To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница

To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница

her hardest trial.

"I think he was a fool to burn up," said Frank, bound not to give in.

"I don't. It's a splendid piece, and every one likes to speak it, and it

was true, and it wouldn't be in all the books if he was a fool.

Grown people know what is good," declared Jill, who liked heroic

actions, and was always hoping for a chance to distinguish herself

in that way.

"You admire 'The Charge of the Light Brigade,' and glow all over

as you thunder it out. Yet they went gallantly to their death rather

than disobey orders To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница. A mistake, perhaps, but it makes us thrill to

hear of it; and the same spirit keeps my Jack true as steel when

once his word is passed, or he thinks it is his duty. Don't be

laughed out of it, my son, for faithfulness in little things fits one

for heroism when the great trials come. One's conscience can

hardly be too tender when honor and honesty are concerned."

"You are right, mother, and I am wrong. I beg your pardon, Jack,

and you sha'n't get ahead of me next time."

Frank made his mother a little bow, gave his brother To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница a shake of the

hand, and nodded to Jill, as if anxious to show that he was not too

proud to own up when he made a mistake.

"Please tell on, Jack. This is very nice, but I do want to know all

about the other," said Jill, after a short pause.

"Let me see. Oh, I saw Bob at church, and he looked rather blue;

so, after Sunday School, I asked what the matter was. He said Jerry

bothered him for some money he lent him at different times when

they were loafing round together, before we took him up To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница. He

wouldn't get any wages for some time. The Captain keeps him

short on purpose, I guess, and won't let him come down town

except on Sundays. He didn't want any one to know about it, for

fear he'd lose his place. So I promised I wouldn't tell. Then I was

afraid Jerry would go and make a fuss, and Bob would run off, or

do something desperate, being worried, and I said I'd pay it for

him, if I could. So he went home pretty jolly, and I scratched

'round for the money. Got it, too, and wasn't I glad?"

Jack To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница paused to rub his hands, and Frank said, with more than usual

respect,

"Couldn't you get hold of Jerry in any other place, and out of

school time? That did the mischief, thanks to Joe. I thrashed him,

Jill--did I mention it?"

"I couldn't get all my money till Friday morning, and I knew Jerry

was off at night. I looked for him before school, and at noon, but

couldn't find him, so afternoon recess was my last chance. I was

bound to do it and I didn't mean to break the rule, but Jerry was

just going into the To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница shop, so I pelted after him, and as it was private

business we went to the billiard-room. I declare I never was so

relieved as when I handed over that money, and made him say it

was all right, and he wouldn't go near Bob. He's off, so my mind is

easy, and Bob will be so grateful I can keep him steady, perhaps.

That will be worth two seventy-five, I think," said Jack heartily.

"You should have come to me," began Frank.

"And got laughed at--no, thank you," interrupted Jack, recollecting

several philanthropic little enterprises which were To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница nipped in the

bud for want of co-operation.

"To me, then," said his mother. "It would have saved so much

trouble."

"I thought of it, but Bob didn't want the big fellows to know for

fear they'd be down on him, so I thought he might not like me to

tell grown people. I don't mind the fuss now, and Bob is as kind as

he can be. Wanted to give me his big knife, but I wouldn't take it.

I'd rather have this," and Jack put the letter in his pocket with a

slap outside, as if To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница it warmed the cockles of his heart to have it

there.

"Well, it seems rather like a tempest in a teapot, now it is all over,

but I do admire your pluck, little boy, in holding out so well when

every one was scolding at you, and you in the right all the time,"

said Frank, glad to praise, now that he honestly could, after his



wholesale condemnation.

"That is what pulled me through, I suppose. I used to think if I _had_

done anything wrong, that I couldn't stand the snubbing a day. I

should have told right off, and had To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница it over. Now, I guess I'll have a

good report if you do tell Mr. Acton," said Jack, looking at his

mother so wistfully, that she resolved to slip away that very

evening, and make sure that the thing was done.

"That will make you happier than anything else, won't it?" asked

Jill, eager to have him rewarded after his trials.

"There's one thing I like better, though I'd be very sorry to lose my

report. It's the fun of telling Ed I tried to do as he wanted us to, and

seeing how pleased he'll be," added Jack, rather bashfully To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница, for the

boys laughed at him sometimes for his love of this friend.

"I know he won't be any happier about it than someone else, who

stood by you all through, and set her bright wits to work till the

trouble was all cleared away," said Mrs. Minot, looking at Jill's

contented face, as she lay smiling on them all.

Jack understood, and, hopping across the room, gave both the thin

hands a hearty shake; then, not finding any words quite cordial

enough in which to thank this faithful little sister, he stooped down

and kissed her gratefully.

Chapter XV

Saint Lucy

Saturday was To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница a busy and a happy time to Jack, for in the morning

Mr. Acton came to see him, having heard the story overnight, and

promised to keep Bob's secret while giving Jack an acquittal as

public as the reprimand had been. Then he asked for the report

which Jack had bravely received the day before and put away

without showing to anybody.

"There is one mistake here which we must rectify," said Mr.

Acton, as he crossed out the low figures under the word

"Behavior," and put the much-desired 100 there.

"But I did break the rule, sir," said Jack, though his face glowed

with To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница pleasure, for Mamma was looking on.

"I overlook that as I should your breaking into my house if you saw

it was on fire. You ran to save a friend, and I wish I could tell

those fellows why you were there. It would do them good. I am not

going to praise you, John, but I did believe you in spite of

appearances, and I am glad to have for a pupil a boy who loves his

neighbor better than himself."

Then, having shaken hands heartily, Mr. Acton went away, and

Jack flew off to have rejoicings with Jill, who sat up on her To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница sofa,

without knowing it, so eager was she to hear all about the call.

In the afternoon Jack drove his mother to the Captain's, confiding

to her on the way what a hard time he had when he went before,

and how nothing but the thought of cheering Bob kept him up

when he slipped and hurt his knee, and his boot sprung a leak, and

the wind came up very cold, and the hill seemed an endless

mountain of mud and snow.

Mrs. Minot had such a gentle way of putting things that she would

have won over a much harder man than the strict To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница old Captain, who

heard the story with interest, and was much pleased with the boys'

efforts to keep Bob straight. That young person dodged away into

the barn with Jack, and only appeared at the last minute to shove a

bag of chestnuts into the chaise. But he got a few kind words that

did him good, from Mrs. Minot and the Captain, and from that day

felt himself under bonds to behave well if he would keep their

confidence.

"I shall give Jill the nuts; and I wish I had something she wanted

very, very much, for I do think she ought to be To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница rewarded for

getting me out of the mess," said Jack, as they drove happily

home again.

"I hope to have something in a day or two that _will_ delight her very

much. I will say no more now, but keep my little secret and let it

be a surprise to all by and by," answered his mother, looking as if

she had not much doubt about the matter.

"That will be jolly. You are welcome to your secret, Mamma. I've

had enough of them for one while;" and Jack shrugged his broad

shoulders as if a burden had been taken off.

In the evening Ed came To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница, and Jack was quite satisfied when he saw

how pleased his friend was at what he had done.

"I never meant you should take so much trouble, only be kind to

Bob," said Ed, who did not know how strong his influence was,

nor what a sweet example of quiet well-doing his own life was to

all his mates.

"I wished to be really useful; not just to talk about it and do

nothing. That isn't your way, and I want to be like you," answered

Jack, with such affectionate sincerity that Ed could not help

believing him, though he modestly To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница declined the compliment by

saying, as he began to play softly, "Better than I am, I hope. I don't

amount to much."

"Yes, you do! and if any one says you don't I'll shake him. I can't

tell what it is, only you always look so happy and contented--sort

of sweet and shiny," said Jack, as he stroked the smooth brown

head, rather at a loss to describe the unusually fresh and sunny

expression of Ed's face, which was always cheerful, yet had a

certain thoughtfulness that made it very attractive to both young

and old.

"Soap makes him shiny; I never saw To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница such a fellow to wash and

brush," put in Frank, as he came up with one of the pieces of music

he and Ed were fond of practising together.

"I don't mean that!" said Jack indignantly. "I wash and brush till

you call me a dandy, but I don't have the same look--it seems to

come from the inside, somehow, as if he was always jolly and

clean and good in his mind, you know."

"Born so," said Frank, rumbling away in the bass with a pair of

hands that would have been the better for some of the above To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница-

mentioned soap, for he did not love to do much in the washing and

brushing line.

"I suppose that's it. Well, I like it, and I shall keep on trying, for

being loved by every one is about the nicest thing in the world. Isn't

it, Ed?" asked Jack, with a gentle tweak of the ear as he put a

question which he knew would get no answer, for Ed was so

modest he could not see wherein he differed from other boys, nor

believe that the sunshine he saw in other faces was only the

reflection from his own.

Sunday evening Mrs. Minot sat To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница by the fire, planning how she

should tell some good news she had been saving up all day. Mrs.

Pecq knew it, and seemed so delighted that she went about smiling

as if she did not know what trouble meant, and could not do

enough for the family. She was downstairs now, seeing that the

clothes were properly prepared for the wash, so there was no one

in the Bird Room but Mamma and the children. Frank was reading

up all he could find about some Biblical hero mentioned in the

day's sermon; Jill lay where she had lain for nearly four long

months, and though her To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница face was pale and thin with the confinement,

there was an expression on it now sweeter even than health. Jack

sat on the rug beside her, looking at a white carnation through

the magnifying glass, while she was enjoying the perfume of a

red one as she talked to him.

"If you look at the white petals you'll see that they sparkle like

marble, and go winding a long way down to the middle of the

flower where it grows sort of rosy; and in among the small, curly

leaves, like fringed curtains, you can see the little green fairy

sitting all To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница alone. Your mother showed me that, and I think it is very

pretty. I call it a 'fairy,' but it is really where the seeds are hidden

and the sweet smell comes from."

Jill spoke softly lest she should disturb the others, and, as she

turned to push up her pillow, she saw Mrs. Minot looking at her

with a smile she did not understand.

"Did you speak, 'm?" she asked, smiling back again, without in the

least knowing why.

"No, dear. I was listening and thinking what a pretty little story one

could make out of your fairy living alone down there, and only

known by her perfume To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница."

"Tell it, Mamma. It is time for our story, and that would be a nice

one, I guess," said Jack, who was as fond of stories as when he sat

in his mother's lap and chuckled over the hero of the beanstalk.

"We don't have fairy tales on Sunday, you know," began Jill

regretfully.

"Call it a parable, and have a moral to it, then it will be all right,"

put in Frank, as he shut his big book, having found what he

wanted.

"I like stories about saints, and the good and wonderful things they

did," said Jill, who To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница enjoyed the wise and interesting bits Mrs.

Minot often found for her in grown-up books, for Jill had

thoughtful times, and asked questions which showed that she was

growing fast in mind if not in body.

"This is a true story; but I will disguise it a little, and call it 'The

Miracle of Saint Lucy,'" began Mrs. Minot, seeing a way to tell her

good news and amuse the children likewise.

Frank retired to the easy-chair, that he might sleep if the tale

should prove too childish for him. Jill settled herself among her

cushions, and Jack lay flat upon the rug, with his To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница feet up, so that he

could admire his red slippers and rest his knee, which ached.

"Once upon a time there was a queen who had two princes."

"Wasn't there a princess?" asked Jack, interested at once.

"No; and it was a great sorrow to the queen that she had no little

daughter, for the sons were growing up, and she was often very

lonely.

"Like Snowdrop's mother," whispered Jill.

"Now, don't keep interrupting, children, or we never shall get on,"

said Frank, more anxious to hear about the boys that were than the

girl that was not.

"One To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница day, when the princes were out--ahem! we'll say

hunting--they found a little damsel lying on the snow, half dead

with cold, they thought. She was the child of a poor woman who

lived in the forest--a wild little thing, always dancing and singing

about; as hard to catch as a squirrel, and so fearless she would

climb the highest trees, leap broad brooks, or jump off the steep

rocks to show her courage. The boys carried her home to the

palace, and the queen was glad to have her. She had fallen and hurt

herself, so she lay in bed week To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница after week, with her mother to take

care of her--"

"That's you," whispered Jack, throwing the white carnation at Jill,

and she threw back the red one, with her finger on her lips, for the

tale was very interesting now.

"She did not suffer much after a time, but she scolded and cried,

and could not be resigned, because she was a prisoner. The queen

tried to help her, but she could not do much; the princes were kind,

but they had their books and plays, and were away a good deal.

Some friends she had came often to see her To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница, but still she beat her

wings against the bars, like a wild bird in a cage, and soon her

spirits were all gone, and it was sad to see her."

"Where was your Saint Lucy? I thought it was about her," asked

Jack, who did not like to have Jill's past troubles dwelt upon,

since his were not.

"She is coming. Saints are not born--they are made after many

trials and tribulations," answered his mother, looking at the fire as

if it helped her to spin her little story. "Well, the poor child used to

sing sometimes to while away the long hours--sad songs mostly To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница,

and one among them which the queen taught her was 'Sweet

Patience, Come.'

"This she used to sing a great deal after a while, never dreaming

that Patience was an angel who could hear and obey. But it was so;

and one night, when the girl had lulled herself to sleep with that

song, the angel came. Nobody saw the lovely spirit with tender

eyes, and a voice that was like balm. No one heard the rustle of

wings as she hovered over the little bed and touched the lips, the

eyes, the hands of the sleeper, and then flew away, leaving To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница three

gifts behind. The girl did not know why, but after that night the

songs grew gayer, there seemed to be more sunshine everywhere

her eyes looked, and her hands were never tired of helping others

in various pretty, useful, or pleasant ways. Slowly the wild bird

ceased to beat against the bars, but sat in its cage and made music

for all in the palace, till the queen could not do without it, the poor

mother cheered up, and the princes called the girl their

nightingale."

"Was that the miracle?" asked Jack, forgetting all about his

slippers, as he watched Jill's eyes brighten and the color come To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница up

in her white cheeks.

"That was the miracle, and Patience can work far greater ones if

you will let her."

"And the girl's name was Lucy?"

"Yes; they did not call her a saint then, but she was trying to be as

cheerful as a certain good woman she had heard of, and so the

queen had that name for her, though she did not let her know it for

a long time."

"That's not bad for a Sunday story, but there might have been more

about the princes, seems to me," was Frank's criticism, as Jill lay

very still, trying to hide To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница her face behind the carnation, for she had

no words to tell how touched and pleased she was to find that her

little efforts to be good had been seen, remembered, and now

rewarded in this way.

"There is more."

"Then the story isn't done?" cried Jack.

"Oh dear, no; the most interesting things are to come, if you can

wait for them."

"Yes, I see, this is the moral part. Now keep still, and let us have

the rest," commanded Frank, while the others composed themselves

for the sequel, suspecting that it was rather nice, because Mamma's

sober face changed, and her eyes laughed To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница as they looked at the fire.

"The elder prince was very fond of driving dragons, for the people

of that country used these fiery monsters as horses."

"And got run away with, didn't he?" laughed Jack, adding, with

great interest, "What did the other fellow do?"

"He went about fighting other people's battles, helping the poor,

and trying to do good. But he lacked judgment, so he often got into

trouble, and was in such a hurry that he did not always stop to find

out the wisest way. As when he gave away his best coat to a beggar

boy To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница, instead of the old one which he intended to give."

"I say, that isn't fair, mother! Neither of them was new, and the boy

needed the best more than I did, and I wore the old one all winter,

didn't I?" asked Jack, who had rather exulted over Frank, and was

now taken down himself.

"Yes, you did, my dear; and it was not an easy thing for my

dandiprat to do. Now listen, and I'll tell you how they both learned

to be wiser. The elder prince soon found that the big dragons were

too much for him, and set about To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница training his own little one, who

now and then ran away with him. Its name was Will, a good servant,

but a bad master; so he learned to control it, and in time this

gave him great power over himself, and fitted him to be a king

over others."

"Thank you, mother; I'll remember my part of the moral. Now give

Jack his," said Frank, who liked the dragon episode, as he had been

wrestling with his own of late, and found it hard to manage.

"He had a fine example before him in a friend, and he followed it

more reasonably To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница till he grew able to use wisely one of the best and

noblest gifts of God--benevolence."

"Now tell about the girl. Was there more to that part of the story?"

asked Jack, well pleased with his moral, as it took Ed in likewise.

"That is the best of all, but it seems as if I never should get to it.

After Patience made Lucy sweet and cheerful, she began to have a

curious power over those about her, and to work little miracles

herself, though she did not know it. The queen learned to love her

so dearly she could not To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница let her go; she cheered up all her friends

when they came with their small troubles; the princes found bright

eyes, willing hands, and a kind heart always at their service, and

felt, without quite knowing why, that it was good for them to have

a gentle little creature to care for; so they softened their rough

manners, loud voices, and careless ways, for her sake, and when it

was proposed to take her away to her own home they could not

give her up, but said she must stay longer, didn't they?"

"I'd like to see them saying anything else," said Frank, while Jack

sat up to To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница demand fiercely,--

"Who talks about taking Jill away?"

"Lucy's mother thought she ought to go, and said so, but the queen

told her how much good it did them all to have her there, and

begged the dear woman to let her little cottage and come and be

housekeeper in the palace, for the queen was getting lazy, and

liked to sit and read, and talk and sew with Lucy, better than to

look after things."

"And she said she would?" cried Jill, clasping her hands in her

anxiety, for she had learned to love her cage now.

"Yes." Mrs. Minot had no To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница time to say more, for one of the red

slippers flew up in the air, and Jack had to clap both hands over his

mouth to suppress the "hurrah!" that nearly escaped. Frank said,

"That's good!" and nodded with his most cordial smile at Jill who

pulled herself up with cheeks now as rosy as the red carnation, and

a little catch in her breath as she said to herself,--

"It's too lovely to be true."

"That's a first-rate end to a very good story," began Jack, with

grave decision, as he put on his slipper and sat To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница up to pat Jill's hand,

wishing it was not quite so like a little claw.

"That's not the end;" and Mamma's eyes laughed more than ever as

three astonished faces turned to her, and three voices cried out,--

"Still more?"

"The very best of all. You must know that, while Lucy was busy

for others, she was not forgotten, and when she was expecting to

lie on her bed through the summer, plans were being made for all

sorts of pleasant changes. First of all, she was to have a nice little

brace to support the back which was growing better every day;

then To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница, as the warm weather came on, she was to go out, or lie on the

piazza; and by and by, when school was done, she was to go with

the queen and the princes for a month or two down to the sea-side,

where fresh air and salt water were to build her up in the most

delightful way. There, now! isn't that the best ending of all?" and

Mamma paused to read her answer in the bright faces of two of the

listeners, for Jill hid hers in the pillow, and lay quite still, as if it

was too much for To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница her.

"That will be regularly splendid! I'll row you all about--boating is

so much easier than riding, and I like it on salt water," said

Frank, going to sit on the arm of the sofa, quite excited by the

charms of the new plan.

"And I'll teach you to swim, and roll you over the beach, and get

sea-weed and shells, and no end of nice things, and we'll all come

home as strong as lions," added Jack, scrambling up as if about to

set off at once.

"The doctor says you have been doing finely of late, and the To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница brace

will come to-morrow, and the first really mild day you are to have

a breath of fresh air. Won't that be good?" asked Mrs. Minot,

hoping her story had not been too interesting.

"Is she crying?" said Jack, much concerned as he patted the pillow

in his most soothing way, while Frank lifted one curl after another

to see what was hidden underneath.

Not tears, for two eyes sparkled behind the fingers, then the hands

came down like clouds from before the sun, and Jill's face shone

out so bright and happy it did one's heart good to see it To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница.

"I'm not crying," she said with a laugh which was fuller of blithe

music than any song she sung. "But it was so splendid, it sort of

took my breath away for a minute. I thought I wasn't any better,

and never should be, and I made up my mind I wouldn't ask, it

would be so hard for any one to tell me so. Now I see why the

doctor made me stand up, and told me to get my baskets ready to

go a-Maying. I thought he was in fun; did he really mean I could

go?" asked Jill, expecting To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница too much, for a word of encouragement

made her as hopeful as she had been despondent before.

"No, dear, not so soon as that. It will be months, probably, before

you can walk and run, as you used to; but they will soon pass. You

needn't mind about May-day; it is always too cold for flowers, and

you will find more here among your own plants, than on the hills,

to fill your baskets," answered Mrs. Minot, hastening to suggest

something pleasant to beguile the time of probation.

"I can wait. Months are not years, and if I'm truly getting To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, 12 страница well,

everything will seem beautiful and easy to me," said Jill, laying

herself down again, with the patient look she had learned to wear,

and gathering up the scattered carnations to enjoy their spicy

breath, as if the fairies hidden there had taught her some of their

sweet secrets.

"Dear little girl, it has been a long, hard trial for you, but it is

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