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One morning Susie thought she would walk a little
“Well, then, you may come to me to-morrow and I'll one or two days a week that she was wanted, and the give you something to do.”
rest of her time passed very slowly if Elfie did not come Susie was delighted, and Elfie looked pleased. “You'll be sure to get on now," she said complacently.
“Do you clean all these steps ?” asked Susie, looking further, and venture to inquire in another direction if a down the neat quiet street.
girl was wanted to do housework. She had heard that Elfie laughed. “I don't clean steps now, I tell you,” girls sometimes could get a place to go to every morning, she said, rather sharply.
and have part of their meals each day. Now, if sho “Why not ?" asked Susie ; “ do you get so many could do this it would be so much pleasanter, and she baskets to mind now ?" she asked.
would not mind how hard she had to work ; and she "I don't mind baskets either,” said Elfie fiercely. made up her mind to inquire for such a place as this “I'm just street rubbish—just what people said I was before she left home. long ago, and I don't care a bit. No, I don't care ; and I Which way to turn she did not know, and she stood won't care,” she added, " though you do talk about that at the top of Fisher's Lane looking up and down the road school, and try to coax me to go with you.”
debating this po until at length she lifted her heart Susie looked at her angry face in silent surprise. in silent prayer to God to guide her aright. Then she What could have provoked this outbreak she could not walked cheerfully on down the road for some distance, tell, for she had not ventured to mention the Ragged until she came to some quiet side-streets, and at the School to her for some weeks past, although she had corner of one of these she went into a grocer's shop, and not given up all hope of persuading her to go with her. asked if they knew any one who wanted a girl. "Elfie, what's the matter-what do you mean ?" she The man asked her how old she was, and what work asked.
she could do ; and then told her his wife wanted some Elfie looked somewhat subdued. “Why, you're not one to help her with the work in the morning, and to bother me about what I do to get the money,” she asked her to step into the back-parlour and speak to said, rather more quietly. “I cleaned steps as long as I her. Susie's heart beat high with hope as she went into could, but I never had anybody to teach me to do the room, while the grocer called his wife. Surely God things like you had; and then the people in the market had directed her steps, that she should hear of what she called me a thief, and I couldn't get the baskets to wanted so soon! mind.”
The grocer's wife asked Susie a good many questions, "Never mind, Elfie; I know you ain't a thief, and I but seemed to be satisfied with her answers. She could love you,” said Susie, in a gentle, soothing voice. not, however, quite decide about taking her, she said ; she
But Elfie shrunk away from the proffered caress. must talk to her husband first, she did not know what " I'm bad, I tell you, and don't want you to love me.” he would say about taking her without a character, and
"Oh, but I will love you, even if you are bad,” said from such a bad place as Fisher's Lane, too, and so she Susie with a smile.
must come again the next morning. The altercation ended, as usual, in both girls pro- Susie promised to do so, hoping the answer would be mising they would never leave the other; but a feel- favourable, for she thought she should be very comforting of uneasiness was left in Susie's mind, and she able working under such a kind mistress; and then the could not get rid of the wish to know more about the wages offered-eighteen-pence a week and her breakfast way in which Elfie spent her time now. She loved her and dinner-seemed to promise almost riches. Her companion very dearly, in spite of her strange behaviour heart was light although it trembled with anxious exsometimes, and she wished Elfie would tell her how she pectation as she went through the shop again. got the money she brought home. It was often silver Just as she reached the street she noticed there was now, as well as pence; but the possession of it never a little commotion lower down ; a group of boys and seemed to give her any pleasure, and she was sure to be girls, and a policeman half dragging, half carrying somefierce and angry if she asked where it came from, and body along. Susie's heart almost stood still as she would refuse to eat anything that was bought with it. caught sight of the little ragged culprit, and she could This was very puzzling to Susie, and the more she only totter forward a few steps past the grocer, who had thought about it the more unhappy did she become ; stepped out on to the pavement, when she became sure and yet she was afraid to tell Elfie of her unhappiness, it was Elfie in the policeman's hands. for fear she should put her oft-repeated threat into “O Elfie, Elfie! what is it ; wbat is the matter ?" execution, and never come home any more.
said Susie, darting forward. She was earning a little money still herself, but she At the sound of her voice Elfie ceased her struggles. could not depend upon earning a regular amount as “Go away, Susie,” she muttered hoarsely, staring at her when she did the sewing; for people did not want their wildly. steps cleaned every day. She managed to give satisfac- “No, no, I can't go away,” said Susie, trying to catch tion in this new work, and the first to employ her hold of her frock. “Tell me what it is, Elfie." recommended her to several neighbours ; but it was only “No need to ask what it is,” laughed two or three
boys; "she's a regular little thief, she is; but she's “Yes; everything we say or do," answered Susie. caught at last, and serve her right.”
“He knows how many times you stole things, although Elfie looked defiant, and renewed her kicking and you may forget." struggling, but Susie burst-into tears. “Oh, don't take “Well, I don't care,” said Elfie defiantly. “He don't her away,” she sobbed, appealing to the policeman ; love me." “oh, please let her come home with me, and she'll never “O Elfie, he does; and it makes him sorry, and do it any more.”
angry too, when we do anything that is wrong;" and “Home with you,” said the man roughly. “Then | Susie burst into tears. you're one of the Fisher Lane thieves too, I suppose.”
“Don't cry, don't cry, Susie, and I'll never do it any Susie's pale face flushed and a look of shame stole more. I'll try and get some honest work, though it is so over it; but still she did not attempt to leave Elfie's side, hard," said Elfie, and her tears broke out afresh. although she knew all that crowd of boys and girls were The two sat down together on the hard, cold floor, and staring at her and calling her a thief as well as Elfie. with their arms round each other's necks, Elfie pronised
“Why don't you go away, Susie? I don't want you; never to steal again if Susie would leave off crying and I never want to see you any more,” said Elfie in a hard, love her still. “I will try to be honest, and mind the basdefiant tone.
kets and clean steps," she sobbed; “but they called me a But Susie did not go away. They had got into the thief when I wasn't; and then when we wanted that tivobroad open road now, and everybody turned to look at pence for the rent, and I couldn't get it any other way, them—looks that seemed to crush poor Susie and make I thought I'd steal it, only you shouldn't know." her heart almost stand still with horror and anguish ; “O Elfie, did you steal that sixpence ?" asked Susie. but still she kept on walking in the centre of the little Elfie sobbed. “I stole some things and sold 'em to crowd. “If Elfie has been stealing, you must take me get that,” she said ;." that was the first time since I'd up too," she said to the policeman, "for I had part of known you,” she added. the money."
“Did you steal before ?” asked Susie. “I daresay you did. There's a nice lot of thieves “Yes, sometimes when I was very hungry; and they round in Fisher's Lane, I know," said the man. And knew it at the Ragged School, that was why I wouldn't as the gates of the police-station were reached, he took go with you," said Elfie, who seemed determined to make good care that they should close on Susie too. She had a full confession now. no wish to escape, although she trembled as they entered “What did you steal ?” asked Susie. a roon where another man asked their names and where “All sorts of things,-anything I could see iu shops they lived.
and run away with. I never felt bad about it before, but While this was being done, the policeman who had when I took the things to get that sixpence for the rent, brought them whispered to one of the others, and then I felt I was wicked, and God seemed to be looking at me they were taken to a dark room and locked up. Elfie all the time, though I wanted to forget all about him." screamed with terror as the door closed, and they were “Yes, God was looking at you,” said Susie ; "and be left standing there in the cold, dark room with only the was sorry about you too; more sorry than I can be, berift of daylight that struggled through the grating high cause he loves you more than I do." up in the wall. Susie shuddered, but she was not so “More than you do," repeated Elfe ; "he can't, for frightened as Elfie, who fell sobbing on her neck. you've come to prison with me, though all the people
Susie clasped her arms round her. “What is it, Elfie? was looking at you and calling you a thief." What have you done ?" asked Susie in a whisper. “Yes, he has," said Susie. “Don't you remember I
“Just what they said. I've done it many a time," told you about the Lord Jesus being God as well as man? sobbed Elfie; “ but didn't do it to-day, for I see some- Well, he came down from heaven to die for our sins-to body coming, and put the boots down.”
save us just because we had all been doing such wicked “O Elfe! you've been stealing,” said Susie sadly. things as stealing, and telling lies, and forgetting him.
Elfie tried to twist herself away from Susie. “Why But to do this he had to suffer a dreadful, cruel death. don't you say you hate me? I know you do,” she said. And he wasn't compelled to do it either, for he did not
“No, I don't, Elfie, or else I shouldn't have come to deserve it; it was us who deserved it, but he loved us so prison with you,” said Susie, holding her more tightly in much that he took our punishment instead.” her arms.
“But he won't love me now," said Elfie ; “it's no good Elfie yielded to the loving embrace and sobbed again. telling me about this now." “That's the worst of it,” she said ; “I shouldn't care so “Yes, it is, Elfie, if you will only ask him to help you much for what the policeman could do to me, if you to be honest in future,” said Susie. didn't know about it.”
“But I've been stealing,-I've done such lots of bad “But God would know, if I did not,” said Susie, in a things,” said Elfie. gentle whisper.
“But Jesus will forgive them all if you ask him," said Elfie shuddered. “Does God know everything ?" she Susie quickly. “He loves you still, Elfie; thongh said.
you've been trying to forget him, he hasn't forgot you.
"The seas are quiet when the winds give o'er,
routine of morning and evening, sleeping and shadowing dread, the breathless hor- waking, thinking and feeling, hoping and fearror, the dull endurance, the weary ing, loving and sorrowing. Each day with its
sickness of hope deferred, -and we burden taken up, each night with its load laid can breathe freely once more, I feel I should like down. to sit down in the strange deep quiet that has In measure,
Of course, in such a life settled upon our hearts and lives since the last act as we have led these months, everything seems in the terrible drama was played out, especially disjointed, every thought and feeling intensified, since we came to this quiet retreat, and write an every power of mind and body taxed to the utteraccount of the great events and thrilling scenes most. Yet we have been ourselves through it all, through which we have so lately passed. we people of Paris. Lifted out of ourselves,
Perhaps in after-years, when the frosts of age raised above ourselves-sometimes, alas! sunk behave silvered my hair, and the reflection of other low ourselves-it may be; still ourselves, not heroes days and other occurrences mingle with gathering and heroines, but poor, tried, sorrowful men and mists on my mind's mirror,—now so clear and women, bearing the burden laid upon us, because bright, giving back to my saddened gaze in such it was there, and must be borne, because our hands sharply-defined, truth - revealing outlines each were too feeble to lift it off. memorable scene of the past eventful year,-I may But when time has rolled on, and these days be glad to have preserved the records, which have become historic, and these records of mine now, to us at least, are but those of the common chronicles of an heroic time gone by; when, perdetails of daily life-its stream turned, indeed, haps, little children and fair maidens gather from its ordinary course between the sheltering round my knee as we did of old round that of our banks of social harmony and domestic peace, and great - aunt Marthe, -I may see their bright
, dashing wildly with torrent force over the wrecks eyes dilate, their rosy lips quiver, and their smooth and ruins of our hopes, or spreading drearily out und heeks flush ligh, as I read from these in the marshy flats of inaction and despair-but pages the touching details of meek endurance, common, ordinary, daily life still, with its usual and faithful love, and patient sorrow which now
seem to be too deeply engraven on my memory the bereaved, the suffering, the dying, of Jesus ever to wear away. And it may be that, like -of him in whom his own long-tried spirit has flint from flint, the deeds of brave men and found such perfect peace and rest. "Silver and noble women may strike answering sparks from gold I have none,' truly, Renée,” he said the those young eager spirits, while they cause my evening before he left, when, in the weakness and slower pulses to throb again as of yore.
selfishness of human love, I strove to dissuade And I think the memories of those days must him from his purpose by pleading his incapacity ever turn my thoughts upwards and heavenward to meet the overwhelming need of the starving, -to Him whom I first learned to know in those homeless destitution and misery of those over cloudy and dark days.
whom his heart yearned so tenderly; "but such It was too sad to sit round the old hearth at as I have' I can give them,—the unsearchable home, amidst the vacant places that represented riches of Christ'—the bread and water of life;
-the broken links in our household chain. So -offer to them, at least, in the Master's name! we have come here, to this fair, sweet spot, And if only one perishing soul receive the treawhere no traces of War's desolating footsteps are sures that corrupt not, and accept the living food visible, no echoes of past strife, still vibrating so that will satisfy its hunger, and the water that painfully round our old home, are heard ; none will quench its thirst at once and for ever, were but the sweet sounds of nature—the bird's glad it not guerdon enough? And I look not for one, song and the insect's hum in place of the cannon's but for many. For the name of Jesus is that of boom-waving trees, and green hills, and pure one 'mighty to save' even 'to the uttermost.' sunshine instead of the battered walls, and In our weakness his strength is perfected.” blackened ruins, and worn, sorrowful faces of the After that I urged him no more, and now fated city in which we dwelt—the aromatic scent I am glad he went. The bitter partings and of budding pines and sweet breath of violets in anzious watchings of the past year have made place of its oppressed, war-laden atmosphere-- our hearts cling with tremulous tenacity to the peasant simplicity and homely kindness instead actual presence of our loved ones, while we are of the causeless suspicion and ceaseless din of yet listening to the dying echoes of the voices party strife. A goodly exchange indeed. and footsteps of those who
are not." Already a faint tinge of colour is dawning on And now I will begin my task, a sorrowiul Nina's white cheek, and Arnaud makes the one indeed, but blending a sad pleasure with its wooden walls of the old farmhouse ring at times pain. And it will not be a difficult one. From a with his boyish mirth. The young so soon for-child it has been a whim of mine to keep a simple get! Or, rather, the natural elasticity of youth diary of the "little things” that, after all
, make causes the rebound to be stronger and greater in up the sum of life. And though those“ litle proportion to the intensity and duration of the things” became very hard things as the weary strain which has curbed it in at all. For Arnaud days wore on in the beleaguered capital, I did not
. has not forgotten the Past, any more than I have give up my old habit. Day after day, except, forgotten the dread. I felt that he would never indeed, during the last sorrowful month and one again be his old, bright, boyish self. It was so dark week before it, with trembling hand, and sad to see him, our merry ten-years-old boy, so aching heart, and sinking spirit, I traced the brief quiet, and wise, and thoughtful.
story of its heavily-weighted hours. From those Augustine only remained a day or two with pages — here bright with hope, there blotted
There was so much work to do, he said, in with tears and incoherent with terror-I mean the desolated homes and crowded hospitals of the to gather my-chronicle shall I call it? It seems stricken city we had left-work for the Master too ambitious a name; but, for want of a better, I in whose footsteps he seeks to tread so closely will let it stand.
. He could not let a field, so white to harvest, stand We had not always lived in Paris. The old unreaped, with none to gather the ripened grain Counts de Laborde owned a large estate near into the Lord's garner. So he has gone to tell | Montford, in Bretagne; but it had long ag
crumbled away, piece by piece, even as the stately in case of his death, nis eldest son was to take old chateau, upon the site of which my grand- his place. But Nina came to us not as the father had built the unpretending mansion that heiress we expected. Her father's estate was had been the home of our childhood, had partially found to be mortgaged far above its value; it done, before the terrible year of 1789 completed passed into the hands of his creditors, and a mere ,
a the work of centuries in one fearful day of wrath pittance was all that remained to her. Not the and fire.
less welcome was the sorrowful young stranger to I have heard it said that we French are a my mother's loving heart. Her orphanhood and nation of soldiers ; certainly we De Labordes have loneliness were a surer claim to welcome than ever been a family of such. From time im- wealth. And soon the tender compassion we memorial, nearly all the sons have followed the felt for her sorrow, so lately our own, deepened profession of arms; and many are the tragic and into love for herself. heroic stories connected with our ancient house, She was then only sixteen, with all the playful to which in childhood we listened spell-bound as gaiety of a child, the will and tact of a woman. we hung round the knee of our dear old grand- Her mother had died at her birth, and she had aunt Marthe, or wandered with our father through been ever since the one object of her widowed the rich woods and sunny slopes, which, but for
father's love and care. And as her the improvidence and folly of those martial broke from the thick clouds of grief that had ancestors; might have been our own fair inherit concealed it when first she came amongst us, it ance. Ah, we have learned to look upon war in melted all hearts before its bright influence. Her other colours now!
very wilfulness and waywardness seemed to make My father fell in the Mexican war of 1862, and her more bewitching. There was a charm about his dust rests, like that of so many of his fore- her none could resist. Yet her thoughtlessness fathers, far from all his kindred, in a strange and sometimes wounded deeply where she should hostile soil. For a few years after his death we have sought to soothe, her wilfulness was at remained at Chateau Laborde; then, for the sake of times cruel, her careless levity often brought the education of Victor and Arnaud, and to be near tears into loving eyes. Léon, who had not then completed his studies at Some thought hers one of those bright, shallow a military school in Paris, my mother accepted natures, dancing, sparkling, rippling all the more the offer of our Uncle Lucien, my father's only because their stream is so shallow. Even my brother, to come and share his large house in gentle mother feared it; the quiet depth of her Paris. And as little remained to us of the old own sweet character made it all the more dif. estate of the De Labordes beyond the empty title ficult for her to comprehend one so opposite. that Léon bore, the house in which we had But I never thought so. I felt sure there were hitherto lived, and a few farms and cottages deep, still waters lying unsounded yet beneath the around, at Léon's earnest request and entreaty surface sparkles. Nina, dear Nina, I know noir that little was sold.
that I was right! It was the real Nina that Only I guessed how much this cost Léon; he looked from the soft, bright eyes that watched treated it so lightly, as so necessary a thing for my mother in her times of weariness and sufferour comfort and the boys' advancement in life. ing, or gazed into my face in the quiet twilight But I had known him-his inmost heart-too long hours when we two sat alone; she in her favourite not to know how tenaciously it clung to the last seat at my feet, with her head resting against my link that bound us to a glorious past.
knee,—that breathed in the sweet tones of the About that time, Nina de Lucheux, the orphan gentle voice that spoke so wisely and tenderly at child of a dear friend and distant relation of my such times, when it seemed almost impossible to father, came to live with us. By M.de Lucheux's believe it was the same wilful girl whose headwill, made many years previously, while she strong waywardness so wearied good Uncle was yet a little child, my father had been ap- Lucien, whose petulant impatience and coquetpointed guardian of her and of her large property : Itish uncertainty so pained and troubled Léon.