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´╗┐Title: A London Baby - The Story of King Roy
Author: Meade, L.T.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A London Baby - The Story of King Roy" ***

A London Baby
The Story of King Roy
By L.T. Meade
Published by James Nisbet and Co, London.
This edition dated 1882.

A London Baby, by L.T. Meade.




I first saw King Roy on a lovely summer's evening near Hyde Park.  It
was a Sunday evening, and I recollect there was a light pleasant breeze,
which just tempered the heat, and once in a playful moment caught King
Roy's small velvet cap and tossed it off his curly head.  Then ensued a
race, a scuffle, and a laugh, in which I, although a stranger to his
Majesty, joined.  This induced me to consider him more attentively, and
thus to study well one of the bonniest baby faces it has ever been my
lot to behold.  For--yes, it is true--King Roy was only a king in right
of his babyhood, being no higher up in this world's social scale than a
carpenter's son.

A brawny, large, and handsome man was the father, on whose shoulder the
little fellow was riding, while a demure, pale-faced sister of about
ten, walked by the side of the two.  Father and little sister might have
been met with anywhere, any day, but the baby once in a lifetime.

He was a rounded and curved creature--not an angle anywhere about him;
his chin was a dimple, his lips rose-buds, his eyes sapphires; his
little head was a mass of tangled golden curls; sunshine seemed to kiss
him all over--hair, eyes, lips, even to the small pink toes--for he had
pulled off his shoes and stockings, which were held tightly in two fat
hands.  He was full of heart-sunshine too, for his gay voice babbled
continually, saying words, to our deaf ears meaningless, but which,
doubtless, the angels understood very well.

"Ah boo!" was his remark to me, and he pointed with his small finger.
Following the direction of the tiny finger, I saw a fly sailing slowly
through space.  Between King Roy and that fly there was doubtless some
untold sympathy.  As though attracted by his admiration it came nearer.
Yes, he must have been giving it some message, for he babbled more
sweetly than before.  The fly sailed away; it looked important with big
tidings, as it went higher into the blue, and the little group of three
turning Hyde Park Corner disappeared from my sight.

I never saw King Roy again, but afterwards I heard a story about him--a
story which so moved me that it may some others; so I tell it here.


John Henry Warden was a carpenter by trade; he was a well-to-do workman,
employed constantly in a profitable and moneymaking business.  God had
also endowed him with excellent mental and physical powers.  Sickness
was unknown to this man, and as to the many heart-aches which come into
the daily measure of most other lives, they were strangers to his
nature.  He did not understand moping; he had no sympathy with gloom.
He considered himself a successful man, he was also ambitious; he meant,
if he lived, to leave this world in a much higher position than when he
had entered it.  He was very much respected by his neighbours, for he
was a strictly honourable, upright, and honest man.  But though
respected he was not loved.  It was his misfortune that never yet in all
his life had he either awakened or given love.  And yet he was not
without those closest ties which knit hearts to hearts.  He had been a
husband; he was now a widower and a father.  He had married a young and
beautiful girl, a sensitive creature who needed love as the plants need
sunshine.  She lived with him for a little over ten years, all the time,
year after year, fading slowly but surely.  Then she died; no one said
she died of a broken heart--Warden least of all suspected it.  He
regretted her loss, for he considered a mother the right person to bring
up her children, and he felt it a pity that she should have left all the
good things of this life, which by-and-by he might have provided for
her.  He had even expressed this regret to her as she lay on her
death-bed, and her answer had surprised him.

"But there'll be love up in heaven.  I'm so _hungry_ for love."

The wife and mother died, and Warden did not fret.  It would have been
very sinful to fret, for although he scarcely considered himself
religious, yet he had a respect for God's dispensations.  Yes, he was
outwardly a model character: he worked early and late; he saved money;
he was never in debt; he defrauded no man; his evenings were spent
either in attending lectures of working men like himself or studying the
subjects he loved at home; he never drank; he never swore; he was looked
up to, and brought forward as an example to follow for many a poor
drunken wretch.  But yet in God's sight that poor drunkard, struggling,
though struggling feebly, to repent, was far nearer, far dearer than
this Pharisee, who had never yet known love, human or divine.

Warden's wife died, leaving to his care two children.  Faith, the elder,
nine years of age at the time, was a pale, silent child.  She knew
enough of her father's character to suppress all her real self before
him.  Roy, the younger, aged three months when his mother left him,
showed from his earliest moments a disposition differing widely from
either father or mother.  By-and-by that sweet soul would develop the
love of the one parent without her weakness, the strength of the other
without his hardness.  Warden, in reality loving no one, having never in
all his existence experienced either the joy or the pain of true love,
yet believed that he had this feeling for his boy.  He was undoubtedly
very proud of the little child; he was his son, he was beautiful.
Warden, when he looked at him, dreamed dreams, in which he saw himself
the founder of a house and a name.  He would make his boy a gentleman;
he worked ever harder and harder as this thought grew and gathered
strength within him.  As to Faith, she was useful in helping and
training Roy.  For her own individual existence he had no special
thought.  She was but a girl; she would grow up another weak, good,
loving creature like her mother.  She might or might not marry.  It did
not greatly matter.  Of course he would do his duty by her--for whenever
had John Warden, in his own opinion, neglected that?  She should be
educated; she should have her chance in life.  But he had no high
opinion of women, and, though he thought he loved his son, he did not
even pretend to his own heart that he cared for little Faith.

It was to this man--this hard, hard man--who lived so uprightly in the
eyes of his fellow men, but so far from his God, that the same God of
love and pity and infinite compassion would yet reveal Himself.  He must
hear the voice of God; but, alas! for his hardness of heart, it must be
in the whirlwind and the storm; not in the still small accents.


It was a Sunday morning--nearly a year after my first and last sight of
King Roy.  He was nearly two years old at the time, and his little
sister Faith was laboriously and with infinite care dressing him to
accompany her for a walk.  Warden was out, and the two children had the
pleasant and cheerful sitting-room to themselves.  The moments of
Warden's absence were the moments of Faith's sunshine.  Her object now
was to get out before he returned, and take Roy with her.  She thought
her father a very good and wonderful man; but it was quite impossible
for her to feel absolutely at home with him.  She had a keen perception
of his real indifference to her; she was not surprised, for Faith
thought very humbly of herself.  But his absence took away a sense of
restraint which she could not shake off, and now the glorious sunshine
of this autumn morning seemed to beckon her out, to beckon and lure her
into the fulness of its own beautiful life.  No summer's day that ever
came was too hot for little Faith; she would get into the full power of
the sun herself, and Roy should have the shelter of the trees.  Yes, it
was Sunday morning; there was nothing whatever to keep them at home;
they would go into Regent's Park, and sit under the trees, and be very,
very happy.  "'Tis _such_ a lovely day, Roy," she said to her little
brother.  Roy, seated on the floor, was rebelling at his shoes and
stockings being put on, and Faith had to use all her powers of
imagination in describing the outside world, to induce him to submit to
the process.  At last, however, he was ready, and taking his hand, they
went down together into the street.  Roy was such a lovely child that
people turned to look at him as he trotted along.  Those who often saw
him have told me that he had by no means perfect features, but the
brightness and sweetness of the little face were simply indescribable.
He babbled as much as of old; but his babbling was now intelligible to
other creatures besides the flies.  Faith looked nearly as happy as he
did as they walked together.  In process of time, as fast as the little
legs would permit they arrived at Regent's Park, and Faith, choosing a
sheltering tree, placed her little brother in a shady corner, and came
close to his side.  Roy picked bits of grass, which he flung into
Faith's lap.  Faith laughed and caressed him.  They were both in a most
blissful child-world, and thought of no darker days at hand.

"Please, I _should_ like to kiss the baby," said a voice suddenly quite
close to Faith's ear.

It was a thin, high-pitched voice, and raising her head at the sound,
Faith saw a very white-faced, very ragged girl, a little older than
herself, standing near.

"I'm so afraid as you mayn't be clean enough," she answered anxiously.

"Oh, but I'll run to mother, and she'll wash my lips.  Just wait, and
I'll be back in a jiffy."

The ragged girl flew across the grass, came to a woman who was seated
with some other children round her, stayed away for a very short time,
and quickly returned.

"Now, ain't I h'all right?" she said, showing a pair of pretty rosy lips
enough, in the midst of an otherwise black and dirty little face.
"You'll kiss me now, pretty, dear little boy?" she said.

"I tiss 'oo once," replied King Roy solemnly, and allowing his little
rose-bud mouth to meet hers.

"Oh, but ain't he a real duck?" said the girl.  "We 'ad a little 'un
somethink like him wid us once.  Yes, he wor _werry_ like him."

"Ain't he with you now?" asked Faith.

"No, no; you mustn't speak o' it to mother, but he died; he tuk the
'fecti'n, and he died."

"Wor it fever?" asked Faith.

"Yes, perhaps that wor the name.  There's a many kinds o' 'fecti'n, and
folks dies from they h'all.  I don't see the use o' naming 'em.  They're
h'all certain sure to kill yer."  Here the ragged girl seated herself on
the grass quite close to Faith.  "You'll never guess where I'm a going
this afternoon," she said.

"No; how could I guess?" replied Faith.

"Well, now, you're _werry_ neat dressed, and folks like you have a
kinder right to be there.  But for h'all that, though I'm desperate
ragged, I'm goin'.  You're sure you can't guess, can you?"

"No, I can't guess," answered Faith.  "I ain't going nowhere particular
myself, and I never wor good at guessing."

"Well, now, ain't it queer?--I thought h'all the 'spectable folks went.
Why, I'm going to Sunday-school--'tis to Ragged Sunday-school, to be
sure; but I like it.  I ha' gone twice now, and I like it wonderful

"I know now what you mean," replied Faith.  "I often wished to go to
Sunday-school, but father don't like it; he'd rayther I stayed to take
care o' Roy."

"I guess as my father wouldn't wish it neither.  But, Lor' bless yer!  I
don't trouble to obey him.  'Tis werry nice in Sunday-school.  Would you
like to hear wot they telled us last Sunday?"

"Yes, please," answered Faith, opening her eyes with some curiosity.

"Well, it wor a real pretty tale--it wor 'bout a man called Jesus.  A
lot o' women brought their babies to Jesus and axed Him to fondle of
'em, and take 'em in His arms; and there wor some men about--ugh!  I
guess as _they_ wor some'ut like father--and they said to the women,
`Take the babies away as fast as possible; Jesus is a great, great man,
and He can't no way be troubled.'  And the mothers o' the babies wor
going off, when Jesus said--I remember the exact words, for we was got
to larn 'em off book--`Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and
don't forbid 'em;' and He tuk them 'ere little babies in His arms and
kissed 'em.  I guess as some of 'em worn't too clean neither."

"I wish ever so as I could take Roy to him," answered Faith.  "That's a
real lovely story.  Mother, afore she died, telled me 'bout Jesus; but I
don't remember 'bout Him and the babies.  Now I must be going home.
Thank you, little ragged girl.  If you like you may kiss Roy once again,
and me too."


Faith and Roy were late, and their father was waiting for them.  He was
very particular about his meals, which were never entrusted to Faith's
young efforts at cooking, but were sent from a cook-shop close by.  Now
the potatoes and a little piece of roast beef smoked on the table, and
Warden, considerably put out, walked up and down.  When the children
entered, Roy ran up to his father confidently--he had never been afraid
of any one in his life--and wanted a ride now on the tall, strong

"Up, up," said the little fellow, raising his arms and pointing to his
favourite perch.

Warden endeavoured to get out of his way, but Roy clasped his little
arms round his knees.

"Fader, up, up," he said.

"No; I can't, Roy.  Don't be troublesome.  Faith, that child is in every
one's way.  Take him and put him in the bedroom until his dinner is

Little Roy was very hungry, and there was that in his father's hard tone
which caused him to raise his baby-blue eyes in wonder and some shadowy
alarm.  Faith took him, sobbing, into the bedroom, from which she
returned with a very sad heart to her own dinner.  Warden helped her
sullenly; but to eat while her little brother was alone seemed to choke
her.  She found she could not swallow her nice Sunday dinner.  She was
always terrified of her stern father, but now for Roy's sake she must
brave his anger.

"Please, father, may little Roy have his dinner first?  He's se'ch a
baby, and he's so hungry."

"No, Faith; I make a rule, and I won't break it.  'Tis a very proper
punishment for you for being so late."

Roy's little sobbing voice at the other side of the door, for the
bedroom was inside the sitting-room, saying "Open, open," made it almost
impossible for Faith to sit quiet, and she was much relieved when her
father rose from the table and went out.  Then what petting followed for
little Roy! what feeding him with the choicest bits! until at last the
little fellow, worn out from his walk and fit of crying, fell asleep in
his sister's arms.

Faith laid him tenderly on the horse-hair sofa, covered him over, and
sat down by his side.  She sat on a low seat, and, folding her hands on
her lap, gazed straight before her.  Faith was nearly eleven years old
now, but she was small for her age--small, thin, and very sad-looking.
Only when playing with Roy, or tending Roy, did her little sallow face
grow childish and happy in expression.  Faith possessed her mother's
sensitive temperament.  Love alone could make this child bright and
happy; without love she must pine and die, perhaps as her mother died.
Tears gathered slowly in her eyes as she recalled the little scene
between her father and Roy.  After a time, hearing steps in the street,
she rose and went to the window.  Some children, with their parents,
were walking up the street--happy children in their Sunday best, and
happy parents, caring for and loving them.  Faith watched one little
group with special interest.  There were four in this group--a father
and mother, and boy and girl.  The girl held her father's hand, and
danced as she walked.  The boy, a very little child, was led most
tenderly by his mother.  Faith turned away with a great sigh, and the
tears now rolled slowly down her cheeks.

"Ain't it a hard, hard thing when a little child loses of his mother?"
she said to herself.  "Oh! my little darlin' Roy, if mother had been
there he wouldn't a been kep' waiting fur his dinner."

She went over, knelt down by her little brother, and kissed his soft
cheek.  Then a further thought occurred to her.  That was a pretty story
the ragged girl in Regent's Park had told her to-day.  She had never
heard it before, though her mother, when alive, had often spoken to her
about Jesus, but somehow this story, the sweetest of all, had never
reached her ears before to-day.

"I wish as Jesus wor alive now, and I could take Roy to him," she said
to herself.  She felt that if Jesus took Roy in his arms and blessed
him, that then he might not miss his mother so much; that the great fact
of his having received the blessing of Jesus would make up to him for
the loss of his mother.

"But wot's the use," continued Faith very sadly to herself, "when Jesus
be dead years ago?"

At this juncture in the little girl's thoughts, the room-door was
opened, and a neighbour, who had often been kind to both the children,
came in.  She had come to borrow a saucepan, and was in a hurry; but
seeing the tears on Faith's cheeks, she stopped to inquire the cause.

"There be nothink wrong wid the little 'un, I 'ope, Faith," she said.

"Oh, no," answered Faith.  "Roy's well enough.  'Tis only as I'm so
sorry as Jesus is dead."

Mrs Mason, the neighbour, stepped back a pace or so in some

"Bless us and save us!" she exclaimed.  "Wot a queer child!  But it
ain't true, Faith, fur Jesus ain't dead.  He's as alive as possible!"

"Do the Bible say that?" asked Faith.

"Yes, the Bible says it h'over and h'over."

"And could I go to him, and take Roy?  Could I, Mrs Mason?"

"Bless us, child, you're a queer 'un; but the Bible sartin' do say as
He'll receive all as come to Him.  Yes, in course you can go; but I
can't tell you the exact way.  There, Faith, child, why don't you go to
Sunday-school, same as the other little lads and lasses about?  They
teach everythink about coming to Jesus in Sunday-school."

"I wish with h'all my heart I could go," answered Faith.

"Well, child, I see nothink agen it.  There's one jest round the corner,
and the bell's a-ringing now; but there, I can't stay another moment."

Mrs Mason hurried away, and Faith still sat still; but a devouring wish
was now possessing her.  If she only could just once go to Sunday-school
and hear about Jesus, and learn that He was really alive, and that she
could take Roy to Him!  Oh! if only it were possible that Roy might
receive this great and wonderful blessing, why it would be worth even
her father's great anger, should he learn that she had disobeyed him.
Faith trembled and hesitated, and finally rose to her feet.  If only Roy
would awake, she could take him with her.  But no; Roy was very tired
and very sound asleep.  By the time little Roy awoke, Sunday-school
would be over, and she would have lost all hope of hearing of Jesus for
another week.

Suppose she left Roy just for once--just for the first and last time in
all her life--she would only be an hour away, and in that hour what
possible harm could happen to the little child? and she would learn so
much, oh! so much, which could help him by-and-by.

Yes; she thought she might venture.  She would have returned long before
her father came back, most likely long before Roy awoke.  It was worth
the little risk for the sake of the great gain.  She placed the
fireguard carefully before the fire, kissed her little brother, and with
a beating heart slipped out.

No; there was no possible fear for little Roy.


Before Faith had been gone quite half an hour her father returned.  This
was an unusual proceeding, for generally he spent his Sunday afternoons
in a working men's club round the corner.  He was one of the most
influential members of this club--its most active and stirring
representative.  He organised meetings, got up debates, and did, in
short, those thousand and one things which an energetic, clever man can
do to put fire and life into such proceedings.  He had come home now to
draw up the minutes of a new organisation which he and a few other
kindred spirits were about to form.

It was to be a society in every way based on the laws of justice and
reason.  Religious, and yet allowing all harmless and innocent
amusements both for Sundays and weekdays; temperate, but permitting the
use of beer and wine in moderation.

Warden felt very virtuous and very useful as he sat down with pen and
paper before him.  No one could say of him that he spent his time for
nought.  How blameless and good and excellent was his life!  Never,
never would it be necessary for those lips to cry to his Maker, "God be
merciful to me a sinner!"

A little restless movement, and faint, satisfied baby sigh from the
sofa, interrupted these self-satisfied meditations.  He looked round and
saw little Roy.  "Bless us! is the child there? and wherever is Faith?"
he said to himself.

He got up and approached his little boy.  The child was looking as
beautiful as such a lovely creature would look in his sleep.  Warden
went on his knees to watch him more earnestly.  Yes; the golden-brown
eyelashes, the tangled mass of bright hair, the full pouting lips, the
rounded limbs, made up a picture which might well cause any father's
heart to beat with love and pride; and doubtless there was much of both
in Warden's soul just then.  He gazed long and earnestly.  Before he
rose to his feet he even bent and kissed the little flushed cheek.

"Yes," he said to himself; "he's a very, very lovely boy.  If ever a man
had cause for ambition I have.  With God's help, that boy shall take his
place with any gentleman in the land before I die."

He sat down again by his table, but instead of continuing his work he
remained for a time, one hand partly shading his eyes, while he indulged
in a meditation.  Yes; he must save as much money as possible; for Roy's
education must begin early.  Roy must have this, Roy must have that.  He
did not think of Faith at all.  Faith was but a girl.  He began to
consider by what means he could add to his earnings, by what means he
could retrench his present expenses.  The rooms they now lived in were
comfortable, but far from cheap.  Ought they not to go into poorer
lodgings? for now they spent all he earned, and where, if that was so,
would be the money to put little Roy to school by-and-by?

In the midst of these thoughts, the door was pushed softly open, and a
man's face appeared.  It just appeared above the frame of the door, and
looked in with timid, bloodshot eyes.

"I cannot assist you, Peter Davis," called out Warden in his full, loud
tones.  "There's no manner of use in your waiting here.  You know my
opinion of such conduct as yours."

"Yes; but I means to reform--I do indeed," replied Davis.  He had so far
gathered courage now as to advance a step or two into the room.  "'Tis
h'all so 'ard on a feller.  When he's down h'every one throws a stone at
him.  I'm h'ever so sorry fur givin' way to the drink, and I'm goin' to
take the pledge--I am indeed."

"It is disgusting, any man drinking himself into the condition of a
beast--lower, far lower than a beast," answered Warden, in his most
bitter tones.  "There now, Davis, you know my opinion.  I am pleased,
however, to hear you mean to change your ways."

"Yes, indeed, indeed I do--Mr--Mr Warden; and wot I made bold to come
yere fur were to axe ef you'd may be help me.  I don't mean fur myself,
but fur the poor wife.  The wife, her 'ad a little 'un last night, and
we h'an't never a sup nor a bite in the house.  I thought, may be, Mr--
Mr Warden, as seeing we belonged to the werry same club, as you'd may
be let me have the loan of five shillings, or even harf-a-crown, jest
one harf-crown, and returned most faithful, Mr Warden."

Warden laughed loudly.

"No; not a shilling, nor a sixpence," he said.  "I never encourage
drunkards; and as to your belonging to our club, you won't have that to
say long unless you mend yer ways."

"But 'tis fur the wife," continued Davis.  "The wife, as honest a body
as h'ever breathed, and she's starving.  No, no, it h'aint, h'indeed it
ain't, to spend on drink.  I'm none so low as that comes to.  I won't
spend a penny of it on drink.  Oh!  Mr Warden, the wife and the
new-born babe is a dying of hunger.  Lend us jest one shilling, h'even
one shilling, for the love of h'Almighty God!  How 'ud you like ef yer
h'own little lad there were starving?"

"Look here," said Warden, rising to his feet.  "I'm busy, and I can't be
interrupted.  If you don't leave the room at once I must just put you
out I may as well tell you plainly that I _don't believe a word you
say_, and not one farthing will you ever get from me."

"Then God furgive yer fur the werry _'ardest_ man I h'ever met," said
poor Davis.  "I think," he added, "as I'd as lief 'ave my chance wid the
h'Almighty as yourn, when h'all is reckoned up.  I never, never heerd as
you did a real kind thing in yer life, and I pity them children as h'is
to be brought h'up by you."

Warden laughed again disagreeably, and, shutting the door on Davis,
returned to his work; but the little incident and the burning, angry
words of the despairing man shook him unpleasantly, and his temper,
never one of the best, was in such a ruffled condition, that it only
wanted the faintest provocation to kindle it into a blaze.  This
provocation (not a very slight one) came in the shape of his little son.
Roy had awakened, and after looking round in vain for Faith, had slid
down off the horse-hair sofa.  He was thoroughly refreshed by his sleep,
and was just in the mood when a very little child, in its eager desire
for occupation, may do incalculable mischief.

Warden did not know that the little fellow had awakened.  He sat with
his back to the sofa, and was now thoroughly absorbed in his work.  He
was drawing up a prospectus for the new society, and his head was bent
low over the paper.  By his side lay, in a neat and complete form, a
prize essay, which he had taken some three months of hard work and hard
thought to put together.  The subject was one of the popular subjects of
the day.  The prize was only open to working men.  Warden had every hope
of gaining the prize.  If so, he would win 50 pounds.  His essay was
complete.  He had sat up late the night before, finishing it, and it was
to be posted to its destination that very evening.  Now, with an
unconscious jerk of his elbow, he tossed the neatly pinned together
pages on to the floor.  He knew nothing of this fact; but as they lay
wide open from their fall on the floor, they presented a very tempting
spectacle to the eager eyes of little Roy.  He approached the precious
manuscript softly, sat down on the carpet, and began the delicious work
of tearing it into pieces.  For a quarter of an hour there was perfect
stillness, at the end of which time nothing whatever remained of
Warden's prize essay but a pile of scattered fragments which surrounded
little Roy.  When the deed of mischief was fully done, and not before,
the little fellow gave utterance to a deep sigh of satisfaction, and,
raising his clear, baby voice, exclaimed, in a tone of triumph:

"'Ook, fader, 'ook!"

Warden did look, and comprehended at a glance.  His essay was hopelessly
lost!  He had no other copy!  A quieter and better man might have felt
provocation.  Into Warden's breast there entered a devil.  He caught the
little child roughly in his arms, dealt him several sharp blows, and
rushed with him into the adjoining bedroom.

"There, you bad, bad boy!  Get out of my sight!  I never want to see you
again."  He locked the door on Roy, and might have been heard pacing up
and down his sitting-room.  He was in a furious rage, and would scarcely
have minded then had any one told him that he had seriously injured his

Meanwhile the little child, stunned by the blows, terrified by the
rough, hard words, totally uncomprehending what he had done wrong, for
Faith had many times given him old papers to tear, lay for a moment or
two trembling on the floor.  Then he began to sob loudly; then he rose
to his feet.  It was growing dark in the bedroom, and Roy hated the
dark.  He ran to the door which divided bedroom and sitting-room, and,
shaking it cried loudly:

"Yet me in--yet me in!"

No regard was paid to his eager little voice, and his cries and distress
were redoubled.  Where was Faith?  What did it all mean?  He was
confused, frightened, pained.  He could not comprehend how or why.
Turning his back at last to the inhospitable closed door, and standing,
a pitiable little object, with all his golden curls lying in a tangled
mass on his forehead, he saw a welcome light in another part of the
room.  This light came from the door which opened on to the passage, and
was but very seldom used.  Now, through some accident, it was about an
inch or two ajar.

Roy saw the light in the passage beyond, and ran to it with a glad cry.
When he got there, the thought entered his baby head that he would go
and look for Faith.  His father had turned him away; his father had hurt
him and not been at all nice.  Roy, heaving a great sob, felt he did not
at all understand his father.  Yes; he would go and look for Faith.
When she was neither in the sitting-room nor in the bedroom she was out.
He would go out to look for her, for _she_ was always very nice.

Down step after step he stumbled, no one meeting him, no one observing.
Down the long hall at the end he ran, and out through the open door.
His head uncovered, his little round arms bare, he ran quickly away from
his home.  A baby of two years to be lost in the London streets!


When Faith came in a few moments later, she found her father pacing up
and down the room.  His anger and vexation were still burning hot; he
was still in his heart wishing that Roy were an older child, so that he
might punish him more severely.  It was a great relief to see Faith's
pale, anxious little face.  Yes, without any doubt Faith was the real
culprit.  On Faith then should the full vials of his wrath fall.

"See what you have done," he said; "come here, right over here, and see
what you have done."

Faith, her face growing a shade whiter, approached and saw the scattered
pieces of the prize essay still lying on the floor.

"Wot h'ever is that, father?" she ventured to say.

"What ever is that? 'tis my essay, my prize essay, that your brother
tore all into bits.  How dare you, how dare you, I say, disobey me and
leave the child alone?  You have done mischief that can never be put
right, and I'll never forgive you."

"Oh! father," said Faith piteously.  She went on her knees and took some
of the tiny torn fragments into her hand.

"There! don't touch them; 'tis jest enough to madden a man, but you
shall suffer.  If you can't take care of the child, some one else shall.
Yes, you shan't hear the last of this.  Now, tell me where you have
been this hour and more."

"I went to Sunday-school, father.  I don't know why I disobeyed you;
indeed I never did it before, but I 'ad a kind of hankering to go jest
once.  I left Roy asleep, and I never guessed as he 'ud wake; I thought
I'd be back long afore, and I never guessed as you'd come home; I never,
never guessed it.  Oh!  Indeed I'm dreadful, bitter sorry, indeed I am."

"You have need to be; you can't even guess how angry God Almighty is
with you; you're a very, very wicked girl.  There, get out of my sight
go into the bedroom, you shan't have no tea to-night."

Faith went slowly towards the bedroom door, she opened it and shut it
behind her; she cared nothing for the punishment of going without her
supper, she was glad to be away from her father, glad to be alone with
the dreadful, dreadful weight which rested on her heart.  Her father had
said that she was a very, very wicked girl, that no one could even guess
how angry God was with her.  Yes, she believed her father; she had done
wrong.  It was most certainly wrong to disobey, she had disobeyed her
father's strictest command.  Tears burned in her eyes, but lay too heavy
there to roll down her cheeks; she sat on the floor, a little bent-up
bundle of misery, and forgot Roy and every one else in the anguish of
being under God's displeasure.  And she had been having such a happy
time.  How sweet that Sunday-school was! how kind the teacher, who had
welcomed the timid child standing at the door! then how gentle and good
were her words--all, all about Jesus and His love--all about the tender
care the great Heavenly Father takes of His little ones.  Faith
listened, and when all was over, with her heart quite full of her great
question, she lingered behind the other scholars.

"You will come again to my class next Sunday?" said the Sunday teacher,
smiling at her.

"I'm dreadful afeared as I can't," answered Faith.  "I'd like to beyont
any words, but I'm feared as I can't come no more; I only come to-day
'cause I do want to know how to bring Roy to Jesus."

"Who is Roy?" asked the teacher.

"Please, lady dear, he's my little, little brother; he's quite a baby
boy; I do want to bring him to Jesus."

"The Bible tells us how to bring little children to the dear Saviour
Jesus," answered the teacher in her sweet, low voice.  "But I think you
need to have it explained to you, Faith.  If you can manage to come even
once again to Sunday-school, and if you will be here just five minutes
before the school opens, why I will come too, and tell you all about it.
I am sorry I must run away now."

She nodded and smiled at Faith, and Faith went away with a great and
wonderful joy in her heart.  But oh! how changed was everything now!
God, who was spoken of as very loving, very forgiving, very kind at
Sunday-school, was dreadfully angry with her.  Her father had said he
never would forgive her, and Faith felt that she deserved some
punishment, for in disobeying her father she certainly had done wrong.

Oh! what a lonely, lonely little girl she was; were it not for Roy, how
without love and interest would her life be! but yes, she still had her
darling, precious baby boy.  At the remembrance of him she raised her
face, and then got up slowly from her crouching position.  It was full
time to give him his supper and put him to bed.  She reproached herself
afresh for having forgotten him so long.  Was it possible that he was
still asleep on the sofa in the sitting-room! no, this could scarcely be
the case, for her father had said that he had done the incalculable
mischief of tearing up his prize essay.  Poor, poor little Roy, how
innocently he had committed this great crime! how often had she kept him
quiet by giving him an old newspaper to tear!  Yes, she, and she alone,
was the only one to blame for the mischief done that night; but whoever
was the guilty party, Roy must have his supper and go to bed; it was far
too late already for a little child only two years old to be up.  Faith
must brave her father's anger and fetch Roy from the sitting-room.  She
trembled a little as she approached the door, and thought of her stern
father's voice and manner; but though far too timid to raise even a
finger to help herself, Faith was one of those who would gladly take her
very life in her hand to save or aid one whom she loved.  She opened the
door softly and looked in.  Her father was seated by the table, the gas
flaring high over his head; he was trying laboriously to put some of his
torn essay together; he heard the movement at the door, but without
looking up called out harshly--"Go away; I can't be disturbed."

"Please, father, 'tis only me fur Roy.  I want Roy to give him his

"Roy ain't here.  Go away, I say."  Faith's heart gave a great bound.
No, Roy was certainly not in the room.  Could she have overlooked him in
the bedroom?  There was no light, except from the gas outside, in the
room.  Had her father been very harsh and angry with little Roy, and had
he crept in here and fallen asleep?  She went back, struck a light with
a trembling hand, and looked around her.

No, he was not in the big bed.  He was not in his own little cot.  He
was nowhere, either under the bed or on the floor.

"Roy, Roy, little darling Roy," she called, but no sweet, gay voice
answered to hers.  Oh! where was little Roy?  She went into the tiny
dressing-room where her father slept.  No, Roy was not there.

A horrible dread came over Faith.  Where was Roy?  Her father had said
that as she could not take proper care of him, some one else should.
Had he really taken Roy away, and given him into the care of some
stranger, some dreadful, dreadful stranger who would not love him, or
care for him as he ought to be loved and tended?  The agony of this idea
took all fear away from Faith.  Without a particle of hesitation now,
she went back to her father.  He was so busy he did not even hear her
swift step, and started when her voice sounded at his elbow.

"Please, father, I must know where you ha' tuk Roy.  It 'ull kill me
unless I know that much at once."

The agony and consternation in her tone caused Warden to raise his head
in surprise.

"I don't know what you mean, Faith.  I only took Roy into the bedroom.
There! go, and put him to bed, and don't act more foolishly than you can

"You only tuk him inter the bedroom?" repeated Faith.  She did not stay
another second with her father, she rushed away from him and back to the
inner room.  A fear even more terrible than her first fear had come to
her.  She remembered that the door leading into the passage was open.
Was it possible, possible that little Roy, her little sweet baby Roy,
had gone out through that open door, had slipped down-stairs, and into
the street?  Oh! no, it never could be possible.  However angry God was
with her, He could never allow such an awful punishment as this to
overtake her.  She rushed wildly up-stairs and down-stairs, looking into
every room, calling everywhere for Roy.  No one had seen him, no one had
heard the baby steps as they stole away.  The whole house was searched
in vain for little Roy.  He was not to be found.  In five minutes, Faith
came back to her father.  She came up to him, her breath a little gone,
her words coming in gasps.  She laid her hand on his shoulder.

"Yes, father," she said, "you wor quite, quite right.  God h'Almighty's
werry angry wid me.  I don't know how I'll h'ever bear it.  Little Roy
ain't in the house, father.  When you put him in the bedroom he runned
out by the other door, he ran inter the street.  We ha' searched h'all
the house over, and he ain't there.  My little Roy is quite, quite

"Lost!" echoed Warden.  He sprang to his feet.  "Roy not in the house!
Roy lost!"  Back over his memory came the picture of the lovely sleeping
boy, of the real love and pride with which he had kissed him.  His prize
essay became as nothing to him.  But swift through his hard, cold heart
passed an arrow of intolerable pain.  "Roy, lost?" he repeated.  "God
help me! and I wor werry rough to the little chap."

They were the humblest words that had ever passed his lips.  He rushed
from the room, for he must find his son.


Meanwhile, little Roy pursued his way down the long street which led
from his home to another, which on weekdays was full of shops and gay
with light and many-coloured windows.  To-day, being Sunday, the shops
were closed, and the place looked dull.  Sobbing slightly under his
breath, and a very little alarmed at the temerity of his own act, little
Roy ran down this street.  His object lay very clear before his baby
mind--he was going to meet Faith.  Faith was out, and, as he too had
gone out, he would, of course, find her very soon.  At the corner of
this second street he came suddenly upon a flaring gin-palace, which,
Sunday though it was, was brilliant with light and full of people.  The
bright light streaming right out into the street attracted little Roy.
He stopped his sobbing, paused in his short, running gait, and pressed
his little face against the pane.  "Pitty, pitty!" he said to himself--
he even forgot Faith in the admiration which filled his baby soul.
After a time it occurred to him that Faith would be very likely to be in
such a lovely place.  The swing-doors were always opening and shutting.
Roy, watching his opportunity, pushed his way in by the side of a ragged
woman and two coarse men.  They advanced up to the counter to ask for
gin, but the baby child remained on the threshold.  He looked around him
with the wide open eyes of admiration, innocence, and trust.  Anything
so lovely gazing at anything so evil had been seldom seen; certainly
never seen before within those walls.  The men and women drinking
themselves to the condition of beasts, stopped, and a kind of shocked
feeling pervaded the whole assembly.  It was as though an angel had
alighted on that threshold, and was showing those poor hardened wretches
what some of them had once been--what, alas! none of them could ever be
again.  Little Roy's cheeks were slightly flushed; his tangled yellow
hair, ruffled more than ever by his running in the wind, surrounded his
head like a halo; and as gradually it dawned upon him that all those
people surrounding him were strangers, his blue eyes filled with tears.
The directness of his aim, the full certainty of his thought were
brought to a stand-still; all movement was arrested by the terrible
certainty that Faith was not there.

"Bless us! who h'ever h'is the little 'un?" said the ragged woman who
had come into the gin-palace with him.  "Wot's yer name, my little dear,
and wot h'ever do yer want?"

"'Ittle 'Oy want Fate," said the boy in a clear high tone.

The woman laughed.  "Hark to the young 'un," she said, turning to her
companions.  "Did yer h'ever hear the like o' that afore?  He says as he
wants his fate.  Pretty lamb, it 'ull come to him soon enough."

"'Oy want Fate--'Oy do want Fate," said the little child again.

The woman bent down and took his hand.

"No, no, my dear," she said.  "You run away home, and never mind yer
fate; it 'ull come h'all in good time; and babies have no cause to know
sech things."

"'Oy do want Fate," repeated the boy.  Two other women had now come
round him, and also a man.

"It don't seem no way canny like, to hear him going on like that," said
one of the group.  "And did yer h'ever see sech a skin, and sech 'air?
I don't b'lieve a bit that he's a real flesh-and-blood child."

A coarse red-faced woman pushed this speaker away.

"Shame on yer, Kate Flarherty; the child ain't nothink uncanny.  He's
jest a baby boy.  Bless us!  I 'ad a little 'un wid 'air as yaller as
he.  You ha' got lost, and run away.  Ain't that it, dear little baby

This woman, for all her red face, had a kind voice, and it won little
Roy at once.

"Will 'oo take me to Fate?" he said; and he went up to the woman, and
put his little hand in hers.  She gave almost a scream when the little
hand touched her; but, catching him in her arms, and straining him to
her breast, she left the gin-palace at once.


Warden spent all that night looking for Roy.  He went to the police
courts; he got detectives even to his aid.  By the morning
advertisements were placarded about, and rewards were offered for the
missing child.  He did all that could be done, and was assured by the
police that whoever had stolen little Roy away would now certainly bring
him back.  Warden was a carpenter by trade.  He was engaged now over a
job which was to be finished by a given time, and which would, when
completed, pay him handsomely.  He had engaged to have it done by this
date, and he was a man who had never yet failed in his appointments.
But for all that he came home that morning, and never thought of going
out again to work.  His whole heart, and soul, and energies were
concentrated, waiting and listening for a little voice, for the sight of
a dear golden head, the return of the blue-eyed boy who was his own, and
whom now that he had lost, he knew, indeed, to be bone of his bone,
flesh of his flesh.  So near, so precious had little Roy become, that
without him it would be agony to live.  Warden went home, and saw on the
floor some of the scattered fragments of his torn essay.  The pieces he
had been laboriously trying to put together when Faith had come to him
with the news that little Roy had ran away, still lay on the table.  In
the grate were some burnt-out ashes; the room was untidy--dusty.  It had
not been touched since last night.  It was Faith's duty to make this
room ready for breakfast; and, as a rule, Warden would have been angry
with her for its present state of neglect; but this morning he said
nothing, only when his eyes rested on the torn pieces of the essay he
uttered a groan, and, stooping down, he picked them all up and put them
in the grate.  There he set fire to them.  When they had been reduced to
a few white ashes he sat down on the horse-hair sofa and wondered when
Faith would appear.  She came in presently from the inner room, and
Warden roused himself to say, in a new and wonderfully kind tone:

"I ha' had rewards put up, and the detectives are on the watch.  We'll
have him home werry soon, Faithy."

Faith did not make any answer.  There was a queer, dull, almost stupid
look on her face.  She moved half-mechanically about the room, getting
her father's breakfast and pouring it out for him as if nothing had
happened.  When she gave him his cup of hot coffee, she even seated
herself in her accustomed place opposite.  Roy's little empty chair was
pushed against the wall.  Faith moved her own so that her eyes should
not rest on this symbol of the lost child.

"Eat some breakfast, Faith," said her father; then he added, in a tone
which he endeavoured to render cheerful, "The little chap 'ull be back
very soon, I guess.  Do you hear me, Faith?  I expect little Roy to be
brought back almost immediately."

"Yes, father," answered Faith.  She raised her dull eyes to his face.
He saw not a gleam of either hope or belief in them, and, unable to
endure the despair of the little daughter whom he had never loved, he
pushed back his chair and left the room.  The moment he did so Faith
breathed a slight sigh of relief.  She left the breakfast-table, and,
getting a chair, she mounted it and took down from a high shelf an old
and dusty copy of the Bible.  It was a copy she had seen in her mother's
hands.  She had watched her dying mother read in this old Bible, and
smile and look happy as she read.  Afterwards Faith had tried herself to
read in the old book.  But one day her father, seeing it lying about,
and feeling that it reminded him of his wife, who never had it very far
from her side, had put it up out of the children's reach, and Faith had
hitherto been too timid to dare to take it down; but there was nothing
at all timid about the little girl's movements to-day.  An absorbing
agony of grief and pain was filling her poor little heart to the utter
exclusion of all lesser feelings.  She fetched down the old Bible from
its dusty hiding-place, because it had come back to her memory in the
long hours of the wakeful night she had just gone through, that the
Sunday teacher who had given her that sweet and peaceful lesson the day
before had said that the Bible was full of stories about Jesus.  If only
she _could_ find the place where he took the babies in His arms, and was
so good and kind to them.  Perhaps if she found the account of the story
she might also learn how the mothers and the sisters--for surely there
must have been little sad orphan sisters like her in that group--she
might learn how they came to Jesus with the babies; she might find out
how He was to be found now.  Her teacher had said He was not dead.  The
neighbour down-stairs had said He was not dead.  Then, if that was so,
would not the very best thing Faith could do be to go to Him first
herself, and tell Him that Roy was lost--that he had gone quite, quite
far away, and ask Him to help her to find him?  She placed the Bible on
the table, got a duster, and, tenderly removing its dust, opened it.  It
was a large book--a book with a great, great deal of writing, and Faith
wondered how soon she could find this particular story that she longed
for.  She could read very slowly, and very badly.  She might be a long
time seeing the place where Jesus blessed the babies; but here
unlooked-for help was at hand.  Faith's dead mother, too, had loved this
special story.  The place opened at the very page, and, to help Faith
still further, the words were heavily marked with a pencil.

Yes, it was all there; all that the ragged girl had told her yesterday.
Faith had a vivid imagination, and she saw the whole picture--she saw
the waiting mothers and the lovely baby children.  She saw the angry
disciples trying to send them away, and the face of the dear Saviour of
the whole world as, taking one after the other of these lambs in His
arms, He said, "Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid
them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven."

Faith read the story over and over until she really knew it all by
heart.  Yes, it was all there, but one difficulty was not over.  She had
read with her own eyes the story, but she saw nothing in the sacred
words to help her special need--nothing about where Jesus lived now,
nothing of how she, Faith, could go to Him, and ask Him to help her to
find her little brother.  She had less doubt than ever in her own mind
of His perfect willingness to help her--of His perfect power to find Roy
again.  But how could she find Him?  In what part of vast London did
Jesus live now?

Faith returned the old Bible into its place.  She had found out what it
could tell her.  Who was there who could give her the further knowledge
for which she craved?  On one point, however, she had quite made up her
mind.  With the aid of Jesus, or without, she must go herself to find
her little brother.  This course of action seemed to her right, and
clear as daylight.  It was all very well to talk of police and
detectives searching for the child.  Faith did not know anything about
such people.  Knowing nothing, she believed not at all in their power,
but she did believe most fully in the power of her own great love.
Surely no one else in all the world could distinguish Roy's little face
so far away; no one else could detect the clear ring of his voice in the
roar and din of London.  The little child had run away in fear and
loneliness; but Faith, by the strength and power of her love, could
bring him back again.  She did not think at all about her father.  She
failed either to see or comprehend his new-born affection or anxiety.
Her little heart felt hard against him; he had been cruel to her darling
baby boy, and Faith could make no allowance for the torn prize essay.
Her father was hard and cruel to every one.  Faith did not pity him; nor
did she believe in the least in _his_ ability to bring the lost child
home.  No, this must be her task.  She tied on her hat, and put on her
out-door jacket, and ran down-stairs, for she had not a moment to lose.
At the foot of the stairs she met the neighbour who had come into their
room the evening before.  She stopped her for a moment.

"Please, Mrs Mason, 'ull you tell father as I ha' gone out to look for

"Bless us, child!" exclaimed the good-natured woman; "but you do look
real bad.  I think as I wouldn't go out, Honey; the little 'un will be
brought back now they has put it inter the hands of the perleece."

"I know best how to find him--please 'ull you tell father?" answered
Faith in her quiet little voice, and the woman did not trouble to detain
her further.


Faith thought first of going to Regent's Park, for Roy was so accustomed
to visiting this park on fine Sunday mornings with his sister, that
perhaps his little feet might guide him there unconsciously.  She forgot
that at the time at which Roy had run out into the warm darkness of the
autumn night, the park gates must have been shut.  She walked rapidly in
this direction now, entered the pleasant and beautiful place, and walked
towards the spot where she and Roy had been so happy on Sunday.  Yes,
there was the wide-spreading oak-tree, there were the daisies still left
that Roy had picked and thrown away the day before.  Faith stooped down
now and picked up these withered flowers, and put them carefully into
her pocket.  Roy's castaway flowers were there, but not Roy--not her
precious little Roy himself.  Faith pressed her hands to her eyes, her
heart was too heavy--too absolutely oppressed--for tears to come.  But
she was puzzled to know what course now to pursue.  Faith was no common
street child; though her father was only a carpenter, he was too steady,
too respectable not always to obtain full employment and excellent pay,
therefore the dire evils of poverty had never been experienced by little
Faith.  With the exception of a great loneliness, and a great dearth of
the holy love of fatherhood, her life had been sheltered from all the
rough winds which blow upon the class a little below her own.  Had she
been a common street child she would have known much better how to seek
for Roy; as it was, she was puzzled.  Not finding him in the one place
where it would be utterly impossible for him to be, she did not know
where else to look.  Oh, if only she could discover the place where
Jesus lived now, and ask Him to come and help her in her search!  Jesus,
however, was far nearer to the little lonely girl than she had any idea
of, and He now sent her unlooked-for assistance.

A sharp, high voice sounded in her ear, "Well, wot h'ever ere you up to,
and where's the little un?"

It was the ragged girl who had washed her lips to get a kiss from little
Roy on Sunday.  Faith gave a great sigh of relief at sight of her.

"I'm so real glad yer come," she said; "h'our little Roy ha' run away--
h'our little Roy is lost!"

"Lost!" said the girl; she went down on her knees close beside Faith,
and stared hard into her face.  Her own face, even through its dirt,
looked blanched, and a frightened expression came into her eyes.  "Tell
us how yer little Roy got lost," she said presently.

The sympathy in the girl's face and tone caused some softening of
Faith's little heart.

"It was on Sunday," she continued; "I did think a deal o' what you said
'bout Jesus blessing the little children, and I disobeyed my father and
ran away to Sunday-school.  While I was away, little Roy ran out into
the street: that wor how my little Roy got so lost--it wor all my fault;
I wish as you ha'n't told me nothing about Jesus."

"I didn't mean no harm," answered the girl, "I only telled 'bout what I
loved.  But did you do nothing since?  Why you should ha' done heaps and
heaps--you should ha' gone to the perlice, and put the young 'un inter
the `Hue and Cry;' you should ha' done all that last night, Faith."

"I don't know wot h'ever you mean," replied Faith; "how could we put our
little Roy into a place when we don't know wherever he is?  We don't
want to put our little Roy anywhere, only jest to bring him home."

The ragged girl laughed.  "Yer rare and innercent," she said; "I didn't
mean no _place_ by the `Hue and Cry;' I meant a paper.  You should ha'
said what kind o' looking child he wor--what wor the colour of his eyes,
and his hair, and how big he wor, and what clothes 'e 'ad h'on--all that
'ud be printed and pasted up for folks to read; not that the talk about
the clothes 'ud do much good, fur in course they'd be made away wid
first thing."

"His clothes 'ud be stole!" exclaimed Faith.  "No, I don't believe that;
I don't believe that any one 'ud be so _dreadful_ wicked as to steal
away little Roy's clothes."

"Then you don't believe as nobody ha' stole _him_ away.  Why, Faith, in
course ef he wor not picked up and carried off by some one he'd be
brought back afore now by the perleece--why in course yer little baby
Roy is stole away."

"Oh!" exclaimed Faith.  She gazed hard at the girl by her side, every
vestige of colour leaving her face, as the dreadful idea became clear to
her.  Presently a hand touched her rather softly.

"Look here, I'm a willin' to help yer, I am, indeed; don't 'ee go on so,
Faithy--don't 'ee now--my name's Meg, and I'm a willing to help ye."

"Oh, please, Meg," answered little Faith, putting her hand into the
older girl's.

"It's a bargain, then," said Meg, squeezing the little hand very hard.

"I'll never, never go home again till I find Roy," said Faith solemnly.

"I call that plucky; and ha' yer any money?"

"No," answered Faith.

"That's rayther blue!" exclaimed Meg, indulging in a long whistle; "fur
I h'an't none ne'ther; but never mind, we'll get along somehow.  Now
let's set down on the grass and make up our plans--you don't mind if I
speak a bit plain, Faithy?"

"No," answered Faith; "I don't mind nothink but to find Roy again."

"Well, it's right as you should know that little 'un ha' bin stole.
Many and many a body as I could tell on, steals the well-dressed babies;
they does it fur the clothes and the reward offered.  My mother--she ha'
stole two or three."

"Oh, how dreadful wicked she must be!" said Faith.  "I hope, Meg, as we
h'an't got to live wid yer mother while we're looking fur Roy?"

"No," answered Meg, shaking her head gravely; "I parted wid mother
yesterday--we 'greed as it wor 'bout time fur me to purwide fur my own
self.  I mayn't never see mother agen--it all comes natral.  I'm real
glad as we're parted, for now I won't be wallopped no more."

"I never, never thought as mothers wor like that," said Faith; "she must
be most desp'rate wicked."

"Oh, no, she's not so werry; I ha' seen far worse nor mother."

"But to steal the babies!" said Faith.

"Bless us, Faith, heaps and heaps on 'em does that.  They most times
gives the young 'uns back again.  They jest watches for the `Hue and
Cry' and the rewards put up by the perlice stations, and then they
brings 'em back and purtends as they ha' found 'em.  Mother tuk all back
but one, he--"

"Yes," said Faith eagerly.

"Well," continued Meg, speaking with a slight shade of hesitation; "that
'ere little 'un--there worn't no reward offered.  Mother waited and
waited, and I coaxed her ter take him back, but she got h'angered, and
she wouldn't--she 'ud never--h'all I could do--take that ere little
child back home again."

"Oh, Meg! and ha' she got him still?"  Meg indulged in a short, rather
hard laugh.  "Bless yer, Faithy, not a bit o' it; that 'ere little 'un
tuk the fever and he died.  I tuk on most bitter after he died, as I did
care fur him; yer little Roy put me in mind o' his purty ways! but he's
h'all right now, he's with Jesus now--it wor arter he died as I went to
Sunday-school and larned 'bout Jesus.  Little Charlie's safe in the arms
of Jesus this long time past now."

"Do you think," asked Faith, "as Jesus wot loves the little children,
'ud help us to find our little Roy again?"

Meg looked very grave for half a minute, then she said, her face
brightening, "That's a good thought, Faithy; we'll jest tell Him all
about little Roy."

Faith sprang to her feet, "Then let's go to Him at once," she said,
"let's find out His address and go to Him; we'll ask Him to lose no time
in finding that werry wicked woman who has stole little Roy."

"But we can say it all here," said Meg.  "I don't know wot h'ever you
mean by going to Him; we needn't go a step away from here, we can say it

"But Jesus ain't here," said Faith.

"Well, yes, He is, and He isn't; I don't know how to explain--wot do you
mean, Faith?"

"I mean," said Faith, "as I thought as Jesus lived somewhere, in London
maybe, and that we might go to Him and tell Him 'bout our little Roy.  I
wor told as He worn't dead--I mean that He did die, but He woke up
again.  Ef He's alive, why shouldn't He live in the place where the most
babies 'ere, Meg?"

"Oh, dear!" answered Meg, "ain't you a queer 'un!  You're a deal better
dressed than me, and you're so clean that there ain't a speck nowhere,
and you look as ef you allers had yer fill o' vickles.  You h'an't never
a rag nowhere, but fur h'all that I never did meet a more h'ignorant
gal--where _was_ yer riz, Faith?"

"I think 'tis 'cause my mother died," said Faith.  "I know as I am very
ignorant; I'm ever so sorry."

"Well, never mind," replied Meg, "'tis fun rayther teaching yer, only
you won't mind ef I laugh now and then; why, Faith, Jesus is h'up in
Heaven now.  He ha' most wonderful powers of hearing tho', and ef we
speak in a whisper a'most down on earth He can tell wot we are a saying.
He ain't never a living in London tho', but He's alive, and can hear
what we say, fur h'all that."

"And will He help us?" asked Faith; "is He real sorry fur us, and will
He help us?"

"Yes, He has a most desp'rate tender heart.  I know as He will answer
us, fur I told Him all about Charlie, and it wor arter-wards as I larned
wot a deal He ha' done fur him."

"What did He do, Meg?"

"Why He tuk him out o' the arms o' death, and carried him straight away
up to Heaven.  That's wot He does to all the dead babies, He takes 'em
in His arms up to Heaven.  I know a hymn 'bout that, 'tis called, `Safe
in the arms of Jesus.'  I'll sing it fur you another time."

"But I don't want Him to take Roy to Heaven," said Faith; "I want my
little Roy safe back again wid me.  He wanted for nothink when he wor
with me.  I don't wish him to be tuk so far away."

"Well, we'll axe that it may be so; let's kneel down now on the grass,
and I'll say the words this 'ere time, and then you'll larn how He likes
to be spoke to."

So the two knelt down, Faith in front of Meg, with her hand clasped in
Meg's.  Over the dirty thin face of the older girl there came a queer
but expressive change.  A look of hope and love and joy filled her dark
eyes, as raising them to the blue sky overhead, she spoke.

"Jesus, one of the little children as you loves so well is lost.  His
name is Roy, he's about two year old; he's big fur that, Jesus, and he's
werry, werry purty.  He ha' yaller 'air, and blue h'eyes.  I'm feared as
some woman ha' stole him for the sake o' his clothes, and the reward
offered fur him.  Please, Jesus, don't let that 'ere woman be a bit
happy wid little Roy.  Make her real misribble till she takes him back
again.  We know that there 'ere many ways that you can love him.  But,
Faith here, she wants him back again, so please don't let him catch no
fever, and don't take him to play wid Charlie, and the other babies yet

"That's all, Faith," said Meg, suddenly springing to her feet.  "I think
as Jesus knows werry well now wot we want, and you and me 'ull go and
look fur little Roy, too, right away."


The woman who had seen Roy in the public-house, and who had been
attracted by his pretty face, bore him quickly in her arms down the
street.  He was quite contented in this queer resting-place, and being
absolutely confident in his little mind that the woman was carrying him
home to Faith, he laid his curly head on her shoulder and dropped
asleep.  When she saw that he was asleep, and not before, the woman
paused to wrap her own dirty shawl a little over him.  She did this
partly to shelter him, and partly to consider.  Did the police see such
a woman as she was, with so well-dressed a child as Roy in her arms,
they might stop to question her.  She did not want them to do that; she
had by no means made up her mind how to act by this poor lost baby, but
she had no desire just then that the police should rob her of him.
Hiding him very effectually with her shawl, she brought him home--to
such a home as she called her own.  It was a cellar in a miserable back
court, an ill-smelling, ill-drained place.  From such a cellar as Hannah
Searles's stalked many times in the year the gaunt and grim spectre of
fever.  It had one advantage, however, over many around it, she lived in
it alone; no other living creature shared it with her.  She stumbled
down the ladder which led to it, drew across the trap-door, and laying
Roy, who still slept soundly, on the bed, she prepared a small fire in
the grate.  When it was kindled, making a little light and cheerfulness
in the gloomy place, she removed her bonnet, and going over to the bed
knelt down by it; in this position her hungry eyes could gaze long on
the sleeping child.  Yes, he was very fair; she had never seen any
creature half so beautiful since her own child died; nay, she had even
to acknowledge to herself that her own child, though he had yellow hair
and fair skin, and though he was in very truth bone of her bone and
flesh of her flesh, yet even he was not so lovely as this child.  Yet
there was a likeness; the lips pouted with something the same pretty
fulness, the little hands were folded in somewhat a similar attitude,
the bright hair curled in much the same rings.  Then kneeling there in
the flickering twilight made by the fire, a strange fancy came over
Hannah Searles; perhaps this was in very truth her own little child come
back again.  True, she had with her own hands closed the coffin on the
sweet golden head, she had herself seen him laid in the grave, but
perhaps God, seeing what a lost, abandoned woman she was without him,
might have sent her baby back to her again.  He had been a whole year in
Heaven now.  During that year, while she had been leading as bad a life
as a woman could lead, he had been growing beautiful in the air of
heaven, and now God had sent him back to save her.  Where had that child
come from who stood on the threshold of the dreadful public-house?  Was
it not more than probable that he was indeed an angel, that he was her
own angel given back to her once more?  The fancy was very sweet to her;
but Roy opening his eyes at the moment dispelled it.  Roy's eyes were
blue, her baby's brown; but having for an instant thought him her very
own child, she began from that instant to love him.

"'Oy want Fate," said the little child, raising his head and gazing
about him.

"Wot's yer name, my little dear; wot they calls ye to home, I mean?"
asked Hannah.--Hannah with all her roughness had a soft voice, it
attracted the child to her, he sat up on the dirty bed, regarded her
with decided favour, and replied in a contented voice:

"Fate calls!  'Oy."

"And I'd like to say Davie to yer, dear little man.  May I call yer by
the real beautiful name o' Davie?  I 'ad a Davie of my h'own once."

"A Davie of 'oor own," repeated little Roy, and now he came close and
stroked the rough, red cheek.

"I'll get yer some supper, my sweet little darlin'; you set still on the
side o' the pretty bed, and I'll get a nice supper ready in a jiffy."

The woman had no candle, but she heaped on coals with a lavish hand, and
prepared a mess of bread and milk.  Little Roy was very hungry; he found
no fault with the tin mug, nor with the pewter spoon.  He thought the
woman's rough red face rather nice, and her soft tones fell warm on his
baby heart.  The dreadful cellar, too, with the flickering firelight
making fantastic shadows on its dirty, wet walls, became as a palace in
his little mind; he clapped his dimpled hands and said, "Pitty, pitty."
He ceased to ask for Faith, and even twice before he had again dropped
asleep, he had answered to the name of Davie.

That night Hannah Searles slept again with a child clasped to her bosom.
Her sleep was very sweet to her, but the morning brought fresh cares.
She had now quite resolved to keep little Roy.  He was not her child,
she knew that, but he had been sent to her.  She shut her eyes
resolutely to the fact of some other woman's broken heart for the loss
of him.  No, if he had a mother living she must be strangely careless to
allow so great a treasure to go away from her, and to be found in a
public-house.  But Hannah guessed that little Roy's mother was dead.  If
she was alive he would have spoken of his mammie, but no, he only
mentioned some mysterious fate: _she_ was his real fate--she would be a
mother to him, and make up to him by her love for the loss of his own.

But though his mother might be dead, yet Hannah knew that so nicely
dressed a child must have relations who would miss him and take means to
have him returned to them.  They would put up rewards; the police would
get directions to search for the child.  She must therefore on no
account put his nice, dainty clothes on him, she must fold them up and
put them carefully out of sight.  Another woman would have pawned the
little things, but Hannah did not care to make money by this child who
had come in the place of her own.  She put the dainty blue frock, the
white pinafore, the little shoes and socks, into a box which was well
hidden away under the bed; then while Roy still slept she slipped out,
and purchased at a pawnbroker's for a shilling, a set of little garments
such as her own child, were he alive, would wear.

When Roy awoke she dressed him in the dingy and ragged clothes.  He did
not like them and cried a little for his own "pitty fock," and spoke
again in a complaining voice of Faith.  But Hannah drew out of her
pocket a small many-coloured ball, and for the sake of the ball he
forgave her the ragged and ugly garments; he chased the ball into all
the dark corners of the dingy cellar, and his gay laugh filled Hannah's
heart with rejoicing.

That day the woman and child spent at home.  She was very happy with
Roy, but she was puzzled how to act; she dared not leave him alone at
home, she dared not confide her secret to the neighbours, still less did
she dare to take him with her into the streets, for by this time surely
his description would be printed up by the police courts, and no rags
could dim the beauty of his lovely little face.  But for to-day she had
money enough, so she spent her time cleaning the cellar and making it a
more fit habitation for the young king who had made it his home.


Two days passed so; on the third day Hannah was penniless.  It now
became absolutely necessary for her to go out to seek employment.  She
must leave little Roy, for she dare not take him with her.  Already--
going for a moment last night into the court, a woman had confided to
her that a little child was being advertised for at all the police
stations, and that she wished she could get hold of him, for the reward
offered for his recovery was ten pounds.

This woman was not a resident in the court, or Hannah would have felt
compelled to change her quarters.  As it was, however, it was absolutely
impossible for her to let any one know of Roy's existence.  By this
time, during the two complete days they had spent together, the woman
and child had grown very close to each other.  Hannah had a power over
children.  Little Roy had grown fond of her; he was contented with his
cellar life, he liked to stand by her knee, and when she took him on her
lap the feel of her arms put tightly round him was comfortable.  Already
the fickle baby mind had forgotten Faith, he was Hannah's boy to all
intents and purposes.  But all the same--though she had never known such
pure happiness since Davie died--Hannah was puzzled what to do with this
stolen child.  Cleaning her cellar and playing with him brought no money
to give food to either; she must go out to earn something, she must
leave the child behind her, and if he cried in any way the neighbours
overhead would discover his existence, and then her secret would be out,
and her treasure torn from her arms.  If only it were in the night she
had to leave him, little Roy would sleep, and there would be no danger;
but he was a wakeful, lively child, and seldom closed his eyes for the
livelong day.

Hannah resolved to seek for coarse needlework, which she could do at
home, but to obtain such she must be absent several hours, and during
those hours was the time of danger.

On the evening of the second day, after putting her baby boy to bed, she
went out, locking the door carefully behind her.  She meant to visit a
neighbour who lived in the opposite side of the court.  This woman too
occupied a cellar, but it was a far worse one than Hannah's, smaller,
dirtier, and crowded with children, from ten years of age to a baby of
six months.  This baby now lay in profound sleep on the bed.  Hannah
went over to look at the little colourless, waxen face.

"How sound she ha' gone off, Jane Martin!" she exclaimed.  "My Davie now
'ud never lie as still as that, and wid h'all them others makin' sech a
din, too."

"'Tis h'all along o' them blessed drops," replied Mrs Martin.  "Afore I
knew of them there worn't a more worriting baby in the world."

"What drops?" asked Hannah.

"Some as a neighbour give me, I dunno the name.  She give me a big
bottle full, and I drops three or four into her milk, and she'll never
wake now till mornin', and then she'll be drowsy like and I can hush her
off any minute."

"They must be a real comfort," answered Hannah, and it darted into her
head that it would be very nice to put Roy to sleep in the same way.

"They're a blessing to over-worked mothers, and that I will say,"
replied Mrs Martin.  "Here's the stuff, it looks innercent, don't it?
like a drop o' water; but fur all that,--it's wonderful how it soothes
off a fretful baby."

Hannah took the bottle in her hand and looked at its contents with
greedy eyes.

"I know a 'oman," she said presently, "as have a baby, a baby a deal and
a sight bigger nor yourn.  It must be two year old.  But she's wore to a
shadow wid him, he won't sleep not fur nobody.  The poor thing is like
to drop, but he hardly h'ever will close his eyes, the monkey."

"Them drops 'ud settle him fast enough," replied Mrs Martin.

"But how much ought she to give to a lad as big as that?"

"Well, let me see.  I gives baby sometimes three drops, or four, ef I
wants to keep her extra quiet; I should say fur a wakeful lad o' two
years as ten drops 'ud do the business."

"Thank yer, neighbour," replied Hannah, "and now ef yer'll be so
good-natured as to give me the name o' the bottle, why I'll run to the
chemist's and get a little and run wid it to the poor worn-out critter
this werry night."

"Ah! but you can't get it at no chemist's," answered Mrs Martin with a
laugh; "the woman wot give it to me makes it her own self, she had the
receipt from her mother afore her.  You can't get it at no chemist's,
Hannah Searles, and the neighbour wot give it me ha' gone to Ameriky;
but see yere, fur I real feels for disturbed and worrited mothers, I'll
give yer a tiny drop in this yere bottle, and you can take it to her;
ten drops ull settle that baby off as sound as a nut."

Hannah thanked her warmly for this offer and went back to her cellar
with the precious sleeping drops in her pocket.  Now she had a remedy
for little Roy.  Soundly and peacefully asleep, he would not miss her
during the few hours she must be absent the next day.  She rose
accordingly with a light heart, and having prepared his breakfast, put
carefully into his milk ten drops from her bottle.  She noticed how
fresh and rosy he looked after his healthful, unbroken slumbers, and she
said to herself that a little more sleep would do him still greater
good.  He ate his breakfast with appetite, sitting on her lap.  And now
she watched anxiously for the effect of the drops.  It came almost
sooner than she had dared to hope.  The blue eyes became languid and
heavy, the little golden head fell wearily on her shoulder, another
moment and Roy was sound asleep.  She placed him on her bed, covered him
up tight and warm, and went out with an easy heart.  As she walked
quickly down the street which led directly from the court, she was met
by two girls, one of whom she knew, and paused for a moment to accost.

"So you and yer mother ha' left Spiller Court, Meg Harris?"

"Oh, yes," answered Meg brightly; "I'm on my h'own spec' now, I and this
yere gal; we're purwiding fur one another.  I wor thinking, Hannah," she
continued, "as you might make us a shake-down in yer cellar; we'd pay
yer two pence a night, that's a penny each.  I know as you ha' plenty o'
room, for yer h'all alone."

The other and younger girl had shrunk a trifle away from the bold,
coarse-looking woman, but Meg had come up and laid her hand on Hannah's

"You'll let us in to-night, won't yer, Hannah?" said Meg again.

Now Hannah was rather fond of Meg, and would gladly have nearly paid the
rent of her cellar by admitting these two little lodgers, but the
presence of Roy of course made this impossible.  To hide her real
disappointment she spoke a little more roughly than usual.

"I can't no how," she said; "I ha' a job on hand as 'ull take h'up all
my spare room, and I can't ha' no gals a loitering around.  You look
further afield, Meg Harris."

The younger girl seemed perceptibly relieved, and Meg, with a
good-natured nod, walked on.  But Hannah felt a vague sense of
uneasiness.  That youngest girl, had she seen her before?  Her face
puzzled, nay more, it annoyed her; she was an anxious, thin, dark-eyed
child; her dress was as ragged as Meg's, but somehow she looked far
above Meg in respectability.  Where _had_ Hannah Searles seen her
before?  She turned a corner: she was now passing a police station, and
yes, there was what she dreaded, a full description of little Roy; she
stopped fascinated, to read it.


Ten Pounds Reward.

Stayed away from his home on Sunday night, a little boy, aged two years,
dressed in a light-blue frock, white pinafore, white socks, blue shoes.

He has golden hair, very fair skin, and blue eyes.  Any one either
bringing the child back, or coming with information which shall lead to
his recovery, shall receive Ten Pounds Reward.


Hannah was unsuccessful in her search for coarse needlework.  Badly and
miserably paid as such work was, the slop-shops had their full
complement of workers, and had nothing to give her, even though she went
so far as to promise to do the work for even more wretched prices than
had hitherto been given.

She was obliged to leave Roy the next day, and again the next, and for
these two days the drops were each time resorted to.  On the evening of
the third day, she had obtained some partial success.  She was given
half-a-dozen shirts to make.  These shirts were of the coarsest check,
and Hannah would obtain tenpence for each.  She was in quite good
spirits, for she could now work and stay at home with Roy.

But there was a change in little Roy.  He was no longer the laughing,
rosy, healthy child whom Hannah had brought to her cellar.  His blue
eyes were heavy, his movements languid, and his fair skin was assuming
that waxen tint which Hannah had noticed in Mrs Martin's baby over the
way.  Hannah was a strangely ignorant woman, and she never associated
this change in little Roy with the drops which he had taken now for
three days in succession.  She saw a vast difference in him, but she
concluded that such was the way with all children.  Through how many,
many changes had her Davie gone?  Why, at his very best he never looked
half as healthy as little Roy did at his worst.  No, she was not the
least uneasy about the little fellow.  But as he now had grown
troublesome and restless at night, she gave him a few more drops from
the fatal mixture, and when taking these he went off into feverish and
fitful slumber, she congratulated herself on possessing so valuable a

While the shirts were being made she stayed quietly at home with the
little boy, who in his waking moments would stand gravely and quietly by
her knee, now and then putting up a small hot hand to stroke her cheeks,
exclaiming as he did so in his broken English, "Pitty yed face, pitty
yed face."  Then adding, as he raised his heavenly blue eyes to hers,
"'Oy 'oves 'oo vevy much."

At these words, uttered so innocently by the little child, down would go
Hannah's work, needle, and thimble, and he would find himself clasped
tightly to her bosom; while down the red cheeks, which he had praised,
would flow large salt tears which had lain locked up and frozen since
Davie died.  Yes, Roy was becoming more and more a necessity to Hannah
Searles, and a treasure without which she did not now believe she could
find life endurable.

One evening, leaving the child asleep, she went into the court.  She was
gossiping with a neighbour, and enjoying the sensation of the outside
air, which was at least better than the cellar atmosphere which she had
quitted, when Meg Harris came up to her.  Meg and Faith had found a
shelter for themselves in another house in this court, and now Meg came
up alone to speak to Hannah.

"And how ere you getting on widhout yer mother?" asked Hannah.  "But I
needn't go fur to axe," she continued, "fur though you ain't much to
boast on now, Meg, yet you look more peart than when she wor allers a
wallopping of yer."

"But I have a h'anxiety on my mind," said Meg, shrugging her thin
shoulders and speaking in a low, confidential tone.  "I ha' a gal along
wid me, and a young gal wot ain't none of h'our people.  You might ha'
noticed her, Hannah, when you was walking down Middle Street."

"Yes," answered Hannah, "she looked a white-faced, mealy-mouthed little
'un.  I mind me as I thought as I had seen her somewhere afore."

"Her father is a carpenter, Hannah, a werry, werry upper kind o'
carpenter.  She's real respectable, is Faithy.  And wot does yer think?
She have a little brother, a little lovely duck of a child, and he went
out o' the house on Sunday night last and got losted, and this poor
little Faith, she's near distracted.  She and me, we're a looking fur
the young 'un h'everywhere.  I thought as I'd tell yer, Hannah, fur you
see's a deal o' life, and you might ha' noticed as they ha' put him in
the h'advertisements, and ten pound offered fur him."

Hannah Searles had perfect control of feature.

"I ha' seen about a missing child," she said after a moment's pause.  "A
child h'aged two year, dressed in blue, wid real gold 'air?"

"Yes, yes," said Meg.  "Oh!  Hannah, ef you could only help us to find
of him--I think as Faith ull die ef he ain't found."

"I'll keep my h'eyes open," said Hannah, and then she nodded to Meg and
went back to her cellar.

She was trembling all over as she stumbled down the stairs.  But when
she had securely locked the door and lighted a long dip candle and had
seen with her own eyes little Roy sleeping quietly, she became calmer.
She went over and knelt by the bed, and took one of the little hands in

"I'd rayther be torn in bits, nor give h'up this little hand," she said
to herself.

But she had got a great fright, and gazed long and greedily at her

It was plain that if she wanted to keep little Roy, she must move away
from here as fast as possible.  She could scarcely find a cheaper home,
but be that as it may she dare not stay so near to Faith.  Presently,
tired out, she sank down on the floor; she still trembled at the
nearness of the danger, but she also felt disappointment.  The baby whom
she considered her own baby now was so beautiful, so grand, so fine and
strong, so unlike any other child she had ever looked at, that she had
often pictured to herself his high birth.  He might, for aught she knew,
be the son of a prince.  Any prince in the land would be proud of him.
And Hannah had delighted herself with the thought that this child, of
perhaps Royalty, was happy and at home with such a woman as she--a woman
at whom all respectable folks would point a finger of scorn; but yet
whom the pure and innocent little child loved.

But he was of no high birth.  He was only a son of the people after all.
Many, many degrees above herself in respectability it was true, but
still a child of the vast multitude.  Her last scruple at keeping him
vanished at this fact.  He would lose nothing by remaining with her, and
for his sake she would, she could, become good.


A week had passed away since Roy was lost.  Sunday came round again,
finding Faith no longer in her neat and comfortable home, but a gutter
child, dressed as badly, and in quite as great rags, as the
worst-looking child around her.  Meg was her companion and staunch
friend, but it seemed no hardship in Meg's eyes to counsel Faith to pawn
her neat and good clothes, and to receive in exchange garments in which
her father would scarcely recognise her.  The money received for the
clothes had enabled the little girls to live for some days; and then
they had sold matches and flowers, and in one way and another had
managed to keep life within them.  Faith, though really unaccustomed to
any hardship, had borne up bravely.  The hope with which she had
awakened each morning that surely before the evening they would find
Roy, had supported her spirits; but each night as it came, with its
invariable disappointment, until even Meg began to own that she was
puzzled as to what had become of the child, brought an added weight to
Faith's heart.  She was more than ever determined not to go home again
without her little brother.  But as she lay down on her musty bed on
Saturday evening in the wretched cellar where she and Meg had found for
themselves quarters, hope had vanished to a very low ebb indeed.

Sunday morning dawned.  It would be a whole week to-day since she last
had seen her darling little Roy.  She felt very, very miserable.  No,
hope would not visit her heart that day, and as she lay in bed watching
Meg putting on her clothes, the tears rolled down her pale cheeks, and
dark and sceptical thoughts filled her mind.  When Meg noticed her
tears, she spoke.

"It's all a lie, Meg; it's all a big, big lie."

"Wot's a lie," asked Meg, stopping in her dressing, and staring at

"Wot you telled me about Jesus.  He didn't never love the little
children; ef He loved 'em, and ef He is as strong as you say, He'd ha'
helped us to find my little baby Roy."

A pained look came over Meg's white and careworn face.  She did not
answer Faith at all for a moment or two; but having quite finished her
dressing, she bent down over her.

"I ha' made myself as clean as h'ever I could, and I'm off now to
morning ragged school; ef you'll come too, I'll wait fur yer, Faithy."

"No, no," replied Faith, shaking her head.  "I'll stay and wait here.
The ragged Sunday-school's all about Jesus, and I don't b'lieve in no
Jesus now."

Meg said nothing more; she smothered a faint sigh, and closing the door
behind her ran down-stairs.  She had more than a mile to walk to
Sunday-school, and she was anxious to be in time; but as she walked
along, the pained expression called up by Faith's words had not left her

Meg was a wild, untaught, uncared-for Arab child, a true offshoot of the
lowest of the people.  With a touch of gipsy blood in her veins, with
the most ungoverned, uncontrolled passions, she yet was capable of a
devotion, of an affection self-absorbing, self-forgetful.  Offered up at
any other shrine, it would have been idolatry; offered at this, it was
worship.  Meg loved, something as Mary Magdalene, something as the women
who followed to the sepulchre, must have loved our Lord.

All the love of a most loving nature had Meg given to Jesus.  It was not
alone gratitude which inspired this love.  "It's jest cause He's so
wonderful beautiful His own self," she would say; and it was agony to
her, greater even than it would be to a mother to hear her little child
abused, to have a word breathed against Him.

Faith's words had wrung her heart.  She was very sorry for Faith, very
sorry that she could have so spoken; but she was more sorry for the pain
she feared the words must have caused Jesus.

"I 'ope as yer'll soon let us find the little 'un, for she's beginning
to think real hard things of yer, and I can't abear 'em, I can't abear
'em," said Meg, looking up at the sky, and comforting herself with this
very direct little prayer.

As she was leaving the Sunday-school at the end of the morning's
lessons, it came into her head that perhaps while she and Faith were so
earnestly seeking for little Roy, he might all this time be safely at
home.  How stupid of them both never to have thought of this before!
She had heard all about Faith's respectable home from the little girl
herself.  Yes; she would go there now and set her mind at rest on this
point before returning to Faith.

She reached the house.  There was a common staircase, and the hall door
stood open.  She met no one as she ran up-stairs, and her feet, innocent
of shoes and stockings, made no sound.  A door was a little open on the
first landing, and Meg, peeping in, saw a man seated by a table.  He was
a tall and powerful man, and Meg knew at once that she was looking at
Faith's father.

There was profound silence in the house, and Meg heard the man, whose
face was bowed over his hands, presently say:

"It's a lie, it's all a lie.  There is no good God.  If there were, He
would never have torn my children away from me like this.  And I have
asked Him so often and so long to bring them back again.  Yes; God does
not hear prayer.  It's a lie, I say.  There is no God, no Christ, no

"How dare yer!" said Meg, rushing into the room like a little fury.  The
man's words had stung her so hard that she lost both fear and
self-control.  She rushed at the man, and took his hands and shook them.
"How dare yer, how dare yer!" she repeated.  "Oh! yer a wicked, wicked
man to say as there's no Jesus Christ."

Warden--for it was he--started, and stared at the furious little
creature.  He did not say a word, or attempt in his utter astonishment
to oppose her.  He only gazed hard, as one who was bereft of all reason.

"Oh! there is a Jesus Christ, and you sha'n't dare say there ain't,"
repeated Meg; and then she suddenly flung herself on the floor at his
feet, and gave way to the most violent, most passionate sobs he had ever
heard proceeding from human breast.

He got up and locked the door; then he got water and gave it to Meg.  He
was kind rather than otherwise to the poor child.  When she was better,
he even brought her over to sit on the sofa where little Roy had slept
his last sleep in that room.

"Now, why did you rush in and speak to me in that strange way?" he

"'Cause yer drove me near mad.  You had no call ter say so dreadful a
thing as that my Jesus Christ worn't there."

"You believe in Him then?" said Warden.

"I believe in Jesus Christ our Lord," said Meg.  Her excitement was
spent.  She spoke quietly, raising her big, black eyes to heaven.  There
was something in her manner which must have impressed even the most
utterly careless and indifferent with its absolute sincerity.

Warden was silent, gazing at her curiously, even with admiration.

"You must not only believe in Him, you must love Him very much," he

"Ay, I love Him; I'd die fur Him most willin'," said Meg, clasping her
hard hands very tight together.

"But He hasn't treated you as He has me," said Warden.  "You don't know,
you can't even understand, what has happened to me.  I was always a most
respectable man.  I tried to do my duty.  I had two children.  This day
week I had two children, a son and a daughter.  Now I have none.  They
did not die, but they ran away.  The boy went first, then the girl.  I
may never see 'em again."

"May be you worn't a werry good father to 'em," said Meg.  "May be Jesus
let 'em run away so as to show yer how to be a better father to 'em.
There is some as beats their children, and some as neglec's 'em.  I
dunno wot is best.  May be Jesus seen as you neglec'ed yer little

Warden felt the lines tightening round his mouth at these words.  It was
broad daylight, it was true, and Meg was only a poor, ragged child, but
her face was so solemn, and her big eyes shone with so intense a light,
and she was so absolutely fearless before him, that he felt impressed,
even just a trifle afraid--something as he would have felt had he been
looking at an accusing angel.

"You may have neglec'ed yer little children," she repeated.

When she did so, Warden nodded his head.

"It is true," he said.  "It is very true, God forgive me; but I never
meant it.  I fear I was a very hard man."

"Then you jest tell Jesus that," said Meg, rising.  "You tell Him as you
believes in Him, as you loves Him, as yer real sorry you spoke so
dreffle bitter.  It wor awful the way as you _did_ speak; but wot's so
wonderful beautiful in Him is how He furgives.  You tell Him as yer
determined to neglec' yer children never no more, and I'm sure as He'll
let yer have 'm back again."

"Little girl," said Warden, "tell me the truth as you profess to love
God.  Do you know anything, anything at all, of my little son, my
little, lost son, Roy?"

"No," answered Meg.  "I wishes as I did, I don't know nothink; but I
means to pray to Jesus, and Jesus ull help me to find him.  I feel as
he'll be found, fur Jesus do love him so werry much."

Meg went away, and Warden, unlocking the door, saw her ragged figure
disappearing down the stairs.  He sighed when he saw the last of her.
Then, relocking his door, he returned to his seat by the table.  As he
seated himself he remembered that he had neither asked her name nor
where she lived.  It would be impossible, then, for him if he wanted her
again to find her.

He sat on perfectly motionless, recalling every word of the strange and
passionate scene just enacted before him.  At last his thoughts centred
round one sentence, which began to burn into his heart like fire.

"May be Jesus seen as you neglec'ed yer little children."

He thought and thought, and more and more intolerable each moment became
his feelings.  At last he found that there was only one position in
which he could bear them.  He slid down from the chair to his knees.
There he remained for some hours.


That very same Sunday evening, while Warden remained upon his knees, and
the Recording Angel, looking down at him, could declare for the first
time, "Behold, he prayeth," Hannah Searles was very miserable.  There
was no longer any doubt, even to so untrained and ignorant a woman as
she was, that little Roy was very ill.  During the greater part of the
past week he had been taking more or less of the fatal drops.  A few in
the day, more at night, had Hannah given him.  They always seemed to her
inexperience to have a most beneficial effect on him.  His fretfulness
ceased, his blue eyes closed, and he slept; but though sleep was always
supposed to be so very good for children, Hannah could never discover
that little Roy awoke refreshed or the better for his sleep.  More
fretful each time was the little voice, more dull and clouded the eyes.
On Sunday he absolutely refused all food; but he was already intelligent
enough to see that the bottle which held the drops gave him present
relief, and he pointed to it and asked for more repeatedly.  On Sunday,
however, Hannah only gave him one small dose, for even to her obtuse
mind the thought had occurred that it might not be doing him so much
good as she had hoped.

After this dose he lay in her arms for long hours in heavy slumber.  It
was a foggy day, and very little light came into the cellar; but what
fitful rays did penetrate the gloom fell upon a very white and sunken
little face.  Yes; there was no doubt at last, no doubt at all, that Roy
looked as bad as Davie had looked; nay, more, that he looked worse than
Davie had ever looked, except--Oh! good God! was Roy going to die too?
Hannah felt herself trembling all over as this thought occurred to her.
Was she a second time to lose her all; was a second time her one heart's
treasure to be torn from her arms and from her love?

"And I promised God as I'd try hard to be good ef He'd leave me this
yere young 'un as I found lost in the street," she said.  In her sore
despair she felt angry against God.  What right had He not to take her
at her word, and allow her to be good in her own way?  It had never yet
entered into her poor, untaught mind that in keeping little Roy she was
keeping what was not her own.  The other folks to whom God had first
entrusted him had been careless of so great and precious a trust, so he
had been sent to her.  She regarded him as absolutely her own, and no
idea of returning him to his people entered once into her head.  Of
course they might by great cleverness trace him until they found him,
and then they would tear him from her arms; but never, until this
happened, would she relinquish him.  What! never! ah! she was not so
sure of that.  _Some one else_, even before his own people, might come
to take little Roy away--some one who once already had visited this
cellar.  Before his call there was no resistance possible.  With one
magic touch, this great, awful, and mysterious _some one_ would close
the blue eyes and still the baby heart and--yes--yes--yes--break her
heart for ever.  A few big, heavy tears fell from her eyes at the
terrible thought, but she wiped them away, dreading to disturb the
sleeping child.

It was evening when little Roy awoke, and Hannah perceived with fresh
terror that there was another change in him.  He looked at her without a
shade or gleam of recognition; he no longer called her red face pretty;
he screamed at the sight of it, and cried often and wildly for Faith,
who Hannah hoped he had forgotten.

"Fate, Fate, come to 'Oy.  'Oy want 'oo vevy much, vevy much."

Hannah was at her wit's end.  She no longer feared discovery.  She laid
the child on the bed, and, pulling out the box which was hidden
underneath, she took out again his little blue frock, his pretty shoes,
and white pinafore.  These she dressed him in, and he was pleased for
the minute, and stroked the white pinafore, and called it "Pitty,

There came a knock at the door as she fastened the button into the last
little shoe.

"Dat's Fate knocking," said little Roy, raising his eyes solemnly to her

Hannah felt it might be, but she had become indifferent.  She got up,
and, with the child in her arms, went to open the door.  It was not
Faith, however, but the woman from over the way--the woman from whom she
had received the drops.

"I can't stay a minute, neighbour," she said; "but I thought it but
right to tell yer as them drops they ha' done fur my babby--least way
I'm feared as they ha' done fur her.  She wor tuk wid convulsions last
evening, and when the doctor come he said it wor the drops.  He smelled
to 'em and tasted 'em, and he said as there wor poison in 'em; and he
threw 'em, bottle and h'all, out of winder.  He said as it wor well the
'ooman as sold 'em had made off to 'Mericy, fur she had done wot might
transport her.  He may save my babby, but he ain't sure.  I jest come
h'over to ask yer to go and tell the other mother."

"This yere's the other mother, and this yere's the child," said Hannah,
pushing Roy forward where what light there was might fall upon his white
face.  "So you ere the one as ha' killed my lad.  Ay, but I'll be even
wid yer, see ef I ain't."

"I meant no harm indeed, neighbour.  I did it fur the best," said the
poor woman, shrinking from Hannah's wild and angry eyes.  "I'm main
sorry fur yer.  I never guessed as you had a child of yer h'own.  I
thought you had only that wee Davie wot died last spring.  But,
howsomedever, that ere young 'un don't look so bad as mine.  Take him to
a doctor at once.  I'm real, real sorry as I did him an injury."

"Wot doctor?" said Hannah eagerly.  "I'll furgive yer, neighbour, ef
yer'll help me to save him.  Wot's the name o' the doctor?"

"The doctor wot is saving mine is called Slade, he lives in Tummill
Street, half a mile away; go to him at once, he may be to home now."

The woman went away, and Hannah lost not an instant in acting on the
advice given to her.  She wrapped her old shawl round little Roy, and
forgetting even to close her cellar door, went out.  The fog was less
thick, and the gas made the place far brighter than it had been by day.
Hannah walked briskly, for little Roy had laid his heavy head on her
shoulder, and he felt cold in her arms.  But she walked with hope going
before and by her side.  If the neighbour's baby, who was so much worse
than Roy, might yet recover, why surely he might.  Her heart danced at
the thought.  Yes, God was not going to snatch this second treasure
away.  How very good she would be in future for such a loving mercy as
this!  She reached the doctor's door, saw the name on the plate, and
pulled the bell.  In a moment a little maid opened it.  But alas! the
doctor was not at home, he was out at church, and so was the missis; he
would be back in about an hour; would the woman call again in an hour?
Hannah's heart sank within her; the night had turned very chilly, and
little Roy, sleeping heavily in her arms, seemed to grow colder and
colder; dare she keep him in the winter streets for a whole hour?

"Look yere, my lass," she said suddenly, "ef I may come in and rest
anywhere in the house wid this little sickly young 'un, I don't mind how
long it be.  He's werry sick I'm feared, and I'm main terrified to have
him out in this east wind.  May we wait inside, my little maid?"

The little servant-girl had to refuse, however, though she did so with
tears in her eyes.  She was left in sole charge of the house.  It was
more than her place was worth to let any one in while master and missis
were at church!

Hannah did not abuse her, but she turned away, with a feeling as though
her feet were weighted with lead.  What should she do with little Roy?
she dare not keep him for a whole hour in the cold, cold street.  Ah!
there was one refuge, and it was close--a public-house shed its cheerful
light upon the scene.  There, in a place so warm and snug both she and
the child might wait in shelter, in warmth and safety, and she had
sixpence in her pocket, and she might spend twopence in gin.  If little
Roy were spared to her she meant never to drink again, but to-night she
must have one little dram, for her heart was very low.


Meg, after her interview with Warden, went straight bade to what home
she possessed.  Her violent anger, her passion of tears, had left behind
them a kind of calm--nay more, a very deep calm; it was as though a
thundercloud had rolled across a very blue sky, leaving it when past
bluer and brighter than before.  Meg, though tired in body and a little
faint, for she had eaten no food that day, felt as though she was being
carried home in the arms of Jesus.  She looked up at the sky and behind
all its London gloom and fog she seemed to see the smile of Jesus
shining through directly upon her.  She ran down the ladder to her
cellar with almost gay steps, and she found Faith there, still very
depressed and miserable.  She told her of her interview with her father,
by no means relating the whole scene, but simply that part which
concerned little Roy.  Faith listened and shook her head more dismally
than ever.

"I seen mother in a dream last night," she said; "she come close to me
and axed me what I had done wid Roy.  I ought never to have left my
little Roy wot mother give me to mind when she was dying; it's all my
fault as little Roy is lost."

"Why that's som'ut like wot yer father said," answered Meg.  "He said as
he wor a hard man, and it wor his fault.  It seems to me that wot you
ought both to do is to get down on yer bended knees and pray most bitter
hard to Jesus to furgive yer; when He ha' furgiven yer He'll let you
have little Roy back again."

Faith stared very hard at Meg but made no reply, and Meg having devoured
a small piece of dry crust, which remained over from the little which
she had put carefully by for Faith to eat while she was out, lay down on
the bed and dropped asleep.  She awoke in the dusk of the evening to
find Faith kneeling by her bed.  Faith had lit a little bit of fire, and
its cheerful rays revealed a change in her thin face, her eyes had lost
their hardness and were full of tears.

"Meg, Meg!" she said, "near h'all the time you ha' bin asleep I ha' bin
praying, and I think, I do think as Jesus has quite forgiven me."

"Ah! 'tis jest wonderful how willin' He is to forgive," said Meg, "and
wot cuts me h'up so is when folks know that, why they're allus a
fretting of Him."

"Well, I'll try not to fret Him no more," said Faith.

"Faith," said Meg lying still, and gazing hard at Faith out of her big
black eyes, "how long 'ud you say as gals like me, under-fed,
under-clothed gals, 'ud be like to live?"

"I dunno," answered Faith in some surprise; "I suppose same as other

"No they don't though," replied Meg; "it comforts me a deal to think on
it, fur they most sartin don't.  Ef they're wot's called lucky and don't
catch no 'fection, and don't meet no h'accident, why then they may pull
through; they lives then to be werry, werry skinny and ugly.  Ugh!  I
shivers when I sees 'em; I says to myself, that's me when I'm old.  But,
Faith, the chances ere h'all agen gals like me living to be old; let the
least bit o' 'fection come to a gal like me, or the werry smallest
h'accident, so as I'd have ter be tuk to 'orspital, and then where am I?
why, no where.  You never, never seen a gal like me come h'out of
'orspital, Faithy."

"But, Meg," said little Faith, "why do you say it comforts you to think

"Well, and so it do!  Why, Faith, I'm no use down yere; no one wants me,
and I h'an't never a chance as far as this world goes, besides,
besides," and here Meg pressed her hand upon her beating heart,
"besides, I ha' a real hankering to see Him.  Oh! to see wid my h'own,
h'own eyes the lovely, lovely face o' Jesus! and then perhaps arter a
time He'd take a bit o' notice of me and say, `Is that you, Meg?  I know
as you love me, Meg.'"

Faith was silent, too puzzled, too unlike Meg in her own frame of mind
to make any reply, and after a time the two little girls went out.  As
they went down the street which led from the court to the more open
thoroughfares, Meg said something which comforted her little companion

"I think, Faith," she said, "as we'll werry, werry soon now see little
Roy; I think may be as we'll find him to-night."

"Oh Meg! oh! where?" asked Faith.

"I dunno, only I feel it.  Jest you wait and see."

As Meg said this the little girls turned a corner and came full upon the
flaring light of one of the largest gin-palaces in the neighbourhood.

"Let's cross over to it," said Meg.  "I allus do hanker fur light.
Let's get inter the brightness of it."

She took Faith's hand as she spoke and ran across, hastening her steps,
for the sound of wheels approaching rapidly were heard.

At this very instant, just as the little girls set their feet on the
opposite pavement, a woman carrying a child in her arms came out of the
public-house; she walked unsteadily, and unheeding, probably not
hearing, the rapidly approaching carriage-wheels, stepped into the
street.  As she did so her ragged shawl was caught by the wind and flung
aside, revealing to view a little child's blue frock, and showing for an
instant a golden head pressed heavily on her bosom.  Faith saw nothing,
but Meg did.  The woman was Hannah Searles; the child, little lost Roy--
she recognised him by his blue frock and golden head.  She uttered a
joyful cry, and was about to touch Faith, when the sound on her lips was
changed to a scream of horror.  The carriage and prancing horses were on
the woman, who was too tipsy either to see them or to save herself.  In
an instant she and little Roy must have been killed.  Quick, quicker
than thought brave Meg rushed to the rescue.  She flew in the faces of
the excited horses and caught their reins.  They swerved in their
course, swerved sufficiently to enable woman and child to pass by
unhurt, but they knocked Meg down and the carriage-wheels went over her.


Many hours later on the same Sunday evening a group of persons were
gathered round one of the white and narrow beds in a large London
hospital.  On this bed lay a bruised and dying girl.  The girl was Meg;
the people who stood so close were Roy's father, holding Roy in his
arms, Faith, and Hannah Searles.  Faith and Hannah were sobbing, but
Warden, with dry eyes, knelt close, and when Meg at last opened her eyes
he placed the baby hand of his little son in hers.

"Meg--dear, dear, brave Meg," said Warden, "let me thank you.  You have
saved the little chap's life.  Oh, Meg, if for no other deed of mercy, I
must all the rest of my life believe in the Lord Jesus Christ."

It was a public confession, wrung from a proud and hard man in the
moment of his deep humiliation and thankfulness, and doubtless the
angels in heaven recording it rejoiced.  But the earthly ears for whom
it was meant were deaf.  Never again would Meg hear human voice of
either love or kindness; there was no place for Meg down here, she was
going to a place prepared for her long ago in heaven.  Her eyes
travelled past those who surrounded her, and fixed themselves joyfully
on a Presence unseen to any but her dying eyes.

"'Tis you, Lord Jesus Christ," she said, "'tis you.  You ha' come your
werry own self.  I ain't to live to be old, I ain't to be ragged nor
hungry no more.  _You--ha'--come_."

She tried to stretch out her arms, but they fell to her side, the breath
ceased, and Meg was in Paradise.


After all, brave Meg was the only one to die.  For long before the
daisies came into blossom on her grave in the country cemetery to which
Warden had her carried, the roses had come back to the bonnie cheeks of
sweet baby Roy, and the health and brightness to his eyes.  He had been
rescued in time to save his little life.  In that re-united home a new
order of things was established.  Faith and Roy had never to complain of
a cold or hard father again.  The great tribulation of those terrible
eight days had done their work on the man's heart, and the death of Meg
seemed to set the seal to it.  Warden told Meg that he believed in Jesus
Christ our Lord.  It is enough to say of his future life, that he acted
as only a man could act who carried that belief to its logical
conclusion, and who very humbly and very prayerfully followed in the
steps of the Master whom he loved.  Faith and Roy were to grow up
knowing the meaning of true fatherhood, both human and divine.  And
Hannah!  God was very gracious to poor lost Hannah Searles.  He gave her
treasure back to his own, but He did not take him quite away from her.
She still saw her baby boy, and as she grew steadier and more
respectable day by day, and week by week, Warden gradually gave her more
to do in his house, until finally she almost lived there.

"I said to the Lord that I'd be good ef He spared me the child," she was
often heard to say, "and I'm a trying.  I'm a rare and wicked woman, God
h'Almighty knows that werry, werry well, but I'm a trying hard to be


The End.

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A London Baby - The Story of King Roy" ***

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