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'Who had it first ?' said Harry. "Well, they had down there.'
And it spread up here, and how many died up on the hill ??!
• Not one that I heard of; eh, Matty ?'
· No,' said Matty ; but surely, Harry, you don't think that people are to be blamed for illness. I always thought those troubles came from above, and were to be taken as such.'
They may come from above in this sense, Matty, that if we break God's laws we are punished for it.'
Oh, Harry! and illness, we are told, is often a blessing.'
So it is, Matty, for the Almighty overrules our evil doings for our good; but that is no reason for our doing evil.' And you
call it wicked and evil to live in an unhealthy house? “Yes, I do,' said Harry, “if you choose to put it in
You risk the health and strength God has given you; you risk your children, body and soul.'
'I don't see what the worse their souls will be,' said Matty, a little angry.
My dear Matty,' said Harry kindly, do you mean to tell me that your Patty and the rest of your children are to be compared to the children living in Brown's Row.'
“No, indeed,' said Matty; the dirty little objects. I should like to see our children dare to play with them, that's all.'
Well,' said Harry, do you think it makes no difference to their minds, as well as their bodies, that you keep them sweet and clean, that they sleep in pure air
at night, and eat their food in wholesome air in the day.'
It may, of course,' said Matty.
• Now those poor little objects in Brown's Row—a pallid sickly set they are—drink in poison at every breath; their sleeping-rooms are crowded and close; their living-room is never fresh and sweet; their food does not digest as it would in wholesome houses.'
* Well,' said Matty, they are to be pitied, sure enough.'
'Indeed they are,' said William ; 'there is that child of Lawson's that had those bad sores on it, Matty, it has never got well yet, and it is just wasting away.'
Nothing like good air for healing bad places,' said Harry.
* And those Skinners, that took measles when ours did,' said Matty, they have never got over it-I suppose Harry will say that is bad air too.'
'I'm afraid he will say it has much to do with it,' said Harry laughing
Well, any way, that poor little Thompson with a diseased hip was born so, and the ditch and the close houses have nothing to do with that,' said Matty, triumphantly.
'I'm not so sure of it, if her mother lived there before her birth,' said Harry, shaking his head ; at anyrate, the poor thing might have had a chance of getting well in a better place.
It is all very well,' said William, but what are we to do? If we can't afford to live here, we must live there.'
‘Only you must prove that you will really save by it first,' said Harry. “Why don't you try and make your rent out of your garden ?'
• Well, you see, it has always been as it is now, a bit of waste ground like, and mother keeps us pretty much in vegetables, and it didn't seem worth while; it would take a deal of time and labour.'
If you like to begin,' said Harry, "I'll lend you a hand while I'm at home. I've set mother's ground straight, and really want something to do.'
· Agreed,' said William, and then Matty you can have a few flowers.'
And keep bees,' said Matty.
William laughed. • Do you know, Harry, the first few years we were married Matty was always wanting to keep bees.'
And so I want to now,' said Matty ; 'mother will give me a hive, I know, and she always makes a nice little sum by hers.
The next day the ground was trenched, and ten days later the neglected yard was turned into a neat garden, and a border under the window was filled with flowers for Matty. There was to be a seat at one side, and a stand for bees on the other. William was already projecting a pigsty in the furthest corner; and as it was large enough to prevent any ill odour reaching the house, Harry was likely to yield consent. “If it does nothing else,' he said to himself, it will prevent that heap of cabbage-leaves and potato-peelings that I used to see rotting in the corner. A clean-kept pig is far better than that.'
There was no more said about Brown's Row, except that the two brothers had a talk one day about the necessity for three bedrooms to every poor man's house. 'Patty is a nice, quiet, modest girl,' said Harry. But, William, what would she have been if you had brought her up in
Brown's Row, and she and her brothers had had one room in common till now?'
William shook his brother's hand : Harry,' he said ; 'you have somehow put new life in me. Now I've the garden to employ me, and have given up those meetings at the One Ton, where we used to abuse the tax-gatherer, while we drank what would have paid him, I feel happier, and seem to work better. And there's Matty with her bees and her flowers, she looks ten years younger, and she keeps the house as nice again, and sticks à nosegay in the window, and makes it quite smart like and cheerful.'
'I am glad she will let Tom go out with me, after all,' said Harry.
Yes ; it will be a sore parting; but it gives his brothers a better chance, and him a better chance; and you 'll be a father to him, Harry, and a better one than I've been.'
'I don't promise that,' said Harry; but I'll do my best.'
It was the week after this that Harry and Tom went to Australia.
When the leaves were turning brown,
Fell a little acorn down.
3. With the white snow lying over,
And the frost to hold it fast, Till there came the mild spring weather,
When it burst its shell at last.
5. Many years the night dews nursed it,
Summers hot, and winters long, The sweet sun looked bright upon it,
While it grew up tall and strong.
6. Now it standeth like a giant,
Casting shadows broad and high, With huge trunk and leafy branches,
Spreading up into the sky.
7. There the squirrel loves to frolic,
There the wild birds rest at night, There the cattle come for shelter
In the noontime hot and bright.