The Golden Shoemaker
by J. W. Keyworth
THE GOLDEN SHOEMAKER:
or, Cobbler Horn.
Author of Mother Freeman, The Churchwarden's Daughter, &c., &c.
[Illustration: 'Come here, missy!'Page 38.]
London: J. Williams Butcher, 2 &3, Ludgate Circus Buildings,
Farringdon Street, E.C.
CHAPTER II. AUNT
CHAPTER III. HOW
CHAPTER IV. “ME
CHAPTER V. “THE
CHAPTER VI. THE
WHAT HAD BECOME
OF THE CHILD?
CHAPTER IX. A
TONGS AND BALL.
CHAPTER X. MISS
JEMIMA IS VERY
OF HIS FRIENDS.
PAYS A VISIT TO
CHAPTER XVI. THE
ATTACK ON THE
CHAPTER XVII. A
PARTING GIFT FOR
“THE LITTLE TWIN
THE NEW HOUSE.
CHAPTER XIX. A
TALK WITH THE
CHAPTER XXI. IN
NEED OF REPAIRS.
CHAPTER XXIV. ON
CHAPTER XXX. A
FOR A MAN OF
“IN LABOURS MORE
TOMMY DUDGEON ON
CHAPTER XXXIV. A
“MOTHER” FOR THE
THE OPENING OF
BETWEEN LIFE AND
A LITTLE SHOE.
CHAPTER XXXIX. A
CHAPTER XLI. NO
ROOM FOR DOUBT!
THE GOLDEN SHOEMAKER.
CHAPTER I. BEREAVED!
In a small house, in a back street, in the large manufacturing town
of Cottonborough, the young wife of Cobbler Horn lay dying. It was
the dusk of a wild evening in early winter; and the cruel cough, which
could be heard every now and then, in the lulls of the wind, from the
room upstairs, gave deepening emphasis to the sad fact that the
youthful wife and motherfor such also she washad fallen a victim to
that fell disease which sweeps away so much of the fair young life of
Cobbler Horn himself was engaged just now in the duties of his
calling, in the little workshop behind the kitchen. The house was very
small. The kitchen and workshop were the only rooms downstairs, and
above them were three small chambers. The one in which the dying woman
lay was over the workshop, and the sound of her coughing came down with
sharp distinctness through the boarded floor, which was the only
ceiling of the lower room.
Cobbler Horn knew that the death of his wife was probably a
question of a few hours at most. But he had promised that the boots on
which he was at work should be finished that night; and he had
conscientiously withdrawn from his wife's bedside that he might keep
Cobbler Horn was a man of thirty or so. He was tall, and had
somewhat rugged features and clear steadfast eyes. He had crisp black
hair, and a shaven face. His complexion was dark, and his bare arms
were almost as brown as his leathern apron. His firmly set lips and
corrugated brow, as he bent now over his work, declared him to possess
unusual power of will. Indeed a strength of purpose such as belongs to
few was required to hold him to his present task. Meanwhile his chief
misgiving was lest the noise he was compelled to make should distress
his dying wife; and it was touching to see how he strove to modify, to
the utmost degree which was consistent with efficient workmanship, the
tapping of the hammer on the soles of the boots in hand.
Sorrowing without bitterness, Cobbler Horn had no rebellious
thoughts. He did not think himself ill-used, or ask petulantly what he
had done that such trouble should come to him. His case was very sad.
Five years ago he had married a beautiful young Christian girl. Twelve
months later she had borne their little dark-eyed daughter Marian. Two
years thereafter a baby boy had come and gone in a day; and, from that
time, the mother had drooped and faded, day by day, until, at length,
the end was close at hand. But Cobbler Horn was a Christian, and did
His task was finished at last, and, with a sigh of relief, he rose
to his feet. In that moment, he became aware of a tiny figure, standing
in the open doorway of the kitchen. It was that of a little
four-year-old girl, clad in a ruby-coloured dress, which matched to
perfection her dark skin and black hair. Her crimson cheeks were dashed
with tears, and she looked like a damask rose just sprinkled by a
shower of rain. The light in her dark eyes, which glistened with
intense excitement beneath her jet-black hair, indicated that her tears
were those of indignation rather than grief. How long she had been
standing there he could not tell; but, as soon as she saw that her
father had finished his work, little Marianfor she it wasdarted
forward, and throwing her arms around his neck, with a sob, let her
small dusky head fall upon the polished breast-piece of his leathern
What's amiss with daddy's poppet? asked the father tenderly, as he
clasped the quivering little form more closely to his breast.
The only answer was a convulsive movement of the little body within
Come, darling, tell daddy. Strange strugglings continued within
the strong, encircling arms. This little girl of four had as strong a
will as her father; and she was conquering her turbulent emotions, that
she might be able to answer his questions. In a moment she broke away
from his clasp, and, dashing the tears from her eyes with her little
brown hands, stood before him with glowing face and quivering lip.
Me 'ant to see mammy! she criedthe child was unusually slow of
speech for her age. Dey 'on't 'et Ma-an do upstairs.
Cobbler Horn took the child upon his knee, and gently stroked the
small dusky head.
Mammy is very ill, Marian, he said gently.
Me 'ant to see mammy, was the emphatic response.
By and bye, darling, replied the father huskily.
What 'oo going to c'y for, daddy? demanded the child, looking up
hastily into her father's face. Poor daddy! she continued, stroking
his cheek with her small brown hand, Isn't 'oo very well?
I'm not going to cry, darling, said the father, bowing his head
over his child, and taking into his strong hand the little fingers
which still rested against his face. You don't understand, my poor
There followed a brief pause.
P'ease, daddy, pleaded Marian presently, Ma-an must see
mammy. Dere's such pitty fings in se shops, and me 'ants to do with
mammy to see demin morning.
The shops were already displaying their Christmas decorations.
Marian's father gave a great gasp.
Marian shall see mammy now, he said solemnly, as he rose from his
stool still holding the child to his breast.
I'se so glad! and she gave a little jump in his arms. Good
But father's little poppet must be quiet, and not talk, or cry.
No, said Marian with childhood's readiness to make a required
The child had not seen her mother since the previous day, and the
altered face upon the pillow was so strange to her, that she half
turned away, as though to hide her face upon her father's shoulder.
The gleaming eyes of the dying mother were turned wistfully towards
See, poppet; look at mammy! urged the father, turning the little
face towards the bed.
There was less change in the mother's voice than in her face; and
the next moment the little dark head lay on the pillow, and the tiny,
nut-brown hand was stroking the hollow cheek of the dying woman.
'oo is my mammy, isn't 'oo?
Yes, darling; kiss mammy good-bye, was the heart-breaking answer.
Me tiss 'oo, said the child, suiting the action to the word; but
not dood-bye. Me see 'oo aden. Mammy, se shops is so bootiful! Will 'oo
take Ma-an to see dem? 'nother day, yes 'nother day.
Daddy will take Marian to see the shops, said the dying mother, in
labouring tones. Mammy going to Jesus. Jesus will take care of
mother's little lamb.
The mother's lips were pressed in a last lingering kiss upon the
face of her child, and then Marian was carried downstairs.
When the child was gone, Cobbler Horn sat down by the bedside, and
took and held the wasted hand of his wife. It was evident that the end
was coming fast; and urgent indeed must be the summons which would draw
him now from the side of his dying wife. Hour after hour he sat waiting
for the great change. As the night crept on, he watched the deepening
shadow on the beloved face, and marked the gathering signs which
heralded the brief triumph of the king of terrors. There was but little
talk. It could not be otherwise; for, every moment, utterance became
more difficult to the dying wife. A simple, and affectionate question
and answer passed now and then between the two. At infrequent intervals
expressions of spiritual confidence were uttered by the dying wife; and
these were varied with a few calmly-spoken directions about the child.
From the husband came, now and then, words of tender encouragement,
mingled with morsels of consolation from the good old Book, with, ever
and anon, a whispered prayer.
The night had almost passed when the end came. The light of the grey
December dawn was struggling feebly through the lattice, when the young
wife and mother, whose days had been so few, died, with a smile upon
her face; and Cobbler Horn passed out of the room and down the
stairs, a wifeless husband and the father of a motherless bairn.
CHAPTER II. AUNT JEMIMA.
It was Aunt Jemima who stepped into the vacant place of Marian's
mother. She was the only sister of Cobbler Horn, and, with the
exception of a rich uncle in America, from whom they never heard, and a
wandering cousin, a sad scapegrace, she was her brother's only living
Cobbler Horn's sister was not the person to whom he would have
chosen to entrust the care of his motherless child, or the management
of his house. But he had no choice. He had no other relative whom he
could summon to his help, and Aunt Jemima was upon him before he had
had time to think. She was hurt that she had not been called to the
death-bed of her sister-in-law. But the omission rather increased, than
diminished, the promptitude with which she wrote to announce that she
would come to her bereaved brother without delay, and within a week she
was duly installed as mistress of his house.
I thought I had better come at once, she said, on the night of her
arrival. There's no telling what might have happened else.
Very good of you, Jemima, was her brother's grave response.
And so it was. The woman meant well. She loved her brother sincerely
enough; and she had resolved to sacrifice, for his sake and his
child's, the peace and freedom of her life. But Aunt Jemima's love was
wont to show itself in unlovely ways. The fact of meaning well, though
often a good enough excuse for faulty doing, is not a satisfactory
substitute for the doing of that which is well. Your toleration of the
rough handling inflicted by the awkwardness of inconsiderate love does
not counteract its disastrous effects on the susceptible spirit and the
tender heart, especially if they be those of a child. It is, therefore,
not strange that, though Cobbler Horn loved his sister, he wished she
had stayed away. She was his elder by ten years; and she lived by
herself, on the interest of a small sum of money left to her by their
father, at his death, in a far off village, which was the family home.
You'll be glad to know, Thomas, she said, that I've made
arrangements to stay, now I'm here.
They were sitting by the fire, towards supper-time; and the
attention of Cobbler Horn was divided between what his sister was
saying and certain sounds of subdued sobbing which proceeded from
upstairs. Very early in the evening Aunt Jemima had unceremoniously
packed Marian off to bed, and the tiny child was taking a long time to
cry herself to sleep in the cold, dark room.
Never mind the child, said Aunt Jemima sharply, as she observed
her brother's restless glances towards the staircase door; on no
account must she be allowed to have her own way. It was high time she
went to bed; and she'll soon be fast asleep.
Yes, Jemima, said the troubled father; but I wish you had been
more gentle with the child.
Fiddlesticks! was the contemptuous exclamation of Aunt Jemima, as
she regarded her brother severely through her spectacles; and she
added, Since you have wished me to take the oversight of your house
and child, you must leave me to manage them as I think fit.
Cobbler Horn did not venture to remind his sister that he had not
expressed any such wish. Being so much his senior, and having at least
as strong a will as his own, Jemima Horn had always maintained a
certain predominance over her brother, and her ascendancy still
prevailed to some extent. Making no further reference to the child, he
sat listening by turns to a prolonged exposition of his sister's views
on the management of children, and to the continued wailings which
floated down from the room above, until, at length, as a more piteous
cry than all frantically voiced his own name, faver, his
self-restraint gave way, and he rose hastily and went upstairs.
Aunt Jemima watched him in grim silence to the foot of the stairs.
Mind, she then called after him, she is not to come down.
Cobbler Horn did not so far set his sister at defiance as to act
in flat contradiction to her decree. Perhaps he himself did not think
it well that the child should be brought downstairs again, after once
having been put to bed. But, if Marian might not come down, Marian's
father might stay up. As soon as his step sounded on the stairs the
child's wailing ceased.
Zat zoo, daddy? and the father felt, in the darkness, that two
tiny arms were stretched out towards him in piteous welcome. Lighting
the candle, which stood on the table by the window, he sat down on the
edge of the bed, and, in a moment, Marian's little brown arms were
tightly clasped about his neck. For a brief space he held the child to
his breast; and then he gently laid her back upon the pillow, and
having tucked the bed-clothes well about her, he kissed the little
tear-stained face, and sat talking in the soothing tones which a loving
parent can so well employ.
Leaving him there, let us make a somewhat closer inspection of Miss
Jemima, as she sits in solitary state before the fire downstairs. You
observe that she is tall, angular, and rigid. Her figure displays the
uprightness of a telegraph pole, and her face presents a striking
arrangement of straight lines and sharp points. Her eyes gleam like
points of fire beneath her positively shaggy brows. Her complexion is
dark, and her hair, though still abundant, is already turning grey. Her
dress is plainness itself, and she wears no jewelry, all kinds of which
she regards with scorn. Her old-fashioned silver watch is a family
heirloom, and a broad black ribbon is her only watch-guard.
Yet there is nothing of malice or evil intent in Aunt Jemima's soul.
She is no less strictly upright in character than in form. She cannot
tolerate wickedness, folly, or weakness of any kind. So far well. The
lack of her character is the tenderness which is woman's crowning
grace. When she is kind it is in such a way that one would almost
prefer for her to be unkind.
Such is Aunt Jemima, as we see her sitting in front of her brother's
fire, and as we know her to be. Need we wonder that, Cobbler Horn's
heart misgave him as to the probable fate of his little Marian in such
rough, though righteous, hands?
When Cobbler Horn at length came downstairs, his sister was still
sitting before the fire. On his appearance, she rose from her seat.
Thomas, I am ashamed of you, she said, as she began, in a
masterful way, to make preparations for supper. Such weakness will
utterly spoil the child. But you were always foolish.
I am afraid, sister, was the quiet reply, that we shall hardly
agree with one anotheryou and Ion that point.
CHAPTER III. HOW MISS JEMIMA MANAGED
HER BROTHER'S HOUSE.
On entering upon the management of her brother's house, Aunt Jemima
laid down two laws, which were, that the house was to be kept
spotlessly clean, and that everything was always to be in its right
place; and her severe, and even fierce, insistence on the minute
fulfilment of these unexceptionable ordinances soon threatened utterly
to banish comfort from her brother's house.
The restrictions this masterful lady placed upon her patient brother
constituted a state of absolute tyranny. Lest her immaculate door-step
should be soiled, she would rarely allow him to enter the house by the
front-door. She placed a thick mat inside his workshop, at the doorway
leading into the front-room; and she exercised a lynx-eyed supervision
to ensure that he always wiped his feet before coming in. She would
never permit him to go upstairs without putting off his boots. She
removed his hat from the wall of the front-room, and hung it on a nail
in a beam, which was just over his head as he sat at work in his shop;
and whenever she walked, with her policeman-like tread, in the room
above, the hat would fall down, and strike him on the head. He bore
this annoyance for a day or two, and then quietly removed hat and nail
to one of the walls.
Strong-natured though he was, Cobbler Horn felt it no weakness to
yield to his sister in trifles; and he bore with exhaustless patience
such vexations as she inflicted on him alone. But he was firm as a rock
where the comfort of any one else was concerned. It was beautiful to
see his meek submission to every restriction which she laid upon him;
it was sublime to behold his stern resistance to such harsh
requirements as she proposed to lay upon others.
More than one battle was fought between the brother and sister on
this latter point. But it was on Marian's account that the contention
was most frequent and severe. Sad to say, the coming of Aunt Jemima
seemed likely to drive all happiness from the lot of the hapless child.
Rigid and cruel rules were laid upon the tiny mite. Requirements were
made, and enforced, which bewildered and terrified the little thing
beyond degree. She was made to go to bed and get up at preternaturally
early hours; and her employment during the day was mapped out in
obedience to similarly senseless rules. Her playthings, which had all
been swept into a drawer and placed under lock and key, were handed out
by Aunt Jemima, one at a time, at the infrequent intervals, during
which, for brief periods, and under strict supervision, the child was
permitted to play. Much of the day was occupied with the doing of a
variety of tasks few of which were really within the compass of her
childish powers. Aunt Jemima herself undertook to impart to Marian
elementary instruction in reading, writing, and kindred acts.
Occasionally also the child was taken out by her grim relative for a
stately walk, during which, however, she was not permitted, on any
account, to linger in front of a shop window, or stray from Aunt
Jemima's side. And then, in the evening, after their early tea, while
Aunt Jemima sat at her work at the table, the poor little infant was
perched on a chair before the fire, and there required to sit till her
bed-time, with her legs dangling till they ached again, while the tiny
head became so heavy that it nodded this way and that in unconquerable
drowsiness, and, on more occasions than one, the child rolled over and
fell to the floor, like a ball.
One lesson which Aunt Jemima took infinite pains to lodge in
Marian's dusky little head was that she must never speak unless she was
first spoken to; and if, in the exuberance of child-nature, she
transgressed this rule, especially at meal-times, Aunt Jemima's mouth
would open like a pair of nut-crackers, and she would give utterance to
a succession of such snappish chidings, that Marian would almost be
afraid she was going to be swallowed up. A hundred times a day the
child incurred the righteous ire of this cast-iron aunt. From morning
to night the little thing was worried almost out of her life by the
grim governess of her father's house; and Aunt Jemima even haunted her
Marian had one propensity which Aunt Jemima early set herself to
repress. The child was gifted with an innate love of rambling. More
than once, when very young indeed, she had wandered far away from home,
and her father and mother had thought her lost. But she had always, as
by an unerring instinct, found her way back. This propensity it was,
indeed, necessary to restrain; but Aunt Jemima adopted measures for the
purpose which were the sternest of the stern. She issued a decree that
Marian was never to leave the house, except when accompanied by either
her father or Miss Jemima herself. In order that the object of this
restriction might be effectually secured, it became necessary that Miss
Jemima should take the child with her on almost every occasion when she
herself went out. These events were intensely dreaded by Marian; and
she would shrink into a corner of the room when she observed Aunt
Jemima making preparations for leaving the house. But she made no
actual show of reluctance; and it would be difficult to tell whether
she was the more afraid of going out with Aunt Jemima, or of letting
Aunt Jemima see that she was afraid.
It was a terrible time for the poor child. On every side she was
checked, frowned upon, and kept down. If she was betrayed into the
utterance of a merry word she was snapped at as though she had said
something bad; and ebullitions of childish spirits were checked again
and again, until their occurrence became rare. And yet this woman
thought herself a Christian, and believed that, in subjecting to a
system of such complicated tyranny the bright little child who had been
committed to her charge, she was beginning to train the hapless mite in
the way she should go.
It was a very simple circumstance which first indicated to Cobbler
Horn the kind of training his child was beginning to receive. Happening
to go, one morning, into the living-room, he found that his sister had
gone out, and, for once, left Marian a prisoner in the house. The child
was seated on a chair, with her chubby legs hanging wearily down, and a
woe-begone expression on her face. Taking courage from the absence of
her dreadful aunt, Marian asked her father to give her some of her
toys, and to let her play. Finding, to his surprise, on questioning the
child, that she had been forbidden to touch her playthings without
express permission, and that they were put away in the drawer, he
readily gave her such of them as she desired, and crowned her happiness
by remaining to play with her till Aunt Jemima returned.
This incident created a feeling of uneasiness in the father's mind;
but it was a circumstance of another kind which fully revealed to him
the actual state of things. Passing through the room one evening when
Marian was on the point of going to bed, he paused to listen to the
evening prayer of his child. She knelt, in her little night-clothes, at
Aunt Jemima's knee. The father sighed, as he waited for the sound of
the simple words which had been learnt at the dictation of the tender
mother-voice which was now for ever still. What, then, were his
astonishment and pain when Marian, instead of repeating her mother's
prayer, entered upon the recital of a string of theological
declarations which Aunt Jemima dictated to her one by one!
Cobbler Horn strode forward, and laid a strong repressive hand
upon the child; and Aunt Jemima will never forget the flash of his eye
and the stern tones of his voice, as he demanded that Marian should be
permitted to pray her mother's prayer.
After this he noticed frequent signs of the tyranny of which Marian
was the victim, and interposed at many points. But it was only in part
that he was able to counteract the cruel discipline to which Aunt
Jemima was subjecting his child.
CHAPTER IV. ME LUN AWAY.
Winter passed drearily awaya wet one, as it happened, with never
once the white gleam of snow, and scarcely a touch of the healthy sting
of frost. Cobbler Horn had not ceased to sorrow for his dead wife;
and, when the spring was well advanced, there befell him another, and
scarcely less severe bereavement, though of a different kind.
There had been no improvement in the relations between Aunt Jemima
and the child. Aunt Jemima still maintained the harsh system of
discipline which she had adopted at first; and the result was that the
child had been led to regard her father's sister with as near an
approach to hatred as was possible to her loving little heart. Marian's
heart was big, almost to bursting, with concealed sorrow. Like her
father, young as she was, she found it easier to bear grief than to
tell it out. She did not want her father to know how miserable she was.
Her childish soul was filled with bitterness, and her young life was
being spoiled. Such of her pleasures as had not been taken from her
were divested of all their charm. Almost her sole remaining joy was to
snatch, now and then, a bit of clandestine love with her father, when,
on some rare occasion, Aunt Jemima happened to be out of the way.
Recognising the uselessness of resisting a hand so hard and strong
as that of Aunt Jemima, Marian had lately meditated another way of
escape from the wretchedness of her lot. She contemplated an expedient
which occurs more readily than any other to the youthful victim of
oppression, but which had probably never before presented itself to the
mind of a child so young. The expedient is one, indeed, which seldom
effects its purpose, and is usually productive of a plentiful crop of
troubles. But Marian had no fear. She was full of one thought. She
could not any longer endure Aunt Jemima; and she must make it
impossible for Aunt Jemima to scold, or smack, or restrain her any
more. She must escape, without delay, from the sound of Aunt Jemima's
harsh voice, and place herself beyond the reach of Aunt Jemima's rough
hand. True, there was her father. How could she leave him? This would
have been impossible to her if she had realised what she was about to
do. But it seemed so easy and pleasant to slip out into the bright
spring morning, and trot away into the mysterious and delightful
country, which lay outside the town. Nor did she dream of the hardships
and danger which might be awaiting her out in the strange, unloving
world, into which she had so lightly resolved to launch her little
life. So it came to pass that, on a certain bright May morning, Marian
took her opportunity, and went out into the world.
Marian's opportunity was furnished by the fact that Aunt Jemima had
gone out, leaving Marian at home, and, for once, had forgotten to lock
the door. As soon as Aunt Jemima's back was turned, the child huddled
her little pink print sun-bonnet upon her small black head, and, with
one furtive glance over her shoulder towards her father's workshop,
whence she could distinctly hear the quick tap-tap of his hammer, she
opened the front-door, and slipped into the street. Her first action
was to shoot a keen glance, from her sharp little eyes, to right and
left. There was no one to be seen but one of the funny little twin men
who kept a huckster's shop across the way. This little man was a great
friend of Marian's, and he called to her now in joyous tones, as he
stood in the doorway of his shop, to come over and see what he had in
his pocket. Marian gave a decided shake of her head.
No; Ma-an going away. Tum another time.
Then, murmuring to herself, Me lun away, she set off down the
street, with a defiant swagger of her small person, and her
bonnet-strings streaming out upon the wind; and the little huckster
watched her with an admiring gaze, little thinking into what wilds of
sorrow those tiny twinkling feet had set off to run.
CHAPTER V. THE LITTLE TWIN
The name of the little hucksters across the way was Dudgeon. As to
age, they were on the verge of thirtyTommy having entered the world a
few minutes previous to John. They were so much alike that it was
difficult to distinguish them when apart. John was just a shade lighter
in complexion than Tommy, and Tommy overtopped his brother by something
like an inch. The twins were so small as to seem insignificant; but
their meek amiability was an efficient set off against their physical
deficiencies. If there was any measure of self-assertiveness between
them, it belonged chiefly to Tommy. Though both the little men were
kind to Marian, Tommy was her especial friend; and it was he who had
watched her as she ran away. The twins were both bachelors; though John
had kept company for several years with a young woman of exemplary
patience. Tommy, who was a sincere Christian, was a member of the
church to which Cobbler Horn belonged. John occasionally attended the
services at the same place, but could not be persuaded to join the
The close resemblance between the brothers was the cause of many
ludicrous mistakes. In their boyhood, they had frequently been blamed
for each other's faults and misdeeds; and it was characteristic of
Tommy that he had quietly suffered more than one caning which his
brother ought to have received. But, when it had been proposed to
administer to him a dose of medicine which had been prescribed for
John, he had quietly protested and explained the mistake.
When the twins grew up, similar blunders continued to occur; and the
little men had frequent opportunities of unlawfully profiting by the
errors in which their close resemblance to each other often involved
their friends. But, to the credit of these worthy little men be it
said, they conscientiously declined to avail themselves of the
opportunities of illegitimate benefit thus thrown in their way.
It was a curious sight to see these two queer little men standing,
sitting, or walking, side by side. The minister of their chapel would
often speak of the first occasion on which he had seen John Dudgeon. It
was one Sunday evening, shortly after he had assumed the pastorate of
the church. The service had just commenced, and the eye of the minister
happened to rest, for a moment, on the humble figure of Tommy Dudgeon,
who was, as usual, in his place. The minister had already made the
acquaintance of Tommy, but of the existence of John he was not yet
aware. What, then, was his astonishment, the next moment, to see
another Tommy Dudgeon, as it seemed, come in and take his place beside
the one already in the pew! For a breathing space the new pastor
imagined himself the victim of an optical illusion; and then he rubbed
his eyes, and concluded that Tommy Dudgeon had a twin brother, and that
this was he.
It was not surprising that these two peculiar little men should have
excited the amusement of those to whom they were known. Their amazing
and almost indistinguishable resemblance to each other, and the
consequent unconscious mutual mimicry of tone and gesture which
prevailed between them, while they were a source of frequent
perplexity, were also irresistibly provocative of mirth. What wonder
that those who saw the little hucksters for the first time should have
felt strongly inclined to regard them in a comic light; or that the
mere mention of their names should have unfailingly brought a smile to
the faces of those to whom their peculiarities were known!
The boys of the Grammar School, which was situated in a neighbouring
street, had, from time immemorial, furnished Tommy and John Dudgeon
with an epithet accommodated from classic lore, and dubbed them, the
little Twin Brethren.
CHAPTER VI. THE FATHER'S QUEST.
When Aunt Jemima came home, she was surprised, in no small degree,
at the absence of Marian. With gathering indignation she called up the
stairs, then searched the house, and finally presented herself before
her brother, who was quite alone in his workshop, and sat calmly
working on his stool.
Then she is not here?
Who? Marian? responded Cobbler Horn in no accent of concern,
looking up for a moment from his work. No, I thought she was with
No; I left her in the room for a moment, and now she is nowhere to
There seemed to Cobbler Horn no reason for alarm, and, as his
sister returned to the kitchen, he quietly went on with his work. But
Aunt Jemima's mind was ill at ease. Once more she searched the house,
and called and called again. There was no response, and the silence
which followed was profound and ominous. Swiftly she passed, with
growing alarm, through her brother's workshop, and out into the yard. A
glance around, and then a closer search; but still no sign of the
missing child. The perturbed woman re-entered her brother's presence,
and stood before him, erect and rigid, and with outstretched hands.
The child's gone! was her gloomy exclamation.
Gone! echoed Cobbler Horn blankly, looking up. Where?
I don't know; but she's gone quite away, and may never come back.
Then Cobbler Horn perceived that his sister was alarmed; and,
notwithstanding the occasion, he was comforted by the unwonted
tenderness she had expressed. As for Marian, he knew her for a born
rambler; and it was not the first time she had strayed from home.
Perhaps, he said placidly, she has gone to the little shop over
Then he resumed his work, as though he had simply told his sister
where she would be likely to find her spectacles.
Aunt Jemima took the hint, as a drowning person catches at a straw.
She made her way to the front-door, and having opened it, was on the
point of crossing the street, when Tommy Dudgeon emerged from the shop,
and came over towards where she stood.
Good morning, ma-am, he said, halting at a respectful distance.
You are looking for little miss?
Well, snapped Aunt Jemima, and if I am, what then? Do you know
where she is?
No, ma-am; but I saw her go away.
Miss Jemima seized the arm of the little man with an iron grip.
Man! you saw her go away, and you let her go?
With difficulty Tommy freed his arm.
Well, ma-am, perhaps I ought
Of course you ought, rapped out the lady, sharply. You must be a
No doubt, ma-am. But little miss will come back. She knows her way
about. She will be home to dinner.
Having spoken, Tommy was turning to recross the street.
Tommy stopped and faced around once more.
Which way did she go?
That way, ma-am, replied Tommy, pointing along the street, to Aunt
Jemima's left-hand, and his own right.
The troubled lady instantly marched, in the direction indicated, to
the end of the street; but, finding that five ways branched off
therefrom, she returned baffled to her brother's house, and sought his
presence once more.
Thomas, she cried, almost fiercely, the child has certainly run
Still Cobbler Horn was not alarmed.
Well, he said calmly, never mind, Jemima. She has a habit of
going off by herself. She knows her way about, and will not stray far.
She will be back by dinner-time, no doubt.
Though by no means satisfied, Miss Jemima was fain to accept this
view of the case for the time. With a troubled mind, she resumed her
suspended domestic duties. Unlikely as it might seem, she could not
banish the dread that Marian had actually run away; and, as the morning
passed, the fear grew stronger and stronger in the troubled lady's
breast that she would see her little niece no more. Accordingly when
dinner-time arrived, Aunt Jemima was not surprised that Marian did not
appear. The dinner consisted of Irish stewMarian's favourite dish. On
the stroke of twelve it was smoking on the table. For the twentieth
time the perturbed lady went to the door, and gazed wistfully up and
down the street. Then, with a sigh, she re-entered the house, and
called her brother to dinner.
Cobbler Horn, feeling sure that Marian would soon return, had
dismissed the fact of her disappearance from his mind; and when, on
coming in to dinner, he found that she was still absent, he was taken
In reply to his inquiry, Aunt Jemima jerked out the opinion that the
child would not come back at all.
Why shouldn't she? he asked. I've known her stay away longer than
this, and there's no occasion for alarm.
So saying, he addressed himself to his dinner with his usual gusto;
but Miss Jemima had no appetite, and the show of eating that she made
was but a poor pretence.
Don't be so much alarmed, Jemima, said her brother, making
progress with his dinner. I've no doubt the child is amongst her
friends. By and bye I'll go out and hunt her up.
He still had no fear that his little daughter would not soon return.
He accordingly finished his dinner with his usual deliberation; and it
was not until he had completed one or two urgent pieces of work, that
he, at last, put on his hat and coat, and taking his stout blackthorn
stick, set out in search of his missing child.
All the weary afternoon, he went from house to house, amongst
friends and friendly neighbours; but no one had seen Marian, or knew
anything as to her whereabouts. Every now and then he returned home, to
see if the child had come back. But each time he found only Aunt
Jemima, sitting before the fire like an image of grim despair. She
would look up with fierce eagerness, on his entrance, and drop her gaze
again with a gasp when she saw that he was alone.
Long before the afternoon was over the father's unconcern had given
place to serious alarm. He was not greatly surprised that he had failed
to find Marian in the house of any of their friends; but he wondered
that she had not yet come home of her own accord. While he would not,
even now, believe that Marian had run away, he was compelled to admit
that she was lost. But what was that? He had turned once more towards
home, and had entered his own street, and there was Marian, playing
with some other children, on the pavement, just in front. Her back was
towards him, as she bent down over her play. But there was no mistaking
that thick, night-black hair, and the little plump brown legs which
peeped out beneath the small frock. With the promptitude of absolute
certainty, he put out his strong hands and lifted the child from the
ground. Then he uttered a cry. It was not Marian after all! He put her
downhe almost let her drop, and the startled child began to cry.
Cobbler Horn hastily pushed a penny into her hand, and strode on. He
staggered like one who has received a blow. It seemed almost as if he
had actually had his little one in his arms, and she had slipped away
When he reached home, his sister was still sitting in grim silence,
before the now fireless grate. On her brother's entrance, she looked up
as aforetime. Cobbler Horn sank despondently into a chair.
Nowhere to be found! he said, with a deep sigh.
We must have the tea ready, he added, as though at the dictate of
a sudden thought.
Ah, you are tired, and hungry.
Aunt Jemima hesitated on the last word. Could her brother be hungry?
She thought she would never wish to taste food again.
No, he said quickly; but Marian will want her tea. Put the dinner
away. It is cold, Jemima.
I put her plate in the oven, said Aunt Jemima, in a hollow voice,
as she rose from her seat.
Ah! gasped the father. The little plate had become hot and cold
again, and its contents were quite dried up. Aunt Jemima put the plate
upon the oven-top; and then turned, and looked conscience-stricken into
her brother's face. Severe towards herself, as towards others, she
unflinchingly acknowledged her great fault.
Brother, your child is gone; and I have driven her away.
She lifted her hands on either side of her head, and gently swayed
herself to and fro oncea grim gesture of despair.
I do not ask you to forgive me. It is not to be expected of
youunless she comes back again. If she does not, I shall never
Jemima, said Cobbler Horn, rising from his seat, and placing his
hand lightly on her shoulder, You are too severe with yourself. That
the child is lost is evident enough; but surely she may be found! I
will go to the police authorities: they will help us.
He turned to the door, but paused with his hand on the latch.
Jemima, he said, gently, you must not talk about my not forgiving
you. I would try to forgive my greatest enemy, much more my own sister,
who has but done what she believed to be best.
The authorities at the police-station did what they could. Messages
were sent to every police centre in the town; and very soon every
policeman on his beat was on the look-out for the missing child. At the
same time, an officer was told off to accompany the anxious father on a
personal search for his little girl. First of all, they visited the
casual ward at the workhouse, and astonished its motley and dilapidated
occupants by waking them to ask if they had fallen in with a strayed
child on any of the roads by which they had severally approached the
town. When they had recovered from their first alarm beneath the gleam
of the policeman's bulls-eye, these waifs of humanity, one and all,
declared their inability to supply the desired information. The officer
next conducted his companion into the courts and bye-ways of the town.
Many a den of infamy was filled with a quiver of alarm, and many a
haunt of poverty was made to uncover its wretchedness before the
horrified gaze of Cobbler Horn. But the missing child was not in any
of these. Next they went a little way out on one or two of the country
roads. But here all was dark: and they soon retraced their steps.
Having ascertained that nothing had been heard at the police-station
of his child, Cobbler Horn at length turned homeward, in the early
morning, with a weary heart. Miss Jemima was still sitting where he had
left her, and he sadly shook his head in response to the appeal of her
dark hollow eyes. During the hour or so which remained before dawn,
Cobbler Horn restlessly paced the house, pausing, now and then, to
open the front-door and step out into the street, that he might listen
for the returning patter of the two little feet that had wandered away.
Before it was fairly light, he left his sister, still distraught and
rigid in her chair, and went into the streets once more. What could he
do which he had not already done? From the first his heart had turned
to God in prayer, and this seemed now his sole remaining resource. Yes,
he could still pray; and, as he did so now, his belief grew stronger
and stronger that, if not now, yet sometime, he would surely find his
Not many streets from his own he met a woman whom he knew. She
lived, with her husband, in a solitary cottage on the London Roadthe
road into which Cobbler Horn's street directly led, and she was astir
thus early, she explained, to catch the first train to a place some
miles away. But what had brought Mr. Horn out so soon? Cobbler Horn
told his sorrowful story, and the woman gave a sudden start.
Why, she said, that reminds me. I saw the child yesterday
morning. She passed our house, trotting at a great rate. It was washing
day, and, besides, I had my husband's dinner in the oven, or I think I
should have gone after her.
Cobbler Horn regarded the woman with strange, wide-open eyes.
If you had only stopped her! he cried. But of course you didn't
With that, he left the woman standing in the street, and hurried
away. Very soon he was walking swiftly along the London Road. The one
thought in his mind was that he was on the track of his child at last.
He passed the wayside cottage where the woman lived who had seen Marian
go by, and went on until, moved by a sudden impulse, he paused to rest
his arms upon the top of a five-barred gate, and look upon the field
into which it led. Then he uttered a cry, and, tearing open the gate,
strode into the field. Lying amidst the grass was a little shoe. It was
one of Marian's without a doubt. Had he not made it himself? He picked
it up and hid it away in the pocket of his coat. Marian had evidently
wandered that way, and was lost in the large wood which lay on the
other side of the field. To reach the wood was the work of a few
moments. Plunging amongst the trees, he soon came upon a pool, near the
margin of which were some prostrate tree trunks. Near one of these the
ground was littered with shreds of what might have been articles of
clothing; and amongst them was a long strip of print, which had a
familiar look. He picked it up and examined it closely. Then the truth
flashed upon him. It was one of the strings of Marian's sun-bonnet!
Holding it loosely between his finger and thumb, he gazed upon the foul
green waters of the pond. Did they cover the body of his child? He had
no further thought of searching the wood. With a shudder he turned
away, and hurried home.
Aunt Jemima had bestirred herself, and was moving listlessly about
Jemima, do you know this? She took the strip of print into her
Yes, she said, it is
He finished her sentence. the string of her bonnet.
He told her where he had found it, and showed her the shoe.
The pond was dragged, but nothing was discovered. They searched the
wood, and scoured the country for miles around; but they came upon no
further trace of the missing child.
CHAPTER VII. WHAT HAD BECOME OF THE
When Marian left her father's house, she had but one idea in her
mind. Her sole desire was to escape from Aunt Jemima; and it seemed to
her that the most effectual method of doing so was to get into the
country as fast as she could. It was not likely, she thought, that
there would be any Aunt Jemimas in so pleasant a region as she had
always understood the country to be. She knew vaguely which direction
to take, and supposed that if she kept on long enough, she would
ultimately reach her destination. What she would do when she got there
she had not paused to think. At present she was simply thrilling with
the sweet consciousness of liberty, and enjoying her scamper in the
fresh spring morning air. It was not likely, perhaps, that Marian would
run right away from home, and stay away. Like any other little chick,
she would make for home at roosting time, if hunger did not constrain
her to turn her steps thitherward at a much earlier hour.
Marian's surmise that the way she had taken led into the country
proved to be correct. The street widened out into a road, the houses
became fewer and brighter till they ceased altogether; and the child
realized, with a little tremor, that, at last, she was out in the
country all alone. Her feeling was one of timid joy. All around her
were the green fields and waving trees; and the only house in sight was
a little white-washed cottage far on in front. It cost Marian an effort
to pass a man with a coal cart who presently loomed in view; but when
she found that he slouched by without taking any notice of her, she
took heart again and tripped blithely on.
Presently she found herself opposite to the little white-washed
cottage; and she remembered that she had been there once or twice with
her father. She would have been better pleased, just now, if the
cottage had been on some other road. How could she pass it without
being seen? This was plainly impossible; for there was the woman of the
housebeing the same whom Marian's father met the following
morninghanging out the clothes in the garden, close to the hedge.
Marian trotted on, pretending not to know that there was any one near.
Then she felt hot all over, as she became aware the woman had seen her,
and was calling across the road. But she just gave her dusky little
head a determined shake, and pursued her way. The woman, being weighted
with an accumulation of domestic cares, without a second thought, and
much to her subsequent regret, let the little runaway go by.
When Marian had left the cottage out of sight behind, she began to
feel lonely, and to be very much afraid. There was not a human being in
sight, except herself; and the only dwelling she could see was a
farm-house, perched on the top of a hill, away across the fields. She
slackened her pace, and looked furtively around. Then she went on more
quickly again; but, in a few moments, a slight bend in the road brought
before her a sight at which she stopped short and uttered a cry of
alarm. An exceedingly ill-favoured man, and a no more prepossessing
woman, were sitting upon the bank, by the road-side, discussing a
dinner of broken victuals. They were thorough-going tramps, of middle
age. Marian would have fled; but their evil eyes held her to the spot.
What a pretty little lady! said the man, holding out a very dirty
hand. Come here, missy!
But Marian shrank back with a smothered cry.
I've finished my dinner, I have, said the man, getting up.
So have I, echoed the woman, following his example; and we'll go
for a walk with little miss.
What a precious lonely road! she remarked, when she had glanced
this way and that, to make sure that no prying eyes were near. Catch
hold o' the little 'un, Jake; and we'll take a stroll in the fields.
There was a perfect understanding between this precious pair; and
Marian was promptly lifted over a five-barred gate, and led by the
woman across a grass field, towards a wood on the other side, while the
man followed stolidly in the rear. A few paces from the gate Marian's
shoe came off; but she was as much too frightened to say anything about
it, as she was to ask any questions of her captors, or to resist their
will. Having reached the wood, they plunged into its recesses, and at
length halted before a large pool, at the edge of which there lay upon
the ground the trunks of some trees which had been cut down. Taking her
seat on one of these, the woman drew Marian to her side, and, while the
man stood by with an evil smile, proceeded to strip off some of the
child's clothes. Marian began to cry, but was silenced with a rough
shake and a threat of being thrown into the pond. Having divested the
child of most of her garments, the woman took from a dirty bundle which
she carried a draggled grey wool shawl, which she wrapped tightly,
crosswise, around Marian's body, and tied in a hard knot behind her
Perceiving that Marian had lost one of her shoes, the hag sent her
husband back to look for it, while she proceeded with the metamorphosis
of the hapless infant who had fallen into her hands. She smeared the
little face with muddy water from the margin of the pool; she jerked
out the semi-circular comb which held back Marian's cloud of dusky
hair, and let the thick locks fall in disorder about her head and face;
she dragged the little sun bonnet in the green slime at the margin of
the pool, and, on pretence of tying it on the child's head, wrenched
off one of the strings, which she heedlessly left lying on the ground.
At this point the man returned without the missing shoe.
It doesn't matter, said his spouse. Lend me your knife.
She then proceeded to cut and slash Marian's remaining shoe in a
most remorseless manner, after which she replaced it on the child's
foot, and wrapped around the other foot a piece of dirty rag.
Come now, said the woman, having rolled up Marian's clothes with
the rubbish in her bundle; we wanted a little girl, and you'll just
do. So saying, she took tight hold of the child's hand.
I want my daddy! cried Marian, finding her voice at last.
That's your daddy now, said the woman, pointing to the man: and
I'm your mammy. Come along! and, with the word, she set off at a
vigorous pace, dragging the child, and, followed heavily by her
husband, through the wood, and across the field, and then out upon the
road, away and away, with their backs turned towards Marian's home.
CHAPTER VIII. THE SHOEMAKER BECOMES
One morning, about twelve years after the disappearance of Marian,
there came to her father a great, and almost overwhelming surprise.
It is not necessary to dwell on the manner in which the twelve years
had passed. Nothing had ever been heard of Marian. The most thorough
search was made, but without result; and at length, the stricken father
was constrained to accept the conviction that his child was indeed gone
from him into the great world, and, bowing his head in the presence of
his God, he covered his bruised heart with the fair sheet of a
dignified self-control, and settled down to his work again, like a man
and a Christian.
Yet he did not cease inwardly to grieve. If his child had gone to
her dead mother, there would have been strong consolation, and,
perhaps, in time, contentment might have come. But she was gone, not to
her mother, but out into the cold, pitiless world; and his imagination
dwelt grimly on the nameless miseries into which she might fall.
Miss Jemima still kept her brother's house; but she had been greatly
softened by her self-accusing grief. And now, as the brother and sister
sat at breakfast one autumn morning, came the surprise of which we
speak. It came in the form of a letter, which, before opening it,
Cobbler Horn regarded, for some moments, with a dubious air. The
arrival of a letter at his house was a rare event; and but for the fact
that the missive bore his name and address, he would have thought there
was a mistake, and, even now, the addition of the sign, Esq. to his
name left the matter in some doubt. The stoutness of the blue envelope,
and the bold character of the handwriting, gave the packet a
business-like look. For a moment, Cobbler Horn thought of his lost
child. A slight circumstance was sufficient, even yet, to re-awaken his
hopes; and he still clung to the conviction that, some day, his child
would return. The letter, however, contained no reference to the great
sorrow of his life; and, indeed, its contents were such that he forgot,
for the time being, Marian, and everything else. He looked up with a
gasp of astonishment; and then, turning his attention again to the
letter, deliberately read it through, and, when he had finished, calmly
handed it to his sister. She read a few words, and broke off with a
Yes, Jemima, I am a rich man, it seems. Read on, and say what you
think; and Cobbler Horn rose from his seat, and went quietly into
Miss Jemima devoured her brother's letter with greedy eyes. It was
from a firm of London lawyers, and contained a brief announcement that
the rich uncle of Cobbler Horn had died, in America, without a will;
that Cobbler Horn was the lawful owner of all his wealth; and that
they, the lawyers, awaited Cobbler Horn's commands. Would he call
upon them at their office in London, or should they attend him at his
private, or any other, address? In the meantime, he would oblige by
drawing upon them for any amount of money he might require.
With what breath she had left Miss Jemima hurried into her brother's
Thomas, she demanded, flourishing the letter in his face, what
are you going to do?
Think, he answered concisely, without looking up from the
hob-nailed boot between his knees, and pray, and get on with my work.
But this letter requires an answer! And, with a glance of disgust
around the rough shop with its signs of toil, you are a rich man now,
That, was the quiet reply, does not alter the fact that I have
half-a-dozen pairs of boots to mend, and two of them are promised for
dinner-time. Leave me, now, Jemima, and we'll talk the matter over this
evening. I don't suppose the gentlemen will be in a hurry.
Miss Jemima withdrew as she was bidden, thinking that there was one
gentleman, at least, who was not in a hurry.
All day long Cobbler Horn quietly worked on in the usual way. He
did this partly because he loved his work and was loath to give it up,
partly because he had so much work on hand, and partly that he might
think and pray, which he could always do best on his cobbler's stool.
He found it difficult to realize what had taken place; but when, at
last, he fairly grasped the fact that he was now a rich man, mingled
feelings of joy and dread filled his breast. There was little taint of
selfishness in Cobbler Horn's joy. It was no gratification to him to
be relieved of the necessity to work. Nor was he fascinated with the
prospect of luxury. His joy arose chiefly from the thought of the
amount of good he would now be able to do. It was impossible that he
should form anything like an adequate conception of the vast power for
good which had been placed in his hands. The boundless ability to
benefit his fellowmen with which he had been so suddenly endowed could
not be realized in the first moments of his great surprise, yet he
perceived faint glimmerings of possibilities of benevolence beyond his
Thoughts of his long-lost child stole over him ever and anon. If she
had been left to him, he would have rejoiced in his good fortune the
more, on her account. But she was gone.
The joy of Cobbler Horn was chastened by a solemn dread. A great
responsibility had been laid upon him from which he would have
infinitely rather been free. He prayed, with trembling, that he might
prove worthy of so great a trust.
At dinner-time Miss Jemima questioned her brother as to his
intentions. His answers were brief and indefinite. The matter could not
be settled in a moment. In the evening they would talk things over, and
decide what to do.
The evening came, and brother and sister sat before the fire.
Jemima, said Cobbler Horn, I must accept this great
You surely did not think of doing anything else? exclaimed the
WellyesI did. The burden seemed so great that, for a time, I
shrank. But the Lord has shown me my duty. I could have desired that we
might have remained as we were. But there is much consolation in the
thought of all the good we shall be able to do; andwell, the will of
the Lord be done!
Miss Jemima was astounded. Her brother had become rich beyond the
dreams of avarice, and he talked of resignation to the will of God!
Then you will answer the letter at once? she said.
And you will go to London?
Yes, next week, I think.
Next week! Why not this week? It's only Monday.
There is no need to hurry, Jemima. There might be some mistake. And
it's as well to give the gentlemen time to prepare.
Lawyers don't make mistakes, said Miss Jemima: And as for
preparing, you may be sure they have done that already.
But nothing could induce Cobbler Horn to hasten his movements; and
his sister was fain to content herself with his promise to write to the
lawyers the next day, which he duly fulfilled.
CHAPTER IX. A STRANGE CLIENT FOR
MESSRS. TONGS AND BALL.
The day on which Cobbler Horn had proposed to the lawyers to pay
them his promised visit, was the following Monday, at three o'clock in
the afternoon, and by return of post there came a letter from the
lawyers assenting to the arrangement. During the week which intervened,
Cobbler Horn did not permit either himself or his sister to mention
to a third person the change his circumstances had undergone. Nor did
he encourage conversation between his sister and himself on the subject
of his suddenly acquired wealth. And neither his manner of life nor the
ordering of his house gave any indication of the altered position in
which he was placed. He did not permit the astounding news he had
received to interfere with the simple regularity of his life. Miss
Jemima might have been inclined to introduce into her domestic
arrangements some outward and visible sign of the altered fortunes of
the house; but her brother's will prevailed, and all things continued
as before. The golden shoemaker even continued to work at his trade
in the usual way. And all the time he was thinkingthinking and
praying; and many generous purposes, which afterwards bore abundant
fruit, began to germinate in his mind.
At length the momentous day arrived, and Cobbler Horn travelled by
an early train to London, and, having dined frugally at a decent
eating-house, presented himself in due time at the offices of Messrs.
Tongs and Ball. The men of law were both seated in the room into which
their new client was shown. One of them was a very little, round, rosy,
middle-aged man, with an expression of countenance so cherubic that no
one would have suspected him of being a lawyer; and the other was a
tall, large-boned, parchment-faced personage, of whom almost any degree
of heartlessness might have been believed. The two lawyers rose and
bowed as Cobbler Horn was shown in.
Thomas Horn, at your service, gentlemen.
This is Mr. Tongs, said the tall lawyer with a waive of his hand
towards his rotund partner; and I am Mr. Ball, he added, drawing
himself into an attitude which caused him to look much more like a bat
than a ball, and speaking in a surprisingly agreeable tone. Upon this
there was bowing all around, and then a pause.
Pray take a seat, Mr. Horn, besought Mr. Ball.
Cobbler Horn modestly obeyed.
And now, my dear sir, said Mr. Ball, when he himself and his
partner had also resumed their seats, let us congratulate you on your
Thank you, gentlemen, said Cobbler Horn gravely. But the
responsibility is very great. I am only reconciled to it by the thought
that I shall now be able to do many things that I have long desired to
Ah, said Mr. Ball, it is one of the gratifications of wealth that
a man is able to follow his bentwhether it be travelling, collecting
pictures, keeping horses, or what not.
Of course, echoed Mr. Tongs.
No, no, gentlemen, dissented Cobbler Horn, I was thinking of
the good I shall now be able to do. But let us get to business; for I
should be sorry to waste your time.
Both lawyers protested. Waste their time! They could not be better
You are very kind, gentlemen.
Not at all, was the candid reply.
You have come into a very large fortune, Mr. Horn, continued Mr.
Ball, as he began to untie a bundle of documents. You are worth very
many thousands; in fact you are almost a millionaire. I think I am
right, Mr. Tongs?
Yes, assented Mr. Tongs, oh yes, certainly.
All the documents are here, resumed Mr. Ball, as he surveyed a sea
of blue and white paper which covered the table; and, with your
permission, Mr. Horn, we will give you an account of their contents.
The lawyer then proceeded to give his client a statement of the
particulars of the fortune of which he had so unexpectedly become
We hope, Mr. Horn, he said, in conclusion, that you may do us the
honour to continue the confidence reposed in us by your late uncle.
I beg your pardon, sir? said Cobbler Horn.
I ventured to hope that my partner and I might be so fortunate as
to retain the management of your affairs. I believe you will find that
Oh yes, of course, Cobbler Horn hastened to interpose. He had
not dreamt of making any change. The lawyers bowed their thanks.
May we now ask, said Mr. Ball, whether you have any special
I think there are one or two requests I should like to make. I have
a sister, and I believe my uncle left another nephew.
A sad scrapegrace, my dear sir, interposed Mr. Ball, whose keen
legal instinct gave him some scent of what was coming next.
Cobbler Horn held up his hand.
Can you tell me, gentlemen, whether there are any other relatives
of my uncle's who are still alive?
We have every reason to believe that there are not.
Very well, then, I wish my uncle's property to be divided into
three equal portions. One third I desire to have made over to my
sister, and another to be reserved for my cousin. The remaining portion
I will retain myself.
But, my dear sir, cried Mr. Ball, the whole of the property is
True, was the quiet reply; but the law cannot make that right
which is essentially wrong, and my sister and cousin are as much
entitled to my uncle's money as I am myself.
Mr. Ball was dumfounded.
My dear sir, he gasped, this is very strange!
But Cobbler Horn was firm.
You will find this scapegrace cousin of mine? he asked.
The lawyers said they would do their best; and, when some further
arrangements had been made, with regard to the property, Cobbler Horn
took his departure, leaving his two legal advisers to assure one
another, as they stood together on the hearthrug, that he was the
strangest client they had known.
CHAPTER X. MISS JEMIMA IS VERY MUCH
Miss Jemima Horn was sufficiently curious as to the result of her
brother's visit to the lawyers, to render her restlessly eager for his
return. He came back the same night. He had work to finish in the
cobbling line; and besides he had no fancy for any bed but his own.
After supper, the brother and sister sat down before the fire, for
the talk to which Miss Jemima had been looking forward all day long.
Well, brother, she queried, I suppose you've heard all about it?
Yes, in a general way.
And what is the amount?
I'm almost afraid to say. The gentlemen said little short of a
Miss Jemima threw up her hands with a little jerk of wonder, and
gazed at her brother with incredulous surprise.
Where is it all? was her next enquiry.
Some in England, and some in America.
It's not all in money, of course? she asked, in doubtful tones.
No, said her brother, opening his eyes: it's in all sorts of
ways. A great deal of it is in house property. There's one whole
villageor nearly so.
A whole village!
Yes, the village of Daisy Lane. It was the family home at one time,
This was true. The village of Daisy Lane, in a Midland county, had
been the cradle of the race of Horn. Cobbler Horn and his sister,
however, had never visited the ancestral village.
Well? queried Miss Jemima.
Well, uncle had a fancy for owning the village; so he bought it up
bit by bit.
Only to think! exclaimed Miss Jemima. And what else is there?
Well, there's money in all sorts of forms that I understand very
It's simply wonderful! declared Miss Jemima.
And then there's the old hall at Daisy Lane. Uncle meant to end his
days there; but God has ordered otherwise, you see.
And you will go to live there?
No, answered her brother, slowly; I think not, Jemima.
Sister, I don't think we should be happy in a grand houseat any
rate not all at once. But there's something else I want to talk about.
Of late years the ascendancy had completely passed from Miss Jemima
to her brother; and now, though she would fain have talked further
about the old family mansion, she submissively turned her attention to
what her brother was about to say.
It is probable, Jemima, he begun, that there has never been a
rich man who had so few relatives to whom to leave his wealth as had
Yes: father and Uncle Ira were the only members of Uncle Jacob's
family who ever married; and the brothers and sisters are all dead now.
We are almost alone in the world.
Except one cousin, you know, said Cobbler Horn.
You mean Uncle Ira's scapegrace, Jack. But no one knows where he
is. He may be dead for all we know.
Somehow Miss Jemima did not seem to desire that there should be any
other relatives of her uncle to the front, just now, but her brother
If Jack is dead, said Cobbler Horn, there will be no more to
say. But if he is alive, he must have his share of uncle's money; and I
have left it with the legal gentlemen to find him if they can.
Thomas, protested Miss Jemima, do you think it would be right to
hand over uncle's hard-earned money to that poor wastrel?
His right to the money, Jemima, is as good as ours.
Perhaps so; but I feel convinced that uncle would not have wished
for any part of his money to go to Jack. It would be like flinging it
into the sea.
Yes; but that cuts both ways, Jemima. Uncle would never have willed
his money to me, any more than to Jack. But God has given it to me, and
I mean to use it in the way of which I believe He will approve.
And that is not all, he hastily resumed. I have another
relative; and he directed a look of loving significance towards his
sister's face. Do you think that, if I admit the claim of our poor
scapegrace cousin to a share of our uncle's money, I shall overlook the
right of the dear sister who has been my stay and comfort all these
Butbut began Miss Jemima, in bewildered tones.
Yes, you are to have your share too, Jemima.
But, brother I don't desire it. If you have the money, it's all the
same as though I had it myself.
With all her severity, there was not an atom of selfishness in Miss
It's all arranged, was her brother's reply. I instructed the
lawyers to divide the property into three equal portions.
Miss Jemima, supposing that an arrangement with the lawyers was like
the laws of the Medes and Persians, which altered not, felt compelled
to submit; but it was with the understanding that her brother took
entire management of her portion of the money, as well as his own.
There was little further talk between Cobbler Horn and his sister
that evening. Their early bed-time had arrived; and Cobbler Horn,
having read a chapter in the Bible, offered a fervent prayer, in which
he asked earnestly that his sister and himself might receive grace to
use rightly the great wealth which had been entrusted to their charge.
If we should prove unfaithful, Lord, he said, take it from us as
suddenly as Thou hast given it.
Oh, brother, cried Miss Jemima, as they were going up to bed,
some letters came for you this morning.
Cobbler Horn took the four or five letters, which his sister was
holding out to him, with a bewildered air.
Are they really for me? he asked.
Small doubt of that, said Miss Jemima.
The opening of letters was, as yet, to Cobbler Horn, a ceremony to
be performed with care. He drew a chair to the table, and deliberately
took his seat. He took up the first letter, and, having read it slowly
through, placed it in Miss Jemima's eager hand. It was a request, from
a gentleman in distress, for a loan of twenty poundsa trifle to
the possessor of so much wealth, but, to the writer a matter of life
This will never do! pronounced Miss Jemima; and the lady's lips
emitted a gentle whistling sound.
How soon it seems to have got wind! exclaimed Cobbler Horn.
It's been in the papers, no doubt.
So it has, he said; I saw it myself in a newspaper that I bought
this evening, to read in the train. It called me the 'Golden
Ah! cried Miss Jemima. I've no doubt it will go the round. The
good lady was not greatly averse to such a pleasant publication of the
Well, she resumed, what do the other letters say?
They were all similar to the first. One was from a man who had
invented a new boot sewing-machine, and would take out a patent;
another purported to came from a widow with six young children, and
begged for a littleever so littletimely help: and the other two
were appeals on behalf of religious institutions.
Penalty of wealth! remarked Miss Jemima, as she took the letters
from her brother's hand.
I suppose I must answer them to-morrow, groaned Cobbler Horn.
Answer them! exclaimed Miss Jemima. If you take my advice, you'll
throw them into the fire. There will be plenty more of the same sort
soon. Though, she added thoughtfully, you'll have to read your
letters, I suppose; for there'll be some you'll be obliged to answer.
Well, said Cobbler Horn quietly, as they turned to the stairs,
we shall see.
CHAPTER XI. COBBLER HORN ANSWERS
HIS LETTERS, AND RECEIVES
THE CONGRATULATIONS OF HIS FRIENDS.
When, after a somewhat troubled night, Cobbler Horn came down next
morning, his attention was arrested by the letters lying, as he had
left them, on the table, the night before.
Yes, he said, in answer to his thoughts; I think I'll deal with
them straight away. So saying, he drew a chair to the table, and,
having found a few sheets of time-stained note paper, together with a
penny bottle of ink, and an old crippled pen, he sat down to his
unwelcome task. The undertaking proved even more troublesome than he
had thought it would be. The pen persisted in sputtering at almost
every word; and when, at crucial points, he took special pains to make
the writing legible, the too frequent result was an indecipherable
blotch of ink. When the valiant scribe had wrestled with his
uncongenial task for half an hour or more, his sister came upon the
scene. Quietly she stepped across the floor.
Ah! she exclaimed, peeping over her brother's shoulder, so you
are answering them already!
Cobbler Horn started, and a huge blot fell from his pen into the
midst of his half-finished letter.
I'm afraid I shall not be able to send this, now, he said, with a
No, said Miss Jemima, laconically, I'm afraid not. You are
writing to the 'widow,' I see; and you are promising her some help.
That's very well. But, in nine cases out of ten, what strangers say of
themselves requires confirmationespecially if they are beggars; so
don't you think that, before sending money to this 'widow,' it would be
as well to ask for the name of some reliable person who will vouch for
the truth of her statements? You must not forget, what you often say,
you know, that you are the steward of your Lord's goods.
This was an argument which was sure to prevail with Cobbler Horn.
No doubt you are right, Jemima, he said; and, however
reluctantly, I must take your advice.
That's right, said Miss Jemima.
You haven't answered the other letters? she then asked, with a
glance over the table.
Well, hadn't you better put them away now, and get to your work?
After breakfast you must get a new pen and a fresh bottle of ink. Then
we'll see what we can do together.
In an emergency which demanded the exercise of the practical good
sense, of which she had so large a share, Miss Jemima regained, to some
extent, her old ascendency over her brother. He quietly gathered up his
letters, and, placing them on the chimney-piece, retired to his
At breakfast-time Miss Jemima's prognostication began to receive
fulfilment in the arrival of the postman with another batch of letters.
This time the number had increased to something like a dozen. Having
received them from the hands of the postman, Cobbler Horn carried
them towards his sister with a somewhat comical air of dismay.
So many! exclaimed she. Your cares are accumulating fast. You
will have to engage a secretary. Well, we'll look at them by and bye.
Scarcely was breakfast over than there came a modest knock at the
door, which, on being opened by Miss Jemima, revealed the presence of
the elder of the little twin hucksters, who still carried on business
across the way.
Miss Jemima drew herself up like a sentry; and little Tommy Dudgeon,
finding himself confronted by this formidable lady, would have beaten a
hasty retreat. But it was too late.
I beg your pardon, ma'am, he began humbly; I came to see your
I don't know, was the lady's lofty reply. My brother has much
business on hand.
No doubt, ma'am; butbut
At this point Cobbler Horn himself came to the door, and Miss
Jemima retreated into the house.
Good morning, Tommy, said Cobbler Horn heartily, step in.
Thank you, Mr. Horn, was the modest reply, I'm afraid I can't.
Business presses, you know. But I've just come to congratulate you if I
may make so bold. Brother would have come too; but he's minding the
twins. It's washing day, you see. He'll pay his respects another time.
John Dudgeon had been married for some years, and amongst the
troubles which had varied for him the joys of that blissful state,
there had recently come the crowning calamity of twinsan affliction
which would seem to have run in the Dudgeon family.
We are glad you have inherited this vast wealth, Mr. Horn, said
Tommy Dudgeon. We think the arrangement excellent. The ways of
Providence are indeed wonderful.
Cobbler Horn made suitable acknowledgment of the congratulations
of his humble little friend.
There is only one thing we regret, resumed the little man; and
that is that your change of fortune will remove you to another sphere.
Cobbler Horn smiled.
Well, well, he said, we shall see.
Whereupon Tommy Dudgeon, feeling comforted, he scarcely knew why,
said Good morning and ambled back to his shop.
About the middle of the morning Cobbler Horn and his sister sat
down to deal with the letters. First they glanced at those which had
arrived that morning, and then laid them aside for the time, until, in
fact, they had dealt with those previously received. First came that of
the assumed widow, to which Miss Jemima induced her brother to write a
cautious reply, asking for a reference. To the man who asked for the
loan of twenty pounds, Miss Jemima would have sent no reply at all; but
Cobbler Horn insisted that a brief but courteous note should be sent
to him, expressing regret that the desired loan could not be furnished.
It did not need the persuasion of his sister to induce Cobbler Horn
to decline all dealings with the importunate inventor; but it was with
great difficulty that she could dissuade him from making substantial
promises to the religious institutions from which he had received
I think I shall consult the minister about such cases, he said.
The investigation of the second batch of letters was postponed until
During the morning, and at intervals throughout the day, others of
Cobbler Horn's neighbours came to offer their congratulations, and
were astonished to find him seated on his cobbler's stool, and quietly
plying his accustomed task. To their remonstrances he would reply, You
see this work is promised; and if I am rich, I must keep my word. And
then the habits of a lifetime are not to be given up in a day. And, to
be honest with you, friends, I am in no haste to make the change. I
love my work, and would as lief be sitting on this stool as anywhere
else in the world.
There came some of his poorer customers, who greatly bewailed what
they regarded as his inevitable removal from their midst. They could
not congratulate him as heartily as they desired. They would rather he
had remained the poor, kind-hearted, Christian cobbler whom they had
always known. Many a pair of boots had he mended free of charge for
customers who could ill afford to pay; not a few were the small debts
of poor but honest debtors which he had forgiven; and not seldom had
clandestine gifts of money or food found their way from his hands to
one or another of these regretful congratulators. Perceiving the grief
upon the faces of his friends, Cobbler Horn contrived, by means of
various hints, to let them know that he would still be their friend,
and to remind them that his enrichment would conduce to their more
effectual help at his hands.
On one point all his visitors were agreed. Great wealth, they said,
could not have come to any one by whom it was more thoroughly deserved,
or who would put it to a better use. The Lord, affirmed one quaint
individual, knew what He was about this time, anyhow.
In the afternoon, Cobbler Horn and his sister set about the task
of answering the second batch of letters. They were all, with one
exception, of a similar character to those of the first. The exception
proved to be a badly-written, ill-spelled, but evidently sincere,
homily on the dangers of wealth, and ended with a fierce warning of the
dire consequences of disregarding its admonition. It was signed
You'll burn that, I should think! was Miss Jemima's scornful
comment on this ill-judged missive.
No, said Cobbler Horn, putting the letter into his breast
pocket; I shall keep it. It was well meant, and will do me good.
By tea-time their task was finished; and Cobbler Horn heaved a
sigh of relief as he rose from his seat. But just then the postman
knocked at the door, and handed in another and still larger supply of
letters, at the sight of which the Golden Shoemaker staggered back
aghast. The fame of his fortune had indeed got wind.
Ah, exclaimed his sister, who was setting the tea-things, you'll
have to engage a secretary, as I said.
CHAPTER XII. COBBLER HORN PAYS A
VISIT TO HIS LANDLORD.
The day following his trip to London Cobbler Horn paid a visit to
his landlord. His purpose was to buy the house in which he lived.
Though he realized that he must now take up his actual abode in a house
more suited to his altered circumstances, he wished to retain the
possession and use of the one in which he had lived so long. The humble
cottage was endeared to him by many ties. Here the best part of his
life had been passed. Here his brief but blissful married life had been
spent, and here his precious wife had died. Of this house his darling
little Marian had been the light and joy; and her blithe and loving
spirit seemed to haunt it still. These memories, reinforced by a
generous purpose on behalf of the poor neighbours whom he had been wont
to help, decided him to endeavour to make the house absolutely his own.
Cobbler Horn did not tell his sister of his intention with regard
to the house. He simply said, after breakfast, that he was going out
for an hour; and, though Miss Jemima looked at him very hard, she
allowed him to depart unquestioned.
Cobbler Horn's landlord who was reputed to be enormously rich,
lived in one of the most completely hidden parts of the town, which was
approached by a labyrinth of very narrow and dirty streets. As
Cobbler Horn pursued his tortuous way to this secluded abode, he
pondered, with some misgiving, the chances that his errand would
succeed. He knew his landlord to be a man of stubborn temper and of
many whims; and he was by no means confident as to the reception with
which his intended proposal would meet. It was characteristic that, as
he thought of the difficulties of his enterprise, he prayed earnestly
that, if God willed, he might obtain the gratification of his present
desire. Then, with growing confidence and quickened step, he proceeded
on his way, until, at length, he stood before his landlord's house.
The house was a low, dingy building of brick, which stood right
across the end of a squalid street, and completely blocked the way.
Over the door was a grimy sign-board, on which could faintly be
distinguished the vague yet comprehensive legend:
The paint upon the crazy door was blistered and had peeled off in
huge mis-shapen patches; the door-step was almost worn in two; the
windows were dim with the dust of many years.
The door was opened by a withered crone, who, to his question
whether Mr. Froud was in, answered in an injured tone, Yes, he was in;
he always was; and, as she spoke, she half-pushed the visitor into a
room on the left side of the entrance, and vanished from the scene. The
room was very dark, and it was some time before Cobbler Horn could
observe the nature of his surroundings. But, by degrees, as his eyes
became accustomed to the gloom, he perceived that the centre of the
apartment was occupied with an old mahogany table, covered with a
litter of books and papers. There stood against the wall opposite to
the window an ancient and dropsical chest of drawers. Facing the door
was a fire-place, brown with rust, innocent of fire-irons, and piled up
with heterogeneous rubbish. The walls and chimney-piece were utterly
devoid of ornaments. The paper on the walls was torn and soiled, and
even hung in strips. On the chimney-piece were several empty ink and
gum bottles, an old ruler, and a further assortment of similar odds and
ends. The only provision for the comfort of visitors consisted of two
battered wooden chairs.
At first Cobbler Horn thought he was alone; but, the next moment,
he heard himself sharply addressed, though not by name.
Well, it's not rent day yet. What's your errand?
It was a snarling voice, and came from the corner between the window
and fire-place, peering in which direction, Cobbler Horn perceived
dimly the figure of the man he had come to see. Mr. Daniel Froud had
turned around from a high desk at which he had been writing in the
gloom. How he contrived to see in so dark a corner was a mystery which
belonged to the wider question as to the penetrating power of vision in
general which he was known to possess. The small boys of the
neighbourhood declared that he could see in the dark like a cat. He now
moved a step nearer to Cobbler Horn, and stood revealed, an elderly,
and rather undersized, grizzled, gnarled, and knotted man, dressed in
shabby and antiquated clothes.
Good morning, Mr. Froud, said Cobbler Horn, extending his hand,
I've come to see you on a little business.
Of course you have, was the angry retort; and taking no notice of
his visitor's proffered hand, the man stamped his foot impatiently on
the uncarpeted floor. No one ever comes to see me about anything else
but business. And I don't want them to, he added with a grim chuckle.
Well, let us get it done. My time is valuable, if yours is not.
My time also is not without value, was the prompt reply. I want
to ask you, Mr. Froud, if you will sell me the house in which I live.
If Daniel Froud was surprised, he completely concealed the fact.
If I would sell it, was his coarse rejoinder, you, 'Cobbler'
Horn, would not be able to buy it.
I am well able to buy the house, Mr. Froud, was the quiet
Daniel Froud keenly scrutinized his visitor's face.
I believe you think you are telling the truth, he said. Mending
pauper's boots and shoes must be a profitable business, then?
I have had some money left to me, said Cobbler Horn.
The interest of Daniel Froud was awakened at once.
Ah! he exclaimed, that is it, is it? But sit down, Mr. Horn, and
the grizzled reprobate pushed towards his visitor, who had hitherto
remained standing, one of his rickety and dust-covered chairs.
Cobbler Horn looked doubtfully at the proffered seat, and said
that he preferred to stand.
If you are willing to sell me the house, Mr. Froud, he said, name
your price. It is not my intention to waste your time.
Daniel Froud still pondered. It was no longer a question whether he
should sell Cobbler Horn the house: he was beginning already to
consider how much he should ask for it.
So you really wish to buy the house, Mr. Horn? he asked.
Such is my desire.
And you think you can pay the price?
I have little doubt on that point.
Wellwith a sudden jerk forward of his forbidding facewhat do
you say to £600?
Unsophisticated as he was, Cobbler Horn felt that the proposal was
You are surely joking? he said.
You think the price too small?
I consider it much too large.
Well, perhaps I was joking, as you said. What do you think of
I'm afraid even that is too much. I'll give you £450.
Daniel Froud hesitated for some minutes, but at last said, Well,
I'll take your offer, Mr. Horn; but it's a dreadful sacrifice.
A few minutes sufficed to complete the agreement; and then, in
taking his departure, Cobbler Horn administered a word of admonition
to his grasping landlord.
Don't you know, friend, he said, that it is a grievous sin to try
to sell anything for more than it is worth? And how contemptible it is
to be so greedy of money! It does not seem to me that money is to be so
eagerly desired, and especially if it does one no more good than yours
seems to be doing you. Good morning, friend; and God give you
Mr. Froud had listened open-mouthed to this plain-spoken homily.
When he came to himself, he darted forward, and aimed a blow with his
fist, which just failed to strike the back of his visitor, who was in
the act of leaving the room.
Confronting him in the doorway was the old crone who kept his house.
Was that Horn, the shoemaker? she asked.
Horn as has just come into the fortune?
'Somewhat!' It's said to be about a million of money! Look here!
and she showed him a begrimed and crumpled scrap of newspaper,
containing a full account of Cobbler Horn's fortune.
With a cry, Daniel Froud seized the woman, and shook her till it
almost seemed as though the bones rattled in her skin.
You hell-cat! Why didn't you tell me that before?
The wretched creature fell back panting against the door on the
opposite side of the passage.
Daniel Froud, she said, when she had sufficiently recovered her
breath, the next time you do that I shall give you notice.
With which dreadful threat, she gathered herself together, and
hobbled back to her own quarter of the dingy house, leaving Mr. Froud
to bemoan the absurdly easy terms he had made with the Golden
If I had only known! he moaned; if I had only known!
That evening Cobbler Horn told his sister what he had done, and
why he had done it; and she held up her hands in dismay.
First, she said, I don't see why you should have bought the house
at all; and, secondly, you have paid far more for it than it is worth.
CHAPTER XIII. FREE COBBLERY.
I suppose you'll be looking out for a tenant for this house, when
you've found somewhere for us to go? queried Miss Jemima, at breakfast
the next morning.
Well, no, replied her brother, I think not. Why, cried Miss
Jemima, I hope we are not to go on living in this poky little place!
No, that is not exactly my intention, either, said Cobbler Horn.
We must, I suppose, remove to another house. But I wish this one to
remain very much as it is; I shall want to use it sometimes.
Want to use it sometimes! echoed Miss Jemima, in a mystified tone.
Yes; you see I don't feel that I can give up my lifelong employment
all at once. So I've been thinking that I'll come to the old workshop,
now and then, and do a bit of cobbling just for a change.
Here he paused, and moved uneasily in his chair.
It wouldn't do to charge anything for my work now, of course, he
continued; so I've made up my mind to do little bits of jobs, now and
again, without any pay, for some of the poor people round about, just
for the sake of old times, you know.
Miss Jemima's hands went up with their accustomed movement of
Why, that will never do, she cried. You'll have all the
thriftless loons in the town bringing you their boots and shoes to
I must guard against that, was the quiet reply.
Well, continued Miss Jemima, in an aggrieved tone, I altogether
disapprove of your continuing to work as if you were a poor man. But
you ought, at least, to make a small charge. Otherwise you will be
imposed upon all round.
Finding, however, that she could not move her brother from his
purpose, Miss Jemima relinquished the attempt.
Well, Thomas, she concluded, you can never have been intended for
this world and its ways. There is probably a vacancy in some quite
different one which you ought to have filled.
The next few days were largely spent in house hunting; and, after
careful investigation, and much discussion, they decided to take, for
the present, a pleasantly situated detached villa, which stood on the
road leading out past the field where, so many years ago, Cobbler
Horn had found his little lost Marian's shoe. The nearness of the house
to this spot had induced him, in spite of his sister's protest, to
prefer it to several otherwise more eligible residences; and he was
confirmed in his decision by the fact that the villa was no great
distance from the humble dwelling he was so reluctant to leave. They
were to have possession at once; and Miss Jemima was permitted to
plunge without delay into the delights of buying furniture, engaging
servants, and such like fascinating concerns.
During these busy days, Cobbler Horn himself was absorbed in the
arrangements for the rehabilitation of his old workshop. He subjected
it to a complete renovation, in keeping with its character and use. A
new tile floor, a better window, a fresh covering of whitewash on the
walls, and a new coat of paint for the wood-work, effected a
transformation as agreeable as it was complete. He kept the old stool;
but procured a new and modern set of tools, and furnished himself with
a stock of the best leather the market could supply.
He had no difficulty in letting his poor customers know of his
charitable designs, and he soon had as much work as he could do. As his
sister had warned him, he had many applications from those who were
unworthy of his help. He did not like to turn any of the applicants
away; but he did so remorselessly in every instance in which, after
careful investigation, the case broke down, his chief regret being that
his gratuitous services were rarely sought by those who needed them
most. But this is to anticipate.
It was in connection with what was regarded as the quixotic
undertaking of Miss Jemima's brother to mend, free of charge, the boots
and shoes of his poor neighbours, that he soon became generally known
as Cobbler Horn.
CHAPTER XIV. THE GOLDEN SHOEMAKER
WAITS UPON HIS MINISTER.
Cobbler Horn's correspondence was steadily accumulating. Every day
brought fresh supplies of letters; and the humble cottage was in danger
of being swamped by an epistolary inundation, which was the despair of
Cobbler Horn, and a growing vexation to his sister's order-loving
For some time the Golden Shoemaker persisted valiantly in his
attempt to answer every letter he received. Miss Jemima's scornful
disapproval was of no avail. In vain she declared her conviction that
every other letter was an imposture or a hoax, and pointed out that, if
people wanted their letters answered, they ought to enclose a stamp.
Then, for the twentieth time, she repeated her suggestion that a
secretary should be engaged. At first her brother waived this proposal
aside; but at length it became imperative that help should be sought.
Cobbler Horn was like a man who attempts, single-handed, to cut his
way through a still-accumulating snow-drift. The man must perish, if
help do not come; unless Cobbler Horn secured assistance in dealing
with his letters, it was impossible to tell what his fate might be. It
was now simply a question by what means the needed help might best be
obtained; and both Cobbler Horn and his sister agreed that the wisest
thing would be to consult the minister of their church. This,
accordingly, Cobbler Horn resolved to do.
Cobbler Horn's minister officiated in a sanctuary such as was
formerly called a chapel, but is now, more frequently designated a
church. His name was Durnford; and he was a man of strongly-marked
individualitya godly, earnest, shrewd, and somewhat eccentric,
minister of the Gospel. He was always accessible to his people in their
trouble or perplexity, and they came to him without reserve. But surely
his advice had never been sought concerning difficulties so peculiar as
those which were about to be laid before him by Cobbler Horn!
It was about ten o'clock on the Monday morning following his visit
to the lawyers, that Cobbler Horn sat in Mr. Durnford's study,
waiting for the minister to appear. He had not long to wait. The door
opened, and Mr. Durnford entered. He was a middle-aged man of medium
height, with keen yet kindly features, and hair and beard of iron grey.
He greeted his visitor with unaffected cordiality.
I've come to ask your advice, sir, under circumstances of some
difficulty, said Cobbler Horn, when they were seated facing each
other before a cheerful fire.
This being a kind of appeal to which he was accustomed, the minister
received the announcement calmly enough.
Glad to help you, if I can, Mr. Horn, he said.
There was a breeziness about Mr. Durnford which at once afforded
preliminary refreshment to such troubled spirits as sought his counsel.
Thank you, sir, said Cobbler Horn, I'm sure you will. You have
heard of the sudden and unexpected
To be sure! broke in the minister, leaping to his feet, and
grasping his visitor's hand, Pardon me; I quite forgot. Let me
congratulate you. Of course it's true?
Yes, sir, thank you; it's truetoo true, I'm afraid.
Mr. Durnford laughed.
How if I were to commiserate you, then? he said.
No, sir, said Cobbler Horn gravely, not that either. It's the
Lord's will after all; and it's a great joy to me to be able to do so
much that I have long wished to do. It's the responsibility that I
Very good, replied the minister; such joy is the purest pleasure
wealth can give. But the responsibility of such a position as yours,
is, no doubt, as you say, very great.
Yes, sir; I feel that I hold all this wealth in trust from God; and
I want to be a faithful steward. I am resolved to use my Lord's money
exactly as I believe He desires that I shouldin fact as He Himself
would use it, if He were in my place.
Excellent, Mr. Horn! exclaimed the minister; you have spoken like
Thank you, sir. But there's another thing; it seems so dreadful
that one man should have so much money. Do you know, sir, I'm almost a
He made this announcement in very much the same tone in which he
would have informed the minister that he was stricken with some dire
Is your trouble so great as that? asked Mr. Durnford, in mock
Yes, sir; and it's a very serious matter indeed. It doesn't seem
right for me to be so rich, while so many have too little, and not a
few nothing at all.
That can soon be rectified, said Mr. Durnford.
Perhaps so, sir; though it may not be so easy as you suppose. But
there's another matter that troubles me. I can't think that this great
wealth has been all acquired by fair means. Indeed I have only too much
reason to suspect that it was not. I feel ashamed that some of the
money which my uncle made should have become mine. I feel as though a
curse were on it.
Ah! exclaimed the minister, with a long-drawn sigh, such feelings
do you credit, Mr. Horn; but don't you see that God means you to turn
that curse into a blessing?
Yes; and yet I am almost inclined to wish my uncle had taken his
money with him.
Scarcely a charitable wish, from any point of view, said Mr.
Durnford, smiling. It seems to me that nothing could have been better
than the arrangement as it stands.
Well, at any rate, I wish it were possible to restore their money
to any persons who may have been wronged.
A laudible, but impossible wish, my dear sir; but, though you
cannot restore your uncle's wealth to those from whom it may have been
wrongfully acquired, you can, in some measure, make atonement for the
evil involved in its acquisition, by employing it for the benefit of
those in general who suffer and are in need.
Yes, assented Cobbler Horn, with emphasis; if I thought
otherwise, every coin of the money that I handled would scorch my
fingers to the bone.
After this there was a brief silence, and the minister sat back in
his chair, with closed eyes, smiling gently.
I beg your pardon, he said, in another moment, starting forward,
I have been thinking of all the good that might be done, if every rich
man were like you. But you came to ask my advice?
Yes, sir, replied Cobbler Horn; and I am keeping you too long.
Not at all, my dear sir! Your visit has refreshed me greatly. Your
talk is like a cool breeze on a hot day. It is not often that a
millionaire comes to discuss with me the responsibilities of wealth.
But let me hear what the peculiar difficulty is of which you spoke.
Well, sir, there is a serious inconvenience involved in my new
position, with which I am quite unable to grapple.
Ah, said the minister, raising his eye-brows, what is that?
Why it is just the number of letters I receive.
Of course! cried the minister, with twinkling eyes. The birds of
prey will be upon you from every side; and your being a religious man
will, by no means, mitigate the evil.
Ah, I have no doubt you are right, sir! And it's a sort of
compliment to religion, isn't it?
Of course it is, said Mr. Durnford; and a very beautiful way of
looking at it too.
Thank you, sir. Well, there are two sides to my difficulty. First I
wish to answer every letter I receive; but I cannot possibly do it
No, said the minister. But surely many of them need not be
answered at all.
Yes, sir, by your leave. My sister says that many of the letters
are probably impostures. But you see I cannot tell certainly which are
of that kind. She also points out that very few of them contain stamps
for reply. But I tell her that a few stamps, more or less, are of no
moment to me now.
I don't know, broke in the minister, which more to admireyour
sister's wisdom or your own goodness.
Cobbler Horn deprecatingly waved his hand.
Now, sir, he resumed, Jemima advises me to engage a secretary.
Obviously, assented the minister, that is your best course.
I suppose it is, sir; but I am all at sea, and want your help.
And you shall have it, said the minister heartily. There are
scores of young menand young women toowho would jump at the chance
of such a post as that of your secretary would probably be.
Thank you, sir; but you said young women?
Precisely. Young women often accept, and very efficiently fill,
Indeed? I don't know how my sister
Of course not. But suppose we look for a moment at the other side
of your difficulty.
Very well, sir; the other trouble is that I find it hard to decide
what answers to send to a good many of the letters. They are mostly
applications for money; and it's not easy to tell whether they are
genuine. Then there are a great many appeals on behalf of all sorts of
good objects. May I venture to hope, sir, that you will give me your
advice in these matters?
With pleasure! replied Mr. Durnford, with sparkling eyes.
Thank you, sir; thank you very much indeed, said Cobbler Horn,
greatly relieved. And will it be too much if I ask you to advise me,
in due course, as to the best way of making this money of my uncle's do
as much good as possible, in a general way?
By no means, protested Mr. Durnford, I am entirely at your
service, my dear sir. But now, he added, after a pause, I've been
considering, and I think I can find you a secretary.
Ah! who is he, sir?
It is she, not he.
Yes, I know; but this is an exceptional young lady.
A young lady?
Yes, a capable, well-behaved, Christian young lady. I have known
her for a good many years, and would recommend her to anybody. I know
she is looking out for such a situation as this. She would serve you
wellbetter than any young man, I knowand would be a most agreeable
addition to your family circle. Besides, by engaging my friend, Miss
Owen, you would be affording help in a case of real need and sterling
merit. The girl has no parents, and has been brought up by some kind
friends. But they are not rich, and she will have to make her own way.
Now, look here; suppose the young lady were to run down and see you?
She lives in Birmingham.
Do you really think it would be advisable?
Indeed I do. She'll disarm Miss Horn at once. It'll be a case of
love at first sight.
Well, sir, let it be as you say.
Then I may write to her without delay?
If you please, sir.
Pray for me, Mr. Durnford, said Cobbler Horn, as he took his
I will, my friend, was the hearty response.
It's not often, resumed Cobbler Horn, that a Christian man is
placed in circumstances of such difficulty as mine.
The minister laughed heartily and long.
I really mean it, sir, persisted Cobbler Horn, with a
deprecatory smile. When I think of all that my having this money
involves, I almost wish the Lord had been pleased to leave me in my
My dear friend, said the minister, that will not do at all.
Depend upon it, the joy of using your wealth for the Lord, and for His
'little ones,' will far more than make up for the vanished delights of
your departed poverty.
CHAPTER XV. COBBLER HORN ENGAGES A
On his way home from the minister's house, Cobbler Horn was
somewhat exercised in his mind as to how he should tell his sister what
he had done. He could inform her, without hesitation, that the minister
had recommended a secretary; but how should he make known the fact that
the commended secretary was a lady? He was not afraid of his sister;
but he preferred that she should approve of his doings, and he wished
to render his approaching announcement as little distasteful to her as
might be. But the difficulty of doing this would be great. It would
have been hard to imagine a communication likely to prove more
unwelcome to Miss Jemima than the announcement that her brother
contemplated the employment of a lady secretary. Nor was the difficulty
of the situation relieved by the fact that the lady was young, and
possibly attractive. It would have been as easy to impart a delectable
flavour to a dose of castor-oil, as to render agreeable to his sister
the announcement he must immediately make. Long before he reached home,
he relinquished all attempt to settle the difficulty which was
agitating his mind. He would begin by telling his sister that the
minister had recommended a secretary, and then trust to the inspiration
of the moment for the rest.
Miss Jemima, encompassed with a comprehensive brown apron, stood at
the table peeling the potatoes for dinner.
You've been a long time gone, Thomas, she said complacentlyfor
Miss Jemima was in one of her most amiable moods.
Yes; we found many things to talk about.
Well, what did he say on the secretary question?
Oh, he has recommended one to me who, he thinks, will do
Ah! and who is the young man? For of course he is young; all
The person lives in Birmingham, was the guarded reply, and goes
by the name of Owen.
Miss Jemima felt by instinct that her brother was keeping something
back. She shot at him a keen, swift glance, and then resumed the
peeling of the potato just then in hand, which operation she effected
with such extreme care, that it was a very attenuated strip of peeling
which fell curling from her knife into the brown water in the bowl
What is this young man's other name? she calmly asked.
Well, now, I don't know, said Cobbler Horn, with a shrewd smile.
Just like you men! whipped out Miss Jemima, pausing in her work;
but I suppose, as the minister recommends him, it will be all right.
There was nothing for it now but a straightforward declaration of
the dreadful truth.
Jemima, said Cobbler Horn, I mustn't mislead you. It's not a
young man at all.
Miss Jemima let fall into the water, with a sudden flop, the potato
she was peeling, and faced her brother, knife in hand, with a look of
wild astonishment in her eyes.
Not a young man! she almost shrieked, What then?
Her brother's emphasis had been on the word man, and not on
the word young.
Well, my dear, he replied, a youngin fact, a young lady.
Up went Miss Jemima's hands.
Yes, Jemima; such is the minister's suggestion.
Miss Jemima, who had resumed her work, proceeded to dig out the eye
of a potato with unwonted prodigality.
Mr. Durnford, resumed Cobbler Horn, tells me it is a common
thing for young ladies to be secretaries now-a-days; and he very highly
recommended this one in particular.
Miss Jemima knew, that if her brother's mind was made up, it would
be useless to withstand his will.
When is she coming? was all she said.
I don't know. Mr. Durnford promised to write and ask her to come
and see us first. You shall talk with her yourself, Jemima; and,
believe me, if there is any good reason to object to the arrangement,
she shall not be engaged.
Miss Jemima permitted herself just one other word.
I am surprised at Mr. Durnford! she said; and then the matter
Two days later, in prompt response to the minister's letter, Miss
Owen duly arrived. Mr. Durnford met her at the station, and conducted
her to the house of Cobbler Horn. He had sent her, in his letter, all
needful information concerning Cobbler Horn, and the circumstances
which rendered it necessary for him to engage a secretary.
They reside at present, he said during the walk from the station,
in a small house, but will soon remove to a larger one.
Cobbler Horn was busy in his workshop when they arrived; but Miss
Jemima was awaiting them in solitary state, in the front-room. The good
lady had meant to be forbidding and severe in her reception of the
forward minx, whom she had settled it in her mind the prospective
secretary would prove to be. But the moment her eyes beheld Miss Owen
she was disarmed. The dark-eyed, black-haired, modestly-attired, and
even sober-looking girl, who put out her hand with a very simple
movement, and spoke, with considerable self-possession truly, but
certainly not with an impudent air, bore but scant resemblance to the
brazen hussey who had haunted Miss Jemima's mind for the past two
Cobbler Horn came in from his workshop, and greeted the young girl
with an honest heartiness which placed her at her ease at once.
With almost a cordial air, Miss Jemima invited the visitors to sit
down. As Miss Owen glanced a second time around the room, a look of
perplexity came into her face.
Do you know, Miss Horn, she said, your house seems quite familiar
to me. I almost feel as if I had been here before. Of course I never
have. It's just one of those queer feelings everybody has sometimes, as
if what you are going through at the time had all taken place before.
She spoke out the thought of her mind with a simple impulsiveness
which had its own charm.
No doubt, said Miss Jemima, with a start; but she was deterred
from further remark by Mr. Durnford's rising from his seat.
I think I'll leave you, he said, and call for Miss Owen insay a
quarter of an hour. With your permission, Mr. Horn, she will sleep at
our house to-night.
Don't go, sir, said Cobbler Horn. Your presence will be a help
to us on both sides.
It needed no further pursuasion to induce the minister to remain:
with his assistance, Cobbler Horn soon came to terms with the young
lady; and, as, upon a hint conveyed in the letter she had received from
the minister, she had come to Cottonborough prepared, if necessary, to
remain, it was arranged that she should commence her duties on the
And would it not be as well for her to come to us to-night? asked
Cobbler Horn. The sooner she begins to get used to us the better.
And she can still spend the evening with you, Mr. Durnford.
The minister looked enquiringly at Miss Owen,
What do you say, my dear?
I am entirely in your hands, sir, and those of Mr. Horn.
Well, said Mr. Durnford, if you really wish it. Mr. Horn, Miss
Owen shall come to you to-night.
And thus it was arranged.
CHAPTER XVI. THE ATTACK ON THE
When Cobbler Horn's secretary awoke next morning, she experienced
a return of the feeling of familiarity with her surroundings of which
she had been conscious on first entering the house. The little
white-washed bedroom, with its simple furniture, seemed like a vision
of the past. She had a dreamy impression that she had slept in this
little white room many times before. There was, in particular, a
startling appearance of familiarity in a certain picture which hung
upon the wall, beyond the foot of the bed. It was an old-fashioned
coloured print, in a black frame, and represented Jacob's dream. For a
long time she gazed at the picture. Then she gave herself a shake, and
sighed, and laughed a low, pathetic little laugh.
What nonsense! she thought. As if I could ever have been here
before, or set eyes on the picture! Though I may have seen one like it
somewhere else, to be sure.
Then she roused herself, and got out of bed. But when, having
dressed, she went downstairs, the same sense of familiarity with her
surroundings surged over her again. The boxed-up staircase seemed to
her a not untrodden way; and when she emerged in the kitchen at its
foot, and saw the round deal table spread for breakfast with its humble
array, she almost staggered at the familiarity of the scene.
Cobbler Horn was in his workshop, and Miss Jemima had gone into
the yard; and, as the young girl gazed around the humble room it
seemed, in some strange fashion, to have belonged to her past life. The
very tap-tap of Cobbler Horn's hammer, coming cheerily from the
workshop behind, awoke weird echoes in her brain, and helped to render
her illusion complete.
All breakfast-time she felt like one in a dream. She seemed to be
drifting into a new life, which was not new but old; and she almost
felt as if she had come home. She was utterly unable to imagine
what might be the explanation of this strange experience. She had not a
glimmering of the actual truth. She struggled against the feeling which
possessed her, and partly overcame it; but it returned again and again
during her stay in the house, though with diminished force.
After breakfast, Cobbler Horn invited his secretary to attack the
accumulated mass of letters which waited for despatch.
You see, Miss Owen, he said in half-apology for asking her to
begin work so soon, the pile gets larger every day; and, if we don't
do something to reduce it at once, it will get altogether beyond
Miss Owen turned her sparkling dark eyes upon her employer.
Oh, Mr. Horn, she exclaimed, as she took her seat at the table,
the sooner we get to work the better! I did not come here to play, you
Cobbler Horn poured an armful of unanswered letters down upon the
table, in front of his ardent young secretary.
There's a snow-drift for you, Miss Owen! he said.
Thank you, sir, was the cheery response, we must do our best to
clear it away.
Miss Owen was already beginning to feel quite at home with Cobbler
Horn; and she even ventured at this point, to rally him on the dismay
with which he regarded his piles of letters.
Don't you think, sir, she asked, with a radiant smile, that a
little sunshine might help us?
Cobbler Horn started, and glanced towards the window. The morning
Yes, he said; but we can't command Then he perceived her
meaning, and broke off with a smile. To be sure; you are right, Miss
Owen. It is wrong of me to be wearing such a gloomy face. But you see
this kind of thing is all so new and strange to me; and you need not
wonder that I am dismayed.
No, replied the secretary, with just the faintest little touch of
patronage in her tone; it's not surprising in your case. But I am not
dismayed. Answering letters has always been my delight.
That's well, said Cobbler Horn, gravely; And I think you will
have to supply a large share of the 'sunshine' too, Miss Owen.
I'll try, she replied, simply, with a beaming smile; and she
squared her shapely arms, and bent her dusky head, and set to work with
a will, while Cobbler Horn, regarding her from the opposite side of
the table, was divided between two mysteries, which were, how she could
write so fast and well, and what it was which made him feel as if he
had known her all his life?
Most of the letters contained applications for money. Some few were
from the representatives of well-known philanthropic societies; many
others were appeals on behalf of local charities or associations; and
no small proportion were the applications of individuals, who either
had great need, or were very cunning, or both.
The private appeals were of great variety. Cobbler Horn was amazed
to find how many people were at the point of despair for want of just
the help that he was able to give. It was past belief how large a
number of persons he had the opportunity of saving from ruin, and with
how small a sum of money, in each case, it might be done. What a
manifold disclosure of human misery and despair those letters were, or
seemed to be! Some of them, doubtless, had been written with breaking
hearts, and punctuated with tears; but which?
I had no idea there was so much trouble in the world! cried
Cobbler Horn, in dismay.
Perhaps there is not quite so much as your letters seem to imply,
sir, suggested the secretary.
You think not? queried Cobbler Horn.
I feel sure of it, said the young girl, with a knowing shake of
her head. But we must do our best to discriminate. I should throw some
of these letters into the fire at once, if I were you, Mr. Horn.
But they must be answered first!
Must they, sir? Every one? enquired the secretary, arching her
dark eye-brows. Why it will cost you a small fortune in stamps, Mr.
But you forget how rich I am, Miss Owen. And I would rather be
cheated a thousand times, than withhold, in a single instance, the help
I ought to give.
Well, Mr. Horn, I'm your secretary, and must obey your commands,
whether I approve of them or not.
She spoke with a merry trill of laughter; and Cobbler Horn, far
from being offended, shot back upon her a beaming smile.
They took the letters as they came. Concerning some of the
applications, Cobbler Horn felt quite able to decide himself. Appeals
from duly-accredited philanthropic institutions received from him a
liberal response, and so large were some of the amounts that the young
secretary felt constrained to remonstrate.
You forget, he replied, how much money I've got.
Butexcuse me, siryou seem resolved to give it all away!
Yes, almost, was the calm reply.
There was but little difficulty, moreover, in dealing with the
applications on behalf of local interests. It was the private appeals
which afforded most trouble. Every case had to be strenuously debated
with Miss Owen, who maintained that not one of these importunate
correspondents ought to be assisted, until Cobbler Horn had satisfied
himself that the case was one of actual necessity, and real merit. By
dint of great persistency, she succeeded in convincing her employer
that many of these private appeals were not worthy of a moment's
consideration. To each of the writers of these a polite note of refusal
was to be despatched. With regard to the rest, it was decided that an
application for references should be made.
I shall have to be your woman of business, Mr. Horn, said
Miss Owen, as well as your secretary; and, between us, I think we can
She felt that there was a true Christian work for her in doing what
she could to help this poor embarrassed Christian man of wealth.
Cobbler Horn was enraptured with his secretary. She seemed to be
fitting herself into a vacant place in his life. It appeared the most
natural thing in the world that she should be there writing his
letters. If his little Marian had not gone from him years ago, she
might have been his secretary now. He sighed at the thought; and then,
as he looked across at the animated face of Miss Owen, as she bent over
her work, and swept the table with her abundant tresses, he was
comforted in no small degree.
Miss Jemima's respect for the proprieties, rendered her reluctant to
absent herself much from the room where her brother and his engaging
young secretary sat together at their interesting work; and she
manifested, from time to time, a lively interest in the progress of
CHAPTER XVII. A PARTING GIFT FOR
THE LITTLE TWIN BRETHREN.
The honest joy of the little twin brethren at the sudden
enrichment of their friend, Cobbler Horn, was dashed with a deep
regret. It was excellent that he had been made a wealthy man. As Tommy
Dudgeon expressed it, Providence had not made a mistake this time,
anyhow. But, in common with the rest of Cobbler Horn's neighbours,
the two worthy little men bitterly deplored the inevitable departure of
their friend from their midst. It was not to be supposed, said Tommy
againit was always Tommy who said things; to John had been assigned
the honour of perpetuating the family nameit was not to be supposed
that a millionaire would live in a small house, in a narrow street,
remain at the cobbler's bench, or continue to associate with poor folks
like themselves. The little hucksters considered it a matter of course
that Cobbler Horn would shortly remove to another and very different
abode, and they mourned over the prospect with sincere and bitter
The little men had good reason for their sorrow, for to none of all
his poor neighbours had Cobbler Horn been a better friend. And their
regret in view of his approaching removal was fully reciprocated by
Cobbler Horn himself. Of all the friends, in the network of streets
surrounding his humble abode, whom he had fastened to his heart with
the golden hooks of love, there were none whom he held more closely
there than the two little tradesmen across the way. His intercourse
with them had been one of the chief refreshments of his life; and he
knew that he would sadly miss his humble little friends.
And now the time had come for the removal, and the evening previous
to the departure from the old home, the Golden Shoemaker paid his
last visit, in the capacity of neighbour, to the worthy little twins.
He had long known that they had a constant struggle to make their way.
He had often assisted them as far as his own hitherto humble means
would allow; and now, he had resolved that before leaving the
neighbourhood, he would make them such a present as would lift them,
once for all, out of the quagmire of adversity in which they had
floundered so long.
At six o'clock, on that autumn evening, it being already dusk,
Cobbler Horn opened his front door, and stood for a moment on the
step. Miss Jemima and the young secretary were both out of the way. If
Miss Jemima had known where her brother was going and for what purpose,
she would have held up her hands in horror and dismay, and might even,
had she been present, have tried to detain him in the house by main
Cobbler Horn lingered a moment on the door-step, with the
instinctive hesitation of one who is about to perform an act of
unaccustomed magnitude; but his soul revelled in the thought of what he
was going to do. He was about to exercise the gracious privilege of the
wealthy Christian man; and, as he handled a bundle of crisp bank-notes
which he held in the side pocket of his coat, his fingers positively
tingled with rapture.
The street was very quiet. A milk girl was going from door to door,
and the lamplighter was vanishing in the distance. Yet Cobbler Horn
flitted furtively across the way, as though he were afraid of being
seen; and, having glided with the stealth of a burglar through the
doorway of the little shop, found himself face to face with Tommy
Dudgeon. The smile of commercial satisfaction, which had been summoned
to the face of the little man by the consciousness that some one was
coming into the shop, resolved itself into an air of respectful yet
genial greeting when he recognised Cobbler Horn.
Ah, good evening, Mr. Horn! You said you would pay us a farewell
visit, and we were expecting you. Come in, sir.
Cobbler Horn followed his humble conductor into the small but cosy
living-room behind, which the large number of its occupants caused to
appear even smaller than it was. John Dudgeon was there, and Mrs. John,
and several offshoots of the Dudgeon tree. Mrs. Dudgeon was ironing at
a table beneath the one small window, in the fading light. She was a
staid and dapper matron, with here and there the faintest line of care
upon her comely face. A couple of the children were rolling upon the
hearthrug in the ruddy glow of the fire, and two or three others were
doing their home-lessons by the aid of the same unsteady gleam. The
father, swept to one side by the surges of his superabundant family,
sat on a chair at the extreme corner of the hearthrug, with both the
twins upon his knees.
Cobbler Horn was greeted with the cordiality due to an old family
friend. Even the children clustered around him and clung to his arms
and legs. Mrs. John, as she was invariably calledpossibly on the
assumption that Tommy Dudgeon also would, in due time, take a wife,
cleared the children away from the side of the hearth opposite to her
husband, and placed a chair for the ever-welcome guest. Tommy Dudgeon,
who had slipped into the shop to adjust the door-bell, so that he might
have timely notice of the entrance of a customer, soon returned, and
placing a chair for himself between his brother and Cobbler Horn, sat
down with his feet amongst the children, and his gaze fixed on the
For a time there was no sound in the room but the click of Mrs.
John's iron, as it travelled swiftly to and fro. Even the children were
preternaturally quiet. At length Tommy spoke, in sepulchral tones, with
his eyes still on the fire.
Only to think that it's the last time!
What's the last time, friend? asked Cobbler Horn, with a start.
Why thisthat we shall see you sitting there so sociable like, Mr.
Indeed, I hope not, was the hearty response. You're not going to
get rid of me so easily as that, old friend.
Why, exclaimed Tommy, I thought you were going to remove; and I'm
sure no one could find fault with it.
Yes: but you surely don't suppose I'm going to turn my back on my
old neighbours altogether?
What you say is very kind, replied Tommy; but, Mr. Horn, we can't
expect to see you very often after this.
Well, friend, perhaps oftener than you think. Then he told them
that he had bought the house in which he had lived amongst them, and
meant to keep it up, and come there almost every day to mend boots and
shoes, without charge for his poor customers.
Well, to be sure! exclaimed Tommy Dudgeon, while John chuckled
exultantly to the twins, and Mrs. John moved her iron more vigorously
to and fro, and hastily raised her hand to brush away a grateful and
Meanwhile Cobbler Horn was considering how he might most
delicately disclose the special purpose of his visit.
But after all, he said at length, this is a farewell visit. I'm
going away, and, after to-morrow, I shall not be your neighbour any
For some moments his hand had been once more in his pocket,
fingering the bank-notes. He now drew them forth very much in the way
in which a man entrapped into a den of robbers might draw a
pocket-pistol, and smoothed them out upon his knee.
I thought, old friend, he said, turning to Tommy Dudgeon, that
perhaps you might be willing to accept a trifling memento of our long
acquaintance. And, indeed, you mustn't say no.
John Dudgeon was too deeply engaged with the twins to note what was
said; Tommy but dimly perceived the drift of his friend; but upon Mrs.
John the full truth flashed with the clearness of noon.
The next moment the notes were being transferred to the hands of the
astonished Tommy. John was still absorbed with his couple of babies.
Mrs. John was ironing more furiously than ever. Tommy felt, with his
finger and thumb, that there were many of the notes; and he perceived
that he and his were being made the recipients of an act of stupendous
generosity. Tears trickled down his cheeks; his throat and tongue were
parched. He tried to thrust the bank-notes back into the hand of his
Mr. Horn, you must not beggar yourself on our account.
Cobbler laughed. In truth, he was much relieved. It seemed that
his humble friend objected to his gift only because he thought it was
'Beggar' myself, Tommy? he cried. I should have to be a very
reckless spendthrift indeed to do that. You forget how dreadfully rich
I am. Why these paltry notes are a mere nothing to such a
wealth-encumbered unfortunate as I. But I thought the money would be a
help to you. And you must take it, Tommy, you must indeed. The Lord
told me to give it to you; and what shall I say to Him, if I allow you
to refuse His gift?
And so the generous will of the Golden Shoemaker prevailed; and if
he could have heard and seen all that took place by that humble
fireside, after he was gone, he would have been assured that at least
one small portion of his uncle's wealth had been well-bestowed.
CHAPTER XVIII. THE NEW HOUSE.
Cobbler Horn's new house, which was situated, as we have seen, on
one of the chief roads leading out of the town, marked almost the
verge, in that direction, of the straggling fringe of urban outskirts.
Beyond it there was only the small cottage in which had lived, and
still resided, the woman who had seen Marian as she trotted so eagerly
away into the great pitiless world. Cobbler Horn had not deliberately
set himself to seek a house upon this road. But, when he found there a
residence to let which seemed to be almost exactly the kind of dwelling
he required, the fact that it was situated in a locality so tenderly
associated with the memory of his lost child, in no degree diminished
his desire to make it his abode.
It was here that she went by, he said softly to himself, at the
close of their visit of inspection, as he stood with Miss Jemima at the
gate; and it was yonder that she was last seen.
What were Miss Jemima's thoughts, as she followed, with her eyes,
the direction of her brother's gaze, may not be known; for an unwonted
silence had fallen on her usually ready tongue.
It was a good house, with a pleasant lawn in front, and a yard,
containing coach-house and stables, behind. The house itself was
well-built, commodious, and fitted with all the conveniences of the
day. As most of the furniture was new, the removal of the family was
not a very elaborate process. In this, as in all other things,
Cobbler Horn found that his money secured him the minimum of trouble.
He had simply given a few orderswhich his sister, it is true, had
supplemented with a great many more; and, when the day of removal
came, they found themselves duly installed in a house furnished with a
completeness which left nothing to be desired.
On their arrival, they were received in the hall by three smiling
maids, a coachman, and a boy in buttons. The Golden Shoemaker almost
staggered, as the members of his domestic staff paid due homage to
their master. He half-turned to his sister, and saw that, she, unlike
himself, was not taken by surprise. Then he hastily returned the
respectful salutations of the beaming group, and passed into the house.
It was afternoon when the removal took place, and the remainder of
the day was spent in inspecting the premises, and settling down. With
the aid of his indefatigable secretary, Cobbler Horn had disposed of
his morning's letters before leaving the old house, and, as it
happened, the later mails were small that day. Miss Jemima stepped into
her new position as mistress of a large establishment with ease and
grace; and, assisted by the young secretary, who was fast gaining the
goodwill of her employer's sister, was already giving to the house, by
means of a few slight touches here and there, that indescribable air of
homeliness which money cannot buy, and no skill of builder or
upholsterer can impart.
To Cobbler Horn himself that evening was a restless time. He felt
himself to be strangely out of place; and he was almost afraid to tread
upon the thick soft carpets, or to sit upon the luxurious chairs. And
yet he smiled to himself, as he contrasted his own uneasiness with the
complacency with which his sister was fitting herself into her place in
their new sphere.
Under the guidance of the coachman, Cobbler Horn inspected the
horses and carriages. The coachman, who was the most highly-finished
specimen of his kind who could be obtained for money, treated his new
master with an oppressive air of respect. Cobbler Horn would have
preferred a more familiar bearing on the part of his gorgeously-attired
servant; but Bounder was obdurate, for he knew his place. His only
recognition of the somewhat unusual sociability of his master, was to
touch his hat with a more impressive action, and to impart a still
deeper note of respect to the tones of his voice. His bearing implied a
solemn rebuke. It was as though he said, If you, sir, don't know your
place, I know mine.
The Golden Shoemaker, having completed his survey of his new abode
and its surroundings, realized more fuller than hitherto the change his
circumstances had undergone. The old life was now indeed past, and he
was fairly launched upon the new. Well, by the help of God, he had
tried to do his duty in the humble sphere of poverty; and he would
attempt the same in the infinitely more difficult position in which he
was now placed.
Entering the house by the back way, he paused and lingered
regretfully for a moment at the kitchen door. One of the maids
perceived his hesitation, and wondered if master was of the interfering
kind. He dispelled her alarm by passing slowly on.
After supper, in the dining-room, Miss Jemima handed the old family
Bible to her brother, and he took it with a loving grasp. Here, at
least, was a part of the old life still.
Shall I ring for the servants? asked Miss Jemima.
By all means, said her brother, with a slight start.
Miss Jemima touched the electric bell, with the air of one who had
been in the habit of ringing for servants all her life. In quick
response, the door was opened; and the maids, the coachman, and the
boy, who had all been well schooled by Miss Jemima, filed gravely in.
The ordeal through which Cobbler Horn had now to pass was very
unlike the homely family prayer of the old life. He performed his task,
however, with a simplicity and fervour with which the domestics were
duly impressed; and when it was over he made them a genial yet
dignified little speech, and wished them all a hearty good night.
Brother, Miss Jemima ventured to remark, when the servants were
gone, I am afraid you lean too much to the side of familiarity with
Sister, was the mildly sarcastic response, you are quite able to
adjust the balance.
Amongst the few things which were transferred from the old house to
the new, was a small tin trunk, the conveyance of which Miss Jemima was
at great pains personally to superintend. It contained the tiny
wardrobe of the long lost child, which the sorrowing, and still
self-accusing, lady had continued to preserve.
It is doubtful whether Cobbler Horn was aware of his sister's
pathetic hoard; but there were two mementos of his lost darling which
he himself preserved. For the custody of papers, deeds, and other
valuables, he had placed in the room set apart as his office, a brand
new safe. In one of its most secure recesses he deposited, with gentle
care, a tiny parcel done up in much soft paper. It contained a
mud-soiled print bonnet-string, and a little dust-stained shoe.
They will never be of any more use to her, he had said to himself;
but they may help to find her some day.
CHAPTER XIX. A TALK WITH THE
MINISTER ABOUT MONEY.
Cobbler Horn knew his minister to be a man of strict integrity and
sound judgment; and it was with complete confidence that he sought Mr.
Durnford's advice with regard to those of his letters with which his
secretary and himself were unable satisfactorily to deal. The morning
after the removal to the new house, he hastened to the residence of the
minister with a bundle of such letters in his pocket. Mr. Durnford read
the letters carefully through, and gave him in each case suitable
advice; and then Cobbler Horn had a question to ask.
Will you tell me, sir, why you have not yet asked me for anything
towards any of our own church funds?
Well, replied the minister, with a shrewd twinkle in his eye, you
see, Mr. Horn, I thought I might safely leave the matter to your
generosity and good sense.
Thank you, sir. Well, I am anxious that my own church should have
its full share of what I have to give. Will you, sir, he added
diffidently, kindly tell me what funds there are, and how much I ought
to give to each.
As he spoke, he extracted from his pocket, with some difficulty, a
bulky cheque-book, and flattened it out on the table with almost
reverent fingers; for he had not yet come to regard the possession of a
cheque-book as a commonplace circumstance of his life.
That's just like you, Mr. Horn, said the minister, with glistening
He was a straightforward man, and transparent as glass. He would not
manifest false delicacy, or make an insincere demur.
There are plenty of ways for your money, with us, Mr. Horn, he
added. But what is your wish? Shall I make a list of the various
Mr. Durnford drew his chair to his writing-table, as he spoke, and
took up his pen.
If you please, sir, said Cobbler Horn.
No sooner said than done; and in a few moments the half-sheet of
large manuscript paper which the minister had placed before him was
filled from top to bottom with a list of the designations of various
Thank you, sir, said Cobbler Horn, glancing at the paper. Will
you, now, kindly set down in order how much you think I ought to give
in each case.
With the very slightest hesitation, and in perfect silence, Mr.
Durnford undertook this second task; and, in a few minutes, having
jotted down a specific amount opposite to each of the lines in the
list, he handed the paper again to Cobbler Horn.
Mr. Durnford's estimate of his visitor's liberality had not erred by
excess of modesty; and he was startled when he mentally reckoned up the
sum of the various amounts he had set down. But Cobbler Horn's
reception of the list startled him still more.
My dear sir, said the Golden Shoemaker, with a smile, I'm
afraid you do not realize how very rich I am. This list will not help
me much in getting rid of the amount of money of which I shall have to
dispose, for the Lord, every year. Try your hand again.
Mr. Durnford asked pardon for the modesty of his suggestions, and
promptly revised the list.
Ah, that is better, said Cobbler Horn. The subscriptions you
have set down may stand, as far as the ordinary funds are concerned;
but now about the debt fund? What is the amount of the debt?
Two thousand pounds.
Well, I will pay off half of it at once; and, when you have raised
two-thirds of the rest, let me know.
Thank you, sir, indeed! exclaimed the minister, almost smacking
his lips, as he dipped his pen in the ink, and added this munificent
promise to the already long list.
It is a mere nothing, said Cobbler Horn. It is but a trifling
instalment of the debt I owe to God on account of this church, and its
minister. But you are beginning to find, Mr. Durnford, that I am rather
eccentric in money matters?
Delightfully so! exclaimed the minister.
Well, the right use of money has always been a point with me. Even
in the days when I had very little money through my hands, I tried to
remember that I was the steward of my Lord. It was difficult, then, to
carry out the idea, because it often seemed as though I could not spare
what I really thought I ought to give. My present difficulty is to
dispose of even a small part of what I can easily spare.
Ah! exclaimed the minister, in whose face there was an expression
of deep interest.
Now, resumed Cobbler Horn, will you, Mr. Durnford, help me in
this matter? Will you let me know of any suitable channels for my money
of which you may, from time to time, be aware?
You may depend upon me in that, my dear sir, said the minister,
Thank you, sir! exclaimed the Golden Shoemaker, as fervently as
though his minister had promised to make him acquainted with chances of
gaining money, instead of letting him know of opportunities of giving
it away. And now I think of it, Mr. Durnford, I should like to place
in your hands a sum for use at your own discretion. You must meet with
many cases of necessity which you would not care to mention to the
authorities of the church; and it would be a distinct advantage to you
to have a sum of money for use in such instances absolutely at your own
command. Now I am going to write you a cheque for fifty pounds to be
used as you think fit; and when it is done, you shall have more.
Mr. Horn! exclaimed the startled minister.
Yes, yes, it's all right. All the money I've promised you this
morning is a mere trifle to me. And now, with your permission, I'll
write the cheques.
Why Cobbler Horn should not have included the whole amount of his
gifts in one cheque it is difficult to say. Perhaps he thought that, by
writing a separate cheque for the last fifty pounds, he would more
effectually ensure Mr. Durnford's having the absolute disposal of that
The writing of the cheques was a work of time.
There, sir, said Cobbler Horn, at last, as he handed the two
precious slips of paper across the table, I hope you will find them
Thank you, Mr. Horn, again and again, said the minister, as he
folded up the cheques and placed them in his pocket-book; they are
perfectly right, I am sure.
Has it occurred to you, he continued, that it would be well if
you were systematic in your giving?
Yes; and I intend systematically to give away as much as I can.
But have you thought of fixing what proportion of your income you
will give? Not, added the minister, laughing, that I am afraid lest
you should not give away enough.
Oh yes, responded Cobbler Horn, laughing in his turn; I have
decided to give proportionately; and the proportion I mean to give is
almost all I've got.
I see you are incorrigible, laughed Mr. Durnford.
You'll find that I am. But now and Cobbler Horn regarded his
minister with an expression of modest, friendly interest in his
faceI'm going to write another cheque.
You must be fond of the occupation, Mr. Horn.
Cobbler Horn's enrichment had not, in any degree, caused the
cordiality of his relations with his minister to decline. There was
nothing in Cobbler Horn to encourage sycophancy; and there was not in
Mr. Durnford a particle of the sycophant.
I believe I don't altogether dislike it, sir, assented Cobbler
Horn in response to the minister's last remark. But, he added,
handing to him the cheque he had now finished writing, will you, my
dear sir, accept that for yourself? Your stipend is far too small; and
I know Mrs. Durnford's illness in the spring must have been very
expensive. Don't say no, I beg of you; but take itas a favour to
He had risen from his seat, and the next moment, with a hurried
good morning, he was gone, leaving the astonished minister in
possession of a cheque for one hundred pounds!
CHAPTER XX. COBBLER HORN'S
It was the custom of Cobbler Horn to spend the first hour of every
morning, after breakfast, in the office, with his secretary. They would
go through the letters which required attention; and, after he had
given Miss Owen specific directions with regard to some of them, he
would leave her to use her own discretion with reference to the rest.
Amongst the former, there were frequently a few which he reserved for
the judgment of Mr. Durnford. It was the duty of the young secretary to
scan the letters which came by the later posts; but none of them were
to be submitted to Cobbler Horn until the next morning, unless they
were of urgent importance.
One morning, about a week after the removal to the new house, the
office door suddenly opened, and Cobbler Horn emerged into the hall
in a state of great excitement, holding an open letter in his hand.
Jemima! he shouted.
The only response was a sound of angry voices from the region of the
kitchen, amidst which he recognised his sister's familiar tones. Surely
Jemima was not having trouble with the servants! Approaching the
kitchen door, he pushed it slightly open, and peeped into the room.
Miss Jemima was emphatically laying down the law to the young and
comely cook, who stood back against the table, facing her mistress,
with the rolling-pin in her hand, and rebellion in every curve of her
figure and in every feature of her face.
You are a saucy minx, Miss Jemima was saying, in her sharpest
'Minx' yourself, was the pert reply. No mistress shan't interfere
with me and my work, as you've done this last week. If you was a real
lady, you wouldn't do it.
You rude girl, I'll teach you to keep your place.
Keep your own, rapped out the girl; and it 'ull be the better for
all parties. As for me, I shan't keep this place, and I give you
warning from now, so there!
At this moment, the girl caught sight of her master's face at the
door, and flinging herself around to the table, resumed her work. Miss
Jemima, in her great anger, advanced a pace or two, with uplifted hand,
towards the broad back of her rebellious cook: Cobbler Horn,
observing the position of affairs, spoke in emphatic tones.
Jemima, I want you at once.
Miss Jemima started, and then, without a word, followed her brother
to the dining-room.
Brother, she said, snatching, in her anger, the first word, that
girl has insulted me grossly.
Yes, Jemima, I heard; but try to forget it for a moment. I have
great news for you. This letter is about cousin Jack.
In a moment Miss Jemima had forgotten her insubordinate cook.
So the poor creature is found! she said when she had taken, and
read, the letter.
Yes, and he proves to be in a condition which will render doubly
welcome the good news he will shortly receive.
Then you persist in your intention to hand over to him a share of
To be sure I do!
Well, retorted Miss Jemima, somewhat acrimoniously, it's a pity.
That portion of the money will be dispersed in a worse manner even than
it was gathered.
Don't say that, Jemima, said her brother gravely.
Well, asked Miss Jemima, dispensing with further protest, what
are you going to do?
The first thing is to see Messrs. Tongs and Ball. You see they ask
me to do so. I can't get away to-day. To-morrow I am to visit our
village, you know; and, as it is on the way to London, the best plan
will be to go on when I am so far.
So it was settled, and Miss Owen was instructed to write the
lawyers, saying that Mr. Horn would wait upon them on the morning of
the third day from that time.
The next morning, Cobbler Horn, having invested his young
secretary with full powers in regard to his correspondence, during his
absence, set off by an early train for Daisy Lane, en route for London.
He had but a vague idea as to the village of which he was the chief
proprietor. He was aware, however, that his property there, including
the old hall itself, was, to quote Mr. Ball, somewhat out of repair;
and he rejoiced in the prospect of the opportunity its dilapidation
might present of turning to good account some considerable portion of
his immense wealth.
It was almost noon when the train stopped at the small station at
which he was to alight. He was the only passenger who left the train at
that station; and, almost before his feet had touched the platform, he
was greeted by a plain, middle-aged man, of medium height and broad of
build, whose hair was reddish-brown and his whiskers brownish-red,
while his tanned and glowing face bore ample evidence of an out-door
life. He had the appearance of a good-natured, intelligent, and
trustworthy man. This was John Gray, the agent of the property; and
Cobbler Horn liked him from the first.
It's only a mile and a half to the village sir, said the man, as
they mounted the trap which was waiting outside the station; and we
shall soon run along.
The trap was a nondescript and dilapidated vehicle, and the horse
was by no means a thoroughbred. But the whole turn-out was faultlessly
It's rather a crazy concern, sir, said Mr. Gray candidly. But you
needn't be afraid. It will hold together for this time, I think.
Cobbler Horn smiled somewhat sadly, as he mounted to his seat.
Here was probably an instalment of much with which he was destined to
meet that day.
Wake up, Jack! said Mr. Gray, shaking the reins. The appearance of
the animal indicated that it was necessary for him to take his master's
injunction in a literal sense. He awoke with a start, and set off at a
walking pace, from which, by dint of much persuasion on the part of his
driver, he was induced to pass into a gentle trot.
He never goes any faster than that, said the agent.
Ah! ejaculated Cobbler Horn. But we must try to get you
something better to drive about in than this, Mr. Gray.
Thank you, sir. It will be a good thing.
As they slowly progressed along the pleasant country road, the agent
gave his new employer sundry particulars concerning the property of
which he had become possessed.
Nearly all the village belongs to you, sir. There's only the church
and vicarage, and one farm-house, with a couple of cottages attached,
that are not yours. But you'll find your property in an awful state.
I've done what I could to patch it up; but what can you do without
I hope, Mr. Gray, said the new proprietor, that we shall soon
rectify all that.
Of course you will, sir, said the candid agent. It's very
painful, he added, to hear the complaints the people make.
No doubt. You must take me to see some of my tenants; but you must
not tell them who I am.
There's a decent house! he remarked presently, as they came in
sight of a comfortable-looking residence, which stood on their left, at
the entrance of the village.
Ah, that's the vicarage, replied the agent, and the church is a
little beyond, and along there, on the other side of the road, is the
farm-house which does not belong to you.
They were now entering the village, the long, straggling street of
which soon afforded the Golden Shoemaker evidence enough of his
deceased uncle's parsimonious ideas. Half-ruined cottages and
tumbledown houses were dispersed around; here and there along the main
street, were two or three melancholy shops; and in the centre of the
village stood a disreputable-looking public-house.
I could wish, said Cobbler Horn, as they passed the
last-mentioned building, that my village did not contain any place of
There's no reason, responded the agent, with a quiet smile, why
you should have a public-house in the place, if you don't want one.
Couldn't we have a public-house without strong drink?
No doubt we could, sir; but it wouldn't pay.
You mean as a matter of money, of course. But that is nothing to
me, and the scheme would pay in other respects. I leave it to you, Mr.
Gray, to get rid of the present occupant of the house as soon as it can
be done without injustice, and to convert the establishment into a
public-house without the drinka place which will afford suitable
accommodation for travellers, and be a pleasant meeting place, of an
evening, for the men and boys of the village.
Thank you, sir, said the agent, with huge delight. Have I carte
'Carte blanche'? queried Cobbler Horn, with a puzzled air. Let
me see; that'swhat? Ah, I knowa free hand, isn't it?
Yes, sir, replied the agent gravely.
Then that's just what I mean.
As they drove on, Cobbler Horn observed that most of the gardens
attached to the cottages were in good order, and that some of the
people had been at great pains to conceal the mouldering walls of their
wretched huts with roses, honeysuckle, and various climbing plants.
Glowing with honest shame, he became restlessly eager to wave his
golden wand over this desolate scene.
This is my place, sir, said the agent, as they stopped at the gate
of a dingy, double-fronted house. You'll have a bit of dinner with us
in our humble way?
Thank you, said the Golden Shoemaker, I shall be very glad.
CHAPTER XXI. IN NEED OF REPAIRS.
After dinner, Cobbler Horn set out with his agent on a tour of
inspection through the village.
We'll take this row first, sir, if you please, said Mr. Gray. One
of the people has sent for me to call.
So saying he led the way towards a row of decrepit cottages which,
with their dingy walls and black thatch, looked like a group of fungi,
rather than a row of habitations erected by the hand of man.
At the crazy door of the first cottage they were confronted by a
stout, red-faced woman with bare beefy arms, who, on seeing Cobbler
Horn, dropped a curtsey, and suppressed the angry salutation which she
had prepared for Mr. Gray.
A friend of mine, Mrs. Blobs, said the agent.
Glad to see you, sir, said the woman to Cobbler Horn. Will you
please to walk in, gentlemen.
Just cast your eye up there, Mr. Gray, she added when they were
inside. It's come through at last.
Sure enough it had. Above their heads was a vast hole in the
ceiling, and above that a huge gap in the thatch; and at their feet lay
a heap of bricks, mortar, and fragments of rotten wood.
Why the chimney has come through! exclaimed Mr. Gray.
Little doubt of that, said Mrs. Blobs.
Was anybody hurt?
No, but they might ha' bin. It was this very morning. The master
was at his work, and the children away at school; but, if I hadn't just
stepped out to have a few words with a neighbour, I might ha' bin just
under the very place. Isn't it disgraceful, sir, she added, turning to
Cobbler Horn, that human beings should be made to live in such
tumbledown places? I believe Mr. Gray, here, would have put things
right long ago; but he's been kept that tight by the old skin-flint
what's just died. They do say as now the property have got into better
Well, well, Mrs. Blobs interposed the agent; we shall soon see a
change now I hope.
Yes, assented Cobbler Horn, we'll havethat is, I'm sure Mr.
Gray will soon make you snug, ma'am.
We must call at every house, sir, said Mr. Gray, as they passed to
the next door. There isn't one of the lot but wants patching up almost
Cheer up, Mr. Gray, said the Golden Shoemaker. There shall be
no more patching after this.
In each of the miserable cottages they met with a repetition of
their experience in the first. If the reproaches of the living could
bring back the dead, old Jacob Horn should have formed one of the group
in those mouldy and rotting cottages, to listen to the reiteration of
the shameful story of his criminal neglect. Here the windows were
bursting from their setting, like the bulging eyes of suffocating men;
and here the door-frame was in a state of collapse. In one cottage the
ceiling was depositing itself, by frequent instalments, on the floor;
and in another the floor itself was rotting away. In every case, Mr.
Gray made bold to promise the speedy rectification of everything that
was wrong; and Cobbler Horn confirmed his promises in a manner so
authoritative that it would have been a wonder if his discontented
tenants had not caught some glimmering of the truth as to who he was.
On leaving the cottages, Mr. Gray took his employer to one of the
farm-houses which his property comprised. They found the farmer, a
burly, red-faced, ultra-choleric man, excited over some
recently-consummated dilapidations on his premises. He conducted his
visitors over his house and farm-buildings, grumbling like an ungreased
wagon. His abuse of Cobbler Horn's dead uncle was unstinted, and
almost every other word was a rumbling oath. Mr. Gray assured him that
all would be put right now in a very short time; and Cobbler Horn
said, Yes, he was sure it would.
The farmer stared in surprise; but his blunter perception proved
less penetrative than the keen insight of the women, and he simply
wondered what this rather rough looking stranger could know about it,
anyhow. He expressed a hope that it might be as Mr. Gray said. For
himself he hadn't much faith. But, if there wasn't something done soon,
the new landlord had better not show himself there, that was all; and
the aggrieved farmer clenched his implied threat with the most emphatic
oath he was able to produce.
Their inspection of the remainder of the village revealed, on every
side, the same condition of ruin and decay; and it was with a sad and
indignant heart that Cobbler Horn at length sat down, in Mrs. Gray's
front parlour, to a late but welcome cup of tea.
To-morrow, he said, we'll have a look at the old hall.
The Golden Shoemaker spent the evening in close consultation with
his agent. The state of the property was thoroughly discussed, and Mr.
Gray was invested with full power to renovate and renew. His employer
enjoined him to make complete work. He was to exceed, rather than stop
short of, what was necessary, and to do even more than the tenants
You will understand, Mr. Gray, said Cobbler Horn, that I want
all my property in this village to be put into such thorough repair
that, as far as the comfort and convenience of my tenants are
concerned, nothing shall remain to be desired. So set to work with all
your might; and we shall not quarrel about the billif you only make
it large enough.
Mr. Gray's big heart bounded within him, as he received this
And don't forget your own house, added his employer. I think you
had better build yourself a new one while you are about it; and let it
be a house fit to live in.
Mr. Gray warmly expressed his thanks, and they proceeded to the
consideration of the numberless matters which it was necessary to
In the morning, under the guidance of the agent, Cobbler Horn paid
his promised visit to the old Hall. It was a venerable Elizabethan
mansion, and, like everything else in the village that belonged to him,
was sadly out of repair. As he entered the ancient pile, and passed
from room to room, a purpose with regard to the old Hall which already
vaguely occupied his mind, took definite shape; and he seemed to hear,
in the empty rooms, the glad ring of children's laughter and the patter
of children's feet. In memory of his long-lost Marian, and for the
glory of the Divine Friend of children, the old Hall should be
transformed into a Home for little ones who were homeless and without a
As they drove to the station, a little later, he announced his
attention, with regard to the Hall, to Mr. Gray.
I shall leave the business in your hands, Mr. Gray. You must
consult those who understand such things, and visit similar
institutions, and turn the old place into the best 'Children's Home'
that can be produced.
Very well, sir; but the children?
That matter I will arrange myself.
The agent was getting used to surprises; but the next that came
almost took his breath away.
I believe, said Cobbler Horn, at the end of a brief silence,
that your salary, Mr. Gray, is £150 a year?
Well, I wish to increase the amount. Pray consider that you will
receive, from this time, at the rate of £500 a year.
Mr. Horn! cried the startled agent, such generosity!
Not at all; I mean you to earn it, you know. But let your horse
move on, or I shall miss my train. And, by the way, will you oblige me,
Mr. Gray, by procuring for yourself a horse and trap better calculated
to serve the interests of my property than this sorry turn-out. Get the
best equipment which can be obtained for money.
The agent, not knowing whether he was touched the more by the
kindness of the injunction, or by the delicacy with which it had been
expressed, murmured incoherent thanks, and promised speedy compliance
with his employer's commands.
CHAPTER XXII. THE GOLDEN SHOEMAKER
INSTRUCTS HIS LAWYERS.
Cobbler Horn reached London early the same evening, and the
following morning, at the appointed hour, duly presented himself at the
office of Messrs. Tongs and Ball. He was received with enthusiasm by
the men of law. Long Mr. Ball was, as usual, the chief speaker; and
round Mr. Tongs yielded meek and monosyllabic assent to all his
And how are you by this time, my dear sir? asked Mr. Ball, almost
affectionately, when they had taken their seats.
Cobbler Horn had a vague impression that the lawyer was asking his
question on behalf of his partner as well as of himself.
Thank you, gentlemen, was his cordial reply. I am thankful to say
I never was better in my life; and I hope I find you the same?
Thank you, my dear sir, answered Mr. Ball, speaking for self and
partner, I think I may say that we are well.
Yes, said Mr. Tongs.
But, resumed Mr. Ball, turning to the table, your time is
precious, Mr. Horn. Shall we proceed?
If you please, gentlemen.
Very well, said the lawyer, taking up a bundle of papers; these
are the letters relating to the case of your unfortunate cousin. Shall
I give you their contents in due order, Mr. Horn?
If you please, and Cobbler Horn composed himself to listen, with
a grave face.
The letters were from the agents of Messrs. Tongs and Ball in New
York; and the information they conveyed was to the effect that
Cobbler Horn's scapegrace cousin had been traced to a poor
lodging-house in that city, where he was slowly dying of consumption.
He might last for months, but it was possible he would not linger more
than a few weeks.
Cobbler Horn listened to the reading of the letters with head
down-bent. When it was finished, he looked up.
Thank you, gentlemen, he said; have you done anything?
Mr. Ball gazed at his client through his spectacles, over the top of
the last of the letters, which he still held open in his hand, and
there was gentle expostulation in his eye.
Our instructions, Mr. Horn, were to find your cousin.
I see, said Cobbler Horn, with a smile; and you have done that.
Well now, gentlemen, will you be kind enough to do something more?
We will attend to your commands, Mr. Horn, was the deferential
response. That is our business.
Yes, was the emphatic assent of Mr. Tongs.
The Golden Shoemaker was becoming accustomed to the readiness of
all with whom he had to do to wait upon his will.
Well, gentlemen, he said, I wish everything to be done to relieve
my poor cousin's distress, and even, if possible, to save his life. Be
good enough to telegraph directions for him to be removed without delay
to some place where he will receive the best care that money can
procure. If his life cannot be saved, he may at least be kept alive
till I can reach his bedside.
Your commands shall be obeyed, sir, said Mr. Ball; but, he added
with much surprise, is it necessary for you to go to New York
That you must leave to me, gentlemen, said the Golden Shoemaker
in a tone which put an end to debate.
Now, gentlemen, he resumed, kindly hand me those letters; and let
me know how soon, after to-morrow, I can set out.
You don't mean to lose any time, sir, said Mr. Ball, handing the
bundle of letters to his client.
In a few moments, the lawyers were able to supply the information
that a berth could be secured in a first-class steamer which would
leave Liverpool for New York in two days' time; and it was arranged
that a passage should be booked.
We await your further orders, Mr. Horn, said Mr. Ball, rubbing his
hands together, as he perceived that his client still retained his
I'm afraid I detain you, gentlemen.
By no means, my dear sir, protested Mr. Ball.
No, echoed Mr. Tongs.
I am glad of that, said Cobbler Horn. I should be sorry to
waste your valuable time.
More than once a clerk had come to the door to announce that
so-and-so or so-and-so, awaited the leisure of his employers; and, in
every case, the answer had been, let them wait.
The time of Messrs. Tongs and Ball was indeed valuable, and no
portion of it was likely to prove more so than that bestowed on the
affairs of Cobbler Horn.
Both the lawyers smiled amiably.
You could not waste our time, Mr. Horn, said Mr. Ball.
No, echoed Mr. Tongs.
That's very good of you, gentlemen. But at any rate I really have
some business of the gravest importance still to discuss with you.
By all means, my dear sir, said Mr. Ball with gusto, settling
himself in an attitude of attention, while Mr. Tongs also prepared
himself to listen.
I wish, gentlemen, announced the Golden Shoemaker, to make my
To be sure, said Mr. Ball.
You see, continued Cobbler Horn, a journey to America is
attended with some risk.
Precisely, assented Mr. Ball. And a man of your wealth, Mr. Horn,
should not, in any case, postpone the making of his will. It was our
intention to speak to you about the matter to-day.
To be sure, said Cobbler Horn. Can it be done at once?
Certainly, responded the lawyer, drawing his chair to the table,
and preparing, pen in hand, to receive the instructions of his client.
You have no children, I think, Mr. Horn?
Cobbler Horn's cheeks blanched, and his lips quivered; but he
instantly regained his self-control.
That is my difficulty, he said. I had a child, but
Ah! interrupted Mr. Ball, I understand. Very sad.
No, sir, said Cobbler Horn sternly, you do not understand. It
is not as you think. But can I make my will in favour of a person who
may, or may not, be alive?
Mr. Ball was in no wise abashed.
Do I take you, my dear sir? You
The person, interposed Cobbler Horn, to whom I wish to leave my
property is my little daughter, Marian, who wandered away twelve years
ago, and has never been heard of since. Can I do it, gentlemen?
I think you can, Mr. Horn, replied Mr. Ball. In the absence of
any proof of death, your daughter may be considered to be still alive.
What do you say, Mr. Tongs?
Oh yes; to be sure; certainly, exclaimed Mr. Tongs, who seemed to
have been aroused from a reverie, and for whom it was enough that he
was required to confirm some dictum of his partner.
Thank you, gentlemen. Then please to note that I wish my property
to pass, at my death, to my daughter, Marian Horn.
Very good, sir, said Mr. Ball, making a note on a sheet of paper.
But, he added, with an enquiring glance towards his client, in the
eventthat is to say, supposing your daughter were not to reappear,
I am coming to that, was the calm reply. If my daughter does not
come back before my death, I wish everything to go to my sister, Jemima
Horn, on the condition that she gives it up to my daughter when she
Ah! ejaculated Mr. Ball. And may I ask, my dear sir?If Miss
Horn should die, say shortly after your own decease, what then?
I have thought of that too. Would it be in order, to appoint a
trustee, to hold the property, in such a case, for my child?
Yes, quite in order. Have you the name ready, my dear sir?
I will give you that of Rev. George Durnford, of Cottonborough.
And, for how long, Mr. Horn, asked Mr. Ball, when he had written
down Mr. Durnford's name and address, must the property be thus held?
Till my daughter comes to claim it.
But, but, my dear sir
Very well, said Cobbler Horn, breaking in upon the lawyer's
incipient protest; put it like this. Say that, in the event of my
sister's death, everything is to go into the hands of Mr. Durnford, to
be held by him in trust for my daughter, and to be dealt with according
to his own discretion.
That is all on that subject, gentlemen, he added, in a tone of
finality; and, having summarily dismissed one matter of business, he as
summarily introduced another. And now, he said, having made
provision for my daughter in the event of my death, I wish also to
provide for her in case she should come back during my life. I desire
the sum of £50,000 to be set aside and invested in such a manner, that
my daughter may have itprincipal and interestas her own private
fortune during my life.
Mr. Ball regarded his singular client with a doubtful look.
Is it necessary to do that, my dear sir? With your wealth, you will
be able, at any time, to do for your daughter what you please.
Yes, said Mr. Tongs, who seemed to think it time to put in his
Gentlemen, said Cobbler Horn. You must let me have my own way.
It is my intention to turn my money to the best account, according to
my light; and I wish to have the £50,000 secured to my child, lest,
when she comes back, there should be nothing left for her.
Well, Mr. Horn, of course your wishes shall be obeyed, said Mr.
Ball, with a sigh; but it is not an arrangement which I should
With this final protest the subject was dismissed; but, for many
days, the £50,000 to be invested for the missing daughter of his
eccentric client remained a burden on the mind of Mr. Ball.
And now, said the Golden Shoemaker, there is just another thing
before I go. I have been to see my village. I found it, as you warned
me, in a sadly dilapidated condition; and I have desired Mr. Gray to
make all the necessary repairs. Will you, gentlemen, give him all the
help you can, and see that he doesn't want for money?
We shall be delighted, my dear sir, as a matter of course.
Thank you: Mr. Gray will probably apply to you on various points;
and I wish you to know that he has my authority for all he does.
Very good, sir, said Mr. Ball, in a respectful tone.
Then, while I was at Daisy Lane, I paid a visit to the old Hall.
Ah! exclaimed Mr. Ball, a splendid family mansion, Mr. Horn?
Yes; I have desired Mr. Gray to have it renovated and furnished.
As a residence for yourself, of course?
No; I have other designs.
Then, in the deeply-attentive ears of the two men of law, the
Golden Shoemaker recited his plans with regard to the old Hall.
It would be a mild statement to say that Messrs. Tongs and Ball were
taken by surprise; but their client afforded them slight opportunity to
interpose even a comment on his scheme.
You must help Mr. Gray in this matter especially, gentlemen, if you
please. Do all you can for him. I want it to be the best 'Children's
Home' in the country. Don't spare expense. I wish everything to be
provided that is good for little children. My friend, Mr. Durnford
will, perhaps, help me to find a 'father and mother' for the 'Home;'
you, gentlemen, shall assist me in the engagement of skilful nurses and
trustworthy servants. In order that we may make the place as nearly
perfect as possible, I have requested Mr. Gray to visit similar
institutions in various parts of the country. He will look to you for
advice; and I should be obliged, gentlemen, if you would put him on the
Then he paused, and looked at his lawyers with a glowing face.
It's for the sake, he said, and there was a catch in his voice,
of my little Marian, who went from me a wanderer upon the face of the
Then, having arranged to call in the morning, for the purpose of
signing his will, previous to his departure from town, he took his
CHAPTER XXIII. MEMORIES.
The following morning Cobbler Horn called at the office of Messrs.
Tongs and Ball at the appointed time. The will was ready, and, having
signed it, he said good day to the lawyers, and took the next train
to Cottonborough, where he arrived early in the afternoon.
Subsequently, at the dinner-table, he answered freely the questions
of Miss Jemima concerning his doings during his absence. Nor did he
feel the presence of his young secretary to be, in any degree, a
restraint. Already she was as one of the family, and was almost as much
in the confidence of the Golden Shoemaker as was Miss Jemima herself.
Cobbler Horn told of the dilapidated condition in which he had found
the village, and of the instructions he had given to the agent. At the
recital of the latter, Miss Jemima held up her hands in dismay, while
the eyes of the secretary glistened with unconcealed delight. But the
climax was reached when Cobbler Horn spoke of his intentions with
regard to the old Hall. Miss Jemima uttered a positive shriek, and
shook her head till her straight, stiff side-curls quivered again.
Thomas, she cried, you must be mad! It will cost you thousands of
Yes, Jemima, was the quiet reply; and surely they could not be
better spent! And then there'll still be a few thousands left, he
added with a smile. It's a way of spending the Lord's money of which
I'm sure He will approve. What do you say, Miss Owen?
I think it's just splendid of you, Mr. Horn!
To do Miss Jemima justice, her annoyance arose quite as much from
the annihilation of her dearly cherished hopes of becoming the mistress
of an ideal country mansion, and filling the place of lady magnificent
of her brother's village, as from the thought of the gigantic
extravagance which his designs with regard to the old Hall would
But the poor lady was to be yet further astonished.
Oh, I forgot to tell you, Jemima, said her brother, after a brief
pause, and speaking with a whimsical air of apology, that I am to
start for America to-morrow.
He spoke as though he were announcing a trip into the next county;
and Miss Jemima could scarcely have shown greater amazement, if he had
declared his intention of starting for the moon.
The good lady almost bounced from her seat.
She had not breath for more than that.
In truth the announcement the Golden Shoemaker had made was
startling enough. Even Miss Owen looked up in intense surprise; and the
servant girl, who was in the act of taking away the meat, was so
startled that she almost let it fall into her master's lap.
Cobbler Horn alone was unmoved.
You see, he said calmly, when I considered the sad plight of our
poor cousin, I thought it would be best for me to go and see to him
myself. There are the letters, he added, taking them from his pocket,
and handing them to his sister. You will see, Jemima, that the poor
fellow is in sore straitsill, and destitute in a low lodging-house in
New York, Miss Owen! He will be informed, by now, of his change of
fortune, and everything possible is to be done for him. But I feel that
I can't leave him to strangers. And then there may be a chance of
leading him to the Saviour, who can tell? Besides, Jemima, a journey to
America is not so much of an undertaking now-a-days, you know; and I
sha'n't be many weeks away.
By this time, Miss Jemima had managed to recover her breath, and, in
part, her wits.
But I can't get you ready by to-morrow, Thomas!
My dear Jemima, that doesn't matter at all: whether you can get me
ready or not, I must go. The lawyers will have taken my passage by this
Butbut you can never take care of yourself in America, Thomas.
It's such a large country, and so dreadful; and the Americans are such
Never mind, Jemima, was the pleasant reply, Messrs. Tongs and
Ball have sent a cablegram to their agent in New York, instructing him
to look after me. And, besides, I've made my will.
What? shouted Miss Jemima, made your will?
To Miss Jemima it seemed a dreadful thing to make one's will. It was
a last desperate resort. It was in view of death that people made their
wills. It was evident her brother did not expect to get safely back.
Yes, repeated Cobbler Horn, with a quiet smile, I've made my
will. But, don't be alarmed, Jemima; I sha'n't die any the sooner for
that. I did it as a wise precaution, with the approval of the lawyers.
Even if I had not been going to America, I should have had to make my
will sooner or later. Cheer up, Jemima! Our Heavenly Father bears rule
in America, and on the sea, as well as here at home.
Miss Jemima had relapsed into silence. She was beginning to realize
the fact that her brother had made his will, which, after all, was not
so very strange a thing. But what was the nature of the will? She did
not desire to inherit her brother's property herself. She was rich
enough already. But she was apprehensive that he might have made some
foolish disposition of his money of which she would not be able to
approve. To whom, or to what she would have desired him to leave his
wealth, she could not, perhaps, have told; but she would not be easy
till she knew the contents of his will. And yet she could not question
her brother on the subject in the presence of his secretary. The girl
might be very well, but must not be allowed to know too much.
If I don't come back, Jemima, said Cobbler Horn, as though he
had read his sister's thoughts, you will know what my will contains
soon enough. If I doof which I have little doubtI will tell you all
about it myself.
After dinner, Cobbler Horn retired, with his secretary, to the
office, for the purpose of dealing with the letters which had
accumulated during his absence from home. As they proceeded with their
work, Miss Owen learnt that, while her employer was away in America,
she was to have discretionary powers with regard to the whole of the
correspondence. With all her self-confidence, the young secretary was
rather staggered by this announcement; but she could obtain no release
from the firm decree.
You see, I have perfect confidence in you, Miss Owen, explained
Cobbler Horn, simply; and besides, you know very well that, in most
cases, you are better able to decide what to do than I am myself. But,
if there are any of the letters that you would rather not deal with
till I come back, just let them wait.
This matter had been arranged during the first half-hour, in the
course of a dropping conversation, carried on in the pauses of their
work. They had put in a few words here and there in the crannies and
crevices of their business so to speak. In the same manner, Cobbler
Horn now proceeded to tell his secretary of his interview with his
lawyers, and of the making of his will.
The Golden Shoemaker had already become wonderfully attached to
his young secretary. She had exercised no arts; she had practised no
wiles. She was a sincere, guileless, Christian girl. Shrewd enough she
was, indeed, but utterly incapable of scheming for any manner of
selfish or sordid end. With her divine endowment of good looks and her
consecrated good nature, she could not fail to captivate; and there is
small room for wonder that she had made large inroads upon Cobbler
Horn's big heart.
The degree to which his engaging young secretary had won the
confidence of Cobbler Horn will appear from the fact that he was
about to reveal to her, this afternoon, those particulars with regard
to his recently-made will the communication of which to his sister he
had avowedly postponed. It was not his intention to treat Miss Jemima
with disrespect. He felt that he could freely talk to Miss Owen; with
his sister it would be a matter of greater delicacy to deal. He often
fancied that his young secretary was just such as his darling Marian
would have been; and quite naturally, and very simply, he told her
about his will, and even spoke of the money that was to be invested for
his lost child. He was quite able now to talk calmly of the great
sorrow of his life. The gentle and continued rubbing of the hand of
time had allayed its sharper pang.
What do you think of it all, Miss Owen?
I think, Mr. Horn, said the secretary, with the end of her
penholder between her ruby lips, and a wistful look in her dark eyes,
that your daughter would be a very fortunate young lady, if she only
knew it; and that there are not many fathers like you.
Then you think I have done well?
I think, sir, that you have done better than well.
After another spell of work, Miss Owen looked up again with an eager
What was your little Marian like, Mr. Horn? she asked, in a tender
and subdued tone.
Well, she was But the ardent girl took him up before he could
Would she have grown to be anything like me? I suppose she would be
about my age.
She was leaning forward now, with her elbows on the table, and her
hands supporting her chin. Her richly-tinted cheeks glowed with
interest; her large, dark eyes shone like two bright stars. The
question she had asked could not be to her more than a subject of
amiable curiosity; but no doubt the enthusiastic nature of the girl
fully accounted for the eagerness with which she had spoken. Her sudden
enquiry wafted Cobbler Horn back into the past; and there rose before
him the vision of a bonny little nut-brown damsel of five summers, with
eyes like sloes, and a mass of dusky hair. For an instant he caught his
breath. He was startled to see, in the face of his young secretary what
he would probably never have detected, if her question had not pointed
Well, really, Miss Owen, he said, simply, now you speak of it,
you are something like what my little Marian may have grown to be by
How delicious! exclaimed Miss Owen.
Cobbler Horn was gazing intently at his young secretary. What
vague surmisings, like shadows on a window-blindwere flitting through
his brain? What dim rays of hope were struggling to penetrate the
gloom? Suddenly he started, and shook himself, with a sigh. Of course
it could only be a fancy. How strange the frequent inability to
perceive the significance of circumstances plainly suggestive of the
fulfilment of some long-cherished hope! The joy, deferred so long
comes, at last, in an hour when we are not aware, only to find us
utterly oblivious that it is so near!
Well, Miss Owen, said Cobbler Horn, rising to his feet, I must
be going to my cobbling. If you want me, you will know where to come.
Yes, Mr. Horn.
She was aware of his custom of resorting now and then to his old
workshop. When he was gone, she paused for a moment, with her penholder
once more between her lips.
How nice to think that I am like what that dear little Marian would
have been! I wonder whether we should have been friends, if she had
lived? Poor little thing, she's almost sure to be dead! Though, perhaps
notwho can tell? How queer that Mr. Horn should have lost a little
girl, just as I must have been lost, and about the same time too! As
for my being like herperhaps, after all, that's only a fancy of his.
Well, at any rate, I must comfort and help him all I can. I can't step
into his daughter's place exactly; but God has put it into my power to
be to him, in many things, what little Marian would have been if he had
not lost her; and for Christ's sake
At this point, the young secretary's thoughts became too sacred for
prying eyes. Very soon she turned to her writing again. Half an hour
later, the afternoon post arrived, bringing, amongst other letters, one
or two which necessitated an immediate interview with Cobbler Horn.
To trip up to her bedroom and dress herself for going out was the work
of a very few moments; and in a short time she was entering the street
where Cobbler Horn and his sister had lived so long, and whence the
hapless little Marian had so heedlessly set out into the great world,
on that bright May morning so many years ago.
As Miss Owen entered the narrow street, she involuntarily raised her
hand to her forehead. The weird feeling of familiarity with the old
house and its vicinity, of which she had already been conscious more
than once, had crept over her again.
How very strange! she said to herself. But there can't be
anything in it!
As she approached the house, she became aware of the unconcealed
scrutiny of a little man who was standing in the doorway of a shop on
the other side of the street.
It was Tommy Dudgeon, who had just then come to the door to show a
customer out, a civility which he was wont to bestow, if possible, upon
every one who came to the shop. Lingering for a moment, in the hope of
descrying another customer, he saw Miss Owen coming down the street.
Tommy knew about Cobbler Horn's secretary; but he had not, as yet,
had a fair view of the young lady. He had not even thought much about
her, and he did not suspect that it was she who was now coming along
the street, until she passed into the old house. But, as he saw her
now, with her black hair and dark glowing face, walking along the
pavement in her decided way, he felt, as he afterwards said, quite
all-overish like. It was, at first, the vaguest of impressions that he
received. Then, as he gazed, he began to think that he had seen that
figure beforethough he continued to assure himself that he had not;
and then, as Miss Owen drew nearer, he concluded that there must be
some one of whom she reminded himsome one whom he had known long ago.
Then, with a flash, came back to him the scenenever to be
forgottenon that long-ago May morning; and Tommy Dudgeon heaved a
sigh, for he had obtained his clue.
What a rude little man! thought Miss Owen. And yet he looks
harmless enough. Why he must be one of the little twin shopkeepers of
whom I have heard Mr. Horn speak. That will account for his interest in
The absorption of the young secretary in the duties of her office,
during her stay in the old house, no doubt fully accounted for the fact
that she had not become more familiar with the appearance of Tommy
By this time Tommy had withdrawn into his shop. But he continued to
watch. Standing partly concealed behind some of the merchandise
displayed in the shop window, he saw Miss Owen enter Cobbler Horn's
former abode, and then waited for her once more to emerge.
In ten minutes the young secretary again appeared. Pausing on the
door-step, she looked this way and that, and then, with emphatic tread,
stepped out in the very track of the little twinkling feet which Tommy
had watched in their last departure on that ill-fated spring morning so
long ago. The little man craned his neck to see the better through the
window, and then, unable to restrain himself, he hurried to the doorway
of the shop once more, and, with enlightened eyes, watched the figure
of the girl till it passed out of sight. Then he turned, and rushed
into the kitchen behind the shop. His brother was trying to put one of
the twins to sleep by carrying it to and fro; his brother's wife was
making bread. He raised his hands.
She's come back! he cried. Then, recollecting himself, he said,
more quietly, I mean I've seen the sec'tary.
CHAPTER XXIV. ON THE OCEAN.
The evening of the next day saw the Golden Shoemaker steaming out
of the Mersey, on board the first-rate Atlantic liner on which his
passage had been taken by Messrs. Tongs and Ball. Miss Jemima had
bidden her brother a reluctant farewell. In her secret soul, she nursed
a doubt, of which, indeed, she was half-ashamed, as to the prospect of
his safe return; and she endeavoured to fortify her timorous heart by
the utterance of sundry sharp speeches concerning the folly of his
The voyage across the great ocean, in the splendid floating hotel
in which he had embarked was a new and delightful experience to
Cobbler Horn. But his peace of mind sustained brief disturbance on
his being shown to his quarters on board the vessel. His lawyers had,
as a matter of course, taken for their wealthy client a first-class
passage. It had not occurred to him to give them any instructions on
the point, and they had taken it for granted that they were doing what
he would desire. Perhaps, if they had asked him, he might, in his
ignorance of such matters, have said, Oh yes, first-class, by all
means. But when he saw the splendid accommodation which his money had
procured, he started back, and said to the attendant:
This is much too grand for me. Can't I make a change?
The attendant stared in surprise.
'Fraid not sir, he said, every second-class berth is taken.
I don't mind about the money, said Cobbler Horn hastily. But I
should be more comfortable in a plainer cabin, and he looked around
uneasily at the luxurious and splendid appointments of the quarters
which had been assigned to him, as his home, for the next few days.
The attendant, regarding with a critical eye the modest attire and
unassuming demeanour of Cobbler Horn, inwardly agreed with what this
somewhat eccentric passenger had said.
The only way, sir, said the man, at length, is to get some one to
change with you.
Ah, the very thing! How can it be managed?
The attendant mused with hand on chin.
Well, sir, he said, gliding into an interrogative tone, if you
really mean it?
Most certainly I do.
Then I think I can arrange it for you, sir. There is one
second-class passenger who would probably jump at such a chance. He is
an invalid; and it would be a great comfort to him to get into such
quarters as these. I've heard a good bit about him since he came on
Then he's our man, said Cobbler Horn; and then, he added
hesitatingly, there'll be a sovereign for you, if you manage it at
once. I'll wait here till you let me know.
The attendant sped on his errand, and, before night, the desired
exchange had been duly madeCobbler Horn was established in the
comfortable and congenial accommodation afforded by a second-class
cabin, and the invalid passenger was blessing his unknown benefactor,
as he sank to rest amidst the luxury of his new surroundings.
It was late autumn, and the sea, though not stormy, was sufficiently
restless to make the commencement of the passage unpleasant for all who
were not good sailors. Cobbler Horn was not one of these; and, when,
upon the second day out, he observed the deserted appearance of the
decks and saloons, and, on making enquiry of an official, learnt that
most of the passengers were sick, he realized with a healthy and
grateful thrill of pleasure, that he was blessed with immunity from the
almost universal tribulation which waylays the landsman who ventures on
the treacherous deep.
It will, therefore, be readily believed that the Golden Shoemaker
keenly enjoyed the whole of the voyage. He breathed the fresh, briny
air with much relish; the wonders of the sea furnished him with many
instructive and pious thoughts; and the ship itself supplied him with
an inexhaustible fund of interest. In particular, he paid frequent
visits to the steerage, where large numbers of emigrants were bestowed.
He spent many hours amongst these poor people; and, by entering into
conversation with such of them as were disposed to talk, he became
acquainted with many cases of necessity, which he was not slow to
relieve. Nor did the gifts of money, which he bestowed with his usual
large generosity, constitute the only form of help he gave. In a
thousand nameless ways he ministered to the wants and relieved the
difficulties of his humble fellow-passengers, who quickly came to look
upon him as the good genius of the ship. As a matter of course, the
whisper soon went round, Who is he? And when, in some inscrutable
way, the truth leaked out, the poor people regarded him with a kind of
awe. Some, indeed, criticised, and said he did not look much like a
millionaire; but there were many in that motley crowd in whose hearts,
during those few brief days on the ocean, Cobbler Horn made for
himself a very sacred place.
In the course of a day or two, the decks and saloons began to assume
a more animated appearance. Hitherto Cobbler Horn had not greatly
attracted the attention of the passengers with whom he was more
immediately associated; but now that they were in a condition to think
of something other than their own concerns, their interest in him began
to awake. Who had not heard of the Golden ShoemakerThe Millionaire
CordwainerThe Lucky Son of Crispinas he had been variously
designated in the newspapers of the day? When it became known that so
great a celebrity was on board, there was a general desire to make his
acquaintance. Some vainly asked the captain to give them an
introduction; some boldly introduced themselves.
Cobbler Horn was courteous to all, in his homely way; but he
showed no anxiety to become further acquainted with these obtrusive
persons. The simplicity of his manners and the plainness of his dress
caused much surprise; and the public interest concerning him sensibly
quickened when whispers floated forth of the giving up of his berth to
the invalid passenger, and of his charitable doings amongst the poor
During the voyage, the Golden Shoemaker spent much time in close
and prayerful study of his Bible, which had ever been, and still was,
his dearest, and well nigh his only, book. He was induced to do this
not only by his love of the Book itself, but also by a definite desire
to absorb, and transfuse into his own experience, all those teachings
of the Word of God which bore upon the new position in which he had
been so strangely placed.
First of all, he turned to certain notable passages of Scripture
which shot up before his memory like well-known beacon-lights along a
rocky coast. There glared upon him, first of all, the lurid
denunciation which opens the fifth chapter of the Epistle of James,
commencing, Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries
that shall come upon you! God forbid, he cried, that my 'gold and
silver' should ever become 'cankered!' It would be a terrible thing for
their 'rust' to 'witness against me,' and eat my 'flesh as it were
fire'; and it would be yet more dreadful for the money which has such
power for good to be itself given up to canker and rust! Then he would
meditate on the uncompromising declarations of ChristHow hardly
shall they that have riches enter into the Kingdom of God! It is
easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich
man to enter into the Kingdom of God. He trembled as he read; but,
pondering, he took heart again. Though hard, it was not impossible, for
a man of wealth to enter into the Kingdom of God. Camel! Eye of a
Needle! He did not know exactly what this strange saying meant; but he
thought he had heard the minister say that it was intended to show the
great difficulty involved in the salvation of a rich man. Then he read
further, How hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into
the Kingdom of God, and that seemed to make the matter plain. Ah, he
thought, may I be saved from ever trusting in my riches!
He plucked an ear of wholesome admonition from the parable of the
Sower. The deceitfulness of riches! he murmured. How true! And he
subjected himself to the most vigilant scrutiny, lest he should be
beguiled by the unlimited possibilities of self-indulgence which his
wealth supplied. He turned frequently to the emphatic declaration of
Paul to Timothy. They that will be rich, it runs, fall into
temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which
drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the
root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from
the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. Ah! he
would exclaim, I didn't want to be rich. At the very most Agur's
prayer would have been mine: 'Give me neither poverty nor riches.' But
it's quite true that riches bring 'temptations' and are a 'snare,'
whether people 'will' be rich or become rich against their will; and I
must be on the watch. And then there's that about 'the love of money'
being 'the root of all evil!' As he spoke, he drew a handful of coins
from his pocket, and eyed them askance. Queer things to love! he
mused. And then, as he thought of his balance at the bank, his large
rent-roll, and his many profitable investments, his face grew very
grave. Ah, he sighed, letting copper, silver, and gold, slide
jingling back into his pocket, I think I have an idea how some people
get to love their money. Lord save me.
He was very fond of the book of Proverbs. Its short, sententious
sentences were altogether to his mind. There is that scattereth, he
read, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is
meet, but it tendeth to poverty. I scatter, he said; but I don't
want to increase. Lord, spare me the consequences of my scattering!
'Withholdeth more than is meet'! Lord, by Thy grace, that will not I! I
have no objection to poverty; but I would not have it come in that
There is that maketh himself rich, he read again, Yet hath
nothing; there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.
Ah, he sighed, to possess such riches, I would gladly make myself
poor! But there was one text in the book of Proverbs which Cobbler
Horn could never read without a smile. The poor, it ran is hated
even of his own neighbour; but the rich hath many friends. He thought
of his daily shoals of letters, of the numerous visiting cards which
had been left at the door of his new abode, and of the obsequious
attentions he had begun to receive from the office-bearers and leading
members of his church; and he called to mind the eagerness of his
fellow-voyagers to make his acquaintance. Ah he mused shrewdly,
friends, like most good things, are chiefly to be had when you don't
In these sacred studies, the days passed swiftly for the Golden
Shoemaker. Very different were the methods by which the majority of
his fellow-passengers endeavoured to beguile the time. Amongst the
least objectionable of these were concerts, theatricals, billiards, and
all kinds of games. Much time was spent by the ladies in idle chat, to
which the gentlemen added the seductions of cigar and pipe. There were
not a few of the passengers, moreover, who resorted to the vicious
excitement of betting; and Cobbler Horn marked with amazement and
horror the eagerness with which they staked their money on a variety of
unutterably trivial questions. The disposition of really large sums of
money was made to depend, on whether a certain cloud would obscure the
sun or not; whether a large bird, seen as they neared the land, would
sweep by on one side of the ship or the other; whether the pilot would
prove to be tall or short; and upon a multitude of other matters so
utterly unimportant, that the Golden Shoemaker began to think he was
voyaging with a company of escaped lunatics.
To one gentleman, who proposed to take a bet with him as to the
nationality of the next vessel they might happen to meet, he gave a
Thank you, he said gravely, I am not anxious on that subject;
and, if I were, I should wait for the appearance of the vessel itself.
Besides, I cannot think it right to risk my money in the way you
propose. I dare not throw away upon a mere frivolity what God has given
me to use for the good of my fellows. And then, if we were to bet, as
you suggest, the one who happened to win would be receiving what he had
no moral right to possess. I don't
Thus far the would-be better had listened patiently. But it was a
bet he wanted, and not a sermon.
I beg your pardon, he therefore said, at this point, I see I have
made a mistake; and with a polite bow, he moved hastily away.
One fine evening, towards the end of the voyage, as Cobbler Horn
was taking the air on deck, he was accosted by the attendant who had
arranged the transfer of his berth from first to second-class.
The gentleman, sir, he said, touching his cap, who took your
Yes, interrupted Cobbler Horn; how is he? Better, I hope.
Much better, sir; and he thought, perhaps you would see him.
Do you know what he wants? asked Cobbler Horn, in a hesitating
Well, sir, replied the man, he didn't exactly say; but I rather
suspect it's a little matter of thanks. And, begging your pardon, sir,
it's very natural.
Cobbler Horn was not offended at the man's freedom of address, as
another in his place might have been.
If that is all, then, he said, I think he must excuse me. I
deserve no thanks. I consulted my own inclination, as much as his
comfort. I am glad he is better. Tell him he is heartily welcome, and
ask him if there is anything more I can do.
The next morning, as Cobbler Horn stood talking, for a minute or
so, to the captain, the obsequious attendant once more appeared.
Touching his cap with double emphasis, in honour of the captain, he
handed a letter to Cobbler Horn.
From the gentleman in your cabin, sir. No answer, sirI was told
to say, and, once more touching his cap, the polite functionary
marched sedately away.
[Illustration: 'From the gentleman in your cabin, sir.'Page
I must leave you to read your letter, Mr. Horn, said the captain;
and, with the word, he withdrew to attend to his duties in another part
of the ship.
Cobbler Horn's letter was brief, and ran as follows:
Though I may not in person express my gratitude for your
kindness, I have that to tell which you ought to know.
sickness, loss of dear ones, perfidy of professed friends, and
of all imaginable kinds, have fallen to my lot. I am an
have a young wife, and a dear little girl in New York. I have
to Europe upon what has turned out a most disastrous business
I came on board this vessel a battered, broken man, not
and scarcely caring, whether I should live to reach the other
Faith in Christianity, in religion, in God Himself, I had
renounced. But I want to tell you that all that is changed. I
wish, and hope, to live; my health is vastly improved;
you let me say it without offence?I find myself able once
believe in God, and in such religion as yours. I will not
you to see me; but if, after reading this letter, you should
inclined to pay me a visit, I need not tell you how delighted
THADDEUS P. WALDRON.
Cobbler Horn read this gratifying letter over and over again, with
a secret joy. But it was not till the next day that he could bring
himself to comply with the invitation of its closing sentence, and pay
a visit to the writer. He found the young man, who was far on his way
to recovery, full of thankfulness to him and of gratitude to God. It
seemed that, previous to the accumulation of troubles beneath which his
faith had given away, the young fellow had been a zealous Christian.
Cobbler Horn found him sincerely penitent; and, during this, and
succeeding interviews, he had the joy of leading him back to the
CHAPTER XXV. COUSIN JACK.
As Cobbler Horn was leaving the vessel at New York, he witnessed
the meeting of Thaddeus P. Waldron and his wife. Mrs. Waldron had come
on board the steamer. She was a wholesome, glowing little woman,
encumbered with no inconvenient quantity of reserve. She flung her arms
impulsively around her husband's neck, and kissed him with a smack like
the report of a pistol.
Why, Thad, she cried, do tell! You've completely taken me in! I
expected a scarecrow. What for did you frighten me with that letter I
got last week? It might have been my death!
Then, with a little trill of a laugh, the happy woman hugged once
more the equally delighted Thad, and gave him another resounding
By this time the attention of those who were passing to and fro
around them began to be attracted; and, amongst the rest, Cobbler
Horn, who was held for a few moments in the crowd, was watching them
with deep interest.
Hold hard, little woman, exclaimed Thaddeus, or I guess I sha'n't
have breath left to tell you my news! And, he added, it's better even
than you think.
Oh, Thad, do tell! she cried, still regarding her husband with
Well, my health has been fixed up by the sea air, and the comfort
and attention I've had during the voyage, which is all through the
goodness of one man. I calculate that man 'ull have to show up before
we leave this vessel. He wasn't out of sight five minutes ago.
As he spoke, he looked round, and saw the figure of Cobbler Horn,
who, evidently in dread of a demonstration on the part of his grateful
friend, was modestly moving away amongst the crowd. One stride of
Thaddeus P. Waldron's long legs, and he had his benefactor by the arm.
Here, strangerno, darn it all, you aren't a stranger, no how you
fix itthis way sir, if you please.
Now, little woman, he exclaimed, triumphantly dragging his
reluctant captive towards his wife, this is the man you have to
thankthis man and God! He gave up
Oh, interrupted Cobbler Horn, you mustn't allow him to thank me
for that, ma-am. I did it quite as much for my own sake.
Hear him! exclaimed Thaddeus, with incredulous admiration. Anyhow
he made me think, little wife, that there was some genuine religion in
the world after all. And that helped me to get better too. And the long
and short of it is, I've been made a new man of, inside and out; and
we're going to have some real good times! And now, old girl, you've
just got to give the man whose done it all a hug and a buss, and then
we'll come along.
Cobbler Horn started back in dismay. But Mrs. Thaddeus was
thoroughly of her husband's mind. What he had been, as she knew from
his letters, and what she found him now, passed through her mind in a
flash. She was modest enough, but not squeamish; and the honest face of
Cobbler Horn was one which no woman, under the circumstances, need
have hesitated to kiss. So, in a moment, to the amusement of the crowd,
to the huge delight of the grateful Thaddeus, and to the confusion of
the Golden Shoemaker himself, the thing was done.
The next minute, the happy and grateful couple were gone, and
Cobbler Horn had scarcely time to recover his composure before he
found himself greeted by the agent of Messrs. Tongs and Ball, who,
having been furnished by those gentlemen with a particular description
of the personal appearance of their eccentric client, had experienced
but little difficulty in singling him out. From this gentleman
Cobbler Horn learnt that his ill-fated cousin had been removed from
the wretched lodgings where he was found to the best private hospital
in New York, where he was receiving every possible care. The agent had
also engaged apartments for Cobbler Horn himself in a first-class
hotel in the neighbourhood of the hospital. It was a great relief to
Cobbler Horn that his conductor had undertaken the care of his
luggage, and the management of everything connected with his
debarkation. He was realizing more and more the immense advantages
conferred by wealth. On being shown into the splendid apartments which
had been engaged for him in the hotel, he shrank back as he had done
from the first-class accommodation assigned to him on board the
steam-boat. But this time he was obliged to submit. Wealth has its
penalties, as well as its advantages.
It was early in the forenoon when the vessel arrived; and, when the
Golden Shoemaker was duly installed in his luxurious quarters at the
hotel, the agent left him, having first promised to come back at three
o'clock, and conduct him to the bedside of his cousin.
At the appointed time the agent returned.
Cobbler Horn was eager to be going, and they at once set out. A
few minutes brought them to the hospital where his cousin lay. They
were immediately shown in, and Cobbler Horn found himself entering a
bright and airy chamber, where he presently stood beside his cousin's
The sick man had been apprised of the approaching visit of his
generous relative from over the water, and he regarded Cobbler Horn
now with a kind of dull wonder in his hollow eyes. At the same time he
held out a hand which was wasted almost to transparency. Cobbler Horn
took the thin fingers in his strong grasp; and, as he looked, with a
great pity, on the sunken cheeks, the protruding mouth, the dark
gleaming eyes, and the contracted forehead with its setting of black
damp hair, he thought that, if ever he had seen the stamp of death upon
a human face, he saw it now.
Well, cousin Jack, he said sadly, it grieves me that our first
meeting should be like this.
Cousin Jack, struggling with strong emotion, regarded his visitor
with a fixed look. His mouth worked convulsively, and it was some
moments before he could speak. At length he found utterance, in hollow
tones, and with laboured breath.
Have youcome all this wayacross the wateron purpose to see
Yes, replied Cobbler Horn, simply, of course I have. I wanted
you to know that you are to have your honest share of our poor uncle's
money. And because I was determined to make sure that everything was
done for you that could be done, and because I wished to do some little
for you myself, I did not send, but came.
Uncle's money! Ah, yes, they told me about it. Well, you might have
kept it all; and it's very good of youvery. But money won't be much
use to me very long. It's your coming that I take so kindly. You see, I
hadn't a friend; and it seemed so dreadful to die like that. Oh, it was
good of you to come!
In his wonder at the loving solicitude which had brought his cousin
across the water to his dying bed, he almost seemed to undervalue the
act of rare unselfishness by which so much money had been relinquished
which might have been kept without fear of reproach. Cobbler Horn was
not hurt by the seeming insensibility of his poor cousin to the great
sacrifice he had made on his behalf. He did not desire, nor did he
think that he deserved, any credit for what he had done. He had simply
done his duty, as a matter of course. But he was much gratified that
his poor cousin was so grateful for his coming. He sat down, with
shining eyes, by the bedside, and took the wasted hand in his once
Cousin, he asked, have they cared for you in every way?
Yes, cousin, they have done what they could, thanks to your
Not at all. Your own money will pay the bill, you know.
For a moment cousin Jack was perplexed. His own money? He had not a
cent. in the world! He had actually forgotten that his cousin had made
My own money?
Yes; the third part of what uncle left you know.
A slight flush mantled the hollow cheeks.
Oh yes; what a dunce I am! I'm afraid I'm very ungrateful. But you
see I seem to have done with such things. And yet the money is going to
be of some use to me after all.
Yes, that it is! It shall bring you comfort, ease, and, if
possible, health and life.
The sick man shook his head.
No, he said, wistfully; a little of the first two, perhaps, but
none of the last. I know I can't live many weeks; and it's no use
deceiving myself with false hopes.
As Cobbler Horn looked at his cousin, he knew that he was not
mistaken in his forecast.
Cobbler Horn did not remain long with his sick cousin at this
There is one thing I should like, he said gravely, as he rose from
There is not much that I can deny you, replied Jack; what is it?
He spoke without much show of interest.
I should like to pray with you before I go.
Cousin Jack started, and again his pale face flushed.
Certainly, he said, if you wish it; but it will be of no use.
Nothing is of any use now.
The Golden Shoemaker knelt down beside the bed, and prayed for his
dying cousin, in his own simple, fervent way. Then, with a promise to
come again on the following day, he passed out of the room.
The prayer had been brief, and poor Jack had listened to it with
heedless resignation; but it had struck a chord in his bruised heart
which continued to vibrate long after his visitor was gone.
The next day Cobbler Horn found his cousin in a more serious mood.
The poor young man told him something of his sad history; and Cobbler
Horn spoke many earnest and faithful words. It became increasingly
evident to Cobbler Horn, day by day, that life was ebbing fast within
his cousin's shattered frame; and he grew ever more anxious to bring
the poor young fellow to the Saviour. But somehow the work seemed to
drag. Jack would express a desire for salvation; and yet, somehow he
seemed to be holding back. The hindrance was revealed, one day, by a
stray question asked by Cobbler Horn.
How about your will, Jack?
Jack stared blankly.
My will? Why should I make a will?
Because you have some money to leave.
Ah! Whose will it be, if I die without a will?
Mine, I suppose, said Cobbler Horn reluctantly, after a moment's
Well, then, let it be; nothing could be better.
But is there no one to whom you would like to leave your money?
Jack looked fixedly at the already beloved face of his cousin. Then
his own face worked convulsively, and he covered it with his wasted
Yes, yes, he said, in tones of distress; there is some one. That
isYou are sure the money is really my own?
He seemed all eagerness now to possess his share of the money.
To be sure it is, responded Cobbler Horn. That is quite
Well, then, there is a poor girl who would have given her life for
mine; but I have behaved to her like a brute. She shall have every
penny of it.
Cobbler Horn listened with intense interest, and at once gave
expression to a burning apprehension which had instantly pierced his
Behaved like a brute! he exclaimed. Not in the worst way of all,
I hope, Jack?
No, no, not that! cried Jack, in horror.
Thank God! But now, do you know where this poor girl is to be
I think so. Her name is Bertha Norman, and her parents live in a
village only a few miles from here. When I gave her up, I believe she
left her situation, here in the city, and went home with a broken
Well, Jack, your decision will meet with the approval of God. But,
in the meantime, we must try to find this poor girl.
If you only would!
Of course. But, with regard to the other matteryou would like to
have the thing done at once?
Oh yes; it would be better so.
Then we'll arrange, if possible, for this afternoon. Perhaps you
know a lawyer?
No. Amongst all my follies, I have kept out of the hands of the
lawyers. But there is the gentleman who rescued me from that den, where
I should have been dead by now. Perhaps he would do?
Ah, the agent of my lawyers in London! Well, I'll see him at once.
So the thing was done. That afternoon the lawyer came to receive
instructions, and the next morning the will was presented and duly
When the lawyer was gone, Jack turned feebly to Cobbler Horn.
There's just one thing more, he said. I must see her, and tell
her about it myself.
Would she come asked Cobbler Horn. And do you think it would be
'Come'? She would come, if I were dying at North Pole. And there
will be no peace for me, till I have heard from her own lips that she
has forgiven me.
Ah! ejaculated Cobbler Horn. Do you say so?
Yes, cousin; I feel that it's no use to ask pardon of God, till
Bertha has forgiven me. You know what I mean.
Yes, said Cobbler Horn gently; I know what you mean, and I'll
do what I can.
Thank you! said Jack, fervently. But it mustn't be by letter. You
must go and see her yourself, if you will; and I don't think you will
Cobbler Horn shrank, at first, from so delicate and difficult a
mission, for which he pronounced himself utterly unfit. But the
pathetic appeal of the dark, hollow eyes, which gleamed upon him from
the pillow, ultimately prevailed.
Tell her, said Jack, as Cobbler Horn wished him good night,
that I dare not ask pardon of God, till I have her forgiveness from
her own lips.
In a village almost English in its rural loveliness Cobbler Horn
found himself, the next morning, face to face, in the little front-room
of a humble cottage, with a pale, sorrowful maiden, on whose
pensively-beautiful face hope and fear mingled their lights and shadows
while he delivered his tender message.
Would she go with him?
Go? she exclaimed, with trembling eagerness, of course I will!
But how good it is of you, sira stranger, to come like this!
So Bertha Norman came back with Cobbler Horn to the private
hospital in New York. He put her into her cousin's room, closed the
door, and then quietly came downstairs. Bertha did not notice that her
conductor had withdrawn. She flew to the bedside. The dying man put out
a trembling hand.
Forgive he began in broken tones.
But she stifled his words with gentle kisses, and, sitting down by
the bed, clasped his poor thin hand.
Ask God to forgive you, dear Jack. I've never stopped loving you a
Yes, I will ask God that, he said. I can now. But I want to tell
you something first, Bertha. I am a rich man.
Then he told her the wonderful story.
Ah! she exclaimed, that was your friend who brought me here. I
felt that he was good.
He is, said Jack. And now Bertha, it's all yours. I've made my
will, and the money is to come to you when I'm gone. You know I'm
She tightened the grasp of her hand on his with a convulsive
movement, but did not speak.
It 'ull be your very own, Bertha, he said.
Yes, thank you, dear Jack. But forgive me, if I don't think much
about that just now.
Then there was a brief silence, which was presently broken by Jack.
You won't leave me, yet, Bertha? You'll stay with me a little
Jack I shall never leave you any more! and there was a world of
love in her gentle eyes.
Thank God! murmured the dying man. Tilltillyou mean?
Yes; but, Jack, you must come back to God!
Yes, I will. But call cousin Thomas in.
She found the Golden Shoemaker in a small sitting-room downstairs;
and, having brought him up to the sick-chamber, stood before him in the
middle of the room, and, taking his big hand, gently lifted it, with
both her tiny white ones, to her lips.
In the presence of my dear Jack, she said, I thank you. But, dear
friend, I think you should take the money back when he is gone.
My dear young lady, protested Cobbler Horn, with uplifted hand,
how can I take it, seeing it is not mine? But, he added softly, we
will not speak of it now.
True to her promise, Bertha did not leave her beloved Jack until the
end; and the regular attendants, supplied by the house, so far from
regarding her presence as an intrusion, were easily induced to look
upon her as one of themselves. Cobbler Horn was rarely absent during
the day-time; and, in the brief remaining space of poor Jack's
chequered life, his gentle lover, and his high-souled cousin, had the
great joy of leading him to entertain a genuine trust in the Saviour.
The end came so suddenly, that they had no time for parting words; but
they had good hope, as they reverently closed his eyes. When all was
over, and he had been laid to rest in the cemetery, Cobbler Horn took
Bertha back to her village home, and then set his face once more
towards England, bearing in his heart a chastened memory, and the image
of a sweet, pensive face.
CHAPTER XXVI. HOME AGAIN.
It was with feelings of deep gratitude to God that Cobbler Horn
set foot once more upon his native land. After having been away no
longer than four weeks, he landed at Liverpool on a bright winter's
morning, and, taking an early train, reached Cottonborough about
mid-day. He had telegraphed the time of his arrival, and Bounder, the
coachman, was at the station to meet him with the dog-cart. He had sent
his message for the purpose of preparing his sister for his arrival;
for he knew she preferred not to be taken unawares by such events. If
he had given the matter a thought, he would have told them not to send
to meet him at the station. He would much rather have walked, than
ridden, a distance so short. And then he shrank, at all times, from the
idea of making a public parade of his newly-acquired state. And, if all
the truth must be told, he wasnot awed, but mildly irritated, by the
imposing presence, and reproachful civility, of the ideal Bounder.
Here was Bounder now, with his dignified salute. Cobbler Horn
yearned to give the man a hearty shake of the hand, and ask him
sociably how he had been getting on. This was obviously out of the
question; but, just then, little Tommy Dudgeon happened to come up, on
his way into the station. Here was an opportunity not to be let slip,
and Cobbler Horn seized with avidity on his humble little friend, and
gave him the hearty hand-shake which he would fain have bestowed upon
the high and mighty Bounder. It was a means of grace to the Golden
Shoemaker once more to clasp the hand of a compatriot and a friend. He
stood talking to Tommy for a few minutes, while Bounder waited in his
seat with an expression of very slightly veiled scorn on his majestic
At length, quite oblivious of the contemptuous disapproval of his
coachman, and greatly refreshed in spirit, Cobbler Horn bade his
little friend good day, and mounted to his seat.
They drove off in silence. Cobbler Horn scarcely knew whether his
exacting coachman would think it proper for his master to enter into
conversation with him; and the coachman, on his part, would not be
guilty of such a breach of decorum as to speak to his master when his
master had not first spoken to him.
Miss Jemima was standing in the doorway to receive her brother; and
behind her, with a radiant face, modestly waited the young secretary.
Miss Jemima presented her cheek, as though for the performance of a
surgical operation, and Cobbler Horn kissed it with a hearty smack.
At the same time he grasped her hand.
Well, Jemima, he exclaimed, I'm back again safe and sound, you
Yes, was the solemn response, I'm thankful to see you,
Cobbler Horn laughed heartily, and kissed her on the other cheek.
Thankful enough, Jemima, let us be. But 'relieved'! well, I had no
fear. You see, my dear sister, the whole round world lies in the hand
of God. And, then, I didn't understand the way the Lord has been
dealing with me of late to mean that he was going to allow me to be cut
off quite so soon as that.
This was said cheerily, and not at all in a preaching tone; and
having said it, Cobbler Horn turned, with genuine pleasure, to
exchange a genial greeting with his young secretary, who had remained
sedately in the background.
Dinner is almost ready, said Miss Jemima, as they entered the
house; so you must not spend long in your room.
I promise you, said her brother, from the stairs, that I shall be
at the table almost as soon as the dinner itself.
During dinner, Cobbler Horn talked much about his voyage to and
fro, and his impressions of America. He had sent, by letter, during his
absence, a regular report, from time to time, of the progress of the
sorrowful business which had taken him across the sea; and with regard
to that neither he nor his sister was now inclined to speak at large.
After dinner, Cobbler Horn, somewhat to his sister's
mortification, retired to the office, for the purpose of receiving,
from his secretary, a report of the correspondence which had passed
through her hands during his absence.
Let it not be supposed that Miss Jemima was capable of entertaining
suspicion with regard to her brother. She would frown upon his doings
and disapprove of his opinions, with complete unreserve; but she would
not admit concerning him a shadow of mistrust. When, therefore, it is
recorded that his frequent and close intercourse with his young
secretary occasioned his sister uneasiness of mind, it must not be
supposed that any evil imagining intruded upon her thoughts. Miss
Jemima was simply fearful lest this young girl should, perhaps
inadvertently, steal into the place in her brother's heart which
belonged to her. As Cobbler Horn and his secretary sat in counsel,
from time to time, in their respective arm-chairs, at the opposite ends
of the office table, neither of them had any suspicion of Miss Jemima's
Miss Owen had dealt diligently, and with much shrewdness, with the
ever-inflowing tide of letters. Her labour was much lightened now by
reason of Cobbler Horn's having provided her with the best
type-writer that could be obtained for money. With regard to some of
the letters, she had ventured to avail herself of the advice of the
minister; and she had also, with great tact, consulted Miss Jemima on
points with reference to which the opinion of that lady was likely to
be sound and safe. The consequence was that the letters which remained
to be considered were comparatively few.
First, Miss Owen gave her employer an account of the letters of
which she had disposed; then she unfolded such matters as were still
the subjects of correspondence; and lastly she laid before him the
letters with which she had not been able to deal.
The most important of all the letters were two long ones from
Messrs. Tongs and Ball and Mr. Gray, respectively, relating to the
improvements in progress at Daisy Lane in general, and in particular to
the work of altering and fitting up the old Hall for the great and
gracious purpose on which its owner had resolved. The Golden
Shoemaker was gratified to learn, from these letters, that the work of
renovating his dilapidated property had been so well begun, and that
already, amongst his long-suffering tenants, great satisfaction was
beginning to prevail. The remaining letters were passed under review,
and then Cobbler Horn lingered for a few moment's chat.
I mean to take my sister and you to see the village and the Hall
one day soon, Miss Owen, he said.
Oh, thank you, Mr. Horn! enthusiastically exclaimed the young
You would like to go?
I should love it dearly! I can't tell you, Mr. Horn, how much I am
interested in that kind and generous scheme of yours for the old Hall.
In her intercourse with her employer, Cobbler Horn's secretary was
quite free and unreserved, as indeed he wished her to be.
It's to be a home for orphans, isn't it? she asked.
Not for orphans only, he replied, tenderly, as he thought of his
own lost little one. It's for children who have no home, whether
orphans or not,little waifs, you know, and strayschildren who have
no one to care for them.
I'm doing it, he added, simply, for the sake of my little
Oh, how good of you! And, do you know, Mr. Horn, its being for
waifs and strays makes me like it all the more; because I was a waif
and stray once myself.
She was leaning forward, with her elbows on the table, and her
pretty but decided chin resting on her doubled hands. As she spoke, her
somewhat startling announcement presented itself to her in a
serio-comic light, and a whimsical twinkle came into her eyes. The same
impression was shared by Cobbler Horn; and, regarding his young
secretary, with her neatly-clothed person, her well-arranged hair, and
her capable-looking face, he found it difficult to regard as anything
but a joke the announcement that she had once been, as she expressed
it, a waif and stray.
You! he exclaimed, with an indulgent smile.
Yes, Mr. Horn, I was indeed a little outcast girl. Did not Mr.
Durnford tell you that the dear friends who have brought me up are not
my actual parents?
Yes, replied Cobbler Horn, slowly, he certainly did. But I did
Of course not! laughed the young girl. You would never dream of
insulting me by supposing that I had once been a little tramp!
No, of course not, agreed Cobbler Horn, with a perplexed smile.
It's true, nevertheless, affirmed Miss Owen. Mr. and Mrs. Burton
have been like parents to me almost ever since I can remember, and I
always call them 'father' and 'mother'; but they are no more relations
to me than are you and Miss Horn. They found me in the road, a poor
little ragged mite; and they took me home, and I've been just like
their own ever since. I remember something of it, in a vague sort of
Cobbler Horn was regarding his secretary with a bewildered gaze.
You may well be astonished, Mr. Horn. But, do you know, sometimes I
almost feel glad that I don't know my real father and mother. They must
have been dreadful people. But, whatever they were, they could never
have been better to me than Mr. and Mrs. Burton have been. They have
treated me exactly as if I had been their own child.
Many confused thoughts were working in the brain of Cobbler Horn.
But, said Miss Owen, resuming her work, I must tell you about it
Yes, you shall, said Cobbler Horn, rousing himself. I shall
want to hear it all.
So saying, he left the room, and betook himself to his old workshop
for an hour or two on his beloved cobbler's bench. He had placed the
old house under the care of a widow, whom he permitted to live there
rent free, and to have the use of the furniture which remained in the
house, and to whom, in addition, he paid a small weekly fee.
As he walked along the street, he could not fail to think of what
his secretary had just said with reference to her early life. His
thoughts were full of pathetic interest. Then she too had been a little
homeless one! The fact endeared to him, more than ever, the bright
young girl who had come like a stream of sunshine into his life. For to
Cobbler Horn his young secretary was indeed becoming very dear. It
could not be otherwise. She was just filling his life with the gentle
and considerate helpfulness which he had often thought would have been
afforded to him by his little Marian. And now, it seemed to draw this
young girl closer to him still, when he learnt that she had once been
homeless and friendless, as he had too much reason to fear that his own
little one had become. He had a feeling also that the coincidence
therein involved was strange.
CHAPTER XXVII. COMING INTO COLLISION
WITH THE PROPRIETIES.
It is not surprising that, in his new station, Cobbler Horn should
have committed an occasional breach of etiquette. It was unlikely that
he would ever be guilty of real impropriety; but it was inevitable that
he should, now and again, set at nought the so-called proprieties of
fashionable life. In the genuine sense of the word, Cobbler Horn was
a Christian gentleman; and he would have sustained the character in any
position in which he might have been placed. But he had a feeling akin
to contempt for the punctilious and conventional squeamishness of
It was, no doubt, largely for this reason that society did not
receive the Golden Shoemaker within its sacred enclosure. Not that it
rejected him. He had too much money for that; half his wealth would
have procured him the entrée to the most select circles. But the
attitude he assumed towards the fashionable world rendered impossible
his admission to its charmed precincts. He made it evident that he
would not, and could not, conform to its customs or observe its rules.
The world, indeed, courted him, at first, and would gladly have taken
him within its arms. Fashion set to work to woo him, as it would have
wooed an ogre possessed of his glittering credentials. But he repelled
its advances with an amused indifference verging on contempt.
Cobbler Horn foiled, by dint of sheer unresponsiveness, the first
attempt to introduce itself to him made by the world. On his return
from America, one of the first things which attracted his attention was
a pile of visiting cards on a silver salver which stood on the hall
table. Some of these bore the most distinguished names which
Cottonborough or its vicinity could boast. There were municipal
personages of the utmost dignity, and the representatives of county
families of the first water. It had taken the world some little time to
awake to a sense of its duty with regard to the Cobbler who had
suddenly acceded to so high a position in the aristocracy of wealth.
But when, at length, it realized that the Golden Shoemaker was indeed
a fact, it set itself to bestow upon him as full and free a recognition
as though the blood in his veins had been of the most immaculate blue.
It was during his absence in America that the great rush of the
fashionable world to his door had actually set in. But Miss Jemima had
not been taken unawares. She had supplied herself betimes with a manual
of etiquette, which she had studied with the assiduity of a diligent
school-girl. She had also, though not without trepidation, ordered a
quantity of visiting cards, and had them inscribed respectively with
her own and her brother's names. And thus, when Society made its first
advances, it did not find Miss Jemima unprepared.
When Cobbler Horn espied the visiting cards on his hall table, he
said to his sister:
What, more of these, Jemima?
Yes, Thomas, she responded, with evident pride; and some of them
belong to the best people in the neighbourhood!
And have all these people been here? he asked, taking up a bunch
of the cards between his finger and thumb, and regarding them with a
mingling of curiosity and amusement.
Yes, replied Miss Jemima, in exultant tones, they have all been
here; but a good many of them happened to come when I was out.
Cobbler Horn sighed.
Well, he said, I suppose this is another of 'the penalties of
Say rather privileges, Thomas, Miss Jemima ventured
delicately to suggest.
No, Jemima. It may appear to you in that light; but I am not able
to regard as a privilege the coming to us of all these grand people.
How much better it would be, if they would leave us to live our life in
our own way! Do you suppose they would ever have taken any notice of us
at all, if it had not been for this money?
Miss Jemima was unable to reply; for it was impossible to gainsay
her brother's words. And yet it was sweet to her soul to have all the
best people in the neighbourhood calling and leaving their cards. For
the present, she let the matter rest. But, a day or two afterwards, the
course of events brought the question to the surface again. Miss Jemima
was brushing her brother's coat, in the dining-room, after dinner,
previous to his setting out for his old workshop, when they saw a
carriage drive up to the gate.
Here are some more of your grand friends, Jemima, said Cobbler
Horn, with a sigh. How ever am I to get out?
Miss Jemima was peeping out from behind the window-curtain, with the
eagerness of a girl.
Why, she exclaimed, as the occupants of the carriage began to
alight, it's Mr. and Mrs. Brownlow, the retired b. Brewer she
was going to say but checked herself. Surely you will not think of
going out now, Thomas?
Cobbler Horn knew Mr. and Mrs. Brownlow very well by sight. He had
known them before they rode in their carriage, and when they were much
less splendid people than they had latterly become. He had never
greatly desired their acquaintance when it was unattainable; and, now
that it was being thrust upon him, he desired it even less than before.
There was no reason why he should be intimate with this man. On what
grounds had he called? Cobbler Horn could not refrain from regarding
the visit as being an impertinence.
My dear Jemima, he said, I must be going at once. These people
cannot have any business with me; and I have a good deal of work to do.
You have received the other people; and you can manage these. But,
Jemima, do not encourage them to come again!
So saying, he moved towards the door; but Miss Jemima placed an
agitated hand upon his arm.
Thomas, she cried, what shall I say to them?
Tell them I am obliged to go out. Do you think it would be right to
keep my poor people waiting for their boots and shoes, while I spent
the time in idle ceremony?
Miss Jemima ceased to remonstrate, and her brother again moved
towards the door. But, before he reached it, a servant appeared with
the cards of Mr. and Mrs. Brownlow, who were by this time installed in
the drawing-room. Miss Jemima took the cards, and Cobbler Horn made
for the front-door.
Not that way, Thomas! she cried after him. They'll see you!
Cobbler Horn looked around in surprise.
Why not, my dear? They will thus perceive that I have really gone
The next moment he was gone, and Miss Jemima was left to face the
visitors with the best excuses she could frame.
The question of returning the numerous calls they had received
occasioned much perplexity to Miss Jemima's mind. Nothing would induce
her brother to accompany her on any expedition of the kind. While,
therefore, in some cases, she was able to go by herself, in others she
was obliged to refrain from going altogether, and, as a matter of
course, offence was given. The natural consequence was that the number
of callers rapidly diminished, and the Golden Shoemaker's reputation
for eccentricity was thoroughly established.
Cobbler Horn very rarely consented to see any company who came
merely to pay a call. But one afternoon, when his sister was out, he
went into the drawing-room to excuse her absence, and, in fact, to
dismiss the callers.
My sister is not at home, ma'am, he said, addressing the buxom and
magnificent lady, who, with her two slender and humble-looking sons,
had awaited his coming.
Having delivered his announcement, he stood at the open door, as
though to show his visitors out. The lady, however, quite unabashed,
retained her seat.
May I venture to say, she asked, that, inasmuch as the absence of
Miss Horn has procured us the pleasure of making the acquaintance of
her brother, it is not entirely a matter of regret?
Cobbler Horn bowed gravely.
It is very good of you to say that, ma'am; but I'm afraid I must
ask you to excuse me too. I'm very busy; and, besides, these ceremonies
are not at all in my way.
The lady, who bore a title, changed countenance, and rose to her
feet. She was conscious that she had been dismissed.
Certainly, sir, she said, in accents of freezing politeness; no
doubt you have many concerns. We will retire at once.
The lady's sons also rose, moving as she moved, like the satellites
of a planet.
There is no need for you to go, ma'am, Cobbler Horn hastened to
say, quite unaware that he had committed a grave breach of etiquette.
If you will only excuse me, and stay here by yourselves, for a little
while, no doubt my sister will soon be back; and I'm sure she will be
glad to see you.
Thank you, was the haughty response of the angered dame; we have
already remained too long. Be good enough, sir, to have us shown out.
Cobbler Horn rang the bell; and, as the lady, followed by her
sons, swept past him with a stately and disdainful bow, he felt that,
in some way, he had grievously transgressed.
Miss Jemima, on her return, a few moments later, heard, with great
consternation, what had taken place.
I asked the good lady to wait till you came, Jemima; but she
insisted on going away at once.
Oh, Thomas, what have you done! cried Miss Jemima, in piteous
What could I do? was the reply. You see, I could not think of
wasting my time; and I thought they would not mind staying by
themselves, for a few minutes, till you came in.
Oh, dear, cried Miss Jemima, I'm afraid she'll never come again!
Well, never mind, Jemima, said her brother; I don't suppose it
will matter very much.
The foreboding of Miss Jemima was fulfilled; the outraged lady
returned no more. And there were many others, who, when they found that
the master of the house had little taste for fashionable company,
discontinued their calls. Some few of her new-made acquaintances only
Miss Jemima was able, by dint of her own careful and eager politeness,
There were also other points at which Cobbler Horn came into
collision with the customs of society. He persisted in habitually going
out with his hands ungloved. He possessed a hardy frame, and, even in
winter, he had rarely worn either gloves or overcoat; and now, as ever,
almost his only preparation for going out was to take his hat down from
its peg, and put it on his head. Miss Jemima pathetically entreated
that he would at least wear gloves. But he was obdurate. His hands, he
said, were always warm enough when he was out of doors; and he would
try to keep them clean.
Another of the whims of Cobbler Horn was his fondness for doing
what his sister called common work. One morning, for example, on
coming down to breakfast, the good lady, looking through the window,
saw her brother, in his shirt sleeves, engaged in trimming the grass of
the lawn. With a little scream, she ran out at the front-door, and
caught him by the arm.
Thomas! Thomas! she cried, if you don't care about yourself, have
a little thought for me!
What is it, Jemima? he asked straightening himself. Is breakfast
ready? I'm very sorry to have kept you waiting. I'll come at once.
No, no, exclaimed Miss Jemima; it's not that! But for a man in
your position to be working like a common gardenerit's shameful! Pray
come in at once, before you are seen by any one going by! Without your
coat too, on a sharp winter's morning like this!
My dear Jemima, said Cobbler Horn, as he turned with her towards
the house, if I were a common gardener, there would be no
disgrace, any more than in my present position. There's no shame in a
bit of honest work, anyhow, Jemima; and it's a great treat to me.
Miss Jemima's chief concern was to get her unmanageable brother into
the house as quickly as possible, and she paid little heed to what he
CHAPTER XXVIII. BOUNDER GIVES
There was another personage to whom the unconventional ways of the
Golden Shoemaker gave great offence; and that was Mr. Bounder, the
coachman. As a coachman, Bounder was faultless. His native genius had
been developed and matured by a long course of first-class experience.
In matters of etiquette, within his province, Bounder was precise.
Right behaviour between master and coachman was, in his opinion, the
whole duty of man. He held in equal contempt a presuming coachman and
a master who did not keep his place.
Bounder soon discovered that, in Cobbler Horn, he had a master of
whom it was impossible to approve. Bounder see'd from the fust as Mr.
Horn warn't no gentleman. It was always the way with them as was made
rich all of a suddint like. And Bounder puffed out his red cheeks till
they looked like two toy balloons. It was bad enough to be kept
waiting outside the station, while your master stood talking to a
little feller as looked as like a rag and bone man as anythink; but
when you was required to stop the kerridge and pick up every tramp as
you overtook on the road, it was coming it a little too strong. This
last was a slight exaggeration on the part of Bounder. The exact truth
was that, on one occasion, his master had stopped the carriage for the
purpose of giving a lift to a respectable, though not well-to-do,
pedestrian, and in another instance, a working-class woman and her
tired little one had been invited to take their seats on Bounder's
sacred cushions, Bounder's master himself alighting to lift the
bedusted child to her place.
But this was not the worst. The woman who lived in the little
cottage past which Marian had trotted so eagerly, on the morning of her
disappearance so long ago, had a daughter who was a cripple from
disease of the spine. She was the only daughter, and, being well up in
her teens, would have been a great help to her mother if she had been
well. Cobbler Horn was deeply moved by the pale cheeks and frail bent
form of the invalid girl. He induced his sister to call at the cottage,
and they took the poor suffering creature under their care. It was not
unnatural that the young secretary should also be enlisted in this
kindly service. First she was sent to the cottage with delicacies to
tempt the appetite of the sick girl; and then she began to go there of
her own accord. During one of her visits, the mother happened to say:
You see, miss, what she wants is fresh air. But how's she to get
it? She can't walk only a few yards at a time; and even a mild winter's
not the time for sitting out.
The woman spoke without any special design; but her words suggested
to the mind of Miss Owen a happy thought. The young secretary was so
firmly established, by this time, in the regard of her employer that
she was able to approach him with the least degree of reserve. So she
spoke out her thought to him with the frankness of a favourite
daughter. An actual daughter would have thrown her arms around his
neck, and emphasized her suggestion with a kiss. Miss Owen did not do
this; but the tone of respectful yet affectionate confidence in which
she spoke served her purpose just as well.
Mr. Hornthey were in the midst of their daily grapple with the
correspondencethe doctor says poor Susie Martin ought to have a
great deal of fresh air. Don't you think a carriage drive now and then
would be a good thing?
Her knowledge of Cobbler Horn assured her that her suggestion
would be adopted. Otherwise she would have hesitated to throw it out.
Cobbler Horn laid down the pen with which he had been making some
jottings for the guidance of his secretary, and regarded her
steadfastly for a moment or two. Then his face lighted up with a sudden
To be sure! Why didn't I think of that? My dear young lady, you are
my good angel!
That evening Miss Owen was desired to take a message to the cottage;
and the next day Bounder was confounded by being ordered to convey Miss
Owen and the invalid girl for a country drive, in the pony carriage.
Bounder stared, became apoplectic in appearance, and stutteringly asked
to have the order repeated. His master complied with his request; and
Bounder turned away, with haughty mien, to do as he was bid. He was
consumed with fierce mortification. He would bear it this time, but not
again. He was like the proverbial camel, which succumbs beneath the
last straw. Very soon the point would be reached at which
long-suffering endurance must give way.
It was a deep grievance with Bounder that he was seldom ordered to
drive to big houses. He was required to turn the heads of his horses
into many strange ways. He was almost daily ordered to drive down
streets where he was ashamed to be seen, and to stop at doors at which
he felt it to be an indignity to be compelled to pull up his prancing
steeds. Bounder hailed with relief the occasions on which he was
required to take Miss Jemima out. Then he was sure of not receiving an
order to obey which would be beneath the dignity of a coachman who,
until now, had known no service but of the highest class. Such
occasions supplied salve to his wounded spirit. But his wound was
reopened every day by some fresh insult at the hands of his master. He
had submitted to the odious necessity of driving out in his carriage
the crippled girl, and that not only once or twice. But the tide of
rebellion was rising higher and higher in his breast, and gathering
strength from day to day; and, at length, Bounder resolved to give his
master warning, and remove himself from so uncongenial a sphere. He
did not quite like to make his master's kindness to the poor invalid
girl his ostensible reason for desiring a change; and, while he was
looking around for a plausible pretext, the course of events supplied
him with exactly such an occasion as he sought.
Bounder had not as yet become aware of the daily visits of his
master to his old workshop. He had been kept in ignorance of the matter
merely because there was no special reason why he should be informed.
One afternoon, on leaving home, Cobbler Horn had left word with Miss
Jemima for the coachman to come to the old house, with the dog-cart, at
three o'clock. Bounder received the order with a feeling of apathetic
wonder as to what new freak he was expected to countenance and aid. At
the entrance of the street in which the old house stood, he
involuntarily pulled up his horse. Then, with an air of ineffable
disdain, he drove slowly on, and proceeded to the number at which he
had been directed to call.
Summoning a passing boy, he ordered him to knock at the door. The
boy contemplated disobedience; but a glance at Bounder's whip induced
him to change his mind, and he gave the door a sounding rap. The door
speedily opened, and Bounder's master appeared. But such was his
disguise that Bounder was necessitated to rub his eyes. Divested of his
coat, and enfolded in a leathern apron, the Golden Shoemaker stood in
the doorway, with bare arms, holding out a pair of newly-mended
That's right, he said; I'm glad you're punctual. Will you kindly
take these boots to No. 17, Drake Street, round the corner; and then
come back here; and, stepping out upon the pavement, he placed the
boots on the vacant cushion of the dog-cart, close to Bounder's
Bounder touched his hat as usual; but there was an evil fire in his
heart, and, as he drove slowly away, a lava-tide of fierce thought
coursed through his mind. That he, Bounder, what had drove real
gentlemen and ladies, such as a member of Parliament and a
barrow-knight, should have been ordered to drive home a pair of
labourer's boots! This was the last straw, indeed!
Arrived at No. 17, Drake Street, Bounder altogether declined to
touch the offending boots. He simply indicated them with his whip to
the woman who had come to the door in some surprise, and ignoring her
expression of thanks, turned the head of his horse, and drove gloomily
That night, Cobbler Horn's outraged coachman sought speech with
I wish to give you warning, sir, he said, touching his hat, and
speaking in tones of perfect respect.
Bounder's master started. He had intended to make the best of his
Why so, Bounder? he asked. Don't I give you money enough, or
Oh, replied Bounder, the money's all right; but, to make a clean
breast of it, the service ain't ezactly what I've been used to. I ain't
been accustomed to drive about in back streets, and stop at cottages
and such; and to take up every tramp as you meets; and to carry
labourer's boots on the seat of the dog-cart.
I'm afraid, Mr. Bounder, said Cobbler Horn, with a broad smile,
that I've hurt your dignity.
Well, as to that, sir, said the coachman, uneasily, all as I
wishes to say is that I've been used to a 'igh class service; and I
took this place under a mis-happrehension.
Very well, Bounder, rejoined Cobbler Horn, more gravely, then
we had better part. For I can't promise you any different class of
service, seeing it is my intention to use my carriages quite as much
for the benefit of other people as for my own; and it is not at all
likely that I shall drive about much amongst fashionable folks. When do
you wish to go, Mr. Bounder?
This was business-like indeed. Bounder was in no haste to reply.
Because, resumed his master, I will release you next week, if you
Well, sir, replied Bounder slowly, I shouldn't wish to go under
Very well. But, you must know, Bounder, that I have no fault to
find with you. It's you who have given me notice, you know.
Bounder drew himself up to his full height. Fault to find with
him! The mere suggestion was an insult. But Bounder put it into his
If you are in want of a character, now, resumed Cobbler Horn, I
Thank you, sir, interposed Bounder with hauteur, I am provided as
to that. There's more than one gentleman who will speak for me, and
Bounder faced about, and marched away with his nose turned towards the
CHAPTER XXIX. VAGUE SURMISINGS.
The feeling of familiarity with the previous abode of her employer,
and its surroundings, of which Miss Owen had been conscious at first,
had become modified as the weeks went by. The removal to the new house
had, no doubt, in part contributed to this result; and, very soon, if
she did not forget the impression of revived remembrance of which she
had been aware at first, she ceased to be conscious that any trace of
it remained. She did not, indeed, forget that it had been; she
remembered vividly the fact that, when she first entered the old house,
she had almost felt as if she had come home. That feeling had now
almost passed away. But she was beginning to ponder certain things
which seemed to be connected with it in some vague way.
Though she had often been told of the circumstances under which she
had been rescued from a life of poverty and possible shame, her own
recollection of the matter was very dim. She seemed to remember a time
of great trouble, and then a sudden change, since which all had been
happy and bright; and certainly, if she had not been definitely
informed of the fact, she would never have suspected that the kind
friends to whom she owed so much were not her actual parents. That
vague reminiscence of early distress would have lingered with her as
the memory of a troubled dream, and nothing more.
Hitherto she had not been anxious for further information concerning
her parentage and early life. There were times when she felt some small
measure of dissatisfaction at the thought that she did not know who she
really was. But this feeling was held in check by the consideration
that, if her parents had been good and kind, she would probably not
have been in a position to need the loving service which had been
rendered to her by Mr. and Mrs. Burton; and she felt that she would a
thousand times rather have them for her father and mother, than be
compelled to give those dear names to such persons as it was more than
likely her actual parents had been. For the most part, therefore, she
had feared, rather than hoped, that her real father and mother might
Now, however, vague surmisings were being awakened in the mind of
the young secretary. Her kind employer had mysteriously lost a little
girl. This suggested to her a new set of possibilities as to her own
past. It came to her mind that perhaps she also had been lost, and that
the misery she vaguely remembered, had been inflicted by other hands
than those of her parents. If, like little Marian, she had actually
wandered away, it was probably no fault of theirs, and perhaps they had
been mourning for her all these years. Then, almost for the first time,
she was conscious of an ardent desire to know who her parents had been.
Over this question she pondered often and long. She could do nothing
moreexcept pray. And pray she did. She asked that, if it were right
and best, the cloud of obscurity might be lifted from her earlier
years. And yet, as day by day she persisted in this prayer, she had a
feeling that the prayer itself, and the desire from which it proceeded,
might, perhaps, constitute a species of disloyalty to the only parents
she seemed ever to have known. To this feeling her great love and
strong conscientiousness gave birth. Yet she could neither repress her
desire nor refrain from her prayer.
But there was another thing which Cobbler Horn had said. When his
secretary asked him what little Marian would probably be like, if she
were still alive, he, in all simplicity, and without perceiving the
possible direction that might be given to her thoughts, had replied
that his lost child, if living, would be not unlike what his secretary
actually was. He probably intended no more than that there might be a
general resemblance between the two girls; and he might be mistaken
even in that. Miss Owen herself took such a view of the matter at the
time, and passed it lightly by. But, afterwards, in the course of her
ponderings, it came back again. The unpremeditated words, in which her
employer had admitted the probability of a resemblance between herself
and what his own lost child might most likely have become, seemed to
find their place amongst the other strange things which were perplexing
Very deeply Miss Owen pondered these many puzzling things, from day
to day. A momentous possibility seemed to be dawning on her view; but
she was like one who, being but half-awake, cannot decide whether the
brightness of coming day may not, after all, be merely a dim
dream-light which will presently fade away. It appeared to her
sometimes as though she were on the verge of the momentous discovery
which she had often wondered whether she would ever make. Could it be
that the mystery of her parentage was about to be solved, and that with
a result which would be altogether to her mind? But, as often as she
reached this point, she pulled herself sharply up. Her name was Mary
Ann Owen: that settled the question at once. But was it so? There came
a time when she began to have doubts even as to her name. Perhaps the
wish was father to the thought. At any rate, she had never liked the
name by which she was known; and now she was conscious of a very
definite reason for wishing that it might, in some way, turn out not to
be her name after all. Was it certain that her name was Mary Ann Owen?
She had a strange, weird feeling at the thought of what the question
implied. And there was distinct ground for doubt. When she had been
found by her adopted parents, her baby tongue, in answer to their
questioning, had pronounced her name as best it could. But, as her
speech was less distinct than is usually that of a child of her
apparent years, they had never felt quite sure about her name. The name
by which she forthwith became known to them was the best interpretation
they could put upon her broken words, and it had been accepted by the
child herself without objection; but in the minds of Mr. and Mrs.
Burton there had always been a lingering doubt. Miss Owen had been
aware of this, but had given it little heed. Now, however, the fact
that there was uncertainty as to her name came vividly to her mind. And
yet, if her name was not Mary Ann Owen, it might be something else
quite as far from her desires. But stay, might it not be supposed that
her real name, whatever it might be, was similar in sound to the name
her baby tongue had been thought to pronounce? She had tried to tell
her kind friends her name; and they had understood her to say that it
was Mary Ann Owen. If they were mistaken, what other name was there of
similar sound? Ah, there was one! Then she thrilled with almost a
delirium of delight, which quickly gave place to a guilty feelingas
though she had put forth her hand towards that which was too sacred for
What silly day-dreams have come into my head! she cried.
The Golden Shoemaker too had his ponderings, in these days. Of
late he had been thinking more about his little Marian than for many
years past; and, if he had searched for the reason of this, he would
have discovered it in the fact that his young girl secretary daily
reminded him, in various ways, of his long lost child. Miss Owen
wasor so he fanciedvery much like what his darling would have
become. There was, to be sure, not much in that, after all; and the
same might have been the case with many another young girl. But the
points of resemblance between the history of his young secretary and
the early fate of his little Marian constituted another circumstance of
strange import. Like his own child, Miss Owen had been an outcast. Kind
friends had given her a home. Might it not be that similar happiness
had fallen to the lot of his little Marian? If he could think so, he
would almost be reconciled to the prospect of never seeing her again.
And every day he felt that his young secretary was making for herself a
larger place in his heart.
CHAPTER XXX. A NOVEL DIFFICULTY FOR
A MAN OF WEALTH.
The trouble with most people, rich and otherwise, is to know how to
keep their money; how to get rid of it was the difficulty with which
the Golden Shoemaker was beset. Cobbler Horn's unalterable purpose
was to retain no more than a comparatively small portion of his wealth
for his own use. Since he had entered upon his fortune, he had already
given away a great deal of money; but it seemed to him a very trifling
amount in proportion to the vast sum he possessed. He was, moreover,
aware that he was getting richer every day. Since the property had come
into his hands, the investments it comprised were yielding better than
ever before; and he could not endure that such vast sums of money
should be accumulating upon him, while there was so much misery and
want in the world. He believed that his immense wealth had been given
him, in trust, by God; and that it was not absolutely his own. The
purpose of God, in bestowing it upon him, was that he should use it for
the benefit of all who had any need which might be supplied by its
means; and, by so much, it belonged, not to Cobbler Horn himself,
but, under God, to those who possessed any such claim to its use. He
was convinced that no preacher had ever been more definitely or
solemnly called to the ministration of the Word than was he, the
Golden Shoemaker, to the ministry of wealth. And it was a ministry
after his own heart. Full of Christ-like love and pity for the needy,
the sad, and the sinful, he revelled in the gracious opportunities
which now crowded his life. He had few greater pleasures, in these
days, than that afforded him by the signing of cheques. To negotiate a
contribution from him for some worthy object was a means of grace;so
hearty and joyous was his response to the appeal, and so thankful did
he seem for the opportunity it had brought.
Never, perhaps, were the functions of a Christian man of wealth more
clearly comprehended, or the possibilities of blessedness involved in
the possession of riches more fully realized, than by Cobbler Horn.
He often told himself that, by making others happy with his money, he
secured the highest benefit it was able to impart. Thus bestowed, his
wealth afforded him infinitely greater satisfaction, than if he had
devoted it entirely to his own personal ends.
But the Golden Shoemaker was not satisfied. His money was not
going fast enough. The amounts he had already dispensed appeared but as
a few splashes of foam from the sea. He wanted channels for his
benevolence. His difficulty was rare. Most men of means find that they
have not the wherewithal to supply the demands of their own many-handed
need. He was able to satisfy almost unlimited necessities beyond his
own, but was sadly troubled to know how it might be done. Yet he was
determined that he would not rest, until he had found means of
disposing, in his Lord's service, of every penny that remained to him,
after his own modest wants had been supplied.
Actuated by this purpose, Cobbler Horn resolved to pay another
visit to his minister. Mr. Durnford had helped him before, and would
help him again. Of set purpose, he selected Monday morning for his
visit. Unless his business had been very urgent indeed, he would not
have run the risk of disturbing Mr. Durnford at his studies by going to
see him on any other morning than this. But he knew that, on Monday
morning, the minister was accustomed to throw himself somewhat on the
loose, and was rather glad, than otherwise, to welcome a congenial
visitor at that time.
Mr. Durnford, as usual, gave his friend a cordial greeting. There
was not a member of his church who occupied a higher place in his
regard than did Cobbler Horn.
Glad to see you, Mr. Horn! he said, entering the dining-room,
whither his visitor had been shown by the maid; and he heartily shook
the Golden Shoemaker by the hand. This is a regular 'Blue Monday'
with me, as, indeed, most of my Mondays are; and a little brotherly
chat will give me a lift. How go the millions?
By this time they were seated opposite to each other, in two
comfortable chairs, before a cheerful fire. The minister's half-joking
question touched so closely the trouble just then upon Cobbler Horn's
mind, that he took it quite seriously, and returned a very grave reply.
The 'millions,' sir, are not going fast enough; in fact, they go
very slowly indeed. And, to make a clean breast of it, that is what has
brought me here this morning.
Ah! exclaimed Mr. Durnford, with deep interest.
But, sir, added Cobbler Horn, half-rising, and putting out his
hand, don't let me hinder you. I can come another time, if you are
busy just now.
Don't speak of such a thing, my dear friend! cried the minister,
putting out his hand in turn. Keep your seat. I'm never busy on a
Monday morningif I can help it. I am always ready, between the hours
of nine and one on Monday, for any innocent diversion that may come in
my way. I keep what is called 'Saint Monday'at least in the morning.
If I am disturbed on any other morning, Iwell, I don't like it. But
any reasonable person who finds me at home on a Monday morningagainst
which, I must admit, the chances are strong, for I frequently go off on
some harmless jauntis quite welcome to me for that time.
I had an idea of that, sir, responded Cobbler Horn.
Ah, you are a most considerate man! But now, about the millions?
The Golden Shoemaker smiled.
Not 'millions,' sirhardly one million yetindeed a great deal
less now, actually in my own hands; though I am seriously afraid of
what it may become. All my investments are turning out so well, that
the money is coming in much faster than I can get rid of it! It's
positively dreadful! I shall have to increase my givings very largely
in some way.
The minister held up his hands in mock astonishment; and there was a
twinkle of honest pleasure in his keen, grey eyes.
Mr. Horn, I believe you are the first man, since the foundation of
the world, who has been troubled because his money didn't go fast
Well, sir, that is the case.
His unwieldy wealth weighed too heavily upon his heart and
conscience to permit of his adopting the half-humorous view of the
situation which Mr. Durnford seemed to take.
But surely, Mr. Horn, urged the minister, becoming serious, there
are plenty of ways for your money. To get money is often difficult; it
should be easy enough to get rid of it.
Yes, sir, there are plenty of ways. My poor, devoted secretary
knows that as well as I do. But the puzzle is, to find the right ways.
If I merely wanted to get rid of my money, the letters of a single week
would almost enable me to do that.
Yes, yes, said Mr. Durnford, of course. I know exactly how it is.
You could make your money up in a bag, and toss it into the sea at one
throw, if that were all.
Yes, replied Cobbler Horn, with a quiet smile; and he sighed
faintly, as though he wished it were permissible to rid himself thus
easily of his golden encumbrance.
But that is not all, Mr. Durnford, he then said.
No, Mr. Horn, you feel that it would not do to cast your bread on
the waters in that literal sense. You are constrained to cast it, not
into the sea, but, like precious seed, into the soil of human hearts
and livessoil that has been prepared by the plough of poverty and the
harrow of suffering. Isn't that it, my friend?
Cobbler Horn leaned forward in his chair, with glistening eyes.
Yes, sir; go on; you are a splendid thought reader.
You feel that merely to dispose of your money anyhowwithout
discriminationwould be worse than hoarding it up?
That I do, sir!
It is not your money, but the Lord's; and you wish to dispose of
every penny in a way He would approve?
Yes, sir, was Cobbler Horn's emphatic confirmation; and I'm so
anxious about it that often I can't sleep at nights. I expect the Lord
gave me all this money because He knew I should want to use it for Him;
and I'm determined not to disappoint Him. I feel the more strongly on
the subject, because there's so much of the Lord's money in the world
that he never gets the benefit of at all.
The minister listened gravely.
So you want my advice?
Yes, sir; and your help. My difficulty is that it is the unworthy
who are most eager to ask for help. Those who are really deserving are
often the last to cry out; and many of them would rather die than beg.
Now, sir, I want you to help me to find out cases of real need, to tell
me of any good cause that comes to your knowledge; and suggest as many
ways as you can of making a good use of my money. Will you do this for
me, sir? Although you have helped me so much already, I don't think you
will refuse my request.
The minister listened to this appeal from the Golden Shoemaker
with a feeling of holy joy.
No, my dear friend, he said, I will not refuse your request. How
can I? Believing, with you, that your wealth is a Divine trust, I
regard your appeal as a call from God Himself. Besides, you could not
have demanded from me a more congenial service. You shall have all the
help I can give; and between us, he added, with a reviving flicker of
his previous facetiousness, we shall make the millions fly.
Thank you, heartily, sir. But I must warn you that you have
undertaken no light task. We shall have to dispose of many thou
We will make them vanish, broke in the minister, like half-pence
in the hands of a conjuror.
I know, said Cobbler Horn, with a smile, that you ministers are
well able to dispose of the money.
Yes, I suppose we are. But, dear friend, let it be understood, at
the outset, that I can be no party to your defrauding yourself.
It is all the Lord's money, said the Golden Shoemaker.
Yes; but, if you employ it for Him, He means you to have your
Oh, as to that, a very little will serve. My wants are few.
My dear friend, remonstrated the minister, are you not in danger
of falling into a mistake? God has given you the power to acquire a
great deal of the good of this world; and I don't think it would be
right for you not to make a pretty complete use of your opportunities.
Though you should be ever so generous to yourself, and live a very full
and abundant life, you will still be able to give immense sums of money
away; and such a life would fit you all the better to serve God in your
You think that, do you, sir? asked Cobbler Horn, evidently
I certainly do.
Well, I will consider it; for I dare say you are right. But to
return to what we were talking about just now, perhaps, sir, you could
give me a hint or two, this morning, with regard to my money?
Thus invited, Mr. Durnford ventured to mention several cases of
individual necessity with which he was acquainted, and to indicate
various schemes of wide-spread benevolence in which a man of wealth
Cobbler Horn listened attentively; and, having entered in his
note-book the names Mr. Durnford had given him, promised also to
consider the more general suggestions he had made.
I am very much obliged to you, sir, he said; and shall often come
to you for advice of this kind.
As often as you like, Mr. Horn, laughed the minister; it doesn't
cost much to give advice. It is those who follow it that have to pay.
Yes, rejoined Cobbler Horn; and that will I do most gladly.
So saying, he rose from his seat, and held out his hand.
Good morning, sir!
Good morning, my dear sir! said the minister, grasping the
proffered hand. By the way, how is Miss Owen getting on?
My dear sir, I owe you eternal gratitude for having made me
acquainted with that young lady!
I'm glad of that, but not a bit surprised.
She is a greater help to me than I can tell. And what a sad history
she seems to have hadin early life, that is! Her childhood appears to
have been a sad time.
Ah, she has told you, then?
Yes, it came out quite by accident. She didn't obtrude it in any
I am sure she wouldn't.
And the fact that she was once a little outcast girl increases my
interest in her very much.
That, said the minister, is a matter of course.
CHAPTER XXXI. COBBLER HORN'S
The months passed. Christmas came, and was left behind, and now
spring had fairly set in.
The Golden Shoemaker had become a person of great consideration to
the dignitaries of his church. It is true there were those amongst its
wealthy members by whom he was unsparingly criticised behind his back.
But this did not deter them from paying him all manner of court to his
face. He was startled at the importance which he had suddenly acquired.
His acquaintance was sought on every side; and he found himself the
subject of a variety of polite attentions to which he had been an
entire stranger until now. Men of wealth and position who, though they
were his fellow-members in the church, had never yet shaken him by the
hand, suddenly discovered that he was their dear friend.
There was one rich man whose pew in the church was next to that of
Cobbler Horn. Though this man had sat side by side with his poor
brother for many years, in the house of God, he had seemed unaware of
his existence. But no sooner did Cobbler Horn become the Golden
Shoemaker than the attitude of his wealthy neighbour underwent a
change. The first sign of recognition he bestowed upon his
recently-enriched fellow-worshipper was a polite bow as they were
leaving the church; next he ventured to show Cobbler Horn the hymn,
when the latter happened to come late one day; and, at length, on a
certain Sunday morning, as they were going out, he stepped into the
aisle, and proffered his hand to the Golden Shoemaker, for a friendly
shake. Cobbler Horn started, and drew back. It was not in his nature
to be malicious; and to decline the offered civility was the furthest
thing from his thoughts. He was simply lost in amazement. The gentleman
who was offering to shake hands with him was one of the most important
men in Cottonborough. But his great astonishment arose from the fact
that this mighty personage, after sitting within reach of him in the
house of God for so many years, without bestowing upon him the
slightest sign of recognition, should suddenly desire to shake him by
the hand! The man noticed his hesitation, and was turning away with
offended dignity. But Cobbler Horn quickly recovered himself, and,
taking the hand which had been offered to him, gave it a heartier shake
than it had, perhaps, ever received before.
It was not that, Mr. Varley, he said, I'm glad enough to shake
hands with you, as I should have been long ago. But it did seem such a
queer thing that we should have been sitting side by side here all
these years, and you should never have thought of shaking hands with me
before. I suppose the reason why you do it now is that the Lord has
seen fit to make me a rich man. Now I really don't think I'm any more
fit to be shaken hands with on that account. Personally, I'm very much
the same as I've been any time these twenty years past; and it does
seem to me a bit strange that you and others should appear to think
Cobbler Horn spoke in a pleasant tone, and there was a twinkle of
amusement in his eye. But Mr. Varley was not amused. Regarding
Cobbler Horn with an expression of countenance which was very much
like a scowl, he turned upon his heel and withdrew; and, during the
week, he arranged for a sitting in another part of the church.
Mr. Varley was not the only rich and influential member of the
church who had recently discovered in Cobbler Horn a suitable object
of friendly regard. But the most cordial and obsequious of his wealthy
fellow-members were ready enough to criticise him behind his back.
With the advice and help of the minister, he had begun to make the
millions fly, in good earnest; and his phenomenal
liberalityprodigality, it was called by somecould not, in the
nature of things, escape notice. It soon became, in fact, the talk of
the town and of the country round. But it was by the members of his
church that Cobbler Horn's lavish benefactions were most eagerly
discussed. Various opinions were expressed, by his fellow-Christians,
of the Golden Shoemaker, and of the guineas with which he was so
free. Some few saw the real man in their suddenly-enriched friend, and
rejoiced. Others shook their heads, and said the Shoemaker would not
be Golden long at that rate; and some scornfully curled their lips,
and declared the man to be a fool. But the most bitter of Cobbler
Horn's critics were certain of his wealthy brethren who seemed to
regard his abundant liberality as a personal affront.
There were many wealthy members in Mr. Durnford's church. The
minister sometimes thought, in his inmost soul, that his church would
have been but little poorer, in any sense of the word, for the loss of
some of the rich men whose names were on its roll. With all their
wealth, many of them were not rich towards God. But Mr. Durnford was
circumspect. It was his endeavour, without failing in his duty, either
to his Divine Master, or to these gilded sheep of his, to make what use
of them he might in connection with his sacred work.
There was little, it is true, to be got out of these wealthy men but
their money, and they could not be persuaded to part with much of that;
but the minister did not give them much rest.
One pleasant spring evening, Mr. Durnford set out on one of what he
called his financial tours amongst this section of his members. The
first house to which he wentand, as it proved, the lastwas that of
a very rich brewer, who was one of the main pillars of the Church.
There were other members of Mr. Durnford's flock who were of the same
trade. This was not gratifying to Mr. Durnford; but what could he do?
The brewers were blameless in their personal behaviour, regular in
their attendance in the sanctuary, and exact in their fulfilment of the
conditions of church membership; and he could not unchurch them merely
because they were brewers. If he began there, it would be difficult to
tell where he ought to stop. Nor did he scorn their gifts of money to
the cause of God. He was pleased that they were willing to devote some
portion of their gains to so good a purpose; his regret was that the
portion was so small.
Mr. Durnford did not hesitate to tell his rich members what he
conceived to be the just claims of the cause of God upon their wealth;
and, on the evening of which we speak, he called first, for this
purpose, on the aforesaid brewer, Mr. Caske. This gentleman lived in a
large, square, old-fashioned, comfortable house, surrounded with its
own grounds, which were extensive and well laid out. The entire
premises were encompassed with a high brick wall, which might well have
been supposed to hide a workhouse or a prison, instead of the paradise
it actually concealed. Perhaps Mr. Caske had selected this secluded
abode from an instinctive disinclination to obtrude the abundance and
comfort which he had derived from the manufacture and sale of beer;
perhaps he had bought this particular house simply because it was in
itself such a dwelling as he desired. At any rate, there he was, with
his abundance and luxury, within his encircling wall; and one was
tempted to wonder whether there was as much mystery in connection with
the article of his manufacture, as seemed to be associated with his
place of abode.
The minister let himself in at a small door in the boundary wall,
and made his way, through the grounds, to the front-door of the house.
Mr. Caske has company to-night, sir, said the maid who opened the
Any one I know, Mary?
Yes, sir; Mr. Botterill and Mr. Kershaw.
Oh, well, I want to see them too. Where are they?
In the smoke-room, sir.
Well, show me in. It will be all right.
As Mr. Durnford was a frequent and privileged visitor, the girl
promptly complied with his request.
The smoke-room was a good-sized, comfortable apartment, furnished
with every convenience that smokers are supposed to require. It looked
out, by two long windows, on a wide sweep of lawn which stretched away
from the end of the house. In this room, in chairs of various luxurious
styles, sat Mr. Caske and his two friends. Each of the three men was
smoking a churchwarden pipe; and at the elbow of each stood a little
three-legged, japanned smoker's table, on which was a stand of matches,
an ash-tray, and a glass of whisky.
The three smokers slowly turned their heads, as the minister entered
the room, and, on recognising him, they all rose to their feet.
Good evening, sir, said Mr. Caske, advancing, with his pipe in his
left hand, and his right hand stretched out; you have surprised us at
our devotions again.
Which you are performing, rejoined the minister, with an
earnestness worthy of a nobler object of worship.
Mr. Caske laughed huskily; and the minister turned to greet Messrs.
Botterill and Kershaw, who were waiting, pipes in hand, to resume their
Mr. Botterill was a wine and spirit merchant, and Mr. Kershaw was a
draper in a large way.
When they had all taken their seats, a few moments of silence
ensued. This was occasioned by the necessity which arose for the three
smokers vigorously to puff their pipes, which had burnt low; and
perhaps there was some little reluctance, on the part of Mr. Caske and
his friends, to resume the conversation which had been in progress
previous to the entrance of Mr. Durnford. When the pipes had been blown
up, and were once more in full blast, there was no longer any excuse
for silence. Mr. Caske, being the host, was then the first to speak. He
had known his minister too well to invite him to partake of the
refreshment with which he was regaling his friends.
He was a small, rotund man, with shining, rosy cheeks, and a husky
All well with you, Mr. Durnford?
Yes, thank you, Mr. Caske; but I am afraid I intrude?
He was conscious of some constraint on the part of the company.
I fear, he resumed, that I have interrupted some important
business? and he looked around with an air of enquiry.
Mr. Caske airily waved his long pipe.
Oh no, sir, he said, lightly, nothing of consequencehere he
glanced at his friendswe were, ahtalking about our friend,
ah'the Golden Shoemaker.'
Mr. Caske was secretly anxious to elicit the minister's opinion of
Ah, exclaimed Mr. Durnford, with an intonation in which sarcasm
might not have been difficult to detect, and what about 'the Golden
Mr. Caske looked at Mr. Botterill and Mr. Kershaw; and Mr. Kershaw
and Mr. Botterill looked first at each other, and then at Mr. Caske.
Well, replied Mr. Caske, at length, he's being more talked about
Well, now, asked the minister, as to what in particular?
Chiefly as to the way he's squandering his money.
Oh, I wasn't aware Mr. Horn had become a spendthrift! You must have
been misinformed, Mr. Caske, and Mr. Durnford looked the brewer
intently in the face.
Ah, said Mr. Caske, somewhat uneasily, you don't take me, sir.
It's not that he spends his money. It's the rate at which he gives it
away. He's simply flinging it from him right and left!
As he spoke, Mr. Caske swelled with righteous indignation. Money, in
his eyes, was a sacred thingto be guarded with care, and parted with
reluctantly. No working man could have been more careful with regard to
the disposal of each individual shilling of his weekly wages, than was
Mr. Caske in the handling of his considerable wealth.
He's simply tossing his money from him, sir, he reiterated, as if
it were just a heap of leaves.
Yes, said Mr. Botterill, and it doesn't seem right.
Mr. Botterill was a tall man, with glossy black hair and whiskers,
and an inflamed face. He seemed never to be quite at ease in his mind,
which, perhaps, was not matter for surprise.
Mr. Kershaw next felt that it was his turn to speak.
Ah, he said, this kind of thing makes a false impression, you
Though a man of moderate bodily dimensions, Mr. Kershaw had a
largeness of manner which seemed to magnify him far beyond his real
proportions. He spread himself abroad, and made the most of himself. He
had actually a large head, which was bald on the top, with dark bushy
hair round about. His face, which was deeply pitted with small-pox, was
adorned with mutton-chop whiskers, from between which a very prominent
nose and chin thrust themselves forth.
Yes, broke in Mr. Caske, people will be apt to think that
everybody who has a little bit of money ought to do as he does. But, if
that were the case, where should I be, for instance? and Mr. Caske
swelled himself out more than ever.
Mr. Durnford had hitherto listened in silence. Though inclined to
speak in very strong terms, he had restrained himself with a powerful
effort. He knew that if he allowed these men to proceed, they would
soon fill their cup.
Well, gentlemen, he now remarked quietly, there is force in what
Mr. Caske and his two friends regarded their minister with a
somewhat doubtful look. Mr. Caske seemed to think that Mr. Durnford's
remark made it necessary for him to justify the attitude he had assumed
with regard to Cobbler Horn.
Perhaps, sir, he said, you don't know in what a reckless fashion
our friend is disposing of his money?
Well, Mr. Caske, let us hear, said the minister, settling himself
Well, sir, you know about his having given up a great part of his
fortune to some girl in America, because she was the sweetheart of a
cousin of his who died.
Yes, said Mr. Durnford, quietly, I've heard of that.
Well, there was a mad trick, to begin with, resumed Mr. Caske, in
a severe tone. And then there's that big house in the village which,
it's said, all belongs to him. He's fitting it up to be a sort of home
for street arabs and gipsy children; and it's costing him thousands of
pounds that he'll never see again!
Yes, I know about that too.
Then, you will, of course, be aware, sir, that he gives more to our
church funds than any half-dozen of us put together.
Yes, broke in Mr. Kershaw, with his obtrusive nose. He thinks to
shame the rest of us, no doubt. And they say now that he's going to
employ two town missionaries and a Bible-woman out of his own pocket.
Is it true, think you, sir?
It is not unlikely, was the quiet reply.
There was a note of warning in both Mr. Durnford's words and tone;
but the admonitory sign passed unobserved.
Well, then, resumed Mr. Caske, think of the money he gave away
during the winter. He seemed to want to do everything himself. There
was hardly anything left for any one else to do.
Mr. Durnford smiled inwardly at the idea of Mr. Caske making a
grievance of the fact that there had been left to him no occasion for
It was nothing but blankets, and coals, and money, continued Mr.
Caske. And then the families he has picked out of the slums and sent
across the sea! And it's said he'll pay anybody's debts, and gives to
any beggar, and will lend anybody as much money as they like to ask.
At this point Mr. Botterill once more put in his word.
I heard, only the other day, that Mr. Horn had announced his
intention of presenting the town with a Free Library and a Public
It's like his impudence! exclaimed Mr. Kershaw.
After that I can believe anything, cried Mr. Caske. The man ought
to be stopped. It's very much to be regretted that he ever came into
the money. And what a fool he is from his own standpoint! When he has
got rid of all his money, it will be doubly hard for him to go back to
Mr. Caske was speaking somewhat at random.
Don't you think, sir, he concluded, with a facetious air, that
Providence sometimes makes a mistake in these matters?
The question was addressed to the minister.
No, never! exclaimed Mr. Durnford, with an emphasis which caused
Mr. Caske to start so violently, that the stem of his pipe, which he
had just replaced in his mouth, clattered against his teeth. No,
never! And least of all in the case of friend Horn.
The three critics of the Golden Shoemaker stared at the minister
in amazement. They had been led to think Mr. Durnford was substantially
in agreement with their views.
No, gentlemen, he resumed, my opinion is quite the reverse of
yours. I believe this almost unlimited wealth has been given to our
friend, because he is eminently fitted to be the steward of his Lord's
This declaration was followed by an awkward pause, which Mr. Caske
was the first to break.
Perhaps you think, sir, he said, in an injured tone, that this
upstart fellow is an example to us?
Mr. Caske, responded the minister, you have interpreted my words
to a nicety.
The three critics shuffled uneasily in their chairs.
Yes, continued Mr. Durnford, an example and a reproach! Mr. Horn
has the true idea of the responsibilities of a Christian man of wealth;
you have missed it. He is resolved to use his money for God, to whom it
belongs; you spend yours on yourselvesexcept in as far as you hoard
it up you know not for whom or what. He is never satisfied that he is
giving enough away; you grumble and groan over every paltry sovereign
with which you are induced to part. He will be able to give a good
account of his stewardship when the Lord comes; there will be an
awkward reckoning for you in that day.
The three friends had ceased to smoke, and were listening to Mr.
Durnford's deliverance open-mouthed. They respected their minister, and
valued his esteem. They were rather conscience-stricken, than offended
But, surely, sir, said Mr. Kershaw, presently, finding breath
first of the three, you wouldn't have us fling away our money, as he
I shouldn't be in haste to forbid you, Mr. Kershaw, if you seemed
inclined to take that course, said the minister, with a smile. But,
if you come within measurable distance of the example of our friend,
you will do very well.
But, pleaded Mr. Botterill, ought we not to consider our wives
You do, Mr. Botterill, you do, was the somewhat sharp reply. But
there still remains ample scope for the claims of God.
Upon this, there ensued a pause, which was at length broken by Mr.
Caske, who, whatever might be his shortcomings, was not an ill-natured
man. Well, sir, he remarked, good-humouredly, you've hit us hard.
I am glad you are sensible of the fact, was the pleasant reply.
No doubt you are! rejoined Mr. Caske, in a somewhat jaunty tone.
And I suppose you intend now to give us an opportunity of following
Why, yes, said Mr. Durnford, with a smile, I really came to ask
you for the payment of certain subscriptions now due. It is time I was
making up some of the quarterly payments. But, perhaps, after what has
been said, you would like to take a day or two?
No, for my part, interposed Mr. Caske, I don't want any time.
I'll double my subscriptions at once.
Same here, said Mr. Kershaw, concisely.
Thank you, gentlemen! said Mr. Durnford, briskly, entering the
amounts in his note book. Now, Mr. Botterill.
Well, was the reluctant response, I suppose I shall have to
Mr. Durnford smiled.
Thank you, gentlemen, all, he said. Keep that up, and it will
afford you more pleasure than you think.
When, shortly afterwards, the minister took his departure, the three
friends resumed their smoking; but they did not return to their
criticism of the Golden Shoemaker.
CHAPTER XXXII. IN LABOURS MORE
Unlike many wealthy professors of religion, the Golden Shoemaker
did not suppose that, in giving his money to the various funds of the
church, he fulfilled, as far as he was concerned, all the claims of the
Cause of Christ. He did not imagine that he could purchase, by means of
his monetary gifts, exemption from the obligation to engage in active
Christian work. He did not desire to be thus exempt. His greatest
delight was to be directly and actively employed in serving his Divine
Lord; and so little did he think of availing himself of the occasion of
his sudden accession to wealth to withdraw from actual participation in
the service of Christ, that he hailed with intense joy the richer
opportunities of service with which he was thus supplied.
For some years Cobbler Horn had been a teacher in a small Mission
Sunday School, which was carried on in a low part of the town by
several members of Mr. Durnford's church. But, about a year previous to
the change in his circumstances, he had been persuaded by the minister
to transfer his services to the larger school. He always made the
conversion of his scholars his chief aim; and very soon after he
entered on his new sphere, one of the boys in his class, a bright
little fellow about nine years old, named Willie Raynor, had been very
remarkably converted to God. The boy was promising to become a very
thorough-going Christian, and no one rejoiced more than he in the good
fortune of Cobbler Horn.
There was considerable speculation, amongst the friends and
fellow-teachers of the Golden Shoemaker, as to whether his altered
circumstances would lead to the relinquishment of his work in the
school. Little Willie Raynor heard some whisper of this talk, and was
much distressed. His relations with his beloved teacher were very
close; and, without a moment's hesitation, he went straight to
Cobbler Horn, and asked him what he was going to do.
Mr. Horn, you won't leave the school now you are a rich man, will
you? Because I don't think we can do without you!
Cobbler Horn was taken by surprise. The idea of leaving the school
had never occurred to his mind. For one moment, there was a troubled
look in his face.
Who has put such nonsense into your head, laddie?
Oh, I've heard them talking about it. But I said I was sure they
Why, of course they were, dear lad. Why should I leave the school?
Haven't I more reason than ever to work for the Lord?
Oh, I'm so glad! And Willie went home with a bounding heart.
Meanwhile curiosity continued to be felt and expressed on every
hand, as to the course the Golden Shoemaker would actually pursue;
and no little surprise was created as, Sunday after Sunday, he was
still seen sitting in the midst of his class, as quietly and modestly
as though he were still the poor cobbler whom everybody had known so
Nor was he content simply to continue the work he had been
accustomed to do for Christ during his previous life. The larger
leisure which his wealth had brought, enabled him to multiply his
religious and benevolent activities to an almost unlimited extent. He
went about doing good from morning to night. He rejoiced to exercise
for God the all but boundless influence which his money enabled him to
exert. His original planwhich he persistently followedof mending,
free of charge, the boots and shoes of the poorer portion of his former
customers was but one amongst many means by which he strove to benefit
his necessitous fellowmen. He never gave money for the relief of
distress, without ascertaining whether there was anything that he could
do personally to help. He made it a point also to offer spiritual
consolation to those upon whom he bestowed temporal benefactions.
Hardly a day but found him in the abode of poverty, or in the
sick-room; and not one of his numberless opportunities of speaking the
words which help and heal did he let slip.
One evening, as he was passing through a poor part of the town, he
came into collision with a drunken man, who was in the act of entering
a low public-house. The wretched creature looked up into Cobbler
Horn's face, and Cobbler Horn recognised him as a formerly
respectable neighbour of his own.
Richard, he cried, catching the man by the arm, don't go in
Shall if I like, Thomas, said the man, thickly, recognising
Cobbler Horn in turn. D'yer think 'cause ye're rich, yer has right
t' say where I shall go in, and where I shan't go in?
Oh, no, Richard, said Cobbler Horn, with his hand still on the
man's arm. But you've had enough drink, and had better go quietly
As he spoke, he gradually drew his captive further away from the
public-house. The man struggled furiously, talking all the time in
rapid and excited tones.
Let me a-be! he exclaimed with a thickness of tone which was the
combined result of indignation and strong drink. You ha' no right to
handle me like this! Ain't this a free country? Where's the perlice?
Come along, Richard; you'll thank me to-morrow, persisted
Cobbler Horn quietly, moving his captive along another step or two.
But, by this time, a crowd was beginning to gather; and it seemed
likely that, although Richard himself might not be able effectually to
resist his captor, Cobbler Horn's purpose would be frustrated in
another way. In fact the crowda sadly dilapidated crewhad drawn so
closely around the centre of interest, as to render almost impossible
the further progress of the struggling pair.
At this point, some one recognised Cobbler Horn.
Yah! he cried, it ain't a fight, after all! It's 'the Golden
Shoemaker' a-collarin' a cove wot's drunk!
At the announcement of the Golden Shoemaker, the people crowded up
more closely than ever. While all had heard of that glittering
phenomenon, perhaps few had actually seen him, and the present
opportunity was not to be lost.
Cobbler Horn grasped the situation, and resolved, under the
inspiration of the moment, to turn it to good account. He was not
afraid that these people would interfere with his present purpose. He
could see that they were regarding him with too much interest and
respect for that. Moreover, since Richard belonged to another part of
the town, his fortunes would not awaken any special sympathy in the
breasts of the crowd. On the other hand, there was a possibility that
the delay caused by the gathering of the crowd might enable Cobbler
Horn to make a deeper impression on his poor degraded friend, than if
he had simply dragged him home from the public-house. Exerting,
therefore, all his strength, he thrust the hapless Richard forth at
arm's length, and, in emphatic tones, bespoke for him the attention of
Look at him! he exclaimed. Once he was a respectable man, tidy
and bright; and he wasn't ashamed to look anybody in the face. And now
see what he is!
The crowd looked, and saw a slovenly and dissipated man, who hung
his head, with a dull feeling of shame. The people gazed upon the
wretched man in silence. They were awed by the solemn and impressive
manner in which they had been addressed.
This man, resumed Cobbler Horn, once had a thriving business
and a comfortable home. Now his business has gone to the dogs, and his
home has become a den. His wife and children are ragged and hungry; and
I question if he has a penny piece left that he can justly call his
own. The most complete ruin stares him in the face, and he probably
won't last another year.
The crowd still gazed, and listened in silence.
And, do you ask, continued Cobbler Horn, what has done all
this? No, you don't; you know too well. It's drinkthe stuff that many
of you love so much. For there are many of you,and he swept the
crowd with a scrutinizing glancewho are far on the same downward way
as this poor fool. He was my neighbour and friend; and he had as nice a
little wife as ever brightened a home. But it would make the heart of a
stone bleed to see her as I saw her but a few days ago. But, there; go
home, Richard! And may God help you to become a man once more!
So saying, he released his captive; and the wretched creature,
partially sobered with astonishment and shame, crept through the crowd,
which parted for him to pass, and staggered off on his way towards
Then, like some ancient prophet, upon whom the Spirit of the Lord
had come, the Golden Shoemaker turned and preached, from the living
text of his besotted friend, a telling impromptu Temperance sermon to
the motley crowd. The whole incident was quite unpremeditated. He had
never dreamt that he would do such a thing as he was doing now. But
that by no means lessened the effect of his burning words, which went
home to the hearts, and even to the consciences of not a few of those
by whom they were heard.
When he had finished, he passed on, and left his hearers to their
thoughts. But, for himself, there had been shown to him yet another way
in which he might work for God; and, thereafter, the Golden Shoemaker
was often seen at the corners of back streets, and in the recesses of
the slums, preaching, to all who would hear, that glorious Gospel of
which the message of mercy to the victims of strong drink is, after
all, only a part.
CHAPTER XXXIII. TOMMY DUDGEON ON THE
It will be remembered that, after bursting into the back-room with
the declaration, She's come back! Tommy Dudgeon had suddenly pulled
himself up and substituted the commonplace statement that he had seen
the sec'tary. In fact, though, on marking the manner in which Miss
Owen had stepped out of the house and walked along the street, he had,
for an instant, imagined that little Marian had actually returned, the
calmer moments which followed had shown him what seemed the folly of
such a supposition. What real resemblance could there be between a
child of five and a young woman of eighteen? He had, indeed, seemed to
see, this afternoon, the very same determined look, and the pretty
purposeful step, with which the little maid whom he had loved had
passed out of his sight so long ago. But he now assured himself that
it was only the sec'tary after all.
The child, for whom he had not ceased to mourn, would certainly come
back, but not like that. It was inevitable that unimaginative Tommy
Dudgeon should at first dismiss the possibility that little wild-flower
Marian should have returned in the person of the lady-secretary. But,
none the less, the sight of the secretary had brought back to him the
vision of little Marian as he had seen her last; and thenceforth he was
supplied with matter for much perplexing thought.
Fortunately the occupants of the room into which he had burst with
his hasty exclamation, who consisted of his brother and his brother's
wife alone, had but indistinctly caught his words. Consequently no one
was any the wiser, and he was able to assure himself that his first
impression with regard to the sec'tary was still the secret of his
It was a secret, however, which gave him no little trouble. The
vanishing of the child had occasioned him bitter grief. He had not only
mourned in respectful sympathy with the stricken father, but he had
also sorrowed on his own account. He had very tenderly loved little
Marian Horn. She had come to him like a fairy, scattering clouds of
care, and diffusing joy; and, since her departure, it had seemed as
though the sunshine had ceased to visit the narrow street upon which he
looked out through the window, and from the doorway, of his little
And Tommy's regret for the loss of the child was rendered keener by
a haunting consciousness that a measure of responsibility for it
belonged to himself. Might he not have prevented her departure? He
could not, indeed, have been supposed to know that she was running
away. But he did not allow himself to plead any excuse on that account.
He ought to have known, was his continual reflection, that she would
come to harmgoing away by herself like that; and, at least, he might
have questioned her as to where she was going. Through all the years,
he had not ceased to afflict himself with such thoughts as these. Once
he actually mentioned his self-accusing thoughts to Cobbler Horn. It
was on one of the rare occasions when the afflicted father had
spontaneously spoken of his lost child to his humble friend. He gazed
blankly at the little huckster, for a moment, as though he had not
understood. Then, perceiving his drift, he gently answered, My dear
friend, you could not help it. Please do not speak of it again.
Tommy had always yearned for the recovery of the child; and, the
wish being father to the thought, he fully shared with Cobbler Horn
himself the expectation that she would eventually return. This
expectation kept him on the alert; and there is little cause to wonder
that even so slight a sign as the poise of the secretary's head, or the
manner in which she walked, should have induced him to think, for some
passing moments, that his long-cherished desire had been fulfilled at
And now, although he had dismissed that belief, it had left him more
vigilant than ever. It may be questioned, indeed, whether he had
actually dismissed it, or whether, having been dismissed, it had really
gone away. There are visitors who will take no hint to depart. It would
seem that here was such a visitor. The discarded impression that little
Marian had come back in the person of Cobbler Horn's secretary
refused to be banished from Tommy Dudgeon's mind. Henceforth he would
have no peace until he had set the fateful question at rest once for
To this end he watched for the young secretary day by day. A hundred
times a day he went to the shop-door, to gaze along the street; and at
frequent intervals he craned his neck to get a better view through the
window. He would leave the most profitable customer, at the sound of a
footstep without, or at the shutting of a neighbouring door. He gave
himself to deep ponderings, in the midst of which he became oblivious
of all around. His anxiety told upon his appetite, and affected his
health. His friends became alarmed; but, when they questioned him, he
only shook his head. His very character seemed to be changed. Hitherto
he had been the most transparent of men; now he moved about with the
air of a conspirator, and bore himself like one on whose heart some
mysterious secret weighed.
It was a long time before Tommy's watching and pondering produced
any definite result. Miss Owen seldom visited the street in which the
little Twin Brethren had their shop. By the desire of her employer she
never came to him in his old workshop, except upon business which could
not be delayed. Two or three times only, hitherto, had Tommy Dudgeon
been privileged to feast his eyes on the dainty little figure, which,
on his first sight of it, had awakened such tender memories in his
mind. On each occasion those memories had returned as vividly as
before; but the only result had been that his perplexity was sensibly
All through the winter, the perturbation of the little huckster's
mind remained unallayed; but there came a day in early spring which set
his questionings at rest. In that joyous season there was born to Mr.
and Mrs. John Dudgeon an eighth child. The fact that, this time, the
arrival did not consist of twins was no less gratifying to the happy
father, than to his much-enduring spouse. But the child was a fine one,
and his birth almost cost his mother's life. As may be supposed, the
Golden Shoemaker did not forget his humble friends in their trouble.
He engaged for them the ablest doctor, and the most efficient nurse,
that money could command. Every day he sent messages of enquiry, and
the messengers were never empty-handed. Sometimes it was a servant who
came; and sometimes it was the coachmannot Bounder, but his
successor, who was quite a different manwith the carriage.
On the day of which we speak, the carriage had stopped at the door,
and Tommy Dudgeon, on the watch as usual, observed that a young lady
was sitting amongst its cushions. It was the four-wheeler, and its fair
occupant, basket in hand, alighted nimbly as soon as it stopped. Tommy
vigorously rubbed his eyes. Yes, it was the sec'tary! Now, perhaps,
his opportunity had come. As yet, he had never spoken to the
sec'tary, or heard her speak. He made his most polite bow, as she
stepped into his shop. But how his heart thumped! He was shy with
ladies at the best; but now, hope and fear, and a vague feeling that,
with the entrance of this sprightly little lady, the past had all come
back, increased his habitual nervousness a hundredfold. Surely it was
not the first time that little tossing dusky head, with its black
sparkling eyes, had presented itself in his doorway!
She paused a moment on the step, gazed around with a bewildered air,
and shot a startled glance into the honest, eager face of the little
man, who quivered from head to foot as he met her gaze. That strange
feeling again! she thought, I can never have been here before,
at any rate!
Tommy Dudgeon's own confusion prevented his perceiving the momentary
discomposure of his visitor. The next minute, however, she was speaking
to the little man in her cordial, unaffected way.
You are Mr. Dudgeon, I expect, she said, holding out her
neatly-gloved hand. How are you, this afternoon? But, she continued
after a pause, which Mr. Dudgeon is itthe one with a wife, or the
one without? My name, she added in her lively way, is OwenMr.
Horn's secretary, you know. You've heard of me, no doubt, Mr. Dudgeon?
Tommy Dudgeon had not yet found his tongue.
But, she broke out again, I'm not giving you a chance to tell me
who you are. Is it Mr. Dudgeon, or Mr. John? You see I know all about
Tommy Dudgeon was in no condition to answer Miss Owen's question,
even yet, simple though it was. If the sight of her had brought back
the past, what thronging memories crowded upon him at the sound of her
voicewooing, wilful, joyously insistent! But that she was so womanly
and ladylike, and that he knew she was only the sec'tary, he would
have been ready to advance upon her with outstretched hands, and ask
her if she had quite forgotten Tommy Dudgeonher old friend, Tommy? As
it was, he stood staring like one bewitched. Miss Owen, wondering at
his silence, and his fixed gaze, repeated her question in another form.
I don't wish to be rude; but are you the husband, or is it your
Tommy pulled himself together with a gasp.
My name is Thomas, miss. It is my brother who is married, and whose
wife is ill.
Then, Mr. Thomas, I'm glad to make your acquaintance. How is your
brother's wife to-day? I've brought a few little things from Miss Horn,
with her respects.
Miss Owen herself would have said love, rather than respects. But
it was a great concession on the part of Miss Jemima to send anything
at all to those Dudgeons, with or without a message of any kind, and
was quite a sign of grace.
It's very kind of Miss Horn, said Tommy, who was still perturbed;
and of you as well, miss. Perhaps you will see my sister-in-law? She's
much better, and sitting upand able to converse.
As he spoke, he led the way into the kitchen, in the doorway of
which the young girl once more paused, and looked around in the same
bewildered way as before. But she instantly recovered herself; and, at
the invitation of a woman who was in attendance, proceeded to mount the
Miss Owen was performing a thoroughly congenial errand. It was her
delight to be, in any way, the instrument of the wide-spread
benevolence and varied Christian ministrations of her beloved employer.
Nor was it an insignificant service which she therein performed. Her
tender companionship had been of scarcely less benefit to the crippled
girl than the almost daily rides which the generosity of Cobbler Horn
enabled the poor invalid to enjoy; and her presence and sensible
Christian talk were quite as helpful to Mrs. John Dudgeon, as were the
delicacies from Miss Jemima's kitchen.
John Dudgeon, who was acting as temporary nurse, rose to his feet as
the secretary entered, and stole modestly downstairs. Miss Owen
followed him with her eyes in renewed perplexity. What could it all
mean? These dear, funny little men! Had she known them in a former
state of existence, or what? She came downstairs when she was ready to
leave, and in the kitchen she paused once more. On one side of the
fire-place was an old arm-chair with a leather cushion. Seized with a
sudden fancy, Miss Owen addressed the woman, who was waiting to see her
May I sit in that chair a moment? she asked.
Certainly, miss, was the civil reply; and, in another moment, the
young secretary had crossed the room, and seated herself in the chair.
How strange! she murmured. How familiar everything is!
At that moment, Tommy Dudgeon came in from the shop; and, on seeing
Miss Owen in the old arm-chair, he stopped short, and uttered a cry.
I beg your pardon, miss; I thought
It was in that very chair, standing in exactly the same spot as now,
that little Marian had been accustomed to sit, when she used to come in
and delight the two little bachelors with her quaint sayings, and queen
it over them in her pretty wilful way. For her sake, the old chair had
been carefully preserved.
You thought I was taking a liberty, no doubt, sir, said Miss Owen,
jumping to her feet, with a merry laugh; and quite right too.
Tommy was horrified at the bare suggestion of such a thing. He
begged her to sit down again, and she laughingly complied, insisting
that he should sit in the opposite chair. Presently John came in, and
stood looking calmly on. He was visited by no disturbing memories.
Having chatted gaily, for a few minutes, with the two little men, Miss
Owen took her leave.
It's all so strange! she thought, as the carriage bore her swiftly
Then she knitted her brows, and clenched her hands in her lap.
Oh, she half-audibly exclaimed, what if I have been here
before? What if and she shivered with the excitement of the
* * * * *
As for Tommy Dudgeon, all his doubts were put to flight at last.
CHAPTER XXXIV. A FATHER AND
MOTHER FOR THE HOME.
About six weeks after this, the old Hall at Daisy Lane was ready for
opening as a Home for waifs and strays. Cobbler Horn had visited
Daisy Lane, from time to time, and he had also taken his sister and his
young secretary to see the village and the old Hall. He had been much
pleased with the progress of the improvements, and had marked with
satisfaction the transformation which, in pursuance of his orders, was
being effected in the Hall. It was clear that Mr. Gray was not only a
most capable agent, but also a man after his employer's own heart; and
it was evident that Messrs. Tongs and Ball had assisted the agent in
every possible way.
The old Hall seemed likely to become an ideal Children's Home. The
arrangements were most complete. A staff of capable nurses, and a bevy
of maid-servants, had been engaged; to whom were added a porter and two
boys, together with a head gardener and three assistants, to make, and
keep, beautiful the spacious grounds.
A number of children had already been selected as inmates of the
Home. Setting aside the majority of the appeals, which had been many,
from relatives who had children left on their hands by deceased
parents, Cobbler Horn had adhered to his original purpose of
receiving chiefly stray childrenlittle ones with no friends, and
without homes. With the aid of his lawyers, and of Mr. Durnford, he had
much communication with workhouse and parish authorities, and even with
the police; and, as the opening day of the Home drew near, he had
secured, as the nucleus of his little family, some dozen tiny outcasts,
consisting of six or seven boys, and about as many girls.
It now remained that a father and mother should be found. On
this subject the Golden Shoemaker had talked much with his minister.
He shrank from the thought of advertising his need. He was afraid of
bringing upon himself an avalanche of mercenary applications. His idea
was to fix upon some excellent Christian man and woman who might be
induced to accept the post as a sacred and delightful duty. They must
be persons who loved children, and who were not in search of a living;
and it would be none the worse if it were necessary for them to make
what would be considered a sacrifice, in order to accept the post.
Cobbler Horn looked around. He had no acquaintances in whom it
seemed likely that his ideal would be realized. He mentioned his views
to his lawyers, and they smiled in their indulgent way. Messrs. Tongs
and Ball had already learnt to respect their eccentric client. But it
was difficult for their legal minds to regard the question of the
appointment of a master and matron to the Home exactly in the light
in which it presented itself to Cobbler Horn. He spoke of his
cherished desire to Mr. Durnford.
If I get the right man and woman, you know, sir, I shall be willing
to pay them almost any amount of money. But I don't want them to know
this beforehand. I must have a father and mother for my
little family. It would be just as well, he added in faltering tones,
if they had lost a little one of their own. And I should like them to
be some good Christian man and his wife, who would undertake the work
without asking about salary at all, and would leave it to me to make
that all right. Do you think they would trust me so far, Mr. Durnford?
Mr. Durnford smiled in his shrewd way.
If they knew you, Mr. Horn, they would rather trust you in the
matter than suggest an amount themselves.
No doubt, responded the Golden Shoemaker, with a smile. But
now, Mr. Durnford, he persisted for the twentieth time, do you know
of such a couple as I want?
They were in the minister's study. Mr. Durnford sat musing, with his
arms resting upon his knees, and his hands together at the finger-tips.
Suddenly he looked up.
You want a couple who have lost a child, Mr. Horn? I can tell you
of some good people who have found one.
Cobbler Horn gave a slight start. Found a child! What child?
Such were the thoughts which darted, like lightning, through his brain.
Then he smiled sadly to himself. Of course what he had imagined, for an
instant, could not be.
Well he said calmly, who are they? Let me hear!
For one moment only, Mr. Durnford hesitated to reply.
You will, perhaps, be startled, Mr. Horn, but must not
misunderstand me, if I say that they are the excellent friends who have
been as father and mother to your secretary, Miss Owen.
Cobbler Horn was indeed startled. His thoughts had not turned in
the direction indicated by the minister's suggestionthat was all. But
he was not displeased.
Ah! he exclaimed. Well, if they are anything like my little
secretary, they will do.
Mr. and Mrs. Burton do not know that I have any thought of
suggesting them to you, Mr. Horn. Nor have I the least idea whether or
not they would accept the post. Mr. Burton holds a good position on the
railway, in Birmingham, which I know he has no present intention of
relinquishing. But there is not another couple of my acquaintance who
would be likely to meet your wishes as well as these good friends of
mine. You know, of course, that Miss Owen was found and rescued by
them, when she was quite a little thing?
Yes, was the thoughtful reply; and you really think they are the
kind of persons I want?
I do, indeed.
Well, well! But might I ask them, do you think?
Perhaps, said Mr. Durnford, it would be as well to mention it to
Miss Owen first.
Might I do that, think you?
By all means!
Then I will.
He spoke to his secretary that very day. Miss Owen was delighted
with the proposal, and approved of it with all her heart. She hoped Mr.
and Mrs. Burton would consent, and felt almost sure that they would.
After that the minister agreed to convey the request of the Golden
Shoemaker to his good friends. For this purpose, he made a journey to
Birmingham, and, on the evening of his return, called on Cobbler
Well? enquired the latter eagerly, almost before the minister had
taken his seat.
Our friends are favourably disposed, replied Mr. Durnford; but
they would like to have a personal interview first.
By all means. When can they see me? And where?
Well, it would be a great convenience to Mr. Burton if you would go
there. He cannot very well get away. But he could arrange to meet you
at his own house.
Acting upon this suggestion, Cobbler Horn paid a visit to
Birmingham, the outcome of which was the engagement of Mr. and Mrs.
Burton as father and mother of the home.
CHAPTER XXXV. THE OPENING OF THE
At length the day arrived for the opening of the Home. It was
early in June, and the weather was superb. All the inhabitants of Daisy
Lane, whether tenants of Cobbler Horn or not, were invited to the
opening ceremony, and to the festivities which were to occupy the
remainder of the day. There was to be first a brief religious service
in front of the Hall, after which Miss Jemima was to unlock the great
front door with a golden key. Then would follow a royal feast in a
marquee on the lawn; and, during the afternoon and evening, the house
and grounds would be open to all.
The religious service was to be conducted by Mr. Durnford. The
parish clergyman had been invited to take part, but had declined. Many
of his brother-clergymen would have hailed with joy such an opportunity
of fulfilling the spirit of their religion; but the Vicar of Daisy Lane
regarded the matter in a different light.
In due course Cobbler Horn, Miss Jemima, the young secretary,
Tommy Dudgeonto whom had been given a very pressing invitation to
join the party,and Mr. Durnford, alighted from the train at the
station which served for Daisy Lane, and were met by Mr. Gray.
Well, Mr. Gray, said the Golden Shoemaker, who was in a buoyant,
and almost boisterous mood, How are things looking?
Everything promises well, sir, replied the agent, who was beaming
with pleasure. The arrangements are all complete; and everybody will
be therethat is, with the exception of the vicar. Save his refusal to
be present, there has not, thus far, been a single hitch.
I wish, said Cobbler Horn, that we could have got the poor man
to comefor his own sake, I mean.
Yes, sir; he will do himself no good. It's well they're not all
Mr. Gray had brought his own dog-cart for the gentlemen; and he had
provided for the ladies a comfortable basket-carriage, of which his
son, a lad of fifteen, had charge. The dog-cart was a very different
equipage from the miserable turn-out with which the agent had met his
employer on the occasion of his first visit. Everything was of the
bestthe highly-finished trap, the shining harness, the dashing horse;
and Cobbler Horn was thankful to mark the honest pride with which the
agent handled the reins.
A few minutes brought them to Daisy Lane. Here indeed was a change!
An unstinted expenditure of money, the toil of innumerable workmen, and
the tireless energy and ever-ready tact of Mr. Gray, had converted the
place into a model village. Instead of dropsical and rotting hovels,
neat and smiling cottages were seen on every side. The vicarage, and
the one farm-house not included in the property of Cobbler Horn,
which had, aforetime, by their respectability and good repair,
aggravated the untidiness and dilapidation of the rest of the village,
were now rendered almost shabby by the fresh beauty of the renovated
property of the Golden Shoemaker.
On every hand there were signs of rejoicing. It was evidently a gala
day at Daisy Lane. Over almost every garden gate there was an arch of
flowers. Streamers and garlands were displayed at every convenient
point. Such a quantity of bunting had never before fluttered in the
breezes of Daisy Lane.
As they approached the farm-house which Cobbler Horn had inspected
on the occasion of his first visit, their progress was stayed by the
farmer himself, who was waiting for them at his gate, radiant and
jovial, a farmer, as it seemed, without a grievance! He advanced into
the road with uplifted hand, and Mr. Gray and his son reined in their
horses. The farmer approached the side of the dog-cart.
Let me have a shake of your fist, sir, he said, seizing the hand
of the Golden Shoemaker. You're a model landlord. No offence; but
it's hard to believe that you're anyways related to that 'ere old
skin-flint as was owner here afore you.
The farmer wore on his breast a huge red rosette, almost as big as a
pickling cabbage, as though the occasion had been that of an election
day, or a royal wedding, or some other celebration equally august.
I'm glad you're satisfied with what Mr. Gray has done, Mr. Carter,
said Cobbler Horn.
Satisfied! That ain't the word! And, as for Graywell, he's a
decent body enough. But it's little as he could ha' done, if you hadn't
spoke the word.
Then they drove on, and the farmer followed in their wake,
occupying, with the roll of his legs, and the flourish of his big
stick, as much of the road as the carriages themselves.
As they proceeded, they passed several groups of villagers, in gala
dress, who were making their way towards the gates of the Hall grounds.
These are the laggards, explained the agent, the bulk of the
people are already on the ground.
Cobbler Horn was recognised by the people, most of whom knew him
well by sight; and, while the men touched their hats, and the boys made
their bows, the women curtseyed, and each girl gave a funny little bob.
Of all the novel sensations which his wealth had brought to the Golden
Shoemaker, this was the most distinctly and entirely new. It had not
seemed to him more strange, though it had been less agreeable, to be
the object of Bounder's obsequious attentions, than it did now to
receive the worship of these simple villagers.
In due course they reached the Hall gates, and entered the grounds.
A large marquee, with its fluttering flags, had been erected on one
side of the lawn, which was almost like a small field. The people were
dispersed about the grass in gaily-coloured groups, though few of them
had wandered very far from the gates. When the carriages were seen
approaching, the various parties gathered more closely together; and
the people arranged themselves in lines on either side of the drive.
The horses were immediately brought to a walking pace; and then, a
jolly young farmer leading off, the villagers rent the air with their
shouts of welcome. It was the spontaneous tribute of these simple
people to the man, whose coming had restored long unaccustomed comfort
to their lives, and awakened new hope in their despondent breasts.
The Golden Shoemaker raised his hat and waved his hand; and,
inasmuch as the acclamations of the people were evidently intended for
the ladies also, the young secretary nodded around with beaming smiles,
and even Miss Jemima perceptibly bent her rigid neck.
At length the joyous procession arrived in front of the Hall steps.
Here Mr. and Mrs. Burton were waiting to receive them. In response to
their smiling welcome, Cobbler Horn shook these good people heartily
by the hand, and, having introduced them to Miss Jemima, turned aside
for a moment, that they might greet their adopted daughter.
In a few moments, he turned to them again, and enquired if
everything was to their mind.
Everything, sir, said Mr. Burton. The arrangements are perfect.
And our little family are all here, added Mrs. Burton, pointing,
with motherly pride, to a row of clean and radiant boys and girls, who
were ranged at the top of the steps.
Cobbler Horn's face was illumined with a ray of pleasure, as he
looked up, at Mrs. Burton's words; and yet there was a pensive shade
upon his brow. Miss Jemima scrutinised the little regiment, and
actually uttered a grunt of satisfaction. Miss Owen glanced from the
happy child-faces to that of Cobbler Horn with eyes of reverent love.
The children were not uniformly dressed; and they might very well have
passed for the actual offspring of the kindly man and woman whom they
were to know as father and mother from henceforth.
Is everything ready, Mr. Gray? asked Cobbler Horn.
Then let us begin.
At a signal from Mr. Gray, the people drew more closely up to the
foot of the steps; and it was noticeable that Tommy Dudgeon had
withdrawn to a modest position amongst the crowd. A hymn was then
announced by Mr. Durnford, and sung from printed papers which had been
distributed amongst the people. Then, while every head was bowed, the
minister offered a brief, but fervent and appropriate prayer. Next came
an address from Cobbler Horn, in which, after explaining the purpose
to which the Hall was to be devoted, he took the opportunity of
assuring those of his tenants who were present that he would, as their
landlord, do his utmost to promote their welfare. His hearty words were
received with great applause, which was redoubled when he led Miss
Jemima to the front. The minister then stepped forward, and presented
Miss Jemima with a golden key, with which she deftly unlocked the great
door, and, having pushed it open, turned to the people, and bowing
gravely in response to their cheers, made, for the first and last time
in her life, a public speech. She had much pleasure, she said, in
declaring the old Hall open for the reception of friendless children,
many of whom, she trusted, would find a happy home within its walls,
and be there trained for a useful life. Here Miss Jemima stopped
abruptly, and looked straight before her, with a very stern face, as
though angry with herself for what she had done. And then, under cover
of the renewed cheers of the people, she withdrew into the background.
The simple ceremony being over, the people were invited to enter the
building and pass through the rooms. This invitation was freely
accepted; and soon the various apartments of the renovated Hall were
filled with people, who did not hesitate to express their admiration of
what they saw.
When all the visitors had passed through the rooms, and admired to
their hearts' content, the ringing of a large hand-bell on the lawn
announced that dinner was ready. At the four long tables which ran the
whole length of the marquee there was room for all, and very soon every
seat was occupied. The grace was announced by Mr. Durnford, and sung by
the people, with a heartiness which might have been expected of hungry
villagers, who had been summoned to an unaccustomed and sumptuous
feast. Then the carvers got to work, and, as the waiters carried round
the laden plates, comparative quiet reigned; but, when the plates began
to reach the guests, the clatter of crockery, the rattle of knives and
forks, and the babel of voices, made such a festive hubbub as was
grateful to the ear.
After dinner, there was speech-making and merriment; and then the
people left the tent, and dispersed about the grounds. While the former
part of this process was in progress, Miss Owen heard a fragment of
conversation which caused her to tingle to her finger-tips. She had
just moved towards one of the tables for the purpose of helping an old
woman to rise from her seat, and her presence was not perceived by the
speakers, whose faces were turned the other way. They were two village
gossips, a middle-aged woman and a younger one.
Is she his daughter? were the words that fell upon the young
secretary's ears, spoken by the elder woman in a stage whisper.
No, replied the other, in a similar tone. He never had but one
childher as was lost. This one's the secretary, or some such.
Well, I do say as she'd pass for his own daughter anywhere.
Miss Owen was not nervous; but her heart beat tumultuously at the
thoughts which this whispered colloquy suggested to her mind. She
placed her hand upon the table to steady herself, as the two women, all
unconscious of the effect of their gossiping words, moved slowly away.
The Golden Shoemaker and his friends arrived at Cottonborough late
that night. A carriage was waiting for them at the station; and, having
said good night to Mr. Durnford and Tommy Dudgeon, they were soon
driven home. They were a quietalmost silentparty. The events of the
day had supplied them with much food for thought. The image of his
little lost Marian presented itself vividly to the mind of Cobbler
Horn to-night. Miss Jemima's thoughts dwelt on what was her one tender
memorythat of the tiny, dark-eyed damsel who had so mysteriously
vanished from the sphere of her authority so long ago.
And Miss Owen? Well, when she had at last reached her room, her
first act was to lock the door. Then she knelt before her small
hair-covered travelling trunk, and, having unlocked it, she slowly
raised the lid and placed it back against the wall. For a moment she
hesitated, and then, plunging her arm down at one corner of the trunk,
amongst its various contents, she brought up, from the hidden depths, a
small tissue paper parcel. This she opened carefully, and disclosed a
tiny shoe, homely but neat, a little child's chemise, and an old,
faded, pink print sun-bonnet, minus a string. In the upper leather of
the shoe were several cuts, the work of some wanton hand. Sitting back
upon her heels, she let the open parcel fall into her lap.
What would I not give, she sighed, to find the fellow of this
little shoe! But no doubt it has long ago rotted at the bottom of some
Then, for the hundredth time, she examined the little chemise, at
one corner of which were worked, in red cotton, the letters M.H.
They have told me again and again that I had this chemise on when I
was found. Of course that doesn't prove that it was my own, and I have
never supposed that those two letters stand for my name. But nowwell,
may it not be so, after all? It was really no more than a guess, on the
part of Mr. and Mrs. Burton, that my name was Mary Ann Owen; and, from
what I can see, it's just as likely to have been anything else. Let me
think; what name might 'M.H.' stand for? Mary Hall? Margaret Harper?
Mari. No, no, I dare not think thatat least, not yet!
Once more she wrapped up her little parcel of relics, and returned
it to its place at the bottom of her trunk.
Heigho! she exclaimed, as, having closed and locked the trunk, she
sprang to her feet. How I do wonder who I am!
[Illustration: A tiny shoe.Page 264.]
CHAPTER XXXVI. TOMMY DUDGEON
UNDERTAKES A DELICATE ENTERPRISE.
The time which had elapsed since the first visit of Miss Owen to the
house of the little Twin Brethren had constituted, for Tommy Dudgeon,
a period of mental unrest. If he had been perturbed before, he was
twice as uneasy now. He had made the joyous discovery which he had been
expecting to make almost ever since he had seen the young secretary
walking in her emphatic way along the street. But, joyous as the
discovery was, the making of it had actually increased the perturbation
of his mind. His trouble was that he could not tell how he would ever
be able to make his discovery known. He did not doubt that, to his dear
friend, Cobbler Horn, and to the young secretary, the communication
of it would impart great joy. But he was restrained by a fear, which
would arise, notwithstanding his feeling of certainty, lest he should
prove to be mistaken after all; and his fear was reinforced by an
inward persuasion which he had that he was the most awkward person in
the world by whom so delicate a communication could be made.
Yet he told himself he was quite sure that the young secretary was
no other than little Marian come back. His doubts had vanished when he
had seen her sitting in the old arm-chair, just as when she was a
child; and every time he had seen her since that day his assurance had
been made more sure. But, as long as he was compelled to keep his
discovery to himself, it was almost the same as though he had not made
it at all.
Tommy almost wished that some one else had made the great discovery,
as well as himself. His thoughts had turned to his brother John; and he
had resolved to put him to the test, which he had subsequently done
with considerable tact. On the evening of the day following that of the
first visit of Miss Owen to their house, the brothers had been sitting
by the fire before going to bed.
John, Tommy had said, seizing his opportunity, you saw the young
lady who was here the other day?
She's the secretary, you know.
Yes, said John again, yawning; for he was sleepy.
Well, what did you think of her?
John started, and regarded his brother with a stare of astonishment.
It was the first time Tommy had ever asked his opinion on such a
subject. Was he thinking of getting married, or what? John Dudgeon had
a certain broad sense of humour which enabled him to perceive such
ludicrous elements of a situation as showed themselves on the surface.
Ah! he exclaimed slyly; are you there?
Tommy put out his hands in some confusion.
No, no, he said, not what you think! But did you notice anything
particular about the young lady?
Well no, replied John, except that I thought she was a very nice
young person. But, Tommy, isn't she rather too young? If you really are
thinking of getting married, wouldn't it be better to choose some one a
little nearer your own age?
John would not be dissuaded from the idea that his brother was
intent on matrimonial thoughts. Tommy waved his hand, in a deprecatory
way, and rising from his chair, said good night, and betook himself
It was plain that he was quite alone in his discovery. What was he
to do? To speak to Miss Owen on the subject was out of the question.
The only alternative was to communicate the good news to Cobbler Horn
himself. But there seemed to be stupendous difficulties involved in
such a course. He was aware that there was nothing his friend would
more rejoice to know than that which he had to tell. From various hints
thrown out by Cobbler Horn, Tommy knew that he regarded Miss Owen
with much of the fondness of a father; and it was not likely that the
joy of finding his lost child would be diminished in the least by the
fact that she had presented herself in the person of his secretary. But
this consideration did not relieve the perplexity with which the little
huckster contemplated the necessity of making known his secret to
Cobbler Horn. For, to say nothing of the initial obstacle of his own
timidity, he feared it would be almost impossible to convince his
friend that his strange surmise was correct. If Cobbler Horn had not
discovered for himself the identity of his secretary with his long-lost
child, was it likely that he would accept that astounding fact on the
testimony of any other person?
It is needless to say that Tommy Dudgeon made his perplexity a
matter of prayer. He prayed and pondered, night and day; and, at length
a thought came to him which seemed to point out the way of which he was
in search. Might he not give Cobbler Horn some covert hint which
would put him on the track of making the great discovery for himself?
Surely some such thing, though difficult, might be done! He must indeed
be cautious, and not by any means reveal his design. The suggestion
must seem to be incidental and unpremeditated. There must be no actual
mention of little Marian, and no apparently intentional indication of
Miss Owen. Something must be said which might induce Cobbler Horn to
associate the idea of his little lost Marian with that of his young
secretaryto place them side by side before his mind. And it must all
arise in the course of conversation, the order of whichhe Tommy
Dudgeon, must deliberately plan. The audacity of the thought made his
hair stand up.
It was a delicate undertaking indeed! The little man felt like a
surgeon about to perform a critical operation upon his dearest friend.
He was preparing to open an old wound in the heart of his beloved
benefactor. True, he hoped so to deal with it that it should never
bleed again. But what if he failed? That would be dreadful! Yet the
attempt must be made. So he set himself to his task. His opportunity
came on the afternoon of the day following that of the opening of the
Home. Watching from the corner of his window, as he was wont, about
three o'clock, Tommy saw the Golden Shoemaker come along the street,
and enter his old house. Then the little man turned away from the
window, and became very nervous. For quite two minutes he stood back
against the shelves, trying to compose himself. When he had succeeded,
in some degree, in steadying his quivering nerves, he reached from
under the counter a brown-paper parcel containing a pair of boots,
which had, for some days, been lying in readiness for the occasion
which had now arrived, and, calling John to mind the shop, slipped
swiftly into the street. A minute later he was standing in the doorway
of Cobbler Horn's workshop. The little Twin Brethren had, at first,
been disposed to refrain from availing themselves of the gratuitous
labours of their friend; but, perceiving that it would afford him
pleasure, they had yielded with an easy grace, and now Tommy was glad
to have so good an excuse for a visit to the Golden Shoemaker, as was
supplied by the boots in the parcel under his arm.
Cobbler Horn perceived the nervousness of his visitor, and
thinking it strange that the bringing of a pair of boots to be mended
should have occasioned his humble little friend so much trepidation, he
did his best, by adopting a specially sociable tone, to put him at his
Ah, Tommy, what have we there? he asked. More work for the
Just an old pair of boots which want mending, Mr. Horn, said
Tommy, in uncertain tones, as he unwrapped the boots and held them out
with a shaking handthat is, if you are not too busy.
Not by any means, said Cobbler Horn, with a smile. Put them
There stood against the wall, a much-worn wooden chair from which
the back had been sawn off close.
I'll sit down, if you don't mind, gasped Tommy, depositing himself
upon this superannuated seat.
By all means, said Cobbler Horn cordially; make yourself quite
Thank you, said Tommy, drawing from his pocket a red and yellow
handkerchief, with which he vigorously mopped his brow.
Cobbler Horn waited calmly for his perturbed visitor to become
composed; and Tommy sat for some minutes, staring helplessly at
Cobbler Horn, and still rubbing his forehead. What had become of the
astute plan of operations which the little man had laid down?
You have surely something on your mind, friend? said Cobbler
Horn, in an enquiring tone.
Yes, I have, said Tommy, somewhat relieved; it's been there for
Well, what is it? Can I help you in any way?
Oh, no; I don't want help.
His utterly incapacitated demeanour belied him; but he was speaking
of financial help.
I've been thinking of the past, Mr. Horn, he managed to say,
making a faint effort to direct the conversation according to his
Ah! sighed Cobbler Horn. Of the past! With the word, his
thoughts darted back to that period of his own past towards which they
so often sadly turned.
I somehow can't help it, continued Tommy, gathering courage.
There seems to be something that keeps bringing it up.
Cobbler Horn fixed his keen eyes on the agitated face of his
visitor. He knew what it was in the past to which Tommy referred, and
appreciated his delicacy of expression.
Yes, Tommy, he said, and I, too, often think of the past. But is
there anything special that brings it to your mind just now?
Upon this, all Tommy Dudgeon's clever plans vanished into air. His
scheme for leading the conversation up to the desired point utterly
broke down. He cast himself on the mercy of his friend.
Oh, he cried, in thrilling tones, can't you see it? Can't you
feel itevery day? The sec'tary! The sec'tary! If it is so plain to
me, how can you be so blind?
Then he darted from the room, and betook himself home with all
CHAPTER XXXVII. BETWEEN LIFE AND
Cobbler Horn's first thought was that the strain of eccentricity
in his humble little friend had developed into actual insanity. But, on
further consideration, he was disposed to take another view. He felt
bound to admit that, though there had been a strangeness in the
behaviour of the little man throughout his visit, it had not afforded
any actual ground for the suspicion of insanity, until he had so
suddenly rushed away home. It was, therefore, possible that there might
prove to be some important meaning in what he had said. At first
Cobbler Horn had gathered nothing intelligible from the impassioned
apostrophe of his excited little friend; but, by degrees, there dawned
upon him some faint gleam of what its meaning might be. The sec'tary!
That was the quaint term by which Tommy was wont to designate Miss
Owen. But their conversation had been drifting in the direction of his
little lost Marian. Why, then, should Miss Owen have been in Tommy's
mind? Ah, he saw how it was! His humble friend had perceived that Miss
Owen was a dear, good girl; and he had noticed her evident attachment
to himCobbler Horn, and his fondness for her, and no doubt the
little man had meant to suggest that she should take the place of the
lost child. It was characteristic of his humble friend that he should
seek, by such a hint, to point out a course which, no doubt, seemed to
him, likely to afford satisfaction to all concerned; and Cobbler Horn
could not help admiring the delicacy with which it had been done.
The Golden Shoemaker was quite persuaded that he had hit upon the
right interpretation of the little huckster's words; and he was not
altogether displeased with the suggestion he supposed them to convey.
Of course Marian would ultimately come back; and no one else could be
permitted permanently to occupy her place. But there was no reason why
he should not let his young secretary take, for the time being, as far
as possible, the place which would have been filled by his lost child.
In fact, Miss Owen was almost like a daughter to him already; and he
was learning to love her as such. Well, he would adopt the suggestion
of his little friend. His secretary should fill, for the time, the
vacant place in his life. Yet he would never leave off loving his
precious Marian; and her own share of love, which could never be given
to another, must be reserved for her against her return, when he would
have two daughters instead of one.
Thus mused the Golden Shoemaker, until, suddenly recollecting
himself, he started up. He had promised to visit one of his former
neighbours, who was sick, and it was already past the time at which the
visit should have been made. He hastily threw off his leathern apron,
and put on his coat and hat. At the same moment, he observed that heavy
rain was beating against the window. It was now early summer; and,
misled by the fair face of the sky, he had left home without an
umbrella. What was he to do? He passed into the kitchen, and opening
the front door, stood looking out upon the splashing rain. Behind him,
in the room, sat, at her sewing, the good woman whom he had placed in
charge of the house. She was small, and plump, and shining, the very
picture of content. Her manner was respectful, and, as a rule, she did
not address Cobbler Horn until he had spoken to her. To-day, however,
she was the first to speak.
Surely, sir, you won't go out in such a rain!
As she spoke, the shower seemed suddenly to gather force, and the
rain to descend in greater volume than ever.
Thank you, Mrs. Bunn, replied Cobbler Horn, looking round. I
think I will wait for a moment or two; but I have no time to spare, and
must go soon, in any case.
The rain had turned the street into a river, upon the surface of
which the plumply-falling drops were producing multitudes of those
peculiar gleaming white splashes which are known to childhood as
sixpences and half-crowns. All at once the downpour diminished. The
sky became lighter, and the sun showed a cleared face through the
I think I may venture now, said Cobbler Horn.
Better wait a little longer, sir; it 'ull come on again, said Mrs.
Bunn, with the air of a person to whom the foibles of the weather were
fully known. But Cobbler Horn was already in the street, and had not
heard her words. It was some distance to the house of his sick friend,
and he walked along at a rapid pace. But before he had proceeded far,
the prophecy of Mrs. Bunn was fulfilled. In a moment, the sky grew
black again; and, after a preliminary dash of heavy drops, the rain
came down in greater abundance than before. It almost seemed as though
a water-spout had burst. In two minutes, the Golden Shoemaker was wet
to the skin. He might have returned to the house, from which he was
distant no more than a few hundred yards; but he thought that, as he
was already wet through, he might as well go on. Besides, Cobbler
Horn's promise was sacred, and it had been given to his sick friend. So
he plunged on through the flooded and splashing streets.
When he reached his destination, he was glad that he had not turned
back. His poor friend was much worse, and it was evident that he had
not many hours to live. Forgetful of his own discomfort, and heedless
of danger from his wet clothes, Cobbler Horn took his place at the
bedside, and remained for many hours with the dying man. His friend was
a Christian, and did not fear to die. He had never been married, was
almost without relatives, and had scarcely a friend. As, hour after
hour, he held the hand of the dying man, Cobbler Horn whispered in
his ear, from time to time, a cheering word, or breathed a fervent
prayer. The feeble utterances of the dying man, which became less
frequent as the hours crept away, left no doubt as to the reality of
his faith in God, and, about midnight, he passed peacefully away.
Cobbler Horn lingered a few moments' longer, and set out for home.
The rain had long ceased, and the sky was without a cloud. The
semi-tropical shower had been followed by a rapid cooling of the
atmosphere, and he shivered in his still damp clothes, as he hurried
He found Miss Jemima and the young secretary anxiously awaiting his
return. They knew of his intention of visiting his sick friend, and
were not much surprised that he was so late. But his sister was greatly
concerned to find that he had remained so long with his clothes damp.
He went at once to bed, and Miss Jemima insisted upon bringing to him
there a steaming basin of gruel. He took a few spoonfuls, and then lay
wearily back upon the bed. Miss Jemima shook up his pillows, arranged
the bed-clothes, and reluctantly left him for the night.
In the morning it was evident that the Golden Shoemaker was ill.
The wetting he had received, followed by the effect of the chill night
air, had found out an unsuspected weakness in his constitution, and
symptoms of acute bronchitis had set in. The doctor was hastily
summoned, and, after the manner of his kind, gravely shook his head, by
way of intimating that the case was much more serious than he was
prepared verbally to admit. The condition of the patient, indeed, was
such as to justify the most alarming interpretation of the doctor's
manner and words.
Now followed a time of painful suspense. In spite of all that money
could do, Cobbler Horn grew worse daily. The visits of the doctor,
though repeated twice, and even three times a day, produced but little
appreciable result. Could it be that this man, into whose possession
such vast wealth had so recently come, was so early to be called to
relinquish it again? Was it possible that all this money was so soon to
drop from the hands which had seemed more fit to hold it than almost
any other hands to which had ever been entrusted the disposal of money?
Miss Jemima did not ask herself such questions as these. She moved
about the house, trying, in her grim way, to crush down within her
heart the anguished thought that her beloved and worshipped brother lay
at the point of death.
And Miss Owenwith what emotions did she contemplate the
possibility of that dread event the actual occurrence of which became
more probable every day? She went about her duties like one in a dream.
What would it mean to her if he were to die? She would lose a great
benefactor, and a dear friend; and that would be grief enough. But was
there not something more that she would losesomething which had
seemed almost within her grasp, which it had hitherto been the hope,
and yet the fear, of her life that she might find, but which, of late,
she had desired to find with an ardent and unhalting hope? It was with
a sick heart that the young secretary discharged, from day to day, her
now familiar duties. She was now so well acquainted with the mind of
her employer, that she could deal with the correspondence almost as
well without, as with, his help. But she missed him every moment, and
the thought that he might never again take his place over against her
at the office table filled her with bitter grief.
There were others who were anxious on account of the peril which
threatened the life of the Golden Shoemaker.
Mr. Durnford was weighted with grave concern. He called every day to
see his friend; and each time he left the sick-chamber, he was
uncertain whether his predominant feeling was that of sorrow for the
illness and danger of so good a man, or rejoicing that, in his pain and
peril, Cobbler Horn was so patient and resigned.
In the breasts of many who were accustomed to receive benefits at
the hands of the Golden Shoemaker, there was great distress. Every
day, and almost every hour, there were callers, chiefly of the humbler
classes, with anxious enquiries on their lips. Not the least solicitous
of these were the Little Twin Brethren. Tommy Dudgeon almost
continually haunted the house where his honoured friend lay in such
dire straits. The anxiety of the little man was intensified by a
burning desire to know whether his desperate appeal on the subject of
the sec'tary had produced its designed effect on the mind of
Public sympathy with Cobbler Horn and his anxious friends ran
deep; and every one who could claim, in any degree, the privilege of a
friend, made frequent enquiry as to the sufferer's state. But neither
public sympathy nor private grief were of much avail; and it seemed,
for a time, as though the earthly course of the Golden Shoemaker was
almost run. There came a day when the doctors confessed that they could
do no more. A few hours must decide the question of life or death.
Dreadful was the suspense in the stricken house, and great the sorrow
in many hearts outside. Mr. Durnford, who had been summoned early in
the morning, remained to await the issue of the day. Little Tommy
Dudgeon, who had been informed that the crisis was near, came, and
lingered about the house, on one pretence or another, unable to tear
But how was it with the Golden Shoemaker himself? From the first,
he had been calm and patient; and, even now, when he was confronted
with the grim visage of death, he did not flinch. Long accustomed to
leave the issues of his life to God, willing to live yet prepared to
die, he realized his position without dismay. No doctor ever had a more
tractable patient than was Cobbler Horn; and he yielded himself to
his nurses like an infant of days. In the earlier stages of his
illness, he had thought much about the mysterious words and strange
behaviour of his friend Tommy Dudgeon, on the day on which he had been
taken ill. Further consideration had not absolutely confirmed Cobbler
Horn's first impression as to the meaning of the little huckster's
words. Pondering them as he lay in bed, he had become less sure that
his humble little friend had intended simply to suggest the admirable
fitness of the young secretary to take the place of his lost child.
Surely, he had thought, the impassioned exclamation of the eccentric
little man must have borne some deeper significance than that! And then
he had become utterly bewildered as to what meaning the singular words
of Tommy Dudgeon had been intended to convey. And then there came a
glimmeringnothing moreof the idea his faithful friend had wished to
impart. But, just when he might have penetrated the mystery, if he
could have thought it out a little more, he became too ill to think at
After this his mind wandered slightly, and once or twice a strange
fancy beset him that his little Marian was in the room, and that she
was putting her soft hands on his forehead; but, in a moment, the fancy
was gone, and he was aware that the young secretary was laying her cool
gentle palm upon his burning brow.
It had been a wonderful comfort to the girl that she had been
permitted to take a spell of nursing now and then.
CHAPTER XXXVIII. A LITTLE SHOE.
That which happens now and then occurred in the case of Cobbler
Horn. The doctors proved to be mistaken; and thanks to a strong and
unimpaired constitution, and to the blessing of God on efficient
nursing and medical skill, the Golden Shoemaker survived the crisis
of his illness, and commenced a steady return to health and strength.
Great was the joy on every side. But, perhaps, the person who
rejoiced most was Miss Owen. Not even the satisfaction of Miss Jemima
at the ultimate announcement of the doctors, that their patient might
now do well, was greater than was that of the young secretary. Miss
Owen rejoiced for very special reasons of her own. During the
convalescence of Cobbler Horn, the young secretary was with him very
much. He was glad to have her in his room; and, as his strength
returned, he talked to her often about herself. He seemed anxious to
know all she could tell him of her early life.
Sit down here, by the bed, he would say eagerly, taking her plump,
brown wrist in his wasted fingers, and tell me about yourself.
She would obey him, laughing gently, less at the nature of the
request, than at the eagerness with which it was made.
Now begin, he said one evening, for the twentieth time, settling
himself beneath the bed-clothes to listen, as though he had never heard
the story before; and mind you don't leave anything out.
Well, she commenced, I was a little wandering mite, with hardly
any clothes and only one shoe. I was
His hand was on her arm in an instant. This was the first time she
had mentioned the fact that, when she was found by the friends by whom
she had been brought up, one of her feet was without a shoe.
Only one shoe, did you say? asked Cobbler Horn, in tremulous
Yes, she replied, not suspecting the tumult of thoughts her simple
statement had excited in his mind.
In truth, her statement had agitated her listener in no slight
degree. He did not, as yet, fully perceive its significance. But the
coincidence was so very strange! One shoe! Only one shoe! His little
Marian had lost one of her shoes when she strayed away. A wonderful
I was very dirty, and my clothes were torn, resumed Miss Owen;
and I was altogether a very forlorn little thing, I have no doubt. I
don't remember much about it, myself, you know; but Mrs. Burton has
often told me that I was crying at the time, and appeared to have been
so engaged for some time. It was one evening in June, and getting dusk.
Mr. and Mrs. Burton had been for a walk in the country, and were
returning home, when they came upon me, walking very slowly, poking my
fists into my eyes, and crying, as I said. When they asked me what was
the matter, I couldn't tell them much. I seemed to be trying to say
something about a 'bad woman,' and my 'daddy.' They couldn't even make
out, with certainty, what I said my name was. Little as you might think
it, Mr. Horn. I was a very bad talker in those days. 'Mary Ann Owen'
was what my kind friends thought I called myself; and 'Mary Ann Owen' I
have been ever since.
Well, these dear people took me home; and, after they had washed
me, and found some clothes for me which had belonged to a little girl
they had losttheir only childthey gave me a good basin of bread and
milk, and put me to bed.
The next day they tried to get me to tell them something more, but
it was no use; and as I couldn't tell them where I lived, and they
didn't even feel sure about my name, they naturally felt themselves at
a loss. But I don't think they were much troubled about that; for I
believe they were quite prepared to keep me as their own child. You see
they had lost a little one; and there was a vacant place that I expect
they thought I might fill. They did, at first, try to find out who I
was. But they altogether failed; and so, without more ado, they just
made me their own little girl. They taught me to call them 'father' and
'mother'; and they have always been so good and kind!
Though several points in Miss Owen's story had touched him keenly,
Cobbler Horn quickly regained his composure after the first start of
surprise. Feeling himself too weak to do battle with agitating
thoughts, he put aside, for the time, the importunate questions which
besieged his mind.
Thank you, he said quietly, when the narrative was finished.
To-morrow we will talk about it all again. I think I can go to sleep
now. But will you first, please, read a little from the dear old book.
The young girl reached a Bible which stood always on a table by the
bedside, and, turning to one of his favourite places, read, in her
sweet clear tones, words of comfort and strength. Then she bade him
good night, and moved towards the door. But he called her back.
Will you take these letters? he said, with his hand on a bundle of
letters which lay on the table at his side; and put them into the
They were letters of importance, to which he had been giving, during
the evening, such attention as he was able. During his illness, he had
allowed his secretary to keep the key of the safe.
Miss Owen took the letters, and went downstairs. Going first into
the dining-room, she told Miss Jemima that Cobbler Horn seemed likely
to go to sleep, and then proceeded to the office. Without delay, she
unlocked the safe, and was in the act of depositing the bundle of
letters in its place, when, from a recess at the back, a small
tissue-paper parcel, which she had never previously observed, fell down
to the front, and became partially undone. As she picked it up,
intending to restore it to the place from which it had fallen, her
elbow struck the side of the safe, and the parcel was jerked out of her
hand. In trying to save it, she retained in her grasp a corner of the
paper, which unfolded itself, and there fell out upon the floor a
little child's shoe, around which was wrapped a strip of stained and
faded pink print. At a sight so unexpected she uttered a cry. Then she
picked up the little shoe, and, having released it from its bandage,
turned it over and over in her hands. Next she gave her attention to
the piece of print. She was utterly dazed. Suddenly the full meaning of
her discovery flashed upon her mind. She dropped the simple articles by
which she had been so deeply moved, and, covering her face with her
hands, burst into a paroxysm of joyous tears. But her agitation was
brief. Hastily drying her eyes, she picked up the little shoe. No need
to wait till she had compared it with the one which lay in the corner
of her box! The image of the latter was imprinted on her mind with the
exactness of a photograph, with its every wrinkle and spot, and every
slash it had received from that unknown, wanton hand. She could
compare the two shoes here and now, as exactly as though she actually
saw them side by side. Yes, this little shoe was indeed the fellow of
her own! And the strip of printwhat was it but her missing
bonnet-string? She had found what she had so often longed to find. And
she herself wasyes, why should she hesitate to say it?the little
Marian of whom she had so often heard!
How wonderful it was! Here was truth stranger than fiction, indeed!
She laugheda gentle, trilling laugh, low and sweet. But ah, she could
not tell him! She could not say to him, I am the daughter you lost so
long ago. I have seen in your safe the fellow of the shoe I wore when I
was found by my kind friends. Of course it would convince him; but she
could not say it. She must wait until he found out the truth for
himself. But would he ever find it out? She hoped and thought he would.
Had he not marked what she said about her having had on only one shoe
when she was found? And would not that lead him to think and enquire?
Meanwhile, she herself knew the wonderful truth; and she could afford
to wait. It would all come right, of course it would; any other thought
was too ridiculous to be entertained.
Very quietly, and with almost reverent fingers, she wound the faded
bonnet-string once more around the little shoe, and wrapped them up
again in the much-crumpled paper.
How often must he have unfolded it! was the thought that nestled
in her heart, as she replaced the precious parcel in the safe, and
closed and locked the ponderous door.
From the office, the young secretary went directly to her own room.
To open her trunk, and plunge her hand down into the corner where lay
her own little parcel of relics, was the work of a moment. There was
certainly no room for doubt. The little, stout, leather shoe which she
had treasured so long was the fellow of the one she had just seen in
the safe downstairs. There was the very same curve of the sole, made by
the pressure of the little foother own, and similar inequalities in
the upper part. With a sudden movement, she lifted the tiny shoe to her
lips. And here was her funny old sun-bonnet! How often she had wondered
what had become of its other string! Last of all, she took up the
little chemise, which completed her simple store of relics, and gazed
intently upon the red letters with which it was marked. All uncertainty
as to their meaning was gone. What could M.H. stand for but Marian
Horn? With a grateful heart, she rolled up her treasures, and, having
consigned them once more to their place in the trunk, went downstairs.
Miss Jemima was indisposed; and, having seen the nurse duly installed
in the sick-room, she had retired for the night. Accordingly, Miss
Owen, much to her relief, had supper by herself. She felt that she did
not wish to talk to any one just at present, and to Miss Jemima least
When the young secretary fell asleep that night, she was lulled with
the sweetness of the thought that she had not only found her father,
but had discovered him in the person of the best man she had ever
known. The discovery of her father might have proved a bitter
disappointment; it was actually such as to fill her with unspeakable
gratitude. She did not greatly regret that she had not found her
mother, as well as her father. It would probably have caused her real
grief, if any one had appeared to claim the place in her heart which
was held by the woman from whom she had always received, in a peculiar
degree, a mother's love and a mother's care. One could find room for
any number of fathersprovided they were worthy. But a mother!her
place was sacred; there could be no sharing of her throne.
CHAPTER XXXIX. A JOYOUS DISCOVERY.
It was long that night before Cobbler Horn fell asleep. He was
free from pain, and felt better altogether than at any time since the
beginning of his illness. Yet he could not sleep. The story of his
young secretary, as she had told it this evening, had supplied him with
thoughts calculated to banish slumber from the most drowsy eyes.
Miss Owen had told him her simple story many times before; but this
evening she had introduced certain new particulars of a startling kind;
and it was as the result of the thoughts thereby suggested that he was
unable to sleep. The few additional details which the young secretary
had included in her narrative this evening had given a new aspect to
the story. There was the solitary shoe she had worn at the time when
she had come into the kind hands of Mr. and Mrs. Burton, and the fact
that she was a very indistinct talker at the time. The entire story,
too, seemed to correspond so wellwhy should he not admit it?with
what might not improbably have been the history of his little Marian;
and Marian would be, at that time, about the same age as was Miss Owen
when she was found by the friends whose adopted child she became. But
the solitary shoe! He wondered whether it was still in her possession.
He would ask her in the morning. And then the indistinct talk of which
she had spoken! How well he remembered the pretty broken speech of his
own little pet! Then there returned to him that gleam of intelligence
with regard to the meaning of the strange words of Tommy Dudgeon with
which he had been visited at the beginning of his illness. Surely this
was what his faithful friend had meant! From the great affection of the
little huckster for Marian, it was likely that he would have a vivid
recollection of the child; and no doubt the little man had already
discerned what the father himself was only now, after so many hints,
beginning to perceive. Thus he pondered through the night. Strange to
say, he felt neither sleepy nor tired. He was refreshed by the gracious
prophecy of coming joy which the story of his young secretary had
supplied; and when, after falling asleep in the early hours of the
morning, he awoke towards eight o'clock, he felt as though he had slept
It was the custom for the young secretary to pay a visit to her
employer's room soon after breakfast, for the purpose of laying before
him any of the morning's letters to which it was imperative that his
personal attention should be given. Most frequently Miss Owen's visit
was, as far as business was concerned, a mere formality, or little
more. There were few of the letters with which she herself was not able
to deal; and all that was necessary, as a rule, was for her to make a
general report, which Cobbler Horn invariably received with an
approving smile. Then the favoured young secretary would linger for a
few moments in the room. She would hover about the bed; asking how he
had passed the night; performing a variety of tender services, which,
though he had not previously realized the need of them, increased his
comfort to a wonderful extent; and talking, all the while, in her
merry, heartsome way, like a privileged child, with now and then a
gentle, cooing little laugh.
There was nothing, in the whole course of the day, that the Golden
Shoemaker enjoyed so much as the morning visit of his fresh young
secretary. But he had never before anticipated it as eagerly as he did
this morning. He had long looked upon this young girl rather in the
light of a devoted daughter, than of a paid secretary. What if,
unconsciously to them both, she had thus grown into her rightful place!
As the time approached for her appearance, he had insensibly brought
himself to face more fully the wonderful possibility which had been
presenting itself to his mind during the last few hours. The nurse was
surprised that, though he seemed to be even better than usual, he could
scarcely eat any breakfast. All the time, he was watching the door, and
listening for the slightest sound. He wondered whether Miss Owen still
had in her possession the little shoe of which she had spoken. He must
ask her that at once. And how he yearned to search her face, with one
long, scrutinising gaze!
At last she came, radiant, as usual! Did he notice that a slight
shyness veiled her face, and that there was an unusual tremor in her
voice as she wished him good morning? If Cobbler Horn perceived
these signs, he paid them but scant regard. He was too much absorbed in
his own thoughts, to consider what those of his young secretary might
be; and he was too busily engaged in scrutinising the permanent
features of her face, to give much heed to its transient expression.
What he saw did not greatly assist in the settlement of the question
which occupied his mind. And small wonder that it should be so; for,
when he had last seen his Marian, she was a little girl of five.
No less eagerly than Cobbler Horn scanned the countenance of his
young secretary, did her eyes, that morning, seek his face. She too had
passed a broken night. But it had not seemed wearisome or long. Happy
thoughts had rendered sleep an impertinence at first; and, when healthy
youthful nature had, at length, asserted itself, the young girl had
slept only in pleasant snatches, waking every now and then from some
delicious dream, to assure herself that the sweetest dream could not be
half so delightful as the glad reality which had come into her life.
If these two people could have read each other's thoughtsBut
that might not be. She wished him good morning, in her own bright
way; and he responded with his usual benignant smile. Then they
proceeded to business. There was one very important letter, which
demanded some expenditure of time. The secretary was not altogether
herself. Her hand trembled a little, and there was a slight quaver in
her voice. Her employer noticed these signs of discomposure, and spoke
of them in his kindly way.
Surely you are not well this morning! he said, placing his hand
lightly on her wrist.
His secretary was usually so self-possessed.
Oh yes, she said, with a start, I am quite wellquite.
She smiled at the very idea of her not being well, knowing what she
Come and sit down beside me for a little while, said Cobbler
Horn, when their business was finished; and let us have some talk.
It was the ordinary invitation; but there was something unusual in
the tone of his voice. As the young girl took her seat at the bedside,
her previous agitation in some degree returned. Cobbler Horn's
fingers closed upon her hand, with a gentle pressure.
My dear young lady, there is something that I wish to ask you.
There was just the slightest tremor in his voice; and the young
secretary was distinctly conscious of the beating of her heart.
Yes, sir, she said, faintly, trembling a little.
Don't be agitated, he continued, for it was impossible to overlook
the fact of her excitement. It's a very simple matter.
He did not knowhow could he?that her thoughts were running in
the same direction as his own.
You said, he pursued, that, when you were found by your good
friends, you were wearing only one shoe. Did youhave you that shoe
It was evident that he was agitated now. Miss Owen started, and he
could feel her hand quiver within his grasp, like a frightened bird.
Yes, she answered in a whisper, above which she felt powerless to
raise her voice, I have kept it ever since.
Then, he resumed, having now quite recovered his self-possession,
would you mind letting me see it?
With a strong effort, she succeeded in maintaining her self-control.
Oh no, not at all, sir! she said, rising, and moving towards the
door; I'll fetch it at once. But it isn't much to look at now, she
added over her shoulder, as she left the room.
'Not much to look at'! laughed the Golden Shoemaker softly to
himself. There was nothing that he had ever been half so anxious to
Five minutes later he was sitting up in bed, turning over and over
in his hands the fellow of the little shoe which he had cherished for
so many years as the dearest memento of his lost child. Could there be
any doubt? Was it not his own handiwork? It had evidently received
several random slashes with a knife, and it still bore traces of mud.
But he knew his own work too well; and had he not looked upon the
fellow of this shoe every day for the last twelve years?
Strange to say, so completely absorbed was Cobbler Horn in
contemplating the shoe which his Marian had worn, that, for the moment,
he did not think of Marian herself. At length he looked up. But he was
alone. Discretion, and the tumult of her emotions, had constrained the
young secretary to withdraw from the room. Putting a strong hand upon
herself, she had retired to the office, where she was, at that moment,
diligently at work.
Cobbler Horn sighed. But perhaps it was better that the young girl
had withdrawn. There was little room for doubt; but he must make
assurance doubly sure. He touched the electric bell at the head of the
bed, and the nurse immediately appeared.
Will you be so good as to tell Miss Horn I should like to see her
The nurse, marking the eagerness with which the request was uttered,
and observing the little shoe on the counterpane, perceived that the
occasion was urgent, and departed on her errand with all speed.
I don't think he is any worse this morning, she said to Miss
Jemima when she had delivered her message. Indeed he seems, quite
unaccountably, to be very much better. But it is evident something has
Without waiting to hear more, Miss Jemima hurried to her brother's
room. Sitting up in bed, with a happy face, he was holding in his hand
a dilapidated child's shoe, which he placed in his sister's hands as
soon as she approached the bed.
Jemima, look at that! he said joyously.
Thinking it was the shoe which her brother had always preserved with
so much care, she took it, and examined it with much concern.
Whoever can have cut it about like that? she cried.
Cobbler Horn hastened to rectify her mistake.
No, Jemima, he said, in a tone of reverent exultation; it's the
other shoethe one we've been wanting to find all these years!
The first thought of Miss Jemima was that her brother had gone mad.
Then she examined the shoe more closely.
To be sure! she said. How foolish of me! Those cuts were made
As she spoke, she put her hand on the table at the bedside, to
Brother, she demanded, in trembling tones, where did you get this
shoe? Did it come by the morning post?
Cobbler Horn answered deliberately. He would give his sister time
to take in the meaning of his words.
It has been in the possession of Miss Owen. She brought it to me
Miss Jemima's first impulse was towards indignation. What had Miss
Owen been doing with the shoe? But the next moment, she reflected that
there must be some reasonable explanation of the fact that the shoe had
been in the possession of her brother's secretarythough what that
explanation might be Miss Jemima could not, as yet, divine.
She has had it, resumed Cobbler Horn, in the same quiet tone as
before, ever since she was a little girl. She was wearing it when she
was found by the good people by whom she was adopted.
Then light came to Miss Jemima, clear and full. She grasped her
brother's shoulder, and remembered his weakness only just in time to
refrain from giving him a vigorous shake.
Brother, brother, she cried, do you understand what your words
Yes, Jemimain part, at least. But we must make sure. First we
will put the two shoes together, and see that they really are the
Why, surely, Thomas, you have no doubt?
There seems little room for it, indeed; but we cannot make too
He wanted to give himself time to become accustomed to the great joy
which was dawning on his life.
You know where the other shoe is, Jemima?
Yes, in the safe.
Yes; and you know that, while I have been up here, Miss Owen has
kept the key of the safe?
Miss Jemima had undergone much mental chafing by reason of that
Well, will you go to her in the office, and say I wish you to bring
me something out of the safe? She will not know what you bring. She
will just hand you the key, and go on with her work.
Yes, I will go, brother. But are you sure she knows or suspects
nothing? She may have seen the shoe.
Oh no; it is well wrapped up, and I am sure she would not touch the
parcel. I can trust my secretary, he added, with a new-born pride.
As Miss Jemima went down stairs, she wondered she had not long ago
lighted on the discovery which her brother had now made. It explained
many things. The tones and gestures which had so often startled her by
their familiarity; the vague feeling that, at some time, she must have
known this young girl before; the growing resemblanceevident to Miss
Jemima's eyes, at leastof the young secretary to Cobbler
Hornthese things, which, with many kindred signs, Miss Jemima had
hidden in her heart, had their explanation in the discovery which had
just been made.
Miss Owen yielded the key of the safe without question. Though she
appeared to take no notice of Miss Jemima's doings, she knew, as by
instinct, what Miss Jemima was taking out of the safe; and she told
herself that she must not, and would not, let it appear that she
supposed anything unusual was going on. She went on quietly with her
work; but it was by dint of such an effort of self-control, as few
human beings have ever found it necessary to make, or could have made.
As the result of the young secretary's effort of self-repression,
there appeared in her face, at the moment when Miss Jemima turned to
leave the room, an expression so much like that assumed by the
countenance of Cobbler Horn at times when he was very firm, that the
heart of Miss Jemima gave a mighty bound.
Meanwhile Miss Jemima's brother was eagerly awaiting her return. She
had been absent less than five minutes, when she once more entered his
There, she said, holding the two little shoes out towards her
brother, side by side, there can be no doubt about the shoes, at any
rate. They are a pair, sure enough. Why, she continued, turning up the
shoe that Miss Owen had produced, I remember noticing, that very
morning, that half the leather was torn away from the heel of one of
the child's shoes, just like that.
As she spoke, she held out the shoe, and showed her brother that its
heel had been damaged exactly as she had described. Then a strange
thing happened to Miss Jemima. She dropped the little shoes upon the
bed, and, covering her face with her hands, cried gently for a few
moments. The Golden Shoemaker gazed at his sister in some wonder; and
then two large tears gathered in his own eyes, and rolled down his
All at once Miss Jemima almost fiercely dashed her hand across her
Brother, she cried, I've often heard of tears of joy; but I
didn't think I should live to say they were the only ones I had shed
since I was a little child! But there's no mistake about those shoes.
And there's no doubt about anything else either.
Cobbler Horn was, perhaps, quite as confident as his sister; but
he was a little more cautious.
Yes, Jemima, he said; but we must be careful. A mistake would be
dreadfulboth on our own account, and on that ofof Miss Owen. We
must send for Mr. and Mrs. Burton at once. Mr. Durnford will telegraph.
It will be necessary, of course, to tell him of our discovery; but he
may be trusted not to breathe it to any one else.
Miss Jemima readily assented to her brother's proposal. Mr. Durnford
was sent for, and came without delay. His astonishment on hearing the
wonderful news his friends had to tell was hardly as great as they
expected. It is possible that this arose from the fact that he was
acquainted with the story of Miss Owen, and that his eyes and ears had
been open during the last few months. It was, however, with no lack of
heartiness that he complied with the request to send a telegram
summoning Mr. and Mrs. Burton to Cobbler Horn's bedside.
CHAPTER XL. TOMMY DUDGEON'S
After the despatch of the telegram, the words of Tommy Dudgeon, with
reference to the young secretary, recurred once more to the mind of
Cobbler Horn, and he mentioned them to his sister.
This must have been what the good fellow meant, he said. You
remember, Jemima, how fond they were of each otherTommy and the
Yes, responded Miss Jemima, reluctantly; for she still retained
her dislike for those stupid Dudgeons.
Do you know, Jemima, I have it on my mind to send for Tommy at
once, and ask him what he really meant.
Send for himto come in here?
Yes; why not?
Well, you must do as you like, I suppose.
A moment's reflection had convinced the good lady that she had
really no sound reason to advance against the proposal her brother had
made; and she knew that, in any case, he would do as he thought fit.
Accordingly a messenger was despatched for Tommy Dudgeon with all
speed; and the little huckster turned over to his brother, without
compunction, an important customer whom he happened to be serving at
the time, and hurried away to the bedside of his honoured friend.
The servant who, in obedience to orders received, showed Tommy up at
once to Cobbler Horn's room, handed in at the same time a telegram
which had just arrived from Mr. Burton, saying that he and Mrs. Burton
might be expected about three o'clock in the afternoon. Cobbler Horn
placed the pink paper on the little table by his bedside, and turned to
Tommy, who stood just within the doorway, nervously twisting his hat
between his hands.
Come in, Tommy, come in! said the Golden Shoemaker,
encouragingly, you see I am almost well.
Tommy advanced into the room; but being arrested by the sight of
Miss Jemima, who stood at the bed-foot, he stopped short half-way
between the bed and the door, and honoured that formidable lady with a
trembling bow. Miss Jemima's mood this morning was complacency itself,
and she acknowledged the obeisance of the little huckster with a not
ungracious nod. Greatly encouraged, Tommy moved a pace or two nearer to
I'm deeply thankful, Mr. Horn, he said, to see you looking so
Thank you, Tommy, responded Cobbler Horn, with a smile, as he
reached out his hand. The Lord is very good. No doubt He has more work
for me to do yet.
As Tommy almost reverently took the hand of his beloved and honoured
friend he thought to himself, I wonder whether he has considered what
The last time we met, Tommy, began Cobbler Horn, as though in
answer to the unspoken question of the little manBut, sit down,
friend, sit down.
Tommy protested that he would rather stand; but, being overborne, he
effected a compromise, by placing himself quite forward on the edge of
the chair, and depositing his hat on the floor, between his feet.
You remember the time? resumed Cobbler Horn.
Oh yes; quite well!
It was the afternoon of the day I was taken ill.
Yes; and Mrs. Bunn said you would go out in that dreadful
Tommy did not add that he himself, watching through his shop window,
in the hope that his friend would come across to ask the meaning of his
mysterious words, had, with a sinking heart, seen him walk off in the
opposite direction through the drenching shower.
Well, said Cobbler Horn, with a smile, I've had to pay for
that, and shall be all the wiser, no doubt. But there was something you
said that afternoon that I want to ask you about. At the time I thought
I knew what you meant. But I am inclined now to think I was mistaken,
and that your words referred to something quite different from what I
then supposed. Do you remember what you said?
It was impossible for Tommy Dudgeon to conceal the agitation of his
mind. He rejoiced at the opportunity to make known his great discovery
to his friend; and yet he trembled lest he should prove unequal to the
task. He thought, for a moment, that he would gain time by seeming not
to understand the reference his friend had made.
What words do you speak of, chiefly, Mr. Horn? he asked
tremulously, I said so many
But Tommy Dudgeon could not dissemble. He stammered, stopped, wiped
his forehead, and stretched out his hands as though in appeal to the
mercy of his hearers.
Of course I know what words you mean! he cried. I wanted to tell
you of something I had seen for weeks, but that you didn't seem to see.
And I can see it still; and there's no mistake about it. I'm as certain
sure of it, as that I am sitting on this chair. It was about the
sec'tary, and some one else; and yet not anybody else, because they're
both the same. May I tell you, Mr. Horn? Can you bear it, do you
The Golden Shoemaker regarded the eager face of his little friend
with glistening eyes; and Miss Jemima, leaning towards him over the
framework of the iron bedstead, listened with an intent countenance,
from which all trace of disfavour had vanished away.
Yes, said Cobbler Horn, in grave, calm tones; tell us all. We
are not unprepared.
Thank you, said the little man, fervently. But, oh, I wish you
knew! I wish God had been pleased to make it known to you, he added
with a reminiscence of his Old Testament studies, in a dream and
vision of the night. Oh, my dear friend, don't you see that what you've
been longing and praying for all these years has come to passas we
always knew it would; andand that she's come back! she's come back?
There, that's what I meant!
Then it really was so, said Cobbler Horn. I'm surprised I did
not perceive your meaning at the time.
Tommy thought him wonderfully calm.
But I must tell you, Tommy, that we have now very much reason to
think that your surmise is correct.
Surmise is not the word, Mr. Horn; I know she's come back!
Of course you do, interposed Miss Jemima, in emphatic tones.
Tommy looked gratefully towards the hitherto dreadful lady; and she
regarded him with eyes which seemed to say, you have won my favour
once for all.
Can you tell us, Tommy, asked Cobbler Horn, what has made you
so very sure?
Yes, replied Tommy, with energy, I'll tell you. Everything has
made me surethe way she walks along the street, with her head up, and
putting her foot down as if a regiment of soldiers wouldn't stop her;
and her manner of coming into the shop and saying, 'How are you to-day,
Mr. Dudgeon?' and her sitting in the old arm-chair, and putting her
head on one side like a knowing little bird, and asking questions about
everything, and letting her eyes shine on you like stars. Begging your
pardon, Mr. Horn, she's just the little lassie all over. Why I should
know her with my eyes shut, if she were only to speak up, and say,
'Well, Tommy, how are you, to-day?'
But, asked Cobbler Horn, whose heart, secretly, was almost
bursting with delight, may you not be mistaken, after all?
I am not mistaken, replied Tommy firmly.
But it's such a long while ago, suggested Cobbler Horn;
andand she will be very much altered by this time. You can't
be sure that a young woman is the same person as a little girl you
haven't seen for more than a dozen years.
Herein, perhaps, Cobbler Horn's own chief difficulty lay. How,
he asked, can I think of Marian as being other than a little girl?
Tommy Dudgeon did not seem to be troubled in that way at all.
Yes, he said, I can be quite sure when I have known the little
girl as I knew that one; and when I have watched, and listened to, the
young woman, as I have been watching and listening to the sec'tary for
these months past.
Cobbler Horn and Miss Jemima exchanged glances.
This is truly wonderful! said he.
Not at all! retorted she. The wonder is, Thomas, that you and I
have been so blind all this time.
The Golden Shoemaker smiled gently, as he lay back upon his
pillows. The image of a small, dark-eyed child held possession of his
mind; and he had not been able readily to bring himself to see his
little Marian in any other form. As for any real doubt, there was only
a shred of it left in his mind now. Yet he still said to himself that
he must make assurance doubly sure.
Well, Tommy, he said, we are very much obliged to you. And now,
will you do us another kindness? We are expecting some friends this
afternoon who may be able to give us a good deal of light on this
subject. Will you come, when we send for you, and hear what they have
That I will! was the hearty response, I'll come, Mr. Horn,
whenever you send.
You have met these friends before, Tommy, said Cobbler Horn.
They are Mr. and Mrs. Burtonat the 'Home,' you know.
They found Miss Owen when she was a very little girl; and brought
her up as their own child; and we hope that what they may tell us about
her will help us to decide whether what we think is true.
Tommy nodded again with beaming eyes, and shortly afterwards took
Now, brother, said Miss Jemima, you must take some rest, or we
shall have you ill again.
Not much danger of that! replied Cobbler Horn, smiling. I
think, please God, I've found a better medicine now, than all the
doctors in the world could give me.
Yes; but you are excited, and the reaction will come, if you do not
Well, perhaps you are right, Jemima. But first, don't you think she
had better be out of the way when Mr. and Mrs. Burton come?
Yes, I've thought of that; she can take that poor girl along the
road for a drive.
A capital idea. Have it arranged, Jemima.
Very well. I'll go and see about it at once; and you get to sleep.
CHAPTER XLI. NO ROOM FOR DOUBT!
At the appointed time, Mr. and Mrs. Burton arrived. Being, as yet,
ignorant of the purpose for which their presence was desired, they were
full of conjectures. Miss Jemima received them in the dining-room,
downstairs. The first question they asked related to Cobbler Horn's
health. Was he worse?
No, said Miss Jemima; he is much better. But he wishes to consult
you about a matter of great importance.
Then, upon their protesting that they were in no immediate need of
refreshment, Miss Jemima conducted her visitors upstairs to her
Though Cobbler Horn had not been to sleep since the morning, he
was greatly refreshed by the quiet hours he had passed. He turned to
greet Mr. and Mrs. Burton, as they came in.
This is very good of you, he said, putting out his hand.
Miss Jemima placed chairs for the visitors, and they took their
seats near the bed.
I think I must sit up, said Cobbler Horn.
Miss Jemima helped him to raise himself upon his pillows, and then
sat down on a chair at the opposite side of the bed.
There now, said the Golden Shoemaker, we shall do finely. But,
Jemima, how about our friend, Tommy?
He'll be here directly was the concise reply.
Mr. and Mrs. Burton waited patiently for Cobbler Horn to speak.
Mrs. Burton was a shrewd-looking, motherly body; and her husband had
the appearance of a capable and kindly man. They were both conscious of
some curiosity, and even anxiety, with regard to what Cobbler Horn
might be about to say. The peculiarity of the situation was that he
should have sent for them both. Perhaps each had some vague prevision
of the communication he was about to make.
Now, dear friends, he said, at last, no doubt you will be
wondering why I have sent for you in such a hurry.
Both Mr. Burton and his wife protested that they were always at the
service of Mr. Horn, and expressed the assurance that he would not have
sent for them without good cause.
Thank you, he said. I think you will admit that, in this
instance, the cause is as good as can be.
Looking upon the kindly faces of these good Christian people,
Cobbler Horn wondered how they would receive the news he would
probably have to impart. He must proceed cautiously. At the same time,
he was thankful that his little lost childif, indeed, it were sohad
been committed by the great Father to such kindly hands.
You will not mind, dear friends, he resumed, if I ask you one or
two questions about the circumstances under which myMiss Owen came
into your charge when a child?
By no means, sir! The startling nature of the question caused no
hesitation in the reply. Indeed, though startled, these good people
were not so very much surprised. They had not, perhaps, been actually
expecting that this would prove to be the subject on which they had
been summoned to confer. But, ever since their adopted daughter had
entered the household of this man, whose own little daughter had been
lost, just about the time that she must have left her home, both Mr.
and Mrs. Burton had secretly thought that perhaps, as the result, she
would find her own parent, and they would lose their child. Perhaps it
was on account of the vagueness of this thought, or because of the
painful anticipations to which it gave rise, or for both these reasons,
that the good couple had made no mention to each other of its presence
in their respective minds. They glanced at one another now; and, by
some subtle influence, each became aware that the other's mind had been
occupied by this disturbing thought.
You will believe, said Cobbler Horn, that I have good reasons
for the questions I am going to ask?
We are sure of that, sir, responded Mr. Burton.
Yes, indeed, said Mrs. Burton.
Well, can you tell me in what year, and at what time of the year,
you found the child?
It was on the 2nd of June, 18 said Mrs. Burton, promptly.
Cobbler Horn and Miss Jemima exchanged glances. It was the very
year in which, on that bright May morning, little Marian had vanished,
like a flash of departing sunshine, from their lives.
About what age would you suppose the child to have been at the
She told us her age, said Mr. Burton.
Yes, pursued his wife, she was a very indistinct talker, and her
age was almost the only thing we could actually make out. She said she
was five; and that was about what she looked.
Do you think, now, continued Cobbler Horn, with another glance
at his sister, that you could give us anything like a description of
My wife can do that very well, said Mr. Burton. She has often
told Miss Owen what she looked like when we found her crying in the
Yes, said Mrs. Burton, I remember exactly what she was like. She
had black hairas she has now, and her eyes were very dark; her skin
was even browner than it is now, being so dirty; and she had very rosy
cheeks. It was evident that some of her clothes had been stolen. Indeed
they were almost all gone, and she had scarcely anything on but an old,
and very dirty shawl, which was wrapped round her body so tightly that
it must have hurt her very much. She had lost one of her shoes, and her
foot was bound up with a filthy piece of rag. She had both her socks
on, but they were in dreadful holes. She was wearing a torn sun-bonnet,
which was covered with mud; andlet me seeone of its strings was
missing. And, yes, her one shoe was cut about over the top, as if it
had been done on purpose with a knife. She had evidently been in very
bad hands, poor little mite! and the honest, kindly face was darkened
with a frown, as Mrs. Burton clenched her plump fist in her lap.
Miss Jemima had been listening with intense interest, from her
position on the other side of the bed; and now interposed with a
question, in her own quick way.
What was the pattern of the sun-bonnet? Was it a small, pink sprig,
on a white ground?
Why, you must have seen it, ma'am! was Mrs. Burton's startled
reply. That was the very thing!
Perhaps I have, responded Miss Jemima, and perhaps I haven't.
Mrs. Burton hardly knew what to say.
Well, she resumed, at last, Miss Owen has kept the sun-bonnet,
and the one shoe, and two or three other little things; and I'm sure
she will be glad to let you see them. But, may I ask, Miss Horn,
But Cobbler Horn interrupted her.
I think, Jemima, we had now better tell our kind friends why we are
asking these questions.
Yes, said Miss Jemima; I should have told them at first.
Well, resumed Cobbler Horn, turning to Mr. and Mrs. Burton, and
speaking with an emotion which he could no longer conceal, we have
reason to believe that your adopted daughterdon't let me shock
youis our little lost Marian, of whom you have several times heard me
speak; and we are anxious to make sure if this is really the case.
In the nature of things, Mr. and Mrs. Burton were not so much
surprised as they would have been if the course of events had not, in
some measure, prepared them for the announcement which Cobbler Horn
had now made. Yet they experienced a slight shock; for even an expected
crisis cannot be fully realized till it actually arrives.
For a moment, there was silence in the room. Then Mrs. Burton was
the first to speak.
Excuse us, dear sir, she said calmly, if we are somewhat startled
at what you have said. And yet we are not altogether surprised. You
will not think that strange?
No, ma'am, said Cobbler Horn, in a musing tone, not altogether
strange, perhaps. But, shall I explain a little further? It was only
last evening that I was led to entertain the thought that Miss Owen
might actually prove to be my lost child. She was telling me, as she
had done several times before, all about how you found her, and of your
goodness to her; and she spoke last night, for the first time, of the
one shoe she was wearing when you found her in the road. Now you may
judge how I was startled, on hearing this, when I tell you that, just
after Marian was lost, we picked up one of her shoes in a field, over
which she must have wandered away. So, this morning, without telling
her my reason, I asked her to let me see the little shoe she had worn
so long ago. She at once fetched it; and here it is, and with it the
one we found in the field.
So saying, he drew, from underneath the bed-clothes, the two little
shoes; and placed them side by side upon the counterpane.
Mr. and Mrs. Burton rose and approached the bed.
Yes, said Mr. Burton, that is undoubtedly Miss Owen's little
And this, said Mrs. Burton, is unquestionably its fellow, and,
taking up the shoes, she held them towards her husband.
You are certainly right, my dear.
Then there was silence for a brief space, while these two
simple-hearted people bent, with deep emotion, over the little baby
shoes which seemed to prove so much.
Mrs. Burton was the first to speak.
Well, she said, calmly, but with a quivering lip, we are to lose
our child; but the will of the Lord be done.
Mr. Burton's only utterance was a deep sigh.
Nay, said Cobbler Horn, if it really be as I cannot help hoping
it is, you will, perhaps, not lose so much as you think. But I am sure
you will not begrudge me the joy of finding my child.
No, indeed, dear sir. On the contrary, we will rejoice with you as
well as we canand with her.
These were the words of Mrs. Burton, and they received confirmation
from her husband.
At this point, Tommy Dudgeon quietly entered the room, and took his
seat, at a motion from Miss Jemima, behind the chairs on which Mr. and
Mrs. Burton were sitting.
I have been anxious, resumed Cobbler Horn, thoroughly to assure
myself that there was no mistake. Here is our friend, Dudgeon, now. You
saw him the day we opened the 'Home.'
Perceiving Tommy for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. Burton gave him a
Our friend knows, continued Cobbler Horn, that I've been very
sceptical about the good news.
Very much so! said Tommy, nodding his head.
Cobbler Horn smiled.
He was the first to find it out. You must know that he took much
kind interest in my little girl; and it was a great grief to him that
she was lost. And when your adopted daughter came to us, he was not
long in forming conjectures as to who she might be. In a very short
time, as a matter of fact, he had quite made up his mind. He tried to
tell me about it; but I was too stupid to understand him, and so it was
left for me to find out the happy truth by accident. Tell our friends,
Tommy, how you came to discover who Miss Owen really was.
Thus enjoined, Tommy, nothing loath, recounted once more the story
of his great discovery. Mr. and Mrs. Burton listened with deep
attention, and, having put several questions to Tommy, admitted that
what he had said afforded much confirmation to the supposition that
Miss Owen was the long-lost Marian.
I have a thought about the child's name, said Mrs. Burton after a
brief pause. It comes to me that what she gave us as her name sounded
quite as much like Marian Horn as Mary Ann Owen.
Why yes, said Miss Jemima, now I think of it, she used to
pronounce her name very much as though it had been something like
Mary Ann Owen. As well as I can remember, it was 'Maan Oon.'
I believe you are right, Jemima, said her brother.
It must be admitted, interposed Mr. Burton quickly, that Mary
Ann Owen was a very reasonable interpretation of that combination
Undoubtedly it was, assented Cobbler Horn.
Yes, said Mrs. Burton, what you say, Miss Horn, is very much like
the way in which the child pronounced her name. And there's another
thing which may serve as a further mark. She had on, beneath the old
shawl, a little chemise, on which were worked, in red, the letters
I know it! cried Miss Jemima. I always marked her clothes like
that. You used to laugh at me, Thomas; but what do you say now?
Well, well! said the Golden Shoemaker softly.
And listen to me, resumed Miss Jemima. I am beginning to
recollect, too. Marian's hair was very stubborn; and there were two or
three tufts at the back which always would stand up, like black
I remember that very well, said Mrs. Burton, with a smile.
Of course, agreed her husband; and many a joke we used to have
about it. I called her my little blackbird.
And then, continued Miss Jemima, there was another thing. A few
days before the child's disappearance, she fell down and hurt her knee;
and there were two scars, one on the knee, and another just below.
Ah, said Mrs. Burton, I remember those scars. Don't you, John?
Yes; and I used to tell her she was an old soldier, and had been in
So you did; anddear me, how old memories are beginning to come
back!she talked a great deal, not only of her 'daddy,' but of 'Aunt
'Mima.' I wonder I didn't think of that before. Perhaps, ma'am
That's me! cried Miss Jemima. My name's Jemima; and 'Aunt 'Mima'
was what she always called me. There, Thomas, do you want any further
Cobbler Horn was lying with his hands over his face, and the bed
was shaking with his convulsive efforts to repress his strong emotion.
Fear had impelled him to withstand his growing conviction that his
long-lost child had been restored to himfear of the consequences of a
mistake, both to himself, and to the bright young girl whom he had
already learnt to love as though she were indeed his child. But now,
one after another, his doubts had been beaten down. He had listened
eagerly to every word that had been spoken around his bed, and
conviction had taken absolute possession of his mind. Yet, for the
moment, the shock of his great joy seemed almost more than his weakened
nerves could bear.
His friends stood around the bed, fearing for him. But, in a few
moments, he withdrew his hands from his face, which was wet with the
gracious tears of joy.
He clasped his hands, and looked reverently upward.
'My soul doth magnify the Lord; and my spirit hath rejoiced in God,
That was all.
You would like us to leave you, brother? asked Miss Jemima.
For a very short time.
He was quite himself again.
She is out still, isn't she?
Yes, replied Miss Jemima. She will be in soon, no doubt. You
would like to see her. Well, leave that to me.
Then they left him to his blissful thoughts.
For many minutes, he gratefully communed with God. He was thankful
his child had come back to him so beautiful, and clever, and good. He
could regard her with as much pride as love; though he told himself he
would have loved her, and done all in his power to make her happy,
whatever she had proved to be. And then, how glad he was that she had
found her way into his heart before he knew she was his child.
Great, indeed, was the joy of the Golden Shoemaker! That very day
he was to clasp his long-lost child to his heart!
The door of his room had been left ajar. Presently he heard the
front-door open downstairs; and then there were voices in the hall, one
of which he recognised as hers. The next moment he knew that she was
coming upstairs. They had not told her the great news yet, of course?
No; she was going direct to her own room.
He took up the little shoes, which had been left lying on the bed.
How well he remembered making them! He had selected for the purpose the
very best bit of leather in his stock. He was proceeding to examine
more closely the shoe that had been mutilated, when he heard the sound
of a door being opened which he knew to be that of his young
Would she come to him before going downstairs? In truth, he wished
not to see her until she had been told the great news. He breathed more
freely when he heard her foot on the stairs.
When Cobbler Horn had been alone about half an hour, Miss Jemima
returned to the room. Mrs. Burton, she said, was in the dining-room,
withMarian. There was just the slightest hesitation in Miss
Jemima's pronunciation of the name. Her brother's tea would come up in
a few minutes. After he had taken it, he would perhaps be ready for the
interview he so much desired.
Oh, but, said his matter-of-fact sister, you must try to take
itas a duty.
I'll do my best, he said; but I must be up and dressed before she
Miss Jemima demurred, but ultimately agreed.
I should like Mr. Durnford to be here, he continued, and Tommy
Dudgeon, and Mr. and Mrs. Burton.
They shall all be present, said Miss Jemima.
And you, Jemima, you will take care to be in the room at the time.
Brother, responded the lady, you may trust me for that.
CHAPTER XLII. FATHER AND DAUGHTER.
Mrs. Burton, closeted with her adopted daughter, in the dining-room,
found, to her surprise, that Miss Owen was not unprepared for the
communication she was about to receive. Since her discovery of the
little shoethe fellow of her ownin her employer's safe, and the
startling conclusion at which she had thereupon arrived, the young
secretary had been in a vaguely expectant state of mind. The great fact
she had discovered could not long remain concealed from the person
whom, next to herself, it most concerned. Of course, it was impossible
for her to speak out. But she had only to wait, and all would come
She saw now why Cobbler Horn had been so much agitated to hear
that, when she was found by Mr. and Mrs. Burton, she was wearing only
one shoe; and she was not surprised, the next morning, when he asked to
see the shoe itself. As the day passed, she was instinctively aware
that something unusual was going on. The visit of Tommy Dudgeon; the
circumstance that she was not summoned to Cobbler Horn's room as
usual, during the day; and her being unexpectedly despatched to take
Susie Martin for a drivewere all signs pointing in one direction; and
when, on her return from the drive, she was greeted with the
announcement that Mrs. Burton was waiting to see her in the
dining-room, she felt sure that the great secret was known. And she
could not be much surprised, therefore, when, in the end, Mrs. Burton
proceeded to make in set terms, the communication with which she was
My dear, said the good lady, fondly kissing her adopted daughter,
I'm sure you will be surprised to see me.
I'm delighted, at any rate, dear mother, was the pardonably
Not more than I am! exclaimed the good creature. Notwithstanding
the loss she expected to sustain through the discovery which had been
made, she had schooled herself to rejoice in the happiness which had
come to her child. But, she added, you, my dear, will be more
delighted still, when you hear the news I have to tell.
As she spoke, she led the young secretary to a chair, and, having
caused her to be seated, sat down on another chair by her side. Then
she took her companion's hand and held it tenderly in her lap.
My dear, I want to ask you something.
The good lady tried to be calm, but her tones grew tremulous as she
spoke. Miss Owen, too, was becoming excited, in spite of herself.
Yes, mother dear, and the girl seemed to put special and loving
emphasis on the word mother.
Do you remember, continued Mrs. Burton, how, when you were all at
Daisy Lane, at the opening of the 'Home,' we were talking about Mr.
Horn having lost his little girl in some mysterious fashion; and you
said, laughing, what fun it would be, if you turned out to be that very
Yes, mother, was the reply, uttered in low and agitated tones, I
remember very well.
You didn't think that such a wonderful thing would ever come to
pass, did you, dear? asked Mrs. Burton, gently stroking the back of
the plump little brown hand, which lay passive in her lap.
No, replied the girl, I certainly did not; and it was just a mad
joke, of course.
As she spoke her whole frame quivered, and she made as though she
would have withdrawn her hand and risen to her feet. Mrs. Burton
tightened her grasp upon the fluttering hand in her lap, and gently
restrained the agitated girl.
I haven't finished yet, dear, she said. You know the saying that
'many a true word is spoken in jest'?
Welltry to be calm, my childit has been found out
I know what you are going to say, mother, broke in the young girl.
It is that I have found my fathermy very own; though I can never
forget the only father I have known these years, and I haven't found
another mother, and don't want to.
Then the woman and the childfor she was little morebecame locked
in a close embrace. After some minutes, Mrs. Burton unclasped the young
arms from her neck, and, sitting hand in hand with her adopted
daughter, she told her all the wondrous tale.
So you see, my child, she concluded, your name is not Owen after
all; it is not even Mary Ann.
No, said the girl, with a bewitching touch of scorn. Mary Ann
Owen, forsooth! I always had my doubts. Horn is not much better in
itself. But it is my father's name; and Marian is all that could be
desired. And so I really am that little Marian of whom I have heard so
many charming things! How sweet! But, mother, you must be the very same
to me as ever; and I must find room for two fathers now, instead of
Yes, my dear, I feel sure you will not love us any the less for
this great change.
Mother, mother, never speak of that again! If it had not been for
you, I might never have come to know anything about myself, to say
nothing of all the dreadful things which might have happened. Oh, God
He is indeed, dear! But you will be longing to go to your father.
Yes, said the girl, with a quiver of shy delight; what does he
My dear, he is thankful beyond measure.
But can he bear to see me just yet?
He is preparing to receive you now. Come!
Cobbler Horn had finished his tea, and was dressed, and sitting in
an easy-chair in his bedroom. Those about him had feared that the
coming effort would be too much for his strength. But there was no need
for their apprehension. Joy was proving a splendid tonic. He sat calm
and collected, awaiting the appearance of his child.
His friends were all around him. Mr. Durnford, Tommy Dudgeon, Mr.
Burtonall were there; and there, too, was Miss Jemima, no longer
grim, but subdued almost to meekness.
Then it was done in a moment. The door opened, and Mrs. Burton
entered, leading the young secretary by the hand. An instant later the
girl ran forward, with a little cry, and flung herself into the
outstretched arms of her waiting father.
For some seconds they remained thus. Then she gradually slipped down
upon her knees, and let her head fall upon his breast, while her arms
embraced him still, and his hand held closely to him her nestling face.
Speech was impossible on either side. She was weeping the sweet tears
of joy, while he vainly struggled to find utterance for his love.
One by one, their friends had stolen out of the room. Even Miss
Jemima had been content to go. The memory of that chastened lady was
very vivid to-night, and she felt humbled and subdued.
Observing the silence, Cobbler Horn looked up, and perceived that
they were alone.
They have all gone, Marian, he said, gently. Won't you look up,
and let father see your face?
She lifted her face, bedewed yet radiant; and he took it tenderly
between his hands.
It is indeed the face of my little Marian, he said, fondly. How
blind I must have been!
He gazed long and lovinglyfeasting his eyes upon the brown,
glowing face, in every feature of which he could now trace so plainly
those of his little Marian of days gone by. The hope which he had never
quite relinquished was fulfilled at last! His gracious Lord had
justified his confidence, as, indeed, there had never been any reason
to doubt that He would.
You feel quite sure about it, my dear; don't you? he asked.
Yes, father dear, she answered, in a thoughtful, contented tone.
There are so many things that help to make me sure.
Then she told him of her strange feeling of familiarity with the old
house and street. She spoke of the little shoes, and of her having seen
the one in the safe. She told him what she had overheard in the tent at
Daisy Lane about her resemblance to himself.
And besides, she concluded, after all thatmother has told me,
how can I doubt? But now, daddyI may call you that, mayn't I?
The Golden Shoemaker pressed convulsively the little hand he held.
That is what Marianwhat you always called me when you were a
child, my dear. Nothing would please me better.
Then 'daddy' it shall be. And now, do you know, daddy, I'm
beginning to remember things in a vague sort of way. I'm just like some
one waking up after a good sleep. Things, you know, that happened
before one went to sleep, come back by degrees at such a time; and, in
the same way, recollections are growing on me now of my childhood, and
especially of the time when I was lost. Let me see, now! I'm like some
one looking into a magic crystal to see the future, only I want to
recall the past. After thinking very hard, I've been able to call up
some remembrance of the day I ran away from home. I seem to remember
being very angry with someone, and wanting to get away. Then there was
a woman, and a man, but chiefly a woman, and some dark place that I was
in. And I think they must have treated me badly in some way.
Cobbler Horn thought for a moment.
Why, he said, that dark place must have been the wood, on the
other side of the field where I found your shoe.
Yes, no doubt; and wasn't it in that wood that you picked up the
string of my sun-bonnet?
To be sure it was!
Yes; and perhaps it was there that I was stripped of my clothes.
When I fell into the hands of Mr. and Mrs. Burton, my chief garment was
an old ragged shawl. My one shoe, and my socks, and my sun-bonnet, were
almost all I had besides. I've kept all the things except the socks,
and you must see them by and bye, daddy.
Of course I must.
But, having found his child, he did not greatly care just now about
Presently she spoke again.
I'm so thankful it has turned out to be you!
Yes, my dear? responded the happy father, in a tone of enquiry.
I mean I'm glad it's you who are my father. It might have been
somebody quite different, you know.
Yes, he answered again, with a beaming face.
I'm glad, you know, daddy, just because you're exactly the kind of
father I wantthat's all.
And I also am glad that it is you, little one, he responded. And
how thankful we ought to be that we learnt to love one another before
getting to know who we were!
Yes, she said, it would have been queer, andnot at all nice,
if we had first been introduced to each other as father and daughter,
and told it was our duty to love one another without delay. And then
there's another thing. Though, at first, it seemed cruel to you, daddy,
that your little girl should have been lost for so many years, when I
think how much morevery likelywe shall love one another, than we
ever should have done if I had not been lost, and how much happier we
shall be together, it seems quite kind of God to have allowed us to be
separated for a little whileespecially as He found such good friends
to take care of me in the meantime.
Cobbler Horn gently stroked the dark head, which still nestled
against his breast.
We at least, little one, he said, can say that 'all things work
together for good.' But now, there are other things that we must talk
about. You have come back, Marian, to a very different home from the
one you left. Your father was a poor man when you went away; he is a
rich one now. Are you glad?
Oh yes, daddy, she answered, simply, for your sake, and because I
think my daddy is just the best man in the world to have charge of
money. And you know, she added, archly, that, in that respect, your
daughter is after your own heart.
I know that well.
You must let me help you more than ever, daddy.
She seemed scarcely to have realized the fact that she was heiress
to all his wealth.
You shall, my dear, he said, fondly; but you mustn't forget that
all I have will be yours one day.
She started violently.
Well now, I declare! she gasped. I had scarcely thought of that.
I was so glad and thankful to have found my father, that I forgot he
had brought me a fortune. Well, daddy, that won't make any difference.
We'll still do our best to put all this money to the right use. And, as
for my being your heiressyou must understand, sir, that you've got to
live for ever; so there's an end of that.
She had withdrawn herself from his embrace, and, kneeling back, was
looking at him with dancing eyes.
Well, darling, he said, with an indulgent smile, we must leave
that. But there is something else that I must tell you. When I was
arranging about the disposal of all this money, in case I should be
taken away, I thought of my little Marian; and I had it set down in my
will that you were to have everything after me, if you should be found.
But, beside that, I directed the lawyers to invest for you the sum of
£50,000. But, let me see, I think I must have told you about this at
Of course you did, daddy, the very day you came back from London,
just before you went to America!
So I did. Well, now, Marian, that money is all your own from this
Oh, daddy! daddy! How shall I thank you? So I shall be able to do
something on my own account now!
Did no stray thought flit through her mind of all the gaiety and
pleasure so much money might buy? Perhaps; but she was her father's own
After a little more loving talk, the young secretary suddenly sprang
to her feet.
I am forgetting myself sadly! The evening letters will be in.
Cobbler Horn started. He had forgotten that she was his secretary.
I shall have to look out for another secretary, now, he said, with
a comical air of mock dismay.
And, pray sir, why? she demanded, standing before him in radiant
rebellion. I would have you to know there is no vacancy.
Then she laughed in her bewitching way.
But, my dear
Say no more, daddy; it's quite settled. I shall very likely ask for
an increase of salary; but there must be no talk of dismissal.
Again she laughed; and, in spite of himself, the happy father joined
in her merriment.
Well now, I must go, she said, with a parting kiss. I'll send
Miss HornWhy, she's my aunt! I declare I'd quite overlooked that!
Yes, my dear; and a very kind aunt you'll find her.
I'm sure of that. But I'm afraid she'll be thinking me a very
At this moment, the door opened, and Miss Jemima herself walked in.
I thought it was time I came, she said, in her usual
matter-of-fact way. You must be thinking of getting back to bed,
Her niece interrupted her by throwing her arms around her neck, and
giving her a hearty kiss.
Aunt Jemima, I have to beg your pardon, and she kissed her again;
but you didn't give me time, you were all off like a flock of sheep.
I think it is my place to beg your pardon, and not yours to beg
mine, replied Miss Jemima, in the most natural way in the world. I
fear it was largely through me that you ran away from home.
Did I actually run away, then?
I think there's little doubt of it. But, whether you ran away or
not, the fact remains that my treatment of you had been anything but
kind. I meant well, but was mistaken; and I'm thankful to have the
opportunity of asking you to forgive me.
Don't say another word about it, auntie! cried Marian, kissing her
once more. It's literally all forgotten. And I dare say I was a
troublesome little thing. But let me see. You haven't seen my treasures
yetexcept the shoe. I'll fetch them.
In a few moments she had brought her little sun-bonnet, and the
other relics of her childhood which she had preserved. It will not be
difficult to imagine the tender interest with which Aunt Jemima, and
even Cobbler Horn himself, gazed on those simple mementos of the
past. The severed bonnet-string was lying on the bed. Marian caught it
up, and fitted it upon the bonnet.
I must sew my bonnet-string on, she said, gaily.
Her father laughed indulgently, and even Aunt Jemima smiled.
Ah, she said, and I too have a store of treasures to display,
and she told of the little box in which she had kept the tiny garments
Marian had worn in the days of old.
How delicious? cried the girl. You will let me see them, by and
bye, auntie, won't you? But now I really must be off to my letters.
CHAPTER XLIII. THE TRAMP'S
Before the Golden Shoemaker had returned to his bed the doctor
arrived, and despotically demanded how he had dared to leave it without
the permission of his medical man. At first the doctor prognosticated
serious consequences from what he was pleased to call his patient's
intemperate and unlicensed haste. But, when he came the next day, and
found Cobbler Horn considerably better, instead of worse, he changed
My dear sir, he said, what have you been doing?
I've been taking a new tonic, doctor, replied Cobbler Horn, with
a smile; and he told him the great news.
Well, well, murmured the doctor; so it has actually turned out
like that! I have often thought that there were many less likely
things; and ever since you told me how closely the young lady's early
history resembled that of your own child, I have had a sort of
expectation that I should one day hear the announcement you have just
made. Well, my dear sir, I congratulate you bothas much on the
fitness of the fact, as on the fact itself.
Cobbler Horn's new tonic acted liked magic, and he was soon out
of the doctor's hands. In a few days' time he was downstairs; and at
the end of a fortnight he had resumed his ordinary routine of life.
As far as outward appearances were concerned, the great discovery
which had been made produced but little difference in the house. The
servants had, indeed, been informed of the change in the position of
the young secretary. It was also understood that she was to have things
pretty much her own way. It was moreover tacitly admitted that almost
unlimited arrears of filial privilege were due to the newly-recovered
daughter of the house; and she herself evidently felt that the arrears
of filial duty lying to her charge were quite equal in amount. The
Golden Shoemaker regarded his new-found child with a very tender love;
and even Miss Jemima manifested towards her an indulgent, if somewhat
prim, affection. The gentle affectionateness of the girl towards both
her father and her aunt was beautiful in the extreme. Yet, even towards
Miss Jemima, she was delightfully free from constraint; and it would
have been difficult to decide whether to admire more the loving
familiarity of the niece, or the complaisancy of the aunt.
In the matter of the secretaryship Marian was firmness itself.
Cobbler Horn wished her to give it up; and Miss Jemima was shocked at
the idea that she should propose to retain it for a single day. But she
dismissed their remonstrances with a fine scorn. What did they take her
for? Was she any less fit for the post of secretary than she had been
before? Her duties had been a pleasure from the first; they would
afford her greater delight than ever now. And why should they bring in
a stranger to pry into their affairs? They might give her more salary,
if they likedand here she laughed merrily; but she wasn't going to
give up the work she liked more than anything else in the world.
One perplexing question yet remained unsolvedWhat had happened to
Marian between the day when she had left home and the time when she had
been found by Mr. and Mrs. Burton? The girl's own vague memories of
that unhappy period, together with the condition in which she had been
found, indicated that she had fallen into the hands of bad characters
of some kind. Was the mystery ever to be fully solved? To this question
the course of events brought very speedily a complete reply.
One evening, about a fortnight after the last-recorded events, an
elderly tramp was sitting against a haystack upon some farm premises,
at no great distance from the town of Cottonborough. His age might be
sixty, or, allowing for the rough life he had led, something less. He
looked jaded and unwell. The day had been very warm, and the man was
eating, with no great appetite, a sumptuous supper of German sausage
and bread. The sausage had been wrapped in a piece of newspaper, which
spread out upon his knees, was now doing duty as a tablecloth. Having
finished his meal, the man lazily glanced at the paper; but finding its
contents, at first, to possess no particular interest, he was about to
crumple it up and throw it away, when his eye lighted on a paragraph
which induced him to pause. He smoothed out the paper, and raised it
nearer to his eyes.
Well, he muttered, I ain't much of a scholard; but I means to get
to the bottom o' this 'ere.
With intense eagerness, he began to spell out the words of the
paragraph which had arrested his attention. It was headed, 'The Golden
Shoemaker' recovers his daughter, supposed to have been stolen by
tramps in her childhood. From line to line he laboured painfully on.
Many times his progress was stayed by some formidable word; and again
and again he was interrupted by a violent cough; but at length he had
ascertained the contents of the paragraph. It contained as much as was
known of the history of Marian Horn. It told how, at the age of five,
she had, as was supposed, run away from home, and, as
recently-discovered circumstances seemed to indicate, fallen into the
hands of evil persons; and how all trace of her had then been lost
until a few weeks afterwards, when, as had now become known, she was
found, a wretched little waif, upon the highway, and adopted by Mr. and
Mrs. Burton. The circumstances of her after life were then set forth;
and the narrative concluded with a glowing account of her re-union with
her friends. The tramp deeply pondered this romantic story.
Ah, he said to himself, that must ha' been the little wench as me
and the old woman took to. It was somewhere here away. I remember about
the shoe as she'd lost. They must ha' found it. The old woman cut the
other shoe, same as it says here. It were a bad thing of us to take the
kid, that it were.
At this point the man was seized with a violent fit of coughing.
When it had subsided, he resumed his half-muttered meditations. Well,
I'm glad as the little 'un got took care on, arter all, and has got
back to her own natural born father at last; for she were a game little
wench, and no mistake. She were a poor people's child when we got hold
on her. But I've heerd tell o' 'the Golden Shoemaker,' as they calls
him. It must ha' been arter she was lost that he got his money. Well, I
feels sorry, like, as we didn't try to find her friends. But the old
gal were that onscrupulous, she didn't stick at nothink, she didn't. As
sure as my name's Jake Dafty, this 'ere's a queer go.
Thus mused Jake, the tramp, sitting against the haystack; and his
musings were, ever and anon, disturbed by his racking cough. He felt
indisposed to move. As he brooded over the past, his mind became
uneasy, he was conscious of a vague desire to make confession of the
evil he had done. Did he feel that the sands of his life were almost
sped? And was conscience waking at last?
At length, between his fits of coughing, he was overtaken by sleep.
The night was chilly after the warm day. The sun went down, and the
stars peeped out serenely upon the frowzy and wretched tramp asleep
against the haystack; and the dew settled thickly on his ragged beard
and tattered clothes. Every now and then he was shaken by his cough;
but he was weary, and remained asleep. And, in his sleep, the past came
back more vividly than it had ever re-visited him in his waking hours.
He seemed to be present at the despoiling and ill-using of a dark-eyed
child, whom he might have delivered, and did not; and, from time to
time, he moved uneasily in his sleep, and groaned aloud.
Thus passed the night; and, in the morning, Jake, being found by the
farm people, in his place against the haystack, delirious, and
evidently ill, was conveyed to the workhouse.
The next day the Golden Shoemaker received word that a man who was
dying in the workhouse begged to see him at once. Cobbler Horn
ordered his closed carriage, and drove to the workhouse without delay.
The man, who was Jake, the tramp, had not long to live. His delirium
was over now, and he was quite himself. His eyes were fixed eagerly
upon the face of Cobbler Horn, as the latter entered the room.
Are you 'the Golden Shoemaker'? he asked.
So I am sometimes called, replied Cobbler Horn, with a smile.
WellI ain't got much timeI'm the bloke wot stole your little
'un; me and the old woman.
Cobbler Horn uttered an exclamation of surprise.
Yes. The old woman's gone. She died in quod. I don't know what they
had done to her. Perhaps nothink: maybe her time was come. I warn't
that sorry; she'd got to be a stroke too many for me. But I want to
tell you about the little 'un. I'm a going to die, and it 'ull be as
well to get it off my mind. There ain't no mistake; cos I see'd it in
the paper, and it tallies. I've got it here.
As he spoke, he drew from beneath his pillow the crumpled piece of
newspaper on which he had read of the restoration of Marian to her
There, he said, yer can read it for yerself.
Cobbler Horn took the paper, and glanced at its contents. He had
seen in various newspapers, if not this, several similar accounts of
the adventures of his child.
Ah, he said, handing back to the man the greasy and crumpled
paper, tell me about it.
Well, you knows that field where you found one of her shoes?
Well, we wos a sitting under the hedge, near that field, one
morning, a-dining, when the kid came along. She stopped when she see'd
us; and we invited her to go along with us, and somehow she seemed as
if she didn't like to refuse. Arter that, we took her into the wood;
and the old woman stripped off her clothes, and did her up like as she
was when she was found. She'd lost one of her shoes, and I went back
for it; but I couldn't find it nowheres. You may be sure as we got out
o' these parts as fast as we could. We thought as the kid 'ud be a rare
help in the cadging line. But she was that stubborn and noisy, we soon
got sorry as we'd ever taken on with her; and, if she hadn't took
herself right away, one arternoon when we was having of our
arter-dinner nap in a dry ditch, I do believe as the old woman 'ud ha'
found some means o' putting her on one side.
Having finished his story, the dying tramp lay still for awhile,
with his eyes closed.
Cobbler Horn looked down with pity upon the seamed and wrinkled
face, from which almost all expression, except that of utter weariness,
seemed to have been worn away.
Presently the dying man opened his eyes.
That's all as I has to tell, master, he said faintly. Do yer
think, now, as yer could find it in yer heart to forgive a cove, like?
It 'ud be none the worse for me, if yer could; nor, mayhap, for
yourself neither. I'se sorry I done it.
Cobbler Horn was deeply moved. But, as he now knew as much of what
had happened to Marian as was likely ever to come to light, he could
afford to let the matter rest; and already he found himself thinking
more of the miserable case of the dying waif before him, than of the
confession the poor creature had made. So he gave himself fully to the
congenial task of trying to bring this miserable being, into a fitting
frame of mind in which to meet the solemn change which he must so soon
I forgive you freely, he said. But won't you ask pardon of God?
My forgiveness will be of little use without His.
The dying tramp looked up with a listless stare.
It's wery good o' yer, he said, to say as yer forgives me. But,
as for God, I've never had much to do with Him, yer see; and it ain't
likely as He'll mind me now. And I don't seem to care about it a deal.
Cobbler Horn was troubled, but not surprised. Breathing a prayer
for Divine guidance and help, he set himself to make clear to this dark
soul the way of life. In the simplest words at his command, he strove
to make the wretched man understand and feel his need of a Saviour;
and, when, at length, he quitted the chamber of death, he had good
reason to hope that his efforts had not been altogether in vain.
Marian was profoundly interested to hear of the dying tramp and the
story he had told, which latter agreed so well with her own vague
remembrances, that she joined her father and aunt in regarding it as
indicating what had been the actual course of events.
Little, now, remains to be told. Father and daughter united to
render the vast wealth which God had intrusted to their charge a source
of greater and yet greater blessing to increasing multitudes of needy
and suffering people; and Aunt Jemima insisted on participating in all
their generous schemes.
Marian is still secretary; but, as she receives many offers of
marriage, it is possible the post may become vacant even yet.
* * * * *
FLETCHER AND SON, LTD., PRINTERS, NORWICH.