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WHAT THE STARS TOLD EVA.
The voice ceased, and, after a minute's silence, Eva turned to a group of very small stars and said, “ Who are you, little group of stars?
You are something like a lawn-tennis racket.”
“We are the Pleiades,” responded a voice from the distance,“ or seven sisters. The sisters, I suppose you know, are ourselves. But there are lots of other little stars in amongst the seven, which you cannot see. We will tell you a secret about one of these little mites of stars, as they seem to you. It is the centre of the whole universe. Ah! you don't start? You don't know what that
Look around you at all the stars, those just fickering up behind the hills, those just disappearing behind the trees, that thin filmy cloud of star-dust which you have often seen in the summer stretching right across the heavens—the Milky Way -all are going round and round that little star, seemingly not big enough to rank as a “sister.' The world and your sun, and all the planets which our big friend Jupiter is waiting to talk about (he is always so obtrusive and full of himself) form one little tiny star-patch in this enormous merry-goround. We are many thousands, nay, millions of miles from your earth; and for centuries and centuries have we gazed down on you from our position here. Child, you may judge how old we are by it being written in the Bible, even in the book of Job, Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades,' and we were made long before that. Good-night.”
Once more Eva looked over the wide stretch of sky which she could see from her bedroom window, and her eye lighted on a very bright star.
“What star are you?” she asked.
“I am not a star, I am a planet, and my name is Jupiter,” answered the planet. “I only shine by the light which I reflect from the sun, while stars shine by a light of their own. You men know very little of me, and I can tell you no more than you may know. The reason that you can tell so little about me is that I am surrounded by a cloudy vapour, through clefts of which you can but get glimpses of a rose-coloured atmosphere. You know that there are both storms and calms on me, and that near my equator is the calniest part. The telescope has shown you that I have four young friends-moons you call them—who spend their time in running round and round me. It might be worrying to some people, but I don't mind them. Now there's my father Saturn. You cannot see him now, but never mind, he is not half as well worth looking at as I am. eight young friends, but then he's getting old and
grumpy; he was always irritable, and he has put a great ring round himself to keep the moons off. I believe this ring has given him a certain reputation amongst your astronomers as an oddity, but I despise all such devices. Real sterling worth has always been what I appreciate. You see I am still a shining light. But to return. The moons whirl round me as your earth, I, myself, and all the other planets whirl round the sun; and you have also discovered that it takes me 4,333 of your days to go round the sun; and that my days are 9 hours, 55 minutes, and 21 seconds long, that is more than 14 hours shorter than your days are. I have told you enough for a time. Sleep well.”
Patronising as usual,” murmured the Pleiades. Eva had not heard enough to satisfy her as yet, so she looked at a star in front of her, and asked it to tell her something about itself. It was a very faint voice that answered
“ Child, there is far too much for me to tell you now, but I will try and give you a short account of myself. I am a bright star, a star of the second magnitude, as astronomers would say; for you must know, child, that world-folk have divided us into magnitudes according to our brightness; those in the first magnitude are the brightest, and those in the sixth the faintest which can be seen by the naked eye. With a fairly powerful telescope you can see stars down to the fourteenth magnitude. Sirius is the brightest first magnitude star, and of course the sun is the brightest of all to your eyes. But you wish me to tell of myself, and not of stars in general. Child, I cannot, it would not be interesting to you, all stars are so much bound up together. I and all other stars are made of metals in what you would call a white hot state and of gas. We have been travelling onwards ever since the world began, our speed is very great, though it seems slow to you, child, and I have travelled a long way. But I have talked long enough now; you will learn more, I hope, when you are older. Now, adieu.”
When the star ceased speaking, Eva thought over all it had told her. The striking of clock roused her! It was four o'clock ; she had been sitting by the window for an hour, and was very cold. She began to wonder if she had had a nice dream or if her talk with the stars had been a reality; she thought for some time, but could not decide. It is very likely that it was all her imagination, for it would take about 3,408,072 years for a sound to come from even the nearest star to the world, and Eva is not nearly as old as this, and probably never will be.
He has got
THE LITTLE LADY OF DRAYTON,
George was listening intently, and at first thought, “Ah! now he 'll be punished without my doing it," but by the time tea was over he began to think he would, anyhow, like to see what was going on, so put on his cap.
“Are you off again, George?” said Elsie, as he opened the door.
Yes, I'm just going to have a look at Bolton's, and see what's up there," and he was hurrying away, rather ashamed at having to tell Elsie, who he thought must be thinking of what he had said on Sunday, but she stopped him again by saying, brightly
Oh, I'm so glad! do help him if you can, George."
Help him "—that was not quite what he had meant to do, but as he ran along, it did seem as if it would be rather mean to pay him out now he was in trouble. “Well,” thought George, “I'll see when I get there. Mother'd be forgiving him, I know."
Bolton's cottage was at the lower end of Stone Court, and running back from it was strip of garden, at the end of which was his wood shed and workshop.
There was a crowd round the house when George got there, for Bolton had come back from his holiday, to find his house flooded, and the garden and workshop looking as if already in the river.
“There 'll soon be nothing left of the timber, it's been afloat since early morning,” said one
George set himself to work with those who were in the house, moving everything they could to the upper room; he did not at first see Bolton, but when he did, the man looked utterly miserable, as if hardly able to take in what was going on.
“ You ain't seen the cat, ’ave you? man, standing near George. “ Bolton's that cut up at losing it, he don't seem to heed the restbut there's a many poor beasties washed away now, and I reckon this un 'll be gone too."
“Maybe it's in the workshop,” said George, and forgetting his plots against this very cat, te looked out eagerly towards the shed.
They were all too busy to notice him, but in a few minutes George had pulled off his coat, and was wading with all his might towards a tree by the shed. He had nearly reached it before
any one noticed him, and then shout after shout went up calling him back.
“He'll be drowned, that he will, and for no good neither,” said one man, who was watching eagerly.
The water got deeper and deeper, for the ground
on the river Leigh, and often in the winter the water rose very high and flooded the
low-lying parts. The parish Mr. Blackett lived in lay close on the river bank, so, as the rain went on day after day, and the water rose higher and higher, the people began to watch anxiously, fearing their houses would be flooded. And their fears came true, for on Thursday morning
when George went early to open school, he found it two or three feet in water, and the forms and desks floating about. This was the first he had seen of it, but before he got back to Mr. Blackett's with the news, he met people all talking about the flood, how one street was all under water, and food had to be taken there in boats.
There had not been such a scene in Bradleigh for years; every one hurrying to look at the river as it rushed along, carrying with it anything that came in the way, now barrels, now wood from timber yards, animals—even haystacks were to be seen floating down.
Mr. Blackett went out, taking George with him, to help the people move such things as they could save, but in some places the water had already Aooded the houses, spoiling furniture and goods of all kinds.
They had come in from a hard day's work (for of course till the water went down there could be no school), and were sitting at tea, when Elsie said, quickly, “ Have you been down Stone Court, father? Mr. Bolton's house must be in a bad way by now."
• Well, to be sure, I heard them talking about it, and now I think of it, he was going away for some days, and there 'll be all his wood-shed floated away,
I'll be bound.”
said a 174
THE LITTLE LADY OF DRAYTON.
sloped to the river, and once they thought he had gone under, but after a minute they caught sight of him again, halfway up the tree, and in his arms Bolton's black cat, which had taken refuge there when the water drove her from the shed.
“Stay where you are, boy,” cried a strong voice from the upper window, and Bolton himself was soon seen, now thoroughly aroused, making his way to the boathouse lower down the river; and in about ten minutes he appeared in a boat with some other men, just below the shed.
George was exhausted, and could not have waded back if he had tried, and so he stayed quietly in the tree, holding the cat as well as he could. It was no easy work, for having got over her terror at finding water all round, she was now doing her best to spring on to the shed. George looked to see what made her so fidgety, and to his amazement saw a row of some five or six large rats which had been driven out of the shed by the water, and sat quietly on the tiles, prisoners like himself.
The men had great difficulty in getting the boat safely up, as the current was so strong, but at last they managed to fasten it just below the shed, and threw a rope to George.
It was not till he was in the boat that Bolton saw who the boy was who had rescued his cat, for George had managed to carry the animal, terrified as it was, through the water to the boat, and the great, rough man took it from him, his eyes wet with tears.
“ You ’re a real good chap!” he said, and his rough voice trembled. “I'm aʼmost ashamed to take it from you, that I am!”
Well, I couldn't let the poor beast stay there, and not help, could I, now?” said George, and then he sat down, very tired with his exertions, and seeing that he was faint, the man wrapped him in his own coat, and laid him at the bottom of the boat with more gentleness than he had been known to show before to anything, except his cat.
“The little chap's done you there, Jim,” said one of the men, who had known something of Bolton's tricks on the boy. “He's found your soft side, eh?” But he got no answer, for the man was in no mood for talking, and George's kind deed had done more for him than he yet knew, and when they got back to the boathouse, he left his cat, and taking the boy in his arms, carried him back to Mr. Blackett's house.
“Why, Mr. Bolton, you here!” said the master's wife, as she opened the door; “the boy's not come to harm, has he?"
“He'll be right enough, Ma'am, only a bit done up," and then he told Mrs. Blackett of what George had done for him.
“ Isn't there a something about 'heaping coals of fire,' Ma'am ? for that 's what the little chap 's done for me. I've never let him have any peace since he joined the choir, and now he's been the first to do me a kindness. I shan't forget it, not I, my boy, not I; but I'd best be going," and the strong man almost sobbed as he turned to leave the house.
After he had gone, Mr. Blackett remembered the man would want a bed, so brought him back to their warm house, till his own should be fit to live in again.
Mrs. Blackett made George go quickly to bed, to keep off all fear of cold after his wetting, and as he went upstairs Elsie ran after him, saying,
“Ain't you glad now, George; that was better than paying him out, eh?”
For the next few days George was quite a hero in that part, but he was still very shy of Mr. Bolton, and was glad enough to be out all day, helping the schoolmaster in the neighbours' houses.
Mr. Bolton was still staying with them when Sunday came, and he and George walked together to church, George feeling very frightened, and hurrying on as fast as he could, but Mr. Bolton wanted to talk to him.
“ I ain't a-going to plague you no more, little lad, so don't you be afraid. You've done that out of me, and more, too, for you've minded me of my old mother. You'll have a good mother, I reckon, my lad, and you've made me think of mine and the lessons she taught me many a year ago.”
They had reached the church by this time, and Mr. Bolton went in a very different man, and though George did not know it yet, Bolton told Mr. Blackett that it was the boy's solemn face in church which had first made him feel uncomfortable, and brought back his mother's teaching; and that he had tried to get over it by teasing George, but now he was quite broken down, and resolved, by God's strength, to be a better man.
Bolton always listened very attentively when George talked of his home at Drayton-in-theWold, and that evening, as they sat round the fire after supper, he looked particularly eager as the boy talked of his friend Harry.
“ Was that Widow Bolton you said, lad?” he asked, at last.
Yes, to be sure. She's Harry's granny." “An old lady, living alone?” “ No, Harry lives with her. She won't let him
ANSWERS TO BIBLE QUESTIONS. 22. 1 Sam. vii. 17. 23. Acts iii. 24, xiii. 20; Heb. xi. 32. 24. i Sam. xxxi. 10. 25. 2 Sam. ii. 18; 1 Chron. xii. 8–13. 26. Judges xiv. 5,6; 1 Sam. xvii. 34–36; 2 Sam. xxiii. 20. 27. 2 Sam. xxiii. I. 28. 2 Sam. xiv. 17, xix. 27.
go away, 'cause she says he 'll get to mischief, like his father.” Bolton covered his face with his hands.
•Why, then she's not dead—and they told me she'd gone to Drayton and died-well. But who's the boy ?-not mine, surely—and I've been home these five years, thinking I'd as good as killed all as belonged to me.” And the poor man sat down in his chair, sobbing.
Mr. Blackett was as much astonished as George at finding out Mr. Bolton's history, as by degrees he told them how, having got into bad ways, he lost his trade, and when his wife died from poverty and misery, he had gone off to America, leaving his little baby in the charge of a neighbour.
After that he heard no more from Bradleigh, till he came back five years ago, and was told that his mother had taken the child to Drayton-in-theWold, and that both of them were dead.
He had grown into a hard, lonely man, and cared for nobody and nothing except his cat.
The news that his mother and child were living finished the softening that George's influence had begun, and before he went to bed that night, he settled to go off to Drayton as soon as he could get his workshop into order again.
“ You minded me of my mother to some purpose, little chap,” he said to George the day before going to Drayton. “And to think of my boy being your friend Harry!”
ANSWER TO DOUBLE ACROSTIC. MESOPOTAMIA (Gen. xxiv. 10); ABELSHITTIM (Num.
xxxiii. 49) (1) M elit A
Acts xxviii. I. (2) E lia B
Num. i. 9, ii. 7. (3) S yen
Ezek. xxix. 10, xxx. 6. (4) Othnie L
Jud. i. 13, iii. 9, 11. (5) armena s
Acts vi. 5, 6. (6) O badia H 1 Kings xviii. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 16.
2 Sam. viii. 9. (8) A methys T Exod. xxviii. 19, xxxix. 12. in T
Matt. xxxiii. 23; Luke xi. 42. (10) I tta I
2 Sam. xxiii. 29. (11) A dora M
2 Sam. xx. 24.
ANSWERS to the above Puzzle and Questions should reach the Editor of the Boys and Girls' Companion not later than November ioth.
The total Number of Marks given for Answers to Bible Questions in October was 30, of which Flo obtained 30, John H. Price 30, Ellen H. Wilkinson 30, Edward P. Flood 30, John Hill 30, Louie Macdonald 28, Stanley Caukwell 28, Catherine P. Fitz Gerald 28, Mabel P. Fitz Gerald 28, Joseph Peachell 28, Mabel Beardsley 28, George P. Barter 28, Maria L. Carter 28, Amy Gowing 28, C. May Gowing 28, E. Ada Gowing 27, Grace M. Joy 27, Henry R. L. Joy 27, Ellen M. Bergman 26, Augusta Carter 25, Constance Bligh 25, Edith M. Bell 23, Annie Stephens 22, Annie Collie 22, Jane Morris 21, Willie Hobby 21, Luey Pidcock 21, Gertrude M. Robinson 19, Mousey 19, Edith M. M. Dickers 19, Georgina E. Robinson 19, Ethel H. Robinson 19, Thomas Holding 18, Kate M. Hatton 17, Ethel R. Barker 10, Henry Faulkner 10.
SUNDAY SCHOOL HOSPITAL BED.
Bible Questions. 29. What means did Absalom take to induce Joab to go
and see him ? 30. Who was called David's friend ? and who Solomon's ? 31. Where do we read of a ferry-boat being used ? 32. When did a woman by her wisdom save a city? Tell
the name of a woman who built three cities. 33. Which Psalm do you find in the Book of Samuel ? 34. When did David see an angel ? 35. Which of David's sons tried to usurp his kingdom?
The following Contributions have been received up to October toth:
Mrs. Jackson £3, Miss Gertrude Dunton 28., M. J. Cann 5s., Francis A. and Marion L. Middleton jos., Mrs. Barrett's Baby Boy 1os., Mrs. Wolland ios., Per Mr. G. R. Davy 1os. 4d., Per Miss Farnall 25. 2d. Collections : -- Edith M. Davy flics. 3d., St. Thomas', Swansea, Sunday School 8s., Clara Davis ss., George Daniells (3rd coll.) £1 os. rod., Albert Smith is. 3d., Lina Thorman 10s., Emily Dench 4s. 6d., Bessic Clark ros. 4d., Carrie Cotton 8s.gd., A. T. Rainer Ios. 6d., S. J. Rainer 25. 3d., Susie Hawkins 28., George McFarlane 3s. Id., D. Bruce Watts 6s., Nelly Barton 7s.6d., Old Hall School, Wellington, per Dr. Cranage ros. 8d., Edw. Richardson £1 3s., Walter S. Penford 2s. 6d., C. Fosbery 28., George Daniells (4th coll.) £1 58. 5d., Hugh and Lionel Foyster Jos., Albert Smith is. 5d., Geraldine Grimwood 45. 4d., Bessie M. Grimwood 13s. 8d., E. Rose Grimwood gs. 6d., Miss Farrant £1 198. 8d., Margaret Reynolds 5s., Ray Hope 98., Enid Moss 11s., Blanche Moss 8s. 6d., Nora Moss 7s. 6d.
BIBLICAL QUOTATION ACROSTIC. (1) “Break off the golden earrings .... and bring them
unto me." (2) “Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my
last end be like his." (3) “Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.” (4) “What shall be done unto the man whom the king
delighteth to honour? (5) “Let me not see the death of the child." (6) “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." (7) “He hath triumphed gloriously.”
The initials of the names of the men or women who spoke the above words will give the name of one who, when pleading for a wicked city, asked: “Wilt thou destroy the righteous with the wicked ?”
ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS. Ellen M. BERGMAN.-Syene was quite right. If you refer to the answers given above, you will see that it is mentioned in the Bible.
Mousey's name has been added to the list.
Contributions to the Wet Half-Holiday intended for the February Number of the Companion must reach the Editor by the 20th December.
Julius, who sighed repeatedly, and scratched out words as fast as he wrote them.
“ What is the matter?” said John, looking up. “ I don't understand the verbs," replied Julius. “Lend him your crib, Ted,” said his brother.
Ted obediently threw the book across the table, but Julius shook his head. “I'd rather not, thank
you," he said.
Afraid to Do Wrong.
ELCOME to Springfield, my dear,” said Mrs. Legh to her little nephew, Julius, who had come to stay with her during his parents' absence from England. “Did you have a pleasant journey? I hope you are not very tired.”
“My head aches rather," said the little boy, o the train made such a noise.”
“ Miss Julia's head aches," whispered Ralph, “fetch the sal-volatile."
“ Be quiet,” said his elder brother John, who had driven the visitor from the station.
Ted and Arthur gazed silently at their cousin.
A few days later, the five boys were seated round the table, preparing their lessons for school.
Everybody seemed to be getting on easily but
Why not?" shouted two or three voices. “I know,” said Ralph, “Miss Julia is afraid of the cane. She is afraid of wetting her feet, afraid of the swing, afraid of everything. Our Arthur is twice as much of a man, though he is younger."
“ It isn't that,” said Julius, with a crimson face, “ but I don't think it's honest."
There was a pause, then John said, “ He is braver than we are, anyhow, for he is afraid to do wrong and not afraid to own it. Cribbing is a mean trick, and I don't know but what I'll copy Julius, and do without it."