There was another girl at Miss Grant’s school, named Been. Sometimes she was called Beneo, which means Miss Been, just as Chuneo means Miss Chun. Miss Grant hoped that Been loved the Saviour, and hated idols, but she soon lost her, for her parents took her to their heathen home.
After Been had been home a short time her mother died. The neighbors were astonished to find that Been refused to worship her mother’s spirit, and to burn gold paper, to supply her with money in the other world. While her relations were busily occupied in their heathen ceremonies, Been sat silent and alone. Soon afterwards, her father, who cared not for her, sold her to a Chinaman to be his wife, for forty dollars.
Miss Grant heard her sad fate, and often longed to see her, but did not know where to find her. One evening, as she was paying visits in her palanquin, she saw a pair of bright black eyes looking through a hedge, and she felt sure that they were her own Been’s. She stopped, and calling the girl, saluted her affectionately. She was glad she had found out where Been lived, as she would now be able to pay her a visit.
Soon she called upon her, in her own dwelling;—a poor little hut in the midst of a sugar plantation. She brought as a present, a New Testament in English, and in large print. Been appeared delighted.
“Do you remember how to read it?” inquired Miss Grant.
“Yes, how could I forget?” Been sweetly replied.
“Well then, read,” said Miss Grant.
Been read, “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep.”
“Do you understand?” inquired the lady.
“Yes,” said Been, and she translated the words into Malay.
As Miss Grant was rising to depart, she observed a hen gathering her brood under her wings.
“Of what does that remind you, Been?”
“I know,” said the poor girl; “I remember what I learnt at school;” and then in her broken English, she repeated the words: “As a hen gaderet her chickens under her wings, so would I have gaderd de, but dou wouldest not.”
At this moment, Been’s husband came in. The girl was glad, for she wanted Miss Grant to ask him as a great favor, to allow her to spend next Sunday at the school. The husband consented. There was a joyful meeting indeed, on that Sunday, between Been, and Chun, and Han; nor was their affectionate teacher the least joyful of the company.
This is a name which makes people shiver, because it reminds them of the cold. It is a name which makes the Russians tremble, because it reminds them of banishment, for the emperor often sends those who offend him to live in Siberia.
Yet Siberia is not an ugly country, such as Tartary. It is not one dead flat, but it contains mountains, and forests, and rivers. Neither is Siberia a country in which nothing will grow; in some parts there is wheat, and where wheat will not grow barley will, and where barley will not grow turnips will. Yet there are not many cornfields in Siberia, for very few people live there. In the woods you will find blackberries, and wild roses, like those in England; and red berries, as well as black berries, and lilies as well as roses.