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OLD COTJRT, in Sussex, is a large farm-
house, and, as its name would lead us to
suppose, it is an old one also. It is built
on a hill, four or five miles distant from
the sea-coast, nicely sheltered, however,
from the cold sea breezes, by a fine plan-
tation of firs. On one side of the house is
the farm-yard, with its barns, granaries,
stables, and stacks ; on the other, sepa-
rated from it only by a narrow road, is the
village church-yard, with its green grave-
mounds and white tomb-stones, and ancient
gray church, covered from foundation to
tower top, with a thick great coat of ivy.
Lower in the valley is the village itself,
which is just a small cluster of cottages
with white-washed walls, straw thatched
roofs, and red -bricked chimneys, so big in
comparison with the cottages themselves,
that one is apt to suppose there can be
room inside for nothing but fire-places.
Near the church is a pretty parsonage-
house, which looks partly into the farm-


yard of Old Court, and partly across the
country for miles and miles, over rich
meadows, fields, and hop-gardens, two or
three towns, and more than a dozen vil-
lages, until earth and sky seem to meet,
and almost to fade, the one into the other.
A beautiful part of England is Sussex, and
Old Court is in one of the finest portions
of it.

Twenty-five years ago, the pretty par-
sonage-house just mentioned was inhabited
by a little elderly gentleman, who had been
for many years the parish clergyman. A
lonely life he must have led there ; for his
whole household consisted of an old deaf
housekeeper, and a servant-maid, while it
was a very rare occurrence for him either
to visit his neighbours, or to be visited by
them. No one knew much of Mr. Herbert
for that was the vicar's name except
that he was very kind to the poor, espe-
cially when they were sick, and to the
children in the village, for whom he had
always a kind word whenever he met

It was not often, however, that Mr.
Herbert was seen, either in the village, or
anywhere else, except in church. It was
believed that he spent the larger part of
his time in his library, which contained
many rare old books and fine paintings.
Of course, Mr. Herbert was thought to be
a very learned man ; and some of the
people in the village went so far as to say


that he not only composed his own ser-
mons, but that he wrote many large books ;
but what they were, I could never learn.
He was very neat in his dress, and rather
old-fashioned ; but then, as I said, he was
himself elderly. When he did go out, it
was in a full suit of black, with rich silk
stockings, and bright silver buckles to his
low shoes, which were also made to shine
like polished ebony. The kerchief round
his neck was always tied in one particular
fashion, and as to its colour, or its no
colour, surely snow could hardly be more
pure and white. White also was his hair ;
but whether age or hair-powder made it
so, who could decide ? Perhaps it was
both. He was generally very grave, and
rather slow in speech ; but sometimes he
laid aside or forgot these habits, and could
laugh and chat "like a child ; but this was
when he was in the company of children.
What a different sort of person was Mr.
Bell, over the road, at Old Court Farm I
and what a different kind '</ house from
the parsonage was that same farm ! Fancy,
in the first place, a short, fat, red-faced,
brown -haired, and very happy -looking
man, in thick laced boots, leather gaiters,
and white round frock, such as Sussex
farmers delight to wear ; and, in the
second place, a perpetual movement of
men and maids, ducks, geese and hens, pigs
and dogs, cows, oxen, and horses, with all
their various voices. Fancying all this,


you will have before you Mr. Bell himself,
and Mr. Bell's farm-yard, into which Mr.
Herbert had the privilege of a full view at
any time of the day, from the window or
one of the windows of his library.

In one particular, however, the par-
sonage-house and Old Court Farm were
alike. As in the one there was no Mrs.
Herbert, so, in the other there was no Mrs.
Bell, for the farmer had never thought fit
to marry.

One afternoon, in the month of May, as
the little clergyman was sitting in his
library, he saw the farmer, dressed in his
best, ride out of the farm-yard in the old-
fashioned chaise which he was in the habit
of using, when, on market-days, he went to
market, and in which he also rode every
Sunday to a chapel about four miles from
his farm. But as this particular day was
neither market-day nor Sunday, and as
besides this, it was afternoon, and not
morning, Mr. Herbert, perhaps for a full
minute, forgot what he was before think-
ing about, to wonder where his neighbour
Bell could be going. The sound of the
wheels, however, was soon lost in the dis-
tance, and Mr. Herbert almost at the same
time, left off wondering about Mr. Bell.

About two hours later, on the same
afternoon, the chaise was again heard, and
this time, drawing nearer and nearer to
the farm. Once more Mr. Herbert, who
was still in his favourite library, lifted


his eyes, and soon perceived that Mr. Bell
had not returned alone. Indeed, the chaise
was pretty well filled, for there were two
or three trunks, two bonnet-boxes, and,
what was more, there were two ladies, to
whom all this luggage doubtless belonged.
One of these was a middle-aged person, as
far as Mr. Herbert could judge. She seemed
to be in bad health, or at least to be suffer-
ing from great weakness. Her face was
very pale, and when the chaise stopped at
the front gates of Old Court Farm, she
had to be almost lifted out of it by Mr.
Bell, who carefully supported her to the
hall door.

The other stranger was a little girl.
" With

her, at any rate, there was nothing the
matter, if plump cheeks, dimpled chin, and
laughing bright eyes, go for anything at
all in the way of tale-telling, She sprang
out of the chaise with a quick, light step,
and tripping up the path behind the sick
lady, left Tom, the stable-man, who was
holding the horse's head, to take what care
he pleased of trunks and bonnet-boxes.

All this Mr. Herbert observed before he
once called to mind that he was acting
rather unpolitely. He then, with a soft
sigh, quietly drew down his blind, and be-
took himself again to the book he had
before been reading ; but not until he re-
membered having heard some days before
that Mr. Bell had a sister in London who,


having been dangerously ill, was expected
to visit Old Court farm for the sake of her
health. This lady no doubt was that sister,
and the little girl might be her daughter.

A few days after this arrival, Mr. Her-
bert was walking across a meadow behind
Mr. Bell's farm-yard, when the same little
girl whom he had seen get out of the
chaise, ran after him. She ran so nimbly
and softly that she was close behind the
old gentleman before he noticed her.

' Sir, sir,' she eagerly cried out, ' I think
this belongs to you, sir, does it not V

The gentleman turned round. ' What is
it, my little maid 1 ' he asked.

1 This, this, sir/ she answered, holding
out as far as her short arm could stretch,
a small and very elegant silver pencil case.

1 Indeed it does belong to me,' he replied.
' I must have been very careless to drop it.
But where did you pick it up my dear
little girl, and what made you think it to
be mine 1 '

' 0, I was almost sure it was yours, for
no one but you has been in this meadow
since I came into it ; and I found it quite
on the path, where I am sure it was not
just now. I am so glad I found it/ she said.

' And I am very glad too/ replied Mr.
Herbert, ' for I should have been sorry to
lose my pencil in such a careless manner.
And yet, how could it have escaped from

my pocket ?' ' Ah/ he continued, after

feeling his waistcoat ' Ah, there is a little


naughty hole here I find. I ain glad, my
dear child, that you did not wish to keep
what you found.'

* Oh sir, that would not have been right.
It does not belong to me you know.'

' And if it had not been mine ; or if you
had not seen me, would you then have
kept it?

'No indeed, sir, that would not have
been right either. I should I should have
asked mama what to do, or uncle Bell.'

So Mr. Bell is your uncle, and your
inama is the lady whom I saw getting out
of Mr. Bell's chaise a few days ago ? am I

' Yes, sir.'

' I am glad of that,' said Mr. Herbert ;
for Mr. Bell and myself are very good
friends, and I think he will let me make
friends with you if I ask him : and your
inama also ; but I fear she is not well ? '

' She has been ill very ill indeed, sir,'
replied the little girl, with tears in her
eyes ; 'but she is better, ever so much better
now, sir. She says she gets stronger every
day. I came out to gather a bunch of
cowslips for her. Mama is so fond of

' That is right quite right, young lady.
And do you think your dear mama would
like any other kind of flowers ? '

' I do not know, sir ; uncle Bell has
plenty of flowers in his garden, only mama
does so like wild cowslips.'

ItiUllT IS RIGHT. 11

' Well, I will not otFer you a nosegay,
then. But do you think your mama would
let me call on her some day ? '

' yes, sir, at least, I dare say she
would. But I do not know who you are,

Mr. Herbert smiled. ' Very true, my
dear little girl. But your uncle knows me.
Will you give Mr. Herbert's respects to
him, and tell him that I have made ac-
quaintance with you, and that I hope ho
will introduce me to mama 1 '

The little girl curtsied, and was running

1 Stop, my child ; I have told you my
name ; now will you let me know yours ? '

' Faimy Fanny Mason, sir.'

It is astonishing how soon some persons
seem to understand and like each other
when they happen to be brought together.
Mr. Herbert did not fail to make his pro-
mised call upon Mrs. Mason ; and he had
not been half-an-hour in her company be-
fore they were conversing with each other
like old friends. After this, once, at least,
and often twice a week, the prim clergy-
man was sure to step across the road to
spend an hour with the visitor at Old

And oftener much oftener than twice
a week, for it soon came to be of daily
occurrence did Faimv and Mr. Herbert


meet, and exchange a few kind words.
Sometimes he would invite her to walk
round his little garden, and see his choice
flowers he was very fond of flowers and
his bees, with their glass hives, through
which the little girl could observe their
busy proceedings. Now and then, the kind
clergyman and his young friend were seen
strolling together into the fields, very busy
almost as busy as bees in searching for
rare and curious plants and flowers. There
was one, especially, which Fanny thought
the most extraordinary thing she had ever
seen. This was the Bee- Orchis. It was
quite amusing to see the white-headed old
gentleman, with a garden trowel in his
hand, hunting over the fields, from corner
to corner, with the bright-eyed, eager little
girl close at his heels, and to hear them both
uttering cries of pleasure when another
specimen was carefully placed in the little
basket she carried. Those were happy days
for Fanny, which she thought of many
years afterwards which I believe she often
thinks of now with delight. They were
especially happy, because of the many use-
ful and agreeable stories which she heard
from her kind companion, and because,
also, every day she knew her mother was
becoming stronger, and would soon, she
hoped, join them in their rambles.

Mr. Herbert was, for his part, as happy
as Fanny. He found that he had made
acquaintance, not only with a merry,


honest little girl, but with one who, for
her age, was both clever and useful. He
was surprised that she knew so much of
what is in books and of what is not in
books ; and he judged rightly that much
pains had been taken in teaching her all
that she knew. It was this that made him
Bay to her one day,

' You must come and see me in my
library. I have a few books that I think
you would like to read some which per-
haps you have never seen : and there are
some pictures which I am sure would
please you. I must ask your mama if she
can spare you for a whole afternoon.'

Nothing surely could have happened
better ! The very next day was showery ;
and Mr. Herbert, mindful of his promise,
managed to dine earlier than usual, and to
step across the road himself, to make sure
of his visitor, taking care to wrap her in a
cloak, that she might not get wet.

The little girl was mightily pleased. She
had never seen so many books before not
in one room at least ; and she wondered
whether it really could be that one person
had read them all.

But there was one set of books which
took almost all of her time and attention
that afternoon. They were full of beauti-
fully coloured plates of flowers and fruit.
Full of information were they too, about
the where, and the when, and the how, of
plants and flowers, trees and fruit.


Mr. Herbert waited very patiently while
Fanny turned leaf after leaf of these won-
derful books ; and kindly explained, as
they went on, much that they contained.
He described to her the different parts of
a floAver, and taught her the names by
which they are called by botanists, or per-
sons who make plants their study. At
length, when Fanny seemed almost tired
of this amusement, Mr. Herbert told her
he would send the books across to Old
Court, for her to look at while she remained
in the country.

* And now/ he said, ' I have something
else to show you.' Then he went to a
closet, and took from it what is called a
portfolio, which he laid upon the table, and

1 See,' he said, ' here are some drawings
and paintings which will please you/

He then showed them, one by one to the
little girl, talking to her all the while.

( This windmill I drew when I was a
boy, and that was more than fifty years
ago. Then I had a dear little sister, as
well as kind parents. Alas, alas ! they are
no longer in this world ; see, here is a
painting of the church-yard, in which they
lie buried. That is their tomb. I did not
draw this myself. I tried many times, but
could not. My hand would not keep steady ;
so I got a friend to take the mournful
sketch for me/

* This basket of flowers, I painted about
forty years ago. Ah, the flowers soon


withered ; and the hand that painted them
is withering also.'

' And this/ exclaimed Fanny; ' did you
paint this too, sir?'

It was a beautiful painting which she
held in her hand a painting of rich and
rare fruit. Fanny did not at first observe
that whoever had begun, had never quite
finished the painting ; but she did notice
how much her kind old friend's hand
trembled when he gently laid it on her
arm, and caused her to stand by him, with
the painting still in her hand, as he
spoke :

' Listen, my dear, happy young friend.
There was once ah, it seems but yester-
day, and yet it was more than forty years
ago there was once, a long way from this
village, a very happy home. It was the
home of a young minister who had a kind,
gentle, loving wife, and a darling little
girl, at that time about three years old. It
pleased God then to make that young man
feel that no happiness in this world is sure
and lasting. Sickness came, and then
death. The young mother was taken away
to her better home in heaven ; while little
Mary and her father were left behind for
a time, full of grief at the loss they had to

Tears now began to come into Fanny's
eyes ; she thought of her own dear mama,
and how sad it would have been had site
died at the time she was so very, very ill.

' You may think,' Mr. Herbert con-


tinued, ' what a great loss this was to poor
little Mary. But she soon became cheerful
again for sorrows do not last long with
such little ones and before long she was a
very great comfort to her father. She grew
up to be a good obedient child. It was
very rarely indeed that she vexed or grieved
any one. I believe the reason of this was
that her Heavenly Father kept her from
sin, and put the love of wisdom and piety
in her soul, else she might have become
a shame and sorrow instead of a comfort
to her earthly parent. Do you understand
this, my dear young lady V

Yes, Fanny thought she did partly un-
derstand it ; for her own parents had
shown her, again and again, that we need
the help of God to do any thing right and
acceptable to Him.

' I cannot tell you, Mr. Herbert went on
to say ; * how much happiness little Mary
brought back to her father, who never felt
lonely when she was by. You will not be
surprised, therefore, that he liked to keep
her near him, and that instead of sending
her to school, away from her home, he
had a teacher for her in his own house,
and that he himself took pleasure in giving
her what instructions he was able. By-
and-by, Mary was no longer a child, and
the older she became, the more reason did
her father see for thanking God for such a
precious gift to him. But no : it was not a
gift Mary was only put into that father's


care for a time ; and the time soon came
when she too was to be restored to her
Father in Heaven.

' One day, when nearly fifteen years old,
Mary was sitting in her father's study
her favourite place. She hoped that day to
finish a picture which had been her occu-
pation for many weeks, and was intended
as a present to her father on her birth-day.
He stood then by her side, looking at the
beautiful colours she was laying on, and
helping her a little with his advice for it
was he who had first taught her how to

draw and colour : well, he was looking

on, when all at once she laid down her
pencil, and said in a low tone, " Papa, I
cannot do any more now. My head is in
such pain."

' 1 cannot go on with this little history
any farther, my child/ said Mr. Herbert,
in a mournful voice ; ' only to say that
dear Mary never took a pencil in her hand
again. In a few weeks she was laid in
her mother's grave ; and since then, the
greatest pleasure on earth that her poor
lonely father has felt, is in the thought
that both Mary and her mother are where
sorrow and sickness can never come ; that
their spirits are in heaven with Christ
their Saviour.'

Fanny looked inquiringly into the face
of her kind companion. It was a look
which seemed to say, ' I wonder whether
you have been talking about yourself now ?'


At least, Mr. Herbert took her to mean as

1 Yes/ he said ; l she was my Mary ; and
the picture you now hold in your hand is
the picture which, twenty-eight years ago,
she began, but never finished. See, that
bunch of grapes was the last she was at
work upon. There, on that one grape is
the last touch she gave ; all the others
below, you see are not completed. And
now you do not wonder, do you ? that I
prize this painting very highly ; and you
will believe me when I tell you that I
often look at it till tears come into my
eyes. Men, you know, may sometimes shed
tears, though it is not very manly to con-
fess it. Well, this is a sorrowful story, and
I did not ask you to come and see me, to
make you sad. See, there is a fine gleam
of sunshine to close in this showery day,
and the garden paths, I dare say, are dry.
Let us go and see how the bees do.'

1 It is a beautiful picture/ said Fanny,
half to herself, and half aloud, as Mr.
Herbert gently took it from her hands to
replace it carefully in the portfolio. ' It is
a beautiful picture. I wish I could make
one like it.'

' Do you really wish so 1 ' said Mr. Her-
bert, in a voice that sounded gladly. 'And
would you like to learn 1 And could your
dear mama trust me to teach you until she
returns home and is able to attend again
to such things herself?'


June, July, August passed away, and
still Fanny and her mother remained at
Old Court Farm. At length, towards the
end of September, every thing was got
ready for their return home. The very
next day, uncle Bell was to take them in
his chaise to the London Road, and see
them safely in the coach ; and I am happy
to say that Mrs. Mason was now so well
and strong that there was no need of lift -
ing her either into or out of coach or

Only one thing more remained for Fanny
to do, after she had, for the last time, gone
round the farm, and said ' good- bye' to
geese, chickens, cows, horses, and donkey
which last animal, by the way, had be-
come a great favourite with her, for it had


trotted with her upon its back, many a
mile, without showing any stubbornness
or discontent. Well, there was one more
' good-bye' to say that evening ; so while
mama was busy in putting clothes into
trunks, and bonnets into bonnet-boxes,
Fanny prepared to run across the road to
the parsonage. But before she had reached
the garden gate, she was met by Mr. Her-
bert himself, carrying in his hand a parcel
carefully wrapped in a silk handkerchief.
So she returned with him to the best par-
lour of Old Court Farm.

1 It grieves me much,' he said, when
they were seated, { to lose my good little
pupil ; but such partings must be in this
world. We will hope, however, to meet
again ; and I have brought a small keep-
sake, to put you in mind of me. I have
not forgotten, my dear Fanny, the way in
which we first became acquainted ; but
you cannot know or feel how much I am
still in your debt. That pencil-case, which
you kindly restored to me when I care-
lessly lost it, has been my companion nearly
thirty years. I would not have lost it for
a hundred times what it cost, for it once
belonged to my own darling child. But I
shall not speak of this now. Will you
please to accept what it gives me great
pleasure to offer you ?'

It was a very handsome colour-box, with
every thing necessary for a young artist.

Fanny's face flushed with pleasure and


gratitude when she saw the gift. She had
never once thought of receiving any reward
for her little act of honesty. Besides, had
not Mr. Herbert taken great pains with
her in teaching her, as well as given her
and her mama very much of his pleasant

Mr. Herbert was pleased that the little
girl was pleased. He told her that she
must not forget what he had endeavoured
to teach her, for that some day he should
visit London he had a relation in London
not far from Fanny's home and that then
he would expect a fine drawing or paint-
ing as a keepsake from her. He asked
permission, also, to write now and then to
her ; and got her to promise that she
would write to him in return.

The kind clergyman, moreover, had not
forgotten that Fanny had told him of a
brother Edward, and a sister Sarah dear
blind Sarah and for both of these he had
put up a little gift, if Fanny would be so
kind as to be the bearer of them, with his

It was an hour after this that Mr. Her-
bert left Old Court ; for he had a good long
conversation with Fanny's mother and
uncle. And when he at last rose to leave
the room, and kissing his little friend,
solemnly prayed that God would bless her,
and keep her in the ways of pleasantness
and peace, I am sure you will not wonder
that Fanny felt sad and sorrowful, though


she was the possessor of the most beautiful
and complete box of colours she had ever

But thoughts of home soon dispelled her
sadness ; and in less than twenty -four
hours, Fanny, with her mother, found
themselves once more in their pleasant
London home ; and her father, her brother
Edward, and dear sister Sarah, listening
to all the pleasant things she had to tell
about her uncle, her uncle's farm, Mr.
Herbert, his church, his garden, and his
bees, and her old quiet, good-tempered
friend, the donkey.




ONE evening, about four years after
Fanny's return from Old Court Farm,
her brother Edward, now nearly eighteen
years old, was returning from the city :

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