Chapter 39665317

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Chapter NumberII
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article39665317
Full Date1898-04-23
Page Number2
Corrections0
Word Count894
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleLaunceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899)
Trove TitleThe Children in the Snow. A True Story
article text

In Greens' cottage at Easedale, by the side .of a peat-fire; crouched their six children, waiting for their.return. Agnes, the eldest: of the family, was nine years old. The children were of course wholly dependentnt @o.r their 'daily bread upon the labours of their parents. Let only a day pass, and they must inevitably be brought: to the .brink of star?ation. .For five :hiuirs-from :-seven to twvelve-the ' childiren sat by thne fire waiting, ,listening.- At length, Agnes told her brothers and sisters that they must go to bed. They obeyed, but fearfully. Atfchr udni,ยป.ljt the moon rose brightly ienou'gh: to be clouded over presently, however. The snow began to fall. Next morning the ground was very thickly covered. The poor chil dren found themselves complet'e:ly pri soned-cut off from all communication with I.he friends who would have helped and co?nforted them in the neiighbouring cottages. A stream skirt ing t.he cottage garden was too wide for them to leap. The wooden bridge crossing it was unsafe. Several plank:s were wanting, and the drifting snow concealed holes which would have let a child drop into the, rapid waters belbw. There was no sign of George and Sarah Grevn. The children clung to the hope that the severe weather had induced them to stop the night at Langdale. Yet, as the day wore on, they were compelled to relinauish this hope. They knew that their parents of their own will would not stop si long away from their home and their children. Their father

had been a soldier, an active, courage ous man, who, but for some dire calamity befalling him, would scarcely have failed to force his way back to his family. Gradually, a sense terrible en'ough, if incomplete, of the awful ness of their situation began to awake in the minds of these poor little ones. Hour by hour they became more .pa thetically convinced that they were in deed orphans-that their father and mother were lost t'o, them for ever. Yet, providentially, their energy and intelligence were quickened by their misfortunes-stood them in good stead at their direst need. They huddled' to gether the second evening of their being left alone round their hearth fire of pelat, and held a little family council as to what was to, be done towards sending help to their parents-for a hope had occurred to them that pos sibly some hovel or sheepfold upon the missing ones, although they might be snowbound by. the heavy fall of the morning--and in the next place, to make known their situation to their neighb'ours, in case then snow should continue,, or. should increase. For many days of confinement to the house, and it was too certain they would perish of starvation. Meanwhile the eldest sister, Agnes, though gravely alarmed, .exerted her self to take all measures necessary for the welfare of the little community. It was vain lookisng out from 'the cot tage door. One:very side arose a bar ricade of snmow. Yet this consoling thought visited the child's mind: what was peril in one direction was protec tion in another. No such danger threatened her little household as might have encompassed a, desolate flock of young children in other parts 'of England. " If she and -her brothers and sisters could not advance to Gras mere, on the other hand, the evilly-dis posed, the bad characters, and wild sea faring 'foreignre7es who sometimes en tererd the vale, could not get, to them. The children's greatest apprehension was, that they might not he able to acquaint the near dwellers with their situatioui. If this could but, be accom plished, assistance was certain. Cheered with these -reflections, the little girl caused her brothers and sisters to kneel down and say their prayers, and then turned to accomplish every house hold task that migh.t bc .of service to them in al'ong captivity.. First of all, upon some recollection that the clock was nearly going down, she wound it up. Next she took and scallded all the milk she could find in the house, so as to'save itlfrom turniing sour. ' Then she' e6xamined' the meal-chest,, made some of the common oatmeal porridge of the country, but put all the .children except the two youngest, upon a short allowance, reconciling them, to this course, and, indeed, persuading them to think they were enjoying a treat, by baking for. them, upon the hearth somc .thin small cakes, out of a little hoard of flour she had discovered. " Next, before night 'canme oi, :or meote snow fell, she went out of doors, and, with the help of two youngeir brothers, carried in from the pent-stack as much fuel as might serve them for a week's consumption. She- then secured from the stock .of potatoes, buried in "brac hens" (withered fern.), enough to make a single meal. She was afraid to take more, under some idea that, if re moved, they would be spoiled by the heat of the cottage. Then she milked the cow, and succeeded, after great exertion, in getting down from a. loft above the outhouse emnough food for the animal for one night, at any rate. These tasks accomplished-trying enough to a child of nine-she re-en tered the warm house, barred the" door, undressed and put to bed the smaller children, and then sang them to sleep. (To be continued.)