Page images
PDF
EPUB

CORNER COTTAGE

AND ITS INMATES.

CHAPTER I.

THE LIVING AND THE DEAD.

RS. WENTWORTH

kept a little fancy shop, and lived at the extreme end of a village where there was no railway station. Her children thought there could not possibly be any place pleasanter than their home, nor any way of living more comfortable. They did not mind hard work

they were so strong and able in that sweet, fresh country air; and they

B

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

loved to feel that they could be of some use to their mother. They did not grumble at their plain food, for their appetites were so good, that a basin of porridge, a meal of bread and dripping, or occasionally some fresh-gathered fruit to eat with their bread, by way of pudding, made sufficient variety for them from day to day; and they were contented and happy; thankful that they had sufficient to eat, and giving no thought to luxuries which were unattainable.

Concerning their clothes, perhaps somewhat might be said; for although Mrs. Wentworth had taught them in that as well as other matters to “be content with such things as they had,” still the shabbiness of their garments would occasionally cause a little uneasiness; and although every thing was well mended and scrupulously clean, there were many sighs and puzzled looks of distress over patches which, in spite of all contrivance, would show themselves, and darns which no skill in needlework could induce to look as if they covered thin places instead of holes.

Nevertheless, as they knew their mother had no money to purchase new clothes, the two girls took upon themselves to look after their brother, who was the youngest, and who forgot sometimes to be quite so careful as he might have been. Boys, you know, do forget more than girls; they get so intent upon their work or play, that dirt or damage to jackets and trousers never enters their heads, and if they do get dirty, a little brushing over elbows and knees is supposed to make all right again. Frank Wentworth was just such a boy; but his sisters loved him dearly, and

wore.

took good care that he never got into trouble about his clothes, always making him undergo an investigation before he went into meals, seeing that his curls were all tidy, his shoes free from mud, his hands and face clean, and no rents or soils upon jacket and trousers, or the coarse blouse he sometimes

Frank did not quite like this “fussiness," as he called it, but he bore it very well notwithstanding, and looked all the better when the girls had smartened him up; his bright, merry face glistening from the effects of soap and water, and his pretty hair carefully combed in rippling curls about his head.

As to their own clothes, these little girls were very particular. Their Sunday hats were carefully covered with a clean handkerchief, and hung on pegs during the week; their best frocks, with not a crease in them, placed in a trunk with their gloves and neck-ties. Not a stocking was ever put away without being mended and neatly rolled up; not a single article allowed to become shabby for want of “a stitch in time.” Thus they were always neat, and thus their things lasted longer than those of many little girls who are heedless and idle, who never fold up their clothes, nor care about being seen with a skirt torn from its gathers, sleeves pinned where they should be buttoned, boots laced awry, and dull, unbrushed hair stuffed into a dirty net. Many such little girls may be seen every day, and one cannot help feeling very sorry for them; for we may be sure they have not a careful mother, or they would be better taught, and would be ashamed to go about in such a state.

Margaret and Jessie Wentworth were girls of very different dispositions, and the good teaching they received from their mother made them careful and considerate; besides, as you will presently read, they had seen much trouble, and were too thankful for their present comforts to think lightly of the most trifling expense which would in any way cause anxiety to that good mother.

Mrs. Wentworth had not been very long in this cottage. When she first came there with her three children it was a bare, cheerless-looking place enough, for it had been without a tenant for some time, and the landlord had not troubled to attend to the repairs. Even when it was let to Mrs. Wentworth he would do nothing to it. “The rent was low," he said, “and if she was particular, she must repair it herself, for he should lay out nothing on it; the place had been a dead loss to him ever since he bought it, and he was sick and tired of his bargain; and,” he added, “the widow might take it or leave it, just as she pleased.”

He was rather a churlish, cross sort of a man, but Mrs. Wentworth did not take offence at his rough,

She could see in a minute that the place would just suit her, notwithstanding its dirty, neglected condition, and she agreed to his terms, and took it at once—took it dirty and shabby as it was, -the garden overgrown with weeds, the fences broken down, the windows smashed, the whole “messuage and tenement” dilapidated to a frightful extent. Fortunately, the roof and walls were sound; so--a few

coarse manner.

« PreviousContinue »