At last the conversation came to an end, and Mrs. Overtheway came upstairs.
She kissed Ida very tenderly, and inquired after her health; but though she seemed more affectionate than usual, Ida felt persuaded that something was the matter. She drew a chair to the fire, and the old lady sat down, saying—
"May I stay a little with you, my dear?"
"Oh, thank you?" said Ida, and put a footstool for the old lady's feet.
Mrs. Overtheway stroked her head tenderly for some time in silence, and then said, in a gentle voice—
"I have something to tell you, my dear."
"Another story?" Ida asked. "Oh, thank you, if it is another story."
The old lady was silent, but at last she said, as if to herself—
"Perhaps best so," and added: "yes, my love, I will tell you a story."
Ida thanked her warmly, and another pause ensued.
"I hardly know where to begin, or what to tell you of this story," said the little old lady at last, seeming to falter for the first time in her Scharazad-like powers of narration.
"Let it be about a Home, please; if you can," said Ida.
"A home!" said the old lady, and strangely enough, she seemed more agitated than when she had spoken of Reka Dom—"It should have begun with a broken home, but it shall not. It should end with a united home, God willing. A home! I must begin with a far-away one, a strange one, on the summit of high cliffs, the home of fearless, powerful creatures, white-winged like angels."
"It's a fairy tale," said Ida.
"No, my child, it is true."
"It sounds like a fairy tale," Ida said.
"It shall be a tale of that description, if you like," said the old lady, after a pause, "but, as I said, the main incidents are true."
"And the white-winged creatures?" Ida asked. "Were they fairies?"
"No, my love; birds. But if to see snowy albatrosses with their huge white wings wheeling in circles about a vessel sailing in mid ocean be anything like what I have read of and heard described, fairyland could hardly show anything more beautiful and impressive."
"Do they fly near ships, then?" Ida asked.
"Yes, my child. I remember my husband describing them to me as he had once seen them in southern seas. He said that when he saw them, great, white, and majestic, holding no intercourse with anyone on board the ship, and yet spreading their wings above her day and night for hundreds of miles over the ocean, with folded feet, the huge white pinions, except for an occasional flap, outstretched in steady sail, never resting, and seemingly never weary, they looked like guardian angels keeping watch over the crew."
"I wonder if they are sorry for the ships that go down?" said Ida, thoughtfully.
Mrs. Overtheway took her hand.
"Do you think it unkind in me to talk of ships, my love?" she asked.
"No, no, no!" Ida exclaimed, "I don't mind your talking about it. I wish I could talk to the birds that saw papa's ship go down, if there were any, and ask them how it was, and if he minded it much, and if he remembered me. I used to wish I had been with him, and one night I dreamed about it; but when the water touched me, I was frightened, and screamed, and woke; and then I was glad I hadn't been there, for perhaps he wouldn't have loved me so much if he had seen that I wasn't brave."
The little old lady kissed her tenderly.
"And now the story, please," said Ida, after a pause.
And Mrs. Overtheway began the following story:
"'Down in the deep, with freight and crew, Past any help she lies, And never a bale has come to shore Of all thy merchandise.
'For cloth o' gold and comely frieze,' Winstanley said, and sigh'd, 'For velvet coif, or costly coat, They fathoms deep may bide.
'O thou, brave skipper, blithe and kind, O mariners bold and true, Sorry at heart, right sorry am I, A-thinking of yours and you.'"
"WINSTANLEY" (JEAN INGELOW).
"Father Albatross had been out all day, and was come home to the island which gives its name to this story. He had only taken a short flight, for his wife was hatching an egg, and he kept comparatively near the island where her nest was situated. There was only one egg, but parental affection is not influenced by numbers. There is always love enough for the largest family, and everything that could be desired in an only child, and Mother Albatross was as proud as if she had been a hen sitting on a dozen.
"The Father Albatross was very considerate. Not only did he deny himself those long flights which he and his mate had before so greatly enjoyed, but he generally contrived to bring back from his shorter trips some bits of news for her amusement. Their island home lay far out of the common track of ships, but sometimes he sighted a distant vessel, and he generally found something to tell of birds or fish, whales or waterspouts, icebergs or storms. When there was no news he discussed the winds and waves, as we talk of the weather and the crops.
"Bits of news, like misfortunes, are apt to come together. The very day on which the egg hatched, Father Albatross returned from his morning flight so full of what he had seen, that he hardly paid any attention to his mate's announcement of the addition to his family.
"'Could you leave the nest for a quarter of an hour, my dear?' he asked.
"'Certainly not,' said Mother Albatross; 'as I have told you, the egg is hatched at last.'
"'These things always happen at the least convenient moments,' said the father bird. 'There's a ship within a mere wing-stretch, untold miles out of her course, and going down. I came away just as she was sinking, that you might have a chance of seeing her. It is a horrible sight.'
"'It must be terrible to witness', she replied, 'and I would give worlds to see it; but a mother's first duty is the nest, and it is quite impossible for me to move. At the same time I beg that you will return, and see whatever there is to be seen.'
"'It is not worth while,' he answered; 'there was not a moment to lose, and by this time she must be at the bottom with all belonging to her.'
"'Could none of them fly away?' the Mother Albatross asked.
"'No men have wings,' replied her mate, 'nor, for that matter, fins or scales either. They are very curious creatures. The fancy they have for wandering about between sea and sky, when Nature has not enabled them to support themselves in either, is truly wonderful. Go where you will over the ocean and you meet men, as you meet fish and birds. Then if anything disables these ships that they contrive to go about in, down they go, and as the men can neither float nor fly, they sink to the bottom like so many stones.'
"'Were there many on the ship you saw?' the mother bird asked.
"'More than one likes to see drowned in a batch,' said Father Albatross 'and I feel most sorry for the captain. He was a fine fellow, with bright eyes and dark curly plumage, and would have been a handsome creature if he had had wings. He was going about giving orders with desperate and vain composure, and wherever he went there went with him a large dog with dark bright curls like his own. I have seen the ship before, and I know the dog. His name is Carlo. He is the captain's property, and the ship's pet. Usually he is very quiet, and sometimes, when it blows, he is ill; but commonly he was on deck, blinking with the most self-sufficient air you can imagine. However, to-day, from the moment that danger was imminent, he seemed to be aware of it, and to have only one idea on the subject, to keep close to his master. He got in front of him as he moved about, sat down at his feet when he stood still, jumped on him when he shouted his orders, and licked his hands when he seized the ropes. In fact, he was most troublesome. But what can you expect of a creature that requires four legs to go about with, and can't rise above the earth even with these, and doesn't move as many yards in a day as I go miles in an hour? He can swim, but only for a certain length of time. However, he is probably quiet enough now; and perhaps some lucky chance has rolled him to his master's feet below the sea.'
"'Have men no contrivance for escaping on these occasions?' the mother bird inquired.
"'They have boats, into which they go when the ship will hold them no longer. It is much as if you should put out the little one to fly in a storm against which your own wings failed.'
"'Perhaps the boats are in good order when the ship is not,' said Mother Albatross, who had a practical gift. 'Were there boats to this one?'
"'There were. I saw one lowered, and quickly filled with men, eager to snatch this last chance of life.
"'Was the captain in it?' she asked.
"'No. He stayed on the ship and gave orders. The dog stayed with him. Another boat was lowered and filled just as the ship went down.'
"'Was the captain in it?'
"'Again, no. He stayed with the vessel and some others with him. They were just sinking as I came for you. With the last glance I gave I saw the captain standing quite still near the wheel. The dog was sitting on his feet. They were both looking in one direction—away over the sea. But why should you distress yourself? It is all over long since. Think of the little one, and let us be thankful that we belong to a superior race. We might have been born without wings, like poor sailors.'
"'I cannot help grieving for the captain,' said Mother Albatross. 'When you spoke of his bright eyes and handsome plumage I thought of you; and how should I feel if you were to die? I wish he had gone in the boats.'
"'I doubt if he would have fared better,' said the father bird. 'The second boat must have been swamped in the sinking of the ship; and it is far from probable that the other will get to land.'
"'Nevertheless, I hope you will fly in that direction to-morrow,' she said, 'and bring me word whether there are any traces of the catastrophe.'
"The following morning Father Albatross set off as he was desired. The ship had foundered quite near to the other side of the island, and including a little excursion to see if the first boat were still above water, he expected to be back very shortly.
"He returned even sooner than the Mother Albatross had hoped, and descended to the side of their nest with as much agitation as his majestic form was capable of displaying.
"'Wonders will never cease!' he exclaimed. 'What do you think are on the island?'
"'I couldn't guess if I were to try from now till next hatching season,' said his mate; 'and I beg you will not keep me in suspense. I am not equal to the slightest trial of the nerves. It is quite enough to be a mother.'
"'The captain and one or two more men are here,' said the albatross. 'What do you think of that? You will be able to see him for yourself, and show the youngster what men are like into the bargain. It's very strange how they have escaped; and that lazy, self-sufficient dog is with them.'
"'I cannot possibly leave our young one at present,' said the Mother Albatross, 'and he certainly cannot get so far. It will be very provoking if the men leave the island before I can see them.'
"'There is not much to fear of that,' her mate answered. 'A lucky wave has brought them to shore, but it will take a good many lucky waves to bring a ship to carry them home.'
"Father Albatross was right; but his mate saw the strangers sooner than she expected. Her nest, though built on the ground, was on the highest point of the island, and to this the shipwrecked men soon made their way; and there the Mother Albatross had ample chance of seeing the bright eyes of the captain as they scanned the horizon line with keen anxiety. Presently they fell upon the bird herself.
"'What splendid creatures they are!' he said to his companion; 'and so grandly fearless. I was never on one of these islands where they breed before. What a pity it is that they cannot understand one! That fellow there, who is just stretching his noble wings, might take a message and bring us help.'
"'He is a fine creature,' said the Mother Albatross, peeping at the captain from her nest; 'that is, he would be if he had wings, and could speak properly, instead of making that unmusical jabbering like a monkey.'
"'I would give a good deal to one of them for a report of the first boat,' the captain went on. 'Heaven knows I would be content to die here if I could know that it was safe. But I'm afraid—I'm afraid; oh! dear!'
"And the captain paced up and down, the other consoling him.
"'He doesn't seem as tame as one might expect,' said the Mother Albatross, 'he's so restless. But possibly he is hungry.'
"Truly it was a great amusement for the mother bird to watch the strangers from her nest, and to question her mate on their peculiarities.
"'What is he doing now?' she asked on one occasion, when the captain was reading a paper which he had taken from the note-book in his pocket.
"'That is a letter,' said the Father Albatross. 'And from the look of it I gather that, like ourselves, he has got a young one somewhere, wherever his nest may be.'
"'How do you gather that?' his mate inquired.
"'Because the writing is so large,' answered the Father Albatross. 'It is one of the peculiarities of these creatures that the smaller they are the larger they write. That letter is from a young one; probably his own.'
"'Very remarkable indeed,' said the Mother Albatross. 'And what is he doing now?'
"'Now he is writing himself,' said her mate; 'and if you observe you will see my statement confirmed. See how much smaller he writes!'
"The captain had indeed torn a sheet from his note-book, and was busy scribbling upon his knees. Whether the sight of papers was a familiar memory with Carlo, or whether he was merely moved by one of those doggish impulses we so little understand, it is impossible to say; but when the captain began to write, Carlo began to wag his tail, and he wagged it without pause or weariness till the captain had finished, keeping his nearest eye half open, and fixed upon the paper and the captain's moving hand. Once he sat up on his haunches and put his nose on the letter.
"'That is right, old fellow, kiss it,' said the captain. 'I am just telling her about you. Heaven send she may ever read it, poor child!'
"At this Carlo became so frantic, and so persistent in pushing his nose on to the paper, that the captain was fain to pocket his writing materials, and have a game at play with the 'ship's dog,' in which the latter condescendingly joined for a few minutes, and then lay down as before, shutting his eyes with an air which seemed to imply—
"'I see, poor fellow, you don't understand me.'
"The hardships endured by this small remnant of the ship's company were not very great. They managed to live. The weather was fine, and they did not at first trouble themselves about any permanent shelter. Perhaps, too, in spite of their seaman's knowledge of the position they were in, some dim hope of a ship out of her course as they had been, picking them off, buoyed them up with the fancy that 'it was not worth while.' But no ship appeared; and they built themselves a hut near the albatross's nest, and began to talk of other seasons, and provision for the future. They kept a look-out by turns through the daylight, and by night when the moon and stars made the distance visible. Every morning the sun rising above the sea met the captain's keen eyes scanning the horizon, and every evening that closed a day's fruitless watch, the sun's going down saw the captain's brown hands clasped together as he said, 'God's will be done!'
"So days became weeks, and weeks ripened into months, and Carlo became used to his new home, and happy in it, and kept watch over his master, and took his ease as usual. But the men's appearance changed, and their clothes began to look shabby. In the first place they were wearing out, and, secondly, they seemed—as we say—to be 'getting too large' for them, and to hang loosely and untidily upon their gaunt frames. The captain's eyes looked larger and sadder, and his voice grew hollow at sunset, and threads of white began to show among his dark curls, and increased in number day by day.
"'His plumage will be as white as your own very soon,' said the Mother Albatross. 'I suppose it's the climate that does it.'
"'He is getting older,' said her mate; 'men, like ourselves, get white as they get old.'
"'But he has been here so short a time,' said Mother Albatross.
"'He is so much the older, however,' said the father bird, and his mate said no more; for she knew by the tone of his voice when he had got to the end of his available information on any subject, and that beyond this point he did not like to be pressed.
"'It's hard, it's very hard, captain, and I can't submit as you do,' said one of the men one day. He and the captain were sitting side by side at the look out, their elbows on their knees, and their chins upon their hands.
"'And yet it's harder for me than for you,' said the captain. 'One must die some day. It's not that. And you are a single man, Barker, without ties.'
"The man stooped down, and taking one of Carlo's long ears in his hand, played absently with it, as he said—
"'No, sir. I am not married, it's true, and have no children. I feel for you, sir, from my heart. But in a little house just out of Plymouth, that, God above knows, I can see this moment as clearly as I see you, there's a girl that has either forgotten me, or is breaking as good a heart as ever beat in woman's breast for the man that should have been her husband, and that's fast bound here upon a rock with sea-birds. The Lord knows best, captain, but it comes hard. We all have our troubles, sir.'
"The captain laid his hand upon his shoulder.
"'Forgive me,' he said. 'God comfort you! God bless you!' And, rising hurriedly, he went forward, the big tears breaking over his cheeks, and sea and sky dancing together before his eyes.
"'What do you dream of at night, Barker?' said the captain, on another day.
"'Home, sir,' said Barker.
"'Strange!' said the captain. 'So do I. In all the time we have been here, I have never once dreamed of this island, or of our day's work, nor even of seeing a sail. I dream of England night after night.'
"'It's the same with myself, sir,' said Barker. 'I'm in Plymouth half my time, I may say. And off and on I dream of my father's old home in Surrey.'
"'Are the men going to change their feathers, do you think?' the Mother Albatross inquired of her mate. 'They have a most wretched appearance. Only the dog looks like himself.' (The first excitement of pity and curiosity had subsided, and the good couple were now naturally inclined to be critical.)
"'I detest that dog,' said Father Albatross. 'His idleness and arrogance make me quite sick. I think I want exercise, too, and I mean to have a good flight to-day;' and, spreading his broad wings, the bird sailed away.
"His excursion did not quite dispel his irritability. When he returned, he settled down by the captain, who was sitting listlessly, as usual, with Carlo at his feet.
"'If you would only exert yourself,' began Father Albatross, 'something might come of it. You are getting as bad as the dog. Spread out those arms of yours, and see what you can do with them! If you could only fly a matter of a few miles, you would see a sail—and that's more than we had any reason to expect.'
"'What can be the matter with the birds to-day?' said the captain, who was in rather an irritable mood himself. 'They are silent enough generally'—for the voice of the albatross is rarely heard at sea.
"'Move your arms, I tell you,' croaked the albatross. 'Up and down—so!—and follow me.'
"'I shall have the dog going at them next,' muttered the captain. 'Come along, Carlo.' And turning his back on Father Albatross, he moved away.
"'He doesn't understand you,' said the Mother Albatross, who endeavoured, as is proper, to soothe her mate's irritability, and make peace. 'Couldn't you take a message to the ship yourself? It is nothing to your magnificent wings, and it is not his fault, poor creature, that he is not formed like you.'
"'You speak very sensibly, my dear' said Father Albatross; and once more he took flight over the sea.
"But he returned in even worse mood than before.
"'Nothing can equal the stupidity of human beings,' he observed. 'I addressed myself to the captain. "There's an island with shipwrecked men on it a few miles to the north-east," said I. "We shall see land in about ten days, ma'am," says the captain to a lady on deck. "There's as big a fool as yourself wrecked on an island north-east by north," I cried. "If you had the skill of a sparrow you could see it with your own eyes in five minutes." "It's very remarkable," said the captain, "I never heard one of those albatross make a sound before." "And never will again," said I; "it's a waste of time to talk to you. It won't take long to put you and yours under water like the rest." And away I came.'
"'I don't understand the cry of human beings myself,' said his mate, 'and I'm rather glad I do not; it would only irritate me. Perhaps he did not understand you.'
"'They are all stupid alike,' said the father bird; 'but I have done my best, and shall not disturb myself any more.'
"The captain watched till sunset, and folded his hands, and bent his head as usual, and at last lay down to sleep. He dreamt of England, and of home—of a home that had been his long since, of a young wife, dead years ago. He dreamt that he lay, at early morning, in a sunny room in a little cottage where they had lived, and where, in summer, the morning sun awoke them not much later than the birds. He dreamt that his wife was by him, and that she thought that he was asleep, and that, so thinking, she put her arms round his neck to awaken him—that he lay still, and pretended to be slumbering on, and that, so lying, he saw her face bright with an unearthly beauty, and her eyes fixed on him with such intensity of expression that they held him like a spell. Then he felt her warm face come nearer to his, and she kissed his cheeks, and he heard her say, 'Wake up, my darling, I have something to show you.' Again she repeated vehemently, 'Awake! Awake! Look! Look!' and then he opened his eyes.
"He was lying at the look-out, and Carlo was licking his face. It was a dream, and yet the voice was strong and clear in his ears, 'Awake! Awake! Look! Look!'
"A heavier hand than his wife's was on his shoulder, and Barker's rough voice (hoarser than usual), repeated the words of his dream.
"The captain's eyes followed the outstretched hand to the horizon; and then his own voice grew hoarse, as he exclaimed—
"'My God! it is a sail!'"
* * * * *
Ida was not leaning on the little old lady's footstool now. She sat upright, her pale face whiter than its wont.
"Did the ship take them away?" she asked eagerly.
"Yes, my dear. Their signals were seen, and the ship took them home to their friends, who had believed them to be dead."
"Do people who have been drowned—I mean who have been thought to be drowned—ever come home really?" the child asked.
"Yes, really. Ida, my dear, I want you to remember that, as regards the captain and the crew, this is a true story."
Ida clasped her hands passionately together.
"Oh, Mrs. Overtheway! Do you think Papa will ever come home?"
"My child! my dear child!" sobbed the little old lady. "I think he will." ...
* * * * *
"And he is alive—he is coming home!" Ida cried, as she recounted Mrs. Overtheway's story to Nurse, who knew the principal fact of it already. "And she told it to me in this way not to frighten me. I did cry and laugh though, and was very silly; but she said I must not be foolish, but brave like a captain's daughter, and that I ought to thank GOD for being so good to me, when the children of the other poor men who died will never have their fathers back in this world: and I am thankful, so thankful! Only it is like a mill going in my head, and I cannot help crying. And Papa wrote me a long letter when he was on the island, and he sent it to Mrs. Overtheway because Uncle Garbett told him that I was fond of her, and that she would tell me nicely, and she was to read it, and to give it to me when she had told me. And it is such a lovely letter, with all about the island, and poor Barker, and dear old Carlo, and about the beautiful birds, too, only Mrs. Overtheway made up a great deal of that herself. And please, Nursey, take off my black frock and never let me see it again, for the Captain is really coming home, and, oh! how I wish he would come!"
The poor child was terribly excited, but her habits of obedience stood her in good stead, for though she was vehemently certain that she could not possibly go to sleep, in compliance with Nurse's wishes, she went to bed, and there at last slept heavily and long; so that when she awoke there was only just time to dress and be ready to meet her father. She was putting out her treasures for him to look at, the carved fans and workboxes, the beads and handkerchiefs and feathers, the new letter and the old one—when the Captain came.
* * * * *
A week after the postman had delivered the letter which contained such wonderful news for Ida, he brought another to Mrs. Overtheway's green gate, addressed in the same handwriting—the Captain's. It was not from the Captain, however, but from Ida.
"MY DEAR, DEAR MRS. OVERTHEWAY,
"We got here on Saturday night, and are so happy. Papa says when will you come and see us? I have got a little room to myself, and I have got a glass case under which I keep all the things that Papa ever sent me, and his letters. I bought it with part of a sovereign Uncle Garbett gave me when I came away. Do you know he was so very kind when I came away. He kissed me, and said, 'GOD bless you, my dear! You are a good child, a very good child;' and you know it was very kind of him, for I don't think I ever was good somehow with him. But he was so kind it made me cry, so I couldn't say anything, but I gave him a great many kisses, for I did not want him to know I love Papa the best. Carlo will put his nose on my knee, and I can't help making blots. He came with us in the railway carriage, and ate nearly all my sandwiches. When he and Papa roll on the hearthrug together, I mix their curls up and pretend I can't tell which is which. Only really Papa's have got some grey hairs in them: we know why. I always kiss the white hairs when I find them, and he says he thinks I shall kiss the colour into them again. He is so kind! I said I didn't like Nurse to wear her black dress now, and she said it was the best one she had, and she must wear it in the afternoon; so Papa said he would get us all some bright things, for he says English people dress in mud-colour, while people who live in much sunnier, brighter countries wear gay clothes. So we went into a shop this morning, and I asked him to get my things all blue, because it is his favourite colour. But he said he should choose Nurse's things himself. So he asked for a very smart dress, and the man asked what kind; and I said it was for a nurse, so he brought out a lot of prints, and at last Papa chose one with a yellow ground and carnations on it. He wanted very much to have got another one with very big flowers, but the man said it was meant for curtains, not for dresses, so I persuaded him not to get it; but he says now he wishes he had, as it was much the best. Then he got a red shawl, and a bonnet ribbon of a kind of green tartan. Nurse was very much pleased, but she said they were too smart by half. But Papa told her it was because she knew no better, and had never seen the parrots in the East Indian Islands. Yesterday we all went to church. Carlo came too, and when we got to the porch, Papa put up his hand, and said, 'Prayers, sir!' and Carlo lay down and stayed there till we came out. Papa says that he used to do so when he was going to say prayers on board ship, and that Carlo always lay quietly on deck till the service was over. Before we went to church Papa gave me a little parcel sealed up, to put in the plate. I asked him what it was, and he said it was a thankoffering. Before one of the prayers the clergyman said something. I don't quite remember the words, but it began, 'A sailor desires to thank GOD—' and oh! I knew who it was, and I squeezed his hand very tight, and I tried to pray every word of that prayer, only once I began to think of the island—but I did try! And indeed I do try to be very, very thankful, for I am so very happy! Papa got a letter from Barker this morning, and we are going out to choose him a wedding present. He sent a photograph of the girl he is going to marry, and I was rather disappointed, for I thought she would be very lovely, only, perhaps, rather sad-looking; but she doesn't look very pretty, and is sitting in rather a vulgar dress, with a photograph book in her hand. Her dress is tartan, and queer-looking about the waist, you know, like Nurse's, and it is coloured in the picture, and her brooch is gilt. Papa laughs, and says Barker likes colour, as he does; and he says he thinks she has a nice face, and he knows she is very good, and very fond of Barker, and that Barker thinks her beautiful. He didn't write before he went to see her, like Papa. He just walked up to the house, and found her sitting at the window with his photograph in her hand. She said she had been so restless all day, she could do nothing but sit and look at it. Wasn't it funny? She had been very ill with thinking he was dead, and Barker says she nearly died of the joy of seeing him again. Papa sends you his love, and I send lots and lots of mine, and millions of kisses. And please, please come and see us if you can, for I miss you every morning, and I do love you, and am always your grateful and affectionate
"P.S.—I am telling Papa all your stories by bits. And do you know he went to sleep whilst I was telling him Mrs. Moss!"
Chim! chime! chim! chime! chim! chime!
The story is ended, but the bells still call to Morning Prayer, and life goes on. The little old lady comes through the green gate, and looks over the way, but there is no face at that window now; something in it made her start for an instant, but it is only a looking-glass, for the smart toilette-table has been brought back to the window where Ida used to kneel, and the nursery is a spare bedroom once more. That episode in this dull house in the quiet street is over, and gone by. The old lady thinks so rather sadly as she goes where the bells are calling. The pale, eager, loving little face that turned to her in its loneliness, now brightens a happy home; but the remembrance of it is with the little old lady still, pleasant as the remembrance of flowers when winter has come. Yes, truly, not the least pleasant of Mrs. Overtheway's Remembrances.
The present Series of Mrs. Ewing's Works is the only authorized, complete, and uniform Edition published.
It will consist of 18 volumes, Small Crown 8vo, at 2s. 6d. per vol., issued, as far as possible, in chronological order, and these will appear at the rate of two volumes every two months, so that the Series will be completed within 18 months. The device of the cover was specially designed by a Friend of Mrs. Ewing.
The following is a list of the books included in the Series—
1. MELCHIOR'S DREAM, AND OTHER TALES. 2. MRS. OVERTHEWAY'S REMEMBRANCES. 3. OLD-FASHIONED FAIRY-TALES. 4. A FLAT-IRON FOR A FARTHING. 5. THE BROWNIES, AND OTHER TALES. 6. SIX TO SIXTEEN. 7. LOB-LIE-BY-THE-FIRE, AND OTHER TALES. 8. JAN OF THE WINDMILL. 9. VERSES FOR CHILDREN, AND SONGS. 10. THE PEACE EGG—A CHRISTMAS MUMMING PLAY—HINTS FOR PRIVATE THEATRICALS, &c. 11. A GREAT EMERGENCY, AND OTHER TALES. 12. BROTHERS OF PITY, AND OTHER TALES OF BEASTS AND MEN. 13. WE AND THE WORLD, Part I. 14. WE AND THE WORLD, Part II. 15. JACKANAPES—DADDY DARWIN'S DOVECOTE—THE STORY OF A SHORT LIFE. 16. MARY'S MEADOW, AND OTHER TALES OF FIELDS AND FLOWERS. 17. MISCELLANEA, including The Mystery of the Bloody Hand—Wonder Stories—Tales of the Khoja, and other translations. 18. JULIANA HORATIA EWING AND HER BOOKS, with a selection from Mrs. Ewing's Letters.
S.P.C.K., NORTHUMBERLAND AVENUE, LONDON, W.C.