung upon her husband
and her long-lost child!

It is needless to tell that Paulina's story of her royal mistress'
death was an invention to save her life, and that for all those years
she had kept the queen secluded, so that Leontes should not hear that
she was living until Perdita was found.

All was happiness; but none was greater than that of Camillo and
Paulina, who saw the reward of their long faithfulness.  One more
person was to arrive upon the scene; even Polixenes, who came in search
of Florizel, and was thus in time to bless the union of the young
people, and take a share in the general joy.



A GRACIOUS DEED.

In an humble room in one of the poorest streets in London, Pierre, a
faithful French boy, sat humming by the bedside of his sick mother.
There was no bread in the closet, and for the whole day he had not
tasted food.  Yet he sat humming to keep up his spirits.  Still at
times he thought of his loneliness and hunger, and he could scarcely
keep the tears from his eyes, for he knew that nothing would be so
grateful to his poor mother as a good, sweet orange, and yet he had not
a penny in the world.

The little song he was singing was his own; one he had composed, both
air and words--for the child was a genius.

He went to the window, and looking out, he saw a man putting up a great
bill with yellow letters announcing that Mme. Malibran would sing that
night in public.

"Oh, if I could only go," thought little Pierre; and then pausing a
moment he clasped his hands, his eyes lighting with new hope.  Running
to the little stand, he smoothed his yellow curls, and taking from a
little box some old stained paper, gave one eager glance at his mother,
who slept, and ran speedily from the house.

"Who did you say was waiting for me?" said madame to her servant.  "I
am already worn with company."

"It's only a very pretty little boy with yellow curls, who said if he
can just see you he is sure you will not be sorry, and he will not keep
you a moment."

"Oh, well, let him come," said the beautiful singer, with a smile.  "I
can never refuse children."

Little Pierre came in, his hat under his arm, and in his hand a little
roll of paper.  With manliness unusual for a child he walked straight
to the lady and, bowing, said: "I came to see you because my mother is
very sick, and we are too poor to get food and medicine.  I thought,
perhaps, that if you would sing my little song at some of your grand
concerts, maybe some publisher would buy it for a small sum and so I
could get food and medicine for my mother."

The beautiful woman arose from her seat.  Very tall and stately she
was.  She took the roll from his hand and lightly hummed the air.

"Did you compose it?" she asked; "you a child!  And the words?  Would
you like to come to my concert?" she asked.

"Oh, yes!" and the boy's eyes grew bright with happiness; "but I
couldn't leave my mother."

"I will send somebody to take care of your mother for the evening, and
there is a crown with which you may go and get food and medicine.  Here
is also one of my tickets.  Come to-night; that will admit you to a
seat near me."

Almost beside himself with joy, Pierre bought some oranges, and many a
little luxury besides, and carried them home to the poor invalid,
telling her, not without tears, of his good fortune.

When evening came and Pierre was admitted to the concert hall he felt
that never in his life had he been in such a place.  The music, the
myriad lights, the beauty, the flashing of diamonds and rustling of
silk, bewildered his eyes and brain.

At last she came, and the child sat with his glance riveted on her
glorious face.  Could he believe that the grand lady, all blazing with
jewels, and whom everybody seemed to worship, would really sing his
little song?

Breathlessly he waited--the band, the whole band, struck up a plaintive
little melody.  He knew it, and clasped his hands for joy.  And oh, how
she sang it!  It was so simple, so mournful.  Many a bright eye dimmed
with tears, and naught could be heard but the touching words of that
little song.

Pierre walked home as if moving on air.  What cared he for money now?
The greatest singer in all Europe had sung his little song, and
thousands had wept at his grief.

The next day he was frightened at a visit from Madame Malibran.  She
laid her hands on his yellow curls, and talking to the sick woman said:
"Your little boy, madame, has brought you a fortune.  I was offered
this morning, by the best publisher in London, 300 pounds for his
little song, and after he has realized a certain amount from the sale,
little Pierre, here, is to share the profits.  Madame, thank God that
your son has a gift from heaven."

The noble-hearted singer and the poor woman wept together.  As to
Pierre, always mindful of Him who watches over the tired and tempted,
he knelt down by his mother's bedside and offered a simple but eloquent
prayer, asking God's blessing on the kind lady who had deigned to
notice their affliction.

The memory of that prayer made the singer more tender-hearted, and she,
who was the idol of England's nobility, went about doing good.  And in
her early, happy death, he who stood beside her bed and smoothed her
pillow and lightened her last moments by his undying affection, was
little Pierre of former days, now rich, accomplished, and the most
talented composer of his day.



TOM.

BY REV. C. H. MEAD.

Never did any one have a better start in life than Tom.  Born of
Christian parents, he inherited from them no bad defects, moral or
physical.  He was built on a liberal plan, having a large head, large
hands, large feet, large body, and within all, a heart big with
generosity.  His face was the embodiment of good nature, and his laugh
was musical and infectious.  Being an only child there was no one to
share with him the lavish love of his parents.  They saw in him nothing
less than a future President of the United States, and they made every
sacrifice to fit him for his coming position.  He was a prime favorite
with all, and being a born leader, he was ungrudgingly accorded that
position by his playmates at school and his fellows at the university.
He wrestled with rhetoric, and logic, and political economy, and
geometry, and came off an easy victor; he put new life into the dead
languages, dug among the Greek roots by day and soared up among the
stars by night.  None could outstrip him as a student, and he easily
held his place at the head of his class.  The dullest scholar found in
him a friend and a helper, while the brighter ones found in his
example, an incentive to do their best.

In athletic sports, too, he was excelled by none.  He could run faster,
jump higher, lift a dumb-bell easier, strike a ball harder, and pull as
strong an oar as the best of them.  He was the point of the flying
wedge in the game of foot-ball, and woe be to the opponent against whom
that point struck.  To sum it all up, Tom was a mental and physical
giant, as well as a superb specimen of what that college could make out
of a young man.  But unfortunately, it was one of those institutions
that developed the mental, trained the physical, and starved the
spiritual, and so it came to pass ere his college days were ended, Tom
had an enemy, and that enemy was the bottle.

The more respectable you make sin, the more dangerous it is.  An old
black bottle in the rough hand of the keeper of a low dive, would have
no power to cause a clean young man to swerve from the right course,
but he is a hero ten times over, who can withstand the temptation of a
wine glass in the jeweled fingers of a beautiful young lady.  Tom's
tempter came in the latter form, and she who might have spurred him on
to the highest goal, and whispered in his ear, "look not thou upon the
wine when it is red, when it giveth its color in the cup, when it
moveth itself aright," started him down a course which made him learn
from a terrible experience that "at the last it biteth like a serpent,
and stingeth like an adder."  Does any one call a glass of wine a small
thing?  Read Tom's story and then call it small, if you dare!  Whatever
he did was done with his might, drinking not excepted.  He boasted of
his power to drink much and keep sober, while he laughed at the
companions who imbibed far less and went to bed drunk.  At first Tom
was the master and the bottle his slave, but in three years' time they
changed places.  When too late, his parents discovered that the college
had sent back to them a ripe scholar, a trained athlete and a drunkard.
The mother tried to save her son, but failing in every effort, her
heart broke and she died with Tom's name on her lips.  The father,
weighed down under the dead sorrow and the living trouble, vainly
strove to rescue his son, and was found one night in the attitude of
prayer, kneeling by the side of the bed where his wife's broken heart a
few months before had ceased to beat.  He died praying for his boy!

One evening as the sun was setting, a man stood leaning against the
fence along one of the streets of a certain city.  His clothes were
ragged, his hands and face unwashed, his hair uncombed and his eyes
bleared; he looked more like a wild beast hunted and hungry, than a
human being.  It was Tom.  The boys gathered about him, and made him
the object of their fun and ridicule.  At first he seemed not to notice
them, but suddenly he cried out: "Cease your laughter until you know
what you are laughing at.  Let me talk to my master while you listen."

He pulled a bottle from his pocket, held it up, and looking at it with
deep hatred flashing from his reddened eyes, he said:

"I was once your master; now I am your slave.  In my strength you
deceived me; in my weakness you mock me.  You have burned my brain,
blistered my body, blasted my hopes, bitten my soul and broken my will.
You have taken my money, destroyed my home, stolen my good name, and
robbed me of every friend I ever had.  You killed my mother, slew my
father, sent me out into the world a worthless vagabond, until I find
myself a son without parents, a man without friends, a wanderer without
a home, a human being without sympathy, and a pauper without bread.
Deceiver, mocker, robber, murderer--I hate you!  Oh, for one hour of my
old-time strength, that I might slay you!  Oh, for one friend and some
power to free me from this slavery!"

The laugh had ceased and the boys stood gazing on him with awe.  A
young lady and gentleman had joined the company just as Tom began this
terrible arraignment of his master, and as he ceased, the young lady
stepped up to him and earnestly said: "You have one friend and there is
one power that can break your chains and set you free."

Tom gazed at her a moment and then said:

"Who is my friend?"

"The King is your friend," she answered.

"And pray, who are you?" said Tom.

"One of the King's Daughters," was the reply "and 'In His Name' I tell
you He has power to set you free."

"Free, free did you say?  But, you mock me.  A girl with as white a
hand and as fair a face as yours, delivered me to my master."

"Then, in the name of the King whose daughter am I, even Jesus Christ
the Lord, let the hand of another girl lead you to Him who came to
break the chains of the captive and set the prisoner free."

Tom looked at the earnest face of the pleading girl, hesitated awhile,
as his lip quivered and the big tears filled his eyes, and then
suddenly lifting the bottle high above his head, he dashed it down on
the pavement, and as it broke into a thousand pieces, he said:

"I'll trust you, I'll trust you, lead me to the King!"

And lead him she did, as always a King's Daughter will lead one who
sorely needs help.  His chains were broken, and at twenty-nine years of
age Tom began life over again.  He is not the man he might have been,
but no one doubts his loyalty to the King.  His place in the prayer
circle is never vacant, and you can always find, him in the ranks of
those whose sworn purpose it is to slay Tom's old master, King Alcohol!



STEVEN LAWRENCE, AMERICAN.

BY BARBARA YECHTON.

Stevie's papa usually wrote his name in the hotel registers as "Edward
H. Lawrence, New York City, U. S. A.," but Stevie always entered
his--and he wouldn't have missed doing it for anything--as "Steven
Lawrence, American."

When Kate and Eva teased him about it, he would say: "Why, anybody
could come from New York--an Englishman or a German or a
Frenchman--without being born there, don't you see? but I'm a real
out-and-out American, born there, and a citizen and everything, and I
just want all these foreigners to know it, 'cause I think America's the
greatest country in the world."  Then the little boy would straighten
his slender figure and toss back his curly hair with a great air of
pride, which highly amused his two sisters.  But their teasing and
laughter did not trouble Stevie in the least.  "Laugh all you like I
don't care," he retorted, one day.  "It's my way, and I like it," which
amused the little girls all the more, for, as Eva said, "Everybody knew
Stevie liked his own way, only he never had owned up to it before."

There was something, however, that did trouble the little boy a good
deal: though he was born in New York City, he had no recollection of it
or any other place in America, as his mamma's health had failed, and
the whole family had gone to Europe for her benefit, when Stevie was
little more than a year old.  They had traveled about a good deal in
the eight years since then, and Stevie had lived in some famous and
beautiful old cities; but in his estimation no place was equal to his
beloved America, of which Mehitabel Higginson had told him so much, and
to which he longed to get back.  I fancy that most American boys and
girls would have enjoyed being where Stevie was at this time, for he
and his papa and mamma, and Kate and Eva, and Mehitabel Higginson, were
living in a large and quite grand-looking house in Venice.  The
entrance hall and the wide staircase leading to the next story were
very imposing, the rooms were large, and the walls and high ceilings
covered with elaborate carvings and frescoes; and when Stevie looked
out of the windows or the front door lo! instead of an ordinary street
with paved sidewalks, there were the blue shining waters of the lagoon,
and quaint-shaped gondolas floating at the door-step or gliding swiftly
and gracefully by.

The children thought it great fun to go sight-seeing in a gondola: they
visited the beautiful old Cathedral of St. Mark, and admired the famous
bronze horses which surmount Sansovino's exquisitely carved gates,
sailed up and down the double curved Grand Canal, walked through the
Ducal Palace and across the narrow, ill-lighted Bridge of Sighs--over
which so many unfortunate prisoners had passed never to return--and
peeped into the dark, dismal prison on the other side of the canal.

It was all very novel and interesting, but Stevie told Mehitabel, in
confidence, that he would rather, any day, listen to her reminiscences
of her long-ago school days in her little New England village home, or,
better still, to her stories of George Washington, and the other great
spirits of the Revolutionary period, and of Abraham Lincoln and the men
of his time.  Stevie never tired of these stories.  He knew Mehitabel's
leisure hour, and curling himself up among the cushions on the settee
beside her tea table, he would say, with his most engaging smile:
"Now's just the time for a story, Hitty; don't you think so?  And
please begin right away, won't you, 'cause, you know, I'll have to be
going to bed pretty soon."

He knew most of the stories by heart, corrected Miss Higginson if she
left out or added anything in the telling, and always joined in when
she ended the entertainment with her two stock pieces--"Barbara
Freitchie" and "Paul Revere's Ride," which were great favorites with
him.  "Oh, how I would like to be a hero!" he said with a sigh, one
afternoon, just after they had finished reciting "Paul Revere's Ride"
in fine style.  Presently he added, thoughtfully: "Do you think, Hitty,
that any one could be a hero and not know it?  I suppose Washington and
Paul Revere and all those others just knew every time they did anything
brave."

Hitty wore her hair in short gray curls, on each side of her rather
severe-looking face, and now they bobbed up and down as, she nodded her
head emphatically.  "Of course they did," she answered, with
conviction.  "You see my grandfather fought in the Revolution, so I
ought to know.  But," with an entire change of conversation, "bravery
isn't the only thing in the world for a little boy to think of.  He
should try to be nice and polite to everybody; obedient to his mamma
and gentle to his sisters; he shouldn't love to have his own way and go
ordering people about.  I don't think," with sudden assurance, "you'd
have found Washington or Paul Revere or Lincoln behaving that way."

"Pooh! that's all you know about it," cried Stevie, ungratefully,
slipping down from his nest among the cushions; he did not relish the
personal tone the conversation had taken.  "Didn't Washington order his
troops about?  And anyway, Kate's just as 'ordering' as I am, and you
never speak to her about it."  Then, before the old housekeeper could
answer, he ran out of the room.

You see that was Stevie's great fault; he was a dear, warm-hearted
little fellow, but he did love to have his own way, and often this made
him very rude and impatient--what they called "ordering"--to his
sisters, and Hitty and the servants, and even disobedient to his mamma.

Stevie's mamma was very much troubled about this, for she dearly loved
her little son, and she saw plainly that as the days went on instead of
Stevie's getting the upper hand of his fault, his fault was getting the
upper hand of him.  So one day she and papa had a long, serious talk
about Stevie, and then papa and Stevie had a long, serious talk about
the fault.  I shall not tell all that passed between them, for papa had
to do some plain speaking that hurt Stevie's feelings very much, and
his little pocket-handkerchief was quite damp long before the interview
was over.

Papa so seldom found fault that what he said now made a great
impression on the little boy.  "I didn't know I was so horrid, papa,"
he said, earnestly; "I really don't mean to be, but you see people are
so trying sometimes, and then it seems as if I just have to say things.
You don't know how hard it is to keep from saying them."

"Oh, yes, I do," said Mr. Lawrence, with a nod of his head; "but you
are getting to be a big boy now, Stevie, and if you expect to be a
soldier one of these days--as you say you do--you must begin to control
yourself now, or you'll never be able to control your men by and by.
And besides, you are bringing discredit on your beloved country by such
behavior."

Stevie looked up with wide-open, astonished eyes.  "Why, papa!" he said.

"I heard you tell Guiseppi the other day," went on his papa, "that all
Americans were nice.  Do you expect him to believe that, when you, the
only little American boy he knows, speak so rudely to him, and he hears
you ordering your sisters about as you do?"

Stevie hung his head without a word, but his cheeks got very red.

"You know, Stevie," said Mr. Lawrence, "great honors always bring great
responsibilities with them.  You are a Christian and an American--two
great honors; and you mustn't shirk the responsibility to be courteous
and noble and kind, which they entail.  Even our dear Lord Christ
pleased not Himself, you know; don't you suppose it grieves Him to see
His little follower flying into rages because he can't have his own
way?  And can you possibly imagine Washington or Lincoln ordering
people about as you like to do?"

There was a moment's silence; then Stevie straightened himself up and
poked his hands deep down in his pockets.  "Papa," he said, tossing
back his yellow curls, a look of determination on his little fair face,
"I'll not shirk my 'sponsibilities.  I'm just going to try with all my
might to be a better boy."

"Good for you, Stevie!" cried papa, kissing him warmly.  "I know
mamma'll be glad, and I'm sure you'll be a much pleasanter boy to live
with.  But you must ask God to help you, or you'll never succeed, son;
and besides, you've got to keep a tight watch on yourself all the time,
you know."

"Yes, I s'pose so," agreed Stevie, with a little sigh, "'cause feelings
are such hard things to manage; and, papa, please don't tell Kate and
Eva, or Hitty."  Papa nodded, and then they went to tell mamma the
result of the talk.

Stevie did "try with all his might" for the next few days, and with
such good results as to astonish all but his papa and mamma, who, as
you know, were in the secret.  Eva confided to Kate that she thought
Stevie was certainly like "the little girl with the curl," for if when
he was "bad he was horrid," "when he was good he was very, very good;"
and Mehitabel watched him closely, and hoped "he wasn't sickening for
measles or Italian fever."

How long this unusual state of affairs would have lasted under usual
circumstances is uncertain; but about a week after Stevie's talk with
his papa, Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence were called suddenly to Naples on
urgent business, and the children were left in Venice in the
housekeeper's care.  Mamma impressed upon her little son and daughters
that they must be very good children and obey Mehitabel just as they
would her; and when they were going, papa said to Stevie: "Son, I want
you to look after the girls and Mehitabel, and take care of them while
I am away.  If anything happens, try to act as you think I would if I
were here."

"All right, I'll take good care of 'em," Stevie answered, feeling very
proud to have papa say this before everybody, and winked hard to
prevent the tears, that would come, from falling.  Then, as the gondola
glided from the door, papa leaned over the side and waved his hand.
"Don't forget the responsibilities, Steve," he called out.

"I won't forget--sure," returned Stevie, waving back; but when Kate
asked what papa meant, he answered: "It's just something between papa
and me--nothing 'bout you," with such a mysterious air that of course
Kate immediately suspected a secret and entreated to be told.  This
Stevie flatly refused to do, and they were on the verge of a quarrel
when Mehitabel's voice was heard calling them to come help her choose a
dessert for their five-o'clock dinner.

Stevie found the next few days what he called "very trying."  You see,
by virtue of what his papa had said he considered himself the head of
the family, and his feelings were continually ruffled by Mehitabel's
decided way of settling things without regard to his opinion.  The
mornings were the hardest of all, when, in their mother's absence, the
children recited their lessons to Miss Higginson.  Mehitabel had her
own ideas about the law and order that should be maintained, and
Stevie's indignant protests were quite wasted on her.

"You may do as you please when your pa and ma are home"--she said very
decidedly one morning, when Kate and Stevie told her that their mamma
never expected them to stand through all the lessons nor to repeat
every word as it was in the book--"but when I'm head of the family
you've got to do things my way, and I want every word of that lesson."

"You're just as cross as you can be," fumed Kate, flouncing herself
into a chair.

"And anyway you're not the head of the family one bit," commenced
Stevie, warmly tossing back his curls and getting very red in the face.
"Papa said I--"

"Oh, here's a gondola stopped at our door," broke in Eva, who, taking
advantage of Miss Higginson's attention being occupied elsewhere, was
looking out of the window.  "There's a boy in it lying down--a big boy.
Oh, a man's just got out and--yes, they're bringing the boy in here!

"Sakes alive!" cried Mehitabel, dropping Stevie's book on the floor and
starting for the door.  "Can it possibly be Mr. Joseph and Dave?"

"Uncle Joe and Dave!"  "Hurrah!" exclaimed Kate and Stevie in the same
breath; and Eva having scrambled down from the window, the three
children collected at the head of the stairs to watch, with breathless
interest, the procession which came slowly up.

The tall man on the right was their Uncle Joe Lawrence--Kate and Eva
and Stevie remembered him at once, for he had visited their parents
several times since they had been in Europe; and the bright-eyed,
pale-faced boy who lay huddled up in the chair which he and Guiseppi
carried between them must be their Cousin Dave, of whom they had heard
so much.  Poor Dave! he had fallen from a tree last summer, and struck
his back, and the concussion had caused paralysis of the lower part of
the spine, so that he could not walk a step, and might not for years,
though the doctors gave hope that he would eventually recover the use
of his legs.  The children gazed at him with the deepest interest and
sympathy, and they were perfectly astonished when, as the chair passed
them, Dave turned his head, and, in answer to their smiling greetings,
deliberately made a frightful face at them!

"Isn't he the rudest!" gasped Eva, as the procession--Miss Higginson
bringing up the rear--disappeared behind the doors of the guest room;
while Kate and Stevie were, for once in their lives, too amazed to be
able to express their feelings.

After what seemed a long time to the children, Mehitabel rejoined them.
"I am in a pucker," she said, sinking into a chair.  Her curls were
disarranged, and her spectacles were pushed up on her forehead; she
looked worried.  "And there isn't a creature to turn to for advice;
that Italian in the kitchen doesn't speak a blessed word of English,
and Guiseppi's not much better.  He keeps saying, 'Si signorina,' and
wagging his head like a Chinese mandarin, until he fairly makes me
dizzy, and I know all the time he doesn't understand half I'm saying."

Miss Higginson paused to take breath, then, feeling the positive
necessity of unburdening herself further, continued her tale of woe:
"Here's your Uncle Joseph obliged to go right on to Paris within the
hour, and here's Dave to remain here till his pa returns, which mayn't
be for weeks.  And he requires constant care, mansage (she meant
massage) treatment and everything--and just as domineering and
imperdent; Stevie's bad enough, but Dave goes ahead of him.  And, to
make matters worse, here comes a letter from your pa saying he and your
ma have met with old friends at Naples, and not to expect 'em home
until we see them.  Anyway, I'd made up my mind not to shorten their
holiday, 'less it was a matter of life and death.

"Now, what I want to know is this: who is going to wait on that sick
boy from morning to night?  And that's what he'll have to have for he
can't stir off his couch, can't even sit up, and wanting something
every five minutes.  I'm sure I can't keep the house, and see to the
servants, and take care of you children, and besides wait on that
exacting young one.  'Tain't in human nature to do it--anyway, 'tain't
in me.  And Dave's temper's at the bottom of the whole thing; he won't
have Guiseppi or any other Italian I could get, and he's just worn out
the patience of his French vally till he got disgusted and wouldn't put
up with it any longer for love nor money.  His father's got to go, and
who is to take care of that boy?"

Mehitabel's voice actually quivered.  The children had never seen her
so moved; the differences of the morning were all forgotten, and they
crowded about her, their little faces full of loving sympathy.  "I wish
I could help you, Hitty," said Kate, patting the old housekeeper's
hand.  "Is mansage treatment a kind of medicine 'cause if it is I might
give it to Dave--you know I drop mamma's medicine for her sometimes."

"No, child, mansage is a certain way of rubbing the body, and it needs
more strength and skill than you've got.  But that I can manage, I
think; Guiseppi knows a man that we can get to come and mansage Dave
every morning.  And I could sleep in the room next to him, and look
after him during the night; but it's some one to be with him in the day
that I want most."

Stevie had listened to Mehitabel's story with a very thoughtful
expression on his face; now he said suddenly, and very persuasively: "I
could take care of Dave through the day, Hitty--I wish you'd let me."

"You!" cried Miss Higginson, in surprise.  "Why, you wouldn't be in
that room five minutes before you two would be squabbling."

"No, we wouldn't;  I'm sure we wouldn't," persisted the little boy.
"Just you try me."

"But, Stevie, you'd get very tired being shut up in the room with that
ill-tempered boy, all day long--I know him of old--he'd try the
patience of a saint.  You'd have no gondola rides, no fun with your
sisters, no play time at all, and no thanks for your pains either.  And
I'm not sure your pa'd like to have you do it."

"I don't mind one bit about the fun and all that," said Stevie,
decidedly; "and indeed, Hitty, I don't think papa'd object.  You see,
he told me the last thing, if anything happened while he was away I was
to act just as he would do if he were here; now, you know, if he were
here he'd just take care of Dave, himself--wouldn't he?  Well, then, as
he isn't here, I ought to do it--see?  And really I'd like to."

"Why not let him try it anyhow, Hitty?" pleaded the little girls.  And
as she really saw no other way out of the difficulty, Mehitabel
reluctantly consented, with the proviso that she should sit with Dave
for an hour every afternoon while Stevie went for a gondola sail.
Finally matters were arranged, and after a very short visit Mr. Joseph
Lawrence started for Paris, leaving Dave in Venice, and the children
went in to make their cousin's acquaintance.

What Mehitabel said was certainly true--Dave was a very trying boy.
Though possessing naturally some good qualities, he had been so humored
and indulged that his own will had become his law; he loved to tease,
and hated to be thwarted in the slightest degree, and this made him
often very exacting and tyrannical.  Miss Higginson called him a "most
exasperating boy," and she wasn't far wrong.  He teased Kate and Eva so
much that they hated to go into his room, or even in the gondola when
he took, now and then, an airing.  But, to everybody's surprise, he and
Stevie got on better than was expected.  Part of the secret of this lay
in the fact that Dave had lived in America all his life--had just come
from there, and was able to give Stevie long and glowing accounts of
that country and everything in it--as seen from the other boy's
standpoint.  Stevie's rapt attention and implicit faith in him
flattered Dave, and beside, though he wouldn't have acknowledged it for
the world, he found the little fellow's willing ministrations very much
pleasanter than those of the French valet, whose patience he had soon
exhausted.  And Stevie felt so sorry for the boy who had dearly loved
to run and leap and climb, and who now lay so helpless that he could
not even sit up for five minutes.  Dave's heart was very sore over it
sometimes--once or twice he had let Stevie see it; and then he had no
dear loving mother as Stevie had, and his papa had never talked to him
as Stevie's papa did to his little boy.  So Stevie tried with all the
strength of his brave, tender little heart to be patient with his
cousin.

But, as Mehitabel would say, "human nature is human nature;" they both
had quick tempers and strong wills; and for all Stevie's good
intentions, many a lively quarrel took place in the guest room, of
which they both fancied the old housekeeper knew nothing.  She had
threatened that if Dave "abused" Stevie she would separate the boys at
once, even if she had to mount guard over the invalid herself; so with
Spartan-like fortitude both kept their grievances to themselves--Dave
because he disliked and was a little afraid of Miss Higginson, whom he
had nicknamed the "dragon," and Stevie because he had really grown very
fond of Dave, and knew how utterly dependent he was on him.  But one
day Stevie completely lost his temper and got so angry that he declared
to himself he'd "just give up the whole thing."

Stevie had felt a little cross himself that morning, and Dave had been
unbearable; the consequence was the most serious quarrel they had ever
had.  In a fit of violent rage Dave threw everything he could lay hands
on at Stevie--books, cushions, and last a pretty paper-weight.  The
books and cushions Stevie dodged, but the paper-weight hit him on the
shin, a sharp enough blow to bring tears to his eyes and the angry
blood to his cheeks.  Catching up a cushion that lay near, he sent it
whizzing at Dave, and had the satisfaction of seeing it hit his cousin
full in the face; then, before Dave could retaliate, he slipped into
the hall and slammed the door of the guest room.

Out in the hall he almost danced with rage.  "I'll tell Hitty," he
stormed; "I won't wait on him and do things for him any longer.  He's
the worst-tempered boy in the whole world.  I just won't have another
thing to do with him!  I'll go and tell her so."

Before he got half way to Mehitabel, however, he changed his mind, and
stealing softly back, sat on the top step of the stairs, just outside
Dave's room, to wait till Dave should call him, to make up, as had
happened more than once  before.  Stevie determined he wouldn't go in
of his own accord--he said Dave had been "too contemptibly mean."  So
he sat there with a very obstinate look on his little face, his elbows
on his knees and his chin in his palms, staring at the patch of blue
sky which was visible through the hall window nearest him.

But somehow, after a while Stevie's anger began to cool, and he began
to feel sorry for Dave, and to wonder if the cushion had hurt him--a
corner of it might have struck his eye!  The paper-weight had hurt
quite a good deal; but then he could get out of the way of such things,
while Dave couldn't dodge, he had to lie there and take what Stevie
threw.  Poor Dave! and he might lie in that helpless way for years
yet--the doctors had said perhaps by the time he was twenty-one he
might be able to walk.  What a long time to have to wait!  Poor Dave!
Stevie wondered if he would behave better than Dave if he were twelve
years old and as helpless as his cousin.  Mehitabel said they were both
fond of their own way and loved to order people about; he guessed all
boys loved their own way, whether they were nine or twelve years old.

And then suddenly there came to Stevie the remembrance of a picture
that hung in his mamma's room.  It was a print of a famous painting,
and it represented a Boy of twelve, with a bright, eager, beautiful
face, standing among grave, dark-browed, white-robed men.  Mamma and
Stevie had often talked about the Boy there pictured, and Stevie knew
that He had not loved His own way, for He "pleased not Himself."  He
wouldn't have quarreled with Dave!  He had been a real Boy, too; He
knew just what other boys had to go through, all their trials and
temptations, and mamma had said over and over that she knew He just
loved to help those other boys to be good and unselfish and patient.

Then He must know all about poor Dave's having to lie helpless all the
time.  A wistful look came into Stevie's eyes.  Oh, if Jesus were only
on earth now, he thought, how quickly they would all take Dave to Him
to be healed!  Or perhaps He would come to the sick boy, as He did to
some of those others in the Bible.  Stevie pictured to himself the
tall, gracious figure, clad in long, trailing robes, the holy face, the
tender eyes.  He would lay His hand on Dave and say: "Son"--Stevie
thought that was such a beautiful word--"Son, rise up and walk."  And
immediately Dave would spring to his feet, well and strong.  And then
after that, of course, they--for he, too, would be present--would be so
good and kind and patient that they wouldn't think of quarreling and
throwing things at each other.

Well, that was out of the question--Stevie sighed heavily--Jesus was in
heaven now, and He didn't do those miracles any more; but--since He had
been a Boy Himself He must know just how hard it was for some
boys--like Dave and himself, for instance--to be good; perhaps He would
help them if they asked Him.  Stevie had his doubts whether Dave would
ask; he made fun of Stevie whenever he said anything of that
kind--which wasn't often; but he (Stevie) could ask for both, and
particularly that Jesus would put it into Dave's heart to make up this
quarrel--he did so hate to be the first to give in.

Then, all at once, the eyes that were staring so steadily up at the
blue sky grew very tender, and Stevie's lips moved.

What he said I do not know; but after that he sprang up and ran quickly
into Dave's room, up to his couch.  "Say, Dave," he remarked, in the
most off-hand way, "I'll fix up your pillows, then you tell me all
about that base-ball team you used to belong to; you said you
would--you know, the one that knocked spots out of those other fellers."

Dave lay with his head turned to the wall, his eyes closed; but as
Stevie spoke he opened them and looked up, a bright smile flashing over
his pale face.  "All right, sir, I'm your man," he answered, readily.
"Pick up the things round the room first, so the 'dragon' won't know
we've had a fight, and then I'll begin.  And--I say, Stevie--I--I'm
going to turn over a new leaf--sure, and the next time I act as I did
this morning just hit me on the head, will you?  I'll deserve it."
Which from Dave was a full, ample, and most honorable apology, and as
such Stevie took it.

A few days later Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence returned home, much to the
satisfaction and happiness of the children, who had, as Eva said, "lots
and lots" to tell them.  Then when the three older folks were alone
together, Miss Higginson told her story.  "I've watched 'em close, and
seen and heard more than those boys ever dreamed I did," she finished
up, "and I say that our Stevie's a hero--though he doesn't know it.
What he's stood with that Dave can't be told, and never a word of
complaint out of him.  And, do you know, I really think he's improved
Dave as well as himself in the matter of temper."

"A Christian and an American," Mr. Lawrence said, with a glad thrill in
his voice, smiling over at Stevie's mamma, whose shining eyes smiled
back at him.  "Thank God, our boy is rising to his responsibilities.
But don't let him know he's done anything wonderful, Hitty."

"I'll not tell him," promised the old housekeeper.  "But the good Book
tells us, 'He that ruleth his spirit is greater than he that taketh a
city;' and seeing that's so, America's got no call to be ashamed of
Stevie, for though he's not an angel by any means, yet in his way he's
a hero as sure as was ever George Washington or Paul Revere, or my
name's not Mehitabel Higginson!"





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