"I hope the children haven't been any trouble to you, Miss Peck ? "said Deacon Grinder, as his one-horse chaise drew up on the green in front of Miss Philena Peck's house. Miss Peck hurried out, all smiles, to greet the portly widower. "The little darlings!" cried she, effusively. "Trouble, indeed 1 Why deacon, how you tálk! It's a positive pleasure to have 'em here. I should like to keep them a week." The deacon smiled and shook his head. "That would be a little too much, said he. "Come, children, jump into the wagon." And thethree apple-eheeked little Grinders- two girls and a boy- were kissed and hugged, and lifted into the wagon by the beaming spinster. "I shall be so lonely when they are gone," she said. "1 do so dote on children! Kemember, darlings, that the gooseberries will be ripe next week, and your own Peck will be only too happy to see you again." The Window Clapp came hurrying out as the chaise rattled by, with a tin pail in her hand. "Dear me, Deacon Grinder," said she, "you are always in a hurry. Do stop a minute, can't you V Here's a pail of our new honey in the comb. I know the darlings will like it on their bread and butter of an evening. When are they coming to spend the days with me? I declare. Josie is growing a perfect beauty !'" "Tut, tut, Mrs. Clapp!" said the deacon, his face smiling all over with satisfaction. "Handsome is that handsome does. That's my motto." "And nobody can't do handsomer than my little Joe," said Mrs. Clapp. "And there's Tommy grown as handsome as you ; drop into tea some evening this week." The deacon had hardly guided his old horse around the corner of the village green when Mrs. Barbara Bowyer tripped out of the miüinery store. "I do hope you'U excuse me, Deacon Grinder," said she, with all the pretty confusión which naturally belongs to a maiden of six-and-thirty summers, "but I was so edified with your be-yutiful remarks in meeting Monday night that 1 couldn't help setting myself to work to think what I coukl do for you. And here's a collar I've stiched for dear Tommy, and a handkerchief I've embroidered for Josie, and a dolí I've taken the liberty to dress for Dorothy. O, don't thank me, pray. It ain't nothing compared to the peace of mind I got listening tó precious remarks." But Naomi Poole, sitting at her needle-work, by the old red farmhouse window, had only a smile and a nod for the party as they drove by. "Pa," said Josie, who was a shrewd, sallow-faced child of eleven, "don't Miss Poole love us as well as Miss Peck and Mrs. Clapp and Miss Bdibara Bowyer ?" "I hope so, my child," said the benign deacon. "Why do you ask the question ?" "Because she never gives us anything," said Josie. "She is poor, child - she is poor," saic the deacon. "But I am sure you al have lier srood wisher." "I'd rather have honey," said Tom my. 'And gooseberries and dolls," addei little Dorothy. But when the deacon sat alone by liis hearthstone tliat evemng, lus sister, Miss Mahala Ann Grinder, expressed herself on the subject with ?reat plainness and perspicacity. "If you've really made up your mind to marry again," said she - "I think it would add to my domestic felicity.,' said the deacon, serenely. "In that case," said Miss Mahala Ann, "Ido hopeyou'll make a sensible choice, and not allow yourself to be ímposed upon by a paek of selflsh widowa and scheming old maids." "Sister," said the déacon, mildly, you are severe." "No, I ain't," said Mahala Ann. "If you wasn't well-to-do in the world, and hadn't a nice home and farm and money at interest, ther wouldn'te none of them look twice at you." "Do you think so?"said the deacon, and he pondered the question long and earnestly in nis own mind. "Upon bllO wliolti," Ptïl lio, V.t-Íii,Íti cl ovrri Mn palm upon the table, "1 ain't sorry ttiat those investments of mine in the Mariposa Silver Mining Company have proved a failure." . "What do you meM' said Miss Mahala Ann, curiously eyeing him over the tojis of her spectacles. But the deacon only shook nis head and smiled. "Time will show," said he, "time will show." The news that Deacon Grinder was wrecked in Mariposa silver mining stock tlew like wildlire through the peacef ui conimunity at FitcliYille Four Corners. "Well," said Miss Philena Teek, "I am beat." "Henever had no judgment in money matters," said the Widow Clapp. "I've thought all along that he was living too fast," said Barbara yer. "Those poor little children, what ís to become oL them?" said TSTaomi Poole, wistfully. The next díly tl;e deacon made his appearance at Miss Peck's homestead, palé and rather shabby, with a chilcl in each hand and one following him. "Miss Peck," said he, "I suppose you have heard the news V" "Yes," said Miss Peck, looking vinegar and tack nails. "If it's your tailure as you mean." "Ithink of goingto California," said the deacon, "to see what I can do, and if, in'the meantime, you could be induced to give my children a home - " u "O, dear, fio!" asid Miss Peck. "J never could get along with a pack ol children! I daré say you can lint some orphan asylum or place of that sort, by inquiring around a little. Miss Peck sat so very upright, and glared so frightfully out of her light )lue eyes at the deacon, that he was 'ain to beat a retreat as soon as possi le. He knocked next at tho. "VVidow Clapp's door. A slipshod servant íaid opened it. "IsMrs. Clapp athome?" he asked A head was thrust over the staiv ailing, and the widow's shrill yoice 11CU UUb. "It's that Josiah Grinder with his warm of young ones ! Teil him I am articularly engaged. Do you liear, Betsey -particular." Miss Barbara Bowyer was arrangng trimmed hats and rolls of brigbtolored ribbon in her bow-window as ;he deacon and the little ones entered he shop. "Miss Bowyer," said the deacon, you were ever a genial and charitable oul. It is to you that I trust to make a home for my motherless little ones, w hile I endeavor to retrieve my ost fortunes in the far West." "I couldn't think of such a thing," s:iid Miss Barbara, dropping a box of artificial rose-buds in her consterna,ion. "And I really think, Deacon Jrinder, you haven't no business to expect it of me! It's all I can do to support myself, let alone a pack of unruly children. I dare say the poormaster could do something for them. or - " "I thank you," said the deacon, with dignity. "Ishall trouble neither you nor him." 'Well said Miss Bowyer, with a toss of her head, " you needn't fly into a rage because a neighbor offers you a jit of good advice!" But Naomi Poole ran out to the little garden gate as the forlorn deacon went by. "Deacon Grinder," hesitated she, urning rose red and white by turns, 'is this true?" "About my Mariposa investment? Yes." "And that you are going to California ?" "I am talking of it." said the deacon. "Would - could you let me take care of the little ones while you are gone ?" said iSTaomi, tenderly drawing little Dolly to her side. "I am verry fond of children, and I would take the best care of them. And you have been so kind to mother and me, Deacon Grinder, that we should feel it a privilege to be able to do something for you." And poor, soit-hearted little Naoini burst out crying. There was a nioisture on the deacon's eye'ashes, too. 'God bless you, Naomi!" said he. "You are a good girl- a very good girl." "Ain't it true?" said Philena Peck. "Well," said Mrs. Mopaley, "it is, and it ain't. He did lose whathe in-vested in them Mariposa mines, but it was only a thousand ; and the rest of his money's all tight and safe in United States bonds and solid real estáte." "Bless me!" said Barbara Bcwyer. "Well, 1 never!" said the Widow Clapp, with a discomlited countenance. "And," went on Mrs. Mopsley, with evident relish in the consternation she was causing, "they are building a new wing to the house, and he is to be married to Naomi Poole in the f all." "A chid like that!" said Mrs. Clapp. "With no experience whatever!" said Barbara Bowyer, scornlully. "I hope he wont repent of his barga1 'i," said Miss Philena Peck. And Miss Philena's charitable hopes were fulfilled. The deacon never did repent of his bargain.