The Children's Portion
Author: Various
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"It is thus that brother should aid brother," said the king; "but it was thee, false traitor, that did set me against mine! for the which thou shalt surely pay the forfeit of thy life in the same hour that tidings are brought me of his death."

At that moment Wilfrid, presenting himself before the king, said, "King Athelstane, I bring thee tidings of Edwin the Atheling!"

"The fairest earldom in my kingdom shall be the reward of him who will tell me that my brother liveth," exclaimed the king eagerly.

"If thou wouldst give the royal crown of England from off thine head it would not bribe the deep sea to give up its dead!" replied the page.

"Who art thou that speakest such woeful words?" demanded Athelstane, fixing his eyes with a doubting and fearful scrutiny on the face of the page.

"Hast thou forgotten Wilfrid, the son of Cendric?" replied the youth; "he who commended himself to the mercy of the King of kings, in that dark hour when thy brother Edwin implored for thine in vain."

"Ha!" cried the king, "I remember thee now; thou art the pale stripling who bore witness of my brother's innocence of the crime with which the false-tongued Brithric charged him!"

"The same, my lord," said Wilfrid; "and God hath witnessed for my truth by preserving me from the waters of the great deep, to which thou didst commit me with my lord, Prince Edwin."

"But Edwin—my brother Edwin! tell me of him!" cried Athelstane, grasping the shoulder of the page.

"Did not his drowning cry reach thine ear, royal Athelstane?" asked Wilfrid, bursting into tears. "Ere thy tall vessel had disappeared from our sight the fair-haired Atheling was ingulfed in the stormy billows that swelled round our frail bark, and I, only I, am, by the especial mercy of God, preserved to tell thee the sad fate of thy father's son, whom thou wert, in an evil hour, moved by a treacherous villain to destroy."

"Traitor," said the king, turning to Brithric, "thy false tongue hath not only slain my brother, but thyself! Thou shalt die for having wickedly induced me to become his murderer!"

"And thou wilt live, O king, to suffer the pangs of an upbraiding conscience," replied the culprit. "Where was thy wisdom, where thy discrimination, where thy sense of justice, when thou lent so ready an ear to my false and improbable accusations against thy boyish brother? I sought my own aggrandizement—and to have achieved that I would have destroyed thee and placed him upon the throne. I made him my tool—you became my dupe—and I now myself fall a victim to my own machinations."

The guards then removed Brithric from the royal presence, and the next day he met with his deserts in a public execution.

As for the faithful Wilfrid, King Athelstane not only caused the lands and titles of which his father, Cendric, had been deprived, to be restored to him, but also conferred upon him great honors and rewards. He lived to be the pride and comfort of his widowed mother, Ermengarde, and ever afterward enjoyed the full confidence of the king.

The royal Athelstane never ceased to lament the death of his unfortunate brother, Edwin. He gained many great victories, and reigned long and gloriously over England, but he was evermore tormented by remorse of conscience for his conduct toward his youthful brother, Prince Edwin.



She was a dainty, blue-eyed, golden-haired darling, who had ruled her kingdom but four short years when the events in our history occurred. Very short the four years had seemed, for the baby princess brought into the quiet old house such a wealth of love, with its golden sunshine, that time had passed rapidly since her arrival, as time always does when we are happy and contented.

Our little princess did not owe her title to royal birth, but to her unquestioned sway over those around her; a rule in which was so happily blended entreaty and command that her willing subjects were never quite sure to which they were yielding. But of one thing they were sure, which was that the winning grace of the little sovereign equaled their pleasures in obeying her small commands, and the added fact—a very important one—that this queen of hearts never abused her power.

No little brothers nor sisters were numbered among the princess' retainers, but she had had from her babyhood an inseparable companion and playfellow in Moses. Now Moses was a big brown dog who, like his namesake of old, had been rescued from a watery grave, and it chanced that baby-girl and baby-dog became inmates of the quiet old house about the same time. But the dog grew much faster than the little girl, as dogs are wont to do, and was quite a responsible person by the time Cissy could toddle around. When she was old enough to play under the old elm tree Moses assumed the place of protector of her little highness, and was all the bodyguard the princess needed, for he was wise and unwearied in his endeavors to guard her from all mishaps. But, although Moses felt the responsibility of his position, he did not consider it beneath his dignity to amuse his mistress, and so they played together, baby and dog, shared their lunch together, and frequently took their nap together of a warm afternoon, the golden curls of the little princess tumbled over Moses' broad, shaggy shoulder.

One day when Cissy was about four years old an event occurred in her life that seemed for a time to endanger the intimacy between the little girl and her four-footed friend, and caused Moses considerable anxiety. It was a rainy morning and she could not play under the trees as usual, so she took her little chair and climbed up to the window to see if the trees were lonesome without her. Something unusual going on in the house next door attracted her attention, and her disappointment was soon forgotten. No one had lived in the house since the little girl could remember. Now the long closed doors and windows were thrown wide open, and men were running up and down the steps. She was puzzled to know what it could all mean, and kept her little face close to the window, and was so unmindful of Moses that he felt quite neglected and lonely.

The following morning was warm and bright, and the little princess and her attendant were playing under the trees again. Moses was so delighted in having won the sole attention of his little mistress and played so many droll pranks that Cissy shouted with laughter. In the midst of her merriment she chanced to look up, and saw through the paling a pair of eyes as bright as her own, dancing with fun and evidently enjoying Moses' frolic quite as much as the little girl herself. The bright eyes belonged to a little boy about Cissy's age, whose name was Jamie, and who had moved into the house that had interested her so much the day before.

Now our little princess in her winning way claimed the allegiance of all that came within her circle, and so confidently ran over to the fence to make the acquaintance of her new subject. Jamie was quite willing to be one of her servitors, and although they were separated by the high palings they visited through the openings all the morning, and for many mornings after, exchanging dolls, books, balls, and strings, and becoming the best of friends. This new order of things was not quite satisfactory to Moses, who felt he was no longer necessary to Cissy's happiness. He still kept his place close beside her, and tried to be as entertaining as possible. But do what he would he could not coax her away from her new-found friend, and all the merry plays under the old elm tree seemed to have come to an end, but Cissy was not really ungrateful to her old playfellow. She was deeply interested in her new companion and for the time somewhat forgetful of Moses, which is not much to be wondered at when we remember what great advantage over Moses Jamie had in one thing. He could talk with Cissy and Moses could not. But although the dog's faithful heart ached at the neglect of his little mistress, he did not desert his place of protector, but watched and guarded the princess while she and her friend prattled on all the long, bright days, quite unconscious of his trouble.

One afternoon Cissy's happiness reached its highest point. Her mother had been watching the visiting going on through the fence, and saw Cissy's delight in her new companion, so, unknown to her, she wrote a note asking that Jamie be permitted to come into the yard and play under the elm tree. When Cissy saw Jamie coming up the walk in her own yard, her delight knew no bounds. She ran to meet him, and dolls and buggies and carts and everything she prized was generously turned over to her visitor. How quickly the afternoon passed.

Moses was as happy as the children themselves—for if he could not talk he could at least bark, and now they were altogether under the tree, his troubles were forgotten and which were the happier, children or dog, it were hard to say. So with merry play the beautiful day came to a close. The sun was sending up his long golden beams in the west. Jamie was called home, and Cissy came into the house. The tired little eyes were growing drowsy and the soft curls drooped over the nodding head when mamma undressed her little girl to make her ready for bed. Then Cissy knelt beside her little bed and repeated the prayer she had been taught: "Now, I lay me down to sleep," and "God bless papa and mamma and everybody, and make Cissy a good girl." But when she had done she did not rise as usual; looking up earnestly at her mother, she said: "Please, mamma, I want to pray my own prayer now." Then folding her little hands, the sweet childish voice took on an earnestness it had not shown before, as she said: "Dear Father in heaven, I thank you for making Jamie, and 'cause his mamma let him come in my yard to play. Please make lots more Jamies," and with this sincere expression of her grateful heart, and her loving recognition that all our blessings come from the Father above, the tired, happy little girl was ready for bed, and soon asleep.

Moses lay sleeping contentedly on the rug beside the princess' little bed. He too had had a happy day. I wonder if he had any way to express his thankfulness to his Creator, the same Father in heaven to which Cissy prayed, for the love and companionship of his little playfellows, and for the bright, happy day he had spent? I believe he had. What do you think about it?



Leontes of Sicily, and Hermione, his lovely queen, lived together in the greatest harmony—a harmony and happiness so perfect that the king said he had no wish left to gratify excepting the desire to see his old companion Polixenes, and present him to the friendship of his wife.

Polixenes was king of Bohemia; and it was not until he had received many invitations that he came to visit his friend Leontes of Sicily.

At first this was the cause of great joy. It seemed that Leontes never tired of talking over the scenes of bygone days with his early friend, while Hermione listened well pleased. But when Polixenes wished to depart, and both the king and the queen entreated him to remain yet longer, it was the gentle persuasion of Hermione which overcame his resistance, rather than the desire of his friend Leontes, who upon this grew both angry and jealous, and began to hate Polixenes as much as he had loved him.

At length his feelings became so violent that he gave an order for the King of Bohemia to be killed. But fortunately he intrusted the execution of this command to Camillo—a good man, who helped his intended victim to escape to his own dominions. At this, Leontes was still more angry and, rushing to the room where his wife was engaged with her little son Mamillius took the child away, and ordered poor Hermione to prison.

While she was there, a little daughter was born to her; and a lady who heard of this, told the queen's maid Emilia, that she would carry the infant into the presence of its father if she might be intrusted with it, and perhaps his heart would soften toward his wife and the innocent babe.

Hermione very willingly gave up her little daughter into the arms of the lady Paulina, who forced herself into the king's presence, and laid her precious burden at his feet, boldly reproaching him with his cruelty to the queen. But Paulina's services were of no avail: the king ordered her away, so she left the little child before him, believing, when she retired, that his proud, angry heart would relent.

But she was mistaken. Leontes bade one of his courtiers take the infant to some desert isle to perish; and Antigonus, the husband of Paulina, was the one chosen to execute this cruel purpose.

The next action of the king was to summon Hermione to be tried for having loved Polixenes too well. Already he had had recourse to an oracle; and the answer, sealed up, was brought into court and opened in the presence of the much-injured queen:

"Hermione is innocent; Polixenes blameless; Camillo a true subject; Leontes a jealous tyrant; and the king shall live without an heir, if that which is lost be not found."

Thus it ran; but the angry king said it was all a falsehood, made up by the queen's friends, and he bade them go on with the trial. Yet even as he spoke, a messenger entered to say that the king's son Mamillius had died suddenly, grieving for his mother. Hermione, overcome by such sad tidings, fainted; and then Leontes, feeling some pity for her, bade her ladies remove her, and do all that was possible for her recovery.

Very soon Paulina returned, saying that Hermione, the queen, was also dead. Now Leontes repented of his harshness; now he readily believed she was all that was good and pure; and, beginning to have faith in the words of the oracle which spoke of that which was lost being found, declared he would give up his kingdom could he but recover the lost baby he had sent to perish.

The ship which had conveyed Antigonus with the infant princess away from her father's kingdom, was driven onshore upon the Bohemian territory, over which Polixenes reigned. Leaving the child there, Antigonus started to return to his ship; but a savage bear met and destroyed him, so that Leontes never heard how his commands had been fulfilled.

When poor Hermione had sent her baby in Paulina's care to be shown to her royal father, she had dressed it in its richest robes, and thus it remained when Antigonus left it. Besides, he pinned a paper to its mantle upon which the name Perdita was written.

Happily, a kind-hearted shepherd found the deserted infant, and took it home to his wife, who cherished it as her own. But they concealed the fact from every one; and lest the tale of the jewels upon Perdita's little neck should be noised abroad, he sold some of them, and leaving that part of the country, bought herds of sheep, and became a wealthy shepherd.

Little Perdita grew up as sweet and lovely as her unknown mother; yet she was supposed to be only a shepherd's child.

Polixenes of Bohemia had one only son—Florizel by name; who, hunting near the shepherd's dwelling, saw the fair maiden, whose beauty and modesty soon won his love. Disguising himself as a private gentleman, instead of appearing as the king's son, Florizel took the name of Doricles, and came visiting at the shepherd's dwelling. So often was he there, and thus so frequently missed at court, that people began to watch his movements, and soon discovered that he loved the pretty maiden Perdita.

When this news was carried to Polixenes, he called upon his faithful servant Camillo to go with him to the shepherd's house; and they arrived there in disguise just at the feast of sheep-shearing, when there was a welcome for every visitor.

It was a busy scene. There was dancing on the green, young lads and lassies were chaffering with a peddler for his goods, sports were going on everywhere; yet Florizel and Perdita sat apart, talking happily to each other.

No one could have recognized the king; even Florizel did not observe him as he drew near enough to listen to the conversation of the young people. Perdita's way of speaking charmed him much—it seemed something very different to the speech of a shepherd's daughter; and, turning to Camillo, Polixenes said:

"Nothing she does or seems But tastes of something greater than her self, Too noble for this place."

Then he spoke to the old shepherd, asking the name of the youth who talked to his daughter.

"They call him Doricles," said the man; adding, too, that if he indeed loved Perdita, he would receive with her something he did not reckon on. By this the shepherd meant a part of her rich jewels which he had not sold, but kept carefully until such time as she should marry. Polixenes turned to his son, telling him jestingly that he should have bought some gift for his fair maid—not let the peddler go without seeking anything for her.

Florizel little imagined it was his father talking to him, and he replied that the gifts Perdita prized were those contained within his heart; and then he begged the "old man" to be a witness of their marriage.

Still keeping up his disguise, Polixenes asked Florizel if he had no father to bid as a guest to his wedding. But the young man said there were reasons why he should not speak of the matter to his father.

Polixenes chose this for the moment in which to make himself known; and reproaching his son bitterly for giving his love to a low-born maiden, bade him accompany Camillo back to court.

As the king retired thus angry, Perdita said, "I was not much afraid; for once or twice I was about to speak, to tell him plainly,—

"The self-same sun that shines upon his court Hides not his visage from our cottage, but Looks on alike."

Then she sorrowfully bade Florizel leave her.

Camillo felt sorry for the two, and thought of a way in which he could stand their friend. Having known a long time that his former master, Leontes, repented of all his cruelty, he proposed that Florizel and Perdita should accompany him to Sicily to beg the king to win for them the consent of Polixenes to their marriage.

The old shepherd was allowed to be of the party, and he took with him the clothes and jewels which had been found with Perdita, and also the paper on which her name had been written.

On their arrival, Leontes received Camillo with kindness, and welcomed Prince Florizel; but it was Perdita who engrossed all his thoughts. She seemed to remind him of his fair queen Hermione, and he broke out into bitter self-accusation, saying that he might have had just such another lovely maiden to call him father, but for his own cruelty.

The shepherd, listening to the king's lamentations, began to compare the time when he had lost the royal infant with the time when Perdita was found, and he came to the conclusion that she and the daughter of Leontes were one and the same person. When he felt assured of this he told his tale, showed the rich mantle which had been wrapped round the infant, and her remaining jewels; and Leontes knew that his daughter was brought back to him once more. Joyful as such tidings were, his sorrow at the thought of Hermione, who had not lived to behold her child thus grown into a fair maiden, almost exceeded his happiness, so that he kept exclaiming, "Oh, thy mother! thy mother!"

Paulina now appeared, begging Leontes to go to her house and look at a statue she possessed which greatly resembled Hermione. Anxious to see anything like his much-lamented wife, the king agreed; and when the curtain was drawn back his sorrow was stirred afresh. At last he said that the statue gave Hermione a more aged, wrinkled look than when he last beheld her; but Paulina replied, that if so, it was a proof of the sculptor's art, who represented the queen as she would appear after the sixteen years which had passed. She would have drawn the curtain again, but Leontes begged her to wait a while, and again he appealed to those about him to say if it was not indeed a marvelous likeness.

Perdita had all the while been kneeling, admiring in silence her beautiful mother. Paulina presently said that she possessed the power to make the statue move, if such were the king's pleasure; and as some soft music was heard, the figure stirred. Ah! it was no sculptured marble, but Hermione, living and breathing, who hung upon her husband and her long-lost child!

It is needless to tell that Paulina's story of her royal mistress' death was an invention to save her life, and that for all those years she had kept the queen secluded, so that Leontes should not hear that she was living until Perdita was found.

All was happiness; but none was greater than that of Camillo and Paulina, who saw the reward of their long faithfulness. One more person was to arrive upon the scene; even Polixenes, who came in search of Florizel, and was thus in time to bless the union of the young people, and take a share in the general joy.


In an humble room in one of the poorest streets in London, Pierre, a faithful French boy, sat humming by the bedside of his sick mother. There was no bread in the closet, and for the whole day he had not tasted food. Yet he sat humming to keep up his spirits. Still at times he thought of his loneliness and hunger, and he could scarcely keep the tears from his eyes, for he knew that nothing would be so grateful to his poor mother as a good, sweet orange, and yet he had not a penny in the world.

The little song he was singing was his own; one he had composed, both air and words—for the child was a genius.

He went to the window, and looking out, he saw a man putting up a great bill with yellow letters announcing that Mme. Malibran would sing that night in public.

"Oh, if I could only go," thought little Pierre; and then pausing a moment he clasped his hands, his eyes lighting with new hope. Running to the little stand, he smoothed his yellow curls, and taking from a little box some old stained paper, gave one eager glance at his mother, who slept, and ran speedily from the house.

"Who did you say was waiting for me?" said madame to her servant. "I am already worn with company."

"It's only a very pretty little boy with yellow curls, who said if he can just see you he is sure you will not be sorry, and he will not keep you a moment."

"Oh, well, let him come," said the beautiful singer, with a smile. "I can never refuse children."

Little Pierre came in, his hat under his arm, and in his hand a little roll of paper. With manliness unusual for a child he walked straight to the lady and, bowing, said: "I came to see you because my mother is very sick, and we are too poor to get food and medicine. I thought, perhaps, that if you would sing my little song at some of your grand concerts, maybe some publisher would buy it for a small sum and so I could get food and medicine for my mother."

The beautiful woman arose from her seat. Very tall and stately she was. She took the roll from his hand and lightly hummed the air.

"Did you compose it?" she asked; "you a child! And the words? Would you like to come to my concert?" she asked.

"Oh, yes!" and the boy's eyes grew bright with happiness; "but I couldn't leave my mother."

"I will send somebody to take care of your mother for the evening, and there is a crown with which you may go and get food and medicine. Here is also one of my tickets. Come to-night; that will admit you to a seat near me."

Almost beside himself with joy, Pierre bought some oranges, and many a little luxury besides, and carried them home to the poor invalid, telling her, not without tears, of his good fortune.

When evening came and Pierre was admitted to the concert hall he felt that never in his life had he been in such a place. The music, the myriad lights, the beauty, the flashing of diamonds and rustling of silk, bewildered his eyes and brain.

At last she came, and the child sat with his glance riveted on her glorious face. Could he believe that the grand lady, all blazing with jewels, and whom everybody seemed to worship, would really sing his little song?

Breathlessly he waited—the band, the whole band, struck up a plaintive little melody. He knew it, and clasped his hands for joy. And oh, how she sang it! It was so simple, so mournful. Many a bright eye dimmed with tears, and naught could be heard but the touching words of that little song.

Pierre walked home as if moving on air. What cared he for money now? The greatest singer in all Europe had sung his little song, and thousands had wept at his grief.

The next day he was frightened at a visit from Madame Malibran. She laid her hands on his yellow curls, and talking to the sick woman said: "Your little boy, madame, has brought you a fortune. I was offered this morning, by the best publisher in London, 300 pounds for his little song, and after he has realized a certain amount from the sale, little Pierre, here, is to share the profits. Madame, thank God that your son has a gift from heaven."

The noble-hearted singer and the poor woman wept together. As to Pierre, always mindful of Him who watches over the tired and tempted, he knelt down by his mother's bedside and offered a simple but eloquent prayer, asking God's blessing on the kind lady who had deigned to notice their affliction.

The memory of that prayer made the singer more tender-hearted, and she, who was the idol of England's nobility, went about doing good. And in her early, happy death, he who stood beside her bed and smoothed her pillow and lightened her last moments by his undying affection, was little Pierre of former days, now rich, accomplished, and the most talented composer of his day.



Never did any one have a better start in life than Tom. Born of Christian parents, he inherited from them no bad defects, moral or physical. He was built on a liberal plan, having a large head, large hands, large feet, large body, and within all, a heart big with generosity. His face was the embodiment of good nature, and his laugh was musical and infectious. Being an only child there was no one to share with him the lavish love of his parents. They saw in him nothing less than a future President of the United States, and they made every sacrifice to fit him for his coming position. He was a prime favorite with all, and being a born leader, he was ungrudgingly accorded that position by his playmates at school and his fellows at the university. He wrestled with rhetoric, and logic, and political economy, and geometry, and came off an easy victor; he put new life into the dead languages, dug among the Greek roots by day and soared up among the stars by night. None could outstrip him as a student, and he easily held his place at the head of his class. The dullest scholar found in him a friend and a helper, while the brighter ones found in his example, an incentive to do their best.

In athletic sports, too, he was excelled by none. He could run faster, jump higher, lift a dumb-bell easier, strike a ball harder, and pull as strong an oar as the best of them. He was the point of the flying wedge in the game of foot-ball, and woe be to the opponent against whom that point struck. To sum it all up, Tom was a mental and physical giant, as well as a superb specimen of what that college could make out of a young man. But unfortunately, it was one of those institutions that developed the mental, trained the physical, and starved the spiritual, and so it came to pass ere his college days were ended, Tom had an enemy, and that enemy was the bottle.

The more respectable you make sin, the more dangerous it is. An old black bottle in the rough hand of the keeper of a low dive, would have no power to cause a clean young man to swerve from the right course, but he is a hero ten times over, who can withstand the temptation of a wine glass in the jeweled fingers of a beautiful young lady. Tom's tempter came in the latter form, and she who might have spurred him on to the highest goal, and whispered in his ear, "look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth its color in the cup, when it moveth itself aright," started him down a course which made him learn from a terrible experience that "at the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder." Does any one call a glass of wine a small thing? Read Tom's story and then call it small, if you dare! Whatever he did was done with his might, drinking not excepted. He boasted of his power to drink much and keep sober, while he laughed at the companions who imbibed far less and went to bed drunk. At first Tom was the master and the bottle his slave, but in three years' time they changed places. When too late, his parents discovered that the college had sent back to them a ripe scholar, a trained athlete and a drunkard. The mother tried to save her son, but failing in every effort, her heart broke and she died with Tom's name on her lips. The father, weighed down under the dead sorrow and the living trouble, vainly strove to rescue his son, and was found one night in the attitude of prayer, kneeling by the side of the bed where his wife's broken heart a few months before had ceased to beat. He died praying for his boy!

One evening as the sun was setting, a man stood leaning against the fence along one of the streets of a certain city. His clothes were ragged, his hands and face unwashed, his hair uncombed and his eyes bleared; he looked more like a wild beast hunted and hungry, than a human being. It was Tom. The boys gathered about him, and made him the object of their fun and ridicule. At first he seemed not to notice them, but suddenly he cried out: "Cease your laughter until you know what you are laughing at. Let me talk to my master while you listen."

He pulled a bottle from his pocket, held it up, and looking at it with deep hatred flashing from his reddened eyes, he said:

"I was once your master; now I am your slave. In my strength you deceived me; in my weakness you mock me. You have burned my brain, blistered my body, blasted my hopes, bitten my soul and broken my will. You have taken my money, destroyed my home, stolen my good name, and robbed me of every friend I ever had. You killed my mother, slew my father, sent me out into the world a worthless vagabond, until I find myself a son without parents, a man without friends, a wanderer without a home, a human being without sympathy, and a pauper without bread. Deceiver, mocker, robber, murderer—I hate you! Oh, for one hour of my old-time strength, that I might slay you! Oh, for one friend and some power to free me from this slavery!"

The laugh had ceased and the boys stood gazing on him with awe. A young lady and gentleman had joined the company just as Tom began this terrible arraignment of his master, and as he ceased, the young lady stepped up to him and earnestly said: "You have one friend and there is one power that can break your chains and set you free."

Tom gazed at her a moment and then said:

"Who is my friend?"

"The King is your friend," she answered.

"And pray, who are you?" said Tom.

"One of the King's Daughters," was the reply "and 'In His Name' I tell you He has power to set you free."

"Free, free did you say? But, you mock me. A girl with as white a hand and as fair a face as yours, delivered me to my master."

"Then, in the name of the King whose daughter am I, even Jesus Christ the Lord, let the hand of another girl lead you to Him who came to break the chains of the captive and set the prisoner free."

Tom looked at the earnest face of the pleading girl, hesitated awhile, as his lip quivered and the big tears filled his eyes, and then suddenly lifting the bottle high above his head, he dashed it down on the pavement, and as it broke into a thousand pieces, he said:

"I'll trust you, I'll trust you, lead me to the King!"

And lead him she did, as always a King's Daughter will lead one who sorely needs help. His chains were broken, and at twenty-nine years of age Tom began life over again. He is not the man he might have been, but no one doubts his loyalty to the King. His place in the prayer circle is never vacant, and you can always find, him in the ranks of those whose sworn purpose it is to slay Tom's old master, King Alcohol!



Stevie's papa usually wrote his name in the hotel registers as "Edward H. Lawrence, New York City, U. S. A.," but Stevie always entered his—and he wouldn't have missed doing it for anything—as "Steven Lawrence, American."

When Kate and Eva teased him about it, he would say: "Why, anybody could come from New York—an Englishman or a German or a Frenchman—without being born there, don't you see? but I'm a real out-and-out American, born there, and a citizen and everything, and I just want all these foreigners to know it, 'cause I think America's the greatest country in the world." Then the little boy would straighten his slender figure and toss back his curly hair with a great air of pride, which highly amused his two sisters. But their teasing and laughter did not trouble Stevie in the least. "Laugh all you like I don't care," he retorted, one day. "It's my way, and I like it," which amused the little girls all the more, for, as Eva said, "Everybody knew Stevie liked his own way, only he never had owned up to it before."

There was something, however, that did trouble the little boy a good deal: though he was born in New York City, he had no recollection of it or any other place in America, as his mamma's health had failed, and the whole family had gone to Europe for her benefit, when Stevie was little more than a year old. They had traveled about a good deal in the eight years since then, and Stevie had lived in some famous and beautiful old cities; but in his estimation no place was equal to his beloved America, of which Mehitabel Higginson had told him so much, and to which he longed to get back. I fancy that most American boys and girls would have enjoyed being where Stevie was at this time, for he and his papa and mamma, and Kate and Eva, and Mehitabel Higginson, were living in a large and quite grand-looking house in Venice. The entrance hall and the wide staircase leading to the next story were very imposing, the rooms were large, and the walls and high ceilings covered with elaborate carvings and frescoes; and when Stevie looked out of the windows or the front door lo! instead of an ordinary street with paved sidewalks, there were the blue shining waters of the lagoon, and quaint-shaped gondolas floating at the door-step or gliding swiftly and gracefully by.

The children thought it great fun to go sight-seeing in a gondola: they visited the beautiful old Cathedral of St. Mark, and admired the famous bronze horses which surmount Sansovino's exquisitely carved gates, sailed up and down the double curved Grand Canal, walked through the Ducal Palace and across the narrow, ill-lighted Bridge of Sighs—over which so many unfortunate prisoners had passed never to return—and peeped into the dark, dismal prison on the other side of the canal.

It was all very novel and interesting, but Stevie told Mehitabel, in confidence, that he would rather, any day, listen to her reminiscences of her long-ago school days in her little New England village home, or, better still, to her stories of George Washington, and the other great spirits of the Revolutionary period, and of Abraham Lincoln and the men of his time. Stevie never tired of these stories. He knew Mehitabel's leisure hour, and curling himself up among the cushions on the settee beside her tea table, he would say, with his most engaging smile: "Now's just the time for a story, Hitty; don't you think so? And please begin right away, won't you, 'cause, you know, I'll have to be going to bed pretty soon."

He knew most of the stories by heart, corrected Miss Higginson if she left out or added anything in the telling, and always joined in when she ended the entertainment with her two stock pieces—"Barbara Freitchie" and "Paul Revere's Ride," which were great favorites with him. "Oh, how I would like to be a hero!" he said with a sigh, one afternoon, just after they had finished reciting "Paul Revere's Ride" in fine style. Presently he added, thoughtfully: "Do you think, Hitty, that any one could be a hero and not know it? I suppose Washington and Paul Revere and all those others just knew every time they did anything brave."

Hitty wore her hair in short gray curls, on each side of her rather severe-looking face, and now they bobbed up and down as, she nodded her head emphatically. "Of course they did," she answered, with conviction. "You see my grandfather fought in the Revolution, so I ought to know. But," with an entire change of conversation, "bravery isn't the only thing in the world for a little boy to think of. He should try to be nice and polite to everybody; obedient to his mamma and gentle to his sisters; he shouldn't love to have his own way and go ordering people about. I don't think," with sudden assurance, "you'd have found Washington or Paul Revere or Lincoln behaving that way."

"Pooh! that's all you know about it," cried Stevie, ungratefully, slipping down from his nest among the cushions; he did not relish the personal tone the conversation had taken. "Didn't Washington order his troops about? And anyway, Kate's just as 'ordering' as I am, and you never speak to her about it." Then, before the old housekeeper could answer, he ran out of the room.

You see that was Stevie's great fault; he was a dear, warm-hearted little fellow, but he did love to have his own way, and often this made him very rude and impatient—what they called "ordering"—to his sisters, and Hitty and the servants, and even disobedient to his mamma.

Stevie's mamma was very much troubled about this, for she dearly loved her little son, and she saw plainly that as the days went on instead of Stevie's getting the upper hand of his fault, his fault was getting the upper hand of him. So one day she and papa had a long, serious talk about Stevie, and then papa and Stevie had a long, serious talk about the fault. I shall not tell all that passed between them, for papa had to do some plain speaking that hurt Stevie's feelings very much, and his little pocket-handkerchief was quite damp long before the interview was over.

Papa so seldom found fault that what he said now made a great impression on the little boy. "I didn't know I was so horrid, papa," he said, earnestly; "I really don't mean to be, but you see people are so trying sometimes, and then it seems as if I just have to say things. You don't know how hard it is to keep from saying them."

"Oh, yes, I do," said Mr. Lawrence, with a nod of his head; "but you are getting to be a big boy now, Stevie, and if you expect to be a soldier one of these days—as you say you do—you must begin to control yourself now, or you'll never be able to control your men by and by. And besides, you are bringing discredit on your beloved country by such behavior."

Stevie looked up with wide-open, astonished eyes. "Why, papa!" he said.

"I heard you tell Guiseppi the other day," went on his papa, "that all Americans were nice. Do you expect him to believe that, when you, the only little American boy he knows, speak so rudely to him, and he hears you ordering your sisters about as you do?"

Stevie hung his head without a word, but his cheeks got very red.

"You know, Stevie," said Mr. Lawrence, "great honors always bring great responsibilities with them. You are a Christian and an American—two great honors; and you mustn't shirk the responsibility to be courteous and noble and kind, which they entail. Even our dear Lord Christ pleased not Himself, you know; don't you suppose it grieves Him to see His little follower flying into rages because he can't have his own way? And can you possibly imagine Washington or Lincoln ordering people about as you like to do?"

There was a moment's silence; then Stevie straightened himself up and poked his hands deep down in his pockets. "Papa," he said, tossing back his yellow curls, a look of determination on his little fair face, "I'll not shirk my 'sponsibilities. I'm just going to try with all my might to be a better boy."

"Good for you, Stevie!" cried papa, kissing him warmly. "I know mamma'll be glad, and I'm sure you'll be a much pleasanter boy to live with. But you must ask God to help you, or you'll never succeed, son; and besides, you've got to keep a tight watch on yourself all the time, you know."

"Yes, I s'pose so," agreed Stevie, with a little sigh, "'cause feelings are such hard things to manage; and, papa, please don't tell Kate and Eva, or Hitty." Papa nodded, and then they went to tell mamma the result of the talk.

Stevie did "try with all his might" for the next few days, and with such good results as to astonish all but his papa and mamma, who, as you know, were in the secret. Eva confided to Kate that she thought Stevie was certainly like "the little girl with the curl," for if when he was "bad he was horrid," "when he was good he was very, very good;" and Mehitabel watched him closely, and hoped "he wasn't sickening for measles or Italian fever."

How long this unusual state of affairs would have lasted under usual circumstances is uncertain; but about a week after Stevie's talk with his papa, Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence were called suddenly to Naples on urgent business, and the children were left in Venice in the housekeeper's care. Mamma impressed upon her little son and daughters that they must be very good children and obey Mehitabel just as they would her; and when they were going, papa said to Stevie: "Son, I want you to look after the girls and Mehitabel, and take care of them while I am away. If anything happens, try to act as you think I would if I were here."

"All right, I'll take good care of 'em," Stevie answered, feeling very proud to have papa say this before everybody, and winked hard to prevent the tears, that would come, from falling. Then, as the gondola glided from the door, papa leaned over the side and waved his hand. "Don't forget the responsibilities, Steve," he called out.

"I won't forget—sure," returned Stevie, waving back; but when Kate asked what papa meant, he answered: "It's just something between papa and me—nothing 'bout you," with such a mysterious air that of course Kate immediately suspected a secret and entreated to be told. This Stevie flatly refused to do, and they were on the verge of a quarrel when Mehitabel's voice was heard calling them to come help her choose a dessert for their five-o'clock dinner.

Stevie found the next few days what he called "very trying." You see, by virtue of what his papa had said he considered himself the head of the family, and his feelings were continually ruffled by Mehitabel's decided way of settling things without regard to his opinion. The mornings were the hardest of all, when, in their mother's absence, the children recited their lessons to Miss Higginson. Mehitabel had her own ideas about the law and order that should be maintained, and Stevie's indignant protests were quite wasted on her.

"You may do as you please when your pa and ma are home"—she said very decidedly one morning, when Kate and Stevie told her that their mamma never expected them to stand through all the lessons nor to repeat every word as it was in the book—"but when I'm head of the family you've got to do things my way, and I want every word of that lesson."

"You're just as cross as you can be," fumed Kate, flouncing herself into a chair.

"And anyway you're not the head of the family one bit," commenced Stevie, warmly tossing back his curls and getting very red in the face. "Papa said I—"

"Oh, here's a gondola stopped at our door," broke in Eva, who, taking advantage of Miss Higginson's attention being occupied elsewhere, was looking out of the window. "There's a boy in it lying down—a big boy. Oh, a man's just got out and—yes, they're bringing the boy in here!

"Sakes alive!" cried Mehitabel, dropping Stevie's book on the floor and starting for the door. "Can it possibly be Mr. Joseph and Dave?"

"Uncle Joe and Dave!" "Hurrah!" exclaimed Kate and Stevie in the same breath; and Eva having scrambled down from the window, the three children collected at the head of the stairs to watch, with breathless interest, the procession which came slowly up.

The tall man on the right was their Uncle Joe Lawrence—Kate and Eva and Stevie remembered him at once, for he had visited their parents several times since they had been in Europe; and the bright-eyed, pale-faced boy who lay huddled up in the chair which he and Guiseppi carried between them must be their Cousin Dave, of whom they had heard so much. Poor Dave! he had fallen from a tree last summer, and struck his back, and the concussion had caused paralysis of the lower part of the spine, so that he could not walk a step, and might not for years, though the doctors gave hope that he would eventually recover the use of his legs. The children gazed at him with the deepest interest and sympathy, and they were perfectly astonished when, as the chair passed them, Dave turned his head, and, in answer to their smiling greetings, deliberately made a frightful face at them!

"Isn't he the rudest!" gasped Eva, as the procession—Miss Higginson bringing up the rear—disappeared behind the doors of the guest room; while Kate and Stevie were, for once in their lives, too amazed to be able to express their feelings.

After what seemed a long time to the children, Mehitabel rejoined them. "I am in a pucker," she said, sinking into a chair. Her curls were disarranged, and her spectacles were pushed up on her forehead; she looked worried. "And there isn't a creature to turn to for advice; that Italian in the kitchen doesn't speak a blessed word of English, and Guiseppi's not much better. He keeps saying, 'Si signorina,' and wagging his head like a Chinese mandarin, until he fairly makes me dizzy, and I know all the time he doesn't understand half I'm saying."

Miss Higginson paused to take breath, then, feeling the positive necessity of unburdening herself further, continued her tale of woe: "Here's your Uncle Joseph obliged to go right on to Paris within the hour, and here's Dave to remain here till his pa returns, which mayn't be for weeks. And he requires constant care, mansage (she meant massage) treatment and everything—and just as domineering and imperdent; Stevie's bad enough, but Dave goes ahead of him. And, to make matters worse, here comes a letter from your pa saying he and your ma have met with old friends at Naples, and not to expect 'em home until we see them. Anyway, I'd made up my mind not to shorten their holiday, 'less it was a matter of life and death.

"Now, what I want to know is this: who is going to wait on that sick boy from morning to night? And that's what he'll have to have for he can't stir off his couch, can't even sit up, and wanting something every five minutes. I'm sure I can't keep the house, and see to the servants, and take care of you children, and besides wait on that exacting young one. 'Tain't in human nature to do it—anyway, 'tain't in me. And Dave's temper's at the bottom of the whole thing; he won't have Guiseppi or any other Italian I could get, and he's just worn out the patience of his French vally till he got disgusted and wouldn't put up with it any longer for love nor money. His father's got to go, and who is to take care of that boy?"

Mehitabel's voice actually quivered. The children had never seen her so moved; the differences of the morning were all forgotten, and they crowded about her, their little faces full of loving sympathy. "I wish I could help you, Hitty," said Kate, patting the old housekeeper's hand. "Is mansage treatment a kind of medicine 'cause if it is I might give it to Dave—you know I drop mamma's medicine for her sometimes."

"No, child, mansage is a certain way of rubbing the body, and it needs more strength and skill than you've got. But that I can manage, I think; Guiseppi knows a man that we can get to come and mansage Dave every morning. And I could sleep in the room next to him, and look after him during the night; but it's some one to be with him in the day that I want most."

Stevie had listened to Mehitabel's story with a very thoughtful expression on his face; now he said suddenly, and very persuasively: "I could take care of Dave through the day, Hitty—I wish you'd let me."

"You!" cried Miss Higginson, in surprise. "Why, you wouldn't be in that room five minutes before you two would be squabbling."

"No, we wouldn't; I'm sure we wouldn't," persisted the little boy. "Just you try me."

"But, Stevie, you'd get very tired being shut up in the room with that ill-tempered boy, all day long—I know him of old—he'd try the patience of a saint. You'd have no gondola rides, no fun with your sisters, no play time at all, and no thanks for your pains either. And I'm not sure your pa'd like to have you do it."

"I don't mind one bit about the fun and all that," said Stevie, decidedly; "and indeed, Hitty, I don't think papa'd object. You see, he told me the last thing, if anything happened while he was away I was to act just as he would do if he were here; now, you know, if he were here he'd just take care of Dave, himself—wouldn't he? Well, then, as he isn't here, I ought to do it—see? And really I'd like to."

"Why not let him try it anyhow, Hitty?" pleaded the little girls. And as she really saw no other way out of the difficulty, Mehitabel reluctantly consented, with the proviso that she should sit with Dave for an hour every afternoon while Stevie went for a gondola sail. Finally matters were arranged, and after a very short visit Mr. Joseph Lawrence started for Paris, leaving Dave in Venice, and the children went in to make their cousin's acquaintance.

What Mehitabel said was certainly true—Dave was a very trying boy. Though possessing naturally some good qualities, he had been so humored and indulged that his own will had become his law; he loved to tease, and hated to be thwarted in the slightest degree, and this made him often very exacting and tyrannical. Miss Higginson called him a "most exasperating boy," and she wasn't far wrong. He teased Kate and Eva so much that they hated to go into his room, or even in the gondola when he took, now and then, an airing. But, to everybody's surprise, he and Stevie got on better than was expected. Part of the secret of this lay in the fact that Dave had lived in America all his life—had just come from there, and was able to give Stevie long and glowing accounts of that country and everything in it—as seen from the other boy's standpoint. Stevie's rapt attention and implicit faith in him flattered Dave, and beside, though he wouldn't have acknowledged it for the world, he found the little fellow's willing ministrations very much pleasanter than those of the French valet, whose patience he had soon exhausted. And Stevie felt so sorry for the boy who had dearly loved to run and leap and climb, and who now lay so helpless that he could not even sit up for five minutes. Dave's heart was very sore over it sometimes—once or twice he had let Stevie see it; and then he had no dear loving mother as Stevie had, and his papa had never talked to him as Stevie's papa did to his little boy. So Stevie tried with all the strength of his brave, tender little heart to be patient with his cousin.

But, as Mehitabel would say, "human nature is human nature;" they both had quick tempers and strong wills; and for all Stevie's good intentions, many a lively quarrel took place in the guest room, of which they both fancied the old housekeeper knew nothing. She had threatened that if Dave "abused" Stevie she would separate the boys at once, even if she had to mount guard over the invalid herself; so with Spartan-like fortitude both kept their grievances to themselves—Dave because he disliked and was a little afraid of Miss Higginson, whom he had nicknamed the "dragon," and Stevie because he had really grown very fond of Dave, and knew how utterly dependent he was on him. But one day Stevie completely lost his temper and got so angry that he declared to himself he'd "just give up the whole thing."

Stevie had felt a little cross himself that morning, and Dave had been unbearable; the consequence was the most serious quarrel they had ever had. In a fit of violent rage Dave threw everything he could lay hands on at Stevie—books, cushions, and last a pretty paper-weight. The books and cushions Stevie dodged, but the paper-weight hit him on the shin, a sharp enough blow to bring tears to his eyes and the angry blood to his cheeks. Catching up a cushion that lay near, he sent it whizzing at Dave, and had the satisfaction of seeing it hit his cousin full in the face; then, before Dave could retaliate, he slipped into the hall and slammed the door of the guest room.

Out in the hall he almost danced with rage. "I'll tell Hitty," he stormed; "I won't wait on him and do things for him any longer. He's the worst-tempered boy in the whole world. I just won't have another thing to do with him! I'll go and tell her so."

Before he got half way to Mehitabel, however, he changed his mind, and stealing softly back, sat on the top step of the stairs, just outside Dave's room, to wait till Dave should call him, to make up, as had happened more than once before. Stevie determined he wouldn't go in of his own accord—he said Dave had been "too contemptibly mean." So he sat there with a very obstinate look on his little face, his elbows on his knees and his chin in his palms, staring at the patch of blue sky which was visible through the hall window nearest him.

But somehow, after a while Stevie's anger began to cool, and he began to feel sorry for Dave, and to wonder if the cushion had hurt him—a corner of it might have struck his eye! The paper-weight had hurt quite a good deal; but then he could get out of the way of such things, while Dave couldn't dodge, he had to lie there and take what Stevie threw. Poor Dave! and he might lie in that helpless way for years yet—the doctors had said perhaps by the time he was twenty-one he might be able to walk. What a long time to have to wait! Poor Dave! Stevie wondered if he would behave better than Dave if he were twelve years old and as helpless as his cousin. Mehitabel said they were both fond of their own way and loved to order people about; he guessed all boys loved their own way, whether they were nine or twelve years old.

And then suddenly there came to Stevie the remembrance of a picture that hung in his mamma's room. It was a print of a famous painting, and it represented a Boy of twelve, with a bright, eager, beautiful face, standing among grave, dark-browed, white-robed men. Mamma and Stevie had often talked about the Boy there pictured, and Stevie knew that He had not loved His own way, for He "pleased not Himself." He wouldn't have quarreled with Dave! He had been a real Boy, too; He knew just what other boys had to go through, all their trials and temptations, and mamma had said over and over that she knew He just loved to help those other boys to be good and unselfish and patient.

Then He must know all about poor Dave's having to lie helpless all the time. A wistful look came into Stevie's eyes. Oh, if Jesus were only on earth now, he thought, how quickly they would all take Dave to Him to be healed! Or perhaps He would come to the sick boy, as He did to some of those others in the Bible. Stevie pictured to himself the tall, gracious figure, clad in long, trailing robes, the holy face, the tender eyes. He would lay His hand on Dave and say: "Son"—Stevie thought that was such a beautiful word—"Son, rise up and walk." And immediately Dave would spring to his feet, well and strong. And then after that, of course, they—for he, too, would be present—would be so good and kind and patient that they wouldn't think of quarreling and throwing things at each other.

Well, that was out of the question—Stevie sighed heavily—Jesus was in heaven now, and He didn't do those miracles any more; but—since He had been a Boy Himself He must know just how hard it was for some boys—like Dave and himself, for instance—to be good; perhaps He would help them if they asked Him. Stevie had his doubts whether Dave would ask; he made fun of Stevie whenever he said anything of that kind—which wasn't often; but he (Stevie) could ask for both, and particularly that Jesus would put it into Dave's heart to make up this quarrel—he did so hate to be the first to give in.

Then, all at once, the eyes that were staring so steadily up at the blue sky grew very tender, and Stevie's lips moved.

What he said I do not know; but after that he sprang up and ran quickly into Dave's room, up to his couch. "Say, Dave," he remarked, in the most off-hand way, "I'll fix up your pillows, then you tell me all about that base-ball team you used to belong to; you said you would—you know, the one that knocked spots out of those other fellers."

Dave lay with his head turned to the wall, his eyes closed; but as Stevie spoke he opened them and looked up, a bright smile flashing over his pale face. "All right, sir, I'm your man," he answered, readily. "Pick up the things round the room first, so the 'dragon' won't know we've had a fight, and then I'll begin. And—I say, Stevie—I—I'm going to turn over a new leaf—sure, and the next time I act as I did this morning just hit me on the head, will you? I'll deserve it." Which from Dave was a full, ample, and most honorable apology, and as such Stevie took it.

A few days later Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence returned home, much to the satisfaction and happiness of the children, who had, as Eva said, "lots and lots" to tell them. Then when the three older folks were alone together, Miss Higginson told her story. "I've watched 'em close, and seen and heard more than those boys ever dreamed I did," she finished up, "and I say that our Stevie's a hero—though he doesn't know it. What he's stood with that Dave can't be told, and never a word of complaint out of him. And, do you know, I really think he's improved Dave as well as himself in the matter of temper."

"A Christian and an American," Mr. Lawrence said, with a glad thrill in his voice, smiling over at Stevie's mamma, whose shining eyes smiled back at him. "Thank God, our boy is rising to his responsibilities. But don't let him know he's done anything wonderful, Hitty."

"I'll not tell him," promised the old housekeeper. "But the good Book tells us, 'He that ruleth his spirit is greater than he that taketh a city;' and seeing that's so, America's got no call to be ashamed of Stevie, for though he's not an angel by any means, yet in his way he's a hero as sure as was ever George Washington or Paul Revere, or my name's not Mehitabel Higginson!"


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