[Illustration: "How can I ever go!" cries Betty
(_See page 1_]
_AN EVERYDAY STORY_
BY S. L. M.
_Author of "Jabez the Unlucky"_
PREFACE BY MRS. BRAMWELL BOOTH
_Illustrated by Gertrude M. Bradley_
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I have derived real pleasure from the reading
of "Betty's Battles,"
because I am sure if we can only get it into the hands of other
"Bettys," that they will be inspired and helped to take up arms in their
own cause, and fight, as Betty did, for the love and peace and
orderliness of their own dear homes.
I think a fact is revealed in this story which is not actually
transcribed in black and white. It is that the Grandmother--through
staying with whom Betty had been so much blessed
and helped--bore the
as Betty's father. For if she had brought up Betty's
mother, I am quite sure there never could have been so much difficulty
in the home as was the case when Betty returned from her holiday!
This little book will, I believe, help our Young People to realise their
responsibility towards their own homes and their fathers and mothers.
Nothing is more grievous
at the present time in many countries where
civilisation is most advanced, than the decay of all that which is
precious and beautiful in home life. There are many causes which have
contributed to this, to which I cannot allude
here; but there is one
remedy which by the blessing
of God cannot fail. It is that our young
women should be enlightened and trained to acknowledge
and to carry
their responsibilities for that work which God has committed to women.
Undoubtedly, it is God's arrangement
that women should beautify
adorn the home. A home is an absolute
necessity to her; and only by the
retirement and protection
of a good home, can women ever be fitted to
train and mould the nation's youth. As a wise, far-seeing writer
said: "It is not too much to say that the prosperity
nation rests in the hands of its women. They are the mothers of the men;
they make and mould the characters of their sons, and the centre of
their influence should be, as Nature intended it to be, the home. Home
is the pivot round which the wheel of a country's highest statesmanship
should revolve; the preservation
of home, its interests, its duties and
principles, should be the aim of every good citizen.... A happy home is
the best and surest safeguard
against all evil; and where home is not
happy, there the Devil may freely
enter and find his hands full. With
women, and women only, this happiness in the home must find its
I believe in the successful mission
of this little book, and wish it
Florence E. Booth
I. "GOOD-BYE, GRANNIE" 1
II. HOME AGAIN 7
III. THE BATTLES BEGIN 19
IV. BETTY'S BIRTHDAY 31
V. REAL TROUBLE 48
VI. FOR FATHER'S SAKE 59
VII. DAY BY DAY 71
VIII. THE CAPTAIN 83
IX. A PLACE FOR EVERY ONE 95
X. A QUARREL 107
XI. FATHER AT HOME 123
XII. LUCY 129
XIII. COMRADES 140
XIV. BETTY'S BIRTHDAY ONCE MORE 147
"Oh, Grannie, how sweet it all is here! How can I ever go!" cries Betty.
Betty's bag stands by the gate. Betty herself roams restlessly
little garden, while Betty's Grannie shades her gentle old eyes from the
morning sunshine, and peers down the road.
Betty's bag is stout and bulgy; stuffed full of Grannie's home-made
goodies, including a big plum-cake, and pots of delicious
Betty herself is not stout at all; indeed, she is rather thin. She came
to Grannie's country home, five weeks ago, to grow strong again after a
bad illness; but though the moorland breezes have brought colour back to
her cheeks, and strength to her long limbs, they have given no plumpness
Betty's Grannie--well, she _is_ Grannie, a true Army Grannie, with a
heart large enough to take in everybody's troubles, and a spirit wise
enough to find a cure for most of them.
"The carrier's cart is a little later than usual," remarks Grannie,
still peering down the road; "but don't worry, you've plenty of time to
do the ten miles to the station; and Bob the carrier
will see you safe
into the express. Of course, your father will meet you when the train
arrives, so you've nothing to trouble about, dear."
"Nothing to trouble about!" Betty turns round quickly. "Oh, Grannie,
it's leaving _you_ that troubles me so dreadfully--how can I go--how
_can_ I, when I'm only just beginning
During these five weeks Betty has grown to love her dear good Grannie as
she never loved anyone before, for, week by week, day by day, Grannie
has been bringing her nearer and nearer to God.
"Last night, dear child, you gave your heart into the Lord's keeping,"
says Grannie softly, laying a loving
hand on the girl's shoulder, "and
He is with those who trust Him always, wherever
they may go."
"Yes, I know, Grannie; and while I'm with you it seems so easy to do
right--and though you are so wise and good, you never get cross with me
when I make mistakes, or answer too sharply--but, Oh, it is so
different--so very different at home! Whatever shall I do without you?"
And Betty flings her arms round the old woman's neck, and clings to her
as though she would never let her go.
"Your home is God's gift to you, Betty," says Grannie, gravely.
"My home? Grannie, it's _horrid_ at home sometimes! The rooms are so
stuffy, and dark, and untidy, and I hate untidy rooms! The children are
always quarrelling, and they shout and stamp until my head aches and
aches, and mother never seems to care. If only it were pretty and clean
and fresh like this place--if only mother were like you!"
But Grannie's face grows graver still.
"Hush, hush, Betty! Indeed, you must not allow yourself to run on in
this way. Remember, you have given yourself to God now, and you must do
the work He puts into your hands bravely
"Of course, it is easier to be cheerful
and good when there is nothing
to try us. Of course, it is easier to carry a light burden than a heavy
one. Your father is poor, and there are many little ones. Your mother
has struggled through long years of weary work and anxiety. It is your
part to be their help and comfort, Betty."
"I will try, indeed, I will; and I'll try to remember all you've told
me, all the dear beautiful talks we've had together, and--and last
"That's my own darling!"
"Yes, I'm really going to be good now, and patient, and unselfish, and
I'll help mother, and teach the children, and make our home as sweet as
your home is. But, Oh, dear Grannie, if you could only see our home--it
makes me so cross, for nobody even tries to help, and they are all so
careless, and snap one up so."
Betty stops short, there is a queer little twinkle
in Grannie's eye that
is almost like a question.
"Oh, yes, I know. _I_ am snappy sometimes; but they are all so unjust.
When I try to put things straight a bit, Bob is sure to say I've lost
some of his books; and, Grannie, it isn't 'interfering' is it to tell
people of a thing when you know it's wrong?"
"It may be 'interfering' even to put things straight, dear, unless you
are very careful to let love do the seeing, and speaking, and doing.
"Courage, Betty! You were very weak and listless when you came five
weeks ago; and your heart was heavy and sad. Now you are my own strong
Betty again. And the Lord has come to dwell in your heart and take its
"Let Him reign in your heart, Betty; give Him the whole of it. In His
strength you will learn to check the 'snappy' words when they rise to
your lips; to conquer
thoughts and careless
will learn to be happy and bright, and to make all those around you
But Betty thinks, "Clearly Grannie doesn't know how horrid
things are at
home sometimes; if mother would only let me manage altogether
wouldn't be half so difficult."
"The carrier's cart, my child!"
Betty lifts her head from Grannie's shoulder and hastily
wipes her eyes.
The cart stops; the bulgy bag, the paper parcel, and big bunch of
flowers are lifted in. Betty turns to
Grannie for the final kiss.
"Remember, dear, the little crosses of daily life, borne bravely
cheerfully for Jesus' sake, will make you a true Soldier, and win a
crown of glory by and by," whispers Grannie, as she presses her
grandchild in her kind arms.
Betty nods, and then turns her head away very quickly; she dare not
trust herself to speak.
The cart moves away. Yes, now, indeed, her holiday
The blue sky, the golden gorse, the fresh, sweet air of the moors, they
are still around her, but they belong to her no more.
Through a mist of tears she looks back at the little cottage
has been so happy; Grannie still stands by the gate--round that turn in
the road beyond is the village, and the little Salvation Army Hall,
where Grannie goes every Sunday.
It was at the close of the Meeting last night that she gave her heart to
God. Then afterwards, in her dear little bedroom, with her head buried
in Grannie's lap, she felt so strong, so sure--and now?
"Oh, dear; Oh, dear," she sobs, "it is all so different at home!"
Betty dries her tears, and looks up.
She is in the train now, speeding towards the great, smoky city, where
she has lived nearly all her life.
She watches the fields and woods flying past, and her thoughts are sad.
Already Grannie seems far away. The little white cottage
those great moors yonder. She can see them still, although they are
growing fainter every minute, fading into the blue of the sky.
"Dear Grannie! how good she has been to me--how happy I have been with
She pulls a little Bible out of her pocket. Grannie put it into her
hands as she gave her the first kiss this morning.
"I will read it every morning and evening," she thinks, "just as Grannie
does. When I see the words I shall remember the very sound of her voice
and the look in her dear eyes. That will help me so much."
The thought comforts her, and she looks about more cheerfully.
"Grannie has promised to write to me, and I'm to write to her. How I
shall love her letters! I know just how she'll write--she is so wise and
strong, and yet so loving
and kind. But what sort of letters shall I
write to Grannie?
"Why, of course, I must tell her all my troubles, and how hard I am
fighting--_so_ hard! Then she must know everything about the wonderful
victories I mean to win. How pleased she will be! I shall have plenty of
battles to fight, for home is horrid
sometimes--it really is.
"There's Bob; when Bob is in one of his teasing fits it's almost
impossible to keep one's temper. But _I_ mean to do it. Bob shall have
to own that he _can't_ make me cross.
"Then I do believe Clara is the most trying
servant in the whole world.
Well, I'm going to teach her that a dirty face and torn apron are a real
disgrace, and I'll show her how to keep the kitchen just as Grannie
"I do wish I could persuade
mother to keep the sitting-room tidier, and
finish her house-work in the morning, and do her hair before dinner. If
she'd only let me manage everything, I believe I should get on much
"Jennie and Pollie must learn to sew, and Harry to read, and Lucy really
must leave her perpetual
poring over books and take an interest in her
home like other girls. And father--dear old father!--he shall have all
his meals at the proper time, instead of scrambling through them at the
last minute; and I'll keep his socks mended, and his handkerchiefs
ironed. Yes, Grannie's quite right--there are heaps of battles to fight
every day. I'll fight them, too; I'll manage everything; I'll be more
than conqueror! Oh, how surprised and glad she will be!"
And Betty sinks back in her seat with quite a self-satisfied smile.
And still the fields fly past; they are flatter
now; the woods have
disappeared, and every now and then the engine rushes screaming through
the station of a large town.
Betty eats her lunch of Grannie's apples and home-made cake. She is sad
no longer. The battle-field is before her; she is eager for the fight.
"I'm _glad_ now that things are so tiresome
at home; there is so much
more for me to put right. What a change I'll make in everything!"
All her doubts have vanished; she is sure of success. As for failure
defeat, that is clearly impossible!
It is late in the afternoon before long lines of houses, stretching away
in every direction, begin to warn her that she is nearing home.
Be sure her head is out of the window long before the train draws up at
platform, and her eyes are eagerly
straining to catch the
earliest possible glimpse
of father's face. For Betty loves her father
There he is! The platform
is crowded, but she sees him directly. He sees
her, too, and, pushing his way through the crowd, he opens the carriage
door, and she springs into his arms.
"Aye, Betty, my girl, I'm glad to see you back again!" he says; that is
all. But John Langdale is a man of few words, and this is a great deal
[Illustration: "How did you leave your Grannie?"]
He shoulders her bag, and makes his way through the pile of luggage,
the bustling porters, and anxious
passengers, Betty following as best