Page images
PDF
EPUB

“Then, we will be still, and not run about the room any more. And if you will go and lie down for a little while before tea, I will take good care of Mary, and not let her cry at all. I will build block houses for her.”

“Thank you, Walter,” said his mother: and little Mary, who was sitting in her lap, jumped down and gave her hand to Walter, saying, come, come.

For more than an hour Walter played very kindly with his sister, and did every thing that he could to make her happy, while his mother went to her own room, and tried to rest for a little while.

Once, during the time, Nathan cried again, because Julia wanted the cart; but Walter tied a long string to a large shell, and told Julia to draw that around, and she was pleased at this, and said that a shell was a prettier cart for a lady than Nathan's wooden one. So they all played happily until their mother returned to the room; and told Walter that her head was a great deal better, and she could take care of little Mary, while he put on his boots and went for the milk.

Walter did as his mother wished; and as he had not far to go, he soon came back, with his bright tin pail filled with sweet new milk. It was very pleasant after the rain. The sun was shining brightly now, but it was nearly time for it to set; and Walter stood at the door watching it, as it slowly sunk in the western sky, Just as it had entirely disappeared, leaving behind some rich golden clouds, his mother came and stood by his side.

you

looking at the sunset, Walter ?” she asked. • Yes, mamma. Is it not beautiful ?"

Very beautiful, Walter. I love to look at it.” so So do I, mamma ; and I was thinking that, though the natural sun has set, the spiritual sun is still shining, and I can still be a sunbeam, if I try. I will run now, and get father's slippers and coat ready for him, for it is time for him to come to tea. He likes to find that we have every thing ready for him.”

“He does, indeed, my son," replied Mrs. Evans.

And Walter ran to bring the slippers and coat, and to see that his father's chair was in its accuslomed place.

6 Are

Mr. Evans smiled when he found these things awaiting bim, and said pleasantly," which of my children has been preparing for my coming?”

“It was Walter, father,” replied little Nathan, “but I will bring your slippers 'to-morrow.”

* Thank you, Nathan, and thank you also, Walter. I love to have you think of me when I am absent. And now come to tea."

It was very pleasant to see the smiling faces around the tea-table, and to observe how quiet and orderly the little children behaved. Once little Mary looked cross, because her milk was handed to her in a cup, instead of the pretty mug out of which she usually drank, for the mug had been accidentally broken that afternoon ; but, when Walter saw that she was going to cry, he offered to lend her "his own mug, with a picture of a little girl feeding her lamb upon it, and he took the cup bimself. Mary smiled, and said, “ Walter a good boy;" and his father and mother looked pleased, to seo him so kind and thoughtful.

When the children went to bed that night, their mother went with them, as usual, to see that they were properly undressed, and to read to them, and to hear them say

their

prayers. When she kissed Walter, and bade him good night, 'lre whispered, “I will try to be a good boy, to-morrow, mamma";" and his mother was glad to hear this, and to think how good he had been that afternoon.

Two or three hours after, Mrs. Evans came again into the children's room, to see if they were sleeping quietly; and as she stood by Walter's bedside, he smiled sweetly in his sleep, and his smile was like a sunbeam to his mother's heart, for she felt that the angels were around her dear boy.

“Never do anything upon which you dare mot first ask the blessing of God for the success thereof."- WM. MOMPESSON.

OLD NURSE'S STORY.

WELL, my dears, so Miss Catherine has sent you into my room in order that I may give you your tea ? -draw your chairs round the fire then, and I will do my best to entertain you. You wish for a story do you say? and my own, too, I declare! You are curious to know how it came about that I am living here; well, I will tell you and welcome, and as it was by means of a Christmas tree, it may perhaps interest you to hear it. One New Year's Eve (it's five years ago now, though it seems like yesterday to me) I was sitting sewing in my lonely little lodgings in London, and while my fingers were busy with my needle, my mind was in its way as busily engaged in looking back upon the past, in thinking how much I had to be grateful for, and in trying to find out whether I had improved at all since another year was gone over my head,—aye, you may smile, my dears, but the old may improve as well as the young; as long as we've life and our faculties left, we may advance, I am sure, on our heavenward way, yes, and it's a comfort to an old woman like me, whose death can't be far off, to think that a time perhaps may never come when we shall cease growing wiser, and better, and holier. Well, as I said before, I was sewing hard that day, being anxious before night-fall to finish the shirt I was making, but my eyes, I suppose, getting tired, I became at last rather melancholy; and when my work was done, and I carried it to the window to examine it by the now fading light, I grew sadder still, for I then saw, plain enough, that the stitching looked coarse and

I no longer could see to do it well! I shed a tear or two over that, for I was poor, very poor, aud my needlework was my only means of support.

I had once lived in a family for eighteen years as rurse: the name of my master and mistress was Elliot. They were both very kind people, and their children were such dear little things that no one could help loving them; two of them in particular were favourites of mine, Miss Emily and Master Frank. Master Frank was very delicate, and wanted a deal of care, but Miss

uneven.

Emily was a lively little creature, full of fun, yet so gentle and obedient; inissis used to laugh, and say

I loved them as much as she did herself, and I really think I did. It was now, however, pretty nigh sixteen years since the whole Elliot family had emigrated to Canada, and from that time I had quite lost sight of them. They wanted me sadly to accompany them beyond the seas, but, sad as I felt that New Year's Eve, I was glad I had not gone, because, you see, it had been my duty to stay behind. My poor old father was living at the time, and, if I had left England, there would have been no one to see that his old age was made as comfortable as it could be under his affliction ; for he was helpless with paralysis, and required to be nursed night and day. Well, he lingered on for years, and I stayed with him and took in needlework instead of going to service again, but I did not earn much money; and, when at last he died, I found that ladies considered me too old to be willing any longer to try me as a servant. And now that my eye-sight was beginning to fail me, I thought that I should hardly be able to keep out of the workhouse for another year; but I tried to remember that strength would be given me according to my day, and, soon wiping away my tears, I put on my bonnet and shawl, and set off to carry home my work. It was a bright cold winter's day, a thin coating of snow lay upon the edge of the pathways like sugar upon a twelfth-cake, as I heard a little child say; and though the sun had now set for the last time that year, he had left behind him some beautiful streaks of red and orange light, which were glimmering still through all the smoke of London. I know I enjoyed my walk very much, for I was always an admirer of the sky, and the streets looked very gay, as the shops were just lighting up and showing to advantage all the handsome goods displayed in their windows ; nevertheless, my old legs soon grew weary, and I was glad enough when I reached the place whither I was bound. It was a toy shop, my dears, and the person who kept it had employed me to make the shirt I now carried under my arm. My employer was busily engaged in serving a lady, but she signed to me to wait until she should be

at leisure to attend to me: this I was very willing to do, being sadly in want of the money I should receive in payment for the work. It so happened that I knew the lady who was in the shop, her name was Nelson, and she had often employed me as a needlewoman; her two children were with her, and so also was a little girl dressed in deep mourning, whom I had never seen before; I did'nt of course presume to speak to them, but standing quite in the background, amused myself with watching the little folks. They seemed to be very full of something connected with a Christmas tree, and Miss Nelson, in particular, was talking fast and eagerly. “Oh, look Herbert, look Kate," I heard her

say, "won't aunt Sophia's girls be pleased with toys like these ? these beautiful little baskets and this little lamp! and those flags too, mama, do please buy some of those flags, and then, Herbert, we"

“I don't care for Christmas trees," cried Master Herbert, suddenly breaking away, “they're all very well for girls, but I want something more manly; I want a hoop, a real good famous hoop; ah, here's one, see if I can't reach it."

And he sprang up to get down a hoop, which, together with some others, was hanging from a nail above his bead. “Oh, sir, you'd better not do that,” said I, turning quickly round, but at that moment the hoops fell, and one of them struck me on the side of my head, hitting me a pretty hard blow, and bending my old bonnet into a very queer shape. Of course, this little accident caused some slight bustle, Miss Kate (the little girl in mourning, you know), looked quite frightened; the woman of the shop was vexed to have her goods pulled about, and Master Herbert received a scolding from his mother, who reminded him that she had often forbidden him to touch what didn't belong to him; but I fear, poor boy! he had not been taught the first great duty of Obedience, for he didn't seem to take her words to heart ; and the next moment I heard him making his sister laugh by calling me “old Mother Hubbard,” bebind my back.

The lady came forward very kindly, however, to say she hoped I was not hurt, and then she recognised me,

« PreviousContinue »