« AnteriorContinua »
into the hands of little Sally; and, commending them for their honesty, she bade them go home.
“The poor little girls were delighted with the lady's presents, and ran back as quick as they came. When they came to the cottages, they found both their mammies (as they called them) together in Wray's cottage. See what we have got; see what we have got ! cried the poor children, as they ran in at the door. 'I have got some flannel to make me some petticoats,' said Nancy ; ' And I have got some stuff to make me some new gowns,” said Sally. Jane and Kate were much surprised when they saw what the children had brought; and pleased when they heard how they came by these things. They took them out of the children's hands, and began to turn them about and examine them.
Why, here,' said Jane, “is enough to make Sally two slips. Well, I shall make one now, I think, and put t'other half by till next year. And now I shall be able to do what I have been long casting about in my mind, but could not compass before, on account of her being so ill clothed, poor thing: that is, to send her to the church in Bridgenorth to be catechised by the parson ; for it is a pity she should be brought up in total ignorance of her Maker. I have an old bonnet I can take to pieces and make up for her, and a little handkerchief: so that now she will do very well.'
“Why, you won't be such a fool, surely, will you,' said Kate, as to cut that good queen's stuff for that child? There is quite enough to make you a handsome gown.'
“. But it is not mine,' said Jane. "Not yours !' said Kate : 'whose then is it?'
" Whose then is it ? asked Jane : why, little Sally's, to be sure. I would not rob the poor babe of a pennyworth. I have heard it said that God is very jealous of any one's doing an hurt to a fatherless
child. I cannot read, to be sure, myself ; but I remember our parson giving out these words as his text : “ Remove not the old landmark, and enter not into the fields of the fatherless." (Prov. xxii. 10.)
“ . Then you think,' said Kate, that I shall make up this flannel for Nancy ?'
«. To be sure I do,' said Jane.
“But indeed I shall not,' answered Kate : “such flannel as this, indeed, to be made up for such a dirty little brat as that !
“ ' For shame! for shame!' said Jane ; 'why, you are not honest, Kate.'
"'I have an old petticoat,' answered Kate, of my own, which I shall make up for Nancy; and it will serve her every bit as well as this new flannel. I don't see why you are to call me dishonest for that. Take
my advice, Kate,' said Jane ; flannel for the child to the best advantage, but don't take any of it for yourself; it will not bring a blessing with it. I tell you it won't: for “ goods unjustly gotten," my
and he has it from the Bible, “shall not profit thee in the day of calamity.”. (Eccles. v. 8.)
“Kate made no answer, but kept turning the flannel about, and measuring it with her fingers; and, as soon as Jane was out of the house, she locked it up her chest, with her store of stuff-gowns and quilts, and her new red cloak.
“ When Jane went home, she cut out one little slip for Sally; and, putting the rest of the stuff by, she worked so hard, sitting up late and rising early, that she got the slip made, and the bonnet and handkerchief, by the next Saturday night ; and the next Sunday morning, she sent the little girl, with her husband, to church—for she could not go herself on account of her little boy-bidding her to present her
self among the other children, when the clergyman called the children to catechise them ; for the clergyman was a very worthy man, and took great pains with the poor children; catechising them every Sunday morning, round the pulpit, after service.
“ When the clergyman saw little Sally standing with the other children, he asked her many questions ; such as, whether she had a father and mother-and where she lived—and whether she could read. A few days afterwards, the clergyman came to Jane's house with his daughter. Jane was knitting, and rocking her little boy's cradle with her foot. Good morning, good woman,' said the clergyman : 'where is the neat little girl who came from your house to be catechised last Sunday ? — Sir,' said Jane, rising, and making a low curtsey, 'the little girl is gone out to pick sticks in the coppice : we are poor people, and I am forced to make her work.'- Then I am afraid,' said the clergyman, 'that you cannot spare her to come to school for three or four hours every day. My daughter has a little school, which she visits every day; and she has a great desire to take your little girl into it.'—Sir,' answered Jane, “the little girl is not mine; she is a poor orphan : but I would not on that account stand in her way.
I am much obliged to you, Sir, and to Miss, for your kindness : I will endeavour to
“The clergyman and his daughter praised Jane for her kindness to the poor orphan, and said, 'God will reward you : he who is the Father of the fatherless, will reward you. So they took their leave. But, as they went out at the gate, they saw Kitty sitting at the door with Nancy, and the clergyman's daughter was so kind as to offer to take Nancy into her school also ; but Kate answered, that she had so much to do, that she could not spare the child. «These are hard times, Sir,' said she to the clergyman: "and poor
folks are glad to make the best of their time to earn a penny.' So little Sally went every day to a school, whilst poor Nancy was kept at home in ignorance.
“ Jane looked to see if Kate made up her old flannel petticoat for Nancy; but all the winter months passed away, and the spring came on, and still Nancy had no warm petticoat. At length Jane said to Kate,
You promised to make up your old petticoat for poor Nancy; but I have never seen her wear it.'Why,' answered Kate,
I don't think I can spare it now ; for, to tell you the truth, about September next I expect to have a little one of my own, and I shall want the new flannel to wrap the little one in ; and so shan't be able to spare my own petticoat.' Oh, Kate ! Kate!' said Jane, this is not right. Give the poor child her own flannel, and don't be covetous.' — What !' answered Kate, you would have me to be as great a fool as you are! There's Sally dressed as fine as a lady every day, going backwards and forwards to school, whilst you are drudging at home; and you want me to do the same by Nancy! I wish you would go home and mind your own affairs, and leave me to myself: I warrant I know what I am about as well as you. From that time Kate would never speak to Jane again.
" What Kate said was very true : she expected a little one in the autumn, and she was determined to keep the flannel to wrap it in. Moreover, all the spring and summer, in hay-making and harvest time, she worked as hard as she could, to gather as much money together as possible before the birth of her child; and being very much fatigued with work, she neglected (for some months) to look into her chest, and to air her stuff gowns and petticoats and scarlet cloak. At length the time came when her child was born. An old woman from the town, called Nurse Bourne, came to attend her. The child was a very fine boy; and when the nurse had dressed it, she
asked for a bit of flannel to wrap it in. Kate gave her the key of the chest, and bid her open it, and she would find a piece of flannel in the box. The nurse did as she was bid : but as soon as she opened the box, she cried out, “O dear! O dear! what is here? Everything, I fear, is spoiled! Dear, dear, what a pity – What is the matter,' cried Kate, in great terror. The nurse began to pull the things out one by one—and what a sight was there for poor Kate to
The moth had been in the flannel which the little girl had brought from the lady, although nobody knew it; and bad it been used immediately, it would never have been found out ; but from having been laid by, and not looked into for some months, the moth had spread from the flannel to the woollen stockings, and from them to the stuff gowns and petticoats and the new scarlet cloak : so that there was not one thing in the box which was not eaten through and through, making good the words of Scripture : Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal.' (Matt. vi. 19.)
' “Not to make my story too long-poor Kate took this misfortune so much to heart, that a day or two after her child's birth, she was seized with a fever, which proved her death ; and her little child would no doubt have gone after its mother to the grave, if Jane had not kindly weaned her own little Tommy, who was more than a year old, and taken the poor little motherless babe to nurse ; and she brought it up ever afterwards amongst her own little ones. Thus the covetousness of Kate was the cause of her death. And as it was with her, we may always find with ourselves,—that things unjustly come by never do any service : they always bring some canker or moth with them.
“ After Kate's death, Nancy went to live in the house of a farmer in that neighbourhood; but little