WILLIE THE WAIF
BY MINIE HERBERT
LONDON S. W. PARTRIDGE & CO. 8 & 9 PATERNOSTER ROW
I. RUNNING AWAY FROM HOME. 7
II. A FRIEND IN NEED
III. THE MISSION SCHOOL
IV. A VISITOR FOR WILLIE
V. THE CHRISTMAS TREAT
VI. LITTLE BERTRAM
WILLIE THE WAIF
RUNNING AWAY FROM HOME
One hot summer's day the sun was trying to shine into a poor, miserable alley in London. There are some places in that great city where even the sun cannot find its way, and Primrose Place was one of them.
It was a very narrow court, and the houses on both sides were so high that the people who lived there had never seen the sunbeams shining on the pavement or glinting on the windows. But even supposing the sun could have shone into the court, it would not have been able to pierce into the rooms, for the windows were too dirty. Most of them were broken and patched with brown paper. The doors of the houses always stood open, so that people could go in and out without knocking. Very few of them could afford to pay enough rent to have two rooms all to themselves, so that a whole family was generally huddled into one room, in which they had to live during the day and sleep at night. But most of the daytime was spent by the inhabitants of Primrose Place out of doors, lounging about on the pavement, or sitting on the doorsteps.
On this day, if you had walked down the court, you would have seen groups of women standing round the doors gossiping, with their sleeves rolled up to their elbows, and nothing on their heads. This was the way they all spent their time when they were not in the beershops, one of which stood, as usual, at each corner of the court. These women never had time to clean their rooms, even if they had known they were dirty. But this fact they did not know. They had never seen them any other way and they had become so used to their surroundings that they never noticed the dirt.
The children ran about the court or played in the gutter, barefooted and bareheaded. Poor little things! there was nobody in Primrose Place to love or care for them, or teach them to be good. Their mothers would not be troubled by them, and the children kept out of their way as much as possible, and, of course, got into that of every body else. This was the cause of a great deal of quarrelling among the mothers, because, although they didn't care for their children themselves, they wouldn't let any one else find fault with them. At the present time three or four boys were playing at buttons. One of them accused another of cheating, which he denied. This led to angry words, then to blows, when suddenly one of the mothers called out:—-"'Ere, you Tom, just you leave my Bill alone, or I'll warm yer!" This was taken up by Tom's mother, and the women fought the children's battle. In such scenes the children of Primrose Place grew up—-miserable, dirty, and generally neglected.
Sitting alone on the pavement that evening, huddled close to the wall, was a little boy of six or seven years of age. His fair hair hung in tangled curls all round his head. His clothes, which had never been made for him, were much too large, and so ragged that they could scarcely hold together. As he sat there, with his little bare feet stretched out on the pavement, he seemed to be watching for somebody, for he kept continually; looking towards the end of the court which opened out on to the main road. All at once he started up eagerly as [the one for whom he had been watching turned the corner.] This was his brother, a boy about ten years of age, a tired, miserable-looking little fellow, carrying in his hand a broom. He had been spending the day trying to earn a few pence by sweeping a crossing. His anxious face changed the instant he caught sight of his little brother, for these two were all the world to each other.
"I'm so glad you've come 'ome Bob," said Willie. "I've been waitin' such a long time for yer."
"Poor little chap! I'm a bit late to-day, and I s'pose yer feel lonely. Ain't yer 'ad no one to play with?"
"No," he replied. "All the boys tease and make such a noise. It makes my 'ead ache. But it's all right now you've come 'ome," he added cheerfully.
Bob looked down at the fragile little figure at his side and a great lump seemed to rise in his throat, almost choking him, as he thought how thin Willie was; and he wished that he could make haste and grow up to be a man, so that he could earn a lot of money and buy nice things for him to eat. "But s'pose Willie should die before then!" The thought was too dreadful, and he put it away directly it came.
"See, Willie," he said, "what I've got for yer!" and he held up a large penny bun before the child.
Willie clapped his hands. "Oh, Bob, is that for me, really? Let's sit down 'ere and eat it."
The child sat down on the kerbstone, pulled his brother down beside him, and broke the bun in halves. One half he handed to Bob, and would take no refusal. So the two children soon devoured it between them.
"I say, Bob," said Willie, when they had finished, "'ave yer 'ad a good day to-day?"
"No," said Bob sadly. "Yer see there's no mud about and when there's no mud the people don't take any notice of yer——"
"Oh, dear!" said Willie. "Father'll whack yer. I wish yer 'adn't bought me the bun."
"I don't, care," responded the other wearily "He may whack me if 'e likes, it don't matter, you shan't be 'ungry if I can 'elp it. Is father indoors?"
"Yes," said Willie, beginning to cry, "and I'm so frightened. 'E 'it me this morning. I dunno what's the matter. 'E's been awful angry all day, and now 'e'll beat you. Oh, dear! oh, dear!"
Bob's face flushed, and he clenched his hands. For himself he didn't care, but he did care when anything hurt Willie. He couldn't stand that, and he wouldn't. He sat still for a moment lost in thought. At last he sprang up, saying:—-"Come on, Willie, we won't go 'ome to-night, we'll find somewhere to sleep. Father shan't 'it yer again. We'll go right away."
Willie got up willingly. He had implicit faith in his brother. Whatever Bob said or did was sure to be right. He followed him without a word as Bob led the way up one street and down another, till his little legs began to ache. But it didn't seem as though they could stop, for every time they sat down on a doorstep the policeman came and told them to "Move on!" At last Bob turned into the park, and they sat down under a tree, when Willie soon fell fast asleep. Bob laid the tired little head against his shoulder, and although he became cramped with sitting so long in one position, he would not move for fear of waking him.
As he sat there he naturally began to think. What were they going to do? Whatever happened he would take care of Willie. He would have to find another crossing, and Willie would have to go with him. At any rate they would always be together, and nobody should hit Willie again. He knew his father wouldn't come to look for them. He would be only too glad to be rid of them. Were all fathers like his? he wondered. He didn't think so, because he had seen some children running along by the side of their father, and they even laughed and looked as though they were glad. He laughed sometimes at some of the queer things Willie said, but he never laughed if his father was there. No, they couldn't all be alike.
As he sat there thinking, it had become quite dark, and presently he heard the park-keeper calling, "All out!" Very gently he roused the little sleeper, and again they trudged along, on and on, till at last they found themselves at Covent Garden Market, and there Bob resolve to stay for the night. They crept into an empty barrel, and locked in each other's arms they were soon fast asleep.
A FRIEND IN NEED
The two boys were awake early next for business begins early in Covent Garden, and they soon had to leave the shelter of their barrel, for barrels had to be used for other purposes than to serve as bedrooms for little boys. Besides, Bob felt that he had no time now that he had Willie to provide for.
"Come, Willie," he said, "we must have a wash the fust thing, and then we must earn some money to buy our breakfast with."
"Why, where can we wash?" asked Willie.
"Oh, I know a fust-rate place," answered Rob. "I think it was just made for boys like you and me wot ain't got no 'ome."
Willie placed his hand in his brother's, and off the two boys ran, until they reached Trafalgar Square. Willie shouted with glee at the sight of so much water. Never had he enjoyed himself so much as he did that morning as he splashed about in the water, and never had he felt so clean as he did when he had finished.
"Now," said Bob, "jist you run up and down 'ere as fast as you can; yer'll soon dry."
Willie did as he was told, and soon felt dry and quite hungry; but he was a thoughtful little fellow, and determined to wait bravely until Bob could get something for him to eat.
"Are yer dry, Willie?" asked Bob.
"Should jist think I am," replied Willie; "feel me."
"Come on, then; let's go and see if we can find some work. Ain't yer 'ungry?"
"Little." said Willie briefly.
Dame Fortune was kind to these poor little waifs this morning, for they had not gone far on their travels when Willie's sharp eye spied something on the ground. Eagerly he ran forward, and picked up a small silver coin, which he held up with high glee for his brother to see.
"Why, Willie," exclaimed Bob, "you are lucky! That's a real silver sixpence. Now you shall have a jolly good breakfast."
"Oh, yes," said Willie, "I am 'ungry. Ain't yer Bob?"
With light hearts the two boys went on, talking eagerly as to how the sixpence should be spent. To these two poor little street arabs it seemed almost unlimited wealth, for never in their short lives had they had so much money to spend. Bob was determined to give Willie a treat, so, without saying where they were going, he led the way to St. James's Park, where they found a man in charge of a stall, with a cow standing near by. With a very important air Bob marched up to the man, and asked for two glasses of milk. The man looked at them rather suspiciously. In their ragged clothes they looked very different from most of the people who came to buy milk.
"Have you any money?" he asked.
"'Course we 'ave," answered Bob proudly. "Show 'im, Willie."
Willie held up his hand and showed the man the shining coin.
"Why, where, did you get that?" asked the man. That's a lot of money for a little chap like you to have."
"I found it," said Willie, "and now we're goin' to 'ave some breakfast, ain't we, Bob?"
The children ate their meal ravenously, the man watching them meanwhile.
"What are you going to do now?" he asked when they had finished.
"Find a crossin', fust thing," answered Bib.
"Well, good luck to you," said the man.
But Bob did not find it very easy work. It had been a dry season, and the crossings were not muddy, so that there was very little to do. One or two people, attracted by Willie's sweet face, gave him a copper, and just before dinner a gentleman asked Bob to hold his horse, for which he gave him threepence; and so they dragged on during the day, but it was very hot, and poor little Willie soon got tired.
"Never mind, Willie," said Bob, "we'll go and sit in the park again presently. Let's stay a little longer."
So Willie sat down on a doorstep and waited while Bob tried to earn a little more. But at last he gave up in despair, and, taking Willie's hand, they turned off into the park. Bob brought some bread-and-cheese from his pocket, and with a drink of water from the fountain, they made their evening meal.
"I wonder if father'll try to find us," said Willie. "You won't ever let me go back, will yer, Bob?"
"Not if I knows it," said Bob. "Yer'll 'ave to be my kid now, Willie; some day yer shall 'ave a broom o' yer own. I'll 'ave to teach yer the bizness."
Willie clapped his hands delightedly.
"That'll be jolly! Then I shall be able to earn some money."
That night, and many succeeding ones, were spent by the children in the open air. Sometimes under archways or on doorsteps, and sometimes in the friendly shelter of the old barrels. While the summer lasted, and the nights were dry and warm, Bob did not mind, he thought it would not hurt Willie, but when the cold weather began it made him very anxious.
"Why don't yer try my place where I sleep?" said another crossing-sweeper to him one day, when he told him his trouble. "The little 'un 'ud keep warm there." And he painted in glowing colours the glories of the cheap lodging-house where he had slept the night before.
"'Ow much?" asked Bob.
"Tuppence a 'ead," was the reply.
So Bob determined if he could possibly earn money that Willie should have a roof over his head that night. By the time the day's work was ended he found he had just sixpence in his pocket. He thought he would spend two of the pennies for their supper and send Willie into the lodging-house alone. Then he would have two pennies left for their breakfast.
But little Willie would not hear of any such arrangement. "No, Bob," he said piteously, "don't make me go away from yer. Let me stay with yer to-night; I don't mind bein' cold."
But to this Bob would not consent. If Willie would not go in alone, why, he must go with him. Perhaps he would get a job early to-morrow, and that would pay for their breakfast. But it was a wretched night the children spent; the place was with men, some of whom crowding round the fire were trying to cook their suppers, while others were quarrelling in different parts of the room. The children lay locked in each other's arms too frightened to move, as the loud, angry voices fell upon their ears, and it was late at night before the noise ceased and they were able to sleep.
They were wakened early in the morning, for some of the men were up and off almost before daybreak; and Bob thought he had better be on the move too, for money must be earned somehow before Willie could have his breakfast.
They were just about to start when they heard the voice of the landlady calling to them. She had noticed how pinched and starved they looked when they came in the night before and felt sorry for them.
"Come in here, little 'uns," she said, putting her head out of the room door. "Bless me, you look famished. Got any breakfast?"
"No," said Bob; "we was going to see if we could earn some money, so's we could buy some."
"Where's yer mother?" she asked shortly.
"She's been dead a long while," answered Bob.
"Yes," chimed in Willie. "Mother's dead, and we've runned away from father. He beat us."
"Poor little chap!" said the woman, looking at the younger boy. And then she made him sit by the fire, while she poured out two cups of steaming hot coffee. It was very weak, hardly more than coloured water, but to the little waifs it was the most delicious thing they had tasted for months, and as they drank their coffee and ate their bread and butter, the woman's heart warmed towards them. She smiled several times at Willie's chatter, as he told of the life on the streets.
"Soon's we can get enuf money," he said, "Bob'll buy me a broom, then I'll 'elp."
"Wouldn't you like to help now?" she asked.
"Yes," he replied, "but brooms cost a lot o' money."
"So they do," said the woman. "Besides, you're not big enough yet, but you could sell some matches, couldn't you? See, I'll lend you this sixpence to get some with," and then she told Bob the best place to buy them, and how his little brother was to sell them.
Willie's eyes gleamed with delight, but all he could say was, "Oh, Bob!"
The little fellow proved a splendid salesman. However ragged his clothes might be, his face was always clean, for the boys never missed their morning wash in Trafalgar Square, and he found several customers, who were attracted by his bright face and cheery voice as he called out "Box o' lights, sir! box o' lights!" and his happiness reached its height when he was able to put into Bob's hand quite a heap of pennies, the result of his morning's efforts.
When the evening came they made their way back to the lodging-house, buying, on their way, half a loaf and some cheese to take in for their supper. Bob had a good day himself so that he had managed to save threepence towards paying back the sixpence their kind friend had lent them in the morning, and it was with a face flushed with pride that he offered it to her.
"No, laddie," she said; "wait until you can afford it better."
"Please take it," he urged. "We've done well to-day, Willie and me."
So Mrs. Blair took the money, but she insisted on their lying down in a corner of her room, instead of going into the common kitchen.
"And you must come every night," she said. "I've been thinking to-day that if I had a little boy of my own I should like one with a face like Willie's. Bless him!" And the kind woman kissed the child tenderly.
"That was nice," said the child. "Nobody ever did that afore."
So the two children were always sure of a shelter for the night. Sometimes they were gone in the morning before Mrs. Blair was about, but if not, she always put fresh water into her tea or coffee-pot and gave them a hot drink. She was a very poor woman herself and it was as much as she could do for the little ones. But she did it gladly.
THE MISSION SCHOOL
The children were not always so successful as on the day when Willie first began to sell his matches. Sometimes, indeed, they took scarcely anything, and poor little Willie would get tired and faint through having to go all day with nothing eat.
One day Bob saw a gentleman jump off his horse and look for some one to hold it while he went into a shops. He darted up to him and asked to be allowed to do it.
"You don't look very big, my lad," said the gentleman; "but you may try. Don't let him run away."
Bob found it hard work, for the gentleman was a long time, and the pony was restive, but he was a plucky little chap and would not give in. The gentleman had been keeping his eye on him through the shop-window, and when he came out he said—"Well done, my boy! You'll make a fine man some day," and he thrust a shilling into the boy's hand.
Bob was overjoyed with his good fortune as he showed it to Willie. "See 'ere, Willie," he said. "We'll 'ave a tuck-in to-night." And on the way to Mrs. Blair's they stood some time before a pastrycook's, trying to make up their minds which of the good things they should buy. First they thought they would like one thing and then another, but at last decided upon some meat pies, which, nicely arranged in the window, looked very tempting to the hungry boys.
Mrs. Blair was delighted to hear of their success. Handing her the change, Bob said—-
"Please'm, will yer mind this money for me?" He had long before paid her the remaining three-pence that he owed.
"'Course I will," she said. "Are you saving up?"
"Yes'm; you see it's gettin' cold now, and Willie's clothes is awful thin. I want to git 'im some more."
"So they are," she answered. "Yours too, I think."
"Oh, them don't matter," he replied. "But Willie's on'y a little chap; I must take care on 'im."
Mrs. Blair was often touched when she noticed this boy's devotion to his little brother. He never seemed to care what hardships he went through himself, but Willie must be shielded at all costs.
It took a long time to save up the required sum, but at length Bob managed it, and one night the boy came in with an old coat and a pair of shoes tucked under his arm. Of course the coat was not a very good fit, and the shoes were too large: but Bob had picked up the two at an old clothes-shop for two shillings, and they were the best he could do. At any rate, they were whole, and they would keep Willie warm.
It was a miserably foggy evening in November. The roads were frightfully dirty, and Bob worked with all his might to keep the crossing clean; but the people all seemed in too much of a hurry to take any notice of the little sweeper, and Willie fared no better with his matches. Fairly worn out and tired, the little fellow began to cry.
"Let's go 'ome, Bob," he sobbed. "I'm so cold."
"All right," returned the other. "Seems no use to stop 'ere. Folks ain't got nothin' for us to-night."
Bob shouldered his broom, and they turned off down a side street. They had not gone far when Willie suddenly stopped.
"'Ark, Bob! Wot's that?" he whispered.
"Sounds like as if some one was a-singin'," was he answer. "P'raps we shall come to 'em in a minute. Come on!"
Buoyed up by this suggestion Willie quickened his footsteps, and presently they came to a small hall, which was brilliantly lighted. [The children stopped, and Bob peeped in at the door.] The place seemed to be almost full of children, some of whom were quite as ragged as himself. They were all singing lustily, and the two boys could hear the words—-
"Suffer little children to come unto Me."
"Don't it sound prime, Willie?" said Bob. Shall we go in?"
"Yes, do; it'll be warm in there."
So Bob pushed open the door, and trying to make as little noise as possible, so as not to attract attention, the two boys shuffled in. In his anxiety, however, he managed to drop his broom, which fell with a thud on the floor, the noise of which caused all the children to stop their singing and turn round to look at him. This was too much for the poor little fellow, and he tried to get out again as quickly as he came in. Just as he was turning to go, however, a lady with the most beautiful face he had even, came up, and, laying her hand upon his shoulder, said, "Don't go away, dear. Come and sit down!" and she led them to a form near the stove. At the same time, a man who was standing upon a low platform at the other end of the room called out in a quick voice—"Attention, children!" and immediately the singing went on again. After the hymn was finished the children seated them-selves, and the gentleman spoke to them about the One who had said "Suffer little children." He pictured to them the scene of Jesus going on His journey surrounded by His disciples. He told them how the mothers came, bringing their little children along the hot dusty road to meet Him, and how delighted they were when Jesus took the little ones up in His arms and blessed them. And then he held up before them a picture, and, pointing to the central figure, he said—-
"Look, dear children, this Man with the kind face is Jesus. See how lovingly He looks at the little children. Wouldn't some of you have liked to have been there?"
A low murmured "Yes!" came from the children as they listened breathlessly.
"Well, dear children," he went on, "Jesus loves you as much as He loved those children. He is sorry for you when you are hungry and cold. He wants you to be good too, for it makes Him very sad when you steal, or say bad words, or quarrel and fight. He is getting a beautiful place ready for you to live in; but you must let Him help you to be good, and some day He will send His angel to fetch you to go and live in that beautiful place."
After he had finished speaking, Miss Elton, the lady who had spoken to Bob at the door, came up to the platform, and in a sweet, clear voice, so that the children could understand every word, she sang to them the well-known hymn—-
"I think when I read that sweet story of old."
There was a pin-drop silence in the room when she left off and then they all sang a hymn together, after which the gentleman prayed a short, simple prayer, and the meeting was over.
With much noise the little ragged children departed to their homes, but Bob sat on like one in a dream.
Presently Miss Elton came up to him, and said—-
"Well my little man, aren't you going home?"
"Please'm," he said eagerly, "do you think as 'ow 'e'll let me take Willie to 'im?"
"What do you mean, dear?" she asked.
"Why 'im as we was told about to-night."
"Do you mean Jesus?" she asked.
"Yes, dear," was the answer. "He wants Willie and you too. Have you ever heard about Jesus before?"
"No," was the answer.
So she tried to explain in a very simple way, which both the children could understand, the sweet story of Jesus. "He is watching you, and Willie too," she said, "and He wants to help you to be good boys, so that you may grow up to be good He loves you very, very much. Will you let Him?"
"I wish 'e would," said Bob. "Don't you, Willie? On'y, I don't see as 'ow I can tell 'im."
"Well," was the answer, "if you kneel down, and shut your eyes, and speak to Him ever so softly, He will hear you. Listen!" And kneeling down beside the children she prayed—"Dear Jesus, these two little boys want You to help them to be good. They want to be made fit to live in Your beautiful home. Please help them. Amen."
The children looked at her for a moment or two, awed by her manner. Then Bob asked—
"Did 'e 'ear yer?"
"Yes, dear, He did," was the reply; "and if you talk to Him, He will hear you too. But now it is getting late and you must take this little chap home. Will you come again another night, and hear some more about Jesus?"
"We'd like to, wouldn't we, Willie?"
Willie nodded. He could hardly take his eyes off the beautiful face of the lady, and for once he felt too shy to say much, but when he was outside the door his tongue became unloosed.
"Wasn't she a pretty lady, Bob? Shall we go and see her again?"
"'Course we will," was the decided answer. "But, Willie, wouldn't yer like to go an' see that kind man wot the gent told us about?"
"Yes," said Willie; "but where is 'e, Bob?"
"I dunno," said Bob; "but the lady said as 'ow 'e would 'ear us if we spoke to 'im. P'raps Mrs. Blair will tell us."
When the children arrived, at the house they found Mrs. Blair becoming very anxious about them, for it was not often they were so late now that the evenings were dark and cold.
"Why, laddies!" she exclaimed, "I thought you were lost. Wherever 'ave you been?"
"Mrs. Blair," said Willie eagerly, "can you tell us the way to Jesus?"
"Bless the child!" she said, looking at Bob. "What on earth does he mean?"
"'Ain't you ever 'eerd about 'im?" asked Bob, looking very disappointed. "We've bin to a place where a lot o' children were singing about 'Suffer little children,' and then a man talked about one as was called Jesus, and 'e said 'e wanted all little boys like Willie an' me to be good so's we could go and live with 'im some day; and Willie and me wants to find the way, and now you can't 'elp us!" sadly and wistfully.
"No, child," she said huskily, "I'm afraid I can't. Be quick and get your suppers, for it's awful late, an' that little 'un ought to be in bed."
"Bob," whispered Willie, "yer'll speak to Jesus afore we go to bed, won't yer? The lady said 'e would 'ear."
So the two little waifs knelt in their corner with their eyes tightly shut, and Bob prayed in a low voice—-
"Please, Sir, me an' Willie wants to find Yer. Make us good boys, an' show us the way."
"Say 'men, Bob," said Willie, "like the lady did."
And Bob said "'men."
A VISITOR FOR WILLIE
What made Mrs. Blair sit up late that night, watching the fire, instead of going to bed quickly as she usually did? Willie's question had taken her back in thought to the time when she was a little girl. She remembered the lovely village where she was born; she fancied herself a girl again, running about the sweet-scented lanes and the green fields. She could see the honeysuckle all out in bloom, as it climbed over the cottage door and peeped in at the windows; but, most of all, she thought of her mother and the prayer she taught her to say every night as she knelt at her knee. But her mother was dead, and she had not been near the village for many years. In that time she had forgotten all the lessons her mother had tried to teach her, and now when little Willie wanted her to show him the way to Jesus she was not able to do so. It was many years since she had taken the name of Jesus upon her lips. She had been a hard-working woman all her life, and she had no time to think about Him. But now she wished she had. She would have been glad if she could have told little Willie what he wanted to know.
From this time the boys never forgot to speak to Jesus, as Willie called it, every morning and evening. They went to the mission services regularly every week, and Miss Elton and her brother began to take a great interest in the children. The boys listened eagerly to every word that was said, and carried it faithfully home to Mrs. Blair, for she, poor woman, seemed quite as anxious to find Jesus as the children had been.
Willie's "pretty lady" had quite won the children's hearts, so that Willie had lost all his shyness with her; and as for the lady herself, she delighted to bear him chatter. Bob told her all about their life in Primrose Place, and on the streets since, and what a good friend Mrs. Blair had been to them.
"Why, you see," she said, "Jesus has been taking care of you all the time; only you did not know it."
"'As 'e?" said Bob wonderingly.
"Of course He has," was the reply. "Don't you see how He has let you take care of Willie? All the kind, loving thoughts that you have about are put into your mind by Jesus. It was He made Mrs. Blair so kind to you. She wouldn't have looked after you so well if He had not put the thoughts into her head."
So, little by little, the minds of the children began to open, and they understood something of the way in which Jesus loved them.
In spite of the new clothes that Bob's careful saving up had procured for him, little Willie seemed to feel the cold very keenly, and Bob often felt very anxious about him. He caught cold, and that left him with a bad cough. Several times Bob had to leave him at home while he went to his crossing alone. But these were miserable days for the elder boy. He always declared that people took no notice of him when Willie was not there, and it was very little he could earn. Had it not been for Mrs. Blair, the children would often have had to spend the night out of doors.
One very wet evening in December Bob turned into the mission-room alone. Willie had been too ill to go out with him in the morning, and he wanted to go straight home; he thought Willie would be so lonely.
But Willie would not hear of it. "No, Bob," he said; "go an' see my pretty lady, so's yer can tell me wot she says when yer come 'ome."
Miss. Elton saw him come in at the door, and quickly missed her little favourite.
"Why, Bob," she said, "where's Willie?"
"Please'm," he answered, "'e ain't well. 'E couldn't come out with me to-day."
"Poor little chap!" said the lady kindly. "I hope he isn't very bad. I must come and see him. Do you think he would like me to?"
"I should jist think 'e would," answered Bob.
"Very well, then, you must tell me the way, and I will come to-morrow."
Bob did so as clearly as he could, then went to his seat. But it was very little that he heard of the address that evening, for his head was so full of the visit that was to be paid that he couldn't take in anything else.
Directly the meeting was over he flew off as fast as his legs could carry him.
"Willie, Willie!" he burst out, as soon as he got into the room. "Guess wot I've got to tell yer!
"Can't," said Willie. "Do tell me, Bob."
"Some one's comin' to see yer to-morrer."
"To see me!" repeated Willie. "Who, Bob?"
"Who should it be," said Bob, "but yer lady!"
"Truth, Bob? Do yer mean it?" for it seemed almost too good to be true. "My pretty lady!"
"Yes," said Bob. "Ain't it prime? I know'd yer'd be glad."
Mrs. Blair was almost as excited as the children themselves, at the idea of the visitor, and she declared she would have to be up an hour earlier, in order to be ready for the lady.
The next morning Willie very much wanted his brother to stay at home with him to see the lady, but Bob knew he must not do that.
"It won't do to lose a day now, Willie," he said. "I must go an' earn some money, else wot'll we do?" And with a brave face he shouldered his broom and marched off.
True to her promise, Miss Elton found her way that morning to Mrs. Blair's. She had some difficulty in following Bob's directions, for they were not very clear. But she arrived there at lasts and found Willie eagerly watching for her at the window.
"Why, Willie, my little man," she said, "you didn't come to see me last night."
"No," said Willie, with glistening eyes. "I 'ain't been well; but—-but," hesitatingly, "I'm glad you've come to see me."
[Miss Elton sat down, and drew the boy to her side.] She thought what a frail little fellow he looked, with his flushed cheeks and shining eyes. She talked to him for some time about himself and his brother, and then she said—-"Now, Willie, I want you to make haste and get well. Do you know why?"
Willie shook his head.
"Well," she said, "Christmas will be here in two weeks' time. Do you know what Christmas is?"
"No," said Willie, "I 'ain't ever see'd one."
Miss Elton smiled.
"You know who Jesus is?" she asked.
"Yes" said Willie. "We talks to 'im every mornin' an' night, Bob an' me; an' we're tryin' to be good."
"That's right," said Miss Elton. "Well, Jesus used to live down here on the earth once, and we called the day He came Christmas Day. So Christmas Day was His birthday. You know how He loves little children, and wants them to be happy, and we want to make them happy too. So what do you think we are going to do?"
"Dunno," said Willie.
"We are going to give the children a treat at the mission-room. We want you all to come and have tea there, and some nice games afterwards; but I'm not going to tell you everything, because I want to surprise you. That is why I want you to get well."
"Can Bob come too?" he asked.
"Of course; we must have Bob," she answered. "We couldn't get on without him."
For Some moments Willie stood looking at her as though he wanted to say something. Miss Elton waited for him to speak. At last she said gently: "Well, dear, what is it?
"I wish——" he hesitated. "I wish you'd sing."
"Would you like me to?" she asked, smiling. "What shall I sing?"
"'Bout 'Suffer little children.'"
During the singing Mrs. Blair came into the room. Miss Elton spoke to her very kindly for minutes, and asked some questions about Willie, thanking her for what she had done for the children.
"Lor', ma'am," she said, "who could help it; such children as they are? It's wonderful the way that boy looks after the little chap; and as for the little one, why, with his angel-face and pretty ways he'd get round the hardest woman."
"It's very good of you, Mrs. Blair, and God will give you your reward, you may be sure. Will you take this," slipping some money into her hand, "and get Willie some food? He wants nourishment, poor little fellow! I must come and see him again. I want him to be well enough to come to the treat we are giving to the children at the mission-room. Perhaps you would come up in the evening, and see them at play?"
"Thank you kindly, ma'am," she replied. "I'd be glad to come."
Before Miss Elton left she made Willie very happy giving him a book of coloured pictures, telling him it was to keep him from being lonely while Bob was at work.
THE CHRISTMAS TREAT
After Miss Elton's visit Willie found plenty to amuse himself with that day, and he was very anxious for Bob to come home that he might tell him the news. Mrs. Blair went out and bought some meat and other things with the money the lady had given her, and the little fellow feasted like a king. Some of the good things he insisted on saving for Bob, and it was in a state of high glee that he watched his brother eating his supper that night. The picture book was a source of great amusement to them. Many of the pictures they recognized, having heard the stories at the mission-room, and it seemed as though Willie would never tire of looking at them, especially one which showed Jesus blessing little children.
The boys looked forward with great interest to the coming treat, and often wondered what kind of a thing it would be, for they had never been to anything of the sort in their lives. Miss Elton kept her promise, and came several times to see Willie, always giving Mrs. Blair something to buy food with, so that it would not be necessary for him to go out in the cold and wet to sell his matches.
It was a red-letter day for Bob when, once, Miss Elton happened to come along just where he was at work. He saw her coming some time before she recognized him, but when she stopped to speak to him he was so excited that he scarcely knew what he was doing.
"Why, Bob," she exclaimed, "this is the first time I have seen you at business. How beautifully clean you have made your crossing!"
Bob coloured with pleasure. It was not often that people praised him, and he hardly knew what to make of it.
"How is my little friend Willie to-day?" she asked.
"Please'm, 'e's gittin' better now 'e don't 'ave to come an' stay out 'ere with me," was the answer.
Bob could always find his tongue when any one asked him about Willie.
"I'm so glad," said Miss Elton. "I want him to come to the treat."
"Yes," said Bob, "'e ants to come."
"Do you always sweep this crossing?" she inquired.
"Yes'm," was the answer. "It's best jist to stay in one place. Folks git to know yer, yer see. I have my reg'lar ones as gives me a penny most days. They wouldn't do that if I shifted about."
"I see," said Miss Elton. "Well I shall always look out for this crossing now," and with a bright smile and a coin as a parting gift she went on her way. But her heart ached for the little sweeper as she thought of the small old-looking face above the ragged clothes, thinking too of the numbers more who were like him in the great city, and how little she could do for them.
The two weeks quickly passed away, and the long-looked-for day of the treat arrived. Miss Elton found time in the morning to come round to Mrs. Blair's to see if Willie was able to come.
"Bless, you, ma'am," said that good lady, "you couldn't keep him back if you tried. He's that set on going. I'll be there to bring him home safely."
"Well," said Miss Elton, "he looks much better than when I first saw him. You are better, are you not, Willie?" turning to the child.
"Yes, please'm," answered Willie, with sparkling eyes. "I'm comin' to the treat. Bob's comin' 'ome early to take me."
There was great excitement at Mrs. Blair's that afternoon. Bob arrived home in good time, and Mrs. Blair provided the boys with soap and water with which they rubbed their faces until they shone. Then she produced a needle and thread, and much to Bob's delight did what she could towards drawing his rags together. It was an almost hopeless task, and they really did not look much better when they were done; but Bob was as proud of the stitches which prevented the wind blowing through the holes on to his little bare legs as a young prince would have been of a new suit of clothes, and it was with beaming, happy faces that the two children set off hand-in-hand to take their share of the good things provided for them.
But when they entered the hall they almost thought they had come to the wrong place, for the room was completely changed. Two long tables went down the length of the room, covered with clean white cloths, and loaded with heaped-up plates of bread-and-butter and cake. Steaming urns of tea stood at each end, surrounded by cups and saucers. The walls had been prettily decorated with holly and evergreens, and the red berries glistened in the gaslight. The platform at the end of the room had been taken away, and in its place stood an enormous tree covered with toys and parcels. Several of the children were standing round it in groups, for the most part in silence, as though overawed with the unusual sight. Some of the bolder ones ventured nearer and proceeded to examine the articles hanging upon the tree.
Willie's eyes, however, were fixed upon one object in the middle of the room. A little girl, beautifully dressed in white, with a broad, blue sash, looking exactly like a fairy, was holding Miss Elton by the hand. Willie had caught sight of her directly he entered the room, and stood looking as though fascinated.
"Look, Bob," he whispered; "is she a angel?"
"Dunno," said Bob. "Should think she looks like one."
Just then Miss Elton turned her head and saw the two boys. Keeping hold of the little girl's hand, she came towards them.
["See, Gladys," she said; "this is my little boy Willie."]
"G'adys' 'ickle boy too," said the child, slipping her hand confidingly into the boy's.
Willie coloured to the roots of his hair; but was too overcome by the little lady's possession of him to speak.
Miss Elton 'smiled "that's right, Gladys. Now you take him and show him all the pretty things," and she left the children together while she went back to her helpers.
"Come 'long, boy," said Gladys. "See all ze pitty sings on ze tree," and, tugging at his hand, she pulled him down the long room, and very soon the little waif, and the daintily-dressed maiden were the best of friends, and chatting away as though they had known each other all their short lives.
"Now, children," said Mr. Elton, ringing a bell as he spoke to gain attention, "all who are hungry and want some tea must come and sit down at the tables."
For the next five minutes all was confusion as the children noisily took their places, Gladys and Willie bringing up the rear.
"Miss Elton, look!" exclaimed a young lady who had come to help attend the children. "Did you ever see such an extraordinary likeness?"
"Likeness between whom?" asked Miss Elton.
"Why, your little niece and her ragged knight," said the young lady. "Can't you see, now they are close together? Their eyes are quite alike, and they have the same curly hair."
"It is so indeed," said Miss Elton; "but it has never struck me before."
"What a sweet face that boy has!" said her companion. "I should love to dress him in velvet and lace."
There was no time for more to be said, for the children were hungry, and although Miss Elton had brought several friends to help her and her brother with their ragged visitors, they were kept exceedingly busy. Many of the little waifs had never had such a feast in their lives, and it was astonishing to see the way in which they drank the tea and devoured the cake.
After the children had eaten as much as they could, they were allowed to get down from the table, and while the tea was being cleared away they romped about in the room. Miss Elton taught them to play "Oranges and Lemons," "Nuts and May," and other games which are familiar to most children, but quite strange to little London arabs such as were gathered together in that room.
When they had tired themselves out with play they all sat down, and while they ate oranges Mr. Elton talked to them for a little while about the One whose birthday they were celebrating, and Miss Elton sang to them.
The greatest event of the evening was left until the last. By this time some of the parents had come in, among whom was Mrs. Blair, and they seemed to enjoy the fun quite as much as the children.
They looked on with great interest while a gentleman brought round a hat in which were a number of pieces of paper, each marked with a figure.
"Now, children," said Mr. Elton, "you must all take a paper out of the hat and see what the number is that is marked on it, and when I call out the number you must stand up and you will get something off the tree. Now, then; attention! Number fourteen!"
Instantly two boys stood up. "No, no," said Mr. Elton, "you haven't both number fourteen!"
"Please, sir, this chap's wrong," said a voice; "'e ain't got no fourteen."
It was soon discovered that the boy had mistaken number forty-one for fourteen, and many other similar mistakes occurred, owing to the ignorance of the children. But there were many willing helpers, and at last the business was settled. Each child received a toy and a warm article of clothing. For a few minutes the uproar was deafening, with the blowing of whistles, shaking of tambourines, beating of drums, etc., as each child proceeded to try his own particular toy.
Willie had been fortunate enough to obtain a box of soldiers and a pair of warm knitted cuffs, which were tried on and much admired by Gladys, while Bob was the happy possessor of a tin whistle and a thick woollen comforter.
"Wear it home," said Miss Elton, smiling at him; "you will find out how warm it is."
It was late when the children separated, tired and happy. It was an evening never to be forgotten by them, and years after, when they had grown up to be men and women, some of them hardened by sin, this Christmas treat at the mission school stood out in their memories as the one piece of happiness in their miserable lives.
"Arthur," said Miss Elton to her brother, as they sat by the fire that evening talking over the events of the day, "has it ever occurred to you that there is a striking likeness between that little Willie Brown and our Gladys?"
"No, dear," was the answer, "I cannot say that it has. I have often thought him very superior to the other children, and he is not in the least like his brother Bob."
"Well, Nora Graham called my attention to the fact this afternoon, and it has haunted me ever since. Do you think, Arthur, it could be by any chance? Little Bertram would have been just about his age now," wistfully.
"My dear Winnie," returned her brother, "I should not allow myself to raise any such hopes on that point if I were you. You have been disappointed so often."
"Still," she persisted, "there is just a chance, and we dare not leave a single stone unturned to find poor Marion's boy."
"No," he replied, "but we have so little to go upon. It is four years now since Marion died, and the only clue we could have at all is that tiny mark upon the shoulder."
"Well," she said, "if I go and see the child and find out what I can from him, will you go to Primrose Place and see if you can trace anything of his parents?"
"Certainly I will," was the answer. "You know, dear, I am as anxious to find the child as you are. It maddens one to think of the little chap being brought up in one of those filthy alleys. I don't wonder it killed his mother."
"No, indeed," said Miss Elton, her eyes filled with tears. "Poor Marion!"
Some years before our story opens Miss Elton's only sister had married an artist living in a pretty village in Surrey, and there about a year afterwards their little boy Bertram was born. His parents idolized him, and he was the pet and plaything of every one who had anything to do with him. When he was just about one year old, his mother, Mrs. Vincent, had in her service a housemaid who had a violent temper. It happened that one day Mrs. Vincent had occasion to reprove her for some fault, and the girl was heard to declare that she would "pay her out for it." Soon after Mr. and Mrs. Vincent went to spend a day with some friends living at a distance, leaving little Bertram in charge of his nurse, thinking her a woman they could trust. Great was their dismay, however, when they returned to find both Bertram and Ellen, the housemaid, missing. The nurse seemed to be almost beside herself with terror, and they could get very little information from her. She said that Ellen had offered to mind the baby while she went to dress. She missed them when she came down, but thinking that they were somewhere about the grounds, she took no notice but went on with some work in the nursery. When tea was ready she went out to look for them, but they were nowhere to be seen. Feeling thoroughly frightened, she called the cook, and together they searched the house and grounds, but no trace of Ellen or the baby could be found. Poor Mrs. Vincent was almost out of her mind with grief when she realized that her darling baby was lost. The father haunted the police stations and hospitals longing for news of the boy. But it was all in vain, little Bertram had completely disappeared. Mr. and Mrs. Vincent never saw their child again; a month or two afterwards the father was thrown from a trap and killed, and when Gladys was born soon after, the poor mother could not recover the shock and she followed her husband. On her death-bed she made her brother and sister promise that they would look after Gladys, and also do all in their power to find Bertram.
Faithfully these two kept their word. Aunt Winnie had been a good mother to little Gladys, and in the hope that they might some day come across the little boy, they had started their mission among the waifs of London. So far, however, it had been all in vain. Sometimes they fancied they had a clue, but it always led to nothing, and they had almost begun to think the task hopeless, when Miss Elton's attention was directed to Willie Brown.
Directly breakfast was over the next morning Mr. Elton and his sister set out on their errand of inquiry. In spite of her brother's counsel not to think too much about it, Miss Elton could not help feeling strangely hopeful, for something seemed to tell her that at last God had heard her prayers, and little Bertram would be restored to those who loved him. On arriving at Mrs. Blair's house she encountered Bob just marching off with his broom. "Why Bob," she exclaimed delightedly, "you will be late for business this morning. How is this?"
"Yes'm," he began awkwardly, blushing to the roots of his hair. It was the first time such a thing had occurred since he started his crossing, and he felt himself in disgrace.
"Well, ma'am, begging your pardon," broke in Mrs. Blair, "and who could blame him if he is? It isn't every day those two dear children go to a Christmas party; not a wink of sleep did they get this blessed night long. Little Willie there was so full of that pretty little lady that took so much notice of him—-'the little angel,' he calls her."
"I am very glad you were late this morning, Bob," said Miss Elton, "for I want to talk to you both. So, Willie," turning to the little fellow, "you like my girlie, do you? Would you like to see her again?"
"Yes, please'm," said Willie, his eyes sparkling.
"Well, then," was the answer, "Bob must bring you to my house, and you must play with her there. But, now," she went on, "I want you to tell me all you can about yourselves. Do you remember your mother, Bob?"
"Yes'm," replied Bob; "she used to drink awful."
"Has she been dead long?"
"Yes; she died when Willie wor a kid. I know, 'cos 'e was jist a-tryin' to walk by 'isself. 'E 'ad no one then to look arter 'im but me," he added.
"Well," replied Miss Elton, "you have looked after him very well. I am sure Willie has been very happy when he has been with you. He is a dear little fellow," drawing the child closer to her and gazing into his face. Yes, he certainty was the image of Gladys; she could see it plainly now. How strange that she had never noticed it before!
She sat talking to them some time longer, and then, slipping a shilling into Bob's hand, she asked him to stay and play with Willie to-day.
Once outside the door she turned eagerly.
"Mrs. Blair," she said, to that lady's astonishment, "do you think Willie is really Bob's brother?"
"Bless me, miss," was the answer, "I haven't never thought about it. He always calls him his brother."
"They are not much alike," said Miss Elton.
"No," replied Mrs. Blair; "but I don't know that that shows anything?
"Have you ever seen Willie undressed?" went on her questioner.
"Lor' bless you, yes!" she replied. "Why, only yesterday I gave him a good wash before he went to the tea-party." And she looked, at Miss Elton wonderingly.
"Did you notice anything about him—any particular marks about his body, I mean?"
"No," was the answer. "Stay, though, I think I did see a little red mark on his shoulder. But it was nothing much."
"Oh, thank you," said Miss Elton joyously, though her eyes were brimming over with tears. "No, I mustn't say anything yet; but, Mrs. Blair, will you bring the children up to my house this afternoon? This is my address," handing her a card. "You can get an omnibus near here that will take you all the way to West Kensington."
Having Mrs. Blair's promise that she would be there in good time, Miss Elton hastened home. Her brother had not yet returned, but she could settle to nothing till he came. She wandered about from the library to the drawing-room, then up to the nursery, where she caught Gladys up in her arms and danced with her about the room, while the little one screamed with delight.
At last the door-bell rang, and she rushed down to meet her brother in the hall.
"Well, dear," she cried, "what news?"
"My dear Winnie," replied her brother, "you are a perfect tornado. Let me get inside;"
"Be quick, then," was the answer, and she pulled him into the drawing-room.
Seating himself in a chair, he proceeded to give her an account of his morning's work. When he arrived at Primrose Place he could not find any trace of the man Brown. An old woman who lived in the same house said that he had left the place soon after the boys went away. She said she remembered the children quite well, but she did not think they were brothers, because she knew a young woman came there about five years ago, bringing a baby with her, which she left. Mrs. Brown always gave out that it was her own, but she didn't ever remember her having a baby, and she didn't think it was her own. Brown himself was doing two years in gaol at the time Mrs. Brown died soon after he came out. She said that the children led a dreadful life with the man, and she was glad when they went away. "So you see, Winnie," he concluded, "that is all I could find out, and it is not enough to go upon."
"Ah, well," she replied, shaking her head, "Willie is coming here this afternoon, and then you will see. I am certain 'we have found Bertram."
And so sure was she, that her next business was to order the carriage and set off to the shop to buy a suit for Willie. Everything that the boy could possibly, want in the shape of underclothes was bought, and then the little velvet suit that Nora Graham had suggested, with the lace collar, was added.
Precisely at three o'clock Mrs. Blair appeared with the children. Little Gladys was delighted to see Willie, and would sit next to him at the table while they had some tea. Mr. Elton came in and looked at them, and he, too, was struck with the likeness between the children.
After tea Miss Elton took Willie to the nursery saying she had some clothes for him and she wanted to see them on.
"Here, nurse," she said to the servant who was waiting; "this is the little boy I told you about."
"Bless his dear heart!" said the woman, catching him in her arms. "I should have known Master Bertie anywhere."
Miss Elton was very glad now that Bertram's old nurse had stayed on to look after Gladys, for now that she recognized the child she felt all her doubts laid to rest for ever, and she stood looking on while nurse took off the ragged clothes exposed to view the tiny mark on the little bare shoulder.
"There, ma'am," she exclaimed, "that is proof enough. Oh, if only my dear mistress had lived to see this day!"
"We will believe she does see it," returned Miss Elton, "and I am sure she is glad with us."
The dressing was quickly finished, and with his shining face and nicely-combed hair he looked, as Miss Elton said, "like a little prince."
Taking his hand, she led him down to the dining-room and exhibited him to the others. Mrs. Blair gazed at him open-mouthed. Gladys ran to him, and, throwing her arms round his neck, kissed him delightedly, saying, "G'adys 'ove 'oo, 'ickle boy!"
Bob alone made no sign. He did not know what to make of this new Willie. Miss Elton called him to her. "Bob," she said, "many years ago my little nephew was stolen away from his home. I have searched for him everywhere, but could not find him; but to-day I have found out that you have been taking care of him for me all this time. Are you glad that Willie is my little boy?"
"Will 'e be always dressed like that?" asked Bob.
"Yes," was the answer.
"Won't 'e be 'ungry and cold any more?"
"No, my boy."
"Then I'm glad—but oh, Willie," and he broke down sobbing.
"Why, what is the matter?" asked Miss Elton.
"Oh!" sobbed the boy, "I shan't never see 'im no more!"
"Why, Bob," said Miss Elton, "what are you saying? Of course you will see Willie. Do you think I would separate you after you have been so good to him? Listen to me. Would you like to come and live here with Willie? Then you could go to school, and still look after him as you always have done."
And so it was settled. Gladys was delighted with her new brother, and she ruled him like a little queen, while he became her willing slave and gave in to her in everything. They went down into the country to live, where Bertram soon grew rosy and strong, while Mrs. Blair was given a pretty little lodge to live in at the gate, which she said reminded, her of her old home when she was a girl.
Bob was sent to a good school, where he himself so eager and quick to learn that Mr. Elton sent him on to college; and when he became a clergyman he chose a parish in the East End of London, where he devoted his life to working among boys who were as poor as he himself once was.
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KIBBIE & CO. By JENNIE CHAPPELL. BRAVE BERTIE. By EDITH C. KENYON. THE LITTLE SLAVE GIRL. By EILEEN DOUGLAS. MARJORY; or, What would Jesus Do? By LAURA A. BARTER-SNOW. MARJORIE'S ENEMY: A Story of the Civil War of 1644. By Mrs. ADAMS. LADY BETTY'S TWINS. By B. M. WATERWORTE. A VENTURESOME VOYAGE. By F. SCARLETT POTTER. OUT OF THE STRAIGHT; or, The Boy who Failed and the Boy who Succeeded. By NOEL HOPE. BOB AND BOB'S BABY. By MARY B. LESTER. THE LITTLE CAPTAIN: A Temperance Tale. By LINDE PALMER. ROBIN'S GOLDEN DEED. By RUBY LYNN. THE RUNAWAY TWINS; or, The Terrible Guardian. By IRENE CLIFTON. DOROTHY'S TRUST. By ADELA FRANCES MOUNT. GRANNIE'S TREASURES; and flow they Helped Her. By L. B. TIDDEMAN. HIS MAJESTY'S BEGGARS. By MARY B. ROPES. FAITHFUL FRIENDS. By C. A. MERCER. "ONLY ROY." By F. M. WATERWORTH and JENNIE CHAPPELL. AUNT ARMSTRONG'S MONEY. By JENNIE CHAPPELL, Author of "Carol's Gift," etc. JOHN BLESSINGTON'S ENEMY: A Story of Life in South Africa. By E. HARCOURT BURRAGE, Author of "The Fatal Nugget," etc. WON FROM THE SEA. By E. C. PHILLIPS (Mrs. H. B. Looker), Author of "Birdie and Her Dog." BIRDIES' BENEFITS; or, A Little Child Shall Lead Them. By ETHEL RUTH BODDY. CAROL'S GIFT; or, "What Time I am Afraid I will Trust In Thee." By JENNIE CRAPPELL. CRIPPLE GEORGE; or, God has a Plan for every Man. By JOHN W. KNEESHAW. CARED FOR; or, The Orphan Wanderers. By Mrs. C. B. BOWAN. ROB AND I. By CARRIE MERCER. PHIL'S FROLIC. By F. SCARLETT POTTER. HOW A FARTHING MADE A FORTUNE; or, Honesty is the Best Policy. By Mrs. C. E. BOWEN. BABES IN THE BASKET; or Daph and Her Charge. HOW PAUL'S PENNY BECAME A POUND. By Mrs. BOWEN, Author of "Dick and his Donkey." HOW PETER'S POUND BECAME A PENNY. By the same Author. PAUL, a Little Mediator. By MAUDE M. BUTLER. A FLIGHT WITH THE SWALLOWS. By EMMA MARSHALL. BEL'S BABY. By MARY E. ROPES. THE FIVE COUSINS. By EMMA LESLIE. FOR LUCY'S SAKE. By ANNIE S. SWAN. GIDDIE GARLAND; or, The Three Mirrors. By JENNIE CHAPPELL. GRANDMOTHER'S CHILD. By ANNIE S. SWAN. JOHN ORIEL'S START IN LIFE. By MARY HOWITT. LOVE'S GOLDEN KEY. By MARY B. LESTER. THE MAN OF THE FAMILY. By JENNIE CHAPPELL.
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"ROAST POTATOES!" By Rev. S. N. SEDGWICK, M.A. HIS CAPTAIN. By CONSTANCIA SERGEANT. "IN A MINUTE!" By KEITH MARLOW. UNCLE JO'S OLD COAT. By E. H. STOOKE. THE COST OF A PROMISE. By M. I. HURRELL. FARTHING DIPS. By J. S. WOODHOUSE. ROY CARPENTER'S LESSON. By KEITH MARLOW. GERALD'S GUARDIAN. By CHARLES HERBERT. WHERE A QUEEN ONCE DWELT. By H. M. BIRD. WILFUL JACK. By M. I. HURRELL. WILLIE THE WAIF. By MINIE HERBERT. A SUNDAY TRIP, and What Came of It. By E. J. ROMANES. LITTLE TIM AND HIS PICTURE. By BEATRICE WAY. MIDGE. By L. E. TIDDEMAN, Author of "Marigold's Fancies," etc. THE CONJURER'S WAND. By HENRIETTA S. STREATFEILD, Author of "Joyful Service," etc. BENJAMIN'S NEW BOY. ENEMIES: A Tale for Little Lads and Lasses. CHERRY TREE PLACE. A TALE OF FOUR FOXES. By EVA C. ROGERS. A LITTLE TOWN MOUSE. By ELEANORA H. STOOKE, Author of "Polly's Father," etc. THE LITTLE GOVERNESS. By IRENE CLIFTON. LEFT IN CHARGE, and other Stories. A THREEFOLD PROMISE. TWO LITTLE GIRLS AND WHAT THEY DID. AND SIXTEEN OTHERS UNIFORM IN STYLE AND PRICE.
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A CANDLE LIGHTED BY THE LORD. By Mrs. Ross. GRANDMOTHER'S CHILD. By ANNIE S. SWAN. THE BABES IN THE BASKET; or Daph and her Charge. JENNY'S GERANIUM; or the Prize Flower of a London Court. THE LITTLE PRINCESS OF TOWER HILL. By L. T. MEADE. THE GOLD THREAD. By NORMAN MACLEOD, D.D. THROUGH SORROW AND JOY. By M. A. H. THE LITTLE WOODMAN AND HIS DOG CAESAR. By Mrs. SHERWOOD. CRIPPLE GEORGE. By J. W. KNEESHAW. ROB AND I. By C. A. MERCER. DICK AND HIS DONKEY. By Mrs. BOWEN. THE LIGHT OF THE GOSPEL.
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BROUGHT TO JESUS: a Bible Picture Book for Little Readers. Containing Twelve large New Testament Scenes, printed in colours, with appropriate letterpress by Mrs. G. B. MORTON, Author of "Story of Jesus." Size I3 1/2. by I0 in. Handsome coloured boards with cloth back. 2s. 6d.
LIGHT FOR LITTLE FOOTSTEPS; or, Bible Stories Illustrated. By the Author of "Sunshine for Showery Days," etc. With beautiful coloured Cover and Frontispiece. Full of Pictures. 2s. 6d.
HAPPY AND GAY: Pictures and Stories for Every Day. By D. J. D., With 8 coloured and III other Illustrations. Size 9 by 7 inches. Handsome coloured cover, paper boards, and cloth back. Is. 6d.
ANECDOTES OF ANIMALS AND BIRDS. By UNCLE JOHN. With 57 full-page and other Illustrations by Harrison Weir, etc. Fcap.4to. 128 pages. Handsomely bound in paper boards, with Animal design in I0 colours, varnished. Is. 6d.
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OFF TO TOYLAND! By UNCLE JACK. GOING A-SAILING! By J. D. FOLLOW THE FLAG. By J. D. DOLLIE DIMPLE. By J. D. OLD MOTHER BUNNIE! By J. D. OFF WE GO! By R.V. AFTER THE BALL. Pictures and Stories for One and All. LITTLE SNOWDROP'S BIBLE PICTURE BOOK. SWEET STORIES RETOLD: A Bible Picture Book for Young Folks.
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