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The Apricot Tree   By:

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First Page:

THE

APRICOT TREE.

PUBLISHED UNDER THE DIRECTION OF

THE COMMITTEE OF GENERAL LITERATURE AND EDUCATION,

APPOINTED BY THE SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING

CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE.

LONDON:

PRINTED FOR THE

SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE;

SOLD AT THE DEPOSITORY,

GREAT QUEEN STREET, LINCOLN'S INN FIELDS;

AND 4, ROYAL EXCHANGE.

1851.

Price TWOPENCE.

R. Clay, Printer ,

Bread Street Hill .

[Illustration]

THE APRICOT TREE.

It was a fine evening in the beginning of autumn. The last rays of the sun, as it sunk behind the golden clouds, gleamed in at the window of a cottage, which stood in a pleasant lane, about a quarter of a mile from the village of Ryefield. On each side of the narrow gravel walk that led from the lane to the cottage door, was a little plot of cultivated ground. That on the right hand was planted with cabbages, onions, and other useful vegetables; that on the left, with gooseberry and currant bushes, excepting one small strip, where stocks, sweet peas, and rose trees were growing; whose flowers, for they were now in full bloom, peeping over the neatly trimmed quick hedge that fenced the garden from the road, had a gay and pretty appearance. Not a weed was to be found in any of the beds; the gooseberry and currant bushes had evidently been pruned with much care and attention, and were loaded with fine ripe fruit. But the most remarkable thing in the garden was an apricot tree, which grew against the wall of the cottage, and which was covered with apricots of a large size and beautiful colour.

The cottage itself, though small and thatched with straw, was clean and cheerful, the brick floor was strewed with sand, and a white though coarse cloth was spread on the little deal table. On this table were placed tea things, a loaf of bread, and some watercresses. A cat was purring on the hearth, and a kettle was boiling on the fire.

Near the window, in a large arm chair, sat an old woman, with a Bible on her knees. She appeared happy and contented, and her countenance expressed cheerfulness and good temper. After reading for some time with great attention, she paused to look from the window into the lane, as if expecting to see some one. She listened as if for a footstep; but all was silent. She read again for about ten minutes longer, and then closing the Sacred Volume, rose, and, having laid the Book carefully on a shelf, opened the door, and went out into the garden, whence she could see farther into the lane, and remained for a considerable time leaning over the little wicket gate, in anxious expectation.

"What can be the reason that Ned is so late?" she said, half aloud, to herself. "He always hastens home to his poor old grandmother as soon as he has done work. What can make him an hour later than usual? I hope nothing has happened to him. But, hush!" she continued, after a few minutes' pause, "surely I hear him coming now."

She was not mistaken, for in a minute or two Ned appeared, running quite fast up the lane, and in a few moments more he was standing by her side, panting and breathless.

"Dear grandmother," he exclaimed, as soon as he had recovered breath enough to speak, "I have a great deal of good news to tell you. Farmer Tomkyns says he will employ me all through the winter, and pay me the same wages that he does now. This is one piece of good news. And the other is, that Mr. Stockwell, the greengrocer, will buy all my apricots, and give me a good price for them. I am to take them to him next market day. I had to wait more than half an hour before I could speak to him, and that made me so late. O how beautiful they are!" continued he, gazing with admiration at the tree. "O grandmother, how happy I am!"

His grandmother smiled, and said she was glad to hear this good news. "And now come in and have your tea, child," she added; "for I am sure you must be hungry."

"O grandmother," said Ned, as they sat at tea, "now that Mr. Stockwell will buy the fruit, you will be able to have a cloak to keep you warm this winter... Continue reading book >>




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