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Tale of the Hall, A . 141, 169 | Widow's Faith, A..221
* Almost Persuaded ". . 154 | Hymn . . . . . . 183
There's only One . . . 182
* TRACT Magazine
CHAPTER 1.-OLD SOLOMON'S visitor.
cemetery on the outskirts of the town
grass, for it was not yet nine o'clock. The violets and snowdrops on little children's graves were peeping above the soil, and speak-ing of the resurrection. The robins were singing their sweetest songs on the top of mossy grave-stones—happy in the stillness of the
place. And the sunbeams were busy everywhere, sunning the flowers, lighting up the dewdrops, and making everything glad and pleasant. Some of them even found their way into the deep grave in which Solomon Whitaker, the old grave-digger, was working, and they made it a little less dismal, and not quite so dark.
Not that old Whitaker thought it either dismal or dark. He had been a grave-digger nearly all his life, so he looked upon grave-digging as his vocation, and thought it, or cic
whole, more pleasant employment than that of most of his neighbours.
It was very quiet in the cemetery at all times, but especially in the early morning; and the old man was not a little startled by hearing a very small voice speaking to him from the top of the grave.
“What are you doing down there, old man ?" said the little voice.
The grave-digger looked up quickly, and there, far above him, and peeping cautiously into the grave, was a child in a clean white pinafore, and with a quantity of dark brown hair hanging over her shoulders.
“Whoever in the world are you?" was his first question.
His voice sounded very awful, coming as it did out of the deep grave, and the child ran away, and disappeared as suddenly as she had come.
Solomon looked up several times afterwards as he threw up fresh spadefuls of earth, but for some time he saw no more of his little visitor. But she was not far away; she was hiding behind a high tombstone, and in a few minutes she took courage, and went again to the top of the grave. This time she did not speak, but stood with her finger in her mouth, looking shyly down upon him, as her long brown hair blew wildly about in the breeze.
Solomon thought he had never seen such a pretty little thing. He had had a little girl once, and, though she had been dead more than thirty years, he had not quite forgotten her. “What do they call you, my little dear?” said he, as gently as his husky old voice would let him say it. . “Dot,” said the child, nodding her head at him from the top of the grave.
“That's a very funny name,” said Solomon; “I can't think on that I ever heard it afore."
“Dot isn't my real name; they call me Ruth in my father's big Bible on our parlour table."
“That's got nothing to do with Dot as I can see,” said the grave-digger.
“No,” she said, shaking her long brown hair out of her eyes; “it's 'cause I'in such a little dot of a thing that they call me Dot.”
“Oh, that's it, is it?” said Solomon; and then he went into a deep meditation on names, and called to mind some strange ones which he had read on the old grave-stones in the cemetery
When Solomon was in one of his “reverdies," a's his old wife used to call them when she was alive, he seldom took much notice of what was going on around him, and he had almost forgotten the little girl, when she said súddenly, in a haif-frightened voice
“I wonder what they call you, old man ?".
“Solomon," said the grave-digger, “ Mr. Solomon Whitaker – that's my name.”
“Then, please, Mr. Solemn, what are you doing down there?"
“ I'm digging a grave,” said Solomon.
Little Dot retreated several steps when she heard this, as if she was afraid Mr. Solomon might want to bury her. When he looked up again there was only a corner of her white pinafore in sight. But as he went on quietly with his work, and took no notice of her, Dot thought she might venture near again, for she wanted to ask Mr. Solomon another question.
“Please,” she began, “who are you going to put in that there Hole?”
“It's a man ás fell down dead last week; he was a' harilworking fellow, that he was," said the grave-digger; for he always liked to give people'a good word when he was digging their graves.
Dot now seemed satisfied, and, on her side, told the old man that she had come to live in one of the small cottages near the cemetery gates, and that they used to be "ever so far off” in the country.
Then she ran away to another part of the cemetery, and old Solomon shaded his eyes with his hand to watch her out of sight.
CHAPTER II.-DOT'S DAISIES. Dot's mother had lived all her life in a remote part of the Yorkshire moors, far away from church or chapel or any kind of school. But her husband had been born and brought up in a town, and country life did not suit him. And so, when Dot was about five years old, he returned to his native place, and took one of the cottages close to the cemetery, in order that his little girl might still have some green grass on which to run about, and might still see a few spring flowers.
The cemetery was some way out of town, and Dot's mother, having had but little education herself, did not think it at all necessary that Dot, at her tender age, should go to school, and therefore the little girl was allowed to spend most of her time in the cemetery, with which she was very well pleased. She liked to run round the gravestones, and climb over the little grassy mounds, and watch the robins hopping from tree to tree.
But Dot's favourite place was by old Solomon's side. She went about with him from one part of the cemetery to another, and he liked to feel her tiny hand in his. She took a great interest, too, in the graves he was digging. She watched him shaping them neatly and making them tidy, as he called it, until she began, as she fancied, to understand grave-digging nearly as well as he did. But she sometimes puzzled the old man by her questions, for Dot always wanted to know everything about all that she saw.
“Mr. Solemn,” she said, one day, “shall you make me a little grave when I die ?”
“Yes,” he said, “I suppose I shall, little woman.” Dot thought this over for a long time.
“I don't want to go into a grave,” she said ; "it doesn't look nice.”