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just heated her last iron, and was expecting Willie every moment to help her carry the things round, and he was rather later than usual: she finished the last thing she had to iron, the clothes were all nicely folded, and laid in their baskets, with a clean cloth tied over them, and she began to get very anxious, and to fancy something was amiss; so, to while away the time, she went to the old dame to ask her what o'clock it was, and to see if she thought Willie after his time, for she knew all about Fanny's anxiety on his account, so she said,

“Surely, dame, Willie's very late to-day, isn't he? why it will be dark very soon.”

Well, mayhap, Fanny, he is a wee bit later; perhaps they have kept him at the farm, or he has stayed on his road home, for a bit of play, for you know boys will be boys.

“Yes, dame, no doubt of that, but suppose he's got into mischief, or joined some of those bad boys again, just as I was beginning to think he really had turned over a new leaf, and would give us no more trouble; should I go and seek him, do you think?" “No, Fanny, don't do that, it would look

you didn't trust him, and that's a bad thing you know; its a homely proverb, Fanny, but a very true one, 'give a dog a bad name and hang him,' and I do truly think that it's the trust you ’ve put in Willie, so to say, that's done him ever so much good; it's made

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him take a sort of pride in himself; so sit still, my lass, and I'll warrant me he'll soon be here."

No sooner had she spoken the words, than they both saw Willie come running along the path leading to the cottage, as fast as ever he could come.

Fanny turned pale, for she said she was sure something was amiss.

“But, thank God! Willie's safe any how."

He came into the cottage panting and breathless, and looking very white, and threw himself down on a bench as if quite exhausted. Fanny went up to him, and asked him what was the matter; but for some time he couldn't say a word, and only trembled violently: at last, on her stooping down and kissing him, he burst into a flood of tears, and this seemed to relieve him, and the good dame told Fanny to give him some water, which she did, though she was all of a tremble herself; she feared she knew not what, but something must have happened, she was sure, so she sat down by him in a state of breathless expectation as to what she was to hear. When he had drank the water he seemed to get more composed, and in a little while able to speak; and then he burst forth with,

“Oh, Fanny! oh, dame! only to think what's happened, and if it hadn't been for Fanny it might have been me; I shall never forget it as long as I live. Oh no, never !”

They both saw that he was still too much


upset to be able to relate what had so overcome him, and so they sat patiently waiting, trying to soothe him into composure, till after a short time he was able to relate what had happened, and we will tell the story in his own simple words.

“Well, Fanny, you must know that for the last month, James and David” (as he pronounced the last name they saw. a strong shudder come over him) "have been back in the village: you know we thought they had gone quite away and you were so glad, and I wouldn't tell you for fear of vexing you; not that I would have told a story, if you'd asked me, but you didn't. Well, I often used to

I meet them, and they were always at me to join in some of their tricks, but though I did sometimes long, for they seemed to have such capital fun, I always said 'No' for I thought of you, Fanny, and what trouble you took about me, and then I thought of poor mother, and so I always refused to have anything to

say to them.

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Fanny couldn't help kissing him affectionately, so pleased was she at this proof of her influence and of his real amendment, and then he continued his story:

“One thing, Fanny, they always seemed busy about, was getting into the woods and trying to catch the hares and pheasants, and sometimes when they thought they wouldn't be found out they took a gun and

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would shoot them, and I have often and often met them, when I was coming home from work, and they would stop me and say I should have some of the things they killed if I would stay with them; and then they laughed at me, and said they should be ashamed to be tied to their sister's apron string like a little girl; but it didn't matter for me, I was more like a girl than a boy, they said. I did feel angry like with them, but I tried not to mind, and told them it would be much better for them if they had a good sister like mine to teach them to be good boys, and then they said they knew I should tell of them; but they knew better than that, though they said so to tease me, - they knew I shouldn't tell, let what would happen. The last time I saw them was two days ago ; it was quite dark when I was coming home, and there they were in the wood, and said they meant to have a night of it, it was so dark no one would see them ; I told them, Fanny, that God would see them, and perhaps punish them for being so wicked, but they only laughed, and said they didn't want to be preached to; but I'm so glad now I said what I did ; oh, dear me! to think what's happened since. To-day I was kept a bit longer at the farm for master; he said as how there was a little job wanted doing in the stack yard, and so would I mind staying a bit later; it was in this way

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rather behind my time, and I was running along to make up for it, for I knew you would be waiting for me: it was so dark I could scarce see my way, and I had stumbled once or twice in the dark, when, just as I came to the wood, I saw a light, and a good many people standing about, and I thought to myself, well, I wonder who they are ? perhaps they are the keepers, and after poachers, for I had heard master say they were very angry about them, and I felt frightened, thinking of David and James, for bad as they were, Fanny, I didn't want them to come to harm, and I went towards them, though my path didn't lay that way, when, oh, dame i oh, Fanny! what do you think Í

! saw ? There was David lying on the ground dead-quite dead—and they told me his gun had gone

off when he was carrying it somehow wrongly, and had killed him on the spot. I never can forget it, Fanny; and to think it might have been me if I had gone with them, or I might have killed one of them, as the keeper said, for boys don't know how to handle guns, he told

us ;

and there stood James by him sobbing as if his heart would break, for they were fond of each other, Fanny, if they were not of any

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one else.”

Here poor Willie ceased, and indulged in another good fit of crying, which they didn't attempt to check, for they knew it must have

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