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NEAR to the City of Winchester lies the small village of Little Worthy, a quaint-looking place full of associations with the past. Here is the old church dedicated to St. Martin, dating centuries back, with the three large stone figures in front of the door, supposed to represent Christ and the two Marys. The broad meadows, and fields, and green woodlands that lie all around the little village, were given by the third son of the Conqueror to the monks of Hyde Abbey eight hundred years ago. How things have changed since then! How many have come and gone, and played out the dream of life in that little village, and in the old cathedral city-churchmen and people, knights and burghers, young and old!

Perhaps thoughts similar to these were passing through the mind of a sorrowing widow, who, with her two orphan children, sat weeping on a stile, midway between Winchester and Little Worthy.

It was a bright July afternoon, and the sun poured down, hot and glaring, on the sad group; but the weary, heart-broken woman little heeded it; she had seemed as one moving in a dream, and had scarce yet passed from her trance of grief. All nature, however was bright and joyous, in sad contrast with her sorrow-stricken face. The birds were twittering in a clump of fine old oaks hard by, mowers were singing in a neighbouring hay-field, the blue waters of the Itchen wound like a band of silver through the green landscape; and in the distance, melting away into the golden clouds of the west, lay the North Downs, a long range of greyish-white hills, with a stretch of heath, forming a dark purple patch amidst the lighter tints of the uplands.

Mrs. Berrington was young in years and old in sorrow. On that

! The catastrophe of this story is founded upon fact. It is scarcely necessary that the writer should say, that for the allusions to manners, customs, costumes, and so forth, she is indebted to old pamphlets, newspapers, magazines, &c., of the last century.

bright summer afternoon she had followed the body of her husban hrough the streets of the city to its last resting-place. Among those old houses, with their red-tiled roofs, she could look upon the grey towers of the church, beneath whose walls she had seen him laid in his quiet resting-place. Oh the agony of that stricken heart! What a luxury it was to sit there and weep! He had been all in all to her. They had loved so truly and fondly, their souls had been so perfectly united, they had never known what it was to have a quarrel. They had not been rich, but they had been contented with what they had. Perhaps their only real sorrow had been the sad accident which had transformed their first-born, a fine noblelooking lad, into the pale, delicate, misshapen boy, with an unsightly projection on the shoulders, who sits mournfully at his mother's feet, making a cowslip ball for the tiny little sister by his side-too young to realise her loss-while her brother tries to stem the torrent of his own grief, that ne may prevent Rose from troubling poor mamma with questions.

Mr. Berrington had always enjoyed good health, until a violent cold brought on consumption-that disease fatal to so many of England's sons and daughters. Mrs. Berrington hoped against hope, though the sad malady made rapid and fearful strides. She brought her husband to Winchester, his native place. All she did was unavailing. Seated at the open window, on a balmy summer day, such as that on which he was buried, his head resting on the shoulder of his faithful and loving companion, he passed quietly away from life to death, without sigh or struggle-so gently, that she hardly knew that he was dead. Then, alas! she found that the jewel had gone, that the casket was empty, and that John Berrington's name should be known no more. To weep undisturbed is a luxury, but even this sad privilege Mary Berrington could no longer enjov. She knew she must be up and doing. The staff and prop of her life had gone. There was no one now to stand between her and the rough usage of a hard world. And then there were her two poor children, the little girl scarce four years old, and the sickly deformed boy, to whom her heart clung the closer from his very misfortune.

She must go home-what a solitary home now! though she and her children were not its sole occupants. Perhaps she would rather that she should have been alone, for at home was her own old uncle, a man reputed rich, but hoarding what wealth he had, as though he could take it with him to that shadowy world on the borders of which his foot already trod. Some little time before her husband's death Mr. Pepper had proposed coming to live with his niece. The prospect was not promising, as he had never shown any affection for her, his sole relative. He was known for a

close and penurious man, and was accompanied, moreover, by a cross, ill-natured serving-woman. However, poverty reconciles us to many hard things, and so, for the sake of the small stipend he offered, Mary Berrington received her uncle under her roof, waited on him hand and foot, and bore with the surliness and taunts and malice of Betsy. The old man threw out distant hints of benefiting her children, of making them his heirs. On her own account his niece would have been too proud to bend to the many indignities the selfish old uncle put upon her; but she considered that, rather than destroy her children's chances, she ought to bear the burthen, however great it might be.

The cottage inhabited by Mrs. Berrington was situated just on the outskirts of Little Worthy. It was a small white stuccoed house, with a porch covered with woodbine and dog-rose, a little garden dark with evergreens, the high road stretching away in front, with plantations on either side, and the dusky roof-tops and spires of Winchester visible in the distance.

"You've been long of coming home," said Mr. Pepper's morose old servant, as she met Mrs. Berrington and her children in the vestibule of the cottage. "I gave him his tea an hour syne," she added, jerking her finger in the direction of the door of the little sitting room in which her master usually sat. He could na bide waiting so long; and now there'll be fresh tea to brew. I reckon the master will no' be for any extravagance; there'll be little enough; an' if we are to waste, there'll be less."


"I do not want any tea, Betsy," said Mrs. Berrington, her voice broken by grief and an irritation which she could not altogether repress at the insolence of the woman; "and as to extravagance and waste, I am not likely to be guilty of either the one or the other; but in any case it will not affect my uncle, as I do not wish him to keep either myself or my children."

Wi' all your

"'Tis like he'll have to, though," muttered the old woman. "Come your ways," she added aloud, addressing the hunchback, "I trow you'll be for your tea, if your mother isn't. lank lean body and famishing looks, you tak more meat and drink, I warrant, than e'er a man in the parish. I'd be ashamed to feed i’ sich a gait, and never to do a stroke of work."

An imploring look from his mother stayed the angry words on the boy's lips, and he followed the old woman in silence into the red flagged kitchen, where a scanty meal of bread, thinly spread with butter, and a little milk, was set out on a table for him and his little sister-the quantity of edibles but ill according with the idea conveyed by Betsy's words as to the consumption of food by poor Humphrey. The largest share of the milk and the choicest bits of bread and butter were given by him to Rose, and then, after

tea, when the little child, weary and exhausted, had cried herself tosleep because she had no dear papa to kiss, he stole in to her, and knelt down beside her bed, bowed his head on his folded arms, and wept long and bitterly. Then he prayed for the dearly loved mother and the little sister, and so grew more composed. He rose from his knees, and standing by the open window, watched the sun dying away in the west, till his thoughts gathered brightness from the soft erimson-tinted clouds. A brief dream of happiness filled the poor boy's soul he would work hard, he would make way in the world, he would win a home for his mother and sister, and all their troubles would be at an end. And so the night surprised him still weaving that bright web of hope. The star were out, and the glistening lamp of the tiny glow-worm sparkled on the green turf under the shadow of the beeches in the quaint old garden, before the voice of Betsy, calling him to supper, aroused him from his reverie.


In the little sitting room Mr. Pepper was seated with his niece at the open window, for the night was oppressively hot. He was a tall, thin man, with white air, keen dark eyes, and very bushy eyebrows, clad in a loose dressing-gown, which he usually wore in the house to save his coat. As Humphrey entered the room he caught the words, uttered by Mr. Pepper, in an angry tone, "Eating you out of house and home," a remark which he doubted not applied to himself.

"Humphrey is not strong enough for the work you propose," said Mrs. Berrington, evidently in answer to some proposal of her relative's.

"Well, I don't know what's to be done; I can't keep him; I am only a poor man, niece, a very poor man," said Mr. Pepper, emphatically.

"Mamma, I can work, and I will work; I am stronger than you think me, indeed I am," exclaimed the poor boy, as he placed his thin transparent hand on his mother's shoulder.

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You see the lad has more sense than you have, niece, said Mr. Pepper.


Humphrey does not know what he is talking of,” replied Mrs. Berrington, sadly, "you know that, uncle; how could he carry heavy loads? John Berrington's son has not the strength to be a grocer's errand boy, even if he could so lower himself."

"Oh! as for that, beggars must not be choosers," remarked Mr. Pepper, with a sneer.

"I am going to try and get employment myself," said Mrs. Perrington, without noticing her uncle's taunt, "and that may lead to something for Humphrey."

"Indeed! this is a new idea," said Mr. Pepper, elevating his eyebrows; "and what are your plans, may I ask? In what

manner do you propose to make a fortune that may enable you to bring up your son in idleness, for that seems to be the sole aim of your life?"

"In our prosperity my husband did not intend to bring up Humphrey in idleness," replied Mrs. Berrington, her voice faltering as she alluded to that dear one who had gone from her for ever; 'certainly I shall not do so now that trouble and affliction have, befallen me. I spoke yesterday to Father Metham about Humphrey, and probably he may hear of something. He is all goodness and charity."

"Oh, yes! Father Metham? He's a very good man, I daresay-a saint, perhaps. But I don't like saints in every-day life," replied the old many snappishly. "Father Metham is always wanting something for somebody. He would give the coat off his back, I dare say, if he thought one of his neighbours wanted it; but I'd rather keep mine, lest, in my turn, I should not find such a charitably-disposed person. But about yourself; you haven't answered me yet, what are you going to do?"

"I am going to try and get employment as a teacher," replied Mrs. Berrington. "I shall go and see Dr. Burton to-morrow; he has been very kind, and I dare say he may be able to find me some pupils."

"I wish he may do any such thing," answered Mr. Pepper, impatiently; "the most he will do will be to let you pay him in kind for the pills and powders, and visits and drugs, he favoured your husband with and let you teach those two gawky daughters of his-but no such luck, I shall have a long bill to pay-some one must pay it, you know," he added hastily, seeing his niece was going to speak," and that will be me, if I can find so much as will satisfy his rapacity. However, we'll say no more about it. I wish you may be able to keep your son as a fine gentleman, that's all! I doubt it. Let us go to supper. Close the window, for the draught will waste the candle, and I shall have to be careful of candle ends, as well as everything else, when I have a doctor's bill to pay which may be measured by the yard, I dare say."



THE early morning mist was floating upwards in the clouds of silvery vapour from the green hill-sides and woodlands around Winchester as Mrs. Berrington, on the day after her husband's funeral, made her way thither from Little Worthy. She had started early, as Dr. Burton, on whom she intended calling ûrst, was rarely

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