Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: The Elm Tree Tales
Author: Smith, F. Irene Burge (Frances Irene Burge), 1826-1900
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 Elm Tree Tales" ***

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



(This file was produced from images generously made


THE

ELM TREE TALES.

BY

F. IRENE BURGE SMITH.

    Little know they who dwell 'mid rural shades,
    Of life's great struggles. Poverty and want
    In direst forms, are never seen, where bloom
    And verdure revel, but within the dark
    And loathesome cellars of the crowded town,
    They hide their tattered forms.

NEW YORK:

MASON BROTHERS.

1856.

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1855, by
MASON BROTHERS,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court, for the
Southern District of New York

STEREOTYPED BY
Thomas B. Smith,
82 & 84 Beekman Street

PRINTED BY
John A. Gray,
97 Cliff St.



PREFACE.

     "There is a wisdom in calling a thing fitly. Names should note
     particulars."--PROVERBIAL PHILOSOPHY.


To make the title of this book significant to you, I must transport you
to a sylvan nook, far from the city's boundaries, where an old stone
cottage peeps forth from the thick foliage. Down through the maple
avenue you will take your pleasant route, past the willow and alder
clumps, and the ancient mill, that hangs its idle arms listlessly by its
sides--on and on, over the little style, and the rustic bridge, which
spans the rivulet, until you reach the giant elm that spreads its broad
branches far and wide. Books and work are scattered about on the verdant
turf, bright flowers peep forth from amid the green, and many a fair
face greets you with its frank and cordial welcome. The sky is very blue
and clear, and the summer's breath comes refreshingly to you through
the leafy screen, as you seat yourself upon a mossy stone and join in
the merriments of the happy circle gathered there. But you are quite too
late for the manuscript volume which a guest from the city has been
reading aloud for the amusement of the group.

Perhaps you have lost nothing, however. I have obtained permission to
give it you for a more leisurely perusal. I hope it will please you.

When a stranger goes to your door seeking your regard and patronage, you
naturally look for some note of introduction, which generally reads
somewhat after this fashion:

     "Any attentions you may bestow upon my friend ----, will confer
     an especial favor upon

                                          "Yours truly,

                                                "---- ----."

     BROOKLYN, October 27, 1855.



THE ELM-TREE TALES.


       *       *       *       *       *

JENNIE GRIG:

THE STREET-SWEEPER.

       *       *       *       *       *

NANNIE BATES:

THE HUCKSTER'S DAUGHTER.

       *       *       *       *       *

ARCHIBALD MACKIE:

THE LITTLE CRIPPLE.



JENNIE GRIG,

THE STREET SWEEPER;

OR THE

VICISSITUDES OF LIFE.



JENNIE GRIG.



CHAPTER I.


Poor little girl! How sadly came her wailing tones on the frosty air,
while the multitudes that hurried past were hidden from the chilling
blasts by warm and furry garments!

There were some humane ones who lifted her softly from the ground, and
bore her carefully to the nearest apothecary's, to examine the extent of
her injuries--and a slight figure clad in the deepest weeds, followed
after and held the child's hand, and bathed her forehead, while the
surgeon bound up the broken limb.

"She was such a pinched wee thing to be sweeping those dangerous
crossings," said the lady; "no wonder the heedless crowd jostled her
down, and nearly crushed her tiny body."

"Is not her consciousness returning, doctor?" continued she, addressing
the surgeon, as a slight flush was beginning to be perceptible upon the
little girl's cheek.

The child had lain in a kind of stupor from the time of the accident,
and now, as her dark eyes slowly opened, she gazed faintly upon the
curious faces that were gathered around her, until she met the sweet
yet sorrowful glance of the strange lady--then, bursting forth into a
wild and bitter sobbing, she cried, "Who now will help my poor weak
mother, and my sick and dying father!--nine pennies only have I earned
to-day, and all is lost in the muddy street--oh! who will get them bread
and coals, now their Jennie can not work!"

"God will provide, only trust Him, poor child," said the kind lady, as
she wiped the tears that had moistened her own eyes at sight of the
child's grief.

"Where do your parents live, my little girl," asked the benevolent
surgeon--"we must be getting you home, or they will be anxious about you
now that the night is coming on."

The child started as she heard the word "_home_," and blushing the
deepest crimson, replied, "If you please, sir, I am able to walk now,
and will go alone, for dear mamma would be angry if I had strangers with
me--she never sees any one but father, now."

"'Twould be madness to send her forth into this wintery air with a newly
broken arm," said the lady--"if you will come with me, little Jennie, we
will soon satisfy your parents that you are in comfortable quarters, my
carriage is at the door, and John shall go alone to your home with a
message"--and, calling her servant, she bade him bring one of the soft
robes from the carriage, and wrapping it closely about the shivering
child, she had her conveyed to her own noble home.



CHAPTER II.


Up, up, up till you reached the very topmost room in a rickety building
in ---- street, and there they were--a woman in neat but coarse raiment,
seated by a flickering candle, stitching for the life, and with every
effort for the life, stitching out the life. Near her, on a lowly bed,
lay her suffering husband, watching the wan fingers as they busily plied
for him who would fain have spent his last strength for their rest.

The frosty breath of a December night came through the chinks in the
roof, and around the windows, and left its bitter impress upon the sick
and weary. A few coals partially ignited, seemed to mock at the visions
of warmth and comfort they inspired, and the simmering of the kettle
that hung low over the coals, made the absence of a cheery board, and a
happy group around it only the more painfully apparent.

The sick man closed his eyes, as if to shut out the memory of those
wasted fingers that were ever so zealously moving, and then looking
wistfully at the murmuring kettle, he said, "Has not the child come yet,
Mary?--perhaps she has enough for our scanty meal to-night, and yet my
heart misgives me on her account--is it not very late for her to stay
away? She is such a timid little thing, and always flies to us before
the darkness begins to come! Her's is a cruel age, and a loathsome
employment. Would God I had died, Mary, ere it had come to this!"--and
the poor man hid his face in the bedclothes, and moaned like a stricken
child. The patient wife laid aside her work, and taking the well-worn
Bible from its sacred resting-place, read to him the thirty-seventh
Psalm--then rising and going to the window, she pressed her ear against
the pane, and listened for her Jennie's coming. Hark! a step is on the
stairs! The husband and wife both started--it was a heavy, lumbering
tread--not the soft foot-falls of their gentle little one, that brought
music even to their dismal abode:

"Some one is knocking, Mary," said the husband, and, as he spoke, the
door opened, and a man appeared with a note and a basket.

"Is Mrs. Grig here," asked the man.

"That is my name," replied the frightened woman whose maternal heart
immediately suggested that something had happened to her child.

"Tell me of my darling. Is she hurt? Is she dead?"--then seizing the
note which the servant held out to her she read as follows:

     "Mr. and Mrs. Grig must not be alarmed about their little
     Jennie. She has met with a slight accident; but her life is
     not endangered, and she is where every attention will be
     bestowed upon her. If they will spare her to me until she is
     wholly restored, they will confer the greatest of favors upon
     their friend,

                    "HELENA DUNMORE.

"I send a few delicacies, which I hope her sick father will relish.
Jennie wishes to see her mother before she sleeps, will she come to her
an hour this evening?"


The servant left the name of the street, and the number of the house
where his mistress lived, and departed, with an humble reverence, for
there was an innate aristocracy in Mrs. Grig that commanded the respect
of all who saw her, even though the vicissitudes of life had robbed her
of the external marks of rank and elegance. "God be praised!" said she,
as she pressed her lips to the pale brow of her now hopeful husband,
"Our house is not left unto us desolate, neither has our Father forsaken
us in our time of necessity. Surely He giveth bread to the hungry, and
filleth the fainting soul with gladness!" Then spreading the tempting
viands before the famished invalid, she smiled with the cheerfulness of
her earlier days, as she saw with what relish he ate and drank.

When they had finished their unexpected, but welcome meal, she placed
the fragments carefully away, and blowing out the light, which she must
save for her midnight toils, she left the house in order to seek her
child.



CHAPTER III.


The stars were shining tranquilly, and the moon looked calmly down upon
the great and noisy city, imparting their quietness and peace to the
heart of the eager mother who threaded her way to her sick child. Long
and tedious was the distance, but she felt it not, excepting that she
shrunk from the rough contact of brawling and wicked men, who rudely
pushed past her, as they hurried on to their nightly debauches.

Oh! how sensitive was she then to the thought of the horrors that ever
threaten the innocent and unprotected, if forced by their sad necessity
to encounter the vile and polluted!--and how resolutely did she
determine thenceforth to shield the child of her love from all such
dangers, even though her own life were the forfeit of her care.

She gazed upward into the clear heavens, as if to gather strength for
her future trials, and then pressing quickly on, was soon in the
presence of Mrs. Dunmore. The transition from her own dreary room to the
luxurious and tasteful apartment where she now found herself, was so
completely bewildering, that she stood for a moment, as if in a strange
and mysterious dream. Every thing that taste could desire, or wealth
procure, was lavished upon this sanctum, where Mrs. Dunmore, since her
double bereavement, found her chief delight--yet amid all the splendor
of the place, were tokens of that presence from which naught can exempt
us.

A little portrait draped in black, hung above a crimson couch, whereon
lay a child of exquisite beauty. Her tiny form was wrapped in the purest
muslin, and a light blue cashmere shawl was thrown negligently over her.
One little foot, encased in a delicate slipper, hung over the edge of
the couch, and her long dark curls fell about the pillow in the richest
profusion.

In one hand she held a pretty vinaigrette, and the other was bound in
soft cloths, and slightly confined to her waist by a silken sash. As the
door of the room opened, she flung off the shawl that covered her, and
tried to rise; but the effort was too much for her exhausted frame, and
she fell faintly back, murmuring "Mother, dearest mother!"

In one moment the poor woman was kneeling beside the couch, clasping the
sweet child to her bosom, who with her one little arm girdled that
sacred neck, and with smiles and kisses awakened her to a perfect
consciousness of her safety and of her happy position.

Mrs. Dunmore had all this time been partially concealed by the drapery
of the window, but as she moved from the recess Jennie's quick ear
caught the sound of her step, and she whispered to her mother, who
arose, and with some confusion at the novelty of her situation and the
meanness of her attire, advanced to meet the gentle widow, saying,
"Jennie tells me you are the kind lady who befriended her in her
distress--I have not words to thank you, dear madam, for your pity, and
care for my unfortunate child; but if the prayers of an earnest heart
will avail before God, the choicest of Heaven's blessings shall be your
reward."

"A glance at that portrait," said Mrs. Dunmore, "will betray to you the
motive for any unwonted interest in your precious child; but were it
simply a humane act, the thought of having performed one's duty is a
sufficient recompense--still, I ask another, and that is, that your
little one may supply to me the place of my darling 'Bella.' I know,"
continued she, as she noticed the flush upon the mother's face, and the
increased pulsations of her heart, "how great a sacrifice I ask, and I
can not press you to give up your own right over the treasure God has
bestowed upon you; but I would so far share that blessing with you, as
to keep your little Jennie always near me, and to assist you in your
care for her comfort and advancement."

Mrs. Grig was struck with the delicacy and refinement of Mrs. Dunmore's
manner toward her; instead of bluntly offering to adopt her child, with
the evident feeling that it was too good a bargain to require a moment's
wavering, she proposed it to her in the light of a favor conferred upon
herself, and in which they would both ever have a mutual interest. The
poor woman could not see that her own apparent good breeding had--in
Mrs. Dunmore's estimation--diminished the distance in their relative
positions, so that a free and full sympathy was compatible with her
dignity, as well as the dictate of her heart. She looked upon her child
as she lay there, in her now adorned loveliness; she gazed about the
room so filled with comfort and delight, and as her thoughts wandered
from these blessings to her own cheerless home, and to the past few
months of destitution; and as visions of weary days of toil, and nights
of cold and hunger and wretchedness, and the shadow of that lovely
little one returning from her loathsome labors, with muddy garments, and
a worn and saddened face, passed before her, she shrunk from the latter
alternative, and placing the hand of her child in that of her adopted
mother she said, with the calmness of a settled purpose--"It will make a
sad void in our desolate home, but God has opened your heart to her
before she is left alone, and His goodness shall be my constant theme of
gratitude; you will allow her to come to us every day while her poor
father lives; his pains will be lightened by her presence, and 'twill
comfort me to see the eyes that have beamed upon me these nine long
years, more joyously beaming as I hasten to the end of my pilgrimage.
You will love this kind lady, will you not, my child?" said she to the
little girl, by whom she was again kneeling--"and be to her a dear and
dutiful daughter, if you would please your own parents."

"Love her, dear mother? Who could help loving the beautiful and kind,
and good!--and is she not beautiful, and has she not been kind and good
to me when others did but rail at me, and jostle me down in the crowded
street! Oh! yes, I will indeed love her, very, very dearly!" and she
clung to the hand of the widow that held her own, and caressingly
fondled and kissed it, until her mother laid her gently back upon her
pillow, and arose to return to her home.



CHAPTER IV.


The sick husband lay watching the moonbeams as they came through the
window and played fantastically upon the walls, and his thoughts went
far away to a pleasant spot beneath a group of willows, by a gently
flowing stream, where the moonbeams once played upon the fair face of
his Mary, and he sighed heavily as he reviewed the many changes that had
brought them where they now were. Many a sunny hour came flashing upon
his memory, with its dear and hallowed associations; the early days of
their marriage when their home was green and sylvan--the gathering of
friends on every festive occasion--the birth of their sweet babe that
brought with it such new and blessed ties; and then the sunny hours
departed, and the clouds covered them; the days of sickness came and
their property fled away, and with their wealth went their friends from
them. Weary months of toil in a strange city was thenceforward their
portion; a sick-bed was the strong man's heritage, and days of fasting
and misery and labor devolved on the delicate wife. The child that had
been nursed in the lap of luxury went out into dirty streets to get her
bread from pitying strangers, and the three--husband, wife, and
child--were alone in the wide world, with their burden of poverty and
woe, all the harder to bear from the fact that they were unused to it.
Thus mused the sick man in the solitude of his chamber, and while he
mused a mellower gleam of light fell upon his pillow and illumined his
shrunken features, and a soft step was by the bed-side, and a beloved
voice in his ear, telling him news that made him willing to die. God had
sent them a friend! Even when he had been repining at the decrees of His
Providence, that Providence was working out his best and truest good. He
felt that his days would be few upon the earth, and that his Mary would
soon follow him; but their darling Jennie would be sheltered and taught,
and that by a true disciple of their Lord and Master. No more anguish
lest his precious child should become a prey to the wary and dissolute;
no more grief at her withered, cheerless youth; no more sorrowings for
the wants that he could not appease. "Oh! too much! too much mercy and
goodness hast thou shown toward Thine unworthy servants, my Saviour and
my God!" murmured he, and a violent hemorrhage ensued, occasioned by the
sudden shock of the unlooked for joy.



CHAPTER V.


Before another week had elapsed, Mr. and Mrs. Grig were comfortably
settled in a pleasant cottage belonging to Mrs. Dunmore, whose
increasing benevolence had found a delightful impulse in the certainty
that the poor woman was no other than one of her school-girl
acquaintances, whom she had most dearly loved, but of whom she had heard
little since they had completed their studies. They had married, and in
their new relationships lost sight of each other, until, by a mysterious
Providence, they were now united. It would have been but a mockery in
Mrs. Grig to appear at all reluctant to accept the support she so much
needed, since her own precarious health, and her husband's approaching
dissolution rendered it impossible for her to obtain her own livelihood.
Gladly, therefore, and with alacrity, they left the scene of their past
troubles and necessities for the pretty cottage and the congenial
society of their disinterested friend, yet scarcely were they
established in their new abode when the messenger of death came to claim
his victim. The child was there, with her young head nestling in her
dying father's bosom; the wife stood by with a deep but subdued grief,
and the faithful friend was near with pious words of sympathy and
comfort.

The sick man had given his parting embrace to the beloved objects of his
affection, and had assured them of his perfect confidence in a rest and
peace beyond the grave, but now his mind seemed wandering to other
scenes.

"Down by the willows, dear Mary," said he, "I wish to cross the river
once more; it is chilly here, but do you see how warmly the sun is
shining upon the green banks opposite! There are bright flowers there,
too, such as we have often gathered, and the birds sing so sweetly! Oh!
let us cross the river, once more, dear Mary!" His words grew fainter
and fainter, and they heard them no more, for he had crossed the river,
and was wandering where the sun shines more resplendently than earthly
sun can shine, and where brighter flowers, and sweeter birds than mortal
ever saw or heard, forever bloom and sing; but his Mary still lingered
on the other shore, detained by an invisible Power, who calleth home
whom he will, and when he will. But two short months she lingered, and
then the husband and wife were roaming together beside the pure river of
life, that floweth out from the Throne of God and of the Lamb, and the
child was left, but not alone.



CHAPTER VI.


The month of June saw Mrs. Dunmore settled in her country-house for the
summer. It was a pretty, unobtrusive cottage, standing upon a sloping
lawn, and facing the east. In the distance lay a sylvan lake, beyond
which, through the trees, gleamed the white spires of an adjoining
village. All around were lofty mountains covered with verdure and glory.
On the north of the house was a dense grove of chestnut, and walnut, and
maple, and pine, where multitudes of squirrels had their hiding-places,
and the birds sang unmolested.

There little Bella used to love to play, while nurse Nannie gathered
flowers to deck the neck of her pet lamb, or, when the nuts began to
fall, helped her to fill her tiny basket; and there her mother had her
laid, when she could no longer play, with her folded hands clasping some
forest-buds, and a wreath of wild-flowers around her brow. There was a
pure white monument at the head of her grave, in the sunniest and
happiest spot in the whole grove, with a rose carved upon it, and a
beauteous bud broken from the parent stem; and there Jennie stood with
old Nannie, a few days after their arrival, wondering that the bud on
the tombstone should be broken, and listening to Nannie as she talked
about the "angel child," as she called her departed darling.

"She was too good for this world, Miss Jennie," said she; and then the
faithful old creature rocked to and fro as she sat upon the trunk of a
tree that had fallen down, and wiped her eyes with her clean
checked-apron, sobbing as if her grief was even then but new.

"You are just like her in all your little ways," continued she, as
Jennie stole up to her and patted her black head with her tiny hand, as
if to soothe her sorrows; "Missus would have been clean gone and done
with this life if she had not lighted upon you to take the sadness out
of her heart for her Bella."

"But, Nannie, I am not Bella," said the child. "Do you think I can ever
be as dear as she was, so that her mother may forget that she is dead? I
saw her weeping the other day as she came from the grove, and I was
afraid she did not love me, and was sorry I was here to make her think
of her loss."

"Not love you, Miss Jennie! how can you say so, when she took you, poor
little beggar as you was, all from the mire and dirt to be her own
child."

"You must not tell me of that time, Nannie, it makes me ache here;" said
she, putting her hand to her heart. "Many a long day have I gone back
and forth on that sad walk, trembling for fear the lumbering omnibuses
would run over me, and not one penny did I ever ask, for I could not
beg, Nannie, and if some kind gentlemen and ladies had not noticed me,
and sometimes given me a sixpence or two, I should have gone home to my
poor father and mother with nothing for my hard day's work, and then we
must have starved, for dear mamma was not able to get bread for us all,
and nurse my sick father besides. You must not speak of that time again,
Nannie, for it takes me away from this pleasant sunny spot, and puts me
back in a dismal room, with no light, nor warmth, nor greenness."

"What is the matter with my little girl?" said Mrs. Dunmore, who just
then approached the child, and perceived the traces of recent tears on
her sweet face. "Is she not happy among the birds, and squirrels, and
flowers?"

"Oh! yes, very happy indeed, dear mamma," and Jennie took the hand that
was extended to her, and kissed it with all the ardor of her impetuous
nature; "but I was thinking of the dreary home that was mine before you
found me and cared for me."

"Sit down here, my darling, and talk to me a little. Is the thought of
the past very sad to my Jennie; and can she see no reason to be
grateful, even for that time of darkness and sorrow? Do you remember how
the black clouds came yesterday, and quite hid the sun from our sight,
and the strong wind shook the house, so that we were almost afraid of
its fury, and the heavy rain fell and bowed some of our beauteous shrubs
nearly to the ground; then the clouds passed away and the sun shone more
brightly than ever, and the fierce winds were hushed, and the shrubs
lifted up their drooping heads all the more graceful and lovely for the
crushing storm. So it is when God sends trials and sufferings upon
us--the world looks black and dreary, and we are bowed very low in our
affliction, and His purpose in it all is to make our hearts better and
purer, and more beauteous in His sight when the troubles shall have
passed away."

"Did the world seem very dismal to you, dear mamma, when Bella died?"

"Very dismal, my child, until God sent me another little daughter to
lighten the grief that was pressing me down; now the clouds are parting,
and the sunlight comes beaming through, and I think we may be very
happy, my darling, if we will. But here comes Mr. Colbert. Let us go to
meet him, he used to love dear Bella, and will be glad to see you, I
know."



CHAPTER VII.


Mr. Colbert was the clergyman of the parish and lived near Mrs. Dunmore
with his widowed mother, and often, as he took his daily walk, he bent
his steps toward the cottage of his friend whom he had known in her joys
and her sorrows, and from whose subdued and Christian conversation he
derived both pleasure and profit. He had baptized and buried her little
Bella, and now as he gave Mrs. Dunmore a kind and earnest greeting, he
looked with painful interest upon the child who stood modestly by her
side, and in whom he traced a striking resemblance to the departed. Mrs.
Dunmore instantly perceiving the impression made upon him, hastened to
present her young _protégée_, saying, "You have doubtless noticed how
like my sweet Bella, the child of my adoption is in feature and
expression--I trust to you, my dear sir, to aid me in trying to make her
as truly like her in heart and life. It is a weighty responsibility that
I have assumed; but He who directed the impulse to make her my own, will
impart the strength and wisdom to guide her aright."

"You do me honor in admitting me to a participation in your new and
sacred duties, dear madam," replied the clergyman, "be assured, I shall
most gladly improve every opportunity offered me for the welfare of your
little Jennie. Bella used often to walk with me," continued he, taking
the hand of the little girl, "will you sometimes join me as I ramble
about these woods and hills? Perhaps we can find some pleasant things to
tell each other when we are better acquainted."

Jennie's dark eyes sparkled, as she looked to her mother for her assent
to the kind minister's proposition, and as Mrs. Dunmore willingly agreed
to it, she sprang with a glad step to meet old Nannie, who had come to
call them to lunch. Mr. Colbert declined joining them on the plea of
extending his walk, and bidding them good morning, soon disappeared amid
the trees.

One moment he lingered by the little grave, and gathering from it a
bunch of violets, he followed the path through the woods to the road,
and then turned toward his home. His way led through an avenue of
maples, whose dense foliage quite obscured the sky above his head. On
either side, stretched green meadows, enameled with the fresh spring
flowers; and beyond him, in the distance, the avenue seemed to open into
the pure blue heavens, athwart which the fleecy clouds were ever and
anon flitting like angels busied in doing their Master's will. The scene
was rich and hallowed, and called forth the sweetest and purest
emotions. "If the pathway through life was ever thus tranquil and
serene," thought he, "and if the eye caught only such visions of beauty
and grace as are now before me, how like Paradise would this earth
seem! But it can not be; I must tread a rough and sometimes disagreeable
road, and engage in fierce and bitter conflicts, ere I can emerge into
the glories of that better land of which the beauteous scene I now
survey always reminds me!" and, as he mused, he reached the top of the
hill, and leaving the silent avenue, seated himself upon a rustic bench
that was placed beneath an old maple near his home. The quaint old
mansion stood alone upon a slight eminence, and on every side luxurious
meadows, and orchards spread themselves out, until they reached the
mountains. From various points three lovely lakes were visible--one,
half hidden by its green belt of forest trees, another glistening in the
broad sunlight, and a third lying in calm and placid beauty.

All about, in the rich pastures, cattle were quietly grazing, or resting
beneath the shadows of the old trees, or frisking in the glad
spring-time. The light and shade played upon the fresh landscape, as
bright and somber imaginings sweep over a youthful heart; and as the
young clergyman drank in all the glory and loveliness of the scene, his
soul was filled with a rapture, which none can ever know but the earnest
Christian, who sees in every bud and leaf the evidences of a beneficent
Father's love.

Long he sat reveling in that unbroken quietness and beauty, nor did he
perceive the soft footsteps of his mother, until a gentle hand was laid
upon his brow, and she said, "My son, I am glad you have returned; poor
Sam Lisle has been twice for you to visit his daughter, who can not
survive through the day. He seemed greatly distressed on not finding
you, and begged me to send you immediately to them when I should see
you."

"I can not stop, now, dear mother," said he, as she pressed him to
remain but one moment for refreshments. "I fear I am already too late,"
and he turned quickly away from the contemplation of the glories of
nature, and passed again through the silent avenue, and on to the
village, to wrestle with the sorrows of this weary life, where there was
poverty, and suffering, and death.



CHAPTER VIII.


Who that saw the little Jennie on the first Sunday morning, in her
summer home, would have imagined that but a few months before she was
sweeping the dirty crossings of Broadway, a thin, meager, half-clad
child, scorned by the passers-by, and loved only by two wretched ones,
as pitiable and unsought as herself!

As Mrs. Dunmore, at early dawn, entered the pleasant room, once Bella's,
but now appropriated to the newly-found, the child lay with her dimpled
arms thrown over her head, upon the soft pillows, and her sweet mouth
half parted with a smile at some innocent but illusive fancy that filled
her happy dreams.

Old Nannie had stolen into the chamber, and stood peeping over the
shoulder of her mistress at her young charge. She had put her finger
upon her lip, as if to hush her to deeper slumbers, when, suddenly, a
glad sunbeam shot from the east, and fell upon the sleeper's face. With
one bound she freed herself from the bedclothes, and stood by the
window, pointing toward the glorious vision that had so long been hidden
from her sight. Never had she seen the blessed sun rise since a wee
child of four years, in the home of her birth, which had almost from
that early age been the possession of strangers, and now, as she stood
in her simple night-dress, with her long curls loosened and floating in
the pure breeze, she seemed some new-born spirit wondering at the
display of the Creator's mighty power. Her face was flushed with a
hallowed emotion, and as the sun stood forth above the horizon in its
full splendor, she sank upon her knees, and expressed her gushing
feelings in the simple yet sublime words first uttered by Divine lips,
amid the consecrated scenes of the Holy Land.

Mrs. Dunmore instinctively knelt while the child poured forth her humble
adoration, and she prayed most earnestly, that the deep feeling of
reverence she had just witnessed in her adopted one, might never be
displaced or blunted by contact with an impious and careless world.

Jennie had been so wholly absorbed in her joy at the beauteous vision
before her, that she had scarcely noticed the presence of her mother,
until Mrs. Dunmore approached her and said, "My darling is up betimes on
this hallowed morning, and I am glad to see that she is not unmindful of
Him who giveth us all our blessings." Then the little girl looked up
with a happy smile, and giving her accustomed kiss, hastened to prepare
for family devotions, and for the services of the village church. It was
a pleasant little church, and in former years, many a good old saint had
gone from its portals to the Church triumphant in Heaven; but now few
came to her solemn feasts, and there was a languishing, sleepy aspect
about it that often sickened the hearts of the little band of zealous
ones who were striving to keep it alive. Many a time was its faithful
minister almost ready to faint in his apparently useless labors; but on
this day one little soul gazed earnestly on him, as if thirsting for the
spiritual nourishment he was imparting, and his heart was revived and
strengthened. In the afternoon was the funeral of poor Bessie Lisle, and
as the small group of mourners moved away from the place of burial, Mr.
Colbert, Mrs. Dunmore, and Jennie, lingered in the peaceful cemetery to
gather lessons of wisdom for their own summons to another world. This
cemetery was on a high hill overlooking the village. Here and there
drooped a willow over some loved tomb, or a rose-bush bent to scatter
its burden of perfume and petals. On one new-made grave--the quiet
resting-place of a mother and her daughter, snatched from their friends
by some sudden and terrible casuality--were strewn fresh and beauteous
flowers, the fragrant offering of a gentle girl, who daily sought that
sacred spot to weep over the loved and lost. Near this, beneath a shady
yew, was the lowly bed of the poor man's daughter, whose remains had
just been placed therein.

Mrs. Dunmore leaned thoughtfully against the tree, and sighed as she
recalled her own bereavements, and her Christian heart was busy in
suggesting some means of consolation for the stricken parents. Mr.
Colbert was stooping by a distant tomb reading its epitaph to little
Jennie, who listened with the deepest interest. There was no sound to
mar the stillness of that peaceful retreat, the whispering winds went,
dirge-like, through the waving grass, and the leaves rustled softly
above the quiet sleepers.

Even the child felt the awful solemnity of the place, and crept nearer
to the kind minister, as he told her of the dear lamb that was so early
called away to the green pastures. The stone at her head was somewhat
like that at Bella's grave, and violets grew all over the turf, too, and
Jennie gathered a bunch of the sweetest and took them to her mother, who
crushed them in her bosom and moistened them with her tears. Slowly and
regretfully they left the spot so fraught with sad yet chastening
influences, and sought their happy homes, yet not without leaving their
prayers and their sympathies at the mourner's humble cottage.



CHAPTER IX.


The summer went joyously on, and the minister and child roamed about
amid the green things of the earth. All the loveliest haunts of that
pleasant spot had echoed the grave, but gentle tones of the man of God,
and the answering prattle of the little one who went tripping on by his
side, sometimes thoughtful and earnest, sometimes merry and glad; and
now the time had come for Mrs. Dunmore to return to her city residence,
and they must bid their kind friends at the Rectory good-by. Mrs.
Colbert sat with her son upon the rustic bench, and the child was
between them holding a hand of each. Mr. Colbert pushed her dark hair
from her forehead, and said, as he looked in her tearful eyes; "Jennie
is sorry to part with her old friends, but perhaps she will forget them
before another summer?"

"I fear we shall not be able to return to ---- for several years to
come;" said Mrs. Dunmore. "I have just received a summons from my
husband's mother, who is in very feeble health, and as I shall devote
myself to her during her life, I must forego the pleasure of my summer
home for awhile. Jennie will be placed at Madame La Blanche's school
during my absence, and my separation from her will be another pang added
to that which I feel on leaving you all for an indefinite period." A
shade passed over the face of the young minister; but it gave place to a
smile as the child said, "But you promised that I should come back some
day, and keep house for you in this good old place, and then you
know"--she added, smiling through the tears that had bedimmed her eyes,
"I should go away no more, but we could be always happy here together."

Jennie could not understand Mrs. Colbert's earnest manner as she pressed
her fondly to her bosom, and said "God grant it, my sweet child!" but
she returned the caresses so lavishly heaped upon her, and then jumped
down to play with old Skip, the house-dog, who was leaping about her as
if to share in the adieus. Mrs. Dunmore took the vacant seat, and the
three friends conversed long and seriously upon the former years of
happiness spent in each other's society, and the interval that might
ensue ere they should be gathered again beneath the spreading maples;
and as they conversed, one heart dwelt with greater than usual
tenderness upon the little figure that was flitting about in the soft
twilight.

The night came, the twilight had faded out, and the little figure, too,
had vanished, leaving that one breast desolate, save when a lightsome
shadow flitted across its ever-verdant memory. The summer cottage looked
dreary, with its closed blinds, and the autumn leaves rustling about it
in the bleak winds; but the little tombstone still gleamed in the
sunlight, that cast a pleasant and warm halo upon it, and the birds and
squirrels sung and leaped about in the beauteous grove as blithesome and
glad as if life's rolling seasons brought no sad changes. The man of God
walked quietly up and down the silent avenue, striving to think only of
the blue sky into which it seemed to open. The gentle widow went out on
her mission of love and mercy, to smooth the dying pillow of the sick
and aged, and the child was again in the heart of the mighty city, not a
penniless, uncared-for thing, but surrounded by a joyous group of happy
children, and watched over by a kind and faithful teacher.



CHAPTER X.


"Who will share a room with little Jennie Dunmore?" said Madame La
Blanche, on the day of the child's arrival at school. "Who will set her
an example of patience and perseverance in her studies, and aid her in
her difficulties and trials? Who will help her to be obedient, and
industrious, and good?" Many an eager hand was raised as the school
girls looked upon the sweet face of the new-comer, who stood near her
teacher, timidly glancing at the strange band before her; but Rosalie
Moore sprung from her seat, and, throwing her arm around Jennie's waist,
looked up so pleadingly at Madame La Blanche, that she said, "Remember,
dear children, I give you to each other as kind and loving sisters, not
to foster in each other the love of dress and show, not to uphold each
other in acts of rebellion and sin, but to strive together for that
inward adorning both of heart and mind, which is far better than any
outward ornament, and to walk hand in hand, so long as your pathway
shall be the same, toward that better land, where I trust we may all one
day again mingle. To-day shall be a holiday among you, and to-morrow
Jennie will enter upon her new duties, which I hope will be pleasant to
her. I need not ask you to remember the basket of charity-work, which
each will find in her room, since you all know how much happier you are
in your recreations after some act of benevolence and kindness. Jennie
will go with me on my round of visiting on Saturday," continued she, as
the girls, with a hop, skip, and jump, left the school-room.

Rosalie was very proud to show Jennie their neat little bedroom, with
its snowy curtains and white counterpane, and its pleasant view from the
windows. There were two windows with wide seats, where they could sit
and work, or study, and these looked out upon a beautiful garden, and
the sweet odor of the flowers came up and refreshed them. It was so rare
and delightful, in the midst of the city, to find such freshness and
beauty that it was all the more appreciated, and Jennie felt that she
could be very happy there. She and Rosalie got the stand with the basket
of work upon it, and placed it near one of the windows, and both sat
together there and worked on the coarse garments.

"Who are these for?" asked Jennie, "and what does Madame La Blanche mean
by my going 'the rounds' with her on Saturday?"

"These are for very poor people," said Rosalie, "and every week our
teacher takes as many as we can finish, and goes with one of us to carry
them. Have you ever seen any poor people, Jennie? and do you know how
dreadfully they suffer in the cold winters for want of clothes and
food?"

Jennie did not answer, but she covered her face with both hands, and
Rosalie could see the tears as they trickled through her fingers and
fell upon her work. She thought it very strange; but she said as she
drew her closely to her and kissed her tenderly, "Never mind, we will
talk about something else. I've been so much among them that I am used
to their poverty now. What do you mean to study Jennie? I hope you will
be in all my classes, although you are a great deal younger than I, I
know, for I was eleven the day before yesterday," and Rosalie tossed her
old head and looked at her companion in a very patronizing way.

"I was ten in April," said Jennie, "and this is October, so you see we
are not very wide apart; but I do not know about my studies--mamma said
that Madame La Blanche would direct them."

"Have you ever studied French?" asked Rosalie. "I am reading 'Corinne'
already, and Hattie Mann, who is two years older than I, has but just
commenced the language."

"I read 'Corinne' with dear mamma just before she died," said Jennie,
"but I should like very much to read it with you again if Madame La
Blanche pleases."

"Is your mother dead, Jennie? and is not that lady she whom you call
mamma?"

"God took my own dear mother and father from me, Rosalie; but before
they left, He sent the kind lady to them who made me her child, and they
were quite willing to go, when they knew I should not be alone in the
world."

"Did you live in a beautiful house when your father and mother were
alive, Jennie, and were there birds and flowers all around it, and had
you a nice little pony that you could call your own, and a dear little
sister with golden curls? That is the way my home is," continued she
without waiting for an answer, "and some vacation I am to invite any one
of the girls that I please to go with me to my mother's, and I know who
it will be, too, don't you, darling Jennie?" and she jumped up, and
putting her needle in her work, she kissed the astonished child again,
and went singing down the stairs as merry as a lark. Jennie sat quietly
in the window, thinking of the contrast between her sometime home in the
city and the one described by her happy school-mate, and she would have
grown very sad over her solitary musings; but a gay laugh in the garden
below diverted her from them, and looking out, she saw Rosalie, with a
garland of leaves around her head, and in her hand a bouquet of fall
flowers, which she was vainly endeavoring to throw up to her new sister.
Her merriment attracted the other girls, and soon Jennie stood among
them, with no trace of sorrow upon her brow, and the memory of the
bitter past wholly swallowed up in the enjoyment of the bright and
blessed present.



CHAPTER XI.


Saturday morning was a busy time at Madame La Blanche's school. Little
fingers stitched with untiring industry upon the coarse raiment that was
to give warmth to many an otherwise shivering body, and by the hour
appointed for the visits, the teacher was surprised at the great results
of such tiny efforts. She smiled approvingly on her pupils, and
summoning a servant to take charge of the weighty bundle, she took
Jennie by the hand and left the house.

Out through the pleasant garden, past the magnificent mansions of the
rich they went--on, and on, amid throngs of the gay and fashionable,
till the streets grew dingy with a motley crowd of the miserable and
ragged, who seemed to herd together, as if thus to hide their
degradation and shame. Some looked upon them, as they walked along, with
a bold and impudent stare; but others shrunk from their observation, and
drew their tattered shawls more closely around them as they moved
hastily away. There were some bargaining at the markets for withered or
decaying vegetables, and others purchasing, at a diminished price, stale
bread from dirty bakeries, and many a one loitering along in his filth
and squalor, with no object nor aim save to dawdle away the time that
hung too wearily upon him. It was a sad and loathsome sight, so near the
gorgeous thoroughfare of this mighty city, to see the pitiable objects
of unmitigated want; but there they were, and in all that teeming mass
but two ministering spirits were visible, gliding on with their
offerings of kindness and mercy.

Down through a dark alley, whose fetid odors were quite sufficient to
deter the dainty from penetrating beyond--they went, and into a
miserable room where was scarcely space for them to stand, so huddled
was it with broken furniture and ragged children. A fire was burning in
a shattered grate, and an untidy woman stood ironing by a table whereon
was the remnant of their meager dinner. Her husband crouched over the
coals as if the day was not warm and sunny. His clothes hung about his
limbs in large folds, and his sunken eyes told that disease was making
fearful ravages upon him. Madame La Blanche opened her bundle, and,
handing him a comfortable dressing-gown nicely quilted, said, "I am
sorry to find you so low, Michael, but God's will be done, perchance He
means to deliver you from the pinchings of a bitter season. It is but
little I can do for you," she continued, as the grateful man smoothed
down the warm garment, and thanked her with tremulous lips; "my children
made it for you, and this little one I have taken with me that she may
learn to be the more thoughtful of those who have a scanty supply of
the good things of this life, and the more thankful for the blessings of
abundance and health bestowed upon her."

"Ah! yes, miss," said the old man, running his lank arms into the nice
garment, and wrapping it closely about him; "'Blessed is he that
considereth the poor, the Lord will remember him in the time of
trouble.' Many's the time I shall think of the little hands that sewed
on this for the sick old man, and I'll pray, miss, that you may never
know what it is to suffer want nor sorrow in this weary world, and that
you may all be sure to go to a better when you die."

Madame La Blanche read a chapter to him from her pocket-Bible, and with
a few words of advice and comfort to the woman, and a picture-book for
the children, she went from the unwholesome room up a crazy staircase to
one a shade better, because kept with some degree of cleanliness. A
young man arose and gave chairs to the lady and the child, and his
mother welcomed them with a joy which the poor never feign toward a true
friend. "How is John's cough?" said Madame La Blanche. "It seems to me
he has failed since I saw him last; but perhaps it is because I have not
been here for some time that he looks thinner than usual to me."

"Oh! no, ma'am, 'tisn't that," said the mother; "poor Johnny's going
fast. He coughs so o' nights, it fairly makes me ache for him. It puts
me so in mind of Aby, I can't hardly bear it."

"I wish he was like Aby," said the lady; "Aby was a perfect example of
faith and patience, and he died as a Christian should die, with a firm
confidence in Him whom he had trusted. John knows that he can not live
long," continued she, "and I hope he is not afraid to die. He has the
same heavenly Father to go to for support in these last hours that Aby
had."

"Aby, was a good boy," said the mother; whose heart seemed constantly to
revert to her dead son. "He'd a been twenty years old next month if he'd
a lived, and John won't be till March; but I don't expect he'll live to
see that time, John won't live to be twenty year old, John won't," and
the afflicted woman turned away her head and looked from the window to
hide her grief. Jennie stood all this time looking around upon the
meanly-furnished apartment, and upon its thinly clad inmates, and as she
saw a young girl looking wistfully at a pretty scarf which she wore, she
whispered earnestly to her teacher, and then untying it, she put it
around the neck of the poor girl, who seemed almost beside herself for
joy. The kind lady then left some money to procure something for John's
cough, and some woolen waistcoats from her pack, and, promising to go
often to read to the sick boy, they departed; but the breath of their
kindness lingered upon the hearts of those forlorn ones, and cheered
them in their struggles for life.



CHAPTER XII.


The air in those loathsome streets was scarcely less unwholesome and
impure than in the close and crowded rooms, yet the lady and the child
kept on still further from the cleanly portions of the city, to seek out
other objects of pity and benevolence; and as they walked, they saw a
woman running up the street, and heard her say to a respectable-looking
gentleman: "Doctor, if you have time, won't you please to stop at our
house?"

Madame La Blanche observed the physician more attentively, and found
that it was one of her old friends. He, at the same time, turning from a
poor man to whom he had been talking, recognized her, and on learning
her errand, he asked her to accompany him to see one of his patients.
"It is a melancholy case, madam," said he, "the girl is afflicted with a
species of hysteria, induced by constant pining for a worthless lover,
who ran away, not long since, with another woman. She is in a terrible
state, weeping incessantly. I think, perhaps, you may be able to comfort
her a little; you know we of the sterner mold have not much power in
such emergencies. There it is," said he, as they reached a dusky
building, at the entrance of which stood a strange group of idlers,
torn and dirty. The sick girl lived on the second floor, with her
grandmother and one sister, and as the strangers entered, she shrunk
still further back into the corner where she was sitting. A strip of
faded calico lay upon her lap, and now and then she would put a stitch
in it, but oftener she raised it to her face and wiped away the tears
that were constantly falling. Her grandmother seemed troubled and sad as
the doctor looked thoughtfully upon her, and when he asked "If she had
been any worse, and why they did not send for him before?" she replied,
"Why she seems about the same, doctor; we sent her into the country to
see what change of air and scene would do for her, but she isn't much
better for it. She seems to be in a study all the time, and sits still
and cries a great deal. We try to rouse her, and to make her take notice
of things, but she falls back into one of her studies again."

"Come here, Jessie," said the doctor, "and sit in the light where I can
see you. Does your side pain you any now?" The girl moved languidly from
her dark corner and stood quietly by the window, but she answered the
doctor only in monosyllables, and appeared uneasy while out of her
accustomed retreat; and so soon as he turned to ask her sister some
questions about her she glided noiselessly back, and sunk into the old
seat, wiping her eyes again with the faded cloth. Madame La Blanche drew
near to her, and talked to her in a calm and soothing manner, and
Jennie seemed really distressed, as she vainly tried to divert her from
her grief by emptying the treasures of her pocket before her. The room
was as clean as it could possibly be, and the persons of its occupants
neat and tidy, but every thing betokened severe and pinching poverty.
The bed for the three was in one corner, and this, with one table and a
few chairs, comprised all their worldly goods. The healthy girl was
washing for those who never knew how many a tale of want and woe their
finely-embroidered clothes could tell. A line was stretched across the
narrow space, and there hung the fine linen and muslin, streaming out
the death-mist upon the weakened lungs of that wretched girl in the
corner; and the old woman, with her tremulous hands, was smoothing out
the robes that were to rustle amid scenes of pleasure and folly, while
the wearers never bestowed a thought upon the lowly ones who helped to
adorn them.

"There is a prescription for Jessie," said the doctor, as they rose to
go; "it will cost you a dollar, for the medicine is a valuable one."

The old woman took the paper and looked vacantly upon it, while her
thoughts dwelt upon the many comfortable things that one dollar would
buy for the approaching winter. Jessie's life, to be sure, was most
precious to her, but to what purpose would it be saved, if, after all,
the poor child should suffer for the necessaries of life. The medicine
must be got, but oh! there were so many other things indispensable!

How her heart was lifted up, as the kind physician said, "You may send
to the dispensary for it, however, and it will cost you nothing!"

"Oh! thank you, doctor," said she with a beaming face, "times is so
hard; we don't mean to complain, but a dollar goes a great ways with
poor people;" and then with a cheerful step she followed her visitors to
the door, internally blessing the benevolent physician, and the glorious
dispensary; but her cup of joy was full to overflowing when she turned
back again into the room, and found the nice suit for the sick girl, and
a new cap and warm sack for herself. "This will be so grand to go to the
pump with," said she, as she laid it carefully away in a box which she
drew from under the bed. "Come cheer up, Jessie, better times is coming,
and it seems ongrateful-like to sit there moping when there is so much
good fortune in the house."



CHAPTER XIII.


As the little party reached Broadway again, they met some officers
leading a man who had been detected in some dreadful crime, and the
doctor offered to go to the city prison with Madame La Blanche, that
they might show Jennie where wicked people were confined. The stout high
walls looked very cheerless and gloomy, after the splendor and
brightness of Broadway, and the child dreaded to enter them; but she
kept close to her guides, and as they stood within the yard where was a
green park, and a pretty fountain playing, she thought it much
pleasanter than the brown and loathsome places she had just left. Madame
La Blanche seemed to read her thoughts, and said, "This is very pretty
and nice, my dear; but you shall tell me what you think about prison
life when we reach home again. We have yet much to see within these high
walls; very few are allowed to walk in this pleasant yard." Then the
prison physician went with them inside and they wandered up and down the
long corridors, and looked through the iron doors at the criminals, and
Jennie shuddered as their guilty eyes looked out upon her through the
gratings.

Here and there, at the different cells, were wives, or sisters, or
mothers, talking through the massive bars. The cells were capacious, and
neat, and the prisoners looked careless, and indifferent to their
punishment; but Madame La Blanche and Jennie both felt that however
light-hearted and cheerful they might appear in the broad day, with
their friends all about them, in the darkness and silence of the night,
terrors must take hold upon them, and almost drive them mad.

In the female department, they saw only those who were committed for
vagrancy and drunkenness; but as they observed a woman stretched out
upon a bed in one of the cells, lost in the deep sleep of the inebriate,
they thought that no measures for the abolishment of so beastly a vice
could be too strenuous. Sitting in the door of a cell was one with
coarse features, bloated, and ugly, hugging to her depraved bosom a
delicate and lovely child. Madame La Blanche stopped to give the weak
mother a few words of wholesome advice, and she spoke to her of the
little creature in her arms, and plead with her, for her sake, if from
no higher motive, to put away her sin. The woman seemed touched, and
hiding her face in the child's neck, she wept. The little blue-eyed
thing looked sadly weary of the dull walls, and Jennie longed to lead
her away from the lonesome place to a home as bright as she had found.
She stroked her silken hair, and caressed her as if she had been a
sister, and giving her a few toys from her rich pocket, she hurried on
to overtake her teacher who was descending the stairs that led to the
lowest corridor, and thence to the yard.

The night was coming on, and husbands and wives, mothers and sisters,
were leaving the prison walls with a burden of grief and shame for the
loved yet lost ones within; and as Jennie and her kind teacher, one hour
later, entered the peaceful abode of innocence and joy, the light had
wholly departed from the long corridors of that gloomy building, and the
doors were closely secured upon the shuddering inmates of those dismal
cells, who crept into their beds, and covered their heads with the thick
clothes to shut out the demons that were hovering about them in the
polluted air.



CHAPTER XIV.


"Rosalie," said Jennie, as she tossed to and fro upon their soft bed
that night; "I can not sleep for the thought of those poor creatures we
saw to-day. Come closer to me and put your arm around me, every time I
close my eyes some of those miserable objects are before me with their
pinched and haggard looks. I can not go with Madame La Blanche again,
for it takes away all the pleasure and beauty of my life, and it can do
them no good since I have so little power to relieve them."

"But," said Rosalie, "Madame La Blanche says 'it is our duty to visit
them, even though we have nothing to offer them but our sympathy, and
kind words are often better to the poor then costly gifts.' I felt as
you do when I first went among them, but I don't believe our teacher
would ever excuse us from going since she thinks it right. I should
think," continued Rosalie, twining her arms lovingly about her
companion, and drawing as near to her as possible, "that what you have
seen to-day would make you enjoy this pleasant room, and these nice
comforts all the more."

"But, Rosalie," said Jennie, "how can I sleep when there are so many
sick and weary ones down in those dirty streets who have no
resting-place for their tired bodies, although they need it so much more
than I do? It makes me uneasy and troubled. Don't you think we should be
a great deal happier if all the people in the world had an equal share
of the comforts of life?"

"Sometimes I think so, Jennie, but Madame La Blanche says 'it is God
that makes us to differ; that He gives to some poverty, and to others
riches, and that if we only have contented minds we shall be happy,
whether we are rich or poor.'"

"That is not exactly what I mean, Rosalie; you know I am rich now, but I
am sad about others, and don't you suppose that people who suffer for
things that they need feel badly when they see others with more than
enough for their wants, so that they even waste it or throw it away."

"I don't know, Jennie, I suppose they must. It does seem strange to me,
sometimes, that some have so much more than is necessary to their
comfort, while others lack even their daily bread; but Madame La
Blanche, says 'we must never allow ourselves to raise such questions,
even in our own minds; but that we must feel that whatever God does for
His children is right, even as we feel that our earthly parents will do
every thing for our best good, though they may do many things that we
can not understand, and withhold from us much that we earnestly
desire.'"

"Well, Rosalie, it is a comfort to have a higher wisdom than our own to
depend upon! that's what my own dear mother used often to say to me, and
the very day she died--I never can forget that!--she put her hand upon
my head, and said 'Remember, my Jennie, God is to be all your wisdom and
strength, all your wisdom and strength.'"

Poor child! in her own strength what perfect weakness; even while
repeating the word she sunk into a calm and peaceful slumber, and this
weary world, with its burden of sorrows and woes, faded away from her
mental vision also, giving place to hopeful and cheering dreams. Madame
La Blanche entered the room, as was her custom before retiring to her
own couch, and as she looked upon the gentle sleepers before her, and
contrasted them with the pitiable ones who, perchance were even then
wakeful and sinning, her heart went up toward the Dispenser of all
blessings, in earnest supplication that the objects of her love might be
ever preserved unblemished in purity, and those of her compassion be
brought from their blackness and stain unto the fountain of all goodness
and cleansing.



CHAPTER XV.


Three winters passed rapidly and profitably in the busy school-room, and
Jennie's thirteenth spring-time found her, with her friend Rosalie,
riding about the lawn upon the pretty pony, or playing with her
golden-haired sister.

"Jennie," said Rosalie, one lovely morning as they were amusing
themselves upon the lawn; "would you not like to go to the old
Buttonwood and swing? All the girls meet there, and we have such nice
times!" To the old Buttonwood was quite a pleasant walk from Rosalie's
mother's, and they went merrily on, leading the little girl, and
chatting busily, when a silvery-headed old man on a seat within a garden
near, attracted Jennie's attention, and she asked her companion who he
was.

"Oh! that's my 'grandpa,' as I call him," said Rosalie--"he isn't my
grandpa, you know, but he likes to have me call him so, and since it
makes him happier, why shouldn't I?--mamma says she has known him for
several years, and that he had once a darling daughter who married
against his will, so that he would never receive her to his house again,
and one day, when he heard that she was dead, he lost his reason; but he
will not harm any one. He loves children dearly, and we often go in to
sit with him and talk. Poor old man! let's go in now, Jennie, perhaps he
will be glad to change the scene a little"--and the three girls went and
stood before the old gentleman, who at first looked vacantly at them.

"It's me, grandpa. Don't you remember your own dear little Rosalie?
Jennie," continued she in an under tone, "you stand a little behind me,
and then he will see me alone;" but the old man caught the words, and a
flash of intelligence for one moment illumined his eyes as he said,

"Yes, that's it--Jennie, dear little Jennie! come back to your old
father, my darling. All day long has he sat by the gate watching for
you. Did you think he was angry with his own precious child?"--and as he
spoke he drew Jennie to his bosom and held her there while he murmured
constantly in tones of endearment, "Call me father, my pet child; nobody
shall take her away again; little Jennie, dear little Jennie!" and he
looked around with a sort of menacing air, as if some one was near who
would seek to rob him of his treasure, and then smiled fondly on the
young girl, caressing her with the deepest tenderness.

"I haven't seen him smile so for many a long year, miss," said the old
butler who was near them. "Will you come often to speak to him? It does
my heart good to see him so like old times. It's the name miss, it's all
the name."

Jennie was somewhat frightened by the old man's eager manner, but when
she said softly, "Let me go and swing awhile, dear father, and then I'll
come to you again," he gently relaxed his embrace and kissing her, again
let her go.

His Jennie used to go so often to the "old Buttonwood"--it was all
natural to hear her speak of that; and then it was so pleasant to have
her come again with elastic step, and rosy cheek, to spring into his
arms for her welcome kiss! Oh, yes! he was willing she should go to the
"old Buttonwood;" but as her slight figure vanished in the distance, he
seemed sad and uneasy, and the old expression came again, and it staid
through the long day. That night as the old butler stood in his master's
room, and looked upon a lovely portrait that hung at the foot of the old
gentleman's bed, he kept repeating to himself, "It can't be all in the
name; the likeness is amazin'! amazin'!"

"Rosalie," said Jennie the next day, "Let's go and see the old gentleman
again. What's his name?--you know I promised to return to him."

"His name is Halberg."

"Does he live alone in that pleasant place with only the servants to
care for him?"

"Oh, no," said Rosalie, "he has a married son who lives there with him,
but he has gone to Europe with his wife and three daughters, and grandpa
stays alone until their return. Mamma says they are expected next month,
and Carrie Halberg is to go to Madame La Blanche's school--that's my
friend, Carrie; she's such a dear good girl! You'll love her, Jennie, I
know! But there's grandpa watching for us."

The old man stood at the gate, leaning upon his cane and looking
intently down the street toward the "old Buttonwood." He had taken his
hat from his head and was shading his eyes with it, and his thin locks
were scattered carelessly over his brow. He seemed eager and expectant,
and as they approached the gate they heard him say, "Simon, you'd better
go to the swing for little Jennie; perhaps she's fallen and got a hurt."

"Here she is, sir," said the butler, and the old gentle man dropped his
hat and cane and opened his arms to the little girl, who sprang into
them and nestled there as if it were her happiest resting-place. There
was something so child-like in the old man's tenderness toward her, that
she returned it as if he had been one of her youthful playmates. The
wandering of his intellect had robbed him of that dignity and
superiority which the young stand so much in awe of, and although the
children respected him, they felt that their amusements were suited to
his capacity--therefore they crowded around the seat in the garden, and
every day Jennie would sit beside him and read or sew, while he wound
her curls over his thin fingers, or the three would play beneath the old
trees, while he would gaze at them as contentedly as if it were the
chief end of his existence.

It was sad to think of separating them, but Jennie must return to her
school, and the poor old man be left to his weariness and vacancy. On
the day of the child's departure, he looked vainly for her appearance
until the time of her usual coming was passed, and then, with a low moan
and a pitiful face, he sank back upon the bench. Old Simon tried to
arouse and interest him, but he only shook his head, and looked about
him with the old air of melancholy, and murmured, "Little Jennie--dear
little Jennie."



CHAPTER XVI.


"Simon," said Mrs. Halberg, as they were alighting from their carriage
at the garden gate a few weeks after, "how has the old gentleman been
during our absence? Does he seem any thing like his former self?"

"Oh! he's very bad, very bad, ma'am, since the young lady that was
visiting Miss Rosalie left. He took wonderfully to her, and seemed as
happy as could be while she was here. I thought, perhaps, 'twas the
name, but the likeness was amazin'!"

The lady did not hear the latter remark, but she merely said, "What was
the name, Simon!" scarcely heeding his reply, as she went up the avenue
to the house, stopping one moment to say "How d'ye do" to the old man.

"Oh! 'tis so pleasant to be home again!" said Carrie, the youngest
daughter, and springing lightly from the carriage, she ran up to the old
gentleman, and, throwing her arms around his neck, she kissed him again
and again, saying "'Twas cruel to leave you so long alone, dear grandpa,
wasn't it? I wouldn't give any thing for all Europe in comparison with
this blessed home and one pleasant day beneath these old trees; and I've
missed you so, grandpa. Oh! 'tis too pleasant to be at home again!"

"Do save your raptures, Carrie, until we are free from observation,"
said her sister Ellen, as she went sauntering up the walk, followed by
her other sister, neither of them bestowing more than a glance upon
their afflicted grandfather.

A group of village boys were peeping through the fence, evidently much
interested in the arrivals and the affectionate greeting which Carrie
bestowed upon the old man.

"Nobody will ever suspect that we have traveled if you are so
unsophisticated in your feelings and expressions," continued Ellen; but
observing that her reproof received no attention, she and Mary went into
the house, leaving the sweet child with the pure breath of nature all
around her, and her own heart as fresh and uncontaminated. The old man
returned her caresses, and smiled upon her as he said, "My Jennie! dear
little Jennie!"

Carrie was so delighted at her grandfather's apparent joy on seeing her
that she cared little for the name, yet supposing he had only forgotten
it, she said, "Carrie, grandpa--Carrie;" but he only murmured still,
"Dear little Jennie! dear little Jennie!"

"What does it mean, Simon," said she; "doesn't he remember me?"

"'Twas a nice young lady that was called Jennie; she was here with Miss
Rosalie, and your grandpa, miss, was so happy all the time she staid. He
has been very low, miss, ever since she left till you came. Maybe he
thinks 'tis she come again; you're not unlike her, Miss Carrie."

"Well, I'll be called Jennie, too, since you prefer it, grandpa. See
what I've brought you! 'way across the blue waters, from Scotland! Isn't
it a bonnie plaid?" and she held out before him a real Highland shawl,
and, folding it, threw it around his shoulders. "'Tis so nice to wear
out here, dear grandpa, when it is chilly."

The old man looked at the bright colors, and felt of the soft wool, and
then his eyes rested fondly upon his grandchild, who was scattering
sugar-plums among the little group without the gate. Eagerly they
gathered them up in their greedy hands, and went scampering off to their
homes to exhibit their treasures, while Carrie went to the house
accompanied by her proud father, on whose arm the old gentleman was
feebly leaning. That evening, as the newly-returned party was seated
around the center-table, Carrie stole quietly to her grandfather's room,
and leaning her elbows upon his knees, looked wonderingly up into his
mild eyes, while he muttered softly, "Dear little Jennie! dear little
Jennie!"



CHAPTER XVII.


Rosalie came betimes to see her young friend, and as they walked
together around the garden, they had much to say about the long journey,
and the many strange things that Carrie had seen and heard, and then
they came back again to home events, and to the school that Rosalie had
just left, and that Carrie would soon enter, and this led them to speak
of Jennie, who was to be Carrie's roommate.

"Has she no other name?" said Carrie to Rosalie; "I hear nothing but
'Jennie, Jennie,' all the time."

"Oh! her mother's name is Dunmore--that is, her adopted mother. Her own
mother is dead; but isn't it strange, I never thought to ask her what
her real name is! You can not help loving her, Carrie, I know. In the
first place, she's beautiful, and that goes for something, I think; and
then, she's as good as she is pretty. Why, Carrie, I do believe you are
a little like her! There, throw your hat back, and let your hair fall
about your shoulders, so--'tis strange! I should think you were
sisters."

"Well, well, Rosalie, I should like to put my hat on when you have done
admiring me; I suppose I shall see this paragon of a Jennie on Monday,
if I live."

"She will not seem a paragon to you, Carrie, but a simple, loving,
truthful girl, and before you know it, you'll have your arm around her
neck and your lips to hers as if you had been friends all your life."

"What do you think of Madame La Blanche, Rosalie? Shall I be much afraid
of her?"

"Afraid of her! Why, Carrie, she's as kind as my own mother, and many a
time, when the girls are sad or home-sick, she sends for them to go to
her pleasant room, and there she amuses them with pictures and
curiosities until they forget all their sorrows. She doesn't seem like a
school-teacher, Carrie, but like some dear affectionate relative."

"Well, it is very pleasant here in my own lovely home, and I dread
leaving so soon again; and then, there's grandpa, I can not bear to be
away from him. Nobody seems to cheer him as I can--can they, grandpa?"
and the dear child sat down beside the old man upon the bench which they
had just reached, and looked thoughtfully upon the bowed figure near
her.

"You'll come every day to see him while I am gone--won't you, Rosalie?
and try to keep him contented and happy? It seems so sad," continued
she, "to have no real comfort in life excepting one little gleam, and
then to have even that taken from you! Never mind, grandpa, Jennie will
come back again, soon."

The old man picked up, one by one, some white petals that had fallen
upon his knees from a tree near them, and, letting them drop again,
said, "Don't stay long, dear little Jennie. Simon, is the swing safe?
You'd better see that it is tied firmly to the branches."

"Yes, sir," said Simon; "I'll attend to it, sir. It is well, miss," he
added, "that we have the old swing to fall back upon. Every day while
you were gone, when your grandpa seemed uneasy about you, and asked
often for you, I'd have to say, 'she's down to the old Buttonwood,
sir--only down to the old Buttonwood;' and then he'd rest easy like. The
time seemed weary and long to me, miss, as I put him off from day to
day; but a year and a day is all the same to him, miss--all the same."

"Well, Simon," said Carrie, "I'm so glad you are here with him; I should
never take a bit of comfort if you were not. Even in those strange
countries, where there was so much that was new and beautiful to
interest me, I could not forget the dear old figure beneath the trees at
home, and the thought that you understood him and could cheer him was
all that kept me contented and happy."

"Ah, miss, it's a dreadful bereavement!" said the old butler, shaking
his head. "Such a noble-looking old gentleman as your grandfather was
before this came upon him! I used to watch him as he walked up and down
these avenues with Miss Jennie, that's dead and gone, upon his arm, and
a prouder father I never saw. He's only a wreck now, Miss Carrie, a
pitiful wreck!" and the good servant drew his coat-sleeve across his
face, and turned hastily away.



CHAPTER XVIII.


Meantime frequent communications had passed between Mrs. Dunmore and her
daughter, and now came glad anticipations of a speedy return to the home
and child of her love. Her mission was accomplished. "The silver string
was loosed, the golden bowl broken;" and the old and wearied body laid
away for its long and peaceful rest. For months had she soothed its
pains, and rendered its pathway to the tomb easy and pleasant, and now
that the green earth covered it, and its repose could be no more
disturbed, her heart yearned toward the child of her adoption, and the
hours lagged heavily that must intervene before they could meet again.
Business transactions in connection with the possessions of the deceased
still required her presence for awhile, and she must yield to the
demands of duty. Jennie would have been quite impatient, had not Carrie
Halberg's arrival reconciled her to another school term before rejoining
her mother in their delightful home.

"Rosalie has told me so much about you," said she, as she ushered her
into their cosey room. "I feel as if I quite know you already. It would
be strange if we did not know each other, when we have the same
grandpa, wouldn't it?"

"Oh yes, Rosalie told me how fond grandpa was of you, and I'm sure I owe
you a great deal of affection for going so often to see him while he was
alone. Simon said he was sad indeed after you came away, and that he
would stand for hours by the gate looking down the street toward the old
Buttonwood for you. I never knew him to fancy any one but Rosalie
besides me, before; but Rosalie and Simon both think we are alike, and I
suppose he thought you were me."

"Very likely," said Jennie; "but Carrie, what made him fancy the name
so? I heard Simon say 't was all in the name."

"Oh! that was the name of my aunt that's dead; she was an only daughter.
Didn't you see her portrait hanging in my grandfather's room?"

"I was never in the house, Carrie, for there were none but servants
there, you know, and then the garden was so pleasant! Was your aunt
pretty?"

"I never hear any one but father speak of her, and he often visits her
portrait, and never leaves it without weeping--it is very beautiful! But
you shall see it, Jennie, for my father promises me you shall return
with me to my home. He is so delighted to add to my grandfather's
comfort in any way. Isn't it dreadful, Jennie, to be in this lovely
world with so much around you to charm and please, and yet the sense of
enjoyment gone, and brightness and beauty all the same as if it were
brown and sere? You'll find me a dull companion, I fear, Jennie, for
I've grown old and thoughtful by seeing so much of poor grandpa."

"Perhaps I am made thoughtful, too, by past troubles, Carrie! It doesn't
need age to bring sorrows upon us."

"What griefs can have bowed those youthful heads so early, my darlings?"
said Madame La Blanche, who had softly entered the room and caught part
of Jennie's sentence. "It is better to recount the many mercies of our
lot, rather than to dwell upon the ills of life! Indeed, our very
sorrows often prove blessings to us if we will but permit them to work
the effect designed;" and sitting down in one of the wide windows, she
drew the young girls to her and placing one on either side, there, while
the shadows were lengthening in the beautiful garden, and the night came
creeping silently on, she talked to them as a gentle mother would, of
the great object and aim of this mortal life, and the high destiny which
all may attain if they only so far desire it as to strive after it, and
as the evening stole upon them, and the stars came quietly out in the
mild heavens, she kissed them tenderly and left them to the sweet
influences of the calm night, and of their own subdued thoughts. For a
long time the two girls sat gazing earnestly upward, while one heart
dwelt lovingly upon the old figure with silvery locks, and the other
upon the spirits of her departed parents that seemed even then hovering
about her.



CHAPTER XIX.


"Only three weeks more to vacation," said Mary Halberg, as she entered
the parlor one morning with an open letter in her hand.

"What does Carrie say about her young friend?" said her father, looking
up from his newspaper. "Has she prevailed upon her to accompany her
home?"

"Oh! yes, and you know that rich widow Dunmore, whom we met at the
Springs? Well, she's coming to remain in ---- while Jennie is with us.
It seems she has carried out one of her eccentric whims and taken some
foundling to be her own child, and we are upholding her by admitting the
girl to our house on an intimate footing with Carrie."

"I don't see," said Ellen, "what good all our advantages of education
and travel will do us, if we are to mingle with all sorts of people,
and, as to Carrie, she is quite careless enough now in her choice of
associates, without our seeking those of the lower order for her."

"No good, my daughters, will either your knowledge or your position do
you, if they are to exalt you so far above your fellow-creatures as to
render any of them contemptible in your estimation," said Mr. Halberg;
"I rejoice that the heart of your sister is, as yet, only susceptible to
warm and kindly emotions, and I trust you will both treat with
politeness the young stranger who--whatever her former station in life
may have been--is, as the adopted child of Mrs. Dunmore, entitled to
every attention and courtesy from us all."

Mary looked abashed as her father arose and left the room; but her
sister only muttered. "I'm sure it makes no difference to me whether she
comes or not--'tis precious little I shall trouble myself about her.
What do you think Rosalie told me the other day?" continued she,
addressing Mary; "why, that this Jennie used to sweep the dirty
crossings of Broadway, and herd with vulgar beggars, and that Mrs.
Dunmore took her from this vile condition to her own house, as her own
child. It came pretty straight, for one of Mrs. Dunmore's servants told
old Jimmy, Mr. Mann's coachman, and so it got to Hattie, who is at
Madame La Blanche's school."

"I thought Rosalie was as much in love with her as Carrie," said Mary.

"Well, so she is; but she did not know any thing about this until Hattie
Mann wrote to her the other day. I don't suppose it would make any
difference to her, however, for she says that Jennie is more lady-like,
and further advanced in her studies than any of the girls, and that she
would choose her for a companion rather than any of them, even if she
had once been a street-sweeper."

"Spoken like my own good sister," said Henry Moore, thrusting aside the
vines that shaded the window where the young ladies were sitting.
"Pardon, mademoiselles! I was not intentionally an eaves-dropper; but
hearing your voices in this direction I came to seek you, and thus heard
that little heroic of my pet Rosalie."

"Why, Henry, where did you come from?" said Mary; "I thought you were
still safe within college bounds."

"Oh!" said Henry, "I left my Alma Mater in disgust yesterday morning.
Did you suppose even her kindly embrace could keep me away from ----
during these pleasant months? My motto is 'recreation as well as labor.'
But come, Nellie, lay aside that embroidery, and go with Mary and me to
Blinkdale--the sun has dried the dew, and the birds are having a perfect
concert among the old trees--Rosalie is waiting for us at the gate."

"Grandpa's going too," said Rosalie, as her brother and their two
friends reached her; "you must lead the way, for we have to walk very
slowly you know," and, taking the old man's hand, she led him as gently
as if he were a child; and when they found the pleasant dale she
arranged a nice seat for him in the shade, and lifting his hat from his
head she fanned him with it until he seemed cool and comfortable, and
then joined the little group near. Henry had watched her with a heart
full of affection, and Mary could not help being moved by her quiet and
natural kindness; but Ellen laughed heartily as she said "You are a
capital nurse, Rosalie; if old Simon should happen to drop off some
day, we shall know where to look for a substitute."

Rosalie blushed as she caught her brother's earnest eye, but she only
said "I'm always happy to wait on grandpa. Isn't Carrie coming soon? and
Jennie, too," continued she. "I can scarcely wait much longer to see
them!"

"Three weeks will soon vanish, and then I suppose you'll have a merry
time together," said Ellen. "Carrie writes in high spirits, and one
would think from her delight at returning that there was no place in the
whole world equal to this stupid village."

"I don't consider it stupid at all," said Rosalie, with some spirit; "I
am sure I would not exchange it for any place I ever saw!"

"Oh, well, Rosalie, we all acknowledge that your means of comparison are
very extensive," replied Ellen; "I don't care to quarrel with my native
place, but I must confess it has not so many attractions for me as you
seem to see in it."

Rosalie did not exactly understand Ellen's sneer, but the remark
disturbed her serenity, and she moved softly away from the sisters and
sat down beside the old gentleman, weaving garlands for him to pull in
pieces, and thinking of the happy time, so soon coming, when she could
once more be with her young companions.

"Who is this Jennie that my sister talks so much about?" said Henry.

"She's a _protégée_ of Mrs. Dunmore's, and manages to win the love of
all who know her, I should think, from all I hear concerning her," said
Mary. "She visited Rosalie while we were in Europe, and my grandfather
took a great fancy to her because of her name, and my father insists
upon her coming home with Carrie to spend the vacation. Perhaps there'll
be another heart missing when you see her, Henry."

"In that case," said the young man, "it will be hardly safe to extend my
term of absence from my studies until the arrival of your guest. I don't
see what I am to do among such a bevy of you girls," continued he, as
they strolled leisurely homeward; "it will be rather a dangerous
position."

"Not at all so, unless we catch you eaves-dropping again," said Mary,
laughing, as he bade them good-morning, and turned to assist Rosalie in
the care of the old man. It was pleasant to see them walking up the
village street--the strong and vigorous youth lending itself to the
support of that tottering frame, and the child-like, rosy girl giving
her sweet care and sympathy to his withered, dependent age.



CHAPTER XX.


Signs of life were again visible about the great house in the avenue.
The blinds were thrown open, and the rich drapery hung gracefully by the
open windows. Grocers' and butchers' boys were hurrying in through the
gates to empty their heavy baskets, while little beggar-children emerged
from them with theirs richly laden. The passers-by looked gladly up,
rejoicing that the long-deserted mansion was once more occupied. The
walks were neatly swept, the lawns well trimmed, and the shrubs
carefully trained. A little fountain leaped joyously in one of the
grass-plots, pet canaries warbled from their cages among the green
vines, and every thing around the place betokened the approaching return
of its refined and tasteful mistress. The expectant servants ran hither
and thither from window to door, and from door to window, thrusting out
their woolly heads at every sound of carriage-wheels. Never lagged the
time so wearily, and never was house more joyous than that, as the
waning day brought the loved ones beneath its roof.

Mrs. Dunmore lay upon the couch in her pleasant boudoir, weary and
travel-worn, yet not insensible to the delight of being once more at
home. By her side, on a low ottoman, was the child of her adoption, her
hand clasping that of her mother, whose eyes were fixed upon her with
tenderness and love. Both hearts were almost too full for utterance; the
mother seemed content to watch the varying emotions as they played upon
the face of her sweet child, and the young girl betrayed her earnest,
affectionate feelings in frequent but silent caresses. It was such a
mercy to be spared so many years to meet again, and to find each other
all that they desired--the one the same kind, devoted, Christian mother,
and the other as warm-hearted as ever, repaying all the care and regard
lavished upon her by a corresponding improvement, and by an unmeasured
gratitude and esteem. It was such a happiness, too, to Mrs. Dunmore to
feel that, in braving the world's opinion and taking to her bosom an
outcast and deserted one, she was so fully compensated by the
companionship of the graceful and beautiful girl who was now competent
to sympathize in all that pleased or disturbed her. What was all her
wealth, what were the elegances and luxuries that surrounded her, what
the fashionable friends who crowded to welcome her, compared to that one
fresh, trusting, loving heart, that clung to hers with such strength and
ardor of affection!

Many a time during their long separation had her spirit gone yearningly
out toward the child, and now she was beside her again with deep eyes
beaming earnestly upon her, and red lips pressed ever and anon to her
own with an overflowing fondness.

The twilight was in the room, and through its dimness the little
portrait on the wall was visible, no longer shrouded in somber weeds,
but in its brightness and simplicity gazing down upon the two loving
ones beneath it, and seeming to share in their deep and hallowed joy.

The young girl bowed her head until it rested softly upon the bosom of
her mother, as she said, "It is so sweet to be here, dear mamma! Often
have I walked past this desolate house, with the feeling that it might
never again open to receive me, and it seems so like a dream that I am
here once more, with the cold world wholly shut out from me, and your
warm, warm heart beating so close to mine again!"

"Has the world indeed been cold to you, my darling," said Mrs. Dunmore,
"and have you found no kind friends to make my absence less weary? I had
hoped that Madame La Blanche would prove a fond and faithful mother."

"And so she has, dear mamma, but thoughts of the past would sometimes
come up to trouble me, and then I needed you to help me bear it, and to
bring sunshine and peace from it all. This was at first when I felt
quite alone in the world, after you had gone; but I tried afterward to
do as Madame La Blanche said was the better way--to put every thing
bitter from me, and try to think only of the good that was all around
me. When we were gloomy or dispirited, she would say, 'I know it is very
trying, my children, to be separated from your parents and friends; but
you must remember that so long as you are with me, I stand in the same
relationship to you all; and that my heart will be cast down and pained
if you fail to come freely to me with all your little burdens and
sorrows.' She said too, that 'we were as one dear and pleasant family,
and that each of us must strive to bring as much brightness as possible
into our little household, and then we could not help being happy.'
Nobody could be kinder nor better than Madame La Blanche, and Rosalie
and Carrie were as sweet sisters to me; but there were some things I
could never speak to them about, and I am so glad that you who know me
so truly are here again! I shall have nothing now to ask excepting that
you go away from your poor child no more."

"Never fear, my darling," said Mrs. Dunmore, "nothing shall again come
between us so long as God permits us to dwell upon the earth; but we
must not forget to prepare for a severance that must one day come, so
that we may be reunited where all partings shall forever be over."

Jennie clasped still tighter the hand of her mother, as she thought how
severely that long separation would try one or the other of them; but
she said nothing, for her heart was busy with the memory of the loved
ones who had gone before her to the home above, and she felt that she
had indeed many incentives to struggle for the same blessed inheritance.

The twilight went out into thick darkness, leaving the mother and child
to their happy communings in the boudoir, amid the blest associations of
a cherished past.

The hum of the streets was hushed. Few sounds came from without; but the
silence that had so long reigned in the mansion, was broken by the
gentle tones of loving and glad voices.



CHAPTER XXI.


"Well, Henry, how shall we kill time this evening?" said Fred. Burling
to Henry Moore, as the two colleagues sauntered up and down the gallery
of Mr. Moore's house.

"If by killing time you mean spending the hours pleasantly, I think we
had better go and chat awhile with Mr. Halberg's pretty daughters,"
replied Henry; "I believe you consider yourself quite a connoisseur in
beauty. Perhaps we shall both find our beau-ideal there to-night. Mary
told me they were expecting a visit from a young friend who is skilled
in captivating hearts, and Rosalie says she arrived this morning. Have
you seen her, Rosalie?" continued he, addressing his sister, who
appeared at the door as they were walking past it.

"Why, Henry, there are so many _hers_ in the world, and even in our own
little village, that it would take a better clairvoyant than myself to
decide which you mean," said Rosalie, glancing upon him with a sparkle
in her merry eye.

"I supposed," said Henry, "your mind would be so full of your friend
that she would immediately occur to you as the object of my inquiry."

"I hope you don't mean to insinuate that I have but one friend!"
answered the sister, with another roguish twinkle of her mischievous
eye; "because, dear brother, I have a great, great many, I flatter
myself; but to tease you no longer, I _have_ seen _her_, and she is just
as winning and lovely as ever."

"Well, Fred," said Henry, "if it does not appear too formidable to your
susceptibility, we will venture to meet the young ladies. Get your hat,
Rosalie," he added, as his sister moved away; "we need you to enliven
our walk."

"I am afraid you will scarcely appreciate so brilliant a companion,"
said Rosalie; "but no matter, I'll go, I may glean a few bright ideas by
contact with a certain classical duo that I wot of;" and the blithe
young girl hastened away, and soon returned equipped for their stroll.

"Miss Rosalie," said Fred, as he drew her hand within his arm; "tell me
all about this friend of yours. I believe that is sufficiently definite
to distinguish the new comer, is it not?"

"Oh, yes," said his companion, "I was only bantering Henry a little;
but, really, Mr. Burling, I have nothing to tell you concerning Jennie,
excepting that we were schoolmates for a long time, and that in
consequence we feel a great deal of fondness and affection for each
other."

"I thought," said Fred, "there was some mystery about her birth and
history--so Henry says."

"And so there is to me," replied Rosalie, "but I can not attempt to
solve it, since she was never communicative with regard to her early
life; there was a good deal of gossiping among the girls at school, on
account of a report which came through an old servant of Mrs. Dunmore's
that she was of very humble origin; but she was so lady-like, and so
much beloved by us all that we quite discredited the story, although,
for my own part, I don't care a straw what her parentage was, since she
is worthy and refined."

"You will perceive," said Henry, "that this little sister of mine is a
very independent young lady, and founds her likes and dislikes upon her
own opinions, rather than upon the prejudices and conventionalities of
society."

"It is well," returned Fred, "that there are some who make merit or
demerit the distinguishing marks instead of rank or wealth. I confess
that my own notions wholly accord with those of Miss Rosalie. What! are
we here so soon?" continued he, as they reached the entrance to Mr.
Halberg's grounds.

"I should think we were in the region of the Dryads!" said Henry, as
several white figures were visible amid the trees. "Who's
eaves-dropping, now," added he, as Mary came suddenly upon him from
behind a neighboring shrub.

"I plead, not guilty," said Mary; "but, Henry, where are your offerings?
you should not come into the presence of deities without suitable
gifts."

"Permit me to present to you my friend Mr. Burling, Miss Halberg," said
Henry, as the young man approached with Rosalie and Ellen.

"You see I have not forgotten the custom to bring some propitiatory
sacrifice."

"A very acceptable one in these days of dearth," said Mary, blushing.
"We are a very secluded race," continued she, addressing Mr. Burling,
"and the arrival of friends is quite an era in our quiet life."

"It is a wonder that we do not wholly vegetate," said Ellen. "Do not you
think, Henry, that we are in danger of dissipating too much, now that
our coterie is so greatly enlarged?"

The young man looked thoughtfully upon her for a moment, and then
replied "There needs not an increased circle, nor the seductions of a
fashionable clique, Nellie, to lead us to excess; the soul may run riot,
and indulge in vain repinings for the follies and vanities of life, even
in the remotest solitudes. But come, let us go to the piazza, I see your
youngest sister there, and wish also to make the acquaintance of your
guest."

Just then Carrie and Jennie espied Rosalie, and, running forward, met
her with the warmest manifestations of delight, and seizing upon her,
they hurried her on to see grandpa, who sat in his arm-chair on the
piazza, with the cool breeze refreshing his fevered brow.

It was a beautiful sight, the three young girls just bursting into
womanhood, with their earnest and pure natures, ministering to the faint
old man who was fast wasting away from this earthly being. Henry and his
friend were deeply impressed by it, and dreaded to disturb so charming
a picture, but as they advanced to greet Mr. and Mrs. Halberg, Carrie
sprang to meet her old friend Henry, and leading him to her
grandfather's seat, introduced him to Jennie, and placed a chair for him
by her side. The young girl looked up with a sweet smile as he asked her
some question concerning her escape from school, and shaking back the
heavy mass of ringlets that shaded her forehead, she replied, "School
was any thing but a prison-house to me, yet I love very much to be
occasionally free from a fixed routine of duties, especially when I find
so pleasant a retreat as this, and so dear a charge as grandpa. We all
have a care for him," she added, taking in Carrie and Rosalie with her
fond glance.

"Grandpa's shoulders ought to be very broad to support so many
descendants," said Ellen, looking scornfully at their beautiful guest.
"Henry, why do you not aspire to so distinguished a relationship?"

"People often aspire to that which they can not attain," said Henry,
with a look of quiet but deep earnestness at Jennie, whose eyes sunk
under his gaze, and whose heart swelled with emotion at the thought of
her own isolated fate. "No father, no mother, no kindred," felt she,
"and even the love of this weak old man grudged me by one who has all!"
She said nothing more while the visitors remained, but sat with the
palsied hand in her soft palm, dreaming of the time when she should be
gathered into the bosom of a ransomed family, and her spirit grew calm
with the thought, so that when Rosalie and the young men arose to
leave, and asked her to join them in a little excursion on the morrow,
she answered them with a beaming and glad face.

"Fred," said Henry, as they left the gate, "I never can forget that
face. Did you see how almost heavenly it was as she stood by old Mr.
Halberg when we left?"

"It was indeed a lovely picture," said Fred; "the old bowed head with
the evening's breath moving the gray hair, and that delicate girl, with
her white dress glistening in the moonbeams, and with the seraphic
expression on her brow!"



CHAPTER XXII.


"Eleanor," said Mr. Halberg to his wife, after the young people had
retired to rest, "there is something very singular about that girl. She
is so like our departed Jane that she awakens my deepest interest. Did
you notice her manners, at once so child-like and so mature? I must
inquire more particularly about her of Mrs. Dunmore; it strikes me she
is no common child."

"I paid no especial attention to her," replied the wife; "she is
sufficiently long under the influence of a refined example to overcome
all taint of birth and early habit, however."

"I tell you, wife," said the husband, "there's an innate pride and
dignity about the girl that no training could effect. I watched her all
the evening, and could detect nothing but the most perfect ease and
grace. Her face, too, haunts me. Do you remember how pure and earnest
the expression of Jane's eye was? Well, there's the same look in that
young girl's, so that I longed to take her to my heart and call her
sister. If we had not learned with such apparent certainty about the
death of the child I should say this was she," soliloquized he, as his
wife left the room for one moment, and resuming the subject as she
returned. "Why, Eleanor, how long is it since my father lost his
reason?"

"About four years, I believe," replied Mrs. Halberg.

"And our poor Jane had been twelve years away, and her little one was
born three years after her marriage, and this child is--how old did you
say, wife?"

"I'm sure I don't know, Frank; but what possesses you? Have you any idea
that Jane's child is still living? and if it were so and we should ever
find it out, are you not aware how materially it would affect our own
children's share of their grandfather's property?" said Mrs. Halberg,
blushing for very shame, as she encountered her husband's searching and
grieved eye.

"Eleanor," said he, "my sister was bitterly wronged! God only knows how
and what she suffered, not only from the neglect and desertion of her
kindred; but from the stern pinchings of want. For my own part,"
continued he, leaning his head upon his hand, and sighing deeply, "I
would be willing to forfeit _all_ the inheritance if by that means I
could make some reparation for the cruel past!"

"Well, well, Frank, it can not be helped now! Since it is all over, why
not let it go without troubling yourself with vain regrets?"

"Those are not vain regrets, Eleanor," said the husband, "which purify
the soul. My father has been spared the agony of remorse for the one
great error of his life, by a merciful Providence which has made the sad
past oblivious to him; but my heart would be hardened indeed, if it
should cease to feel an intense sorrow for the wrongs committed against
the patient and sainted one."

Mrs. Halberg was touched by her husband's unfeigned grief. He had never
spoken so fully to her before, on a subject which, by common consent,
all the family had avoided, and she knew not until now how weighty had
been the burden of his secret repinings. Before the world he was
unbending and reserved; but now as he sat in the solitude of his
chamber, with only his wife's eye upon him, save that of the Omniscient,
the proud man yielded to a long pent-up emotion, and wept like a child.
"Eleanor," said he, as he felt the tears from other eyes mingling with
his own, "tell me that if it is ever in our power to make restitution
for the sins of other years, you will aid me with all your power, even
if it were to our own pecuniary loss?"

The wife placed his hand fondly upon the heart that was beating for him
so truly, and kissing him tenderly, murmured, "My husband, I promise!"

"If," continued he, "it should prove upon thorough investigation--which
has been already too long delayed--that the child of my sister was
spared, and is even now living, will you take her to your home and
cherish her as one of your own children, so that she may feel no want of
sympathy and love?"

With the hand still upon the life-spring, the affectionate wife
earnestly answered, "My husband, I will. But why," said she, after a
moment's hesitation, "do you doubt the truth of the report, that you
have hitherto considered credible?"

"It never occurred to me," said Mr. Halberg, "that it might be false,
until to-night; but Eleanor, presentiments come sometimes upon us with
all the force of a certain conviction, and my conscience will never be
easy until I, make some effort to find out, beyond the shadow of doubt,
whether my sister's child is wandering upon the earth, yearning for
kindred and home, or is gathered to the home which is brighter than any
this world can afford. What first awakened these thoughts within me, was
the sight of a gipsy woman to-day. She stopped me in the street to beg a
few pennies, and by the hand she held a gentle little creature of five
or six years old, which I was confident could not be her own. Visions of
a bereaved and mourning family, and of the future of the delicate child,
troubled me, and the feeling that one bound to me by a dearer tie than
that of humanity, might be roaming amid the vicious and low, smote me
with such cruel misery that I have not since been able to regain my
wonted calmness, and the coming of this beauteous child, so like my
sister, has excited my anxieties and fears still more."

"I doubt not but that it is all a fantasy of the imagination, Frank. You
had better take a composing draught, and to-morrow will find you more
cheerful," said the wife.

"I know of none more soothing," replied Mr. Halberg, as he prepared for
his night's repose, "than a spirit at peace with God and man."



CHAPTER XXIII.


"Jennie," said Carrie the next morning, "come with me and we'll get a
peep at the portrait. I saw father go into the room a moment since, and
grandpa's out on the piazza. We'll step softly just inside the door, for
father never likes to be disturbed when he's there."

With their arms about each other's waists the two friends went skipping
along, until they reached the apartment appropriated to the old
gentleman. The door was partially open and they could see through the
crack the dark figure of Carrie's father standing with his back toward
them. The room seemed very bright and cheerful, and the rich colors of a
gay carpet, and the elaborate carving of the massive and antique
furniture rendered it still more pleasant and attractive. As they were
about to cross the threshold, and Carrie had her hand against the door
to push it open still further, Jennie whispered, "Stop a minute, Carrie,
my heart beats so!--I'm afraid your father will not like it if we
intrude upon him now! You know there's something very sacred in one's
sorrow!"

Mr. Halberg, meanwhile, had withdrawn the black vail which had obscured
the portrait since his sister's marriage, and stood thoughtfully gazing
upon the lovely features, and comparing them with those of the young
girl, whose image filled his mind. "It is very strange," murmured he;
"the same waving mass of hair, the same beautifully-arched brows and
long lashes, and the liquid eyes, melting one with their subduing
pathos; the very expression so like, too! It is very wonderful! very
wonderful!" and he wiped away a tear that betrayed the depth and
earnestness of his feelings.

"Come, Jennie--father will not see us," said Carrie, gently pulling her
within the door, "he gets so absorbed!"

As Jennie entered the room she raised her eyes to the place where Mr.
Halberg stood. That moment the sunlight came through the windows,
casting a bright gleam upon the beautiful portrait, and, stretching out
her arms toward it, the young girl faintly cried, "My own blessed
mother!" and sunk senseless to the floor.

In one moment Mr. Halberg was beside her, and raising her gently he
placed her upon the bed, and with a face as colorless and rigid as her
own, awaited her return to consciousness, applying the proper
restoratives with a calm and skillful hand. Carrie had loosened her
dress, and as she did so, a miniature fell upon the bed. Her father
looked eagerly upon it, and with tremulous fingers pressed a spring upon
the back. It was indeed his sister's likeness, placed beyond dispute by
the convincing inscription, "Jane Halberg, to her beloved daughter,
Jennie Grig!"

This, then, was the child of that precious one who had roamed with him
through the sunny paths of infancy and youth, but whose maturer years
were overshadowed by adversity and gloom! God had sent a pitying heart
to her in the hour of her saddest need, and had gently led her back to
the home whence her mother had been cruelly banished; that mother He had
received into more beauteous mansions, but the child was left, to
fulfill a noble and glorious mission among those who had hitherto deemed
her as helpless in the grave! Strangers had proved better than those of
her own household to the outcast and orphan, and had nurtured and cared
for her while they were contenting themselves with the report that she
had gone where no earthly care avails. Only the evening before had she
sat in the midst of her relatives, with a sad feeling of isolation--now
they were gathered about her with evidences of an awakening love and
tenderness. It was pleasant to shut her eyes and open them again upon so
glad a revelation! So thought Jennie as she gazed upon her new-found
connections, who crowded around with exclamations of surprise and
affection. Carrie, then, was her own cousin! and the great heart against
which she was so fondly pressed was warm with kindred blood? Grandpa,
too, had fondled and caressed her idolized mother, and even his
wandering faculties had detected her lineage, so that he had clung to
her for some better reason than an impulsive and wayward fancy!

"Speak not now, my darling," said Mr. Halberg, as Jennie made an effort
to say something to him, "but put your arms around my neck, and let me
feel by this mute expression that the past is forgiven; I am not yet
able to bear one word from the child of my deserted sister."

The young girl's lips were still parted, but the loving arms twined
closely around her uncle, and although no verbal absolution came, he
felt that the past would never again haunt him with its spectral figure,
but that his sister's blessing would come to him through the child who
now lay so fondly upon his bosom.



CHAPTER XXIV.


Three more years had mingled with the past, and yet Mrs. Dunmore and
Jennie, who had now developed into a mature and perfect beauty, lingered
in the vicinity of the Halbergs. Not that they had any idea of sundering
the ties that so closely united them, or of claiming a place for the
orphan in the home of her newly-found kindred, but the old man clung
with such touching fondness to his beloved grandchild, and grew so
frantic if she left him, even for a few days, that it seemed a sacred
duty to give themselves up to his few remaining years; and as from month
to month they perceived a manifest dawning of light upon his bewildered
intellect, it became rather a pleasure than a sacrifice to forego all
those amusements and comforts that interfered with his peculiar fancies
or desires. Mrs. Halberg would remonstrate, and Ellen would sneer, as
the young girl denied herself the companionship of her youthful
associates in order to be with and cheer her aged relative; but Jennie
would place her hand gently upon his silvery head, and say, in her
quiet, subduing way, "It will not be very long, dear auntie!"

Nor was it very long, for every day the tottering knees grew more and
more feeble, until at length the old seat in the garden was altogether
abandoned for the pleasant room; and there, by the window, in the warm
sunlight, would the shadow of a majestic being crouch, shivering through
the summer days, while a soft and low voice read and chatted away the
otherwise weary hours.

But the old figure stays not long in the sunlight, for the messengers
have come for him, and the hour of his departure is near, and prostrate
upon his bed he awaiteth the final summons. It was Jennie's sixteenth
autumn, and as she sat beside her grandfather's couch with his shriveled
fingers in her warm clasp, the old man turned his head upon his pillow,
and, looking intently upon her, said, "My child, I have been dreaming. I
have slept a long, long time; but I am wide awake now, and I know it
all. It has come to me slowly and painfully, and I shall not forget it
again."

"What is it, grandpa?" said Jennie; "you are weak and ill now, and must
not talk, I am your little nurse you know, and Dr. Wright says 'I must
keep you quite still if I would have you get well again.'"

"Isn't your name Jennie Grig? and is not that your mother?" continued
her grandfather, rising upon one elbow and pointing to the portrait at
the foot of the bed. "You was a young thing when she died, Jennie, and I
meant to find you out and bring you home; but I could do nothing while
the strange dream was upon me. It was just as well, for she brought you
to me with her angel hands, and that made the dream pleasant to me;" and
the old man sunk back upon his pillow. He lay quietly for some time, and
Jennie thought he was sleeping, but as she motioned Simon to take her
place by the bed, and tried gently to relax her hand from that of her
grandfather, he tightened the pressure, and spoke again in a feeble
tone. "I shall not get well again, Jennie, I'm going to your mother; but
I can not die yet. Call your uncle to me, and leave us for awhile, I
must make it right again." Jennie was more surprised and frightened at
her grandfather's calm and rational manner than she would have been by
any strange or frenzied actions; but she had heard that reason often
wholly resumes its throne as the hour of dissolution approaches, and,
thinking that life might be fast ebbing, she hastened to summon her
uncle, who was soon in his father's presence.

His heart leaped for joy as soon as he saw that the old gentleman was
sufficiently sane to alter his will, which had been made in a moment of
passion, and had cut off the inheritance from his daughter; and both
seemed relieved of a sore burden when the papers were re-executed and
the child was made sure of her rightful portion.

Her grandfather tremulously affixed his signature as Jennie returned to
him followed by her aunt and cousins.

A peaceful smile was upon the dying man's face as he looked upon the
little group that surrounded him, and said, with a solemn emphasis, "My
children, be kind and forgiving--forgiving." Then closing his eyes, he
murmured "dear little Jennie! dear little Jennie!" and slept to awake no
more to the pains and ills of life.



CHAPTER XXV.


Henry Moore had been a frequent visitor at Mr. Halberg's during Jennie's
sojourn there, and so lovely a character as hers could not fail to
awaken in his bosom a deeper feeling toward her than that of friendship;
yet so calmly had the time glided away that they had spent together, and
so far from his mind had been the idea of a separation, that he was
scarcely aware of the nature of his emotions until she announced to him
her approaching departure from her uncle's.

They were standing together in a little summer-house in the garden, a
few weeks after the old man's death, and Carrie was with them, when
Jennie looked sadly out upon the old seat that had been left vacant
beneath the trees, and said:

"Don't let them remove that, when I am away, Carrie, darling. You know
it is all that restored to me my relatives."

"Are you going to leave----, Jennie?" said Henry, with a sudden start
which made both the girls gaze eagerly at him. Jennie did not perceive
the deep flush that overspread his face; but Carrie observed it, yet
thinking it better to appear as if she had noticed nothing unusual, she
picked an autumn bud, that had obtruded itself within the trellised
window, and quietly handing it to him, said,

"Every thing that we love seems to be going from us at this dreary
season, Henry. Even that last bud would have faded from me with the next
few chilly hours. Perhaps it is well," she continued, "that we can not
have the good and the beautiful always around us, we might forget our
unfading inheritance!"

Henry did not answer, for he could not trust himself to speak just then;
but Jennie turned to the window that overlooked the village churchyard
where her grandfather's grave was made, and repeated, in a low voice,
that beautiful hymn of Mrs. Heman's, "Passing Away." As she came to the
verse,

    "Friends! friends! oh, shall we meet
    In a land of purer day,
    Where lovely things and sweet
    Pass not away?"

her voice faltered, and she did not attempt to finish, but sinking upon
a bench near her, she wept unrestrainedly.

"Quite a tragic scene! Whose benefit is it to-day, Carrie?" said Ellen
Halberg, who that moment approached the summer-house.

"No wonder Jennie feels some sorrow at leaving a spot where we have
spent so many happy hours," said Carrie, "one must have no heart, to
break away from friends without any manifestation of regret."

"Oh! I can easily conceive of its being a great grief to leave a place
where she finds so many attractions as here," said Ellen, looking
significantly at Henry, who was mentally contrasting the two girls so
nearly allied, yet so unlike.

"Doubtless your cousin has emotions which you can neither understand nor
appreciate, Miss Ellen," said he, with somewhat of sarcasm in his tone.
"There are minds so constituted, that wherever they dwell they form
attachments which are not easily loosed!"

"Oh! I fully sympathize in Jennie's distress," said Ellen, mockingly
holding her handkerchief to her eyes.

Not for worlds would she have committed that one thoughtless act, had
she known how contemptible it would make her in the estimation of him
whom she most cared to please! Henry Moore of all others was the object
of her especial regard. From their childhood they had been thrown
constantly together, and, until the coming of her cousin among them she
had appropriated him to herself as a lawful and undisputed right. All
the villagers had looked upon their union as a "settled thing," and no
doubt Henry would gladly have fulfilled their prophecies if Ellen's
maturer years had verified the promise of an earlier age; but as he saw
her give way to petty envies and jealousies, and to an uncontrolled and
vindictive temper, he turned from her to the study and contemplation of
her sweet and gentle cousin. No wonder he became a worshiper of so pure
an image, rather than pay homage to a distorted object. Jennie
meanwhile, was wholly unconscious of the interest she excited. So
completely had her mind been occupied in contributing to her
grandfather's comfort, that she sought no other affection, and so long
as her friends looked kindly upon her, she was too happy to question
their feeling toward her. One only sorrow had she experienced since her
restoration to her kindred, and that was in her cousin Ellen's continued
ill-will and hatred toward her. Perhaps she might have succeeded in
winning her to an opposite feeling, by the little acts of courtesy and
love so constantly shown, if the demon jealousy had not insinuated
itself into Ellen's bosom.

Was it a crime to beget in another a love so deep and holy, when she
herself was free from all design, and even unsuspicious that she was
regarded with more warmth than were her cousins? So Ellen must have
thought, or she would not have taken every opportunity to thwart and
tease her orphan relative, and to detract from her merit when in the
presence of her friends.

On this day especially she seemed to feel a peculiar malice and spite
toward her. She had seen--herself unobserved--the emotion of Henry when
Jennie's departure was spoken of, and her own heart told her that no
light or common feeling produced it.

As she removed the handkerchief from her face, she perceived that she
had gone too far, for even the unresentful Jennie, unable to bear the
ridicule of her most sacred sentiments, had arisen to go to the house.
She did not escape, however, before Henry had whispered the request,
that she would go with him to Blinkdale on the morrow.

"To-morrow is Sunday," said she, quietly, "and I shall accompany uncle
to church."

"Well, the next day; I will call for you," said Henry. "You can not
refuse to take one last walk with me?"

"I have no disposition to refuse," replied Jennie, as she turned slowly
and sadly from the spot.

"Ellen, how could you!" said Carrie with flashing eyes, "so short a time
as Jennie is to be with us, and yet you make her miserable?"

"She shall not come between me and happiness with her soft and
hypocritical ways!" said Ellen, snapping off the leaves of a twig near
her, and looking upon the retreating figures of her sister and cousin,
who were going up the avenue. Then turning to a point where she could
see in the distance the dim form of Henry Moore, she took the seat that
her cousin had vacated, and gave vent to a keener anguish, but how
different!



CHAPTER XXVI.


"Come, girls," said Mr. Halberg, as the young ladies descended from
their rooms equipped for church, "the bell has been tolling for some
time, I fear we shall be late. Where's Ellen?" he continued, casting his
eyes over the group and missing his eldest daughter.

"She is not well to-day, papa, and prefers remaining at home with
mother," said Carrie. "Nothing serious," added she, observing her
father's anxious and troubled look. "She said she would try to sleep,
and perhaps that would banish her head-ache so that she would be able to
go with us this afternoon;" and the party left the house, and calling
for Mrs. Dunmore and Rosalie, they all proceeded to the church.

The walk was rural and quiet, through green lanes that were seldom
disturbed except when the house of God was open. A little footpath was
worn upon the verdant turf, and the green was unpressed elsewhere, save
where some passive burden was silently borne to its lowly bed; there the
somber wheels crushed down the blades that lifted up their heads to the
glad sunlight, as if it were wrong to live and grow on while death was
moving over them.

There were recent traces upon the grass that recalled to every mind the
venerable and stricken old man who was now resting so peacefully beneath
the church's shadow, and as Jennie's eye perceived them, she leaned
heavily upon her uncle's arm and sighed.

"My darling," said he, in a low and gentle voice, "we shall miss you
very much--more than I can tell! Your love and care for your poor
grandfather, notwithstanding all the past, have endeared you more and
more to my heart, so that it is a bitter trial to think of parting from
you, and one which I should strive to avert, were it not that too much
of your young life has been given up to seclusion when you might have
been deriving both happiness and profit in the world. Your self-denial,
dear child, will be rewarded, if it is not already giving you a rich
harvest of peaceful and self-approving thoughts!" Jennie could not
reply, even had she desired, as they were at the church door, and her
uncle was accosted by the senior warden:

"We have a stranger to preach for us to-day, sir," said Mr. Brown, after
the accustomed salutations had passed between them.

"Ah! where is our own rector?" asked Mr. Halberg.

"I suppose he is supplying this young minister's pulpit," returned the
warden. "It is seldom that we have an exchange, and they say that this
stranger is uncommonly eloquent."

"We shall have an opportunity to judge for ourselves," said Mr. Halberg,
as he turned from his friend and entered the church with his niece. The
service commenced, and as the rich deep tones of the minister fell upon
Jennie's ear, there rushed upon her mind a tide of joyous memories that
transported her to a sunny home amid the mountains, and a little tomb,
and a quiet avenue, and a bench beneath the old maples, where she used
to sit and listen to a calm and gentle voice that seemed to reach her
even now; and then her thoughts came back to her hallowed employment,
and as she raised her eyes to be sure that it was not all a dream, they
fell, not upon a strange minister, but upon the same kind friend who had
beguiled her childhood's hours.

How many years had passed since she had roamed with him among the hills,
not a gay and sportive child, as one who had known nothing of trouble or
poverty; but a young being whose gleesomeness had been crowded down by
premature cares and sorrows, so that it seldom gushed out as a little
child's mirth should always do. Will he recognize her now? She must be
so changed! She would scarcely know him but for the voice, and the broad
pale forehead that seems to have been expanding all these many years, so
wide and high does it appear.

He does not see her, he is all absorbed in the solemn worship, as she
too should be--now he is in the pulpit, and as he glances around upon
the congregation, his eyes meet the earnest soul that once beamed upon
him in his own parish church.

There is no mistaking it. For many a weary hour has it cheered him in
his labors. It was but a child's soul, but it was an eager one, on
which the seed fell availingly--and now it is a woman's soul, and the
good fruit has been nourishing the faint old man who needs it no longer.
The minister knows nothing of that, he only sees that it is before him,
as desirous as ever of spiritual nourishment, and the people wonder at
his zeal and fervor, little thinking of the power there is in a
thirsting spirit to awaken the energies of him who dispenseth to them of
the waters of life.

The service is over, and Mrs. Dunmore and Jennie meet their old friend,
who scarcely dares even to press the hand of the child he used to caress
so fondly. Time and absence strangely change us!

"May I see you to-morrow," said he, "before I leave?"

"We shall look certainly for you," replied Mrs. Dunmore as they left the
vestibule.

"Pardon me, dear mamma," said Jennie; "but I must leave you, uncle
wished me to join him in the churchyard. It may be our last opportunity
alone;" she added as she moved away.

Mr. Halberg was leaning upon the gate at the entrance of the
burial-ground, gazing intently upon the many mounds that filled the
spot, and wondering when his own tomb would be pointed out by others,
when Jennie lightly touched his hand to remind him of her presence.

He started, and, opening the gate, they were soon within the sacred
inclosure. "You may wonder," said he, "why I choose a place fraught with
so many saddening associations for a little quiet conversation; but it
suits my mood, and there are so few who frequent this somber place that
we are sure not to be disturbed."

"The precincts of the dead, dear uncle," said Jennie, "are any thing but
gloomy to me; the lessons of my childhood were too full of solemn
realities to foster in me a shrinking from the entrance to a purer and
more beauteous existence."

"It is of your early life I would speak, my child," said Mr. Halberg,
with an effort at composure. "I have never trusted myself to ask of you
your history previous to your adoption by Mrs. Dunmore; but the time has
come when I wish to know it, and, however painful the details may be,
you must no longer hide them from me."

"But uncle," replied the niece; "why not bury the past, and look only to
the happy present and the promising future. Is it well to exhume the
moldering remains when the sight would bring only suffering!"

"It is for the moral, Jennie; your uncle has hitherto been so selfish
that he needs awakening by some stirring appeals, and what can be more
sure to arouse him than the recollection of his beloved and only
sister's trials!"

"I feel that I have so little to tell," said Jennie, trying to evade the
subject; "the time spent with you has been so pleasant, that it quite
banishes the bitterness of my younger days."

"And yet," said Mr. Halberg, "there must have been intense anguish on
your mother's part, as she felt herself given up by those who should
have clung to her, and her very means of subsistence failing her!"

"I never heard my mother complain," replied Jennie, "There was one time
when our miserable room was quite cheerless and cold, and we knew not
where to look for fuel or food, then my poor father seemed almost
frantic with grief for my mother and myself; but I well remember her
holy smile, as she calmly said, 'My husband, trust in the Lord, and
verily thou shalt be fed.' I never met with a firmer confidence in the
love and over-ruling providence of God than my mother possessed,"
continued Jennie. "Her example is ever before me, and yet how difficult
to attain to!"

"Were you often in so desperate a condition, my child?" asked Mr.
Halberg; "and did your mother's patience never fail her, so that she
would speak accusingly of her relatives?"

"There was seldom a day," replied Jennie, "after my father's illness,
that we knew how to provide the necessaries of life; and the only time I
ever surprised my mother in an outburst of sorrow was when I took my
broom for the first time, and went out to sweep the crossings. That day
she called me to her, and tying back my curls, so that none of them
could be seen beneath my hood, she clasped me convulsively to her, and
wept until I ran away to escape the agony."

"Were you not afraid in the crowded streets?" inquired the uncle, as
Jennie paused.

"Oh, yes! very often, dear uncle--that is, of the ugly wheels; but there
seemed a guardian presence around me and few ever spoke rudely to me;
and I was never injured, excepting on that blessed night when God's time
had come to help us through my physical hurt. Don't let us think any
more about it," continued she, looking up at her uncle, and perceiving
how deeply he was moved; "it was all right, and if it had not happened
we might have been wicked and thoughtless instead of feeling that our
heavenly Father's will is always better than our own."

Mr. Halberg arose and walked around on the other side of the church, and
on his return to his niece he said, in a calm yet earnest tone, "My
child, you must pray for your uncle--his life will be weary indeed
without you!" and pressing her fondly to him as they stood by the old
man's grave, he too murmured "Dear little Jennie!" and they left the
spot to the breath of the winds and the twittering of the birds that
hopped about upon the willow branches.



CHAPTER XXVII.


Meantime Ellen lay upon her couch, tossed with many conflicting
emotions. Her better nature reproached her for her injustice and cruelty
toward her innocent cousin, and almost persuaded her to cease her
persecutions, and even to strive to imitate her winning virtues; but the
remembrance of the scene in the summer-house, and of Henry's
contemptuous look as he left her, without even a parting salutation,
awakened the bitter thought that she had fallen in his estimation,
perhaps beyond the power of retrieval, and she resolved to keep up the
semblance of a pride and indifference which she was far from feeling.
For her cousin's opinion she little cared, nor was she influenced by the
thought of an invisible yet heart-searching eye. No wonder, then, that
she clung to her perverseness, and moved about on her restless pillow
with no sweet or refreshing sleep to quiet the throbbings of her heavy
brow.

The noonday sun was streaming through her window making the autumnal air
seem warm and cheery, when a gentle rap was heard at her door, and her
cousin entered. Her countenance was serene and peaceful, and her voice
soothing and mild, as she said, "I have come to bathe your head, dear
Nellie, Carrie told me you were ill, and I could not feel easy nor happy
until I came to you."

"I am better alone," said Ellen, with a repelling motion of the hand.
"If I need any thing, I will ring for Meggie; she is quite accustomed to
my headaches."

"But, Nellie," said her cousin, in a beseeching tone, "something in your
manner tells me that you do not love me, and yet I am not conscious that
I have offended you. I can not go from----, without being at peace with
everybody. The sermon was so full of mercy and kindness this morning!"

"I do not feel like hearing a sermon to-day," said Ellen, "and you will
oblige me, Jennie, if you will leave me to myself, it is decidedly the
best way to relieve me."

Jennie said no more; but arranging her cousin's shawl closer about her,
and darkening the room, she placed the cooling liquid which she had
prepared near the bed, and softly left the room. There was a slight
shadow upon her brow as she entered her uncle's study, but it was
banished by his welcome kiss. Her aunt and two cousins sat in a
bay-window facing the south. Here they had always assembled on Sundays,
until there came to be a sort of consecrated air about that quiet room,
and something hallowed in the lovely view seen from the window.

"Here is your nook, Jennie, we have been expecting you for some time!"
said Carrie, "there'll be such a sad vacancy next Sunday! I don't
believe I shall love this room any more after you are gone, dear
cousin!"

"I am glad if my presence makes it happier to you, Carrie," replied
Jennie; "but you forget that uncle, and aunt, and Mary, and Ellen will
be left to you besides the pleasant associations that cluster about all
these familiar objects, while I shall be deprived of every thing but
dear mamma."

"But every body will love you, Jennie," said Mary, "and you have the
power to draw around you whoever you wish, so that your life will be
sure to be sunny wherever you go."

"Not every body, Mary," said Jennie, looking thoughtfully upon the
glorious view that was spread out before them, "if so, my heart would
feel no weight upon it to-day. It is not well," she continued, "to have
too much sunshine; else the storms would never be permitted to come; I
don't believe we should truly appreciate and love this bright landscape
if the shadows were not often flitting over it, thus making the glory
more apparent!"

"You are right my child," said Mr. Halberg, "the trying dispensations of
our life are wisely ordered, and who of us would dare to wish it
otherwise!"

"And yet it seems," said Mary, "as if sorrow never came to some people,
they glide through the world so unruffled and cheerful!"

"How little can we judge!" replied her father. "Every heart knoweth its
own bitterness, and the outer surface is not always the index to the
inner emotions or passions."

"Do you think, dear uncle," said Jennie, "that one can ever learn so to
bear the ills of his lot, as always to present a cheerful and happy
exterior to the world?"

"Not always, my child," said her uncle, "there is often a weakness of
the flesh, when the spirit without its depressing influence, would be
strong to endure; yet we may cultivate such a feeling of confidence in
the will of God as never to murmur at His decrees, and even to welcome
His chastisements, as blessings in disguise."

"That seems so difficult," said Carrie, "I am afraid I could never learn
to welcome a sorrow."

"Not simply as a sorrow, my dear child," returned Mr. Halberg; "but as a
means to a future good which could not be attained without it; there is
a great deal that is hard for our sinful natures to comprehend; but
there are spiritual aids of which we may all avail ourselves. Do not let
us slight them, my dear children," continued he, rising from his seat,
and gathering the three in one embrace as they stood by the window. The
golden light was sprinkled upon the landscape, and the whole face of
nature seemed to glow with an unusual radiance, as that little band of
loving hearts beat in such grateful and perfect unison. Yet was there a
sigh in the midst of it all, for the absent and sinning one:

    Worlds like to this
    Mingle sorrow and bliss.



CHAPTER XXVIII.


Mrs. Dunmore and Jennie were busy in talking over the past, and forming
plans for the future, when Mr. Colbert was announced.

"I trust you will excuse my early call," said he, as they arose to greet
him. "I have to leave the village at noon, which is my only apology for
intruding upon your morning hours."

"We are always at home to our old and valued friends," replied Mrs.
Dunmore. "I hope our long separation will not make us strangers to each
other."

"Miss Jennie reminds me that a long interval has come between us," said
the clergyman, glancing at the graceful and womanly figure before him;
"I have been accustomed to think of her as the child of my pleasant
rambles, so that I am scarcely prepared to meet her in another form."

Jennie had received him with that timid cordiality so common to early
womanhood, a kind of shrinking from the advances of a new and not wholly
defined stage of being, and, as he alluded to the days of her childhood
and the hours spent together in his hill-girt home, a slight blush
tinged her face, and she said, "the long interval has changed you too,
Mr. Colbert, so that there needed early memories to aid me in
recognizing you."

"Time has dealt very differently with us," replied her friend, as the
mirror opposite enabled him to contrast his sunken and pallid features
with the round and healthful face of the lovely girl. "There are many
things, however, that encourage me in the hope that we are none the less
friends than formerly, and that we still have the one great sympathy in
common;" added he, recalling her devout manner in church the day before.

"Are you not well, Mr. Colbert," asked Mrs. Dunmore; "or do you trespass
upon the hours necessary to your repose and recreation that you are so
much thinner and paler than you used to be? I fear I must usurp your
prerogative and turn preacher if you are really destroying your health
by too great devotion to your duties."

"I have been quite a sufferer for the last few years, my dear madam,"
returned the minister; "but not from the cause you assign."

"Perhaps you need change," said the widow; "it is not well to confine
one's self too constantly to one locality."

"I feel confident it is so," said Mr. Colbert, "since even so short a
journey revives me materially; but how comes it," he asked, "that you
are here, and apparently settled?"

"Jennie must explain that to you," replied Mrs. Dunmore, "as it was
through her that our present arrangements were made."

"Ah! do you find a rural life so much more congenial than your city home
that you have adopted it altogether?" said Mr. Colbert, addressing
Jennie.

"It is not that," she replied, "the city was the scene of my happiest,
as well as my saddest days, and we are soon to return to it; but this
village is the home of my nearest relatives, who were restored to me a
few years since through a singular Providence, and my grandfather's
infirmities rendered it expedient that we should remain here until now."

Mrs. Dunmore seeing the tears that dropped upon her child's work at
mention of her grandfather, took Mr. Colbert aside, and gave him a brief
history of all that had occurred during the years of their severance,
and when she had finished her relation of the old man's derangement, and
of Jennie's devotion and love toward him, the minister arose, and walked
backward and forward in the room with an absorbed and meditative air,
and then stopping so suddenly before the young girl as to startle her,
he said abruptly: "Will you give me one moment in the garden? I have a
single word to say to you alone." Jennie laid aside her work, and as
they stepped from the colonnade into the garden of their lodgings, she
opened an adjoining wicket that led to her uncle's grounds, and,
motioning Mr. Colbert to follow, she passed through and entered the
little summer-house.

"Are we quite free from intrusion?" asked her companion, as she seated
herself upon a bench near the window.

"I believe I reign sole monarch of this sequestered nook at this
season," replied Jennie. "My cousins care little for such solitude now
that the breeze is chilly and the flowers have vanished."

"Jennie," said her friend, leaning against a pillow as if for support,
"if you knew that all my suffering for the last few years had been for
you, that this change, and pallor, and thinness, were all occasioned by
the fear that the time might never come when I could tell you that I
love you, you would pardon such a hasty declaration of my feelings
toward you. You were but a child when first we met," he continued,
placing his hand upon her head as he had then been wont to do, "but how
closely your young being had woven itself with mine my subsequent weary
life will prove. Were you ever sundered from the object you had learned
to prize most on earth, Jennie?" said he, as the drooping lashes were
lifted, and the pensive, earnest eyes met his inquiring gaze, "and was
there utter desolation? Then do you appreciate fully all that I would
say to you of my own sorrow when bereft of the only mortal whom my heart
had ever cared to cherish. I ask you not to bind yourself to me in an
irrevocable vow, but to think of me as your truest friend until you have
seen more of the world and of men. If then you can turn away from all to
the heart that will never beat for another, and call me husband, God be
praised--my only earthly prayer will be answered."

Not another word was spoken, but silently as they came so they went
back, through the little wicket into the presence of Mrs. Dunmore, and
Mr. Colbert made his adieus and departed--but alas for Henry Moore!



CHAPTER XXIX.


The afternoon was charming--one of those mellow, hazy atmospheres that
make the autumnal season so pensive and dreamy, and Jennie felt its
influence as she and Henry Moore sought the bright path to Blinkdale.
Not richer nor more sparkling could the emerald, and the topaz, and the
amethyst, and the sardius be, in their gay and beauteous variety, than
were the changing leaflets in the sun's burnishing rays. The birds were
singing merrily amid the brilliant foliage, and the fresh winds played
among the branches, tossing them to and fro, and blending the bright and
the somber in one glorious commingling. A streamlet crossed their
pathway, moving placidly and gently along, but as they followed its
windings, gurgling and foaming over the rocky obstructions, and almost
drowning their voices in its noisy course. "How beautiful" exclaimed
Jennie, seating herself upon a mossy stone on the river's bank, and
looking to her companion for sympathy in her enthusiastic delight.

"I would rather look on a sweet face," replied Henry, as his eloquent
eyes met hers. Blushing deeply, Jennie turned away and remained
thoughtful and still, listening to the din of the waters and the wail
of the autumn winds as they swept through the tree-tops, and her quiet
revery brought the old expression of early maturity and care, for her
thoughts had been roving all along her past life, and had left her amid
her childhood's sorrows in the narrow dreary room, with the weary and
forsaken ones, and none else to love and cheer her.

"Jennie," said her companion, noticing the bitterness that passed over
her young face, and wishing to dissipate any mournful musings, "do you
know why I asked you to come alone with me to Blinkdale to-day?"

Aroused thus suddenly, the young girl started from her lowly seat, and
patting its mossy side with her foot, replied, "How should I, Henry,
unless it be that it is always pleasanter to have one companion who can
understand and appreciate your love of nature, than to be surrounded in
your walks by many who care only for merriment and chatting. I could
spend the whole day in these solemn old woods with nothing to amuse me
but my own thoughts."

"And yet, I doubt if your pensive musings would be profitable to you,"
said her companion; "there is something dirge-like in the music of
nature that begets a morbid sort of feeling in a mind like yours,
Jennie, and too much of such solitude would injure you. Pardon me,"
continued he, as he caught her half comic inquisitive gaze; "but your
character has been my study for a long, long time."

"Not more profitable to you than my solitary reveries, I fancy," said
Jennie.

"But more delightful to me than any study," replied Henry, and seating
her again upon the bank near him, he told her all--how he had watched
her growing graces both of heart and mind, since the first time they had
met beneath her grandfather's porch; how he had striven in his
profession for her sake; how he had suffered his whole soul to go out
toward her in a hallowed and sincere affection; and how cold, and dead,
and sad his life must be if she reciprocated not his tenderness; and
then, with a flushed and anxious face, he awaited her answer.

Oh! how weary was the walk home! The woods were dark and dreary, and the
steps of the young man heavy and listless, as he sauntered on beside his
silent and suffering companion. Life had gained a new and somber aspect
to her too, since she was the cause of a crushing sorrow to one who had
lavished upon her his heart's breath. Why could he not be content with
the sisterly regard she had ever felt toward him? It is so terrible to
see him in his manly grief, and to feel that she may avert it! And yet,
how can it be otherwise, since there is ever before her a pale face,
with its spiritual eyes fixed on her soul calling forth all that she has
to bestow.



CHAPTER XXX.


Standing alone that evening in the bay-window of her uncle's study,
Jennie gazed out upon the peaceful moonlit scene, trying to derive from
it a tranquillity which the day's events had banished, when a loving arm
was wound about her, and a low voice said, "May I share your thoughts
this evening, my child?"

"It is you, is it, uncle!" said Jennie; "your step was so ghost-like
that I did not hear you enter."

"I came very softly that I might not disturb you," replied Mr. Halberg;
"you seem quite absorbed."

"And so I was, dear uncle, endeavoring to gather somewhat of serenity
from the quiet and beauty of nature."

"What disturbs you to-night, my darling?" said her uncle, looking fondly
upon the sweet face that was upturned to his, and wishing that his own
soul could look forth as calm and pure in its simple truthfulness as
that young and guileless one's. "There is naught but sin that should mar
our peace, and I trust you are constant in your efforts to be clean from
that."

"Is it not a source of sorrow, dear uncle, to occasion grief to others,
even though the infliction involves no sinful motive?" said Jennie,
with suffused eyes, and a tremor in her voice.

"Truly so," replied Mr. Halberg, instantly conjecturing the cause of his
niece's self-reproach; "but the ills that we are unable to avoid we
should not dwell upon. If a person seeks that which we know we can not
conscientiously bestow, it is a sacred duty to refuse it him, even
though we are sensible that it will give much pain, and when the duty is
performed in a Christian manner it will leave no lasting sting, but will
itself prove a healing balm to the wounded one."

"You comfort me much, dear uncle," said Jennie; "I have been so sadly
depressed this evening that the quiet and solitude even were
overpowering, and your presence is so soothing and cheering. It will be
a great loss to me to be deprived of so precious a guide--and a great
cross too!" she added as her uncle bent to kiss her brow.

"We are all called upon to bear our cross in this life, dear child,"
said Mr. Halberg. "This will be a heavy one to your old uncle, but it is
for your good, and he therefore cheerfully submits to it. I am not
afraid to confide you to One who will guide you unto a perfect rest and
peace. Come in, my children," said he, as a tap announced his three
daughters. "Where's mother? we must have our circle complete to-night
since Jennie will leave a vacant space on the morrow," he added with
some emotion.

"Here I am," replied Mrs. Halberg, hastening toward them from an
adjoining apartment; "it is really very delightful to have you all
gathered once more about me! Nellie has been a sad truant of late, and
Rosalie has quite monopolized the other girls."

"I did not flatter myself that I should be missed," said Ellen; "and as
for the girls, Mr. Moore's house seems quite as attractive as their own
home to them."

"His is indeed a complete and charming household! my daughter," said her
father; "such perfect unison and harmony reigns among its members. I
know of no fitter examples for my children, and am only too happy that
they are on such an intimate footing there."

"It would be more agreeable to some, perhaps, if the connection were
still nearer," answered Ellen, with an unmistakable glance at her
cousin, whose increasing color showed that she applied her meaning. This
then solved the mystery. Had she penetrated her cousin Ellen's feelings
before, how much hatred, and malice, and spite, might she not have
averted.



CHAPTER XXXI.


"May I come in, Nellie?" said Jennie, as her cousin answered her gentle
rap by half-opening the door and peeping out to see who the intruder was
at that late hour. "I have a great deal to say to you," continued she,
as Ellen gave her an ungracious permission to enter.

"Well you must hurry and say it, Jennie, for I am uncommonly sleepy, and
feel a stronger inclination for my bed at present than for any
communications," replied Ellen, throwing herself languidly down, and
motioning her cousin to be seated.

"Nellie," said Jennie, placing her small white hand upon the one that
hung over the arm of the sofa, "to-morrow we part, and God only knows
when and where we may meet again. Be that as it may, to-night we have
the opportunity to understand and love each other, another evening's
shadows may stand between our hearts if they are not earlier united. You
think that I love Henry Moore; will it make you happy to know that he
will never be aught to me but a kind and affectionate brother, and that
the most sacred place in my heart is reserved for another occupant?"

Quite ashamed and almost like a guilty thing, Ellen sat, while the color
rushed over neck and face, mounting even to the brow, and deepening as
it rose until it seemed too painful to endure, then rising from her
seat, and opening the window upon the balcony she stepped forth into the
night air, and kneeling by the balustrade, remained, motionless as a
statue until a soft kiss upon her forehead assured her that she was
forgiven. The stars looked down with a brighter twinkle, and the autumn
wail grew into a sweet harmony as the two reconciled cousins stood with
clasped hands gazing upward.



CHAPTER XXXII.


"Good-by, uncle; good-by auntie; good-by girls," said Jennie, as she was
pressed to the bosom of her relatives at the parting hour. "Simon, don't
forget the dear old seat," continued she, putting a coin in his hand,
and turning tearfully toward the carriage where Mrs. Dunmore was
awaiting her, and then springing back to give one more kiss to her
uncle, and to whisper something in Carrie's ear that sent the warm blood
quickly to her face.

Henry and Rosalie were there to bid her adieu, and golden-curled Minnie,
too, with a bunch of autumn leaves in her little hand, which she had
gathered on the way as a parting gift, and which she now held up
beseechingly to Jennie, who stooped to embrace her, and taking the
withered tokens, hastened to hide her emotion in the furthest recess of
the carriage that bore her away from the home of her kindred. It seemed
to those who watched the receding travelers, as if a blight had fallen
upon their pleasant things; as if the winter had suddenly come and
frozen up all the springs of pleasure and delight, for that young girl's
presence, though unobtrusive in its influence, had diffused warmth and
gladness all about her, and now that she was gone the warmth and
gladness had also departed, and a mournful group turned back into the
house with a mournful feeling, almost as if the grave had swallowed up
one of its inmates. Old Simon betook himself to the seat beneath the
trees, and with his knees crossed, and a dolorous motion of his gray
head, he muttered,

"I thought it couldn't be all in the name! the likeness was amazin'!
amazin'!" And forth from the stilly air seemed to come to the good old
butler's ear, "Dear little Jennie! dear little Jennie!"



CHAPTER XXXIII.


Six years have passed, and beneath the old maples sits Nurse Nannie,
wrinkled and bent, with a wee babe upon her lap, while a girl of two
years and a half plays with her doll upon the lawn, now and then looking
up to catch mamma's smile, or to wonder why dear papa looks so grave
when Grandmamma Dunmore tells him about the sick man in the cottage at
the end of the lane, and his motherless children. And now she spies
cousin Henry and Carrie coming from the avenue in the road, and springs
to meet little Harry, who takes her hand and marches off with her,
saying, he "isn't afwaid of tows," and brandishing a wisp of a stick as
if there were a mighty power in it. Sally brings more chairs out upon
the green, and the mammas and papas talk busily together, while the
little ones run about enjoying their own infantile prattle; and just as
Harry and Jennie are the happiest, with their pinafores full of
buttercups and daisies, and their little faces flushed with exercise and
joy, nurse comes to take them to the house, for the dew begins to fall.
Then Mamma Colbert proposes that all go to spend the evening with Fred
Burling and Rosalie, who occupy Grandmamma Dunmore's summer home.

Thus the days pass until the summer is gone, and the snow comes and
drives them all to the city.

Mamma spends only a month away, for papa can not leave his parish, and
she takes them to see Grandpa and Grandma Halberg, and Aunts Ellen and
Mary, who pets them very much; then they go to the great house in the
avenue, and every thing is so new and beautiful, that the time goes very
pleasantly; only sometimes as they drive through Broadway, and stop near
the crossings, a little ugly-looking creature, with a broom, gets upon
the steps of the carriage and asks for pennies, and when Jennie shakes
her tiny hand at her, and says "go 'way, bad girl," mamma speaks kindly
to her, and puts a great silver bit into the poor girl's hand, and when
she has gone, tells Jennie that she must pity and be good to the little
street-sweepers, for dear mamma was like that poor girl once. Then
Jennie puts up her wee mouth, and says, "No, no, mamma," while she makes
an ugly face at the vision of the child with the broom, and revolves in
her bewildered mind what dear mamma can mean!



NANNIE BATES,

THE HUCKSTER'S DAUGHTER.



NANNIE BATES.



CHAPTER I.


It was little comfort life had ever brought to her, what with harsh
treatment from a cruel father, and the woman's work that came upon her
young shoulders, while her mother traveled up and down the streets with
her basket of small-wares, trying to get the wherewithal to keep soul
and body together. The lazy husband droned away the hours in the
dram-shops, gulping down the hard earnings of his busy wife, or he
staggered home with his reeling brain, to vent his ill-nature on the
little pale thing that kept the house. It was "Nannie, do this," or,
"Nannie, do that," or, "Nannie, mind the baby," all the live-long time,
when he was sufficiently sober to know what was going on about him; and
if the tired little feet loitered at all at his bidding, a wicked oath
or a villainous blow hastened her weary steps. "What was she born for,
any way?" She looked down upon the face of the sleeping babe whose
cradle her foot was rocking, but it gave her no satisfactory answer. It
was not a bright rosy-cheeked thing such as she met every day just round
the corner, where she went to the pump for water! She must have been
just so white and sickly, for the bit of a looking-glass that she picked
up from an old ash-barrel in the street gives her back no round and
healthy cheeks, but the reflection of a meager, sad-looking face, that
nobody can care to look upon! And they must always be so, both baby and
she, for one of her teachers in the Industrial School told her that
nothing could be strong and healthy without the sun, and there was never
a single ray in that dreary basement.

Oh! no, they needn't be weak and sickly! A thought has occurred to
her--she wonders why she never had it before! Perhaps father wouldn't
like it if he should come home and find her away. But love for baby is
stronger than fear of father, and so she tidies herself up as well as
she can, and wrapping the little one in a piece of an old blanket, takes
it out where it is the brightest and sunniest, and there she sits on the
broad stone-steps of some great house, watching the merry children who
play upon the walk, and wondering if she can ever hope to see dear
little Winnie as joyous and happy.

"Look at that poor girl," said one of the gay children, stopping her
hoop and touching her brother upon the back with her stick; "she's got a
little baby in her arms just as big as sissy--hasn't she Willie? And
only see what an old ragged blanket it has on! Haven't you got any nice
clothes for the baby?" said she to the young girl, who had heard her,
and was moving off with the wee child hugged closely to her
breast--"because sissy has a great many, and I know mother can spare
you one," and with that she ran up the steps, and pulled the bell as
hard as she could.

"Oh! mamma," said she, all out of breath with haste and excitement,
"there's a little bit of a baby out there, just like my sissy, and it
hasn't any thing on its feet, and the old flannel rag can't cover it
half over; won't you let me give it that one you put in the mending
basket? It is so much bigger and nicer than that!" and the tiny arm was
thrown caressingly around the gentle mother's neck, and the little lips
were touching her cheek.

"Blessings on her swate heart!" said Biddy, rising, by her mistress'
permission, to get the blanket. "'Tis never the like of ye'll come to
want, so shure as my name's Biddy Halligan, an' ye so free in your
benivolence. But where's the baby, faith?" said she, as she went down
the steps holding the little girl by the hand.

"Oh! Biddy, what shall I do? she's gone, and now I can't give her the
blanket!" and the disappointed child wiped her eyes upon her pinafore,
and stood still upon the walk, while her nurse looked down the length of
the street.

"Maybe that same is she," said Biddy, "with the brown bonnet upon the
head, as is going round the corner by the the big grocery."

"Oh! yes, that's she," and little May brightened up, and walked as fast
as she could to overtake the poor girl. They reached her just as she
closed the door of the basement after her, and May hung back at first,
half frightened as she looked into the dismal place; but Biddy
encouraged her, so that she just ventured within the door, and handed
the small parcel; then she would go home, for a vague feeling of evil
haunted her timid mind in that dark and lone spot.

Nannie opened the bundle, and her eyes glistened as she saw the great
square of soft flannel with a pretty silken border worked all around it.
"They can't be bad people all of them that live in grand houses, as
father says," thought she, "or they wouldn't have sent me this pretty
thing!" She is so glad to get home before he comes, for now, perhaps,
she can escape a scolding, and, common as cross words are to her, she
shrinks from them. She will go out every day at this hour when it is
pleasant, and then she will not be missed at home. "'Tis so nice to have
that comfortable covering for Winnie, for now she can hide her scanty
apparel, and she will look quite respectable and neat;" for Nannie has
some idea of neatness, and really tries to better the condition of the
family. She learned a great many good ways at the school, and she does
not forget them, although she has not been since baby's birth, and they
will tell greatly upon the whole of her life. There was a time when she
did not care if the floor was all covered with heaps of dirt, and she
would go out into the street with the rags flying all about her, and her
hair in masses of thick tangles, and her face quite black and ugly. Now
she scrubs up the room very often, and you never see any of the
streamers hanging from her garments, for she mends them as well as she
can, and she makes free use of the nice water that is a blessing of such
magnitude to the poor. Her hair too is always glossy and smooth--no
matter if she does have to wear a coarse frock, and an old and faded
bonnet, they are whole, and that is far better than rags or dirt. She
isn't a bit ashamed of them nor of her bare feet, for they are so white
that the blue veins are plainly visible, and things are so much better
than they used to be.

"This is a very pleasant morning, what with the nice little girl, and
baby's new blanket!" and she went to fold it up and lay it in a safe
place for the next day, when a rough hand caught it from her.

"What have we here?" said her drunken father; "embroidered, eh! that's
good luck, indeed! I'll take it, child, it's just the thing, it will
bring a good price!"

"Oh! don't, please don't sell Winnie's blanket, father!" pleaded Nannie;
"it is all she has that's decent, and a good little girl brought it on
purpose for her, please don't take that, father!" But the man was gone,
and while the girl sat sobbing over her loss, he was greedily swallowing
its price as he had done that of many a nice article before.



CHAPTER II.


"Matches? shoe-lacings? buttons? only a penny a dozen, ma'am!" and the
foot-sore woman presses her face to the basement windows, and holds up
her wares with a strange pertinacity, even though the mistress of the
mansion shakes her head many times, saying, "not to-day;" and turns to
discuss some trifling subject as if there were not starvation and misery
in the tones that are dying upon her ear. Heart-sick and desponding, the
poor woman turns away, and renews her entreaties at the next neighbor's,
perchance to be spurned again and again; for the cosy tea-hour has
arrived, and husband and children are all gathered around the
well-spread board, and it is annoying to be disturbed by beggars, now.

The pleading voice, and scanty raiment, and woe-begone expression, jar
sadly upon the glad home-circle that is teeming with content, and
plenty, and cheerfulness, and it is easier to send such forlornities
off, and trouble yourself no more about them, than to break away from
your own beloved and blessed ones to inquire into their condition with a
view to comfort and relieve.

"For the love of heaven will ye buy something, sir," says the
half-frantic creature, addressing a benevolent-looking gentleman who had
cast a pitying glance upon her. The stars are hidden by dense black
clouds which every moment threaten to pour out their fury upon the
earth, and the quick tread of the people seeking the shelter of their
homes awakens the wretched woman to a last effort, and she touches the
arm of the stranger in her eagerness to secure his attention. "I have
sold nothing this day, sir, and the two children at home waiting for the
morsel that I have not to carry them--oh! buy something, sir, and the
blessing of the poor be with ye!"

"Where do you live, my good woman?" asked the gentleman, half inclined
to doubt her. He has so often been deceived by tales of sorrow and want
which had no foundation; yet there is something in the present case that
banishes his suspicions, and he follows her as she designates her abode.
She hesitates, as they near the spot, for fear her husband would be at
home in one of his abusive moods, for her woman's heart would fain cover
up even her bloated and loathsome husband with its loving and forgiving
mantle.

Was it best to tell him, or to persist in her obstinacy, and lose the
chance of supplying her children's need? A mother's affection prevails,
and with a sigh, she descends the steps, and opens the door of her
miserable dwelling. Her husband has not returned--that is well; but what
is the matter with Nannie? Leaning over her cradle and sobbing as if her
heart will break, the girl sits, while the darkness and want are only
made the more visible by a small bit of an offensive tallow candle that
is stuck in a potatoe for a candlestick.

"Is it the child that is sick, my girl, or what has come over ye that ye
moan and take on in that manner?" said the woman, advancing and holding
the candle close to the infant's face--then perceiving that nothing
ailed the babe, and supposing that the father might be the cause of the
girl's grief, she said no more about it; but bade Nannie hand the stool
to the gentleman who was standing with his back to the door while the
poor woman scrutinized the child.

"And is this your home?" asked he, glancing around the damp, unwholesome
apartment, and shivering even in the middle of the month of August.
"Have you no husband, and do you depend upon what you sell daily from
this basket for your living?"

If she told him that she had a husband, he would question her, and find
out his degradation; therefore she said she was a widow, turning around
to cross herself as she muttered softly, "the Lord forgive me the lie!"

"You must be but lately a widow," added he, looking at the tiny baby
before him.

"Faith, sir, ye must pardon me, an' I will tell ye all, since it's ye
would be taking the trouble to inquire of a poor body like me. Jim's
been enticed away by bad companions until it's every thing we had has
been pawned for spirits, and how could I tell ye 'twas my own husband
that was once so good and kind to me, and he not so much to blame as
the poor wretches that deal out to him the dreadful stuff!" and the
afflicted woman hid her face against the wall and wept for very shame
that the stranger should know her husband's folly. She was interrupted
in her grief by the object of it, who stumbled into the room, kicking at
the cradle-rockers as he came near tripping over them, and doubling up
his fists with a show of fight as his eye fell upon the stranger.

"Isn't it m'own house I'm in, Molly?" said he, "and what business have
you t' be taking in lodgers, and me the masther here!" and with that he
made a dive at the gentleman, who arose and stepped quietly aside.

"Oh! Jim," said the woman, "'tis a kind friend who is afther helping us,
when I could sell nothing the day."

"Who talks of help? A'nt I able t' s'port m'own fam'ly, I'd like t'
know?" muttered the drunken wretch, as he fell a loathsome heap upon the
straw in the corner of the room.

The stranger gave a compassionate glance at the wife, who seemed ready
to sink from mortification and sorrow, and putting some money into her
hand for their present necessities, called Nannie to him, and looked
steadily into her face one minute, and left without a word. The girl was
in his mind, though, as he took the way to his solitary lodgings--for
Mr. Bond was a bachelor.

She was not pretty, nor very prepossessing; but her expression showed
depth and character, and she was worthy a better training. At any rate
she must not be left to the tender mercies of that brutal man. He will
help her to make her way in the world, not by a mistaken charity, but by
teaching her self-reliance. She must be looked after. If Betty Lathrop
had not been taken from him so early in life, there might have been a
"Nannie Bond" to care for and teach, and perhaps Providence meant this
for his charitable and acceptable labor. And Mr. Bond rubbed his great
hands together, and sprang up the stairs to his chamber with a boyish
step and a light heart. He had found something to do.



CHAPTER III.


There was a neat carpet upon the floor, and two comfortable
rocking-chairs in the room, one at each window, with nice plump cushions
in them, and by a center-table, that had upon it a large family Bible, a
copy of "The Pilgrim's Progress," an almanac, and the "Daily Times," was
Mr. Bond's easy-chair. Nobody ever occupied that chair but himself, and
sometimes a sleek, gray cat, that once belonged to Betty Lathrop, and
would have had a joint ownership had Providence spared the mistress. Now
it was his especial care, and he would sit motionless by the window for
hours, rather than disappoint the favored puss of one tittle of her nap.
There was a picture of a young woman over the mantle, which Mr. Bond
thought a master piece of art, and which was the constant theme of his
contemplation. It had a round, ruddy face, and upon the head was a sort
of coiffure which our modern critics might eschew; but which Mr. Bond
believed the very perfection of elegance. It was composed of loops of
muslin disposed on each side over a profusion of brown curls which
distended the head to an enormous width, and upon the top was visible a
high back-comb which quite "capped the climax." The dress of the lady
was black silk, sleeves "_à la mouton_," and a collar of muslin with a
deep frill that reached nearly to the elbows. This was fastened with a
yellow glass pin, the gift of Mr. Bond on his promised possession of the
fair maiden who was to adorn herself with it. Before this portrait was
many a moment spent in vain regrets that it was only the image of that
which, but for an inscrutable wisdom, might have been his. A couple of
glass lamps, and a thermometer formed the mantle ornaments, and a mailed
figure of some Roman general in bronze, and a "Samuel" done in plaster,
completed the luxuries of the apartment.

It was a cosey place to the Bachelor though! the sun had free access
through the curtainless windows, and a merry time of it, it had playing
upon the benevolent features of the good man, until many a little
freckle stood out, as witness to its audacity. There was not a leaf in
his neighbor's garden just below his windows, that was unfamiliar to
him, and the three little girls that came out there to play beneath the
trees, were always glad to see the kind face above them, for many a
paper of sugar-plums fell from a capacious pocket that emptied itself
upon the grass, and many a pleasant word floated downward, to make them
happy. Oh! his was a nature to make a Paradise of any spot! so full of
love toward every living thing! What if his landlady was fidgety and
exacting, and called after him every time he entered the house, to wipe
his feet, and when she went to make his bed, would go around shoveling
up the dirt from the carpet muttering all the time about "some people's
slovenliness?" What if his fellow-lodgers always managed to get his seat
at table, and to eat up all the toast and muffins, before he was once
helped, leaving him only the dry bread with which to satisfy a morning's
appetite? What if the neighbors did torment him by continually stoning
his poor cat every time she took a walk in the garden to breathe the
fresh air, so that he was obliged to turn sentinel over the animal's
pedestrian excursions? It wasn't any thing to grumble about, and so the
peaceful man kept a sunny expression and a blessed and good heart, and
his oppressors only heaped upon themselves disagreeable traits without
moving him to a single murmur.

Mr. Bond did not seem to think it incumbent upon any body else to be
kind, or attentive, or good. He had his own way of living and doing, and
it mattered little to him if all the world went in an opposite
direction, he kept straight on in his bright and pleasant path, and it
brought him abundant joy and blessedness.

His cosey room was unusually beautiful and attractive as he returned
from his visit to the lowly basement, and it was with a feeling of
peculiar satisfaction that he seated himself by a window, with his feet
on the sill and his arms crossed upon his breast, while he watched the
vivid lightning as it glided swiftly about amid the blackened heavens.
Oh! how the rain descended, as if to drown the very earth in its
pouring fury. No wonder the good man heaved a sigh for the inmates of
that dreary room, and fancied himself back in the dismal place, with the
cataract of waters rushing down, until baby, and cradle, and stool were
all afloat as upon the great deep. He could not bear it any longer, and
so he took one of the lamps from the mantle, and struck a light, and
lost himself in his newspapers.



CHAPTER IV.


"It won't do, it won't do, Nannie," said the poor woman, wildly, as the
accumulated drops streamed like a rivulet down the steps of their
cellar; "we must manage to arouse your father, or the morning'll never
see him alive!" and she pushed and shook the inanimate clog that lay in
the corner, while the torrent still flowed on, until fear for the
child's safety made her quit her efforts with its father, and snatching
the infant from the cradle, and bidding Nannie follow her, she rushed
hastily out to seek help in order to remove her miserable husband. Not a
creature was stirring, for the bitterness of the storm had driven every
breathing thing under shelter. Still undaunted, she moves on, folding
her thin and drenched garments around the babe, until a watchman stops
her with a rude demand as to what calls her forth in the pitiless night?
She heeds not his roughness, but pulls him by the coat, while he vainly
endeavors to shake her off, and entreats him to aid her helpless
husband.

"Where is he, woman? and what do you want?" asks the besieged man, as
she continues to drag him along with a maniac's strength.

It is a long time that has elapsed since she left her threatened home,
and the waves have found their victim. They are not affrighted at the
hideous spectacle of a brutish and disfigured one, but they leap
caressingly about him, gliding over his pillow and hushing him into a
deep and lasting sleep. The empty cradle, and the stool, and the rough
board table with the flickering light upon it, float above the flowing
tide as the watchman enters the dismal cellar with the agonized woman
and her children. She springs to the corner, and while he feels for the
heavy mass with his club, she raises it with her tender hands, and
supports the drooping head upon her loving breast, while a cry of
anguish goes out from the heart that could never spurn him, even in his
lowest moments.

It is not of any use to chafe the cold temple, nor to try to bring back
the departed life! You'll be better without him, poor soul, though it is
dreadful to feel that he has gone hence in his sins! No wonder Nannie
shrinks away as the watchman, with the aid of one of his fellows whom a
spring of his rattle brings to the spot, bears their father out on their
way to the dead-house. He had never been kind to her since she can
remember, and his coming has occasioned only a terrible fear and dread
from day to day, yet she sobs out of sympathy for her mother, whose
grief is fearful to witness.

They follow the corpse, and all night long the poor woman keeps her
widowed vigils around the place where they have deposited her husband.
She thinks not of the child upon her bosom, nor does she heed nor
resist Nannie as she takes it gently away and runs back to the region of
the overflowed cellar. The morning has dawned in serenity and
loveliness, but there are signs of a late devastation all about. Broken
limbs of trees are strewn hither and thither, while now and then one
wholly uprooted lies prostrate across the street. Busy men are working
hurriedly to extricate a poor family whose house a land-slide has quite
buried. The mother and father have escaped the catastrophe, but their
boy and girl are crushed in the fallen ruins. Deep gullies in the hill
above her home show Nannie how fearful was the storm, and a mass of
stones and rubbish that fill the sluice, that should have turned the
water from their door, tell her the reason of their dreadful inundation.
She is trying to think whether it _is_ dreadful to her or not, when a
kind voice accosts her. "What's the matter here?" says Mr. Bond; "and
what are you and the baby out for in this soaking condition? Isn't your
mother in the house, and haven't you a dry rag to put upon that poor
child? 't will get its death, and you, too; come in here, quick, and
let's see what can be done."

"If you please sir, father's drowned in the rain last night, and my
mother's up by the dead-house, and me and baby haven't any home any more
to go to, nor any dry clothes to wear," said Nannie, wringing the little
frock that clung to the shivering infant, and following her friend
half-way down the steps to the cellar.

"Just as I feared!" said he, looking into the room and quickly
retreating; "the poor wretch has met a sudden and awful doom, the Lord
preserve us all!" and, telling Nannie to keep up with him, he led the
way to a higher and more healthy quarter of the street, and stopped at a
tidy-looking house, where a neatly clad woman answered his rap. "You
have lodgings to let?" asked he, glancing with an evident pleasure upon
the white floor of the entry that showed no spot nor stain.

"Why, yes, sir," returned she with an uneasy look at the forlorn child
and baby on the step; "there's a room and bedroom in the attic to let to
respectable people as has no followers, nor drinkings, nor carousings,
nor such like about 'em."

"Let me see them, my good woman," said Mr. Bond; "I'll make all right if
they suit," and he went puffing up the three flights of stairs, while
Nannie pattered after him with the infant, drabling her wet garments
over the clean floors, to the no small annoyance of the landlady.
"These'll do, these'll do," said Mr. Bond, with a gleesome tone, as he
looked from the windows upon the blue waters, where the boats were
gliding busily back and forth, and whence the pure fresh breeze came up
even into the rooms, giving them a healthful air. "This is to be your
home now, Nannie, and you may be sure I'll help you to be somebody if
you'll help yourself;" and, turning to the woman, he told her the reason
of the child's pitiable condition, and payed her in advance a quarter's
rent, giving her also some money with which to procure a dry suit for
the children; and then he departed to send the few articles of furniture
from their former abode, to which he added a bedstead and bedding, a
nice cooking-stove, a couple of chairs, and a few other conveniences.

Nannie was almost beside herself for joy as she surveyed the snug and
cheerful apartment, and the new goods as they stood in their respective
places. The chairs were by the windows, and the stool occupied a
prominent position before the new stove; the old table was covered with
an oil-cloth, and a brass candlestick and snuffers were upon it. There
was a pound of crackers, and a loaf of bread; and a pint of milk, and a
new tin cup and pewter spoon for Winnie, and Nannie hastened to give the
starving child some of the fresh milk, while she sat beside the pleasant
window wondering if Mr. Bond was one of the angels that her teacher used
to tell her about--and then she laid the baby upon the soft bed in its
cradle, and put a new blanket over it, and peeping into the bedroom
again to see if she hadn't been dreaming there was a real bedstead
there, all nicely furnished and dressed, she went off to seek her
mother, locking the door carefully after her as her kind friend had
directed.



CHAPTER V.


It was hard to hurry him off so and to cover him up from the face of his
own wife, even if he was a loathsome drunkard! But they couldn't keep
him there long, for new victims were constantly arriving, and he must
give place to them, and so they hustled him off in a deal box, without
pall, or procession, or priest, and they did not mind the woman and
child that followed on and stood side by side at the place of his
burial; but they covered him over with the damp earth, and never a
prayer above his head; and so they went away again, perchance to repeat
the office for another miserable one.

"Mother," says Nannie, as the hardened band moved away leaving the one
mourning heart by itself, "mother, come home now, 'tis no use staying
here, and baby'll be crying for ye, ye know."

Baby!--oh! what a link to earth was that!

"Where is the child?" said the mother, with a frantic start, as if just
awakened from a frightful dream. "Isn't she dead, Nannie? Didn't they
just bury her with your father?" and she cast herself upon the moist
turf, and tore her disheveled hair until the very wildness of her
sorrow calmed her. Then she suffered Nannie to lead her away. It was a
long distance; but they reached it at last, and the mother rushed
quickly up the stairs, not seeming conscious of the change, as she heard
the child's cries; for the poor little thing, unused to such long
neglect, made all ring again with its screams.

"Did you say this was home, Nannie, or is it heaven, child?" said the
woman, as her babe was hushed, and she became somewhat awake to her new
position.

The sun was streaming upon the floor, and wall, and the snowy curtains
were fluttering in the pure breeze, and the blue waves were dancing and
sparkling in the bay, and white sails were moving rapidly about, and
from the windows two beautiful islands were visible with their summer
verdure, and the bewildered mother pressed her hand to her forehead, as
if trying to unravel the mystery, when Mr. Bond's fat and merry face
peered in at the door.

"All right," said he, with a glad smile, "how are you getting along
here, eh? Rather better than the old cellar, isn't it, Nannie?" and
helping himself to a chair, he took the baby from its mother, pinching
its cheeks and chirruping to make it laugh, until even Mrs. Bates was
forced into a more cheerful mood. But the tears would not stay long
away, and as the memory of her loss came from her from time to time, she
burst forth in a bewailing strain to her kind benefactor,

"Ye's too good to me, sir, and it's thankful to ye I am for it all; but
it's my own husband that's taken suddenly from me, and ye'll not be
minding the grief."

"I know all about it, my good woman," said he, the muscles about his
mouth quivering with emotion. He was thinking of a green grave afar off,
with a maiden name upon it, and a true heart moldering beneath. "But
don't tell me any more, think of the living that have got to be cared
for, and you'll have no time to lament the dead," and he chucked the
baby under the chin, and dandled it upon his fat knees, as if he had
been used to it all his life.

"It's the Lord will reward ye, sir, for looking after the fatherless and
widowed," said the woman, as she cast a thankful glance about the
cheerful room, and then upon the benevolent face before her. "There'll
be three witnesses for ye if ever we get to the blessed land, and sure
ye'll not need them either, I'm thinking!"

"Never mind, never mind," said the kind man; "I like to help them that
are trying to get up in the world, and you'll know where to find a
friend whenever you are in trouble--I'll look in upon you once in a
while to see how the children get on," and he handed her a card with the
number of his lodging upon it, saying as he went out the door,

"Don't forget to send for Peter Bond, when you need any thing."

"Blessings on his big soul!" says the poor woman, as his retreating
footsteps die upon the stairs. "It is like taking away the light, to
lose sight of his merry countenance!"



CHAPTER VI.


"Wake up, child," said the mother, giving Nannie a gentle shake; "the
sun's high in the heavens, and it's lazing we are in our blessed bed."

No wonder they pull the nice spread over them, and sink down again upon
the soft pillows, feeling that there could be no greater luxury on
earth. "But it must not make them idle," Mrs. Bates says, and so Nannie
jumps up and dresses the baby, while her mother prepares the breakfast.

Was there ever stove like that! There's a pleasant smell to the polish
as it burns off, and the wood has such a crackling, cheery sound; and
the hot steam from the Indian cakes sends forth an inviting odor as the
brown sides are turned upward.

Never mind if it is midsummer! the windows are open, and the superfluous
heat escapes, and the fresh air mingles with and tempers the warmth of
the room, so that it is nice and comfortable; it is so much better and
more wholesome than the damp, dark basement. There is a slight tinge
upon baby's cheek already, and Nannie doesn't look quite so pale and
sickly as she stands before the little mirror to brush her hair. "Oh!
an attic's the place, mother! isn't it?" says she, as she danced about
the room with Winnie. "We can breathe better up here, and Winnie'll grow
stout and healthy, for the sun comes in here," and she smoothed her tiny
palm over a bright beam that lay upon the child's head, and kissed it as
if it were a living, grateful presence. Winnie, too, crowed, and jumped,
and twisted her wee fingers in the warm rays, and seemed quite conscious
that something great and good had happened to her. The mother
participated in the joy, but as they sat down to a comfortable
breakfast, and she missed the red features that had so long been
opposite, her knife and fork dropped from her hands, and the food was
salted with bitter tears.

"Mother," said Nannie, putting down her untasted cake, "ye'll be
breaking your heart for the dead father, and then what'll Winnie and me
do? I'll not eat a morsel till ye dry your tears and help me!" and she
folded her hands and sat gazing upon her mother, with the drops in her
own eyes, until she saw her make an effort to eat. It was a quiet meal,
though, and soon over, and the child was left to tidy the house, while
the mother went forth to sell her wares. She did not mind so much being
repulsed now, for even if she failed to profit by her day's labor, there
was a willing friend to fall back upon, so that there was no fear of
starving; so, with a light step, she trudged along, and the people
wondered what had come over the poor huckster woman.

There was such a winning, cheerful sound in her voice as she tapped at
the window and said, "Any thing to-day, ma'am?" they could not let her
go without purchasing something--a piece of tape, or a few pins, or a
bunch of matches. It did not matter if they were at breakfast, father
could wait a minute for his coffee, and mother would write an excuse for
the children to take to school, so they open the window, and make their
bargains, and hand out the pennies, and the happy woman goes tripping
along, lighter both in basket and heart, and the breakfast has an
uncommon relish, so all think as they gather around the table again.
Charity is a capital seasoner.



CHAPTER VII.


Mr. Bond sits beside his center-table with his legs crossed and his eyes
fixed upon the portrait. He wonders what Betty Lathrop would advise him
to do about the poor girl if she could speak. He hears a great deal
about spiritual manifestations and communications, but he has no faith
in them, and even if he had he wouldn't be guilty of disturbing a
departed soul unless for something of great moment.

He thinks he reads her approbation of his conduct, thus far, in the mild
eyes that seem to look encouragingly upon him. Good old man, it would
puzzle the saints to find fault with any of thy pure impulses!

He wonders if Nannie ever went to school, and if she has read the
Pilgrim's Progress? He'll take it round there some day, her education
mustn't be neglected, and she can't be spared from Winnie to go to
school now. He hasn't any body to care for, and why shouldn't he make
those children his especial charge! Puss rises slowly from the rug,
where she has been lying curled up this long time, shakes herself, and
puts her two fore paws on Mr. Bond's knees, as if to remind him that he
has something to care for and cherish, and then walks back again and
puts herself in the old position, while her great orbs are rolled up at
the master.

"It will not make any difference to you, puss," says Mr. Bond, leaning
over and stroking the warm fur; "there's milk enough for you and Winnie
too, and she'd have done it, I know," pointing upward to the portrait,
as if the cat understood it all; then he took his hat and cane in his
hand and went down stairs, stopping at his landlady's room to tell her
"if a poor little girl with a baby should come to see him, not to send
her away, but to let her go to his room and rest."

"Pretty piece of business!" said Mrs. Kinalden, as he left the house;
"tisn't any beggars' brats I'll have tracking the dirt up my stair-ways,
I'll warrant ye!" and she flourished her soup-ladle as if in defiance of
all such encroaches upon her blessed domain.

Mr. Bond didn't hear nor see it, though, for his elastic step was away
down the street, and if he had he would have thought it only Mrs.
Kinalden's way, and would not have taken offense at it. There was so
much that was bright and good in his own heart that he could not feel
the ill that was in other people's natures, and his life passed as
smoothly as if he were not continually subjected to petty annoyances
from those about him who imposed upon his forbearance and amiability.

Earth was beautiful to him, and so was life; there had been but one dark
spot in his whole existence, and that was when Betty Lathrop twined her
young arms around his great neck and told him she must die.

Her grave was very green, though, and there were roses of his own
planting around it, and a pure white lily; and there was a holy light
always visible to him just above it, as of an angel with glorious wings
hovering. He didn't feel as if she had departed wholly from him because
he could not see her bodily presence, for he knew that the love was
still with him, and this it was that shed such a halo all about his
pathway, and there can not be sadness nor gloom where such a
consciousness exists.

There are not many Peter Bonds in the world though!



CHAPTER VIII.


Oh! what a gleesome time Nannie had all the long summer day up so near
the blue heavens! There was a rapturous sort of joy in watching the
fleecy clouds as they played in the pure ether, and, while baby slept,
she would kneel down by the window with her head turned side-way upon
her arm, and look into the depths of the sky until she fancied she saw
the spirits beyond; and then her little soul would try to dream out the
mystery of being and immortality. She didn't think so much of this in
the damp dark cellar--every thing there seemed to draw her earthward;
but it was exalting, and refining, and purifying, to be up so near the
angels, and the change was manifested even in her face, which grew more
spiritual, and was really quite winning now.

Her happiness was almost perfect as she contrasted the sad past with the
bright present. There was only one thing more to long for, and that was
books. She could read very well, but all the literature she possessed
was Robinson Crusoe, which one of the ladies at the school had given
her, and that she had learned almost by heart, so that she sung page
after page to Winnie as she lulled her to sleep, and now she craved
something more. She was thinking so earnestly about it that she did not
hear Mr. Bond's knock, nor perceive that he had entered the room and
seated himself by the other window, until he touched her shoulder with
his cane across the table.

"Nannie," said he, as she started and asked his pardon for not noticing
him, "I've brought a book to lend you; would you like to read it?"

A book! Who could have told him that of all things in the world that was
what she most desired?

"Oh! thank you, sir," said she, as her eyes glistened for joy; "I'm so
glad of it, sir!" and she turned the leaves and looked at the
illustrations, while he watched her with a deep interest.

"She would know all that she need to know when she had read the Bible
and Pilgrim's Progress." So Mr. Bond thought. He had not noticed that
there was no Bible there. He forgot that there could be a person in the
world destitute of the precious Word of Life, and he would have gone off
without finding out Nannie's great need, if she had not reminded him of
it as she turned to the explanation of the allegory appended to the work
in her hand. "Oh! it tells about Heaven! doesn't it?" said she, looking
at her kind friend with a sparkling eye.

"Haven't you a Bible, Nannie?" asked he, seeking vainly for one about
the room.

"No, sir," replied the child. "We haven't had one for a long time. Miss
Earl gave me one at the school, but my father took it."

Poor soul! no food for thee, while the world is teeming with the blessed
Book! Tear off the gilt clasps, and the velvet bindings, and scatter the
healing leaves that are hidden within, all about among the people. Let
not one hungry one perish for lack of Heaven's bread while there is
enough and to spare lying all about useless! "Her father took it!" What
for? to learn the way to Paradise? Ah! no--to pawn for the hot liquid
that must drown him in perdition. And the dealer in the dreadful traffic
took it--dared to snatch from his fellow man the comforting words sent
unto him by a loving God, and to substitute instead the poisonous and
damning cup! Even Satan himself must loathe him! Mr. Bond sees it
all--he knows where the Book has gone. But Nannie shall have another,
and she must promise to study it every day.

"I'll send you one, Nannie," said he, "and a little stand to keep it
on--d'ye hear?" and the kind man hurried off to get the holy volume. To
think that he had not seen to that before! It was a moment of penitence
to good Mr. Bond.



CHAPTER IX.


It was nice for Winnie to sleep so sweetly! Now Nannie could look over
the book. It was far before Robinson Crusoe! She went with Christian
every step of his journey, and experienced the same joys, and suffered
the same terrors. Oh! it was so good of Mr. Bond to lend her this book!
She sat by the cradle with one hand upon it, so that if Winnie stirred
she could hush her; and she did not see the long shadows in the room,
nor remember that the fire must be made, and the table prepared for tea,
and the water brought, before her mother came, until it was too dark to
read any longer. Then she started up and got the pail. She was almost
afraid to go to the pump, for there were some very rude boys in its
vicinity, and she had never ventured out so late before. But she must
go; she was very wrong to put it off so, and she ran as quick as she
could with a beating and timid heart.

"That's the new gal, as lodges in Mrs. Flin's house where the fat man
goes so often," said a rough-looking lad to a ragged and dirty group,
that huddled about the walk.

"Let's have at her," returned another, and suiting the action to the
word, he flew along the street after the frightened child, with the
whole troup following him.

The little thing tried hard to out-run them; but 'twas in vain; they
were close upon her, and one had kicked the pail from her hand, while
another was about to tear the string from her neat sun-bonnet which he
had snatched from her head.

"Be off, or I'll bate the life out of every mother's son of ye, an' my
name's Pat Rourke," said a tall Irish boy who came up that moment,
laying about him right and left among the little brutes, who scampered
in every direction, not without a few wholesome bruises as witnesses to
Pat's bravery. "Come on, my little girl," added he, taking Nannie's
trembling hand, "I'll get the wather for ye;" and taking up the pail, he
filled it, and carried it quite to the child's room. "It's a purty place
ye have here," said he, looking from the windows, "and a nice little
sister," as Nannie took the waking child from the cradle. "Here let me
make the fire for ye," continued he, seeing the awkwardness of working
with a baby in her arms, "and don't go to the pump again, Pat Rourke's
the boy as'll get the wather, when he comes from the coal-yard o'
nights; ye may put the pail down by the door in the enthry, an' its
quickly ye'll find it filled;" and the noble-hearted boy stubbed out of
the room, with his heavy boots clumping down, down, down.

"Every body's good to me," thought Nannie, the ill usage of the moment
before quite forgotten in the joy at finding so kind a champion.

The room looked nice and cheery when Mrs. Bates returned. The new stand
was in the corner, with the new Bible upon it, and the table was spread
with a frugal, but wholesome meal; and Nannie seemed so bright, and the
baby so sprightly and well. Besides she had sold all her wares, at a
good profit, so that she was free from care for the time, at least.
Nannie had a great deal to tell about Mr. Bond, and the book he had
brought her, and of Pat Rourke, her manly protector; and the mother
began to think the bright days were dawning upon them indeed! She didn't
forget the sorrow that had so lately come to her; but there was a joy in
the children that was infectious, and her smiles were more frequent than
her tears.



CHAPTER X.


Mrs. Flin seemed to her new lodgers to be a quiet kind of body, keeping
her own house without minding much about her neighbors. The truth of it
was she held herself a good deal above them, for she was well to do in
the world. Besides she visited in the next street at the large white
house with green blinds, where they kept a hired girl, and to be sure
she didn't care for the people that took one or two rooms of her, and
lived in a small way, save for the money they paid her; she was pretty
sure to make them all a call once a quarter at least, and woe betide
them if the rent-money was not forthcoming! She didn't call herself a
hard-hearted woman; but she must look out for her own rights since Mr.
Flin was off at sea the greater part of the time, and there was nobody
to take the responsibility from her.

One thing troubled her considerably, and that was that such a
gentlemanly-looking man as Mr. Bond should lavish all his favors and
visits upon her poor lodger's children. She thought he might as well
stop sometimes on the first floor and notice her little Sammy; but he
never did--although she often met him in the entry, and invited him to
walk in and rest before going up the long flights of stairs--but went
panting upward with his gold-headed cane in his hand, and the ruffles to
his shirt rising and falling at every ascent.

Sammy was a sad little rascal, and would throw apple-skins on the entry
floor, and lay round pebbles on the lowest stair, hoping to trip the old
man up as he came in or went out, and Mr. Bond caught him at it, so that
he was always careful afterward to keep an eye to his feet. But the boy
stood in his own light, for there were no favors for him after that. Mr.
Bond never patronized wicked children.

His mother would manage to stand in the door, whenever she saw the
gentleman coming, with Sammy by her side, and she would ask him if he
wasn't fond of children, and tell him what a good boy Sammy was at
school, and how well he got on with his lessons; and then Sammy must
speak his last piece to Mr. Bond. But it would not do; he stood it all
very patiently, and when she had the grace to leave space enough for him
to pass her, he would make his bow and walk gravely on, glad to reach
the shelter of the pleasant attic. Mrs. Flin laid it up against him,
though, and threw out many an innuendo concerning his frequent visits to
the poor children, when gossiping with her friend of the white house,
and so it reached his landlady, Mrs. Kinalden, who knew Mr. and Mrs.
Airly very well.

"A strange how d'ye do it is," said she to Mr. Bond, one evening on his
return from Nannie's, "that I must keep my doors open till half past
nine o'clock, for you to be out on your untimely visits to a poor
widder! It isn't any sich doings Susan Kinalden'll countenance, you'd
better believe!"

Mr. Bond did not think her worth one moment's excitability, so he calmly
told her she could find another occupant for his room if she was
dissatisfied with his conduct, and he would seek a home elsewhere.

It was wonderful how changed she was when he went down to breakfast the
next morning. There were hot eggs beside his plate, and a dish of warm
toast, and the landlady was full of her compliments. "She didn't see how
Mr. Bond managed to look so fresh and young! She was on the sunny side
of fifty, and anybody would take him to be her brother!" and when he
asked her what time he should remove his furniture, she wondered he had
lived so long in the house with her and never yet found out her jesting
propensities. She's sure she couldn't desire a nicer or more circumspect
boarder than Mr. Bond! And so the matter passed over. She knew her own
interest too well to venture on forbidden ground again. And he had got
attached to the room, and did not care to leave it. The portrait had
occupied that same space for more than ten years, and there was a sacred
sort of feeling about the place that he could not find elsewhere. Puss
liked her quarters too, and it was not worth while to seek a change so
long as she didn't complain. Mr. Bond thought himself very foolish to
have proposed such a thing, and he went from his breakfast and settled
himself in his chair by his center-table, with a self-gratulation that
he hadn't got to move after all. As for Mrs. Kinalden, she could
scarcely forgive herself for incurring the risk of losing one of her
best and most permanent boarders, and her night had been spent in bitter
self-reproaches and regrets. The morning, however, compensated for the
night of grief, when she felt that Mr. Bond--good soul!--overlooked it
all, and was willing to stay. "It stands you in hand to mind your
tongue, though, Susan Kinalden," soliloquized she, as she wiped the last
dish and stood it up end-wise in her pantry. "It isn't the first time
you've come nigh biting your own head off!"



CHAPTER XI.


"Come in, Pat; mother'll be glad to see ye," said Nannie, as he put the
pail softly within the door, and was about retreating.

"Faith and that I will," said the woman warmly, opening the door wide,
and setting a chair for the boy, who seemed nothing loth to enter.

It was pleasant to find a clean spot to sit down in after his day's
labor, and the happy faces in that room had haunted him as a dream, too
good to be real, since he had first seen Nannie and Winnie. His home was
a disagreeable, shabby place, and his mother did not care to make it
otherwise, and Pat felt it a great privilege to go occasionally to see
his new friends. "It wasn't for nothing," thought he, "that I did the
good deed by the girl; it's many a pleasant hour I've had here since
that blessed night!" and he drew his chair up to the table where Nannie
had the big Bible open reading aloud to her mother.

"I'll keep right on here where I was reading, Pat," said she, "because
it's so beautiful," and she finished the description of the new
Jerusalem in the Revelation of St. John.

"That isn't for such as me, Nannie--is it?" asked the poor boy, who had
sat with his chin in his hand listening intently while the child was
reading.

"Oh! yes," answered Nannie; "you should hear Mr. Bond talk about it,
Pat. I couldn't believe that any of us would ever live in such a
beautiful place; but he says 'tis just as we have a mind; that if we are
good in this world, and do every thing that we know to be right, and try
to keep from what we feel is wrong, and love God, we shall go there when
we die; and I'm sure it is worth trying for--isn't it, Pat?" and Nannie
closed the Book, and placed it reverently upon the stand in the corner.

Her mother had been busy getting the supper, but she heard the words of
the blessed volume, and wiped away a tear with the corner of her apron
as she thought of him who could have no part in that glorious city. But
she mustn't let the children see her weep, so she put away her sorrow,
and stirred about, talking cheerfully the while, and Pat felt that there
was no place in the world like that neat cosey attic, and that Nannie
Bates's lot was one to be envied indeed.

He didn't know how long she had pined in the damp and dreary cellar with
nothing bright nor pretty near her, and how bitter all her days had been
until just before he had befriended her--after Mr. Bond had provided her
new home--for she had never told him any thing of the past. Indeed she
scarcely ever dwelt upon it herself, for there was so much gladness for
her now that she forgot all about any other time, and so her cheeks
grew round and ruddy, and nobody would have thought her the same child
that sat upon the steps of the great house in ---- street one sunny day,
some time before, with a pinched-looking little baby in her arms. Pat
thought her the prettiest girl he had ever seen, and she fairly
worshiped his great Irish face and the yellow hair that hung straight
over his forehead. Winnie, too, would cling to him, and lay her little
soft cheek to his red coarse face, and clasp her tiny arms about his
neck, and play with the yellow locks as if they were the sunbeams
themselves; and then she would jump and crow as he played bo-peep with
her, and stretch out her wee hands and cry as he turned away and went
tramping down the stairs. Pat knew how to win young hearts--there was
always a cake of gingerbread in his pocket, or a stick of candy for
Winnie, or a new rattle or something for Nannie, and both learned to
watch for his coming with glad emotions.

He brought a rose-bush and a petunia for Nannie, and made a shelf for
them by the window, and the beauteous buds came thick and fast, shedding
out their fragrance in the sunny room, and making it still more
delightful to Nannie. She would sit where the breeze wafted the pleasant
odor to her, and, closing her eyes, fancy herself in Paradise, and she
would watch the sun that she might catch every one of its warm rays for
her plants.

She had never dreamed of getting so high up in the world as to have
real flowers blooming in their own room. She thought such things were
only for the rich; but she had yet to learn that there are many comforts
and blessings that all may freely enjoy if they have only the taste and
disposition, and that the poorest habitation may, at least, be made to
bring forth the precious blossoms of hope and joy at the will of its
inmates.



CHAPTER XII.


"Oh! there's the poor girl with the baby, that lives in the cellar,
Biddy!" said little May Minturn, a few weeks after she had given her the
blanket. "See how fat the baby's grown!" and the child ran after Nannie,
who was walking at a quick pace to avoid her, for she would gladly have
hidden from her the fate of her gift; but May was not to be shunned, and
she pulled at Nannie's shawl as she came up with her, and said, "Don't
carry the baby away, I want to see her. Oh! she looks more like my sissy
now, for she's got a little pink in her cheeks; but what have you done
with the blanket? this isn't half so pretty as the one I gave you," and
she looked inquiringly at Nannie, who had seated herself upon some steps
to rest, and pulled aside the flannel that enveloped the babe, thus
exposing its naked feet.

"Don't be offended, miss, and I'll tell you what became of it," said
Nannie; "before Winnie had time to wear it once, some one took it from
her and sold it. I sorrowed for it a great deal, but that wouldn't bring
it back, and now Winnie must wear this one; 'twill keep her warm, but I
know it isn't pretty."

"Are not you afraid in that dark room?" asked May, sitting down on the
step beside the girl, and taking hold of the baby's hand.

"Oh! we don't live there now," said Nannie, in a gleeful tone. "We have
a beautiful home way up close by heaven!" and she gazed up into the sky
and felt how much further off she then was than in her new home.

"May I go there to see you?" said the little girl, "and will you go with
me to heaven to see my brother a little while? Mamma says he's there,
and I'd like so much to play with him!"

"But we can not go there till we die," replied Nannie. "I look up from
my window sometimes until I think I see the angels, and then I almost
want to fly right away to them; but Mr. Bond says God will take us when
he wants us, and that it is wicked to be impatient."

"Did you see my Georgie up there?" asked May, drawing closer to Nannie,
and looking still more earnestly at her. "He had on a white frock, with
a satin ribbon around his waist, and he had curls just like mine and
sissy's. If you say Georgie, Georgie, perhaps he'll answer you as he
used to mamma. Don't you think God will take us pretty soon?" continued
she, patting the baby's head, and leaning over to kiss its brow, "I'm
all ready to go, and Georgie wants me, too."

"Shure, and the child'll be an angel before long, I'm thinking!" said
Biddy, as May arose and took her hand to go home; "the misthress would
be greeting sair if she heard all her little prattle."

Nannie gazed after the wee figure as it went up the street beside the
nurse, and then she looked at the baby that was nestling its tiny head
upon her bosom, and she felt that there was a sort of mysterious link
between Winnie and the sweet child whose kiss was fresh upon her
forehead. The feeling made her shudder, and she hugged her little sister
closer to her breast, as she thought,

"Mayhap both may soon be wanted above!"

Home did not look so bright to her that evening. Something seemed to be
threatening evil, and she sat listless and abstracted, when her mother
came home, looking from the window. She did not even see her mother,
until she put a hand upon each of her shoulders and asked her "if she
was napping?"

"Oh! no, mother, I'm not dozing, and I'm not ill; but there's something
coming to Winnie, I know there is. It isn't long that she'll brighten
the house!" said Nannie, trembling with emotion.

"Don't be foolish, child," said her mother, after she had ascertained
that her precious babe was sleeping sweetly in its cradle, "Winnie's
growing stout and healthy, and it's thankful we should be, instead of
fretting for fear there'll be sorrow to come."

Nannie shook her head mournfully, and took her knitting from the table,
but her heart was more busy with its sad reflections than were her
fingers with the young babe's sock. She did not even notice Pat much
that evening; but merely took the great apple that he handed her with a
quiet "thank ye;" and then relapsed into her silent and thoughtful mood.

Pat would not stay to sit down, for Nannie had not seconded her mother's
invitation, and the disappointed boy only lingered to take one peep
under the curtain of the cradle of Winnie, and then went home to his
abode with a downcast mien, and a slow gait.



CHAPTER XIII.


Mr. Bond had not been to see them for a great while, and the cold
weather was coming, and there were hard times in store for them, if they
did not manage to get some sewing, or something to do. It was the first
of November, and the breeze was no longer soft and bland, as it came
from the blue waters upward into the little room, but it was fresh and
chilly, and had a mournful tone, and Nannie got cotton and stuffed the
windows tight to keep it out. There was but little fuel in the house,
and scarcely any money for their next quarter's rent, and Mrs. Flin had
been up a day or two before to warn them that they must leave if the
funds were not ready by a certain time. Mrs. Bates had fallen down
stairs by means of one of Master Sammy's round pebbles, and lamed
herself, so that she was no longer able to trudge about with her basket,
and where she had applied for sewing, they told her there were more
applicants than work, and so she did not know what to do.

"To-morrow's rent-day, Nannie," said she with a sigh, "and I have but a
dollar put by toward the twelve. I shall have to send you round to see
Mr. Bond, child, and it's me that's ashamed to do that after all he's
done for us; but it can't be helped! It's unfortunate we've been the
last month, and shure he'll not be blaming the Providence as brought it
to us!"

So Nannie put on her old hood and cloak, and went timidly up to Mrs.
Kinalden's door. The old lady's aspect was rather forbidding, as she
answered the bell, and found only a beggar child had summoned her from
her dinner-pot, and she was about to slam the door in her face, when
Nannie said,

"It's Mr. Bond I'm wanting to see, ma'am, if you please."

Mrs. Kinalden would have been glad to send the child away; but she
remembered the past, and dared not venture; so she told her to be sure
and wipe her feet clean, and then she ushered her up stairs to the
bachelor's-room. Nannie knocked softly, and as she heard a faint voice
say "Come in," she opened the door and entered. One glance revealed it
all. Mr. Bond had been sick--very ill--and she had never once been to
inquire about him. He sat propped up in his easy-chair, with a flowered
dressing-gown about him, and his head against a pillow, and there was a
warm fire in the fire-place, and bowls standing about with bread-water,
and gruel, and arrow-root in them--and labeled vials were upon the
table, so that she felt he had really been in some danger. Besides, his
face was thin and pale and wrinkled, and she would scarcely have
recognized him as the fat jolly old man who used to have hardly a lap
for little Winnie to perch upon.

"Oh! it's you, Nannie, is it?" said he, with the same pleasant tone as
of old, and with one of his broad, beaming smiles that played over his
hollow cheeks mockingly. "Didn't come to see your old friend all these
three weeks, and he too ill to get off from his bed. He wouldn't have
served you so, Nannie, that he wouldn't!" and he looked half
reproachfully, half jestingly at the serious face of the young girl.

"And we were all the time wondering if ye'd deserted us, sir," said
Nannie, as she stood by the table twisting her apron over her finger;
"and never a word of your illness did we hear, or the days would not
have slipped away and we not have been to ye! Maybe ye were needing
somebody to nurse ye, and ye lying alone here with no hand to give the
medicines?" and she looked inquiringly at him.

"Mrs. Kinalden has been as attentive as she could be with her cares,
Nannie," replied the patient old man; "but the pillows would have lain a
little easier if a little girl that I know of had come in sometimes to
shake them up for me, and perhaps the bed would have been softer for
making over once in a while." How quickly the old hood and cloak went
off, and the nimble hands shook and beat the sick man's bed until it was
as plump as a partridge--and she put on the clothes so smoothly that
there was not a wrinkle in them; then she arranged the glasses and vials
nicely upon the table, and washed the spoons, and warmed him some gruel,
and she read a psalm to him, and then donned her things again to go;
but she hadn't said a word about the need at home, and perhaps she would
not have remembered it until she had returned to her mother had not Mr.
Bond said, "Nannie, how are you getting along now? Let's see,
to-morrow's rent-day, isn't it? and hard times, too. Hand me the wallet
out of that desk there, child, I must see you through this cold
weather," and he counted out twelve dollars and tied them in a corner of
her handkerchief. "So your mother's not able to go out any more," said
he, as Nannie told him of the trouble. "Well, we'll see what can be
done; you mustn't suffer, d'ye hear? and mind you come every day to make
my bed while I'm sick, 'twill save Mrs. Kinalden some work--and I guess
'twill suit me better," added he, as he glanced at the inviting-looking
nest that had not before shown its proper proportions since his illness.
"Here, take this orange to Winnie," said he, as the child moved toward
the door; "I'll be round there in a few days," and he looked brighter
than he did a half hour before. "I wonder what there is in a child's
presence to make things so sunny," thought Mr. Bond, as the young girl
left the room. "Her little hands seem to have glossed over every thing
they touched, and the gruel had a relish that that old woman could never
give."

It was willing hands that made the difference, good Mr. Bond. A sick
bed's a hard place for one who has no kind and voluntary attention. Call
in experienced nurses and skillful physicians--pay them more than the
half of your substance--send out for all the luxuries a diseased palate
may crave--it won't do, Mr. Bond, it won't do; there needs a loving
heart to anticipate all your wants, and a tender hand to bathe the
fevered brow and smooth the uneasy pillow, and a low sweet voice to
whisper soothing words in your ear; then it's a sort of pleasure to lie
so languid and careless, and watch the gliding motions of your quiet
nurse, and feel that you are getting on so comfortably.

Mr. Bond didn't need to be told all this; he felt it, as day after day,
during his convalescence, the little feet came tripping up the stairs,
and the child's glad hands ministered unto him; and, after she had made
all tidy and had gone out and closed the door softly behind her, he
would lie gazing at the youthful features of the bonnie lassie upon the
wall, and wonder how many more times he should be so near her, and yet
not be permitted to go. "Mustn't be impatient," that's what you told
Nannie, isn't it, Mr. Bond? there's a great deal for you to accomplish
yet in your master's vineyard before the reward comes; the walls are
broken down all about, and there's many a tender vine exposed to the
wild boar and the beasts of the field, and it is for you to help repair
the breaches before you go hence to rest from your labors.



CHAPTER XIV.


Pat had not seen his old friends for many days, for Nannie was a good
deal out with the basket now her mother was confined to the house, and,
somehow, her manner toward him the last time he was there made him feel
shy, as if he was not wanted there any more. Still the pail was filled
as usual, and stood beside the door, with many a nice and pretty thing
for the baby. Mrs. Bates wondered why she never heard him come up the
stairs now, and if he had got tired of playing with Winnie, and if his
own home had grown more pleasant. She didn't know how often he had put
his ear to the key-hole to see if he could hear one of baby's gleesome
laughs, or the sound of Nannie's voice reading aloud, or talking to her
mother. Nannie caught him this time, though, as she returned from her
labors, and the boy's face grew redder still, as if he had been detected
in some mean act, but her good-natured smile reassured him, and he found
his tongue.

"It's listening for Winnie I am," said he, "and I've not seen her swate
face the week."

"But, Pat, why haven't you been here this long time?" asked Nannie,
opening the door and leading him in as if he were a child.

Pat felt that she would think him very foolish if he told her the reason
of his absence, so he kept silent, but he was happier than he had been
for many a day, as he sat in his old seat with Winnie snuggled close to
his breast. Winnie reciprocated the delight, but her demonstrations were
very violent; she slapped Pat's face with her rosy palms, and pulled his
hair, and bit his fingers with her aching teeth, forgetting the while
the painful gums that had made her so wearisome all the day.

Nannie was uncommonly cheerful, for all was right now, and Mr. Bond was
well enough to visit them on the morrow, and Pat was back again, and
they were to remain in the pleasant attic for another quarter at least,
and mother had some work that promised a good profit, so there was no
pressing want upon them just now. Mr. Bond had sent some shirts to be
made against the summer. He did not like the common way of bestowing
charity. He always required an equivalent for what he handed out. He
would not have Nannie grow up with the feeling that she was a beggar, so
he found something to be done, and paid good round prices for the work.
Mrs. Bates stitched so busily, thinking he needed the garments all the
while. She didn't quite understand Mr. Bond, though! It didn't matter to
him if there were piles on piles of pure white linen in his great
trunks. What if somebody did get the good of them after his death! he
did not care to take his worldly treasure with him, but was quite
willing to leave a goodly portion for the benefit of others; besides,
many a worthy man owed his prim Sunday suit to those same heaped-up
chests, and it would have done you good to see the broad ruffles
bedecking the sons of Erin as they escorted their sweethearts to
vespers. They would cross themselves, and murmur a prayer for the
"masther," heretic though he was, and they knew they would get him out
of Purgatory, if masses and penances would avail. As for Nannie and her
mother, it was dangerous to say a word against their benefactor in their
presence. Nobody had ever dared the thing excepting Mrs. Flin, and she
would not encounter such a belaboring of tongues again for all the
bachelors in the world. Pat, too, was his most enthusiastic admirer, for
he had encouraged his going to spend his evenings in the neat attic
rather than crawl to his own miserable abode to be contaminated with the
fumes of rum and tobacco, and the scurrilous example of his abandoned
parents.

It was a wonder to the good man that there could be a spark of virtue in
the boy's character, and that he had been so far preserved from the
taint of his vile home as to care for the purity of his gentle
neighbor's. He did not remember how beautiful the contrast must be to
Pat as he came from his mother's den of infamy, where rags and dirt
prevailed, to the neat and cleanly dwelling, and the pure, bright, happy
faces of Mrs. Bates and her two children.

It wasn't his fault that the woman who had dared to take upon herself
the sacred name of mother, had spurned the terrible responsibility
consequent upon that assumption, and cast her children from her bosom
out into the wicked world, with never a care, nor a blessing, nor a
prayer; it wasn't his fault that his infant soul had been even more
pitiably neglected than the uncared-for body; it wasn't his fault that
the little hands were taught to fight and steal rather than lift
themselves up toward a gracious father to invoke His love and blessing,
or that the words of blasphemy were frequent on the lips that were made
for prayer and praise. He could think of a time when his childish knees
had bent before the good God, of whom a kind friend had told him, and
his own mother--who should have been prostrate beside him in penitence
for her sins both against him and her Maker--shouted her ribald songs
even in his unwilling ears. No wonder Mr. Bond thought it strange that
Pat had any yearning left for the good and the exalted. But his heart
did heave mightily beneath the mass of corruption that his own parents
had heaped above it, and he felt it gradually loosening, so that the Sun
of righteousness gleamed upon it, though dimly. It was something to have
even that faint light to show him the loathsomeness of his condition,
and it helped him wonderfully in his efforts to cast the burden wholly
from him. It was no mystery to him that "Christian" felt such a relief
when it was quite gone, and that he hastened onward toward the end of
his journey with a light and free step. It was not for nothing that the
poor boy helped Nannie Bates in the hour of her need, the blessing was
coming, life was just beginning for him.



CHAPTER XV.


It was a bitter cold day, and the winds whistled through the cordage of
the shipping and came moaning up, beating against the corked windows;
but it was of no use they could not get in, for Nannie had stuffed the
cotton in all the cracks as tight as she could, so that there was not
even a crevice left, and they had to go whirling back again to play
their old tricks among the rigging of the vessels. Oh! it was so
pleasant to watch the dark waves as they tossed and foamed, while the
boats bounded buoyantly over them. Nannie did not care for the frost,
nor for the fresh chill breeze, for the stove was red with warmth, and
she had not to go out that day. Mr. Bond was coming, and she had a
holiday. Now and then her face grew a little long as she thought
"perhaps it might be too cold for him to venture out;" but it was round
and cheery again as the sound of his well-known step was upon the
stairs.

"Heigh-ho, here!" said he, as little Winnie crept toward him and clasped
her tiny arms around his leg; "hasn't forgotten its old friend, has it?"
and he lifted the child up, seating it upon his shoulder as he moved
toward a rocking-chair. "Not quite well, yet, ma'am," replied he to
Mrs. Bates' inquiry after the state of his health. "This north-wester's
rather too strong for me now;" and he panted, and put Winnie down while
he took off his mufflers. "Had to wrap up well this cold day, you see,
but couldn't disappoint these little folks;" and he patted Winnie's head
and re-instated her upon his knee. She did not keep slipping off as she
used to do before Mr. Bond's illness, but had a very comfortable seat
now, and her hands remembered the full pockets they had so often rifled,
and went rummaging about to see if the times were unchanged.

The goodies came tumbling all about the floor, and the old man was as
merry as the children who scrambled after the sugar-plums--Winnie
cramming her little mouth until they tumbled out again for want of room.
"How do the shirts get on, my good woman?" said Mr. Bond, as he watched
the needles flying through the snowy cloth.

"I'll have 'em for ye before long, sir," replied Mrs. Bates, hastening
her stitches as fast as she could; "I'd spare the time from my sleep
rather than ye should be wanting them, sir."

"Oh! never mind, never mind," said the kind man; "I'm not in any great
need, only there's plenty more work when that's done. Where's Pat,
Nannie?" continued he, addressing the girl who was minding Winnie; "does
he come often to see you, and do you read to him, too?"

"He'll be here the day to see ye, sir," answered Nannie, with a joyous
expression; "we've got most through the Progress, and we read in the
Bible, too, every day, and Pat's as good a boy now as ye'd wish to see."

"He's got a sad home, Nannie," said Mr. Bond, "and his father and
mother'll pull him down again if they can, but we must help him to stand
upright. I depend upon you, Nannie," and he looked at her as if he
thought there was great might in her aid.

"It's little I can do, sir, save the reading," said she, looking
slightly grave, as if too much was expected of her.

"But you can keep him from bad associates," replied her benefactor, "and
the half is done then. He loves this quiet place, and you can make it
pleasant to him here, so that he will see how much happier it is to live
peacefully and Christianlike than to be carousing and drinking as they
do in his own home. Poor Pat!" continued he, gazing thoughtfully into
the fire, "it's been a sad life to him, but the good is to come."

Nannie thought it had been a sad life to them all until Mr. Bond found
them out, but she felt that the future would be bright enough if they
might see his kind face once in awhile, and she did not trouble herself
with the past now, that was all over, and the days were as merry as
merry could be. To be sure her basket was heavy, and her feet weary
almost every day, but what cared she for that so long as she could come
to so glad a home, and have only kind words and loving faces about her.
Mr. Bond did not worry much about Pat after he saw his frank face
peering in at the door. "Come in, Pat," said he, as the lad shuffled
forward to greet him. "I'm glad to see you, my boy!"

"It's much changed ye are with the sickness," said Pat; "but ye're the
same in your heart, I'll ever believe."

Pat was greatly changed, too, his friend could plainly see that as he
scanned the boy's features. He had grown so manly, and seemed to feel
such a self-respect--not a bold, disagreeable assurance, but a sort of
rough, unassuming dignity that was both pleasant and becoming. He did
not sit down with his hat on, and his chair tilted backward, and chatter
and jabber as if he were of quite as much importance as his benefactor,
but stood respectfully, with uncovered head, and answered Mr. Bond's
questions modestly and politely, and waited to be asked before he made
himself at home in the presence of his superior.

A very pleasant time they all had in the nice attic, and they dwelt upon
it for many days afterward with a peculiar pleasure. It was not often
that Mr. Bond could come to see them now, for he was not as strong as
before his illness, and the snow came early to keep him in also, and
Nannie consoled herself by enumerating his virtues to Pat, who quite
agreed with her that "he was fit to be a saint."



CHAPTER XVI.


You need not step softly to-night, Pat, though the baby is sleeping. She
will not hear your heavy boots, tramp they never so loudly up the
stairs. Never mind the doll you have in your hand for her--her eyes will
not open to look upon it. Lift the latch quietly, though, for there is
grief in the room, and noise comes harshly and gratingly upon a
sorrowing ear. Nannie can not look up to greet you, neither can her
mother welcome you now, though your silent presence may be grateful to
them both. Winnie does not spring up in her cradle, with her merry
laugh, and stretch out her little hands toward you. She will not twine
her wee fingers in your yellow locks any more, nor try to pick the big
moles off your hard hands. She is lying very still upon her soft pillow.
Her nicest white dress is smoothed down on her tiny form, and her hair
is parted upon a marble brow. There's a little coffin on the table, and
you know who is to occupy it; but it is too sudden, too dreadful for you
to realize at once! Do not try to take her up, nor warm the cold cheek
against your own burning face. The blood is quite chilled in the blue
veins, and the limbs fall passively down. There's a bud from Nannie's
bush in one hand, but she does not hold it first to your nostrils and
then to her own, with her cunning little ways, as she used to do. Do not
ask them how it all happened; how can they tell you, and their hearts
almost breaking? They did not even hear the angel's wings as he came to
bear away the sweet babe. All they knew was, that there was a convulsive
movement of the little limbs, and then they were rigid forever.

There's a terrible gloom all about, and it oppresses them with its
strange weight; but they hardly know that the baby is gone from them. Is
she not there in the cradle, as she is every day at this hour, and are
they not all very quiet for fear of disturbing her? Or, are they all
dreaming, and is a horrible nightmare upon them, from which they vainly
strive to arouse themselves? Pat can not see Nannie so listless, and so
white, with the vacant stare, and not speak to her; so he goes round by
the side of the cradle where she is, and hands her the doll. "It's for
Winnie," said he, and the big drops fell from his full eyes upon her
hand. There's great power in sympathy, and Nannie can weep now; so can
the mother, and there comes a sort of peace over the group, that was not
there before. Nannie gets up and gathers all the little playthings
together and puts them away with the doll; but it is too much! it gives
the place such a forlorn aspect; and she takes them out again and
scatters them, as if it would bring Winnie back, too. The night is very
sad, and so is the morrow; and the next day Mr. Bond comes with a
minister. Winnie is lifted into the narrow coffin, and a fresh bud
graces her breast. Mr. Bond stands a long time gazing upon her white,
white brow, and he fancies he sees a hallowed impress there, as of a
Divine hand. He can not help his strong emotion. Wasn't Winnie getting
deeper and deeper down into his heart every day, and can he see the
little head that lay so often upon his bosom, covered with the cold
earth! The minister thinks her very lovely, as she lies there so free
from spot of sin, and he almost wonders they can weep over her early
release from a world of effort, and toil, and care; but he knows what a
struggle it is to give up a parent's richest possessions, for there are
little ones that used to call him father, now lying beneath the snow,
and he weeps with the afflicted, as he reads the burial-service over
their darling.

There needs but one carriage for the mother and Nannie, and Mr. Bond,
and Pat; and the little coffin is placed on a seat in the middle. They
can not leave it until it is hidden from their sight.



CHAPTER XVII.


"Nannie must go to school," said Mr. Bond to himself the day after the
child's burial. "It won't do for her to stay there moping and pining
after little Winnie! The baby's gone, and it won't bring her back
again."

And so it was settled that she was to begin the next Monday. Mr. Bond
thought it better that she should go to the parish school immediately in
her vicinity, and connected with the church which he attended--not that
he wished to free himself from the slight tax demanded by private
teachers, for many a comfortable donation ten times the worth of so
small a pittance, found its way into the parish treasury from his
liberal purse. Oh! no, that wasn't Mr. Bond's reason. He knew that the
child would be under a good and religious influence there, for besides
being well taught, she would be daily gathered with the rest of the
little lambs into the consecrated chapel, and be made to feel that her
moral culture was of still greater importance than the mental. Besides
he liked to know that she was under the eye of some good shepherd who
would lead her safely on to the great and ever green pasture. It would
be so pleasant to him, too, to see the object of his benevolence and
care Sunday after Sunday, pattering up the broad aisle to her seat, and
joining in the solemn and beautiful worship. He didn't believe she had
ever been to church in her life; he ought to have inquired into that
before. Poor Mr. Bond! here was another subject for penitence. So much
as he thought of such privileges and blessings for himself, too! He was
afraid he was not fit for such a responsibility as the one he had
assumed! Well, the minister would help him; that was a comforting
thought.

Nannie was delighted at the idea of studying. She had a quick and
inquisitive mind, and she looked at the little parcel of books that her
good friend brought her with a glad eye, and when Monday came she took
her satchel, and long before the hour, was on her way to school, with a
quick step and a buoyant expression.

There was no task in getting her off to her books, as there is in many a
case where advantages come more lavishly. She felt that the blessing was
too great to be sufficiently estimated. Her teacher long ago had told
her that whatever of knowledge was gained in this world would not be
lost, but that if rightly applied, it would make her spirit brighter,
and fit it for a continually increasing and glorious expansion in the
life to come; and she had wisdom enough to know that every intellectual
acquirement was adding to the talent intrusted to her, and thus honoring
the gracious Giver. So she determined to strive earnestly to improve
her new privileges, and thus repay her benefactor as well as adorn her
own mind.

The morning was very beautiful as she tripped along in the pure snow.
The flakes had fallen thick and fast the day before, and now lay in
feathery heaps all over the trees and fences and trellises, and there
was but just a narrow path for her feet to tread upon. Men and boys were
all about with their shovels, busily working, and the pure mass was
tossed quickly from the walks. Snow-balls were flying at the peoples'
heads, and many parties were already moving briskly over the smooth
surface, and the bells were jingling gayly, and there was a healthful
glow upon every body's face.

Nannie couldn't feel very joyous, for she thought of the little form
that lay so still and breathless under the tiny mound; but the scene
before her inspired her with cheerfulness, and she trudged on trying to
be happy with the rest. She was just before May Minturn's door--she
could not forget the house--hadn't she sat on those steps with dear
Winnie, and hadn't little May spoken kindly to her, and kissed baby,
too? It recalled her sister to her so vividly that the tears would not
be stayed, and she let them flow. Just then the door opened, causing her
to look up; there was a black crape tied to the bell, with a white
ribbon, and she knew that either May, or the little sissy that she used
so often to speak of, was dead.

"Is that for May," asked she, as Biddy spoke softly to her from the top
step; and she pointed to the funeral emblems that were floating in the
wintry breeze. "And may I see her, Biddy?"

"Shure, and that ye may," said Biddy, "and it's Winnie she was calling
the day she died, jist before the life left her swate body; and how is
the babby?" asked she, as Nannie followed her to the drawing-room.

"She's gone where May is," replied the sister, suppressing her sobs as
far as she was able; "I knew they'd be wanted there!" and she stopped
for the nurse to admit a little more light into the darkened room.

How beautiful little May was in her quiet repose! She lay upon the sofa
with her soft curls falling over the calm forehead, and flowers covered
the pillow, and her hands were folded upon her gentle breast as if they
had done all their little work on earth.

Mrs. Minturn had seen Nannie enter the room, and she knew her as the
child May had so often spoken about, and she went softly in where they
were and stood beside the sofa, so pale and calm in her sorrow that
Nannie was almost frightened. She noticed Nannie as she kissed the still
sleeper, and smoothed down the silken hair lovingly, and she severed one
beautiful lock and laid it in the poor girl's hand. Biddy had told her
mistress of Winnie, and she had felt that the two children were as
sisters in that Spirit land, and so she spared the precious curl. Oh!
how Nannie treasured it. It seemed such a sacred thing to her to possess
something that the finger of death had hallowed, and when she went home
she folded it in a soft paper and put it within the cover of the big
Bible, and often she drew it reverently forth, in after years, as she
dwelt upon the two seraphs whose forms she could distinguish amid the
angel band.



CHAPTER XVIII.


Mrs. Bates sat alone in the quiet room, sewing all the day, while Nannie
was at school. It was so very still that it was oppressive to her.
Winnie's cradle occupied the same spot as when the babe was in it--she
could not put it out of sight; and the little garments hung about the
room on the pegs in the corners. The wintry sun came faintly in and
shone upon the pillow of the tiny bed, and the mother, ever and anon,
cast her tearful glances to the spot that was consecrated by the
sweetest of memories. A rag-baby, that had shared Winnie's affections as
well as her pillow, still lay within the sheets, as the child's hands
had often placed it. The tin cup and spoon were upon the mantle, and the
playthings were gathered into an old willow basket, their wonted
receptacle when Winnie was there to use them. How often had she pulled
them, one by one, from their resting-place, and then restored them with
an untiring interest, only needing occasionally an encouraging glance
from mother to keep her contented by the hour together! It seemed to
Mrs. Bates as if she must still look up from her needle to give the
child some frequent sign of her care and love, but as her eye fell upon
the vacant space, it was almost too much for the overcharged heart, and
it required all her energies to master her grief sufficiently to keep
about her accustomed duties.

The poor have little leisure to nurse their sorrows: there was Nannie
left to toil for, and it was unfitting her for her necessary labors to
give vent to the rising anguish, therefore she choked back the bitter
sighs and tears, and plied her needle diligently, trying to think only
of the mercies left her. She had still plenty of work. It was wonderful
how many friends Mr. Bond had who could supply her with employment.
There were little dresses, and pinafores, and numerous other small
articles of clothing, always ready for her. She did not know how many a
needy household owed its replenishing to this same stock of ready-made
clothing which good Mr. Bond kept constantly on hand. He did not wait to
see whether such and such a thing would be needed before he had it made,
but wherever he found a ragged child he sent a suit from his
well-stocked wardrobe, and an abundant blessing flowed back upon him,
repaying him an hundredfold for clothing the naked and destitute.

Mrs. Kinalden once in awhile caught sight of the miniature suits through
the brown paper envelops that, somehow, got torn on their way to the
batchelor's room, and her indignation knew no bounds.

"It's a shame and a disgrace," said she to herself, "that he should
tarnish my house with such things, and then have the boldness to look me
in the face!" But luckily for her, she only said it to herself, and Mr.
Bond, conscious of his own integrity, kept on his even way, scattering
blessings wherever he went, and never imagining that his very Christian
deeds were the occasion of many an unjust query on the part of his
curious and suspicious landlady.

She, poor soul! fumed and fretted inwardly until the gloss and shine
were quite gone from her widowed cheeks, leaving them really sallow and
wrinkled. There's nothing like a contented, happy disposition, Mrs.
Kinalden, to preserve one's youth and beauty. You need not brush up your
fading charms before your tell-tale mirror, and try to restore your lost
luster by artificial means; it won't effect any thing. The fact is, the
trouble is internal. You must cleanse first the inner man of the heart,
and you will be surprised at the reflection of your own face then, it
will change into such a mysterious winsomeness! Never mind Mr. Bond's
actions--they can not lie at your door, but take care that your own are
as free from taint as your inexplicable neighbor's. It is not for you to
see the hidden motives that govern those about you; the best way for you
is to think favorably of every body, and you have no idea how much peace
and comfort it will bring to your own soul.

Mrs. Bates had never dreamed of questioning her benefactor's deeds, they
showed their uprightness upon the very face of them, and she had no
fellowship with her gossiping neighbors, to whose flings she could not
always be deaf. Mrs. Flin began to be more social, much to her regret,
for she had little sympathy with her loquacious guest. What was it to
her if the Airly's did keep a span, and drive out every day? she was
willing Mrs. Flin's friends should accumulate riches, and enjoy them,
too, if she did live in an humble attic, and stitch from morn till night
for her daily bread. What if Mrs. Airly had a new silk, spring and fall,
and was getting in with such good society? It did not make her a whit
the less thankful for her scanty yet neat wardrobe, nor for the few
friends it was her fortune to possess. She didn't mind if Master Sammy
was to go to a select school! She had all confidence in Mr. Bond's
judgment concerning Nannie, and rejoiced that she could feel so easy as
to the child's moral culture. She didn't care for Mrs. Flin's foolish
prattle about her great acquaintances, and her own future anticipations
of a higher station. It was not half of it that she heard; but if one
sly innuendo was sent at the good man to whom she was so much indebted,
there was a determined look that cowed the slanderous tongue before it
could speak out its full meaning. Oh! what a relief was it to the poor
widow to see the last of Mrs. Flin's bombazine gown floating out the
door, and to be sure that she was free from a repetition of the
annoyance of her company, for the day at least.

The thought of her angel child, and the solitude of her quiet home
accorded better with her sad and contemplative mood, than the foolish
clatter of her simple neighbor's gossiping member, and right glad was
she that her acquaintance extended no further than to her kind
benefactor, and to the noble and honest Pat.



CHAPTER XIX.


"Oh! mother," said Nannie, throwing her hood upon the table and brushing
the hair off from her flushed forehead, "school's so nice! Miss Coit's
one of the dearest ladies; and she says I'll be one of her best scholars
if I keep on as I've begun; and we have such beautiful singing, and
Christmas is 'most here, and then we are to have a tree hung all over
with presents for the children! Won't it be grand, mother?" and she laid
her hand on her mother's arm to force her to stop working and attend to
her.

"Yes, yes," said Mrs. Bates, "it's glad I am for ye, Nannie; but what's
that in your hand, child?" taking the paper and looking upon the little
curl within.

"Oh! mother," replied Nannie in a sad tone, "it's May Minturn's, she
that loved our baby, and she's gone where Winnie is; and her mother's
such a pale sweet lady! She gave me this, because she said May and
Winnie are as sisters up in heaven."

That was such a pleasant thought to Mrs. Bates. She was too sensible a
woman to wish to do away with the distinctions which are productive of
much good in this life, but it was a happiness to feel that in the
other world, the good and pure could all mingle as brethren; that
despoiled of the external marks of roughness which make so much
difference here, the spirit could appear in its real loveliness so that
it would be neither loathsome nor repulsive. She did not expect those
who were fitted by the advantages of education and refinement for a high
position in life, to stoop to an equality with those whose more humble
stations were wisely allotted them. She appreciated their self-denial
and kindness in seeking out the lowly ones, and aiding them in their
efforts to struggle upward, and no taint of envy or hatred toward those
whom God had chosen to place above her in this world, ever found its way
to her heart. So with a meek and contented mind she pursued her quiet
way, never murmuring because of blessings withheld, but grateful for the
unmerited favors so richly heaped upon her. She had a great deal to be
thankful for! Nannie was in a good way, and Pat was just like a son to
her, doing her errands, and helping her about the wood and water as if
she were his own mother. He had come to board with them now, for it had
grown so bad in his own home, and he had vainly tried to make it
better--so he left them altogether, and Mrs. Bates had a rough couch
constructed, and she covered it with neat print; and there in the outer
room Pat slept. He was up betimes in the morning, and had the fire made
and the kettle on to boil, and then he heard Nannie study, while her
mother got the breakfast ready; and by this means he acquired the same
knowledge himself, for Pat was ready to learn, if he had been kept down
all his life with no culture nor teaching.

His board helped them, and their kindness and affection helped him more
than he had ever been aided since his birth, for he came to think he was
of some consequence to somebody, and this makes a wondrous difference to
a person. It made Pat particular in his manners and neat in his dress,
and it brought a peculiar joy to his heart to know that the house was a
gainer by his coming to it. Mr. Bond had got him a situation as porter
in the establishment of one of his mercantile friends, and his employer
thought every thing of the diligent and honest lad, and gave him good
wages, so that he had a trifle to lay up, besides providing his board
and clothing, and getting an occasional present for Mrs. Bates or
Nannie. It was altogether a very thrifty household now, and Mr. Bond
felt no uneasiness about going awhile to leave them.

He had had a lingering cough ever since his illness, and the doctor
ordered change of air and a warmer climate, and so he must go. It was
very hard to leave his snug room, and to turn away from the silent face
that was ever looking upon him, and it cost him many a serious pang to
give up the care of his favorite puss to the tender mercies of Mrs.
Kinalden; but it would be wrong to tamper with his health, and he must
crush all regrets and disinclinations, and perhaps he might return
sooner than even his physician had hoped. He waited but one
moment--after the carriage came to bear him to the boat bound for
Cuba--to take his farewell of the objects of his deepest regard, and
then went more gravely down stairs than was his wont.

Mrs. Kinalden felt a sort of sorrow as she closed the blinds of his
room, making all dark, and then turned the key in the lock, while puss
preceded her to her own sitting-room, and she bestowed sundry endearing
epithets upon the animal, even patting her back in a friendly sort of
way as she stooped to smooth the rug for her to lie upon. It was
something to miss the step that for years had been heard in the house,
and to see the place that he had so longed filled at table occupied by
another.

Mrs. Kinalden had a heart after all, so you would have thought had you
seen how often the silk handkerchief was applied to her eyes in the
course of that day.



CHAPTER XX.


Christmas came and went, and there were merry times in the parish
school, and in Nannie's home, too. Her stocking was filled to
overflowing by her mother and Pat, and there was a nice present from her
kind teacher, too; but they did not have the tree until Epiphany, for
that the minister said "was the Gentile Christmas, and he thought the
good things and presents upon the tree would help the children to
remember the great and glorious gifts that the Saviour's birth and
manifestation brought to them all."

The little things could scarcely sit still during service in the church,
but kept turning and twisting upon their seats and looking toward the
chapel where the tree was. At last the moment came when they were to
walk in procession around it, so as to have a good view of its beauty
and promise before the articles were distributed.

The minister headed the procession with the parish children, and Nannie
felt her importance materially increased as he took her hand and moved
down the aisle. She had never seen any thing so pretty as the brilliant
scene that had met her gaze when the doors were thrown open, and the
illuminated star and bush appeared to her delighted gaze. "Oh!" thought
she, "the parish school's the school for me;" and she gave little Sammy
Flin, who had come in out of curiosity, an exultant glance as she passed
the pew where he was perched up to get sight of what was going on about
him. "She didn't believe they had such times any where else, or that the
minister led them along before so many people, just as if they were his
own children." She could not see how he yearned for them in his heart,
feeling a greater anxiety and care for them, than he did for his own
offspring that had never been so much exposed to the temptations and
snares of the world. All she felt about it was that she was a poor
little child, weak and ignorant, and that he was a priest of the great
God, and taught the people from the blessed Book, and that it was a
great honor for her to stand by his side when so many other children
would covet the place. When Nannie Bates' name was called he handed her
her presents--a nice pair of warm mittens, and a new hood, and a book,
besides a turkey for her mother; and he spoke to her of the little dead
Winnie whose body he had committed to the earth, and told her to be
gentle and good that she might some time go to her; and Nannie went home
happier than ever, and filled up the evening pleasantly with the glowing
description of the day's pleasure. Pat sat with his ears distended, and
his arms upon the table, leaning over toward her as she talked, and Mrs.
Bates almost forgot the light that had so lately been extinguished in
her dwelling as the bright face before her shone out in the pleasant
room.

It needed only one more interested one to complete the little circle,
but he was bounding over the waves, and no desire could recall him until
the appointed time. He had now been gone one week, and they could not
hope to see him until the opening of the summer, so they contented
themselves with the enumeration of his goodness to them all, and with a
fervent prayer for his safe return. The moon gleamed upon the bay as
Mrs. Bates and Nannie looked from their windows upon the sparkling
waves, and they almost fancied they could descry afar off the beaming
face of their kind friend; but he lay heart-sick and home-sick in the
berth of the tossing ship, thinking of his cosey room, and of the attic
where so many pleasant moments had been spent, and wondering if Nannie
and Pat would come to no harm while he was away.



CHAPTER XXI.


The winter was well-nigh gone, and it had brought but little trouble to
Mrs. Bates and her small family until now; just as the new quarter
commenced she was short of funds. Pat was confined to the house with
rheumatism, and his wages had stopped, and of course that stopped the
board-money, for what he had saved went for the doctor and the
medicines, and so Nannie had to leave school and take to the basket
again. It was a pity, for she was making such rapid progress in her
studies, and would soon be promoted, but there was no help for it, the
pantry was quite empty of stores, and it could not be replenished
without means. Mrs. Flin was urgent for the rent, too, and threatened to
let the rooms to more prompt tenants. She forgot that she had never been
put off before, and that good Mr. Bond would be sure to make up all
arrearages on his return from his voyage.

It was not that she needed the money at all, for there was plenty of
silver in her coffers, but she loved to look at the shining bits; and it
did not matter to her if they did cheat some hungry one out of the
necessary morsel. Her ambition was to be equal with the Airlys in point
of establishment, therefore she toiled on to lay up the glittering
heap, and every little while she sat down by it to build up imaginary
fabrics of splendor and show. There was a house to let near her friends,
with the same external marks of gentility, and she was negotiating for
it, and it was to be furnished as nearly like her neighbor's as
possible, and she and Sammy were to emerge from the lowly obscurity that
had so long shrouded them, into the magnificence and grandeur of the
next street. It was for this important step that Mrs. Bates was to be
turned out into the chilly air, with the sick boy and the fatherless
girl. The poor woman would not have stooped to entreat for permission to
remain one moment were it not for the danger consequent on removing Pat
in his present situation; but her pleadings availed nothing with Mrs.
Flin any way, and so they went out, with the weak and suffering boy
hobbling between them, and had their things put in a basement-room,
which they called home again. It was not well for Pat down there in the
cold and wet; and they missed the bright sun, and the pure air, and the
cheering prospect, and altogether, what with the physical troubles
incident to their depression of spirits, and the struggle they had for
bread, they were getting on very ill, when a letter reached them from
Mr. Bond.

     "I'm coming on finely, my child," he said--it was to
     Nannie--"and look quite like Peter Bond again. The sea-voyage
     made me hearty, and a good appetite, freely indulged, plumped
     me up to my usual size, so that you would scarcely believe me
     the same man who left you two months ago, with the skeleton
     limbs losing themselves in the folds of my wide garments. Every
     thing is so new and strange to me, too, that I have plenty of
     amusement in watching my neighbors; and I often forget that I
     am as great a lion to them, until I meet their inquisitive
     gaze.

     "I should like for you to be here for a little while to get
     some of the delicious fruits that are so common and abundant,
     and to see the negroes working among the sugar-cane and
     tobacco. I can not tell you all I would like to in a letter,
     but we shall have very nice times when I get back again,
     talking about what I have seen and heard. I send you a few
     leaves of plants which I picked while walking in the garden of
     the Bishop's palace. They are unlike any you have at home, and
     I know your fancy for such things. I want very much to hear how
     you are getting along; if you are as attentive as ever to your
     lessons and school, and if Pat is doing well in the store, and
     if the attic looks just as it used to? and Nannie, you must go
     to Mrs. Kinalden's before you write and see puss for me; and
     don't suffer for any thing, d'ye hear? I send your mother a
     little money to help her along while I am away, for fear the
     work has failed. Shall come in June, if permitted.

                        "Your friend,

                            "PETER BOND."

The letter brought much joy, as well as the money that could reinstate
them in their old quarters again; but the times were still pinching,
and poor Nannie almost sunk down in the pitiless streets sometimes from
fatigue and exhaustion. She had got very weary one day, and had sold but
few of her wares, when she bethought her of May Minturn's mother, and
wondered if she would buy something for May's sake; so she sought the
house and went timidly in at the basement door. It wasn't Biddy who
opened it for her, but a strange girl who told her they didn't want any
thing; and she had not the courage to ask for the mistress, so she was
turning sadly and despondingly away, when she saw the pale sweet face at
the window and the white hand beckoning her to come up the front steps,
and a moment after, Mrs. Minturn herself admitted her into the hall.

"I thought you were at school, Nannie," said she, looking over the
articles in the basket, and selecting a goodly number, "and that you no
longer needed to go out in the cold and tire yourself with this heavy
thing," and she tried to lift the basket which her delicate arm could
scarcely uphold. "I'm sorry for you," continued she, as Nannie told her
of their misfortunes, "but come in here, I have something to propose to
you;" and she led the way to the nursery where a lovely little girl of
ten months old was amusing herself upon the floor with her playthings.
"Would you like to come and live with me, and take care of Dora?" asked
she, as Nannie stooped to caress the child, "I need Biddy as seamstress,
and you love babies and know how to please them, do you not?"

Nannie looked earnestly at the young child, and as she thought of
Winnie, it almost seemed as if she were back again, and she replied with
tears in her eyes, "Oh, ma'am, it would be so much better than that!"
pointing to the basket, "but perhaps I wouldn't suit you even if mother
will let me come!"

"Never mind that, Nannie," said Mrs. Minturn, "you will suit if you try,
I am sure; and I will give you more than you could get by trudging day
after day with your small wares; so run home and ask your mother, child,
and come to me on Monday, if you can."

"I would like it indeed!" thought Nannie, as she went homeward with a
light step. "It would be quite like minding dear Winnie!"

They had got nicely settled again in the attic, and Pat lay upon his
couch making shadows on the wall with his well arm to amuse himself, for
the hours lagged heavily; and he longed to be tugging at the great bales
and boxes again. He thought it would do well enough for women to be ill
and confined to the house week after week; but he would rather work ever
so hard than to be hived up in one particular spot so long, even with
the tender nursing and care bestowed upon him. It did not occur to him
that he needed occasionally such a convincing remembrance that he was
mortal, which he perhaps often forgot in his accustomed health and
strength. But he came to think of its object after awhile, and the
discipline worked to a charm, making him patient and gentle, and
awakening a deeper interest in the home where there is no more
sickness, so that when he felt himself growing robust again, he looked
back upon the trial with gratitude. It took a great while though to
regain what he had lost, and he had to sit for many a day in the
easy-chair with his swollen feet upon a pillow, before his limbs would
perform their accustomed office. Oh! how glad was he for the power of
locomotion, as his halting feet moved even slowly over the floor; and it
was like a recreation to him when he could walk down to the corner with
the aid of a crutch. But the limbs grew flexible at last, and he went
bounding off to his labors, thanking God that He had not made him a
cripple. The poor old man who hobbles about Broadway upon one leg, owed
many a penny to Pat's rheumatic siege, and Pat acknowledged it to
himself as he lifted his free steps and took the way to the store.



CHAPTER XXII.


Mrs. Bates was very lonely after Nannie went to nurse Dora, but she
could not decline so good an offer, and hardly thought of herself as she
felt what a nice home it would make for the child. Mrs. Minturn
permitted Nannie to go often to see her mother, for she felt a parent's
sympathy for the forlorn woman who was bereft of all her children, and
she would herself go and sit beside Dora's little crib, when the babe
was wakeful, rather than deprive Nannie of her visit to her home. She
knew how bitter a thing it was to be separated from the little ones that
shed such a halo over the house, and she could easily spare the girl one
hour an evening to cheer the lonely and widowed. Dora would object, and
cling to the young nurse that she had so soon learned to love; but the
clasp would grow weaker and weaker, until the non-resisting form could
be placed upon the bed, and Nannie always hastened back before there was
any real need. It was a happy hour for her mother and Pat--the one
Nannie spent with them. The table was drawn out and the books were upon
it, and the low voice read or chatted, and a merry ringing laugh was
often heard in the attic--and then Pat would go back with the child to
see that she was safe, and woe betide the boy that dared an insulting
word or look.

"Wasn't he a brave lad, though?" said Nannie, as she told Biddy about
the water, and the beating Pat gave the impudent troop of boys.

Biddy didn't dispute it, but she always went off into some rhapsody
about a "bonnie lad she had left in ould Ireland, jist the boy that
would be afther breaking the heart of ye, Nannie!"

Nannie had not reached that point yet, though, and was quite as
contented watching the sleeping babe, as if there were no such trysting
places as sidewalks, and no enamored boys and girls talking over the
black railings about an Erin of their own yet to be established in the
new country. She knew what it was to love her mother and the dead child,
whose memory would never die out of her warm heart, and good Mr. Bond,
who had always seemed to her so far above all other mortals--and Pat,
too, who was, she thought, the impersonation of all that was beautiful
and good; but the "breaking of the heart of ye" was a dead language to
her, saving when it referred to some terrible affliction. Don't talk to
Nannie about that, yet, Biddy. You're both better off with the kind
mistress, and the nice home, and the warmth and comfort all about you,
than you would be with a close room and crying children, and a husband
who couldn't support you. It isn't the _love_ I'm talking against. Oh!
no--thank heaven for that; but wait until you can see the prospect
clear for a comfortable living before you enter into a compact that may
bring much misery with it, and don't think that to be breaking your
hearts after the boys is of more importance than doing your duty in the
house of your employers. Nannie is growing to be quite a stout girl, and
perhaps Pat has a faint idea that she will make him a good wife one of
these days; but she does not dream of it, and only looks upon him as
Pat, yet. She never had a brother, so she can not estimate her regard
for him as a sister would; indeed she does not care to measure it any
way--why should she? the time has not come for this.

Pat looks at her rosy face as she sits across the table reading to them
evenings, and he can compare it to nothing excepting the beautiful waxen
figure he saw at some museum, a long time ago, and which has haunted him
ever since. He paid something for seeing that, but this is a free
blessing, which comes to him every evening, and the thoughts of it
lightens the toil through the day, and quickens the step homeward. No
wonder that he begins to feel that he must some day make sure that it
will always be so, and that he studies over it after the light is out
and the room is quiet, as he lies musing upon his restless couch.
Doesn't he see that she is prettier and prettier every day and doesn't
he know that there's many a boy that would be glad to call her "wife;"
and isn't he sure there'll be bloody times if any of them attempt to
take her from him! And as the sleep gets a faint mastery over him, and
he dreams of a tussle with Mike Dugan--all on Nannie's account--the
brawny arms strike outward, and the doubled fists come with such force
against the innocent plastering, as to bring Mrs. Bates's nightcap to
the bedroom door to see if thieves are breaking into the house.



CHAPTER XXIII.


Mrs. Flin has got into her new home, and there is quite a rejoicing
among her tenants. There is no fear now from Master Sammy's apple-skins
and pebbles, and the landlady's bombazine dress has done sweeping its
ample folds across Mrs. Bates' floor. You don't catch Mrs. Flin in that
vile street any more! She has an agent now to collect her rents for her,
and she does not even recognize Nannie, whom she meets walking with
little Dora in her arms. She has as much as she can do to keep an
account of the number of calls Mrs. Airly has in the course of a day,
and to ascertain what stylish-looking young lady is visiting there, and
what mustached gentleman it is who raises his eye-glass so gracefully as
the three drive past. Then she must stroll forth every morning at a
certain hour, which she has learned is etiquettical, with a card-case in
her hand, for that is the way Mrs. Airly--who has not wit enough to keep
her own counsel--told her she took to give people an idea that she was
greatly sought after. Mrs. Flin's time is wholly occupied. It is not
strange that she never has an hour to spare Mrs. Bates now. Sammy does
not exactly understand it all, and wonders why she pulls him by the hand
as they pass Nannie, whispering him not to stop in the street to talk
with that girl, when she used to send him up stairs to play with her, as
often as she could get him out of her way, when they lived down there.

Captain Flin has returned from sea, and he scarcely knows his own wife,
she has grown so grand. He does not feel at home in the new place; and
while she walks out with the card-case, he takes his pipe, and goes down
to sit on Jerry Doolan's steps and smoke with him, and he goes into the
house (Jerry occupies the rooms vacated by the ambitious Mrs. Flin), and
sits before the window, with his boots in the seat of it, wishing it was
his home still, and that these women wouldn't get such plaguy notions in
their heads!

Fie, fie! Captain Flin, will you let the weaker vessel go ahead of you
in ambition and enterprise, and you rest content with such humble
attainments! Knock the ashes out of your pipe, man, and go up to your
own door as if you had always belonged there. What if you do step on the
carpets as if they were eggs, and take up every thing as if it were not
made to touch, and run to the door every time you hear the bell, as if
it were not the maid's place. What if you do insist upon performing your
ablutions at the kitchen sink, and using the same towel with the
servants, and help yourself of the edibles 'way across the table, though
Sally does her best to get your plate so as to wait upon you? Watch your
wife, Jerold Flin. Don't you see how easy this gentility sits upon her;
and were you not born and bred in as good a station as she? You scorn it
all, do you! Notwithstanding, I'll warrant me you'll not know Jerry
Doolan this day twelve months! Mark my words!



CHAPTER XXIV.


Nannie's gone up to Mrs. Kinalden's to get some messages for the letter
to Mr. Bond. What has happened to the old lady? She has grown so very
gracious, and places a chair for Nannie, and offers her a warm doughnut
which she has just fried, and then she sits down with the cat on her
lap, while she talks to the girl about the old gentleman. There's a
good-natured smile upon her face, and somehow Nannie forgets how old and
disagreeable she thought her when she used to come to see the sick man;
and puss feels quite at home on the kind lap that no longer gives her a
spiteful toss upon the hard floor.

There's something come over Mrs. Kinalden, surely! Perhaps the letters
that occasionally reach her from the amiable bachelor have something
contagious in them, and may be they awaken in her mind a faint hope that
the address, "My dear Mrs. Kinalden," may mean a little more than
appears upon the surface. He says "how much he misses the comfort of his
home!" too, and "what delight it will give him to be once more settled
in his quiet room;" and he tells her to "take good care of puss for his
sake;" and isn't that almost equal to a declaration? The old lady often
draws a crumpled paper from her pocket, and carefully adjusting her
spectacles upon her nose, goes over the manuscript with the forefinger
of her right hand, stopping at "For my sake," and pondering the words
very seriously. She doesn't know how it would do to change her situation
at her time of life, although she does not feel a bit older than when
she was married to Mr. Kinalden! She wonders if he, poor dear man! would
rise from his grave if she should ever suffer herself to be called Mrs.
Bond! He used to say that he should not lie peacefully beneath the sod
if she were to drop his name for another. She was always afraid of
"sperits," and if he should appear to her! and she crumples the paper up
again, and thrusts it hastily into its secret receptacle, and chides
herself for forgetting for one moment her buried lord, for the night is
coming on, and she is not particularly courageous in the dreamy hours of
darkness, and she is not sure but Mr. Kinalden's ghost will punish her
for thought as well as deed.

Nannie has gone a long time ago. She only staid a moment to get news for
the letter, and the old lady was quite alone when she suffered herself
to embrace so important a subject as good Mr. Bond. The boarders drop in
one by one and Mrs. Kinalden's thoughts are concentrated in her cups and
saucers, and the hot tea that goes steaming round the table, and the
query whether "Mr. Viets is the gentleman who takes sugar?" and "if it
is Mr. Ballack that doesn't take milk?" and "which of the gentlemen it
is that likes both sugar and milk?" and "which that takes neither?" And
so all her aspirations after the Cuban bachelor are hushed for the
present, amid the sober realities of her responsible station. It is not
very remarkable that she sometimes dreams that it would be very
agreeable to make a different arrangement! To be sure her boarders are
as good as other boarders; but there's this person does not like
beefsteak, and is very fond of mutton chops, and that one can not endure
mutton chops, but delights in beefsteak; and fresh pork is too gross for
such a one's appetite, and veal cutlets are disagreeable to Mr. So and
So. Graham bread is the peculiar diet of one, and another never touches
any thing but dry toast; and some like pastry, and some puddings; and
what with them all and their likes and dislikes, the poor woman is
almost distracted with the worriment and care.

No wonder then that she often sighs to be free from such a bondage! Her
absent lodger never gave her any trouble; she can see it now that he is
away, and she only wishes that his fat merry face would soon show itself
again at her table. It would make her quite contented with her station
at the big waiter.

It is a pity your mind's on that train, Mrs. Kinalden. Mr. Bond's heart
is not made of wax, and is a terribly unimpressible object, so far as
the ladies are concerned. There is only one other heart to whose
pulsations it has ever responded, and that one has ceased to beat. Yours
may throb and throb beneath the waist of your dove-colored merino, but
his will never answer it, be sure of that!



CHAPTER XXV.


Nannie wrote such a long letter to Mr. Bond, in her childish, unformed
way. She told him every little thing concerning their own household, and
the Flins', and Pat's misfortunes, and their ejectment from, and
reinstalment in, their attic home; and she dwelt a great while upon Mrs.
Flin's metamorphosis, and upon her own new abode with the Minturns. And
the worthy bachelor read it all with as much delight as if it had been
his pet-newspaper. Wasn't it just what interested him, and he so far
away from the spot where all his joys centered alone, and among a
strange people! What if it was a child's composition--wasn't that child
Nannie Bates! and hadn't he determined to make something of her in the
world! and couldn't he see an uncommon degree of intelligence even in
that unfinished epistle!

How he frowned when he learned of Mrs. Flin's cruel treatment toward the
sick boy and the straitened family; and how he congratulated himself
upon being rid of the woman's importunities in behalf of the precocious
Sammy; and how he laughed at the vision of Jerold Flin treading cat-like
over the soft carpets, and sending his jets of liquid tobacco all over
his ambitious wife's new furniture! Oh! there was fun in that childish
letter to merry Mr. Bond.

His landlady was growing amiable! that was the best of all; but he
guessed the secret of it, and feared it would not prove lasting. "It
wasn't for nothing, Peter Bond," soliloquized he, "that she was so
willing to be burdened with the care of thy favorite puss! It wasn't for
nothing that so many goodies were stuffed into thy already crowded
valise! It wasn't for nothing that her communications have been so
frequent, and contained such tender inquiries after thy health, and such
pathetic injunctions to be careful of thyself!" You must be a simpleton,
man, to imagine that a benevolent disposition prompted so many
manifestations all of a sudden, when the past was so different. "But why
not?" thought he, as his charitable heart sought for a better motive in
the woman than selfishness. "Isn't there such a thing as an immediate
turning from the evil to the good? It does not take long to change the
current of one's actions, if one is determined and energetic. But we
shall see, we shall see;" and the good man leaned back in his chair,
with his spectacles between his thumb and forefinger, and suffered
himself to be carried away into a brighter past. He was not long in
forgetting Mrs. Kinalden, and Mrs. Flin, and even his young _protégée_,
and, looking off upon the surging ocean, he dreamed of a distant land
where his spirit loved to linger with the soul that was hidden from
other eyes. His reveries were very soothing and pleasant, and the people
would wonder, as they passed through the covered gallery where the old
man sat musing, what it could be that imparted such a radiance to his
ingenuous and winning face. They could not tell how a true affection may
hallow the whole of life, investing it with a secret and mysterious
charm. They were absorbed in other interests: some had their merchandise
out upon the treacherous waters, and their souls were in their ships;
and some had their traffic in a foreign land, and their hearts went
after it; and some were only pursuing a passing pleasure, with no
definite object or plan in existence.

Oh! how much they lost of true good, while the loving spirit,
unperturbed by the trifles that so deeply affected them, sought its
fellow, and with it held a sweet and refining communion.

It was a great wonderment to Mr. Bond what happiness there could be in
crowding together in a saloon, and smoking, and drinking, and
card-playing, and low and boisterous conversation. He forgot that it
would be quite impossible for some minds to think, and that such need a
continual excitement to make the hours endurable.

Tell them to walk down upon the wondrous beach, and interest themselves
in the beauties of a sublime nature, or to sit gazing upward with
delight at a heavenly creation, or to look within themselves and strive
after a higher and more perfect development, and how many would not turn
sneeringly away, and empty the brimming glass, or light a fresh cigar,
or begin a new game at faro, with the evident feeling that their own
ideas of pleasure were far before your unfashionable and strange
notions.



CHAPTER XXVI.


What with Nannie's wages, and her own work, and Pat's board, besides an
occasional perquisite from their kind friend, Mrs. Bates was quite
looking up in the world. She had been able to cover the floor with a
nice list carpet, and to add a few comfortable and pretty articles of
furniture from time to time, so that the little family began to feel
that their humble abode was the most luxurious place they had ever seen.
Their hearts were so filled with gratitude for even these homely
comforts, that there was no room in them for envious feelings toward
those who were possessed of more bounteous gifts. A little stand by the
window now held Nannie's plants, that were ever green and flourishing,
and there was scarcely a week but some sweet bud peeped out from the
fresh leaves of the one, or pure blossom burst forth from the other to
greet them. The big Bible occupied its accustomed place in the corner,
and a couple of neat shelves, the work of Pat's ingenuity, held the few
books and little ornaments that had been accumulating since their good
fortune commenced. Winnie's cradle was put away in her mother's bedroom
with the rag-baby still lying beneath the small counterpane, and in its
place was Pat's couch newly covered with a gay flowered chintz. A bright
oil-cloth was nailed beneath the stove, and in the center of the room
stood a table, around which was gathered a loving trio every evening
when Nannie could be spared from her little charge.

Mrs. Minturn's house, to be sure, was grand and magnificent, and
abounded in every thing that was costly and elegant, and yet, to Nannie,
the square attic room with its modest apurtenances was far more
beautiful and attractive. The eye of a stranger could see only the bare
objects that served to fill the vacant nooks; but the heart's strong
affections, and the devotion that counts nothing a toil that can bring
blessings to another, and the motives of love and purity that dictated
this or that offering, were the hidden associations that manifested
themselves to Nannie's vision and made their inestimable value, so that
could she have chosen between them and the wealth of her employers, she
would gladly have taken the simple home.

Wasn't it here that peace had first spread its soft wings to shelter her
long-time troubled being! Was it not here that she had learned what it
was to be smiled upon and beloved; and was it not hallowed to her by the
visits of her kind friend and the noble Pat; and, more than all, was it
not consecrated by the footsteps of the death angel that came for dear
little Winnie? Oh! there is no space there for a murmuring, grasping
spirit, to take the good gifts handed out by a wise and loving father,
and to use them with a grateful feeling is all that the righteous poor
can wish. Even in their lowliness are they often the objects of envy to
the harassed and care-ridden rich, who would willingly forego all their
superfluous gains for one hour of contented ease.

Mrs. Minturn went frequently to Nannie's home when the girl took little
Dora out for a walk, for she wished to accustom her child to the sight
of the various conditions of life, so that if she were spared to
womanhood she might not be so far removed from her fellow-creatures as
to hesitate to enter any abode, however humble, and to minister to the
needy; and the gentle lady sat with her silken robes falling over the
home-spun carpet, and her soft features exposed to the glare and steam
of that common room, looking with a happy heart upon the joyous group
before her. The poor widow, with her gown of print and checked apron,
laid down her weary needle to attend to the sweet voice that ever
sounded so soothingly in her ear, and the delighted child shook its
rough toys, holding them up to the view, first of one, and then the
other, and laughing aloud in her boisterous glee.



CHAPTER XXVII.


Mr. Bond was coming home! the glad news was in Nannie's hand, and he was
even then bounding over the waters toward his lowly friends.

The room looked very sunny that morning, and the hearts of the expectant
ones danced for joy. He would be there the next week, and they must all
be there to meet him on Friday--that seemed so like a reality, to name
the very day. Pat could request a holiday of his employers, and, as for
Mrs. Minturn, she was sure to participate in all of Nannie's pleasures,
and would be ready with the permission to spend the important day at her
mother's. The greatest trouble was the intervening hours; how could they
be comfortably disposed of! they had duties enough to perform, and yet
the time went slowly and wearily; but it had an end, and a happy
one--for the kind face was before them, as fat and merry and amiable as
ever, and the immense corporosity moved about the room with as much
gravity as so jolly a person was capable of. Nobody would have suspected
that he had ever been ill, or that the shadow of a sorrow had ever
troubled him. Seated beside the window with the June air playing blandly
upon his forehead, he congratulated himself that he was once more among
his friends. What if they were humble and poor! there was a depth and
richness in their love for him that neither comes of station nor wealth,
and it sunk soothingly and gratefully into his glad heart, making it
fruitful in a pure joy.

"It is not quite so pleasant bouncing up and down at the will of the
angry waves, Nannie," said he, "as to sit quietly in this lolling-chair
with your friends all about you, I can tell you, my girl!" and he looked
at Nannie with a twinkle and a laugh, as if to say, "I'm well out of it,
though. The ocean doesn't have any mercy on a body's bones, but tosses
you about as if you were an India-rubber ball made on purpose;" added
he, bursting into a hearty roar as he caught Mrs. Bates' eye fastened
upon his rotund proportions, as if to ascertain where the bones were.
"Oh! well, my good woman," continued he, "even a porpoise couldn't stand
the bumping and thumping that we poor mortals are subject to when we
trust ourselves on shipboard. Why, I solemnly protest that I've been
pitched from my berth, many a time, quite across the cabin into my
neighbor's and back again, in a trice, and that without ceremony, too!"

The old gentleman did not seem very indignant, but smiled upon his
auditors as placidly as if there had been nothing but calm on his
homeward journey, and he did not even mind their merriment as they
pictured to themselves his robust figure bounding about like a
foot-ball.

You are in the right of it, Mr. Bond. If you are the object of an
innocent glee, it is better to join in the merry laugh, rather than to
don a severe and offended dignity. It is quite a funny thought, though,
that, amid such pitiless peltings you should escape with not even the
slightest impression upon your fleshless bones! well, there's some
comfort in being fat, you have that to console you. He doesn't look as
if he ever needed to be consoled, but I can tell you that even Mr. Bond
is not wholly exempt from the annoyances and trials of life! He has
learned how to make the best of every thing, and that is more than half
toward averting a trouble. Put a cheerful face upon the matter, it will
but make it worse to fret and frown and keep your neighbors
uncomfortable about it, besides working yourself into a teapot! Mr. Bond
crowded all the evils down into the deepest corner of his heart and
turned the key upon them, and that was the end of them. Nobody ever got
hold of and magnified them, until he felt that they were too painful for
any mortal to bear, for he kept them so close that they had not room to
breathe, and so suffocated, and he knew nothing more about them.

It was a way of Mr. Bond's--there, couldn't every body do it--there's a
certain process to go through before one can learn, and he had tried it
thoroughly, and was really a proficient in the thing. It isn't every
body that cares to learn--it is very pleasant to draw a friend into a
corner and pour into a willing and sympathizing ear all that affects one
depressingly, but it is a question whether either is benefited by the
confidence--the gloom may not only be deepened upon your own face, but
it may reflect itself upon the countenance before you also. Better
imitate the amiable and wise bachelor, and impart nothing but that which
will bring a bright gleam with it.



CHAPTER XXVIII.


Mrs. Kinalden was in a terrible flutter. Her lodger's "traps" had come,
and were well disposed in his silent room; she had every thing in order
to receive him. The light and the sun were admitted into the long-time
darkened space, and puss was curled up upon the rug as if she had never
known another resting-place. The dove-colored merino went up and down
the stairs, and the clean cap-border flew backward with every agitated
movement.

"It was very strange that he didn't come! Hadn't the boat been in since
ten o'clock in the morning? so the truckman told her, and here were the
hands at two in the afternoon! There was no accounting for it after all
that had passed between them!" However, it couldn't be helped, and as
the hour of three struck, and no Mr. Bond appeared, the despairing woman
betook herself to her green moreen rocking-chair, and, what else could
she do?--wept. Yes, wept! and while the red silk handkerchief hid her
disappointed face, a heavy step sounded in the hall, and a familiar
voice came through the half-open door of the little parlor. "Heigh-ho!
what's the matter here? I thought I'd escaped the terrors of the briny
deep; but bless my heart! here I am in the midst of it again!" and Mr.
Bond's plump hand was extended to greet his landlady, who quickly wiped
away the offending drops, and grew calm. "Couldn't come before, madam,"
said he, in reply to her question as to what had detained him so long.
"Had to go first and see how Nannie and Pat got on, you know!" That was
rather overwhelming--so inconsistent with "My dear Mrs. Kinalden."

The shocked widow looked indignant and muttered something about
"professions of regard," and "affectionate epistles," etc.; but it was
all lost upon the obtuse man who talked on, about what especially
concerned him, and then went gleefully up the stairs.

What wonder if his heart did beat quicker as his hand touched the knob
of his room-door! Isn't it like meeting a dear friend, after a long
absence, to cross the threshold of a cherished locality? The very
inanimate things seemed invested with a silent joy at his return, and
the face from the portrait beamed out a glad welcome. There are tears in
the bachelor's eyes as they meet the blue orbs so fondly fastened upon
him, for his thoughts are upon the gentle and confiding embrace that was
once his. Woe unto you, Mrs. Kinalden! If there were a single
impregnable spot in the good man's bosom, that tear would never have
found its birth.

Puss, awakened by the heavy foot-falls, leaps about her master's legs,
and gives a spring into his narrow lap, as he takes his chair,
maintaining her precarious position by fastening her claws tightly in
his broadcloth, to the no small danger of the limbs beneath, and purrs
her perfect satisfaction. Oh! it's a good thing to get home! There's not
so comfortable a place on the face of the earth, as the spot we call our
own, with the objects that meet our daily touch strewn all about in
their accustomed places. It's a pleasant thing to go out into the wide
world too, and gather up a noble stock of incidents and experience, and
thoughts, to expand the ideas that get pent-up and contracted by a
narrow and confined position; but it is far better to turn about with
one's face toward the dearer haunts and the best loved friends, and the
familiar pleasures!

So thought the weary old man, as he sat in his big arm-chair, while his
vision roved from one thing to another in his cosey room, and the warm
breath of his favorite puss touched his hand.

It was all like a dream to him--the path he had trodden upon the deep,
and the wanderings amid tropical scenes, and the transition from place
to place within the last few months! He arose and looked into the garden
below. When he had left, a white covering was spread over every thing
and the sun's rays fell coldly upon snow and ice. Now there was fresh
foliage upon trees and shrubs, and the perfume from newly-blown roses
came up to greet his willing senses, and the little girls were playing
under the thick shade. They looked up with a merry shout, as a shower of
bon-bons fell upon their heads, and clapped their hands for very
rapture, as the happy face peered out upon them through the half-closed
blinds.



CHAPTER XXIX.


Captain Flin and his wife are coming down the street in full gala
attire. The pipe has vanished, but the card-case is still conspicuous
amid the folds of a stiffly-starched embroidered handkerchief. They have
been to see the Airlys, and have posted themselves up in all their
affairs, and they are now _en route_ to return the numerous visits that
have been paid to their new house and furniture. If that could have been
put upon rollers and trundled about to drop its card, it would have been
quite an acceptable deputy, and would have saved a world of
embarrassment to the unsophisticated couple.

There's a worthy man upon the walk at a short distance from them. He
shuffles along with his heavy gait and home-spun dress, but there is a
good honest frankness in his face that commends him to the passers-by.
He has almost reached them, and is about to give some token of
recognition, when they whisk across the street with averted looks.
Didn't I tell you so, Captain Flin? The twelvemonth lacks a week, and
Jerry Doolan has gone to his home with downcast mien and a heavy heart,
because his old friend has purposely avoided him. Don't I know
something of human nature, and how contaminating heaped-up coppers are?
It is not every body that will bear even a moderate degree of wealth,
particularly among those who have no other foundation to build their
consequence upon. You are not wholly given over yet, Captain Flin, for
there are evidences of self-accusings in your confession. "I'm sorry we
cut poor Jerry, wife! It wouldn't hurt us to speak to him!" You'll come
right again, man; we're sure of that. Mrs. Flin thinks it is well enough
to show Jerry that their position in life is different from what it used
to be, and she is afraid that if she condescends to notice him, even
casually, it will be an excuse for him to send Duggy up to play with
Sammy; and isn't she trying as hard as she can to make Sammy forgetful
of the past, and mindful only of their present exaltation! The Captain
acknowledges that it is a good idea to try to make something of Sammy,
but he feels as if he is himself rather too old to remodel into a
polished gentleman, after so long a probation of hardening and
roughening too. He considers it a real trial to sit by with his great
hands hanging by his side, while his wife talks to her grand
acquaintances with a volubility that he never before imagined her
possessed of; and he only misses still more the quid that used to keep
his own tongue occupied. It is such a relief when the last call is made,
and their steps are bent toward their own door. Mrs. Flin goes to her
room to divest herself of some of her superfluous finery, and her
husband quietly takes the opportunity to don his shaggy coat and light
his pipe, and while she fancies him safe within their own walls, he is
striding swiftly toward Jerry Doolan's to tell him what an old fool he
made of himself in the morning, and to remove the heaviness from his
friend's heart by an hour of familiar chat.

"Fact is, Jerry," says he, "wife may as well hang up her fiddle about
me; can't make a whistle out of a pig's tail, man, I tell ye! She may
fuss up the young'un as much as she's a mind to, but it'll be labor lost
over an old chap like me. I feel more at home down here in the old
place, and a plaguy sight more comfortable, than I do with all the nice
fixins she's got together up yonder; and I'll tell you what it is,
Jerry, we'll have many a smoke and talk yet, while the women folks do up
their callin'. I've been once, and that's once too many, and it will
take a taut pull to get me at that business again;" and the old sailor
puffed away at his pipe, and congratulated himself in his firm
resolution not to be whiffled about so easily as heretofore by his
wife's ambitious whims.

A pretty time there was of it, though, when he reached home again, and
Mrs. Flin pumped out of him where he had been. "It's all of no use,
Jerold Flin," said she, "for me to be a strivin' and a strivin' to keep
up the honor of the house, and you continually running back to your low
associates." But seeing that her husband was not much affected by any of
her appeals she turned her aspirations to the boy, whose life she almost
teased out with her injunctions not to do this, for James Airly didn't,
and to be sure to do that, because James Airly did. You need not exert
yourself, Mrs. Flin, the boy's a "chip off the old block," and you can
not make him otherwise. If you'll only try to implant within him good
principles, and teach him that kindness of heart that always results in
a true courtesy, it will benefit him more than all the fashionable
notions you can gather from the external example of your neighbor
Airly's children, I can assure you. This life is too noble and too
dignified to be frittered away in vain attempts after a worthless
outside. There is a genuine refinement and polish that comes from a
strict adherence to the golden rule; this is what I would have you
impress upon Master Sammy.



CHAPTER XXX.


"How d'ye do, Nannie?" said young Flin, as he met the girl walking with
Dora. Sammy was on his way to school with his satchel on his arm, and
could only stop a minute; but he always did like Nannie Bates, and he
was glad to get an opportunity to tell her that he would see her
sometimes if his mother would let him go down to the old house. "You see
I have to study very hard, now," said he, with a disdainful toss of his
books to the walk; "and I don't love it, Nannie, but mother says she
wants me to be a great man one of these days, and that's the way to
bring it about. I don't see though how it will do it, if I study all my
life and don't learn any thing!"

"But," said Nannie, "you ought to try to improve since you have the
means to get a good education; I wish mother was rich enough to send me
to school all the time!" and she took the satchel and looked over the
books with a wistful air, while Sammy amused himself with the child.

"There's the old bell," said he, as the first faint tones came gratingly
to his ear, "and I suppose I must go; I'm sure I'd rather play than sit
bending over my desk all day, but good-by, Nannie, when I'm bigger I'll
come to see you as often as I've a mind;" and away he ran, while Nannie
stood looking after him and wishing for the very privilege that he
spurned.

It would have done her some good, but Mr. Bond thought "she knew enough
already. She could read, write, and cipher, and didn't she know
Pilgrim's Progress from beginning to end; that was all he had ever
learned, and hadn't he gone through life well enough so far!"

You are a nice good-hearted jolly old man, Peter Bond, and your merry
happy face and amiable temper will compensate for any deficiency in
intellectual attainment; but Nannie Bates has a craving mind, and it
must have nourishment. You don't know how early she is out of her bed,
stowed away in Mrs. Minturn's attic with a book in her hand, nor how
many pages she devours while nursing Dora. She does not neglect her
little charge, but invents a thousand ways to keep her pleased and
contented, while she gleans a little more knowledge every day. It's
astonishing how much the girl has gained already, and she has a double
motive in it, too; there's another mind waiting to have it imparted, and
the two expand, night after night, as they give their gathered ideas to
each other in the one short hour. It's not much time, but it
accumulates, in one year, thirty days! think of it! Supposing it were
spent in foolish talking and jesting, or in parading the walks with the
other boys and girl! there would be thirty days wasted, and two minds
robbed, and two intelligent faces despoiled of their chief attractions.
Pat has grown quite fine-looking since the obtuse look has given place
to such a sensible inquiring expression, and a soul speaks out from
Nannie's eyes now that she bestows more culture upon the mental part.

You're right, Mr. Bond. It is not necessary for Nannie Bates to go to
school! she will come out quite as bright as thousands who are kept at
their books by a rod over their backs. She can not help acquiring,
wherever she is! She appears very modest and very attentive to the child
as she stands in the drawing-room of her mistress while Dora is
exhibiting to the many guests; but her ear is becoming accustomed to a
pure language, and her imitative powers soon adopt it. She will make a
very lady-like little wife for somebody! Pat sees it, and does what he
can to keep up with her. There'll be a struggle for her, though. Mike
Dugan goes to Mrs. Minturn's very often, and whenever Nannie is sent to
the kitchen on any mission there's a paper of candy for her, or a kind
pleasant word, or a fond look, and she begins to think Mike a very nice
sort of lad; when Pat finds how things are going, "he doesn't think he
would put himself in Mike Dugan's way if he were Nannie! He's a great
rough, red-headed, ugly fellow, and wouldn't make much of a husband for
any girl!"

Nannie isn't thinking of husbands, and only wonders why Pat dislikes
Mike so much when he is as kind to her as a brother would be. She
doesn't think him ugly at all. She remembers that he has red hair. It
doesn't strike her that Pat's is, if possible, a shade more fiery. She
has never thought of comparing them, Mike is a clever fellow, and all
the girls like him; but Pat, is Pat, and she would not have him like
anybody else for all the world!



CHAPTER XXXI.


Mrs. Kinalden's face has grown long again, and the sour look has
returned. It is strange what a gutta-percha capacity it has! Not so very
strange though since she has not attended to the direction to purge
herself from all internal sources of disquiet.

There isn't a person in the world that could maintain an equable
temperament and expression, if every little outward vexation were
suffered to penetrate him. Mrs. Kinalden has never learned to look
within for her chief pleasure and enjoyment. Poor soul! it is little she
would find to attract her in its present aspect, and that is the reason
she does not care to enter the recesses of her heart; but depends upon
the things that surround her for her delight; and they can not but fail
to bring her any peace. If she would only consent to sweep and garnish
the hidden chambers, and adorn them with the beauteous and goodly things
which all may possess, she would find it very comforting to withdraw
from other things, and spend her sweetest moments there, and the bright
cheerful expression would be permanent then.

It is not easy to take this advice, however, and we give the landlady
up as a hopeless case. Mr. Bond is the only person whose arguments weigh
any thing with her, and he, indifferent man, does not even perceive his
influence; but goes about his own business, as if there were no
disconsolate widow pining away her desolate being for him. The boarders
recognize the fact, and they enjoy the fun, and flatter her into the
belief that the bachelor is willin', but too diffident to propose, and
they tell her that she must not be shy--that she can reveal the state of
her feelings in a delicate way--and, when they have every thing in a
right train, they withdraw from the little parlor, as Mr. Bond comes in
for a moment's conversation with the old lady. She is terribly perturbed
now that the moment has really come, and the innocent man seeing her
distress, and fearing that some serious evil has happened to occasion
it, begs her to tell him what troubles her, assuring her of his sympathy
and aid. He even places a chair near her, and seats himself so close to
her that his hand rests upon the arm of the sofa where she is sitting.

She loses her fear then, and says, in a tremulous tone, she has been
thinking of Mr. Kinalden. Mr. Bond appreciates that. Is not there a
kindred spirit in his own thoughts every moment of his life? Mrs.
Kinalden begins to rise in his estimation, and he chides himself for
ever imagining her untrue to her husband's memory; so he sighs, and
listens as she goes on to say that she used to have scruples about
throwing off her widowhood; but her days are very lonely, and she might
be induced "to change her mind". Mr. Bond puts her down a peg again;
but feeling that he must congratulate her if she has really determined
to marry, he tells her he is really very happy! and this encourages her
to speak openly of him as the object of her affectionate designs.

There is a suppressed giggle in an adjoining room as the quick tread of
the bachelor is heard upon the stairs; but he does not feel like
laughing. He is shocked! he is indignant, that any one should ever dream
of his being faithless to his early love!

How he came face to face with the cherished portrait, he does not know!
That something strange has occurred he is sure; yet he stands there in
his bewildered mood, a long, long time, wondering whether he is in or
out of the body, and why Betty Lathrop could not have been spared to
cheer his declining years? What! Peter Bond is not sad!

Isn't it enough to depress any one to be surprised by such a novel and
unwelcome announcement when his own heart is dead to all but the one
beloved?

Of course Mr. Bond could not remain in Mrs. Kinalden's house after this,
and so he took a room in the same house with his young friends, and
Nannie's mother went in every day to keep it in order, and it soon grew
to be as dear as the old spot, for the same furniture was there, and the
same face upon the canvas.



CHAPTER XXXII.


The good man can now make one of the party that assembles every evening
in the pleasant attic. He has not the distance to keep him away, nor the
weather, nor a feeble state of health, and right glad he is that every
obstacle to so welcome a privilege is removed. A stranger, used to the
polish and luxury of a different sphere, would wonder how such content
and happiness could reign amid apparent lowliness and effort, for
although things present a neat and thrifty aspect in the little room, it
is evident that much toil is necessary in order to maintain even this
degree of prosperity. The busy fingers of the mother are ever engaged
with the needle, and the child is separated from her home by a needful
economy; yet there is a real joy in every moment spent together, which
might well excite the envy as well as the curiosity of a spectator.
People are so long a time learning that harmony is of more value in a
household than thousands of gold or silver--that "a dinner of herbs,
where love is, is better than the stalled ox and hatred therewith."
Perhaps if they could look in upon some of their wealthy neighbors, who
are rich in every thing but the blessed element that money can not
purchase, and then return to the humble place that overfloweth with
love and peace, they would be ready to acknowledge wherein true
happiness consists, and to search for it with as much ardor as they now
do for an increased treasury or a higher station. Mrs. Bates never
troubled herself as to who was better off than she in point of tangible
good, but she perfectly reveled in the sunny atmosphere of her pleasant
home, endeavoring so to fix its present blessedness that no outward
vicissitudes would be able to affect it.

She had no verbal eloquence with which to commend a contented and glad
disposition to the members of her household, but her example was more
forcible than precept, and there needed no other adviser. It was not
always so; Nannie can look back to a sorrowful period, when even the
hope-light was hidden from them, and they all feel that the leaven of
the kind, and Christian, and benevolent heart has exercised its changing
and salutary power among them.

Well may you look about upon the group before you with a placid feeling,
Peter Bond. Isn't it worth a few more years severance from the spirit
that awaiteth thee elsewhere, to see so noble a work--the result of thy
instrumentality? It was a strange Providence to thee that raised thee up
from the jaws of death and set thee upon thy strong feet again; but to
question its wisdom was perfect folly--that thou feelest now as thy
usefulness becomes apparent even to thy humility.

Nannie wonders what subject is agitating her friend, as his face grows
thoughtful and serious; but she does not interrupt his meditations, for
she has many a moment of quiet reflection that she wouldn't have broken
for all the world, so she keeps very still until her hour has expired,
and then says "good-night," so gently that he is not disturbed.

Mr. Bond goes to his room, with puss sauntering after, and Mrs. Bates
indulges herself in a cat-nap in her chair, while Pat is enjoying the
moonlight walk to Mrs. Minturn's with Nannie. He is as happy as happy
can be until they reach the house, and Mike Dugan confronts them with a
gift for Nannie. It's all spoiled now! Pat frowns upon Mike, and making
a gruff adieu to Nannie, walks back again, with an uncomfortable feeling
as if all the world is against him; and Nannie puts the unopened parcel
upon the table, and cries herself asleep, with Pat's daguerreotype under
her pillow and his rough adieu in her heart.

Poor children! it's the same the world over--smiles and tears, and
smiles again; heart-breakings and heart-mendings; quarrels and
reconciliations. There's no help for it; you must have your own
experience!



CHAPTER XXXIII.


Mike, with his hands in his pockets, strolls homeward, whistling a merry
tune as he thinks of the smile upon the young face that haunts him. He
does not fancy there will be much difficulty in winning Nannie Bates.
"All the girls like him, and why shouldn't she?" Mike has a tolerable
favorable opinion of himself. He keeps a livery-stable in ---- street,
and takes the girls out to drive, and he flourishes his whip, and trots
his fast horses along the roads with the best of them. There is a
bravado sort of way about him that tells among his companions, who look
up to him with a certain degree of veneration, as a being of rather a
superior order to themselves. He twists his red hair over a hot iron
till it stands up all about his head in little bits of curls; and he has
grown a flaming mustache that is really quite killing among his female
acquaintances. No wonder he is so easy concerning Nannie Bates! He
couldn't imagine that Pat Rourke, with his uncouth ways and brusque
appearance could presume to rival him in her heart! So he enters the
stable with a joyous spring, and goes the rounds cheerfully, patting
Berk's back, and speaking pleasantly to Roscoe, and giving an ear of
corn to Arab, and a little more hay to all.

There's no doubt of his supremacy there--the grateful animals neigh, and
paw, and rub their noses fondly upon his shoulder as he passes
fearlessly around them. If Nannie could see his devotion to the helpless
and dumb it would awaken within her a far deeper regard than the
combined results of curling-tongs and pomatum, or the outward flourish
and glitter of his equestrian establishment.

Mike has a tender heart; any body can see that who visits his nice
stables, and looks upon the plump, well-cared-for horses. He has a spice
of vanity; the girls are responsible, in a measure, for this, for they
have flattered him until he begins to think he may be good enough for
any of them; but he only thinks of Nannie Bates as a fit and desirable
companion for him, and he works diligently to get the means to buy them
a home. Pat strives, with the same end constantly in view, and Nannie
smiles on them both with her winning, happy face, never dreaming herself
the motive-power to such untiring energy. She wonders why Pat puts so
much of his earnings in the savings' bank, contenting himself with his
old suit, which has grown quite rusty from such continual wear; and when
Mike whispers to her, in a sly way, that he is trying to get a home to
offer a certain fine girl that he wants for a wife, Nannie shakes her
finger witchingly at Biddy, as if to say, "I've found you out now." Mike
does not relish her obtuseness, but she seems so timid and shrinking,
that he is backward about speaking his sentiments plainly. Besides, he
has a real affection for her, and that always brings a certain reserve
with it. What in the world is he to do? That rascally Pat has such a
decided advantage in seeing her every day, and he can see that he has a
great deal of influence over her. He does not really think she can
hesitate between them, for Pat is so rough in his dress, and has such
red hair, and straight at that; and Mike pushes his fingers through the
bright curls, and gives another look at himself in the little mirror
that hangs in his room in the stable. The self-complacency melts away,
as the object becomes dearer, and there is a slight fear that some
obstacle may spring up between him and his hopes. He'll risk but he can
overcome it, though, but it would be pleasanter to have the way smooth
and easy. There's Molly Ryan would give her right hand for him, and
Katie Doyle says he's the only boy she will ever marry, and Helen Dhue
left her last place because the mistress would not permit him to stay
later than ten o'clock when he went to see her. "Oh! there were girls
enough ready!" and he snapped his fingers at the willing ones that were
in his mind, and dwelt yearningly upon the doubtful and uncertain.
There's nothing strange in that--every body does so.



CHAPTER XXXIV.


Time goes very fleetly where there is a real and substantial joy, a
happiness that mocks all outward changes. It was thus in the humble home
of Nannie Bates' mother, and also in the magnificent abode of the
Minturn's, whose hearts were untarnished by the constant in-pouring of a
lavish opulence.

Four years had elapsed since Nannie found shelter under that pleasant
roof, and little Dora had learned to cling to her with an unwonted
affection. Mrs. Minturn, too, had such a perfect confidence in the young
nurse, and could trust the child to her care and love, as if she were a
fond sister. She knows that Dora holds the dead Winnie's place in the
warm heart, and that no word of bitterness or touch of anger can ever
proceed from the faithful girl. She has just been watching them at play
upon the walk, and has noticed Nannie's patience, at some petulant act
of the child, and she is rejoicing in the treasure she possesses in
Nannie, when Mrs. Bates requests to see her. She has come to take Nannie
home. Mr. Bond is ill again, and the girl is needed to nurse him. She
grieves very much that she is obliged to tear her from so nice a home;
but the good man is entitled to her grateful services, and she has no
alternative. Her own hands are ready and glad to wait upon the sick man,
but he says "bring Nannie;" and she can not tell him no.

So the nurse must go; and she cries herself almost ill by the side of
the sweet child, whose arm is still around her neck in its unconscious
slumbers. It seems quite like laying Winnie away again, to turn from the
little one that had so long been as her own. There is a duty in it,
however, and she sees it too plainly to try to evade it, so she
disengages herself softly from the clinging arm, and kissing the little
placid face, goes down to the kitchen to see Mike, who had sent up
expressly for her. She had not the heart to refuse, when he had always
been so kind to her, and perhaps she would not soon meet him again to
thank him, for she knew Pat would prevent it if he could. Mike pretended
not to notice her downcast looks, although he did perceive that
something had occurred to sadden her, and he had a strong desire to
comfort her. If it had been one of his horses in trouble, there would
have been no difficulty in providing a remedy; but Nannie Bates was
quite another thing; and the more he tried to find a solace, the more at
a loss was he. Biddy had gone out on an errand, and all the other
servants were absent, and he felt that it might be a good time to tell
Nannie who it was that he was getting a house for; but the words stuck
by the way, and it was in vain to try to force them out, they would not
come at all.

Nannie looked at him in wonder, and almost in affright as he clutched at
his blazing head in the very desperation of his feelings, and she could
not account for the difference in his demeanor. Mike was usually such a
merry good companion. Perhaps it was herself that scattered her sadness
and dullness all about her; or was Mike sick? She ventured to ask him
this.

"No--yes--no, he wasn't sick; he thought perhaps he wasn't so well as he
was; but he guessed he'd feel better by 'm by; he didn't know what ailed
him!"

Nannie told him she was to leave for home in the morning, and she did
not know how long it would be before she should see him again, and she
expressed her kind feelings toward him, and her appreciation of all that
he had done for her; and she gave him a little heart made of bright
silks, and stuck all round with pins, as a parting memento. It was not
coquetish in her, for she had too much honest simplicity for that; but
Mike was emboldened by it to move his seat from the other side of the
room to the end of the table where she sat weaving a cord chain, and he
had just taken up the work to look at it, when Pat came blustering in.
He had seen Mike through the window, and his manner as he spoke to
Nannie, was hurried and excited, and betrayed a tinge of anger. Nannie
was as pleasant as ever, though sad at her approaching separation from
Dora, and her gentle mistress; and she tried to draw the lads into an
amicable conversation. It was all in vain on Pat's side though; and both
were so strange and still that it was growing very uncomfortable for
them all, and when Biddy and one of the other servants came in, Nannie
took her work and left the room with a faint good night to both the
discomfited youths.

"Tell mother I'll be home early, Pat," said she, as she passed him on
her way to the door.

Mike arose and followed her into the basement hall, and handed her a
parcel, which his timidity had thus far prevented his offering; and he
so far overcame his bashfulness, as to tell her he should go for her to
ride with him sometime.

"Not as you know of!" said Pat to himself, as he overheard the lad's
plans, "it'll be many a day before Nannie Bates sits beside Mike Dugan,
I'm thinking!" and he rushed past the couple like a madman, and hastened
down the street, never stopping until he reached the attic room.

Then sinking into a chair by the window, he gazed out upon the bay whose
waves murmured and foamed in the freshening breeze--a fit emblem of his
agitated mood! "It's well," thought he, "that I didn't touch him; there
might have been consequences! and 'tis better that I came directly
home!"

There was not much rest for Pat that night! Every time he lost himself;
there were visions of a young girl dashing along the streets, with Mike
Dugan holding the reins of a restive horse, and as he attempted to reach
the maiden, she would smile sweetly upon her companion, and turn from
him with a contemptuous expression. Poor Pat! What a world of useless
sighing and trouble! Nannie sits meantime in her chamber working upon
the chain for a surprise to thee on the morrow, and her heart's honest
love is inwoven with every knot; until there is not a link from
beginning to end but is fraught with holiest feelings and wishes!



CHAPTER XXXV.


Mr. Bond's pale face brightens up as Nannie enters the sick room, and he
seems to rally again, but the physician says there is no hope of his
restoration. He has failed very rapidly. A paralytic stroke has deprived
him of the use of his right side, and it is very evident that he will
not make one of the pleasant party in the sunny attic again. It is a
great happiness to the weary man to feel that his work upon earth is
almost over. He has done it more than cheerfully, even gladly! but he is
not sorry to rest from it now, there's a great reward coming--besides
the face of his merciful and loving Father, there is another, the gift
of that same Father whom they both ever reverenced, that is winning him
with its seraphic expression, and he is quite ready to go. There are
some things to be settled, though, while he has the ability to do it,
and he calls Pat and Nannie to him, and places the girl's hand in the
lad's, blessing them doubly--first with the fadeless benison that cometh
from above, sometimes through the petitions of a departing and righteous
soul--and then with an earthly dower from the purse that had never been
closed to the poor and needy, neither had unwisely nor imprudently
emptied itself upon them. There was nothing else for Peter Bond to do
but to compose himself, and peacefully await the parting moment. There
were very profitable hours spent beside the sick man's bed; hours that
left their impress upon the after-life of Mrs. Bates and her two
children, for Pat is as Nannie, now, the minister has made them man and
wife beside the couch of their benefactor. It was by his express wish;
what if they are young! So much the more closely will the sacred bonds
be interlaced until no earthly power can loose them.

They demur, on account of the unseemliness of a joyous ceremony at a
time, to them, so sad and trying; but it is a last request, and they
yield. It is very hard to think that their kind friend is passing from
them, and that they have no power to detain him; but so it is, and he
falls asleep with his closing eyes fixed upon the face on the canvas,
and the beloved name on his lips. There are a good many in to look upon
him as he lies there so majestically calm. There is such a sublimity in
the noble countenance now stamped with so sacred a seal!

There are no relations there, for he has outlived all of kindred blood;
but there are others crowding around to get a parting glimpse of the
kind face that has cheered them through many an adverse season, and the
family of his adoption leave him not until the trees that shade the
maiden's grave wave also over his, and the fragrance of the flowers
which his own hand hath planted on the green hill-side afar off, breath
upon the tombs of both united.



CHAPTER XXXVI.


It is a very quiet subdued sort of night. A solemn stillness broods over
the attic room where the bereaved trio are gathered. It is August again,
and two of the group recall a bitter evening one August, long ago, when
the pitiless rain cast them shelterless into the street--and their
grateful hearts dwell upon the peace and comfort that resulted from that
one, apparently adverse, providence.

The other member of the little circle dwells upon the single kind act
that made his subsequent good fortune. There is no doubt in either mind
of the especial guardianship of an Almighty power. Every little
blessing, every happy consequence from what, at first, seemed an evil,
is plainly before them, and the review of the few past years is working
out a settled confidence in the over-ruling Hand.

Mrs. Bates thinks of the hours of heaviness when, a poor huckster woman,
she trudged wearily along with her loaded basket, and of the many times
she sought the miserable cellar without a morsel of bread for her
famishing children, and her heart clings fondly to the memory of the
real friend who wrought so glorious a change in her condition. Nannie
goes back to the pinched and pallid infant in the darkened room, and
the days and weeks of sadness spent away from the light and air, and she
comes again to the happy home, and the angel sister, and the lovely
little Dora--and a tear moistens her eye as she feels that the kind
heart that has so long imparted to their life its purest pleasures has
forever ceased to beat. Pat is more occupied with the bright present
than with past ills. The vile place where he once groveled is erased
from his mind by the hallowed sanctuary that is now his Christian home,
and the blessed consciousness that Nannie Bates is his, now and forever,
banishes every feeling of sadness, leaving room for no regrets save the
one that Mr. Bond is hidden from them, to be seen no more on earth.

Pat has acquired such an universal benevolence since Nannie is so fast
bound unto him, that even Mike Dugan is welcomed into their little
circle with a true cordiality.

Mike is not alone, however, when he comes to sit an hour with his old
friend, Nannie; but is accompanied by the blushing Helen Dhue whom he
calls "my wife."



ARCHIBALD MACKIE,

THE LITTLE CRIPPLE.



ARCHIBALD MACKIE.



CHAPTER I.


"Oh! oh! mamma, dear, isn't it a pity he isn't a rich, boy like Cousin
Willie? then he could have a carriage to take him about in, and nice
clothes to cover up the hump on his back, and a pretty cane with a
silver band every little way, and the people wouldn't push him about so,
and call him 'ugly rascal,' as that great man did just now."

Kittie Fay's mother had noticed the sad object that was slowly moving up
the street before her, trying in vain to keep his clumsy crutch out of
the way of the passers-by, and she had heard the rude and inhuman
ejaculation of the nobly-formed specimen, whose inner soul must, she
felt, be far more hideous than the stricken lad's outward being, since
it could so cruelly taunt one on whom the hand of God had been placed in
wisdom.

"Perhaps not 'a pity,' Kittie, darling," replied she, as she quickened
her steps in order to overtake the boy. "We will try to find out whether
it is or not, and you shall some day answer the question for yourself;"
and she laid her hand gently upon the head of the poor little cripple,
who had halted that he might get breath to proceed to his home. She was
almost startled at the sweet yet sad face that was upturned to her gaze.
There seemed such a depth of feeling in the blue eye, and such a calm
and hallowed expression upon the pale features, that she hesitated for a
moment, as if studying how to address herself to the lad. He was not
like a common pauper, although the scanty rags scarcely covered his
unsightly figure, and the old hat served only to keep the scorching sun
from the very top of his head. He had not asked for money, and he shrunk
away from the touch of the lady as if there were degradation in it, and
leaned upon his crutch, with the sweet yet reproachful look still fixed
upon her.

Perhaps it was a consciousness of the blessed sympathy that welled up
from her motherly heart that relaxed his features into a half smile, and
moved him to a half glad, half sad emotion; perhaps the memory of as
dear a face that once beamed upon him with the same holy tenderness,
stirred the long-time quiet depths within his young bosom, and sent
forth the tear that lay upon his thin cheek! At any rate, the shyness
and misery had vanished, and he stood intently gazing into the face of
the lady until he seemed to have forgotten his misfortunes in the
happiness of that one sacred moment. The gentle voice recalled him to a
sense of his position, and he sighed heavily as she said, "Will you tell
me where you live, my son? and may I sometimes go to see you with my
little daughter?"

"_My son, my son!_" that was too much, for the pent-up torrent, and the
poor lad burst into an agony of weeping. Years had passed since so
blessed a sound had fallen upon his heart, and it awakened so long a
train of fond recollections, henceforth to be only as a departed dream,
that he could have no power to restrain the grief that struggled for
vent. It wasn't the pity that moved him--oh! no. There was never an hour
in the day, when he was exposed to the observation of his
fellow-mortals, that some expression of commiseration did not reach his
sensitive ear, and many a stranger would stop him with the words of
self-complacent condolence that would send the hot blood over his white
forehead, and excite in him a bitter feeling of rebellion against the
Providence that ordereth all things aright. He could distinguish between
a passing glance of loathing and contempt, and the heartfelt look of
sympathetic sorrow, and his isolated spirit grasped at the slightest
evidence of a kindred feeling, and treasured it up as the brightest and
most precious of gifts.

Mrs. Fay was troubled by the tears she had so unwittingly occasioned,
and was about to move quietly away, as she saw no prospect of an
immediate answer to her question, and the people were beginning to be
attracted to the spot by the scene, when the boy pointed in the
direction of the bay, and said, tremulously, "I stay with my grandmother
down there in a small house by the water, lady; and we shall both be
glad to see you if you please to come;" and, as if fearing another
glance, he hobbled off as fast as his infirmities would allow, and was
soon out of their sight.

It was hard to go along day by day, with his withered limb and his
protruding back, in the midst of God's fair creation, and feel himself
an anomaly there. Shut up his ears and soul as he would against the
coarse gibes that were often uttered at his expense, he could not fail
to perceive the strange difference between himself and the crowd that
hurried by him, nor to take in the wondrous beauty that would sometimes
flit before his longing vision. The very thought that in his own person
he was denied the excellence and majesty of a perfect development
enhanced so much the more the value of these perfections in his
estimation, and helped him to feel that of all the objects in the wide
world, he was the most horribly repulsive. He did not mind the brutal
sneers of the rabble that surrounded his grandmother's hovel on this
day, however, for the sweet lady and the beauteous child were constantly
before him, and the look so like his departed mother's; that had
penetrated his inmost soul, exalted him far above the trivialities of
earth, and he entered the door with a face so radiant, that his old
grandmother cried out in surprise,

"Why, Archie, my boy, what's the matter with ye now? you look as if the
angels had been with ye."

"And so they have, grandmother," replied the boy. "Do you remember what
dear mother used to tell us? That all were God's angels that do His
will; and what can be His will if not the outpouring of kindness and
love upon all the world?"

"It is strange, child!" continued the old woman, raising her hands in
utter amazement; "last night, and almost all the nights before it, the
cloud has been upon ye, and to-night I'm frightened by the change," and
she sat down with her hands folded upon her lap, not daring to turn from
the lad "for fear he was crazed," as she said to herself.

"I know I have been dark, and gloomy, and wicked," replied he, "for I
was maddened by the foolish and thoughtless; but I learned to-day that
there are those who can forget the body and its defects, and see the
real and perfect man that is hidden beneath. No, no, grandmother, I do
not any longer wish to be otherwise than as God has made me, and I'll be
valued yet for something better than this shell!" and the boy-man went
away to his humble room, and shut himself in to dream out his future,
while his bewildered grandparent wondered within herself what it all
could mean.

There was little in that carpetless room, with its narrow cot, and its
one chair, and its small window with the cracked and puttied panes, to
inspire hopefulness or even cheerfulness, if the spirit looks to
external objects for its coloring; and yet the one eye that pierced
within the bosom of the solitary lad, saw the blessed light that was
beginning to dawn there, and the invisible hand that so affectionately
helpeth us in our necessity, was stretched forth to lift him out of the
despondency that had hitherto pressed him continually downward.

The sun was near its setting, and the evening was coming on with its
slow, midsummer pace, and he had sat for one whole hour beside the
window, with bowed head, and clasped hands building up a castle, which,
perchance might fall; perchance might resist the shock of ages, and
prove the admiration of every beholder. What mattered it to him, so long
as it served to divert him from the one baneful subject--his distorted
self--and place him for the time being at least, in an atmosphere of
glory and delight! It was better by far than the boisterous mirth of the
rude boys whose riotous sport filled the open space near his dwelling
with revolting and uncouth sounds; and these silent and intense
yearnings after something higher and better than his present state, were
almost sure to result in some real and noble achievement.

Not much could be found in any of his surroundings to encourage his
lofty aspirations; what with the coarse father whose only mastery was of
the trowel by day, and at night the pipe; and the simple grandmother who
dwelt with wonder, and almost with alarm on every progressive step of
the boy. As he looked from the small loop-hole that admitted the light
and air to his humble room, there was naught before him save blocks of
brick and stone, with a large square of ground intervening, which was
unfenced and covered with rough stone, and the refuse from the adjoining
houses; but that same uncultivated plot insured to him a wide expanse
above, whither his longing soul often turned for the beauty and power
that it met not on earth. The bay was shut off from his view by the
broad and high masonry which his wealthy neighbors had erected between
him and his chief joy, and the only glimpse of water visible to him now
was a stagnant pond, on which dirty and ill-mannered urchins were
constantly sailing their boats of paper or wood. One would have thought
that there was nothing to attach him to so barren and unattractive a
spot, and yet the greatest of all his anxieties was lest amid the
encroachments of an ambitious and increasing population, the miserable
hut that had become a palace to him in its hallowed associations, would
fall under the ban of some authoritative power, and himself be cast
forth into some new place where memory and affection had no hold.

The extensive traveler, whose mind has an unbounded range, can scarcely
conceive of the immense value of a limited space to his equally
acquisitive though less favored brother. Thousands, whose feet had
wandered amid all the wonders of the earth, came back to their every-day
plodding life with vacant brains and unexpanded souls, while Archibald
Mackie, in his non-suggestive hovel, gathered big thoughts and exalted
ideas, and grew majestic in intellect, even as he was diminutive in his
outward frame. Not a stone upon the waste before him but could tell him
its thrilling tale of weary heads pillowed thereon, when all other
resting-places failed; of scanty meals spread out upon them for lack of
a social board; and of forlorn and forsaken ones, sighing out their
bitter plaints unto these flinty auditors for want of more attentive
hearers. Not a block in the noble structures all about but could bear
witness to many a sorrowing soul whose drooping body was sustained only
by the thought of the needy ones at home, whose wants gave energy to
every effort. Not a child amid the group that frequented the common
play-ground near but spoke to him, either of blessed ties, and hallowed
sympathies, and tender care, and watchful training, or of a broken
circle, and chilled feelings, and an utter destitution of interest or
culture. But these were all wearisome to him compared to the splendors
that were revealed from the heavenly creation, where his gaze was so
lovingly fixed on this evening, after meeting Mrs. Fay and her little
daughter Kittie.

He could remember his mother more by the endearing fondness lavished
upon him from his birth, than by any distinct impression of her
features, but this night her face took the form of the strange lady's in
his imagination, and made him sadder than ever as he looked upward to
meet it.

"Wherefore, oh! wherefore wert thou taken from me, my mother!" said he,
as he bowed still lower before God, as if crushed beneath the weight of
so mighty a sorrow. "How can I be any thing without thy gentle guidance,
and with none to help me out of my ignorance and nothingness?"

"With God nothing is impossible!" came the answer from his mother's
Bible, which he had opened to the place that her own hand had marked,
and Archie lifted up his heart and his head, and went out at the summons
of his grandmother.



CHAPTER II.


"What can I do for you, my darling?" said Mrs. Lincoln, as she bent over
a languid form that was extended upon the sofa in front of an open door.
The perfume of rare flowers was wafted to them from the cultivated
borders without, and the rich foliage cast a soft shade upon the lawn,
shutting out the intensity of the summer sun, and making the air bland
and grateful. Pet hounds were gamboling about the room, and games and
toys of every description were scattered all about in the greatest
profusion. A stuffed chair, on rollers, was near the boy, and a garden
chair stood upon the steps, ready for immediate use, and every thing
around seemed fitted to minister to a diseased body and a capricious
will. The lad drew pettishly away from the caress of his fond mother, as
he replied,

"It isn't of any use to do any thing at all for me; there's no
happiness, anyhow! Why couldn't I have been like other boys, and not so
ugly as to have to hive myself up here all the time for fear of
ridicule?" and he threw his head back upon the cool hair pillows and
murmured something which his mother did not hear, excepting that the
last word was die. She had often heard the wicked wish that his life
might not be prolonged; but how to lead him from the constant
contemplation of his deformity so as to make him resigned, if not
cheerful, had, as yet, been an unavailing study.

The pampering the luxurious tastes and propensities of her son had only
fostered in him a craving and dissatisfied spirit, and engendered the
feeling that every thing was to bend to his demands however foolish or
extravagant. It was a pitiable sight! that gentle and fond mother vainly
giving every energy to the effort to soothe and interest her son, while
he, seemingly unconscious of her unwearied exertions, turned petulantly
from all her kindness and love, and buried himself in gloom and
fretfulness. "This thing is intolerably hot!" said he, as he threw back
the collar of his fine white linen tunic, and bared his throat to the
breeze that came faintly through the open windows; "I haven't felt
comfortable to-day, and the night promises nothing better." Mrs. Lincoln
took a broad fan from the mantle, and, seating herself by the youth,
pushed aside the heavy hair from his brow and quietly fanned him, while
she tried to draw his thoughts away from himself, and fix them upon
something pleasing and instructive; but the mood was perverse, and she
was about to despair when two little feet came patting through the hall,
and Kittie Fay burst suddenly into the room.

"Oh! Willie," said she, bounding up to the couch, and kissing her cousin
twenty times over; "you've no idea what a beautiful home you have, and
what a happy boy you are! only think, I've seen somebody, just now, that
had just such a thing on his back as you have; but it stuck almost
through his ragged coat, and he had old ugly crutches, and a shabby hat,
and he says he lives in a small house down by the bay, and Willie, dear,
I'm going with mother, some day, to see him, and you shall go too, if
you will, maybe it will make you sorry for him, so that you will give
him something pretty from this nice room!" and the child's eyes wandered
over the beautiful articles that were strewn around, and her little hand
lay softly upon the forehead of the boy, who looked upon her with
something of pleasure in his usually dissatisfied face. "Auntie
Lincoln," continued she, leaving her cousin and leaning upon her aunt's
knee; "please take me up to the big window in the study, I believe we
can see that little hut from there, for there's an old woman comes out
the door sometimes, and I guess that's Archie's grandmother."

"What does the child mean?" asked Mrs. Lincoln of her sister, who that
moment entered the room; "she seems quite in earnest about a poor child
whom she says she met in the street, and who is afflicted somewhat like
our Willie. Is it so, Mary?"

"Ah, yes, and such a sad, sweet face, I shall not soon lose the
impression. Such perfect patience and resignation! It made me really
forget his crooked frame. Surely, dear Sarah, God makes us all equal,
and it is ourselves alone that create a disparity. The calmness and
Christian beauty that shone out of that poor boy's face, more than
compensates for the distortion of his frame. We will find him out, if
you please, some time, and I am sure we shall not repent it;" and Mrs.
Fay cast an intelligent glance toward her impatient nephew, which was
understood and appreciated by his mother, who gladly acquiesced in the
proposal to seek out the strange lad.

Kittie, meantime had glided quietly from the room, and ensconced herself
in a deep window in the library, where she stood gazing out upon a small
hut that stood just visible in the distance. The night was bright and
clear, and by the light of the moon that illumined the vacant space
around the hovel, she was able to distinguish perfectly every object.
The shabby group still gathered about the stagnant pond pushing out
their little crafts, or wading in to guide them with greater skill, and
now and then a coarse-looking woman would loiter across the space, and
with no gentle hand, pull her struggling offspring homeward. The scene
was a revolting one to the child, and she was turning to leave the spot,
with one last look at the hut, when she perceived the old woman who had
so often before arrested her attention, outside the door, and Archie
himself near her, while a shaggy-haired man, with a pipe in his mouth
sauntered back and forth in front of the house, occasionally stopping to
address himself to one or the other of his companions. Kittie bestowed
but a passing glance upon the woman and the man, and bent her fixed and
interested gaze upon the boy, who sat upon the low step with his
forehead upon his hand, and his sad figure almost doubled together. It
was but a moment, however, before the head was raised, and the face
turned toward the heavens, with a look so full of reverence and
earnestness, that the delicate child shrunk away from her secret
observatory, with the feeling that it was a sacrilege to witness the
poor lad's sacred emotions, and with suffused eyes and a throbbing heart
she left the spot in order to return to her petted cousin.

"I've seen him, Willie," said she, half lying across the heavy pillows
and putting her mouth close to the youth's ear, "and he seemed so sad,
and yet so happy! You wouldn't like it at all down in that mean place
with such a looking man and woman to live with, would you, Willie?"

"I don't like any thing, Kittie, mean or not mean," muttered the boy.
"To be sure," he continued, seeing her surprised expression, as her eyes
fell upon the many comforts and luxuries with which he was surrounded,
"to be sure I live in a great house and have plenty of money and books,
and toys, and such things; but Kittie, what if you had this great hump
on your back, so that every body would look at you whenever you were
out, and pity and loathe you! I don't believe you would be any happier
than I. I don't care, I wish I was dead, anyhow!" and Willie buried his
head in the pillows while his little cousin tried to soothe and comfort
him.

"Perhaps I should think of it too much, Willie," said she, "and then it
would make me fretful and wretched; but mamma says if we fix our minds
on something pleasant, we shall forget the pains and troubles of life;
and only think, Willie, this is all the ill you have, while Archibald
Mackie is poor, and ragged, and an orphan besides!"

"Who's Archibald Mackie?" asked her cousin, "and what have I to do with
him?--'tis as much as I can do to think of myself!"

"That's the very thing, Willie," replied the little reasoner. "If you
would only try to put your mind on some body or something else, may be
you wouldn't remember that you are at all unlike other people. I know
mamma and Auntie Lincoln talk so about you very often when they are
together; but I didn't tell you about Archie. You see, I've found out
where he lives--in that hut that you can see from the library window,
and he's the boy that we are to visit some day, dear Willie;" and Kittie
fondled her deformed cousin, smoothing down the obtrusive hump, as if it
were a graceful and comely thing.



CHAPTER III.


One little bit of candle, and a few old school-books, and a mind
swelling with big desires after knowledge, were beside the small window,
long after the midnight hour had struck and the noisy city was hushed
into a comparative calm. It did not signify that the bowed frame was
wearied by a day of physical toil, or that the aching head pleaded for
"tired nature's sweet restorer," or that a voice from the outer room
came often to his ear, with the petition that he would no longer rob
himself of his needful rest; there were new and holy impulses that
refused to be put aside, and hungerings and thirstings that must be
satisfied, and not until the candle gave out its last flicker did
Archibald Mackie spare himself the pittance of slumber that was to
prepare him for another toilsome day. Even in his fitful and nervous
sleep was he mentally solving some abstruse problem, or following out
some philosophical train of reasoning, while all the time in his dreams
the strange lady would urge him onward in his tasks, smiling upon him
with the sweet and gentle face. Forgetful of the simple hovel and its
uncouth accompaniments, unmindful of the deformed figure, and the
tattered raiment, and the taunts and jeers of an unfeeling multitude,
the poor boy reveled amid visions of knowledge, and wisdom, and beauty,
and love, as happy as if an angel form were resting where the hideous
body lay.

The morning beams struggled feebly in at the little window as Archie
tore himself from his pillow, again to apply himself to his books. It
was such a wonder to him that he could for so long a period have cast
them away for less satisfying pleasures. The bright dawn, too, was so
filled with peace and purity, and he had hitherto dozed it off, never
thinking that he had lost the most precious part of his existence. The
air came in so refreshingly upon his brow, and the open space had not
one revolting object to distract him from hallowed and exalted thoughts.
The only sound that reached him was the slow and measured breathing of
his grandmother through the thin partition, or the nasal performances of
his father from the loft above. Archie's room was the one his mother had
occupied ever since his remembrance, and miserable and empty as it was,
to him there was an atmosphere of the purest delight. All other spots
were trivial and commonplace compared to the one where the maternal
blessing had been pronounced, and the maternal breath had ceased; and
hardened indeed must the heart have been that could resist his desire
that this one sacred spot might be consecrated alone to him. Here were
the books from which her thin and tremulous fingers had pointed out to
him the rudiments of that knowledge which his spirit so longed to
compass. Here were gathered the few mementoes of her maidenhood--the
trinkets from her early schoolmates, and the love-tokens from her rough
but kind and affectionate husband--all disposed by her own hand, within
the tiny cupboard, that came to be a sealed place to every eye but that
of the child, whose mature mind could take in all their value. These
alone, of all the objects about him, linked him to the dead mother. To
be sure his fond old grandmother doted on the boy in her childish and
simple way, and his father gave him all the love of which his nature was
capable, but there seemed to him no connection between the spiritual
image that so continually hovered about his pathway, and the coarse and
material beings who seemed only to live for the things that give life
and support to the body; and his high communings and yearnings found no
sympathy in either of his well-meaning but obtuse relatives. To look
upon the lad's occasional bursts of enthusiasm with a wondering and
frightened stare, was all that the poor old woman could do to show that
she even observed them, and as for the father, it was quite impossible
to beguile him from his old and commonplace notions. The idea of
listening to reading, or to the explanation of any of the mysteries of
science, formed no part of his mental machinery.

"Book larnin'll do well enough for you, Archie, my boy," he would say;
"but this thing," holding up his trowel in a fond sort of way, "has
found me a good living for many a year, and as for amusement, my pipe
keeps my mind off the trouble, so don't pester yourself trying to turn
me into a new way, child, the old one suits me better!" It was not well
for the imaginative and sickly youth to be left to his own wild and
untutored fancies; but there was no help for it now, and he gave himself
up to his studies and his dreams, looking no longer for sympathy from
those around him, but gathering inward strength and self-dependence with
every struggle for the mastery over his sensitive and morbid nature.

Little, however, as there was in Archie's home to aid him in his efforts
after a higher attainment, he was not without a hidden but blessed
influence. His mother's grave was just without the city, in the
beautiful cemetery, and thither his weary feet often wandered when he
was spared from his labor early enough, or on the precious Sunday, the
day of days, especially to the poor. Glorious monuments of the most
elaborate workmanship, temples, and majestic columns, and angel figures,
were all nothing to Archie compared to the simple mound that told him of
an undying love for the lonely and crippled one. No marble arose there
in wonderful grace and beauty, no reclining seraph imaged the departed
saint; but low down, beneath the green turf was the heart that leaped at
the advent of her first-born son, and the eye that overlooked the
blemish that all other eyes seemed to dwell upon, and the hand that was
laid upon his head in the last sad moment. Naught else was needed to the
few souls that cared for her memory. Was she not ever before them in the
garb of purity and love! and yet among the boy's visions was a sacred
spot remote from the common ground where necessity had placed his
idolized parent, and a slab that should speak of a son's gratitude, and
shrubs and flowers around to breathe their sweet odor above the lowly
bed. So long as his mother's memory was kept fresh and green within him
Archibald Mackie was not cut off wholly from the companionship and
sympathy that is a need of every nature.



CHAPTER IV.


The afternoon had been uncommonly sultry and oppressive, so that even
the plants and trees appeared to droop and wither, and all about the
city were hot and tired people lagging homeward as if every energy were
utterly exhausted. Archie had been working unusually hard, so that the
old pain had seized his back again, making him miserably despondent lest
he should be wholly crippled, and thrown quite broken and helpless upon
his struggling relatives, and he was panting toward the quarter of the
city where his shelter was, with slow and weary steps, when suddenly, as
he passed a bright saloon, he heard a joyous cry of "Oh! mamma, just
look, there he is again!" and before he could get away, the pleasant
face of the lady was bent upon him from the window of the carriage that
stood before the door, and she motioned him to her.

Perhaps he would have heeded her summons if he had not seen an impatient
and scornful countenance peeping curiously through the side-curtain. May
be it was but his native pride that induced him to press onward with
only a quiet and polite recognition of her notice.

"There, Willie, you've driven him away," said Kittie, frowning upon her
cousin reproachfully. "How could you look so cross at him when you knew
mamma wanted him to come up and speak to us? Well, I shall go to see
him, whatever you do, that's certain," continued she, after a short
pause, as the lad leaned back upon his seat without deigning a reply.
Then taking up the thin hand that lay upon his knee, she kissed it
affectionately as if to atone for the momentary pique against him; but
her eyes followed the poor boy until he was no longer visible among the
crowd, and she was thinking of the pitiful expression, and contrasting
it with the trustful, hopeful one that she had last seen from the lonely
library, and wondering what could make the difference. And she cared
little for the drive, although they passed through beautiful streets and
along her favorite haunts, by the bay, and out on the avenues and quite
beyond the noise and dust of the city, in the midst of God's own fair
and beautiful nature. The mother noticed the child's abstraction, and it
saddened her to think of the shadow that comes over the brightness of
one's early being, shutting out the loveliness and the grace even from
the youngest heart.

It was hard to feel that an unsightly hump, and a woe-begone face were
occupying the place that had hitherto been filled with images of joy and
gladness; but Mrs. Lincoln was a wise mother, and would not try to
divert her child's mind from the salutary lesson which the very shadow
itself ever brings; so they moved on with the unbroken silence, save
when Willie gave utterance to some pettish feeling, and then little
Kittie would look at him with a deeper pity than poor Archie had ever
called forth.

They were alone in the evening, after their return from their drive, and
Willie was sitting in his easy-chair by the door, while his young cousin
was upon the sill at his feet apparently absorbed in some intense
subject, for her pet kitten was making sad havoc with the neat straw hat
that had fallen from her head, and lay unnoticed upon the step, the
ribbons already crumpled and wet by Miss Pussy's chewing; and Willie had
twice spoken to her without an answer. It was rather too much for the
impetuous youth to bear, and when he spoke again it was with a tinge of
bitterness.

"I thought mother sent for you here to amuse me, Kittie, and not to
waste all your pity upon a poor beggar whom you happened to meet in the
street. I'm sure I might as well be without you, as to have you as dull
and silent as you have been since you saw that miserable boy. Well,
haven't you any thing to say yet," continued he, as she fixed her
wondering and sorrowful eyes upon his face. "It's enough to tire any
body's patience to speak, and speak, and speak, and no one to answer you
but the echo of your own voice. That's the way it's always been; but I
might have known it. Nobody cares for a deformed boy!" and the lad threw
the bunch of flowers that his cousin had just before arranged for him,
out the door and wheeled his chair further back, although he was not so
far removed as to lose the reproachful glance of Kittie.

"Oh, Willie!" said she, "if you had only noticed poor Archie, as I did,
and seen how troubled and worn he looked, and how the big drops stood
all over his forehead, as he moved on with one hand to his back, you
wouldn't wonder that I don't want to talk and play to-night! It makes me
so sorry because I can't help it any, and you know he's poor and has to
work, when may be he's too sick and lame to do any thing."

"Why don't you pity me, Kittie? Here I have to sit, day after day,
moping in this dull old house; I can't go any where, and I can't do any
thing as other boys do, and there don't any body care, either, but you
all seem as merry and happy as if I were the most favored person in the
world. You needn't look at me with your great staring eyes, as if I were
the wickedest boy you ever saw; perhaps you'd be better if you were in
my place; but I'm not bad enough to wish you there, much as I wish to
cast off this loathsome body and find myself upright and perfect. Come,
come, Kittie, we won't quarrel any more; I didn't mean to hurt your
feelings," said he, as the tears rolled down the child's face and fell
upon her white dress. "You mustn't mind when I am cross, but must love
me, whatever any body else does. I don't like to feel as I do so often;
but how can I help it? Every thing goes wrong with me. I thought when
you came I'd got somebody that wouldn't get tired of me, and it frets me
to see you thinking all the time of that beggar-boy."

"I do indeed love you, dear Willie," replied his little cousin, rising,
and clasping him around the neck; "but I wish poor Archie had time to
lie down on a soft couch like yours, and had a kind mother to kiss him,
and fan him, and soothe away his pain, as you have. I'm afraid to hear
you talk pettishly, when you have so many comforts, for mamma says 'God
sometimes takes away our good things if we do not know how to prize them
and be thankful for them,'" and the child ran to her mother, whose voice
she heard in the hall.

It was very well to leave the murmuring boy alone just then, for her
little prattle was not without its effect upon her cousin, who began to
think that perhaps there were others in the world as miserably off as
himself.

"I'll go with Kittie to see the poor lad, any way," soliloquized he. "It
won't do me any harm, and may be it will amuse me a little while."

Still selfish, poor youth! If it had only been, "May be it will amuse
him a little while," then the obtrusive hump wouldn't be so heavy, and
the murmuring, repining spirit would become joyous and grateful. But we
will have patience with thee for a while yet. It is so easy, with this
healthy, robust frame, to reproach the diseased and fretful one. We will
try to be lenient toward thy complainings.



CHAPTER V.


The sun had been up for a long time, and the old grandmother had the
breakfast upon the table. She hadn't called Archie, for she knew the
boy's habits, and supposed he was busy with his books as usual, so she
helped her son to his hasty meal, and saw him and his trowel and pipe a
long distance without the door before she ventured to disturb her
grandchild's quiet. Thump, thump, thump, upon the bedroom wall, and not
an answering sound, yet, after a moment, there seemed to be a stir, and
some words that were not intelligible to her obtuse ear. She didn't wait
much longer, but lifted the latch and entered his room.

What ails the boy? His eyes are wild and fierce, and his figure is
tossed from side to side of the narrow bed, while he mutters of his
mother, and of a sweet lady, and a gentle child; and then he presses a
parched hand to his brow, and begs them not to heap up the hot coals
there, but to bring him ice, ice; and then he clinches his fist and
strikes at the old woman who has approached him to try to calm him, but
she has no power over his ravings, and she perceives that he has a
terrible fever; and then she remembers that he would go supperless to
bed the night before, and that he looked paler and more weary than
usual, and she chides herself for not coming earlier to see if he was
ill. She wishes some body would come; it wouldn't do to leave him alone,
and what can she do by herself? There's a knock at the outer door, she
thinks--no; it is only a stray goat that frequents that quarter of the
city, and has come for her accustomed offering of food. She hasn't any
heart to stop now, and the disappointed animal goes off again to try her
next neighbor. There's no milk-man, nor baker, nor butcher's boy, nor
grocer to come to her, for they do all their own purchasing at the small
shop near, and so the morning wears on, and the lad grows more
delirious, and talks about coffins, and death, and horrible sights, and
just as his grandmother, too frightened to neglect the case longer,
locks the door of his room, and gets her bonnet on to find a doctor, a
lady gives a slight rap and enters the outer door, followed by a young
girl. She hears the delirious tones, and immediately knows that the boy
is ill, and the old woman gladly accepts her kind offer to sit by him
until she returns with the physician, though she says it is too much for
a lady to consent to, and she is fearful the boy will do her some harm
in his raving mood.

"Don't be troubled," said Mrs. Lincoln, "I'm not afraid;" and she turned
the key, and was soon beside the sufferer with her delicate hand upon
his brow, and her tender words soothing his horrors all away. It was
wonderful what a charm there was in the gentle eye that was fixed upon
him, and the soft touch that cooled the burning forehead! Quite an hour
she sat in the same position, breathing out tones that only a mother
ever learns, and the lad lay quiet and calm, looking up into her face
with a pleased and satisfied expression, save when she moved as if to
leave him for a moment, the paroxysm would seize him again. The
physician came, and pronounced the disease brain-fever brought on by
over-fatigue and exertion, and Kittie stood with her pitiful glance
fastened upon him, and she knew then why he was so distressed the day
before when he passed them as they sat in the carriage, and why the
resignation and trust had gone.

He did not know her now, and her mother sent her home with the promise
that she should come often, if he got better and would like to see her;
but she remained day after day nursing him as his own mother would have
done, until the mind was clear again, and he was conscious of her
grateful presence. All through the long period of his delirium he had
fancied that his mother's spirit was beside him ministering to his
wants, and whenever she went from his sight, for a moment, he kept up a
lamentable moaning until she was there again, and then he would lay for
hours without even a murmur or a sound.

No wonder she felt a mysterious interest in the boy as he grew stronger,
and would so often bend her steps to his humble dwelling to read or talk
to him. And Kittie, too, desired no better reward for good behavior than
to spend an hour at poor Archibald Mackie's. They had learned all about
his history now, and he had told Mrs. Lincoln how much she had reminded
him of the dead mother, and what a help her sympathy had been to him in
his studies, and they had spoken of Willie and his troubles, and Archie
forgot the sour face that had sent him away from the carriage, and
thought only of the boy's crippled fate, so like his own. Like, and yet
unlike--to the casual observer there was a vast difference between the
forlorn, poverty-stricken, ragged Archie, and the petted, and pampered,
and richly-clad Willie; but to the eye of the unwearied watcher who had
witnessed the patience and the goodness of the sick lad, and contrasted
it with the petulance and sinfulness of her nephew, the gifts of God
were not unequally distributed.



CHAPTER VI.


It was astonishing how many friends Archie had among the poor--there was
Mahan Doughty coming every day with her apron full of wild flowers which
she had wandered a long way to find, and which she carefully disposed in
the little pewter mug that stood on the table beside the lad's bed--and
there was old Patrick Marsh, night and morning, with a fresh cup of milk
from his one precious goat--and Sally Bunt with the only egg her
hen-house could produce, and a host of young voices often at the door
with a hushed tone of inquiry concerning the invalid. Oh! it isn't
wealth that brings the greatest and purest joy! Mrs. Fay felt that as
she saw the blessings of an unbought interest pouring in upon the humble
inmate of the small hovel, and she adored more than ever the justice of
the Almighty giver who dispenseth with such perfect measure to every
living soul.

The lad loved the flowers, and dwelt upon their beauty as he lay
languidly upon his bed, and they were full of happy teachings to
him--better, far better than many a more boisterous exhorter. He
couldn't look upon their wonderous and perfect mechanism with a cold or
unbelieving heart; but his best and warmest affections went upward with
their sweet odor, and were acceptable to Him who had tipped every petal
with a heavenly message.

Archie also loved the rough visage of old Patrick, and was convinced of
the value of a kind and generous heart, by the simple offering that was
so grateful to his enfeebled state. Patrick had always looked upon the
boy with a pride not unmixed with awe. He could discern the symptoms of
a higher destiny awaiting the lad, and had always treated him with a
certain degree of reverence and respect, and now that the youth was so
helpless and weak, the strong arm of the true old man lifted him back
and forth, and held him fondly upon his breast as if he were his own
little child, and so there grew an enduring sympathy between them that
was to stay both the tottering and the crippled.

Sally Bunt, too, standing before the sick boy with the tempting gift in
one hand, and a finger of the other bashfully thrust into her wee mouth,
was an object of some affection to Archie, who would call the little
girl up to him, and smooth down her frizzled hair with his tremulous
hand, and thank her so warmly for the one egg, that she would go away
with as much joy in her heart as if she were a queen, and had just
tendered her costly offerings, and concluded her interview with the
wisest man.

Nor were the young children who gathered around the house for news of
the convalescent, forgotten or unheeded; but the pale face would appear
at the small window to greet them, and the feeble voice would speak out
its sincere gratitude. The hours were very lonely after he began to get
well, yet was confined to his close room; and Archie almost felt as if
he could be always so very, very ill, if it would insure to him the
presence of the gentle lady, who came now but an hour a day to see him.

The old grandmother was obliged to keep closely to her work now that the
boy was disabled, and the father had only the early dawn and the late
evening to spend in the sick-room; but these were pleasant seasons to
his child, for they developed the good and the tender in the man's
nature, and diminished the distance between the two, so that the son
could again feel the link that bound his father to the departed.

They could now talk together of his mother and look over the little
mementoes that were so treasured, and both were happier for the hallowed
communion.

"You'll lay me by her when I'm gone, lad, won't you?" said the man. "I
couldn't sleep elsewhere, and I've faith to think you'll live to see me
buried, much as we all watched for your own last breath."

The boy didn't like to talk of death now. He had passed through the
danger, and had a motive in wishing to live. There was a great deal to
be done--a mighty work, but he felt strong to do it--and when he was
alone he hobbled across the room, and unlocked a small chest and found a
portfolio that had been his mother's, and every day the white pages grew
black with marks; but bright and radiant with the overflowing treasures
of a rich and gifted mind. Like a miser he hid the product, down, down,
amid heaps of household rubbish in an uncared for nook by the chimney,
and only drew it forth to add to its value when there was no witness
that could betray him. It was a worthless-looking thing, that old
leather portfolio, with the wear and tear of years upon it; but the boy
felt a sort of inward consciousness that the gloomy and dismal
hiding-place beneath the refuse truck was not its irrevocable destiny;
and this feeling buoyed him up when he was inclined to despondency or
sadness, and kept him busy with his new labor during many an otherwise
weary and painful hour. And so his days passed on until the pain and the
lassitude left him, and he could again go forth to work amid the erect
and strong, with his own frame bent still lower by his long sad
illness.



CHAPTER VII.


"Cousin Willie, I have not seen him for several days, and I do want to
go so much!"--besides, pleaded the little girl, "you promised to walk
there with me some day, long ago, and you have never been there yet."

The cousins were standing together on the green slope, whence they could
see the poor boy's home, and Kittie's attention had been particularly
drawn to the spot by a crowd of laborers that were gathered around the
house seemingly engaged in some exciting subject, for they were
gesticulating violently, while the old woman stood without the group
wringing her hands, and now and then applying her apron to her face with
a passive sort of grief.

"I do believe _that_ Mr. King, who bought so much land here last week,
means to pull down Archie's cottage!" exclaimed Kittie, looking
earnestly at the men, whose motions she had been anxiously watching for
some time. "I heard mamma say she was afraid they would have to leave,
and that would almost kill Archie. Will you go with me, Willie? I must
know about it. Only think! to have to go away from the place where he
was born, and, may be, live in a room with ever so many families, just
like little Peter Bell; it is really dreadful!" and the child moved
toward the gate, with her hat in her hand, and her hair waving in the
fresh breeze, unconscious of every thing save that something threatened
Archie, in whose interests she was now wholly absorbed.

"It's no use; you mustn't go there now, Kittie," said her cousin, who
had, thus far, been but a silent witness of the scene upon the vacant
space, and of the child's unwonted emotion. "What good do you think a
little girl like you could do among so many grown men? I know they mean
to pull down the house, for old Patrick Marsh came to father this
morning to see if he would let Archie live in the little place of ours,
just down here by the vegetable-garden. He said Archie was not able to
be confined to a store, and that he would be just the hand to keep the
garden nice."

"Oh! that will be grand!" replied Kittie, clapping her hands and dancing
for joy. "I'm almost glad they will take it down--only he likes it so,
living there, and it will take a long time to get used to another
place," added she musing thoughtfully, with her finger upon her lip.
"But it's greener, here, Willie," she continued, bounding along until
she stood beside the spot in question; "and then we can come often to
see him, you know. Won't it be nice? Oh! I'm so happy!"

"Not so fast, Kittie; father left it to me altogether. He knew it would
be unpleasant to have that deformed boy always before me, and so he
would give no answer to old Patrick without my consent; and I don't
believe I shall say yes very soon. I'm sorry Jim went away, for I loved
to come down here sometimes while he had the place; he always had
something nice to say to me."

"And yet Jim was wicked, dear Willie, and used to beat Brindle, and kick
the horses every day; and I heard him call you names to Bridget once,
when you told him to wheel you about the garden. To be sure he didn't
know I was near; but if he had really liked you, he would have felt the
same and acted the same every where. I hope you'll let Archie come, he's
so gentle and kind, and it will be a good deed on your part, too,
Willie."

"I don't know," muttered the lad; "it's bad enough to have one cripple
about without multiplying them. People would call this the hospital, or
the asylum for the deformed, if they saw many such objects around here."

"Never mind _people_, Willie; it's better to feel that you are doing
good than to be guided by what people would say and what people would
think. Mamma teaches me to go by that rule, and I'm sure I'm a great
deal happier for it. I never think now of any body when I want to do any
thing, but go right on and do it, if I think it is best. Only let Archie
come, and you'll see what a difference it will make to your life. He is
a good boy, and he knows a great deal, too; more than I can learn for a
long, long time, so that it will do us no harm to be with him. Mamma
says she does not care who I associate with, if it is a good and
intelligent child. All she wants is to keep me away from the wicked and
ignorant, and she never says no when I ask to go to Archibald Mackie's;
and I'm sure my mother knows!" and Kittie seated herself on the bench
beside the vacant house, waiting for some decision from Willie, who was
still wavering.

If he should consent, there would be a constant remembrancer of his own
defective person ever before him; it was quite enough to be sensible of
his condition without so palpable an image haunting the precincts of his
home. Then Kittie would be drawn from him to the poor boy, who had
already enlisted more of her sympathies than he had ever done. He would
like to please her, though, and it would be a sort of patronage toward
the boy that might exalt himself in Kittie's estimation.

It was very singular how much influence the child exercised over him. He
was pettish and cross toward her, and made it a great condescension to
do any thing that she proposed; and yet, to thwart her in any one thing
made him uneasy and miserable. "What would Kittie think?" and, "Would it
please Kittie?" were questions that he was more willing to put to
himself than to acknowledge to any body else. He could not mistake his
cousin's wishes now, and he meant all the time to gratify her, but the
perverse nature would have its vent, and so he said, very ungraciously,

"There's one thing--the pony needs better care than Jim ever gave it,
and perhaps Archie might be gentle with it, and his father can mind the
garden at odd times. I've half a mind to try him; but he must know his
place, and not be thinking himself an equal just because we choose to
benefit him."

Kittie did not care what he did, nor how he got there, so that he really
had the permission, and before Willie had time to alter his mind she had
flown out the gate, and was fast nearing the humble cottage. The workmen
had dispersed, and the door and windows were closed, and the curtains
all down, so that the child thought nobody was there, but she went
quietly in, as she had been accustomed, and tapped at Archie's room.
There was a sound of voices within, and she heard the old woman
murmuring against the new proprietor of the ground for disturbing her in
her old age; but she was scarcely prepared for such a burst of grief as
met her from Archie, as she entered the room and spoke to him in her
soothing gentle manner. His treasures were lying upon his bed ready for
the packing in a small box that he held in his hand, and his books and
clothes were piled up on the table awaiting their final destination.

The child had never seen him so pale and troubled in all his trying
illness as he now looked, and his unconcealed, unsuppressed sorrow
frightened her so that she had scarcely a word to say, until he became
somewhat calm, and then she told him of the small house on her uncle's
domains, and the permission he had to occupy it. "It is so much better
than this, Archie!" said she, looking out the window upon the barren
space, and around the room at the dingy and tottering walls. They were
both very grateful--the old woman and the boy--but nobody could tell
with what tenacity their affections clung to every splinter of the old
building, and what a bitter step it was, that last one, over the
threshold of their lowly home.



CHAPTER VIII.


The morrow had come, and the old woman knew that the word had gone forth
against her humble tenement, and that there could be no appeal, so she
quietly betook herself to the vacant cottage within the grounds of Mr.
Lincoln with the feeling that "it was not long that she had to stay upon
the earth anyhow, and it mattered little where she spent her few
remaining days."

Archie said nothing to his grandmother about his own movements, but
while she went her way to the new home he turned toward the beautiful
cemetery, and there, upon the head of his mother's grave, he deposited
the box of treasures, not with any false or superstitious notion, but
from a sacred and loving impulse. It had seemed such a sacrilege, to
him, to remove them from the spot where her own hand had placed them;
besides, there was no hallowed nook in the strange home, and this was
why he sought the most consecrated part of earth for these precious
relics. All about, upon the graves of the poor, he had seen similar
tokens, and had observed that even the most careless and light-hearted
passer-by had never stooped to touch what a pious affection had made
sacred. Some, it is true, had looked with contempt upon these simple
tributes, and had suffered the words "heathen fanatics!" to escape their
lips; but these same persons would spend hours before the costly
ornaments above a richer body, and find in them no motive but a
commendable and proper respect, whereas the Omniscient could note the
pride engraven upon the one, and the sincere and earnest feeling that
marked the other. It didn't matter much to Archie what any body said or
thought. He knew that there his treasures were safe, and he felt them to
be an appropriate monument until his secret wishes respecting his
mother's ashes could be attained, so he left them, and sauntered slowly
away. Gay parties, whose only motive in seeking the dwelling-place of
the dead was the gratification of the outward senses, looked from their
luxurious carriages upon the poor hunchback with a careless indifferent
feeling as he passed along with bent frame and serious air, little
dreaming of the great soul that tenanted so feeble a body.

One alone of a merry group paused, and leaned eagerly forward to give
some token of recognition to the lad, whose errand there she could
readily guess. "What is it, Kittie?" asked half a dozen of her
light-hearted companions, as she smiled sweetly and bowed to the boy.
"It can't be human;" and then they laughed as the child's sad face
looked reproachfully at them. As if this miserable shell that, however
attractive and beauteous now, must, one day, be clothed in a loathsome
corruption, could affect in any way the glorious and undying principle
within! Not "human!" because clad in an uncouth and unsightly garment!
as well might we spurn the immortal spirits for once dwelling in clayey
tenements, as to make a mock and derision of those who, for some wise
but hidden purpose, are made to walk this earth with marred and uncomely
figures. Not "human!" Kittie knew how much of humanity there was in the
sorrowing heart that was even now beating with a pure and filial
affection, as the weary steps plodded through the pleasant avenues. She
remembered the deep and grateful feeling that was so constantly
manifesting itself toward her gentle mother as she ministered to him on
his sick bed, and she could appreciate his noble, and generous, and
loving nature, while others saw but the distorted figure that came
between them and an otherwise undisturbed beauty. Take heart, poor
youth! There are kindred loving eyes on earth that beam even for thee!



CHAPTER IX.


Several weeks have passed, and the old woman takes wonderfully to the
new place. She begins to feel really glad for the change that was so
terrible in the anticipation. It is so green and quiet all about the
house--no rude boys shouting in her ear as she steps without the door,
or throwing mud-balls into the open windows; no brazen, neglected girls
to call her low names, or pin dirty rags upon her gown as she walks
about the premises; and then every thing within the walls is so clean
and nice--no threatening cracks in the white ceilings; no dilapidated
walls to totter, or worn planks to shake at every tread; no half-starved
rats, stalking about seeking somewhat to devour; and no odious effluvia
from the waste lot, or the stagnant pond, stopping her breath as she
looked from door or window. Oh! she could not have believed that any
thing that seemed such an evil would prove so great a good. The breeze
came into the clean rooms so laden with the breath of flowers, and the
cheerful notes of birds were all the time in her ears; and in the quiet
evening, she, and the boy, and his father could sit upon the sill of the
door and talk to their heart's content, without one noisy interruption
from the rude crowd, that used to make it so difficult to have one
moment's pleasant intercourse. Archie was more cheerful, too, and took
possession of his little chamber with such a manifest delight that his
grandmother had nothing more to desire. His window looked out upon the
old quarters, and he was thus enabled to contrast the beauty and the
quiet with the sad unrest of his former home; and as he noticed the
rough group so constantly upon the open space, and remembered how often
he had been the butt of their unfeeling jests and cruel sport, he
rejoiced at the high wall that prevented their ingress into his patron's
territory, and felt as if he had indeed an impregnable fortress to
resort to in every emergency.

It was just the spot for meditation, too, and the musty portfolio came
forth oftener from its obscurity, and began to grow really bulky, and
that not only in size but in matter.

Nobody would have thought him more than a common lad as he bent to weed
the vegetables and flowers, or brushed down the white pony, or sauntered
about the grounds with bowed head, and hands behind him; but Mrs. Fay
had fathomed the secret depths, as from time to time she sought to draw
him out from the reserve in which he was enveloped, and Kittie knew by
her own pure and blessed instincts, all that there was of light and
wisdom in the poor boy, who had attracted her from the very beginning.
True, Cousin Willie would take every opportunity to disparage the lad,
but what cared she? It is not so easy to bias the mind of a
properly-taught child; and her own heart told her what was good in the
boy and what was evil in her cousin. As for Willie, he walked about like
some evil genius, making the deformity of the body more conspicuous by
the deformity of the soul, and casting a huge and ugly shadow over the
lovely home that God had so graciously given him. There was a constant
antagonism between him and the poor lad; not that Archie ever gave
occasion of offense, or encouraged the antipathy that he could perceive
in Willie; but his patience, and gentleness, and intelligence, were a
constant reproach to his rich young neighbor, who so continually wearied
his friends by fretfulness and ill-humor, and who spurned all the
efforts of his tutor, never trying to improve the privileges lavished
upon him, but deeming it very hard that he should be expected to confine
himself to books--"As if it were not punishment enough to carry about a
repulsive body!" he would say.

Ah! quite enough. This Archie felt as he applied himself diligently to
the task of adorning and embellishing his higher and imperishable
nature. And the lady and the child had learned to look at that only, so
that they really forgot often the outer man, as the soul-lit eyes
sparkled and beamed upon them when they talked together. _He_ did not
forget it, and so it served its true purpose, making him humble, and
keeping under the majesty of his spirit that might otherwise have grown
into a revolting and self-sufficient pride. It is so vain to struggle
against these fetters and restraints; God knows what we need, and it may
be ever the mightiest souls that are curbed while on earth by some
physical infirmity.



CHAPTER X.


Patrick Marsh was a cooper, and lived down close to the water's edge in
a shanty of his own construction. He had taken possession of the spot
long before there were any signs of human habitation near, and nobody
had ever doubted his right of ownership. Yet as he beheld the slow but
sure encroaches upon his vicinage he began to tremble even for the
meager handful of earth on which his domicil stood, and used often to go
up to Archie's to condole with the old lady when her own little
resting-place was threatened.

Now he was filled with wrath as he passed the heaps of boards, stone,
and rubbish, and viewed the preparations for the erection of a large and
noble mansion, and he strode hastily on, that he might _effervesce_ in
the old woman's presence, for he wished to convince her of his interest
and displeasure, and a sober pace would have brought back the habitual
placidity to the old man's heart. It was not natural for him to cherish
the slightest degree of malice or resentment, and the very consciousness
that he was out of his usual way distressed and vexed him, so that when
he reached the quiet cottage, it was delightfully soothing to find the
grandmother contentedly sitting knitting--work in hand, beside the door
in no need of comfort, if one might judge by the cheerful, happy
expression.

"Such a blessing, Betty," said he--they were children together--"such a
blessing to find you so easy and nateral-like. I begin to believe the
Lord's hand is raly in it all, and that He always gives as good as He
takes. I used to think there wasn't no place like your old 'un; but it
wasn't a touch to this purty spot!" and he gazed about him with evident
satisfaction, stroking the hounds that loved to wander from their young
master's presence to the sunny room, where there was always a kind word
and a gentle pat for them.

"Archie's better, too," said the old woman with an exultant chuckle, as
she shuffled to the stairs-door to call her grandson.

Patrick didn't think him better, as he noticed his flushed cheek and
trembling, fluttering frame, and he held his hand a long time in his
own, now counting the quick pulse, now pressing it warmly and fondly.

"You'll leave the books, my boy, and be more in the garden, won't you?"
said he in an earnest, anxious tone. "Depend upon it that's the only
thing for you."

Archie did not know what he meant by the "only thing," neither could he
tell why Patrick went so suddenly out brushing his sleeve across his
eyes, all the way to the gate; but the circumstance weighed with him,
and it made him jump from his study so soon as the least symptom of
weariness came, and resort to his out-of-door occupations. Kittie had
gone off to boarding-school and the boy sadly missed the white figure
that he used to watch so fondly for in the walk that led to his cottage.
She would not come again for many a year, and there was loneliness and
desolation in the very thought; but so it must be, and he strove to find
solace in his books, and with his plants; but every thing recalled the
past. His books were thrown aside for awhile, because she was not there
to question him as to their contents, and the flowers were hueless and
scentless, since the eye that loved so to look upon them, and the sense
that delighted so in their sweet odor were gone. Willie, too, missed the
gentle cousin that bore his caprices so patiently, and he murmured at
the decree that banished her from his presence. "She knew enough to
please him, and what more could they want?" "That was all such a little
mouse as she was good for!"

The "little mouse," though, made a great hole in the house, and there
was nothing in all the big world that could fill it acceptably to the
lad, and so it remained empty until the school-days should be
accomplished, save that her shadow was ever there, palpable--to the
vision of the two lads at least. How differently was she cherished!--by
the one as a grateful sort of appendage that contributed vastly to his
comfort in various ways--to the other as a guardian presence, inciting
him to every virtue and grace, and sanctifying and spiritualizing his
whole being. Strangest of all mysteries, the transforming power of that
wondrous and precious essence!

Thanks be to Him who has so diffused it over this lower world that there
is no spot that may not be akin to heaven!



CHAPTER XI.


Mrs. Lincoln's time was wholly taken up in inventing new pleasures for
her son, so that she had not one moment for the poor youth at the foot
of the garden, who, but for the benevolence and kindness of Kittie's
mother, would have led a weary life of it indeed.

Archie's father had, at last, laid down both trowel and pipe, and was
taking his long rest beside the dead wife. The boy had purchased a small
lot in a secluded and romantic part of the cemetery, and there he had
both parents placed, in one wide grave, with the box of treasures
between them, and above them a large white cross with a simple
inscription. The lot was fenced around with a hawthorn hedge, and here
and there a rose bush grew luxuriantly. There was room for himself and
for the old grandmother who was now terribly decrepit, so that she was
unable to take any care of the house, and Patrick Marsh had consented to
let his little shanty and come, with good Molly his wife, to look after
the lad's comfort, for they had no child, and Archie was nearer to them
than any living being. Good Molly was of rough and ungainly exterior,
but within, the very impersonation of tenderness and love, and this
happy and blessed temperament had gained for her so flattering an
appellation wherever she was known. Little children would gather around
her in the street and hold on by her apron or gown, fondling and
caressing her hands, and even her feet, as if she were some good
angel--and so indeed was she to many a lone and forsaken one, who had
found care, and food, and shelter, beneath her lowly but hospitable
roof. It wasn't strange then that, with such a heart, Good Molly should
consent to leave the home that was endeared to her by a thousand
associations in order to watch over the failing and imbecile old woman
and her diseased and lonely grandson.

Neither she nor Patrick felt themselves competent to mingle in the
youth's higher and holier sympathies; they were conscious that they were
of altogether a different mold; but there were bodily wants that none
knew better how to meet than the nice housewife, whose skill in such
matters few could contest. The dainty bit was ever tempting, and the
linen was pure and white, and the neat chamber inviting even to the most
fastidious taste, so that there would have been nothing wanting to
Archie's comfort or joy were it not for the void that but one could
fill. "It was foolish to think of _her_!" that he so often repeated to
himself, yet think of her and dream of her he did, and all the time grew
thinner and thinner, and paler and paler, until he seemed some ghostly
shadow moving about the grounds. Five years had passed since she came
down the green slope and put her little hand in his to bid him a long
good-by. It was the summer time, and he remembers that the old elm under
which he sat was just in the fullness and glory of its foliage; the
hour, too, is distinctly in his memory; the dreary and sad twilight, and
the breeze's soft play over the waving grass, and the hum of the
insects, and the murmur of the city's noise that came pleasantly from
the distance, like the moving of far-off waters. Oh! these things can
never die out of his remembrance. How can they! Doesn't he cherish them
religiously, coming always at the vesper time to the same spot to live
them over and over again?

Even through the dreary winters he but closes his eyes and the verdure
is there, and the beauty.

No need of that to-night, however, for the chilly season has again
passed away, and the old elm is rich in her emerald robes, and the
breath of the soft winds is upon him, and the same murmur in his ear.
There is only the small hand and the gentle words wanting to make it all
a precious reality. Is it his fancy that at this moment brings them so
palpably to him? Is the vision of a graceful figure, and a white dress,
and a pure face beaming upon him with the lovely expression only a
delusion of his excited mind! Or is it really her own voice that comes
to him so earnestly. "Oh! speak, Archie, pray speak! don't you remember
Kittie?" It was of no use to call upon him, the shock was too much for
his delicate organization, and whiter than the spotless muslin was the
brow that the maiden loved, as she supported the drooping head, and
strove to recall the fainting breath.

His heart beat more painfully than ever as the warm life-blood flowed
evenly again, for that one moment had told him that he loved, and the
revelation was as death. To linger upon the earth, to see and hear her
continually, and to press back the deep and springing emotions that were
ever welling up toward her. How could he do it! it were worse than death
itself! And yet he spoke calmly and naturally as she walked with him to
the cottage, and quietly watched her as she talked with the old people;
but the light in his heart went out as she passed over the threshold
into the stilly night--and the struggle was a victorious one.

Kittie was pondering upon it all--the agitation, and the pallor, and the
overwhelming joy, and a secret delight filled her soul as she sought
again the tree. There was no wavering of purpose as the vow went forth
from that same consecrated place to be true to the convictions that she
now felt. How long a period had elapsed since she stood there before.
She is no more forgetful of it than Archie, and she draws forth from her
bosom a tress of raven hair, and looks upon it while it is bathed in the
moonlight, wondering, meantime, how she had dared to cut it from his
head as he leaned against this same tree so long, long ago. True, he did
not know it, it was so slyly done; but nothing could tempt her to a like
act again. Not that she is sorry for the deed--ah! no. This little
talisman will ever be most precious unto her. But the brow seemed so
hallowed now; there was a mystic light upon it, as though a beam from
Heaven were shining directly there, and a superstitious awe crept over
the heart of the young maiden as she remembered the cold dews that her
hand had felt as she stroked back the clustering locks.



CHAPTER XII.


The beauty, and luxury, and lavish tenderness that had continually
surrounded Willie during his cousin's absence, brought no corresponding
loveliness, and richness, and gratitude within, and Kittie found it more
difficult to bear with the querulous, fitful temper than before her long
separation from him. Day after day he would require her to sit with him
reading aloud some foolish and distasteful thing which was suited to his
weak and uncultivated intellect; or she must walk or ride, as he
pleased, giving up her own occupations and plans whenever they
interfered with his amusement. Time and again the question would recur
to her, "Why should I give myself up to the effort to do good, where it
is so evident that I can do nothing?" and then her aunt's kindness in
giving her mother and herself so welcome a home when they were deprived
of their earthly supporter, and the wish to make some return for all the
love bestowed upon her in her uncle's house, induced her to strive with
renewed diligence to influence her cousin to a holy and consistent life.
He had so far been won by her courteous example as to treat Archie with
respect, and even with a degree of cordiality, whenever they met; but
the low-born, yet noble youth, felt the difference between his
patronizing regard and the ingenuous and free sympathy that the cousin
manifested, and his dark eyes would flash with a suppressed and hidden
fire that nothing could subdue like the gentle glance that so often
sought his.

Was it only compassion for his terrible infirmity that tinged the
maiden's cheek and gave fervor to her every tone, as she met him about
the garden walks, or in the humble cottage? Was it only the loving and
earnest nature, that could not help its warm and gushing impulses, that
caused the tear to suffuse her eye at every wound occasioned his
sensitive heart by the thoughtless Willie? Was it naught but a generous
interest that led her every day to his humble home, with her books or
drawings, to ask aid of her uncle's _protégée_? Or was he inflicting
upon himself a needless suffering, besides quenching the brightness of
that young spirit which he would fain die to save from sorrow? Could it
be that by one spoken word his life and health might flow back upon him
with new and refreshing vigor? The risk was too great. It might banish
forever from his sight the only object that made that life endurable;
and so it remained unsaid, preying upon the vitals and pressing him
onward to the blessed haven of rest--rest from all doubts, rest from all
infirmities and sufferings, rest from all painful labor, both physical
and mental, glorious, perfect, enduring rest!

He felt the change that was drawing him from earth, and rejoiced in it.
It were better that she should think of him as a spirit, divested of the
covering that made him a loathsome mortal! Even if he could know that
her every affection clung to him, he would pray to go hence before her
eyes could be so cleared of the mists of love as to see the hideousness
of his imperfections. He had seen her shudder as her cousin's arm was
placed around her; and was he not more repulsive still? Oh, how could he
ever dream of allying himself to an angel?

The very thought of his "vanity" and forgetfulness was humiliating, and
Archibald Mackie shut himself up in his chamber, and suffered, and
prayed, and struggled alone; and came forth with a radiant brow, and a
cheerful, peaceful heart. He had done with the things of this life. The
dearest and best he had dropped from his grasp, and now it was so easy
to part with the rest. The dreams of his youth had made his pathway
green, and kept his mind off the real evils. What if they were but
transient and fading visions? They had been of sufficient duration and
brightness to cheer him in many an otherwise dreary walk; and they had
not been without their influence upon the inner soul that perchance
would have sunk into an utter despondency and gloom but for these
incentives to energy and action.

No more dreaming now; but a constant looking forward to the end of
life's journey, and a steady and unwearied preparation for the final
summons.



CHAPTER XIII.


The summer was unspeakably beautiful to the dying youth. To sit in his
easy-chair beside the low window of his loved chamber, and let his eyes
wander over the greenness and glory of nature, while his thoughts went
upward to the Paradise of immortal joys, or to rove languidly about the
grounds of his patron, supported by the kind old man whose tenderness
and care were ever ready, or to recline upon a couch beside the door
while Kittie Fay talked to him in her pleasant sympathetic way, or read
to him in a low soft tone--these things made up the sum of his waning
life, and imparted a quiet sort of rapture to every moment. Mahan
Doughty--now grown a large and bashful girl--came again with some simple
flowers, that recalled to him the distant years, and Sally Bunt stood
often beside him, not as of old with the newly-laid egg; but with nice
broth from some favorite chicken, whose head was as nothing, when the
word came to the old playmate that Archie was fading away. A great gulf
had separated them since he lived on the plain, for none of his former
associates had dared venture an intimacy after his removal within the
precincts of the "great house;" but an undying sympathy made a bridge
over the wide gulf, and they crossed and recrossed fearlessly, to
minister to their friend.

The imbecile old grandmother played with the thin fingers of her idol
boy, and laughed with an idiotic chuckle as she looked upon the white
face, calling him her "gentleman," and wondering "how he came to have
such a delicate skin, when his father was brown and tawny."

Patrick and Molly discussed the case of the sick youth as often as they
were left alone, with disconsolate and saddened hearts; and all that
could cheer him with the words of a comfort which they were far from
feeling in their own spirits, were the mother and daughter, who had
learned to look away from themselves in every grief and sorrow, that
they might be a blessing to others. The day had been terribly
oppressive, and both had been watching the youth as he lay fainting and
exhausted upon his couch. Not one moment had they ceased fanning him
gently lest the weak breath would take its flight; but now a refreshing
breeze was stirring the locks upon his temples, and imparting to him a
little strength, so that Kittie could leave for a few moments to attend
to her cousin Willie, whose demands were more importunate upon her than
ever, since her time was required in the sick presence.

"How is Archie, to-night, Kittie?" asked he, as his cousin stepped
lightly over the threshold, and seated herself on the sofa beside him.

"He seems to revive a little," said she; "Doctor Fincke thinks he may
yet linger for a few days, but I am fearful it can not be--to me he
seems very weak and low."

"I am quite impatient for the end, Kittie," said Willie, in a light and
careless tone, "for I have a great deal to say to you, and you are so
taken up with this young man that I really have not one moment of your
time, lately. It seems as if there might be a proper nurse found,
without your acting in that capacity."

"It is my pleasure, cousin Willie," said Kittie, in a gentle and subdued
voice. "Nothing could induce me to lose the few last words of this dying
saint. He seems already to reflect the glory of the upper land, so that
every one around is blessed by its influence. Oh! Willie, if you would
only learn from so pure an example to make this life but the
stepping-stone to a better and higher being, instead of taking it for
the only good, and giving up every thought to it, it would be such a
gain to yourself, and such a joy to us all!"

"Wouldn't you like to go with me to see Archie?" continued she, a moment
after, as her cousin had taken no notice of her appeal. "He often speaks
very kindly of you, and I'm sure it would give him pleasure to know that
you are truly his friend."

"But Kittie, what's the use! You know I don't care any thing about the
young man, and that it will be quite a relief to me when he is no longer
there to keep you from me. I have never been to the cottage since he
occupied it, and I don't mean to annoy myself with the sight of him
now. It would give me the horrors to see him die!"

Kittie did not urge the matter, but she felt how little there was in the
calm of that Christian soul to excite any gloom or terror in the
beholder, and so soon as she could get away from her cousin she resumed
her seat beside the sick bed. She had a right to be there now--not a
word had been spoken to tell her so; but the gentle heart revealed
itself to her in a silent, yet none the less intelligible way, and her
own responded warmly and heartily.



CHAPTER XIV.


"Molly, I dreamed of Kittie Fay last night," said old Patrick, as he
drew his chair up to his wife. "It seemed as if she was weeping over a
green grave, and as she stood by it she was dressed all in white, like
an angel, and all about her was nothing but a barren waste. It made me
sad like to see her there, wife, and I went over the dark space that lay
between me and her to try to get her away, but no, she wouldn't stir a
step, and kept stooping to water the grass and flowers, and then she
pointed down to the grave, and then up to heaven, and then laid her
white hand upon her heart. I woke up after that, Molly; but that dream
won't leave me, I keep thinking on't, and I'm most of a mind that these
young folks haven't been so long together for nothing. I believe, Molly,
that there's a reason for our boy's fading away from us so all of a
sudden, and for the pale face that Miss Kittie carries with her."

"No, no, Patrick, you mustn't be so full of your whims," replied the
good wife, in a whisper, as she pointed to the half-open door, through
which they could see the young maiden bending over the couch to minister
to Archie. "You've forgot the station, man, you've forgot the station;
it is kind and natural for her to interest her dear heart in the sick
lad; but depend upon it there's nothing deeper--greater would be the
sorrow if there was, Pat! Besides," she added, after a moment's silence,
"there's her cousin Willie, they say, as much as engaged to her!"

"Fudge!" returned the old man, getting really excited; "a jackass of a
fellow as ain't fit to hold a candle to our Archie? Never you fear,
Molly, there'll nothing come of that; I'd sooner see her in her coffin
first!"

"But you take it hard, man," answered his wife. "Don't you know that
they've been children together, and it isn't as if she could see him
with your eyes; besides, he's got a power o' money, Patrick, and that
covers up many a blemish."

"I tell ye, Molly, a mint of gold wouldn't make any difference to the
feelings o' that girl. Her heart's with the dying lad, and, mark my
words, she'll never marry that simple cousin; but she'll cherish the
green grave just as she did in the dream, and her thoughts'll be up in
heaven with the absent spirit."

"It will be desput lonesome here when he's gone, Patrick," sighed the
old woman; "but I s'pose it's our duty to take care of the grandmother
as long as she lives!"

"To be sure, to be sure, Molly! We'll do well what we've undertaken, but
I long to be back in the old shanty by the water, I kinder miss the old
ways. Nothing but the lad would ever have brought me here, and he's fast
going; it won't be many mornings that we can sit and look in even upon
his sick-bed, Molly."

They couldn't talk about it any more, but they watched the old
grandmother as she clutched at the shadows that the waving foliage made
upon her white gown as she sat in the outer door, and they wondered why
it could not be that she should go first, and the lad be spared them. It
wasn't any good that she could do upon the earth, it wasn't any joy that
she could ever again give! Truly, God's ways are not as our ways, nor
His thoughts as our thoughts! Patrick and Molly could trust Him, even
though the dark cloud was spreading itself over their way, and the
sunshine was soon to be wholly removed from their dwelling.



CHAPTER XV.


The little room was darkened, and the still form was freed from all its
pains--no more fear of the ridicule of an unfeeling world--no more
struggling upward toward a tottering eminence--no more sighings after a
higher sympathy than a narrow sphere can insure--no more tremblings and
palpitations lest the desired good vanish from the sight--no more
sinning nor sorrowing; but the quiet figure lay peaceful and still
beneath the pure covering, with the bright flowers above and loving
hearts around. There are no outbursts of anguish in the presence of the
hallowed dead, but a calmness that speaks of the hope of a resurrection.
The mother and her daughter are alone with the departed, and, as they
look upon his placid features, Kittie recalls the time when she met him,
years ago, in the scorching noontide heat, and contrasted his forlorn
and pitiable condition with the pampered and luxurious state of her
cousin Willie, and, as her mother's words recur to her, "Perhaps not a
pity that he has not Willie's blessings, dear Kittie." She echoes in her
own heart, "not a pity, not not a pity!"

Oh! no; the pity now is all for the high-born lad, whose privileges are
all wasted and perverted, and could she choose for herself one of these
two lives, she would not hesitate to take the lowly cottage on the
plain, with all its sad inconveniences and distasteful accompaniments,
with the exalted Christian mind, rather than the glory, and beauty, and
ease of the great house, with the weakened intellect and the brutish
soul.

There is a small trunk in Archie's chamber, with a card nailed upon the
top, and the inscription, "Miss Kitty Fay;" and Patrick lifts it
reverently, with no vain curiosity, and carries it to the "great house."
He knows that it contains many a manuscript that helped to dry up the
fount of life. They are all dedicated to Kittie, who inspired them; and
it is a great comfort to be reading them over while he is lying there as
if asleep and unable to speak. They make every thing plain to her
concerning the past, and they confirm her in the vow that was made
beneath the old elm, long ago. It is such a treasure, that precious
legacy; so filled with beautiful thoughts, and so free from earthly
dross. Besides, it is all her own, sacred from the world. No other eye
has ever seen it, and nobody else can ever know the secret workings of
the great mind that is no longer clogged by the crippled body.

The old leather portfolio has come to a blessed use--the comforting and
supporting the afflicted. Much need is there, too, of comfort where the
wound is so deeply hidden. Nobody knows Kittie's secret; not even her
fond mother discerns more than a natural solemnity at the presence of
death. It is so hard to go about the house with a cheerful face and an
apparent indifference, when the full heart would fain express itself
freely. But harder still was it for Kittie to be subjected to her
cousin's importunities at a time when she had scarcely room for a common
sympathy for him.

She had walked out alone, and had sought the old elm; it was so soothing
to be there, with no eye to observe her emotion. Why should Willie seek
her _then_ of all times in the world? and for such a purpose!

"It can not be, Willie--you know it can not be," said she, in firm and
decided accents.

"But I have set my heart upon it, Kittie," replied her cousin. "You see,
we have been much together, and I am used to your ways, and I don't
think I could easily find any body else that would exactly suit me, so
I've concluded it is best to have the matter arranged immediately. There
is nothing in the way but this funeral, and that will be over to-morrow,
and what do you say to Monday week, Kittie? Will that be soon enough, my
birdie?" and the too confident youth drew near and reached out his arm
to encircle her waist, but she was no longer there.

"Soon enough!" What! to be wedded to a compound of the most hideous
deformity! "Soon enough!" To blot out the memory of the pure and
immortal one, and to link herself to a revolting and miserable object!
It were better to be lying peacefully beneath the green earth than to
walk about a living corpse, with but the semblance of animation. What
mockery it seemed to her as she stood by the silent dead! The pet name,
too, was almost an insult to the pure and loving heart that had
smothered its springing affections, until the life also was crushed and
gone. Oh! that she could tear out the remembrance of her cousin's
weakness and folly so that she need abate nothing of her accustomed
kindness and attention. Henceforth she must withhold from him even the
natural sympathy which his infirmities demand, and perhaps be forced to
add another tinge to the bitterness of his fate, by a constant coldness
and indifference toward him.

Poor child! the ills of life come seldom singly, yet how much greater is
the might that can rise above and conquer a complication of sorrows.
There was strength for Kittie in the contemplation of the serene face
that was before her--so free from every shadow that had darkened it when
animate. There were exhortations to patience in its hallowed expression,
and lessons upon the nothingness of our temporary trials, and inspiring
promises of the end--that glorious end that will compensate for all our
sad beginnings. No wonder Kittie Fay was more than ever tranquil as she
stepped again within the circle of her home; and no wonder the wound
that lay deeply hidden was unsuspected there.



CHAPTER XVI.


"Come, come Archie, my son, don't be fooling with your old grandmother.
What does it all mean? Is it a wedding, boy? Ah, yes, I mind me now; it
was just so when your father was married, this day forty years
ago--posies all about, on the dresser, on the bed--roses and pansies,
and 'bundance o' green stuff every where," and the unconscious idiot
touched the cold hands, and put her arms around the stiff neck, laying
her wrinkled face to the youth's cheek, and then she would dress his
hair with the flowers, weaving fantastic garlands, and twining them in
and out, amid the damp locks. It was thus they found her--old Patrick
and Molly--as they entered the silent room on the morning of Archie's
funeral. "Is the bride ready?" asked she, unwinding her arms from the
lad, and smoothing down her dress, as if to make herself presentable,
"because," she continued, advancing toward Molly, and pointing to the
couch, "he's waiting for her. 'Tis a beautiful home they'll have, I
never dreamed of any thing so pretty; but _he_ whispered it to
me--golden streets, and pearls, and rivers of water, and trees with all
manner of fruit--'tis worth while to be _his_ bride! I never thought our
Archie'd come to all this good!"

Molly put the flowers back in their places, and composed the limbs once
more, and then gently led the old woman to her arm-chair in the outer
room, where she relapsed into her quiet dosing way until all was over.
Once only she looked up as they bore the remains from the dwelling, and
asked in a deprecating voice, "why Archie didn't take her with him;" but
his name did not escape her after that. The rest of her days were a
blank.

Close beside his mother in a green grave they placed the crippled form,
that was to come forth in the resurrection, perchance the more glorified
for its earthly trial. Groups of ragged urchins from the common were
there, respectful and solemn. Old playmates that were now men and women
gathered around the coffin and wept as they remembered the past. Sally
Bunt and Mahan Doughty were among them, but the sincerest mourners--save
one--were Patrick and Molly, who had watched the young man from his
infancy up, and had placed all their hopes upon him. Bowed and broken,
the old man returned to the desolate cottage to minister to the doting
grandmother, whose only claims upon him were that she was allied to the
dead. Day after day would he and Molly ascend to the little chamber to
spend all their weary leisure. There were _his_ books, just as he had
left them, with one opened and turned down upon the table. There were
his clothes, hung by his own hand upon the wall, and there were the
pictures with which his native talent had adorned the room.

Oh! was not the deep affection of the two simple hearts that beat so
fondly to his memory, a worthy tribute? Is there more value in mines of
gold and silver, or in the adoration of a fickle multitude, than in the
unobtrusive homage of those loving and true, though humble ones.

Every effort of his untaught genius was to them as wondrous and
beautiful as if from the pencil of a Raphael or Titian. Every object of
his pleasure or regard was treasured as a sacred thing. Even the
withered flowers that had bedecked his death-couch were preserved with
pious care, and no unloving hand could touch a single article that had
once felt the impress of the now palsied fingers. There was still one
solace for the bereaved old couple, and that was the frequent visits of
Kittie, who seemed to them linked in a mysterious manner with the
departed.

There was a real pleasure to the three, to speak together of the absent
one whose exalted merit they only knew; and the maiden grew more calm
and resigned from the intercourse. Yet the grave in the beautiful
cemetery was none the less green in her memory, and the white hand
pointed none the less often from it to her heart, and thence upward to
heaven.


THE END.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Elm Tree Tales" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home