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No, don't
cry--don't speak! I won't have you making yourself a show to the whole
place any more than you have done already. That you should have deceived
us so!" she sighed to herself. She was taking Amy in, not by the garden,
but round the corner of the lane, to give a little more time for her to
recover herself, and also to avoid facing Mrs. Rowe's eager eyes.

"Please don't tell father," once sighed Amy.

"Do you think I am going to be as deceitful as yourself?" was all the
answer she got.

Amy's was a meek nature, and she knew she had been doing very wrong, so
she uttered no more entreaties; indeed, she was in such a trembling,
choking state, that her aunt had to wait, and walk slowly, while the
girl tried to control herself enough to appear respectably--in a little
lurking hope that perhaps Aunt Rose would be better than her word, and
at least not tell Aunt Amy, her godmother, or Cousin Ambrose. She, who
had been always reckoned so good a girl, and had never been in disgrace
before! That it should have happened at such a time!

And when the garden gate was opened, there was a further shock. More
people were in the house! Miss Manners, who had come home the night
before, had come to inquire for little Edwin, and there was a buzz of
voices, as she and Mrs. Cuthbert had most joyfully greeted one another.

Miss Manners was delighted to see the young missionary, and the only
drawback was that poor little Edwin was evidently so much worse. He had
been gradually growing worse and weaker for the last ten days or a
fortnight, Polly and Mrs. Rowe said, and his mother had sad nights with
him; but the parish doctor had said it was only feverishness caused by
the heat, when he saw the boy last week, and did not seem to think it of
consequence. The family depended on the mother's work, and in hay-making
time she could not stay at home. Mr. Somers was gone from home, so was
Miss Manners, and no one had thought much about the poor child; but he
had become so much worse in the course of the morning, that it was plain
that his mother and the doctor must both be sent for without loss of
time.

Miss Manners came out into the garden with Mrs. Cuthbert, and as the
aunt and niece came up, said she would find the messenger.

"Had not you thought him so well, Amy?" she asked.

"Oh, ma'am!" exclaimed Aunt Rose, always an outspoken person, "that's
the worst trouble of all! Who would have thought this sly deceitful
child could have made as if she was sitting all the time with that poor
boy, while she was just walking all the time with that good-for-nothing
groom up at the Arms. How I shall tell her poor father, I don't know. It
will be enough to break his heart!"

"It was all Florence Cray!" sobbed Amy.

"Well," said Miss Manners, "of course her father must know about it; but
since Amy the elder is only to be here three or four hours, don't you
think it would be better not to spoil her visit for him? You can have it
out in the evening, you know; but it would be a great pity to give him
such a shock at once. Don't you think so, Amy?"

"Indeed I do, ma'am," said Mrs. Cuthbert; "I am afraid the poor girl may
have been to blame, but it will not be the worse for her to wait a
little while, and my brother would be so much taken up with the matter,
that I am afraid my Ambrose would never know his uncle as I should
like."

"I'm sure it will all be spoilt to me, any way," said poor Aunt Rose,
half choked.

"But you will bear the burthen alone, for your brother's sake and
Charlotte's," said Miss Manners, cheerfully; "besides, you have your
own dear old Amy to help you to bear it, and that is like old times."

This comforted Rose a good deal. Miss Dora--as she and her sister Amy
still called her--said she would not say good-bye, she would look in
before the Cuthberts went, and say how the child was.

The younger Amy was glad at first of the respite, but altogether it was
the most dreadful day she ever spent. There was her father in his Sunday
best coming out to meet them, wondering what had made them stay so long.
Mrs. Cuthbert answered, to save Aunt Rose, that they had found the child
much worse, and that Miss Manners had come in. This satisfied him, and
they went in to the meal Aunt Charlotte had prepared--a very late
luncheon, or early and solid tea, whichever it might be called--in the
parlour, with the best china, and everything as nice as possible.

Really Amy felt as if it would have been less dreadful to have been
locked up in her room, or sitting sewing with Jessie in the workroom,
than sitting up in the parlour with the rest, and hearing her father
show his pride in her, making her fetch her prize for the religious
examination, and talking of her almost as if he wanted to compare her
with Aunt Amy's missionary son.

And then when Ambrose Cuthbert was questioned about his plans, and told
in a very modest quiet way where he was to go, and the work he was to do
under a missionary to the Red Indians, Amy saw more and more how foolish
she had been. What was that conceited groom whose boast was of the
horses he had ridden, and the bets laid on them, compared with this
young man? Which was the gentleman of the two? And this was her own
first cousin, and she had forfeited the respect and esteem which he
might have carried out with him! He would only--in those far
countries--think of his cousin, Amy Lee, as a giddy, deceitful,
hypocritical girl, who had carried on a flirtation under cover of a good
work.

Amy burnt to tell all the excuses she thought she had, and how she had
been led on, and that it was not so bad as no doubt Aunt Rose thought;
but she must keep all back. Only at last her father remarked that his
darling was very silent--shy, he thought, with her grand scholarly
cousin. He said he should like them to hear what a pretty voice she had,
and told her to sing one of her hymns, such as "Abide with us;" but Amy
could not do that. She put her face in her hands, choked, and began to
cry.

"Ah!" said Aunt Charlotte; "poor dear, it has been a great shock to her,
the poor little boy being taken so much worse."

It was a comfort to every one that at that moment Miss Manners came in
through the shop, asking for Jessie Hollis.

"The poor little boy is very ill," she said. "The only thing that seems
to soothe him is a bit of a verse that his sister Mary says her teacher
taught her. That was you--is it not, Jessie? Mary can only say half, and
we can't make it out; but she says, 'If teacher was but here.'"

Of course Miss Lee was ready to spare Jessie for such a reason, and she
folded up her work while Miss Manners had a little talk with Mrs.
Cuthbert, on the mingled pain and sweetness of the giving up her only
son to be one of those sent forth "to sow beside all waters."

"I am so glad he should have seen you, ma'am, before he leaves us," said
his mother, the tears rising in her quiet eyes. "I only wish he could
have seen Miss Edith--Mrs. Howard; for indeed, ma'am, I always feel that
whatever good my children have learnt at home, was owing to the way I
was brought up and the way Miss Edith used to talk to us."

"Nothing will make my sister so happy as to hear it, Amy," said Miss
Manners. "Somehow it seems to chime in with what I had ventured to bring
as a little remembrance of your old home for your son. I had prepared it
to send the St. Augustine's scholar, before I knew I should see him."

She gave him a beautiful little _Christian Year_ and _Lyra Innocentium_
in a case together, and as the book-marker was the illuminated text--

"In the morning sow thy seed,
And in the evening withhold not thine hand,
For thou knowest not which shall prosper."

Ambrose Cuthbert thanked the lady in a very nice way, telling her that
he should value her gift much, and that he hoped to make the poems his
companions and often his guides in his work.

So with a warm pressure of the hands of both mother and son, Miss
Manners walked away with Jessie.

"I think," she presently said, "some of your bread on the waters is
coming back to you, Jessie. They say that little Mary Smithers has been
such a comfort to her little brother, by repeating to him what she
learns on Sundays, and that she has been so much more good and attentive
to him of late."

"I am sure, ma'am," said Jessie, "I never thought Mary Smithers seemed
to understand anything."

"We can never judge where the seed we sow will prosper," said Miss Dora,
thinking within herself of the different results with Amy and Jessie.

The little boy had been carried up to the bedroom. Old Mrs. Rowe was
there, and his mother, who was trying to help him to lie more easily,
while he moved feebly, but restlessly, and still looked at little
Polly, who was repeating over and over some verse in which "Shepherd"
was the only word that Miss Manners, well as she knew the children's
tones, could make out. Jessie, however, knew it directly, and repeated--

"Gracious Saviour, gentle Shepherd,
Little ones are dear to Thee,
Gathered in Thine Arms and carried,
In Thy Bosom may we be
Sweetly, fondly, gently tended,
From all want and danger free."

She could say the whole hymn, but the child grew restless as soon as she
had passed beyond the first verse. She returned to it, once, twice, and
then Polly got back what she had partly forgotten and went on with it,
which was evidently what quieted the boy best. He seemed too far gone to
attend to anything else; the sense of other words did not reach his
ears, but these evidently gave him pleasure. The doctor had said he was
dying, and the women thought he would sleep himself away. There seemed
no more to be done. Polly had her verse to say to him, and no help
seemed needed; so Miss Manners and Jessie went down the stairs again,
and out into the garden, Jessie shedding many tears, but very far from
sad ones. When she could speak, she said that the young woman in the
hospital to whom she owed so much knew the hymn, and had so often
repeated it, that Jessie had learnt it.



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