Page images
[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]


(Continued from page 268.) UT how did you get here, for Netherbrook is at least twenty miles off?' said Mr. Swayne.

* It was a big cart,' said Bell, and the man was kind, he let me ride all the way.

I said I was going to see my granny,' she added, with an air of having done something very clever.

Oh, Bell!' said Mr. Swayne. “Is this the little girl who promised to try and speak the truth ?'

‘But I wanted so to get here,' said Bell earnestly, and I'd forgot that promise; but I won't do it again.'

• Where is the show now?' asked Mr. Swayne. Will not Mr. Pottinger want you back?' Bell shook her head.

It went away the day after I got ill—a lad told me so; and she (Mrs. Pottinger) is dead, and so is Antony

Poor woman!' said Mr. Swayne; you are sorry for her, are you not, little Bell ?'

Not now,' said Bell stoutly; she'll be a deal quieter in the graveyard: no one will beat her there for trying to say prayers.'

Poor Bell! she had indeed seen the dark side of human nature in Mr. Pottinger; no wonder that she regarded his wife's death with complacence: the poor creature had so long looked forward to it, and spoken of it as the only possible end of her troubles, that Bell in her childish heart had even helped her to form the prayer for speedy release that had so angered ber unfeeling husband.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

would be her doing if Johnny recovered, for she seemed to have a hold over him that no one else had managed to get, and to his poor, wandering, overwrought brain, soothing was everything.

A few days after her arrival Mr. Swayne received a small packet containing a coral necklace and an old letter, or rather part of one, for the last page with the signature was missing; there was no word to say i from whence the parcel came, but he guessed that it had been forwarded to him by the poor dying woman.

Bell jumped for joy when she saw it.

My necklace ! my very own !' she said, and would have elasped it round her neck there and then; but Mr. Swayne gently esplained to her, that if he took care of it, it might be a help to finding her relations some future day.

But I don't want to find them,' said Bell, very downcast; maybe they'd beat me too : I'll stay here,' said the poor outcast. • Give me my necklace.'

So to content the child it was placed round her neck, Miss Dawkins drawing attention to the fact that it was a trinket of some value, and that on the clasp was engraved the word ' Mabel.'

'Is that your name, Bell?' asked Mr. Swayne.

• It's my necklace,' said Bell, trying hard to catch a glimpse of the treasure which now hung round her neck; and that's the letter she said I was never to lose : but you may have that,' said the little girl, presenting it to Mr. Swayne.

The torn, dirty scrap contained what had evidently been the handwriting of a lady, and seemed to be congratulations on the birth of a little girl. Could it be Bell herself?

* As you say you are going to call her after me, I send you a necklace I wore



[ocr errors]



BELL settled down as quietly into her new life as if she had always been used to tend sick children, Dr. Darell mid it

[ocr errors]

your mother?

[ocr errors]


as a child, for her,' said the writer; 'but the lion may quietly eat you up, Gilbert?' would it not be better to name her after she asked.

It might soften her heart Oh, it's all very well for you to talk, towards you; and, after all, I fear

you were

Alice; you've nothing to fight against; most to blame in your hasty marriage.' you've always been a

you've always been a good sort of girl, you And then other names were mentioned and know, by nature : now I can tell you it's no plans spoken of regarding the writer's family. joke to be trying and trying to overcome

Bell, however, knew nothing whatever anything of this sort. I did think I'd begin, about it, and had only been taught to regard

butit as a thing of value; she therefore pre- Here Alice interrupted very eagerly,sented it to Mr. Swayne, thinking that to 'Gilbert, I must speak; if you only knew, him it might possess the same charms that ever since the day father spoke to us in the red beads had for her.

the church of Satan being a lion waiting to Mr. Swayne put the bit of paper care- devour us through our besetting sins, I have fully by, resolving, as soon as the present been trying too. And I think my lions storm-cloud had passed over Moor Thorn- give me most trouble of all.

When one ton, to exert himself in trying to discover has been thought and called good all one's Bell's parentage; for he felt more strongly life,' said Alice, blushing, one gets to than ever that she was no gutter-child, but feel a sort of pride in oneself, as if one had once belonged to a respectable home. was better than any one else. Till that

After that he gave her in charge to Miss day I was quite contented with myself, and Dawkins and Miss Brett, and went to the thought such advice was only meant for Rectory to write a letter to the officials at Dora and the schoolchildren. And then, the Netherbrook Workhouse. As he ex- somehow, it struck me that the lions about pected they gladly gave up the child to my path might be of that dangerous kind him, and with the restoration of a little which don't roar but only spring on you, and bundle of check garments Bell's connexion that made me very unhappy. And then I with the Workhouse terminated.

fell ill, and when I was getting better I Alice was greatly excited and pleased to thought a great deal more of it all, and now hear of the return of little Bell, and was I am trying hard in my prayers, and every satisfied to await her father's advice as to day, to guard against such lions. But future inquiries about her.

oh, Gilbert, it is dreadful work! laziness In truth she was now heart and soul is nothing to it!' and poor Alice sighed deep in another undertaking, the rousing deeply. of Gilbert to exertions over his holiday task. And Gilbert, to comfort her, could only

'I'll tell you what it is, Alice,' said Gilbert say from his heart, Oh, Alice, you are one morning, as he lay full length on the good though, which so touched her that little sofa in their room ; 'you remember she burst into tears. that catechising in our church the day It was a new thought for Gilbert that Bell turned up first ? Well, I've thought good, busy, managing Alice, had an inner it over, and my lion is laziness.'

life of self-reproach and struggle ; it drew Gilbert said this with such an air of satis- him nearer to her, and gave him a feeling faction that Alice almost laughed.

of tenderness for her that he had never had ‘And are you going to lie there, that for the good girl' of the schoolroom.




[ocr errors]




That morning made a mark on the lives Mrs. Fletcher looked from the window, of brother and sister never to be effaced. and then glanced at Emily's bright, healthy

From talking of their own troubles they face. I don't believe it would hurt you, child, went on to their father's, and Gilbert told with a thick pair of boots and an umbrella. Alice how much he thought he missed their It's not more than a few minutes' walk either. dead mother. And Alice felt in no way “Time enough to be wet through, though, aggrieved, as she would once have done, to grumbled Emily, as she took a seat by the think she did not completely fill her father's fire, with a look on her face which seemed heart; she only felt sorry that she had ever to


that she did not intend to go. added a pang to his troubles. And the two "Oh, Emily!' cried little Arthur, 'you made a compact to follow his wishes in won't stop at home? If the teachers don't every possible manner. Then they got back mind, it isn't worse for us than for them. to the old point-Gilbert's laziness. He I shall go. Mayn't I, mother?' jumped off the sofa and shook himself.

Not by yourself, Arthur; you couldn't • I'll begin to-day, Alice-- I will, indeed; hold up an umbrella in this wind. he will be so pleased if I get the prize. The little boy's face fell; he was trying Where are the books? In my box upstairs ? hard to win a reward at the next prize-giving, Get them for me, there's a good child. No, and he did not wish to miss a Sunday:be no, I didn't mean that,' and Gilbert laughed, sides, he knew that as he and his sister were and pushed Alice down on her chair again : often out in the rain on week-days, it could of course I'll go. A pretty beginning I not hurt them to run to Sunday-school, was making!'

which was so very near their home. Thenceforward there was generally a Emily, please go; it's nearly time,' he good two hours' work every morning in the pleaded, drawing near and hanging on to little parlour before the shore was visited, the back of the chair. and the advance of civilisation progressed Be quiet, Arthur, and get down! I tell with rapid steps.

you I'm not going out in rain like this (To be continued.)

I don't believe Miss Mansfield will be there herself, either. I am going to read this

book from the school library.' And Emily THE WET SUNDAY AFTERNOON.

settled herself down by the fire-side.

Tears rose up into Arthur's eyes, and he HE rain came down heavily, ran after his mother: Oh, mother, make and the wind blew roughly,

I want to get my marks, and I so that it was no easy matter want to please my teacher.' to hold up an umbrella, Mrs. Fletcher stroked the brown hair. and few folk were in the · Dont cry, Arthur. If it is to please God streets, even for a Sunday you wish to be in your place at Sundarafternoon.

school, He knows you can't go by your'I can't go to school in self, and He will love you for giving it up all this rain, mother,' said Emily Fletcher. with a good temper.' Teacher surely will not expect me, for I Make Emily go, mother,' he repeated. should get drenched through before I was No, dear, I shan't make her go. half way.'

Emily will not brave a little rain for tie

[ocr errors]


her go.

[ocr errors]



[graphic][ocr errors]

ake of learning about God and worshipping had resolved on reading, she was turning lim, she would get no good from being over the pages of her book in a restless

a orced to do it.' And Mrs. Fletcher went way; for, much as she wished to read the ff to see to some of her house duties. tales, it seemed now as if they failed to

The little sitting-room was very quiet: interest her. Patter, patter, came the rain he children's father was reading a maga- against the window ; Emily shivered and ine; Arthur stood sadly at the window, drew nearer the bright fire.

• I'm glad oping in vain for the clouds to pass away, I'm not out in it,' she said to herself; but r that, as it was still early, Emily would she did not look glad, and the next thought ome to a better mind before it was too was that if she had not said that she meant te. As for Emily herself, though she to stay at home, even the going out in wet

« PreviousContinue »