In the valley between "Longbrigg" and "Highclose," in the fertile

little dale on the left; stands an old cottage, which is truly "a nest

in a green place." The sun shines on the diamond paned windows all

through the long afternoons of a summer's day. It is very large and

roomy. Around it is a trim little garden with pleasant flower borders

under the low windows. From the cottage is a bright lookout into a

distant scene
of much variety.

Some years ago it was more desolate, as it was so isolated from the

world. Now the children's voices blend with the song of the wood

birds, and they have a garden there of dandelions, daisies, and

flowers. The roof and walls are now covered with stone crop and moss,

and traveller's joy, which gives it a variety of color. The currant

bushes are pruned, and the long rose brandies are trimmed, and present

a blooming appearance. This house, with forty acres of land, some

rocky and sterile, and some rich meadow and peat, formed the

possessions of the Prestons in Westmoreland. For two hundred years

this land had been theirs. Mr. Preston and his wife were industrious

and respectable people. They had two children, Martha and John. The

sister eight years older than her brother and acted a motherly part

towards him. As her mother had to go to market, to see to the cows and

dairy, and to look after the sheep on the fell; Martha took most of

the care of little Johnny.

It is said that a very active mother does not _always_ make a very

active daughter, and that is because she does things herself, and has

but little patience with the awkward and slow efforts of a learner.

Mrs. Preston said that Martha was too long in going to market with the

butter, and she made the bread too thick, and did not press all the

water out of the butter, and she folded up the fleeces the wrong way,

and therefore she did all herself. Hence Martha was left to take the

whole care of Johnny, and to roam about in the woods. When she was

about fifteen her mother died, so that Martha was left her mother's

place in the house, which she filled beyond the expectation of all the

neighbors. Her father died when Johnny was sixteen, and his last

advice to his daughter was, to take care of her brother, to look after

his worldly affairs, and above all to bear his soul in prayer to

heaven, where he hoped to meet the household once more. The share of

her father's property when he died, was eighty pounds. Here Martha

spent her days, frugal, industrious and benevolent. And it is said,

there will not be a. grave in Grasmere churchyard, more decked with

flowers, more visited with respect, regret, and tears, and faithful

trust, than that of Martha Preston when she dies. In the next story

you will be interested in what happened at the Grey Cottage.