Ruth Arnold

Lucy Byerly

Ruth Arnold, by Lucy Byerley

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Title: Ruth Arnold or, the Country Cousin
Author: Lucy Byerley

Release Date: July 7, 2006 [eBook #18777]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)
E-text prepared by David Clarke, Mary Meehan, and the Project Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team (

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Or, The Country Cousin

London The Religious Tract Society 56, Paternoster Row; 65, St. Paul's Churchyard and 164, Piccadilly Butler & Tanner, The Selwood Printing Works, Frome, and London.

A Letter
II. Talking it Over
III. Ruth's Decision
IV. The Journey
V. Cousins
VI. Stonegate
VII. A Poor Relation
VIII. Sea-side Pleasures
IX. The Picnic
X. Busyborough
XI. School-girl Gossip
XII. Julia's Humiliation
XIII. Hard at Work
XIV. An Adventure
XV. Examination
XVI. A Downward Step
XVII. The Prize
XVIII. So as by Fire
XIX. Living it Down
XX. Home Again

Or, The Country Cousin.
School was over, and the holidays were beginning once more, summer holidays, with all their promise of pleasure for dwellers in the country. The scent of sweet new hay was borne on the afternoon breeze, and the broad sunlight lay on fields of waving corn which would soon be ready for the sickle, and on green meadows from which the hay was being carried.
Ruth Arnold slowly wended her way home-wards along the hot dusty road, turned down a shady green lane, opened a little gate and walked up the garden path; and then, instead of running indoors as usual, she sat down in the little rose-covered porch and looked rather thoughtfully at the book in her hand.
It was a new book, a prize which had been awarded her that afternoon; but she felt very little pride in it, for she had known all through the half-year that the prize would be hers unless she was very idle or lazy. Nor did she anticipate much pleasure in reading it, for it was only a new English grammar, and grammar was not a study in which she felt particularly interested at that moment.
It was not often that Ruth sat down to think, for she was a merry lively girl; but this afternoon she felt rather discontented with her lot. The truth was that she had been at Miss Green's school, the only one in the village, ever since she was six years old; and now she had turned fourteen, and began to feel some contempt for the elementary catechisms which had been her only lesson-books, and which were certainly not calculated to make learning attractive or interesting. The mode of instruction at Miss Green's was the old-fashioned one of saying lessons by rote from the said catechisms, and when the pupils had reached the end of the book they had to begin again at the first chapter.
"I'm sure I don't know what I've learnt this half-year," said Ruth to herself. "I can't remember learning a single thing which I didn't know six months ago; and yet mother says that I must not leave school until I am fifteen. I wonder what books they use in large boarding-schools, and if they ever get beyond Mangnall's Questions in the first class. I suppose I shouldn't trouble about it if it were not for father's teaching us in the winter evenings; but he knows so much, that we see how ignorant we are."
"I didn't know that you were at home, Ruth. How long have you been here?" asked her mother's voice.
"Only a few minutes."
"Where is your prize? And why did you not show it to me?"
"Here it is, mother; but I don't much care for it. There is so little credit in getting a prize at Miss Green's, where one makes so little progress, and has to do the same thing over and over again."
"Yes," said Mrs. Arnold with a little sigh, "and so you will find it in life, dear, the same thing over and over again, every day and every year. But now," she added smiling, "as everyone is busy in the hay-field, and baby has to be nursed and the cows to be milked every day, will you help me to do one thing or the other?"
"Yes," said Ruth as she went to put on a large blue pinafore; "I'll go and help Mary with the milking."
Five minutes later she was seated on a low stool beside her favourite cow, Beauty, which had been reared on the farm, and named by Ruth herself, who petted and talked to her like an old friend. The afternoon was very
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