Sir Henry stopped unseen at the gate of the orchard, and for some minutes
looked on the almost fairy group, whose voices had led him thither.
Lying on the bank, which enclosed the orchard, was a blue-eyed
rosy-cheeked little girl; - the ground ashes had been cut down; and her
laughing face was pillowed on the violets and oxlips, that burst from
between the roots. She was preparing to take another roll into the clayey
ditch below. Another little girl was gazing at the child from within the
orchard; half doubtful whether she should encourage or check her. One
pale-blue slipper and her little sock were half sunk in the clay, while
the veiny and pink-soled foot, the large lids half closed over her deep
blue eyes, the finger thrust between her red and pouting lips, her bonnet
thrown back and hanging by the strings round her swelling throat, her hair
dishevelled and stuck with oxlips, primroses, cowslips, violets, and
daisies; and wreathed with the spring-holly, or butcher's-broom - made her
a perfect picture of English beauty, and of childish anxiety and
Beside her stood a boy older than herself, and evidently as perplexed.
There was Julia perched cock-horse on the bank - there was Emily, her hair
undone, her bonnet crashed, with one shoe and stocking lost - and yet he
had promised Mamma, that if she would but once trust his sisters to him,
that he would bring them home, "with such a pretty basket of
The beautiful blossoms of the cherry hung around the boy - the bees buzzed
in its bells - the apple and pear blossoms shook their fragrance in the
warm air - and the shadows of the flying clouds hurried like wings over the
bright green grass. The boy had dropped his basket of fresh-blown flowers
at his feet - tears were trembling in his eye-lids, as he gazed on his
sisters. His look was that of George.
"Childhood too has its sorrows," said Sir Henry, half aloud, "even when
seeking joy on a bank of primroses. Why should _I_ then repine?"
The boy started as he heard and saw the stranger: - he involuntarily put
one foot forward in an attitude of childish defiance: but children are
keen physiognomists, and there was nothing but affection beaming from that
"My boy!" said Delm√©, and his eyes were moist, "did you ever hear of your
"Emily! Emily! Julia!" exclaimed the little fellow, as he rushed into Sir
Henry's arms, "here is Uncle Henry, my god-papa, and he will help us to
reach the blackberries."
We need follow the wanderer no further. It is true that in his youth he
had not known sympathy; in his manhood he had experienced sorrow; but
it is a pleasure to us to reflect, that despair is not the companion of
his old age.