Page images
PDF
EPUB

was

6

[ocr errors]

"I could mind Johnny, if you'd only let Johnny liked her, half-conscious though me stay.'

he was, and Miss Dawkins took the new Did Miss Dawkins know that spare little little nurse as Heaven-sent. figure with the bright eyes and close- At sunset Mr. Swayne came in, as was cropped head ?

his wont, and going to look at Johnny, the There was so much doubt in her gaze, most anxious care now, was surprised to see that the child saw it, and said, “I'm little beside his sleeping face another as white Bell;' and then, with the air of a small and worn, also with closed eyes.

It was woman, she took the sponge from Miss little Bell asleep by her charge. They put Dawkins' hand, and began smoothing over her into a spare crib, and waited till mornthe sick boy's fingers as she had seen her do. ing to question her further. Then her tale

People were surprised by nothing in soon made out. The check-cotton those days, so Miss Dawkins let her go on, frock, marked with a large ‘N.' was reonly saying, 'But the fever, child; have you cognised as the uniform of Netherbrook had it?'

Workhouse. Bell nodded: 'In the Workhouse out 'I was taken bad there,' said Bell, and there.

she couldn't look after me, so the master And then Bell sat down by Johnny's sent me to the Workhouse. I don't kiv bedside, a steady little nurse.

For it was

how long I lay a-bed, but when I got better indeed Johnny Weir, the pride and wonder they put me to help with the nursing, and of his home, who lay tossing with fever. I liked that. And then by-and-bye they Father and mother were both struck down sent me out of the sick-ward into the at home, and had neither sense nor strength schoolroom, but the children teased me. to do aught for their darling, so they took and I wanted to come back here: sohim to the schoolroom. And it fared and here Bell turned very red,-'I ran badly with Johnny. The doctor said his away. brain had been overworked for long before

(To be continued.) this illness attacked him, and certainly his wandering talk was all of long sums to be added up, and lessons which he muttered

ON THE WATER. over. Nothing had seemed to soothe the

poor child till Bell came and sat down

Upon the glassy mere; beside him.

We'll spend our leisnre in the boatDon't, Johnny!' she said, as he began Come, Dora, you shall steer; his poor school chatter; "it wakes the little

And I will push the skiff along, girl there.' And Johnny was silent for a And Ruth shall cheer us with a sorg. while.

SONG. Presently she asked for his medicine in a business-like way, that made Miss Dawkins “The Abbey mill-wheel, grinding slow, say,

Is all we hear to-day; • Did you help to nurse in the Workhouse, We move in silence as we go; child ?'

And in yon sheet of may 'Yes,' said Bell, and went back to her The Nightingale, with folded wing, charge.

May sit and listen as I sing.

TIS summer-time—the lilies float

6

[graphic][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

If I must sing with all my might, Bryford churchyard, about two years after And pour my heart abroad;

Jessie's nuiserable marriage.

To the very If I must make your bosom light, last Mrs. Brooke had held firmly to the belief I, too, will praise the Lord.

that her daughter would one day come back No other theme demands my best, to find them, and there was lodged in the No other bushes Care to rest.

bank of the next county-town all that reAnd nothing but a psalm of praise

mained of their savings, waiting for Jessie; Chimes with the faultless tune,

and with old George Grey she had left Which Nature's thankful minstrels raise

the family Bible, which had been amongst This summer afternoon :

the Brookes for generations, with its list of Each pulse, each sound, in her vast frame, births, deaths, and marriages, for all those Brings glory to her Maker's Name. ye:urs. One marker she had placed in it

a few threads of her own white hair, at a To our frail bark in love draw near, Lord of the earth and sky;

place where there were words which should

comfort and help Jessie; and with many an Walk on the bosom of the mere, As in the days gone by;

earnest prayer the good old mother had And open our blind eyes to see

closed and wrapped up her cherished Bible

when she felt her end was near. Thee in Thay works, and only Thee!'

This, then, was what had happened before G. S. OUTRAM.

Jessie Saunders' sorrowful coming back to THE MOTHER'S OLD BIBLE.

Bryford, and it was several weeks before she

was able to listen to what George Grey's (Concluded from p. 263.)

daughter had to tell of her father and OR a time letters often came mother. Of herself she said nothing, er

from Jessie, telling of her hap- cept that her husband was dead and piness in her lady’s-maid's place; she had nothing but her own labour to but after the first year news grew support his children; but when they presseil rarer, until at last there came her to take the old cottage she had lived words which half broke the in as a girl, and furnish it with the money hearts of the father and mother which was waiting for her in Ulverton bank, -that their child was married she shrank from the plan : the only strong

to a gentleman's servant, whom wish she had was to get far away from a place she had scarcely known at all before the where every remembrance was so full of wedding-day. From that day Jessie was miserable; what she endured none knew Only a little money would she take, the but God, for she never complained of her rest was left untouched, so that it might be husband; and as she had nothing good to there to bury her, she said; and then, as soon tell she left off writing home, and tried to as she could stand, she started on her journey forget about it.

to some distant place, where she would be Tom and Katherine Brooke were no unknown. Up to this time she had never longer young, and after their child was opened her mother's Bible. She carried it thus lost to them it seemed as if they faded with her as her greatest treasure, but she and weakened day by day, and within six dared not look upon its pages lest the months of each other they were buried in words should fill her heart with a more

sorrow.

the sea

bitter remorse than was already there. So hard no longer, but she cried to her Father she went her way, faring hardly, sleeping in Heaven, as David too bad cried in his where she could, sometimes in the cottages distress. of the kindly country-folk, sometimes in A week afterwards, the Bryford people barns and outhouses, with the quiet stars saw Jessie Saunders once more toiling along shining above her head ; and if the children

the sunny, dusty road; but only one littie questioned her as to where she was taking child is by her side now, for Ally's soul is them, her answer was the same always, ' To with God in Heaven, and her tiny body is -to the sea !'

in a distant churchyard. But the sorrowing But little sickly Ally grew worse; she mother is come back to her childhood's could not eat, but cried and moaned always; home, with a heart no longer rebelling and one night the mother saw a look in the against her Maker; but trying to accept her little wasted features which told her that suffering and bear it with patience, she seeks her child was dying. Her heart rose in the old place as the spot where she will, by rebellion at the thought; God was cruel God's help, bring up little Katie to love and unkind, indeed! Had she not sorrow and serve Him. enough already, but He must take her All day long, week by week and month youngest-born, her pet Ally, from her ? by month, Jessie Saunders works hard for her What a night it was ! The elder child living and for the support of her child; but lay sleeping on the straw of the loft where seldom an evening passes without her visiting they were sheltering ; not a sound was heard

two green graves in Bryford churchyard, except the rustling leaves, the murmuring where she sheds many a bitter tear over her river, the laboured breathing of the dying past wilfulness and disobedience. child. And yet in her misery something she is not hopeless. The words of the psalm in the night brought thoughts to Jessie of David speak comfort to her heart, and Saunders of things she had heard and loved when she is most cast down by anxious fears in childhood--of Jesus the Son of God, Who

for the present, or mournful memories of was as poor and desolate as she; Who- the past, she bids little Katie turn to the like her_had not where to lay His head;' page marked by silver threads of hair, and and then a sudden impulse seized her to read to her the words which her grandopen the old Bible, and glance at the well- mother loved so well in the old family remembered pictures, and read some of the Bible. half-forgotten words. She touched the clasps, and opening the book, the leaves

NEWTON. fell back at a page marked with tear-stains, and where a few silvery threads of hair re- IR ISAAC NEWTON, a little before mained as a memory of her mother. Trem

he died, sail, 'I don't know what blingly Jessie's eye wandered along the I may seem to the world ; but as to myself, lines : would she find reproach there? Ah, I seem to have been only like a boy playing no! only words of man's sorrow and God's on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in mercy—the words of David when he cries now and then finding a smoother pebble or for pardon, 'Have mercy upon me, O God!' a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the And as she finished reading the once well- great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered known psalm the poor woman's heart was before me.'

And yet

SIR

[ocr errors]
[graphic]
[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »