Little Auntie Anne
From a Christian Reader from the UK...1902

NOW then, don’t cry be brave; remember little Aunt Anne…

That was what they always said in our nursery when we knocked our head, or pinched our fingers, or met with any disappointment.

And we all knew little Aunt Anne. Her picture hung up in our hall. In her picture, she had the same dress that I, too, wore when I was six years old. I was called after her, too. My name is

Anne. I am very proud of being named after dear little Auntie Anne. She was my great aunt, though she was always known or referred to as ‘little Aunt Anne.’

Can you not see from this print what a thoughtful, serious little lady she was in that far distant past? Many a story of her courage and endurance has come down to us, her great nieces and nephews. We stand opposite her picture till we think we see her pressing the fire out of baby’s (Great uncle Gilbert’s) pinafore with her little hands, never heeding the pain; She also would be sitting by Great-great-grand mamma’s bedside, during her long illness, such a tiny nurse; and then for three years acting as little comforter to Great great-grandpapa.

All these things we have been told aver and over again. We know they are true when we look into little Aunt Anne’s serious eyes in her portrait.

When her mother died, an aunt came to be with the three children A timid, gentle person was this Aunt Dorothea. And now little Aunt Anne took care of her too.

Those were troubled times. There were riots in Lancashire, where little Aunt Anne’s father lived, and Miss Dorothea Claxton was in constant terror of the rioters coming to the Hall when her brother was absent.

And one day they came—came, too, when Squire Claxton was away—a mob of angry men, saying they wanted ‘bread, bread,’ and they must have it, now.

Miss Dorothea turned pale, and wrung her hands, ‘I dare not go to them; they will kill us all!’ she said.

But little Aunt Anne looked out of the window. ‘They are only men,’ she said; ‘I will go to them.’

And the frightened servants made way for the little girl, though they begged her not to show herself.

There was a wide hall door and a long flight of steps down to the drive where the men were assembled.

Little Aunt Anne stood on the top step, in her long frock and quaint, strange hair, and spoke very quietly. ‘What do you want?’ she said. “My Father is not at home.”

‘We want bread,’ said their leader, sullenly, and we will have it,’

Yes,’ said little Aunt Anne but come in quietly, so as not to frighten the children. Yon can have our milk and our bread; it is all ready in the little dining room.’

The men looked confused at this simple way of meeting their demands. They consulted together awhile, and then one, a more gentle spoken man than the leader, answered, Little Missy, you have spoken kindly to us, and we do not want to frighten you or the children, so we will not come in now; we will wait until the Squire comes home.’

Thank you,’ said little Aunt Anne,, gravely. ‘Good night, men.’

And they said ‘Good night and trooped quietly away, and all through those stormy days the Hall was never molested.

For the little lady’s sake, the rioters kept away, though they visited nearly every other big house near, and would not leave without money.

That kind of grown up person did this brave little Aunt Anne grow into, do you ask? Ah, that is soon told. I think she must have done her few years life work, in a way that pleased her Heavenly Father so well, that God very soon said to her, ‘Well done, faithful little servant,’ for she died when she was only nine, brave to the last.

And somehow we children like to think she was always ‘little Aunt Anne.’

It is wonderful how brave, and patient, and considerate our nursery tries to be because ‘little Aunt Anne’ set for us, an example. And yet it is sixty years since she lived and died.

Father says to us, ‘Her works do follow her.’

Just as one day, our work will follow us.