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arms, and quieted it in her own motherly fashion, remarking in an indignant tone,
"That ain't goin' to no Perlice Court,--the wretch of a mother to leave the poor dear! Come along, do, your breakfast 'll be cold.”,
“I say, Sally,” said Jacob, with a quiet chuckle, “there were two on 'em.” “Two! why you never brought one and left the t'other ?”
No, no, but I'll tell you by the fire.” Accordingly Sally heard the rest of the tale while she fed the baby, who much enjoyed the warmth and his breakfast.
“Mark my words,” she said as she rose to go up stairs, “ Mrs. Evans 'll keep the other one."
Sally bustled about while Jacob held the baby, and then she prepared to wash and dress it, but when she proposed to clothe it in some of her dead baby's clothes, Jacob said, “No, the child must be dressed in the same in which it was found,” and Sally submitted. The infant slept, and she made all neat in anticipation of Mrs. Evans' visit. Jacob went out, and she had just prepared dinner when Mrs. Evans arrived.
Sally had known her many years, having lived housemaid with Mrs. Bertrand, her lady visitor's mother. Sally had a strong nature; where she loved, she loved truly, ay devotedly, nothing could alter her feelings; she had been a most faithful servant, but always countrified and abrupt, in spite of the frequent teaching of her young mistress, to which she invariably returned the same reply, “Nothink never won't alter me, miss, I shan't never speak grammar.” Now she spoke first as Mrs. Evans stepped in.
"I say, ma'am, did you ever hear anythink like this 'ere? Jacob wants to take it to the Perlice Court! if it goes it shan't stay, I'll ha' my way there, any how I mean to keep it, so there! Lawk, ma'am, do sit down.
“Thanks, Sally, but I want to see your baby and to show you mine. We shall be obliged to go to the Police Court, where my baby has been carried, and if you will bring yours and come with me Dr. Evans and Jacob will meet us there."
“You know, ma'am, I don't mean to be rude, but I do feel that excited about it! I'll soon be dressed-do sit down a minute near the fire."
Sally gave the fire a vigorous stir, and quickly vanished. Mrs. Evans stood on Sally's knitted hearthrug, and warmed her feet; she was fond of doing so when she was thinking, and now she was wondering about the children, and hoping nothing would ever be found out respecting them. What should she do if, after the child became to her as her own, the real parents should come and lawfully claim their treasure ? Here came in Sally with the baby in her arms, and dressed in her “ best things,” as she called them, in honour to her young mistress.
They soon arrived at the Police Court, where the other baby, carried by Mrs. Evans's housemaid, and Dr. Evans and Jacob waited for them, the case having been investigated, and the evidence of Dr. Evans and Jacob having been taken, it was decided that, if after three days of strict inquiry and search, nothing was heard of the friends of the children, the parties who desired it were at liberty to adopt and retain them, as long as they remained unclaimed. It turned out that all search was fruitless, and the babies who, like our Blessed LORD, had not where to lay their heads, found a home through the pitiful and tender mercy of that loving Saviour Who lets not even a sparrow fall to the ground without His knowledge.
When the circumstances became known, it was talked over in drawing-rooms and kitchens, in cottages and public houses, so that on the Sunday afternoon there was a very large congregation of people to see the babies Christened. They were baptized by the names of Walter and Israel, the four adopting parents being the sponsors; then they were carried home, and it was agreed that they should be brought up as strangers to each other, for Sally was as anxious as Mrs. Evans to secure the entire love of her young charge; besides, she said, he might want to have the same things as his brother, such as Jacob and she couldn't get him, and she shouldn't like him to be jealous.
And so the babies grew up answering to the names of Walter Evans and Israel Willis. After a time people left off remarking, “ that it was very strange," &c., and the boys were always regarded as really belonging to their so-called parents.
And now they were five years old, and were two handsome children. Sally never had any more family, but when Walter had completed his fifth year, Mrs. Evans gave birth to a daughter. Walter accompanied his nurse to carry the tidings to Mrs. Willis, which he did as follows.
“Mrs. Willis, my mamma has made me a present of a little girl to play with : now am I not lucky ?”
Sally was going to say “no," but checked herself and altered her reply:-“I am truly glad, Master Walter; may I come and see
your ma ?”
“Oh yes, I have been to see her, and you will see baby, but don't be disappointed, you will find she can't talk.”
“ You are to come to-night, Mrs. Willis," added Tyler the nurse, come along, Master Walter." “ Thank ye,” replied Sally; "say I'll be sure to come.”
“I will be sure to tell Mrs. Evans. Good morning," said Tyler, who was very genteel, and thought Mrs. Willis common, and she
“ There now,” said Sally to herself, as she watched her down the street, “afore I'd go with my dress trailing on the ground, and a hat, I'd be blessed ; and callin' her missus Mrs. Evans-well !” Sally banged the door and retreated.
The baby was baptized by the names of Lilian Maud, and dearly Walter loved her. She was a darling baby, with blue eyes and golden hair, and she was the pet of the household.
When Walter was ten years old he was placed at a very superior academy near the city where Dr. Evans resided, there he made considerable progress, and was pronounced to be a clever, studious boy: at the same time he was one of the most eager aspirants for the honours of the cricket-ground, and skilful at football and other boyish sports ; he was loved by his schoolfellows for his kind and amiable disposition, and respected by his tutors for his perseverance in study. He was no mean musician, he possessed what was in after years a fine tenor voice, and already he accompanied Mrs. Evans very creditably, both in vocal and instrumental music. In the meanwhile, Israel had grown into a fine manly boy, with a strength of will far beyond his years. He attended the National Schools in the parish to which his parents belonged, and was in the choir of the church which they attended, for, like his brother, he had good musical powers, and was passionately fond of sacred music. Jacob had determined that when the lad should attain the age of twelve years, he would seek employment for him as errand-boy; but when the time arrived, although Israel did not openly rebel, he was unsettled, and evidently disliked the idea, and soon after he entered service his master, discovering that he spent his time in following the military band instead of executing his errands with despatch, dismissed him. Everything martial had a charm for Israel ; he would sit by the fire on a winter's evening reading about battles, and victories by sea and land, and calling upon Sally and Jacob to admire his favourite heroes. Neither of them responded as he could have wished, for both had a secret dread unrevealed to the other, and they finally decided to apprentice him to a gunsmith for five years. He had grown into a tall noble-looking youth, seeming older than he really was. He was affectionate in disposition, and amiable in temper, but he began to look absent and sorrowful, and Sally dreaded the expiration of his apprenticeship. Her fears were realized.
Both lads were eighteen. Walter chose the medical profession, and Israel declared he would enlist. Great was the grief of Sally as she joined with Jacob in trying to dissuade him. He remained fixed in his purpose, and Sally posted off to Mrs. Evans, for whom Israel had a profound respect, anxious to enlist that lady as an ally. On being shown into the breakfast-room, where Mrs. Evans sat alone, she dropped on a chair and burst into tears.
“Tell me what is the matter, Sally," said Mrs. Evans, in a gentle tone.
"And so I will, ma'am, only I'm so upset; and to think it should be Israel too. I'm sure, Jacob is that hurt, he looks quite bad, and neither of us can't eat nor sleep for thinking of him.”
“What is the matter with Israel ?” said Mrs. Evans, who had no clear idea from her visitor of the nature of her trouble.
“Why, ma'am, he says he'll ’list. Nothink won't satisfy him but to go soldiering, to go and leave us, and never to see him no more; and you see, ma’am, he says, “It isn't that I want to leave you, mother, but go I must;'” and then she cried again.
“Sally," returned Mrs. Evans, as she drew her chair close to that on which Mrs. Willis sat, “Israel is not a common character; the love of a military life is implanted in him strongly. Who can tell ? perhaps his father followed a similar career. He has not given you any trouble save in this one instance, and I counsel you to let him go without further opposition. If you like, Dr. Evans will write the story, and should you make up your mind you can give it sealed to Israel, to open at a future time. Whenever occasion renders it necessary we have concluded to tell Master Walter, but at present we do not wish to unsettle him in his studies; therefore no mention will be made of him in the packet written for Israel. You can do as you like about giving it to him, but were he ordered abroad, I feel sure, it would be better to do so."
“You're right, ma'am; I shall be much obliged if Dr. Evans will write the story for us, I'm sure I love the boy as well as if he was my own; he is so kind, and will do anything for me when I ain't well."
“You have been a good mother, Sally, and you will not lose your reward; but I am sure you do not think of that.”
Before Sally could reply, Dr. Evans came in.
"Good evening, Sally,” said he. "I have seen Israel; let the lad go, do not try to detain him. I had a brother who was almost mad to enter the military profession. Our parents forced him to remain at home. He was an affectionate, high-spirited lad, but he became wild and reckless : he went on in the wrong way until he disappeared, and has never been heard of since. You have experienced this kind of trouble in your own family, Sally." “ That's true, sir ; my poor father knew trouble if
any one did;
and then, our mother-in-law turned us girls out when we had a good home. Not but what, I dare say, it was better for us to get our own living ; only I did feel it when I was ill, just before your ma took me, ma'àm, and so I never hold with mothers-in-law; however, she's dead and gone, and father too, and now Isaac has the farm ; it seems like home to go there. But I must be going, sir, and I'm much obliged."
“Then good night, Sally,” and Dr. Evans showed her out himself, saying, as he re-entered the room, " That boy, Nettie, is a born soldier and a true gentleman in his feelings. He loves Jacob and Sally as truly as if he were really their son, and seems as full of trouble as they are themselves, yet feels he must go. I am sure they will miss him sorely when he has gone, and yet I feel they will be right to let him go away quietly. He may return to them, and settle down for life ; they will gladly buy him off. I will write the story and give it to Jacob to-morrow. Our boy will soon be leaving us for London, so we can enter into the grief of Sally. God bless both the brothers. I do not think they have ever entertained any suspicion with respect to their birth, and no one is left who would care to tell them. We are the proper persons to make it known.”
Walter's entrance prevented reply on the part of Mrs. Evans. There was a letter from Maud to read, and then Walter began to speak of Israel,
“I do not know much of Israel Willis," he remarked; "but I think he will make a good soldier. He is a fine fellow, is he not, mother p”