Chapter 87708442

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Chapter NumberI
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87708442
Full Date1899-12-16
Page Number57
Corrections0
Word Count5881
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Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleChronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954)
Trove TitleRough and Tumble
article text

ROUGH AND TUMBLE.

By Mrs. J. S. WESTON. (Author of 'The Young Stepmother.')

CHAPTER I.

'Only a week to Christmas Day,' said Effie pensively from the kitchen table, where she sat gently swinging her feet and wondering how far one and sixpence, the sum total of her worldy goods, would go to buy something, however small, for each member of a family which she was daily becoming more convinced was too

large tor tne parental resource!?, ror mere were nine of them all told, including father and mother, and between Effie, who wa? 16, and three-year old Bob at the other end of tihe family list, came a medley of boys and girls of varied ages, sizes, and dis positions. Tom came next to ^ffie, and was 14. He was at the hanpy-go-Iucky age when nothing troubled him. He lilted girls, es pecially his own sisters, had not com menced to give himself mannish airs, and ?was utterly indifferent as to his personal appearance. In a year or two he might niter all this, and after the manner of half grown boys make himself a nuisance, but at present he was — Tom, pure and simple. Next to Tom came Gertrude, abbreviated by common consent to Gert. At this pre-, sent moment. Gert was ironing. ? Tom had a bad. habit of mislaying hie clothes, of which, in common, with his brothers and sisters, he had a very limited supply. He generally rolled his socks into a hard ball when he changed them,- and shot them under any friendly piece of furniture winch offered to conceal them; and as for collars, they had a knack of turning up, extremely dirty, after the washing had come home; bo that it was not an unex pected turn of affairs -which. ;found Tom oollarleas on Saturday afternoon, with Sun day vet to be faced. So Gert was ironing. : Sab- had selected tfhe roost, promising-look-; |

ing strip of linen from Tom's stock, had washed it ait the kitchen Bink, and now with a.sbaein of weak tftareh at her elbow and a haJf^ld'iron in her hand, was. en deavoring to restore it to its-priBtme: fresh ness with but poor success, jarring Effie's nerves now and then by the force witti which she brought the iron down on the table. Tom looked on .with mild interest. 'I wish we were not so poor,' went on Effie. 'I want to buy so many things.' ' ?'Bosh,' said Tom, philosophically. 'What -does it matter as long as we're happy?' - But Effie sighed; she could remember the time when wings were very different, when they kept servants to do the work, and she had regular music lessons, but tiow father had to work hard aad mother had been an invalid so long, and the re sponsibility of tihe younger ones weighed on Effie's spirits. She was a dear, gentle girl, but ehe bad her regrets. Work as she would, and work was very distasteful to Effie, she could not keep those incorrigi ble children from being out at elbows and toes. They kept no servant, and were forced to distribute the work amongst themselves as best they could, but it was apparent that each one did his or her share alter their own fashion, and the effect was rather distressing at times. But they were loyal to each other, these boys and girls, and it was an unwritten law that mother Should not be worried about things. 'Babs has no frock for to-morrow,' said Gert presently, pausing to unpucker the cellar which had rucked up under the iron, and was now plentifully adorned with a dark brown sticky substance. 'She wore her best one all the week, and now it's messed up and not fit for Sunday.' 'Well, she shouldn't have worn it,' re torted Effie. 'But she had to, Ef. I told you her school frock wanted mending and you didn't do it, and she must go to school tidy.' 'Well, she must 6tay home to-morrow, then, that's all,' said Effie, getting down from the table and going oat of doors to learn the cmjse of the uproar which had gradually been increasing in strength, and which ribe found to be caused by the united efforts of the younger members of the family to 'play church.' She was just in time to find Rory mounted upon the topmost rung of a ladder, which leant against the woodshed, repeating with

declamatory hymn, commencing — There is a dreadful liell and everlasting pain, &c. which was taken up by the otfhers and sung with zest. A neighbor's children hung over the fence, wide-eyed and appre-' eiaitive, but they vanished at eight oi Effie, who shook the follower of Dr. Watts off the ladder, and told him to look at the knees of his best stockings, which it was impossible for him to do, as having but recently crawled through the black berry bushes in search of a lost ball, he had left tli at portion of his attire, with other details, on the prickles. Having been disturbed at their play, the children dispersed to find fresh amuse ment in other quarters, and Effie turned to a young man who 'had followed 'her out of the house, and who now stood at her side meditatively chewinp the ends of a very young moustache. Eflie was feeling a little down-hearted to-day. Things had not bec-n running smoothly; mother was not quire so well, and she turned to Syd Harrington, who had for long been as one of the family, for a word of sympathy. There had been a boy and girl love existing between these two for some time, a love that caused Effie to lie awake at nights and build castles in the air, and that by and by might de velop into something more serious. But to-day Syd was unsympathetic. Until lately he had been content to share the disabilities of the Grey family and con done then* shortcomings, but now that he was budding into manhood those shortcom ings were no longer things to be made lijnit of, and he felt a fatherly desire to point out to Effie the error of her ways. She was a dear girl, and some day, he told himself, he would aek her to marry him, but he pictured those impossible col lars that Gert was struggling with, and looked at his own spotless linen. But then he was the only eon of his mother, who had been left well provided for, and whose sole object in life was the tem

poral welfare of her only son. A lad of selfish temperament would have been ruined in fiuch a home atmosphere, but Syd was not selfish, he was a good-hearted, gene rous fellow, just growing a trifle priggish and inclined to detect the mote in his brother's eye, and now, instead of giving Effie the sympathy ehe needed, he gave her instead some Falutary advice as to her duty to her brothers and sisters, which she was quite unprepared for, and which filled her eyes with tears. Poor little Effie. It grieved her that the children were so roujth and tumble, and that the household affairs were always in a state of chaotic muddle, but she hated housework and stocking-mending, and sighed for the fleshpots of Egypt in the shape of pretty frocks and laces, and the little etceteras of a girl's toilet, which really cost more thin actual clothes, and which father's slender income refused to provide. But that Syd should i speak to 'her like this about her shortcomings was too much for her. Phe lifted her blue eyes to his face with the tears brimming over, and Syd'; heart was like to melt; but he steeled him self against her tears, feeling a sense of duty in mi-.in*:-iininfr the position he had taken up. The children were neglected and unrulv, and the collars shamefully overlooked, and there w.is no gainsaying it; and it was Effie's duty as the eldest girl to pet things right. Having thus delivered himself, Syd was willing to make it up and be friends, but, Eflic's heart was too full for words, and with a look of reproach at her mentor she went away indoors, and shutting her self 5n the little room she nnd Gertie sJiar ed, sat down on the trunk beside her bed, with her face hidden in t'ne pillows and Boibbed as if her he.irt would break. Syd waited long for her to reappear, nnd as she did not do so, and nobody nskod him to stay, he was forced unwillingly to -return to the home, where things were never out of order, and where clean linen was to be had in abundance, instead of staying to tea, as he would very much have preferred to do, with a family whose do mestic economy waa based upon no rules of law and order, but which included ji-ffie. And Effie sat with hidden face and nursed her woes until they crew nmazinply— as woes will if we only cultivate them alittle— and rihe had convinced herself that she was the most unhappy girl in the ' southern hemisphere. The dusk of twilight crept on, and a friendly star or. two looked in at Effie's window. The cups were rattling on the tea table. and the little ones clamoring for their tea'. Presently the door opened and Tom came. in. A flood of light from the dining-room fell across the. bed and the little disconsolate figure with its face buried under its own toricht jhair. Tom

closed tlhe-€tror-and came straight across toEffie's aide. ~ ; ^i,^-lv ^ . : - - . 'What's the matter, sis? 'ftrryon «cry; ing? Don't be a baby,' he Baid, sitting on the bed and putting a friendly ana around her shoulders. Erne's only answer was a little sob. * -' 'Don't cry, old girl. Do yop i f«fl411? I expect it was the rhubarb^ dinner. I told you you were,,efttihg too much of it Effie pusjied iim away with a spasmodic .little -burst. It was just like a boy to talk about 'her heartache being caused by rhu barb. ' '??''.?? 'It isn't tJhat, Tom,' she answered woe fully. 'It is you, all of you— you1 are all so dirty andnaughty and— horrid.' . 'TJhanks,' said Tom, with a short laugh, taking his arm away, 'and what about 'yourself, Miss Prim? ' ' ,'?-,, 'I'm a«st as horrid as the rest of you, said Effie penitently. 'I wiBh I were not: but I. mean to turn over a new leaf and you'll see how well I'll manage. -I mean to keep your collars nice, Tom, and the children's clothes mended, and be more of a mother to the little ones in future. 'You'll have your work cut out, Ef, answered Tom. 'What's the matter witSi us? We are right enougn. I'd rather be Tom Grey than any boy I know. ' 'I don't know what you'll wear tomor row,' said Effie, her mind reverting to the direct cause of her grief. 'Wear? Why I'll have a sore throat and keep a silk handkerchief round my neck all day. Don't bother your head about me; I'm all right.' 'There's too many of us, said Me. 'We can't all be kept decently. 'Well, which one is it you want to get rid of?' asked Tom, brusquely. 'Perhaps old Father Time wouldn't mind mowing a few of us down if you want it.' 'Don't be wicked, Tom. I didn't mean that. Of course now we are here we ve got to stop; but, oh, I wish mother was well and we were rich.' 'Mother hasn't got ill all of a sudden, said Tom, 'and we are no poorer now than we were six months ago, so I dont see why vou should commence to shed tears over 'it. What is it you have on your mind?' And then Effie poured out her grief*.. She was sure, of sympathy from Tom— rougn and ready boy's sympathy, but so real. When she had finished Tom gave an indig nant snort and his arm went round his sister's shoulders again. 'He's a prig, he is. If he doesn't like us let him stop away. He's precious glad to come here, I notice. But look here, Ef, if I'd said the same to you^ yon wouldn't have cared a fig, and I don t see why you should mind what Syd says. I hope to goodness you are not thinking M sweethearts, for you are far too young (m a fatherly tone), and once you commence that sort of thing there will be no more fun in you.' Effie's flushed cheeks grew a little hotter, but she rubbed them up against Tom's, and said very earnestly— 'I don't mean to think about anybody, nor anything 'but father and mother and all of you. I am going to be the very best daughter and sister I can.' 'You couldn't he any better than sou are,' answered Tom, giving her a b:« brotherly hug, and presently he slipped away to the little shop round the corner arid invested a penny, his only com. in cocoanut chips, which delicacy was Effie s weakness, and returned before she had sufficiently recovered herself to join tne family circle. He pushed the paper screw into her hand in a shame-faced fashion, and with a fresh little burst of tears she kissed him and called him 'dear old Tom my,' and itflien they went out to tea. After all, thinps were not so bad, view ed from the teatable. The children's faces were clean now, and so rosy, and father was there, father with his dear good face, of which Tom's was a miniature, smiling upon them all. Gertie J:ad taken mother s tray in long since, so there -was nothing for* Effie to do but dispense tea .to the hungry brood on either side of the table, and, if her lips dropped a little and her eyelids were red, these facts elicited no comment, as Effie wasp passionately fond of reading, and it was no unusual occurrence for her to emerge red-eyed and silent after an hour spent with one of her favor ite authors. She lived through all the joy« and sorrows of the characters she read about, and the family circle by her mood could have told vou almost to a detail th«? stvle of book Effie had just laid down'. For some time the clatter of cups and saucers was only varied by 'more, please Effie,' 'Pass the butter, Tom,' and such like requests, for the children were too hungry to talk; but when the demands of hunger had been assuaged, tongues loosen ed and conversation began, though Eflie was still pensive. 'Well, Frank, what is the latest?' asked Mr. Grey. Frank came next to Gertrude, and was 11. He was the studious boy of the family with a proclivity for prob lems which he was always inventing. He was better at guessing problems than pro pounding them, but he was dogged, per sistent, and persevering. You might shake him off a subject a hundred times, but he only renewed the attack with two fold determination when you left him alone. He had finished his tea now and was humped up on the sofa, chewing tne end of a pencil and consulting a slip of dirty paper. 'Pa, Oiow would this read? he fiaid, without answering his father's question. My first is a round figure, my second a cross, If you go near my young, look out for a toss. This..profouna~problem was greeted with a scream of laughter by Frank's unappre ciative relatives. He yr&s called on to ex plain it and give the answer, which was 'ox,' and father, trying not to laugh, said he thought it would hardly do. Frank couldn't see why, but he crossed it out, and, knitting his brows, tried again, and Mr. Grey patted the rough little brown head approvingly. CHAPTER' A. When tea was over somebody tubbed the little ones, and they went into mother's room to Eay their prayers beside her . in the summer gloaming before they were put to bed, and in ten minutes you would never have recognised the little rough and tumble Greys, who were always out at el bows and Iciioes, in the sweet-faced little cherubs looking so innocently beautiful in their sleep. . Then Effie crept into mother's room. Though it was tacitly understood that motflier should never be worried about do-' mestic affairs, yet not a joy or sorrow had one of thoee 'boys or girls that was not carried into mother's room. It was a ha ven of love and comfort. True, the knees of Blockings whose owners had but recently bean playing marbles and the knickerbockers that were apparently ex tremely fond of mother earth, sometimes left' traces .on the white. covers, but, what was that compared with the talks ? that were held with boyish: . hands stroking mother's hair? ... . '? ;,- .? .There was a broad table in the. room where kites :could bp cut out and pasted,

.Where boats were made -and sails hemmed by-boys' fingers, aitaDie thai had' many'* acare, and plentiful inkstaine from the wjpyingjipwn oleums tfcat^v*uldi-nO|P' come right till mother took them in hand. I ?Mrs. Grey was not always as bad as die had been to-day. There were days when she felt almost well, but1 the' doctor, bad told her that if she wanted to j regain her old health and strength she muBt lay up for a lengthy period, jind not attempt tp get on her feet.- The mother of a Iar©e femily/ whose wants were many, she had rebelled against this at first, but. she (had felt herself get ting gradually worse and worse, until rest had Ibeen forced upon her, and for the sake of 4ihe children's ultimate good she had yielded, and none too soon. There. were days when she could not bear the children to come near her, but these days were happily growing fewer, arid fatfher could speak 'hopefully now of when mother should 'be well again. i- ? ' ' ? '-' .. . .There was one beautiful thing about Mrs. Grey— she never worried. A delicate mo- 1 fcher wiUh a family of romping, healthy : children around her is sometimes apt to grow mortMd'ly sensitive, but Mrs. Grey did not. She was used to boys. She bad been an only girl wiuh six brothers away up on a station in New South Wales, j and me knew boys' ways. The six bro- 1 thers had gone tiheir several ways in ithe : world, and Effie, the elder (for little Effie had been named after her mother) had never quite told them in her letters how sadly changed were 'her circumstances. But there was one brother, known by name to the children as 'Uncle Alf,' who had been roaming about the world until nobody ' knew his address, and of this favorite bro ther Mrs. Grey often thought, with a great lonring to see him again, ana it may hav* been the remembrance of the dear o'ld home where she and the boys, all mother less, ran wild wrtfli the delightful freedom of a country life, that made her so lenient with her own boys and girls. : And to-night, when 1Jhe little ones were in bed, Effie crept in to tell her motiher of her new resolutions. Father was tfbere, holding mother's hand and talking gently to her, but uresently he went away, and Effie took tfttre low 6eat beside the couch whidh stood under the open window, and laying her face down on tihe pillow be side her mother's, with the stars twinkling down upon them from the summer Sky, she made her girlish confessions. There was nothing you could not tell motHher about, and Efte unburdened her mind, and told of tihe girlish dream-castles «fflie had built, with Syd as the centra) figure, and how, in planning an imaginary future, she had neglected those who were nearest to ber. But Syd had i-Shown her her folly, and the future should be different. Mrs. Grey stroked her dhild's face gent ly«^n a tear glisteiling i' her own eyes. Iliere is no harm in your caring for bydrrey, dearie; but you are too young to trouble about such tihings yet. Leave them ? tiil by-and-%, and he mother's girl as lone as you can.' And Effie, with many kisses, promised She would, and presently father came in, j ifarnt something of the conversation, and tfiese three had a long talk together; and when Effie went to her own little bed, it was with a peace and comfort in her heart she had never known before. It was'Chrisbmas Eve, and Efiie, with five-year-old Babs, went up town to buy her little presents. Father had managed to slip a coin into each of the children's hands, and Mie, after nvudh thought, laid out the little »am at her uispoau, 10 me best advantage, and managed to buy some thing for everybody. But there was not a penny over, and when she showed Tom m secret the result of her purchases (ex cept, of course, the little bow she had bought for him) he asked her what she meant to buy for herself. 'Nothing,' she said brightly, 'I don't need anything' (poor little Effie, who longed for so many things) 'and 1 have the pleasure of giving them, and that is better than anything else.' Whereupon Tom, self-accused, in that he had reserved a small portion of his cash for personal indulgences, went straight out and with the remainder of his money bought her a choice little illuminated text, with the words 'It is more blessed to give than to receive,' surrounded by sprays of roses, and Effie hung it at the foot of her bed, and it helped her on through the days when she read it. It was coming back from the shopping excursion that she met Syd He had been walking along disconsolately enough, and his face brightened visibly when he saw her. Tom had given him tne cold shoul der through the week, and Svd. had not liked to run in as ti-mal. Effie's hand tightened on Bab's little bare one when her eyes fell on Syd's face, but she met him frankly with her old, bright smile, and Syd. was glad. He had been feeling very uncomfortable all the week, as the result of his interference, and when they had exchanged civilities he went straight to the root of the matter. 'Effie, I hope you will forgive me for what I said last week.' 'I ha%'e nothing to forgive.' said Eme simply. 'I am glad you said it. I have been ever «o much happier ever since.' 'Happier?' echoed Syd incredulously. It s more than I have, then. I fancied you were going to shake me off, Effie.' Effie's face flushed a little, but she was silent. 'You know, Effie,' went on Syd., speak ing in a low tone and looking apprehen sively at Babs, whose big eyes were watch ing the circling flight of some pigeons, 'you know how much I think of you. We have been sweethearts for a long time now. and you'll be the same as ever, won't you, dear?' Syd.'s tone was very earnest, and Effie was trembling a little, but she raised her face and said quietly — 'No, Syd., not just the same. You'll be the friend of the family as long as you like, but not that — that you said. I am only a little girl. yet, and I am going to be father and mother's little pirl as long as I can. I don't mean to think of sweet hearts or boys, except our own boys, for venrs to come; bo please don't say any thing more like that.' Syd. reasoned with her, but Effie was ?irm. and somehow, when they ? shook hands and parted, the lad carried away a new feeling towards her, which made him feel nobler and better himself. That was a very happy Christmas after all. but by-and-bye it was all over, the ???Jiildiwi went hnnk to echini and Effie to the routine of home life, which in spite of her resolves (kept bravely, partly through a iittle time she spent 'each morning alone in her room wiflh the door shut after the children had pone to school and tJiinaB were quiet, and partly became of the smile of approval «he met with from her mother and father) grew irksome enouprh at times. Effie longed for a hipher sphere, for books and music, and things she had not: ,but she never .murmured. But to wards the end of January her chance came An English leitert. arrived one morning a letter from Uncle George, who was nchi and childless. Mcb.\ -Gray read it, b#i

???I'.- .....??-.A---.^.,!.k ?-*:.????--«'???.? ? :?;;??-,? ^---^pi*S?P made no comment, -thon^iL all day. hercy«^|ji^ 'folio IV etl'Effle'B IRUe^igure ;wi€o ~'ki r-yiiiiVmr^fi^^ glance, ghe would have ,^iki^ -t»-imowVft^^ not speak, and Effie worfd not seek' toiiry^jl into tttaft ;was not meant\for her.' Bdt .:ifi-^'^3fc the wenjng fettier *gna 'mother' read tt-:^eS letter .together, and then she was calledan. -# : ?J , 'My girlie.' said Mr. Gr6y, putting^an ;; ^ arm around oer: waist,' 'this letter is about '?/ i't -M you. You know Uncle George has ho boy» -S8 afid *irls, and he. writes aiking us to spaw ; J; ^£ tfujr. Effi^ as we have Tso many little people. .ill What do you say to it, dear? Of course, : ;-:f we should miss you, but if 3t be for your 5^ good mother and i will not stand in your; 'fi way. You would be as *heir own child. '- ^1i educated and brought up in a different i^ ;- y sphere from that you are now in- end uncle ^ --?: hints that having no one to leave his forr— « tun.e, to*116. adopted daughter would by- ?''??': : ' ano^ye be his heiress*' ' - , Effie's heart gave a_great bound and then almost stood still. The shock was too ' great. She -an heiress, with no more dishes to wash nor stockings to mend? Surely' it could not be. The attempt to realise it almost took away her breaUi. She gave a - little hysterical laugh arid hid her face on her father's shoulder. But then, how she would miss them all at home, and what would they do without 'her? Well, she would be aDle to do things for the child ren by-and-Bye, and Gertie would soon be old enough to take her place. She lay awake all night, thinking of fehe prospect before her, and ail the next day walked as in a dream, with big luminous eyes. In the evening she was called into 'mother'* ' room again for her answer, and she said quietly, 'I will go.' . Father kissed her and said he would write and make arrangements with Uncle V ? *T Oeprge, and mother held her- hand very !rii!rja?s if she eould ^t bear to think of the time when that little hand would be no longer hers. Then Effie went ont and broke the news to t'he others. It fell onthem like a thunderbolt. Frank sat the rest of the evening ?trying to .remember how many thirteen fives made, wibh the top of his pencil in his mouth, and afW O«rtie 'had gone to bed Effie heard her crying under the bedclothes, and went in I0 comf°J't.nerJj Pointing out the advan tages tfoat would be theirs if this magnifi cent offer were accepted, and promising all sorts of tilings as a panacea for present 50''0?'- /om -Ed not say much, but whea Eflie had told rhem all about it, he disap' peared, and when nine o'clock came and lie had not put in an appearance, Effie went to look for him. She passed out into the httle garden at the back of the house and called his name, but there was no an- *' swer. She sought him in the pigeon-house,' where he sometimes spent his evenings whitewashing or extending the accommo dation of his pets, but no Tom, and Efiie was just going in indoors again when she heard a smothered sound in the woodshed.' fche went to the door and peered into the semi-darkness. A boy's form was huddled upon a little pile of wood in the corner., his arms on his knees, and his head dovra on them, and he was sobbing fit to break his heart. Effie was at his side in a mo ment, seeking to know the cause of his trouble, for to see Tom in tears was anew «tate of things. He pushed her away. ?. 'Go to your rich relations,', he said, in a, hard voice. 'We are not good enough for you. Oh, you need not think I car*? that you are going. I don't care ii bit. I m noc crying over that. I bumped my «ead on the wash-house door.' Poor lad, so he had; but because his eyes were too blinded with tears to see the way; and Effie knew better. She sat down on the wood beside him and tried t-» reason it out, but Tom refused to listen, and she had to go in at last and leave him, because one of the little ones wanted her, , The next few days were not happy oaea: '' for iiffie. Tom, with a look on his face that had never been there before, avoid ed her, and whenever she went into her mother's room she could see that mother had been crying, though she tried to be specially bright and not let her see it. 1 he first glamor of the offer, too, had died down, and Effie commenced to wonder how' she would live without the children. She was frightened to think of a life tlut would cut her off from 'Tommy,' and what about mother's bedtime talks and father's God bless you, my girlie?' Effie weigh ed things in the balance until her head ached and her face grew pale, and mean while mother was putting by little things of her own that she could do without, that her little daugnter might be well pro vided for when she left the home nest. But before that narting came, before father had even written the letter which should give Effie away, she broke down. What were money, position, music, and books, compared with father and mother and the children and Tom? Effie could bear it no longer. She ran into her mother's room ind threw herself upon the bed at her side {for Mrs. Grey had been too unwell the last few days to even get on to the sofa at the window). . '.-i '??? ?:',?$ 'Mother, darling, I can't go,' she cried, ' - tvith a passionate burst of tears. 'I must - V bave been dreaming to think I could leave .-': ':'?: you all.' And Mrs. Grey clasped the little -f figure in her arms with a glad cry that told Effie more than any words what her mother had felt about it. There were great rejoicings that night, and Tom sold a pair of hie pigeons, ana with the money gave the children a treat at t'he little shop round the corner, and Effie once more took up her household duties. And so the summer slipped away, and the mellow -autumn days came on with their brown and russet tints and falling leaves, and the thirstjr earth waited for the cooling. showers which should ere long clothe its yellow surface with a pale green mantle. It was early one afternoon, the ohil-. dren had gone to school, the dishes were Washed,' and Effie, as was her wont in this her leisure hour, was practising diligently at -the old piano in the sitting-room. - Mrs. Grey, who was growing visibly better, lay upon the couch and listened, when sud denly 'both were rftartted by a loud knock ut the front door. Effie hastened to open it, and found a tall gentleman standing on the doormat. She eyed him demurely, waiting to hear his business,' while the gentleman surveyed the trim, little figure with an appreciative twinkle in his eye., 'j 'Dock Mrs. Grey live here?' he asked, 'Mrs. Tom Grey?' 'Yes,' Effie said, 'that Is mother's name.' 'And yon are Effie,' said the genbleman) taking the little hand tfhat was still upon the door. 'I know you are; I can see vour mother's face. Can't you guess who I am? T am Uncle *Alf.,' and before Effle could remonstrate _ the gentleman had jriven her a sounding kiss on the cheek, ond she was running in to tell mother. With Uncle AH. close at her heele. But Mm. Grey had heard -the voice, and was «itting up on 'her. couch with 'a great er-, ij'' 'hectancy on her fece, and in a minute ' ^ In-other and sister:; were in. each other** i ',;jnherc was such ,»' lot to tell on either. . ']',]? side, It was nofcilialf ,told when Ef&V ?j

{(rent away to get tea, and it had to be sold over again when me children, and Inter, when father came home;J='£vXJiH9$- UWf'8 eyes were suspiciously moist: that Eight, when, by dint Kit gentle insinua^ \ jtions, he learnt eome of the many little (Contrivances resorted to to make both tends meet; yet it made him all the more pad, because he knew that he was able fo set things right, for he had come home jfe rich man. 1 These things happened two years ago: ffihe Greys have moved out of town to k heautilul home at the foot of the bills. Kirs. Grey is well now, and Uncle Alf is kdelightful bachelor uncle, who submits So being climbed over and; having -4»is, hair sut in curling pins by the small fry. Effie Is sweeter of disposition than ever, and (is Uncle Alf'« especial pet. Two years' tegular study at 'her music 'has given her a proficiency, which she know^ how to ippreciate, and which is a source of de Jtfh't to those who know her. Tom has eft -school and is in an office. He is the same dear, old fellow, but his linen has mproved in quantity and quality, for Gert 10 longer does the ironing, which house ic-ld duty is in the hands of a good laun Urese; but Gert is a splendid girl, so steady knd practical, and there is a little nightin gale in her throat, which Uncle Alt says inust be cultivated, and which' one or two gentlemen, who ought to know, eay will knean a wonderful voice in years to come. And Syd is oufte grown up and more In love with Effie than ever. He often finds his way to Effie's home, and 1 shouldn't wonder if by-and-bye— but there, I must not tefll; 'but you'll 6ee what you friDsee.