The Little Quaker
by Susan Moodie
TRIUMPH OF VIRTUE.
FOR THE INSTRUCTION OF YOUTH.
Teach me to feel another's woe,
To hide the faults I see;
That mercy I to others show,
That mercy show to me. POPE.
PRINTED FOR WILLIAM COLE,
10, NEWGATE STREET.
PRINTED BY G. H. DAVIDSON,
IRELAND YARD, DOCTORS' COMMONS.
[Illustration: The little Quaker remonstrating with George
&William Hope for their cruelty. p. 11.]
THE LITTLE QUAKER.
George and William Hope were the only children of a gentleman of
fortune, who lived in a fine house at the entrance of a pretty village
It was this worthy gentleman's misfortune to be the father of two
very perverse and disobedient sons; who, instead of trying to please
him by dutiful and obliging conduct, grieved him continually by their
unworthy behaviour, and then were so wicked as to laugh at the lessons
of morality their parent set before them.
When they returned from school to spend the holydays, they neglected
their studies to roam about the streets with low company; from whom
they learned profane language, vulgar amusements, and cruelty to
animals; but such conduct, as may well be supposed, did not conduce to
their happiness. They had no friends among the good and virtuous in
their own rank in life; and were even despised and condemned by the bad
companions, who, in the first instance, had encouraged their depravity.
Their idle pursuits gave Mr. Hope great pain, who tried, by gentle
remonstrances, to make them ashamed of their evil propensities; but,
finding that kindness had no effect in their ungenerous dispositions,
he determined for the future to punish them severely, whenever they
disobeyed his commands.
Mr. Hope had a very near neighbour, whose meadow and pleasure-garden
were only separated from his by a high row of paling. Mrs. Shirley, for
so this lady was called, was a very excellent and benevolent woman, and
a member of that respectable society of friends commonly known by the
name of Quakers.
Mrs. Shirley was a widow; and, having lost her own family, she
brought up her two grandchildren, a youth of fourteen years of age, and
a pretty little girl, who scarcely reckoned half that number of years.
Josiah Shirley was at once his kind Grandmamma's pride and comfort;
and, from his amiable and obliging conduct, was justly esteemed and
beloved by the whole village; and his name was never mentioned without
the praise his modest and gentlemanlike behaviour deserved.
Mr. Hope had often contrasted, with feelings of regret, this sweet
boy's conduct with that of his own sons; and, hoping that his gentle
temper and moral pursuits might have some effect on the perverted minds
of George and William, he invited him pressingly to his house, and
bestowed on the young Quaker many marks of his esteem and favour.
The approbation of the father only drew upon Josiah the dislike and
envy of his sons. Among other follies, they ridiculed him for being a
The cut of his clothes, the shape of his hat, his modest and
retiring manners, were all subjects of mirth to these unthinking boys,
who tried by the most provoking language to rouse him into retaliation:
but Josiah was a maker of peace, not a breaker of
it; and, though he could not help keenly feeling their unkindness, his
good Grandmamma had early taught him this excellent lesson, To return
good for evil; and Josiah not only treated their insults with the
silent contempt they deserved, but often earnestly entreated them to
renounce their foolish ways, and he would endeavour to assist them in
the arduous task of reformation.
His advice was received with such rudeness, that the benevolent boy,
disgusted at length with their unprovoked malice, took his leave,
declining all acquaintance with the young gentlemen for the future.
I wonder, young men, you do not blush at your disgraceful
behaviour, exclaimed Mr. Hope, viewing his sons with unfeigned
displeasure, the morning Josiah took his leave. Your folly has
deprived you of the friendship of an excellent and upright youth, whose
good counsels might have benefitted you through life.
I hate Joe Shirley, Papa, replied George, with the greatest
assurance; and never will attend to a word he says; a meddling
impertinent fellow! What business can he have to trouble his head with
Go! go! unworthy as you are to be called my sons, said Mr. Hope;
I am glad your poor Mamma did not live to witness your depravity;and
you, George, whom she loved so well, that she expired with you in her
arms!it would have broken her heart to have seen you now. Go, cruel
and unfeeling as you are, I no longer wonder at the good Josiah
renouncing your acquaintance; but the time may come, when you will
bitterly lament not taking his advice. So saying, Mr. Hope set them
their accustomary tasks, and left the room.
His father's reproofs, instead of softening the heart of George,
only enraged his haughty spirit more violently against the unoffending
Josiah; and he was determined to annoy him every opportunity which
chance should afford him: nor was it long before he was enabled to put
his designs into execution.
One day, after Mr. Hope had dismissed his sons from their morning
studies, William inquired of his brother, where they should play.
Not in the garden, William, replied George; I have not forgotten
the stripes I received yesterday for treading down the flowers. I hate
flowers! We cannot steal a handful of green gooseberries without
spoiling the flowers.
But we need not confine ourselves to the garden, George. We can
play at football on the lawn; or shoot arrows at a mark, in the
I am tired of these games, said George. Let us climb over the
pales into the Quaker's meadow, and chase the geese.
With all my heart, replied William; but if Mrs. Shirley should
see us, and tell Papa, you know how our diversion would end.
Why surely, Will, you are not such a coward, as to be afraid of the
old woman. If she catches us, she will only talk to us about cruelty
and such stuff, in her methodistical way. Come, let us play in their
meadow, if it is only to spite that sly-faced hypocrite, Josiah.
It will certainly be good sport, replied William, to see the
geese waddle and scream, flapping their wide wings, which look exactly
like young broadbrim's hat.
George laughed heartily at this sally. Yes! yes! William, Master
Graveairs dare not fight, if he can scold; so make no more
scruples, but follow your leader: and, with the greatest dexterity,
climbing over the pales, these wicked boys safely descended into Mrs.
When there, they raced the pony, and stoned the geese, till they
flew screaming into a large pond in the middle of the field, in what
they called a very diverting manner.
Josiah was busy working in the garden (in the cultivation of which
he spent most of his leisure hours), when the general outcry from the
poultry reached his ears; and, too well acquainted with the cause of
their disquiet, he threw down his spade, and ran to the scene of
action; and arrived just time enough to save the plumage of a hapless
peacock from being entirely demolished in their cruel hands.
George and William Hope, said Josiah, mildly addressing himself to
the intruders, desist from such unmanly sport, and leave these poor
creatures in the quiet possession of the field.
This speech was received with loud peals of laughter by the young
gentlemen; and George, with mock gravity, replied
Verily, friend, you had better leave off preaching, and join our
I never could derive any pleasure from cruelty, returned Josiah.
Humanity forbids me to join in diversions like these: I would I could
persuade George Hope to renounce such practices.
So you will not play with us, said George: and you have the
impudence to insult us, with what you term your good advice.
Pray, Mr. Consequence, do you remember to whom you are speaking?
Perfectly well, replied Josiah: I fear I am wasting my words on
the sons of a very good man; I wish, for his sake, they were
more like their father.
Enraged at this speech, George darted forward, and struck Josiah
such a violent blow on the head, that it knocked him down; and the
spiteful boy was in the act of repeating it, when he was suddenly
caught from behind, and thrown with fury to the earth.
A large Newfoundland dog, belonging to Shirley, had followed his
master to the field; and, seeing him ill-treated, had thus revenged the
insult, with tenfold interest; and, keeping his captive fast down to
the ground, continued to growl over him in a frightful manner.
William Hope, who wanted much of the audacity of George, fled
terrified towards his own home: when the geese, willing to be revenged
in their turn, followed, hissing and screaming at his heels, beating
him with their broad beaks and wings; whilst the prostrate George
called out in a tone of agony:
Josiah, my good fellow, call off your dog, or he will certainly
I find other bodies are as little proof against pain as the poor
animals they just now so wantonly tormented, said Josiah, as he raised
the crest-fallen George from the ground.
Remember, George, this lesson for the future; and, when inflicting
pain on these helpless creatures, who are too weak to resist our power,
be assured that God hears their cries, and will avenge their sufferings
on all those who inhumanly delight in their agony.
He paused, expecting George to make some answer; but the sullen boy
hung down his head in obstinate silence; whilst Josiah, still hoping to
convince him of the error of his ways, continued:
George, I once more entreat thee to take my advice: forsake these
idle pursuits, which must end in shame and misery; whilst every effort
made towards self-improvement will be crowned with the blessings and
esteem of a worthy parent, and the approval of thine own conscience.
I here freely forgive the injury I just now received, and will be
thy friend if thou wilt firmly resolve to renounce such evil courses.
The noble boy held out his hand as he finished speaking; but George,
unable to conquer his false feeling of pride, rudely dashed back the
proffered gift, and slowly and sullenly returned to his father's
When Mrs. Shirley was informed, by her grandson, of what had passed
in the meadow, she wrote a letter to Mr. Hope, couched in the mildest
terms, merely requesting him to keep his sons from trespassing in her
field for the future, as they insulted her grandson, and ill-used her
Mr. Hope was so much displeased at this fresh outrage, that,
ordering the culprits into his presence, he not only told them sternly
of their fault, but desired his butler to give them the most severe
chastisement they had ever received before; the recollection of which,
he hoped, would induce them to keep at home for the future.
Now George laid their present correction entirely on Josiah Shirley;
and, as the injurer is always the most implacable, because generally in
the wrong, he determined to requite the stripes he had received on the
unoffending young Quaker.
Full of these unworthy resolutions, the moment he was released from
confinement, he went into the stables to consult with a young man, whom
his father employed as an under groom; and of whom his thoughtless sons
had made a confidant and companion.
As he entered the stables, he was thus accosted by Daniel Simpson:
So, Master George, I hear you have been flogged. Nat Smith told me
the Squire was in a terrible passion, and ordered him not to spare the
whip: how came it all about?
Would you believe it, Dan, that spiteful young Quaker informed my
father of our frolic, said George, reddening with passion.
Well, do not look so crest-fallen; I think it will be very strange
if we cannot match the tell-tale, Master George.
Simpson, if you will but lend me your assistance to chastise him as
he deserves, said George, I will give you that new half-sovereign
Papa presented me last week.
Show me the money first, returned Dan, and then I will tell you
what is to be done in the case.
Well, there it is, said George, putting the money into Simpson's
hand. If you can find out a sure method to punish young Shirley, and
revenge my present disgrace, you shall have no reason to call me a bad
He looked anxiously up in the groom's sordid countenance, as he
finished speaking; but the stable-helper remained provokingly silent,
twirling his hat in his hand, till George, losing all patience, pulled
him hastily by the sleeve.
Had I been as long in giving you my money, as you are in bestowing
your advice, I should have been something in pocket.
Nay, Master George, if you give yourself any airs, replied Dan,
with a sneer, I will keep the cash, and tell your Papa of your
frolics; and I suppose you would not vastly relish that.
The burning blush of shame, for a few moments, suffused the
countenance of the misguided youth; he bit his lips, and remained for
some time silent, till, fearing that Simpson would realize his threat,
he used the most abject submission, to hinder him from betraying his
wicked schemes to his father; nor would the artful servant pacify his
apprehensions, till he had succeeded in frightening him out of every
sixpence of pocket-money he was worth.
Well, Master George, said the groom, I have hit upon a notable
piece of mischief; but I cannot put it into execution without your
You shall certainly have that, Simpson; but tell me first what your
Young Prim is very fond of his garden, replied the groom; and
lays out all his money in fine shrubs to ornament his favourite spot of
ground. The other day, as I was passing the pales, I stopped to watch
him at work; the young prig thought, forsooth, that I was admiring his
garden, and actually gathered me a fine nosegay, and showed me all his
This amiable anecdote of the young Quaker was received by George
with peals of insulting laughter; whilst his worthless companion
Now, Master George, it would go nearer to his heart, and vex him
more than any mischief we could devise, to steal out, after the family
are in bed, and break all his fine trees.
George was at first transported at the idea of so full a revenge;
then pausing, whilst a secret dread as to the danger of the enterprise
stole over his mind, in a hurried voice he said
But, Simpson! it will be dark.
So much the better, replied the wicked groom. Are you afraid any
thing will eat you? Besides, it will be moonlight after twelve
Twelve o'clock! repeated George, turning pale with apprehension:
I dare not leave the house after midnight!
Then let it alone, replied Dan. But, Simpson, said George, in a
fawning tone, cannot you go without me?
Master George, if you take me for a fool, replied Dan, you are
mistaken: it is you want to be revenged on young Shirley, not I: the
poor lad never offended me.
Then give me back my money, said George.
Indeed but I shall not, replied Dan, chinking it as he spoke. But
if you are so cowardly as to be afraid of a little frolic, I wish you
may be insulted every day of your life.
Say no more, Simpson; I will go, said George; but if we should be
detected!I have heard Papa say, that breaking young trees was
Ay, if they catch us, returned the worthless groom. Leave me
alone for taking care of my neck: why, George, if you tremble at a
trifle like this, you will never make a fine gentleman.
This last speech overcame young Hope's remaining scruples; the idea
of not being thought a fine fellow extinguished the remaining spark of
virtue in his bosom: and with affected gaiety he said
Simpson, you are a clever fellow, but how shall we be able to steal
unobserved out of the house?
Oh! that is the easiest part of the business, said Dan,
particularly as you have an apartment to yourself. After the family
are in bed, I will raise a ladder against your window; and, when I
throw a pebble against the sash, you must dress yourself, and come down
directly. I will provide tools for the business.
Here their conference was broken off owing to William Hope, who came
to call his brother to dinner, and the wicked servant and his weak
young master parted.
It was not that Simpson was afraid of doing this cruel piece of
mischief by himself, that he insisted on George Hope's accompanying
him, but he knew it would place the unfortunate youth so completely in
his power, that he could from that moment fearlessly defraud him of his
pocket-money, by basely threatening to inform Mr. Hope of his son's
depravity; and he was too good a judge of human nature to fear that
such a boy as George would ever have resolution to own his
How carefully ought young people to guard against the gratification
of evil passions; for, however artfully a plan may be conceived,
however secretly carried into execution, sooner or later, detection
always follows crime.
It is always dangerous to listen to the advice of those whose
education and pursuits are greatly beneath us; or to make confidants
and companions of servants. Their offers of service to a young man,
against the wishes of his parent, cannot be sincere; if they will
deceive their master, think not they will spare his son;
but, taking advantage of his weakness, they will not only render him a
tool to their own vices, but too often prove his final ruin.
By nature, George Hope possessed good abilities; and he had arrived
at that age when he could scarcely be called a child; and he was
therefore perfectly conscious of the sin he was going to commit. All
his faults, more or less, might be traced up to his constant
association with this artful Simpson, who, bad himself, took a pleasure
in perverting the minds of the young and inexperienced; falsely
considering that their profligacy would be an excuse for his own.
But Simpson had his own malicious disposition to gratify, in this
plan against the peace of young Shirley; and he had formed a scheme so
artful and atrocious, that he flattered himself it would be sure of
success, and turn all suspicion from the real authors of it.
Just across Mrs. Shirley's meadow stood a small cottage, which was
occupied by a poor Irishman, who gained an honest livelihood by working
as a jobbing gardener; and Patrick Lary was so well respected, that he
was employed by all the gentlemen in that neighbourhood, and by Mr.
Hope, among the rest.
Lary, though a good-natured, hard-working fellow, had one great
vice, which was being too fond of strong drink; and often, when the
labour of the day was over, Paddy would go to the village, and set in
the public houses; and, when betrayed in liquor, he would swear, and
play a thousand mad pranks on those around, and often had money to pay
for the windows he broke coming home; and, though he was very sorry the
next day, when sober, for the mischief he had done the preceding
evening, he had not resolution enough to avoid the cause.
Once Lary had carelessly levelled his drollery against Simpson,
which so roused the malevolent disposition of the groom, that he had
from that hour viewed Lary in the light of a bitter enemy, and vowed,
the first opportunity that offered, to repay with interest the
Irishman's foolish joke.
He knew that Lary would be absent that night at a large fair which
was held at a considerable town, a few miles off; and the poor Irishman
had not fortitude to resist a temptation that beset him in the shape of
Simpson remembered that Lary kept his gardening tools in a small
outhouse, which he used for a workshop, and that all his implements
were fully marked with his name.
The place was easy of access, and Simpson soon procured from thence
two small hatchets, such as gardeners use in lopping small branches,
that resist the strength of a knife; and, after Mr. Hope's family were
in bed, he repaired to the place appointed, and, raising the ladder
with as little noise as possible, gave the promised signal.
It was three times repeated before George started from sleep, and
for a few minutes he remained unconscious of the meaning of so unusual
Gradually, with awakening sense, recollection returned; and,
springing from his bed, George dressed himself, with a trembling hand,
whilst, for the first time, a sense of his degrading situation stole
over his mind; and his heart throbbed with feelings which till this
moment had been strangers in his bosom.
The moon shone brightly down upon the gardens beneath; and the deep
silence and serene beauty of the night filled his mind with new and
The mischievous pranks he had hitherto played had been more the
result of violent and uncontrolled spirits,the hasty flashings of an
impetuous temper, than any actual wish to commit crime: they had been
performed in the day, in the sight of the injured; but he was now going
to steal out like a thief in the night, to commit a vile and
premeditated act of malice.
The better feelings of his heart strongly urged him to recede; but
the idea of being laughed at by his wicked companion overcame the
scruples of conscience, when he heard his rough voice grumble beneath
Is that you, Master George? Why do you not make more haste. It will
be morning before you are ready.
George cautiously unclosed the casement; but, as he descended the
ladder, his foot trembled so violently, that once or twice he had
nearly fallen to the ground, to the great diversion of Simpson, who
laughed at his visible agitation. Then withdrawing the ladder, for fear
of detection, he presented George with one of the above-mentioned
tools, and proceeded without further delay to the silent and peaceful
dwelling of Mrs. Shirley.
As they walked over the meadow, George had leisure to reflect on
what he was going to do; and he felt so heartily ashamed of himself,
that he was half tempted to return: and happy had it been for him, had
he listened to the voice that spoke within him.
Simpson marked his irresolution, and, being determined to make sure
of his victim, tauntingly said
I did not think, Master George, you had been such a coward,
after all the brag you made of your valour at school; but I suppose you
and the Quaker have shaken hands, since he so kindly procured you that
smart flogging. If I was you, I would wait on him, and humbly thank him
for his generosity.
This sarcasm did not fail in the desired effect. George felt all his
animosity rise in his heart against Josiah; and, quickening his pace,
they were soon within the quiet bounds of the Quaker's garden.
They had scarcely begun their cruel devastation, before the
Newfoundland dog set out barking in a furious manner.
Let us return, Simpson, whispered George; his cheeks blanching
with terror as he remembered his rencounter with Rollo, on the
preceding morning. I forgot the dog; he is roused, and we shall
certainly be caught.
[Illustration: George and the Groom destroying the little
Quaker's garden at midnight. p. 29.]
Not we! calmly replied the groom. Let him bark,he cannot hurt
us, being chained in an outer yard, that comes against the road; and,
as 'tis fair-night, they will only think he is barking at passengers,
who may be returning in liquor, at this late hour.
This was in fact the case; and the inmates of the house paid little
regard to the noise Rollo made, though he continued to shake his chain,
and growl in a frightful manner.
The garden being small, they soon destroyed most of the shrubs and
flowers it contained; till, satiated with mischief, they were about to
return; when, passing a root-house covered with ivy and creeping
plants, curiosity led them to examine what it contained; and their
malice was gratified, in discovering some beautiful foreign rabbits,
confined in strong hutches. These they set at liberty, laughing
heartily at the idea of what a hunt the young Quaker would have for
them in the morning.
As they left the garden, Simpson purposely dropped the hatchet, with
Lary's name on it, near the gate which led to the meadow, where it
would be most likely to be discovered; and, safely depositing the other
in the place he took it from, they returned home. George re-ascended
the ladder, and retired undiscovered to bed; and soon falling asleep,
the events of the night appeared more like a troubled dream than
The first rays of the sun had scarcely gilded the low white railing
which separated the field from the Quaker's garden before Josiah had
risen from his bed, and returned thanks to God, who had thus graciously
permitted him to behold, in health and strength, another day; and, with
a light heart and clear conscience, he bounded down stairs, to breathe
the fresh air, and to hail the first beauties of a fine morning in
This is indeed a pleasure unknown to those indolent beings who let
the sun gain his meridian splendour before they reluctantly leave their
They see him, it is true, in the height of his power; but, at his
uprising, the air is filled with harmonious sounds, the insect tribes
are on the wing, and unite their feeble voice in the universal notes of
With the sun, the wild tribes of nature awake to adore the goodness
of their Creator; whilst the children of men, on whom he has conferred
the greatest marks of his divine favour,who, in intellectual
endowments, so far surpass the animals round them, are often the last
of all his creatures to leave a state of indolent ease, to return him
thanks for the blessings he has bestowed on them.
Those who have ever seen, on a fine spring morning, the sparkling of
the dews upon the grass, who have smelt the delicious perfume of
re-opening flowers, who have heard the first joyous song of birds from
among the verdant boughs, will be more willing to exclaim with fervour
Awake, my soul! and with the sun
Thy daily stage of duty run;
Shake off dull sloth, and early rise,
To pay thy morning sacrifice!
Thus thought our little hero, as, opening the garden-door, he felt
the balmy breeze of a cloudless morning pass over his cheek, which
glowed with health and innocence; as, raising his eyes to the glorious
heavens, his spirit arose in devout aspirations to the divine author of
How shall I describe the feelings of regret which filled his bosom,
when he discovered the scene of ruin before him.
He rubbed his eyes, to assure himself that it was not a dream; that
he was actually awake, and in the open air.
The work of his hands for years past was utterly destroyed; and,
mild and forbearing as Josiah was, this unexpected misfortune overcame
his philosophy; and he struggled in vain to suppress the tears which
filled his soft blue eyes, and flowed down his rosy dimpled cheeks.
What ails thee, dear Josiah? said a sweet little girl, who had
followed him out of the house. Will not Josiah tell Cousin Rachel the
cause of his grief?
Ah, Rachel! he replied, wiping away his tears with the corner of
her little apron, I am indeed ashamed of my weakness; but see, some
evil-disposed person has been here in the night, and destroyed all my
Now, when Rachel beheld the devastation before her, and that even
her own little garden in the corner had not escaped from the general
wreck, she mingled her tears with Josiah's.
Josiah comforted his cousin, and at length succeeded in mastering
his own feelings.
I know to repine is useless, he said; time and industry will
repair my loss; and, though I feel it now severely, it may in the end
be for the best: for I own I was too proud and too fond of my garden;
and often dedicated hours to that, which I might have employed more
profitably in study.
As he ceased speaking, Dan Simpson passed; and, putting his head
over the pales, said in a careless manner
A fine morning for your work, Master Shirley! You are determined
the sun shall never call you lay-a-bed.
My work, Daniel, is at an end, replied Josiah: Step into the
garden, and see what somebody has done in the night for me.
With well-affected astonishment, Simpson surveyed the work of his
own hands; then exclaimed, with an air of commiseration
Who can have made it their business to come here, only to commit so
wicked a piece of mischief. I should not at all wonder if it was one of
Pat Lary's mad frolics; I hear he was intoxicated at the fair last
night, and broke several windows in his way home.
That may be, returned Josiah; but, as I never offended Patrick
Lary in my life, it would be very cruel to suspect him without a
True, Master Shirley; but you are too fond of gardening yourself,
and you have heard the old proverb, I suppose, that 'two of a trade
seldom agree.' Besides, he is such a swearing, drinking fellow.
Daniel Simpson, returned Josiah, scarcely able to conceal the
contempt he felt towards him, I have heard thee swear, and, if I am
not greatly mistaken, it is not long since I saw thee disguised in
liquor. Is it not, therefore, as easy for me to suspect thee?
Simpson was confounded at this speech, and, had Josiah looked up in
his face, he certainly would have detected the real author of the
mischief, by the crimson glow which flushed the swarthy countenance of
the wicked groom; who, regaining his accustomed assurance, said, in a
more confidential tone
I never injured you, Master Shirley; but, if you will give
me a shilling or two to pay me for my trouble, I warrant you I would
soon bring the culprit to justice, if he is to be found within a few
miles of the place.
The face of Josiah Shirley glowed with indignation, as, turning his
eyes on the sordid wretch, he sternly replied
Daniel Simpson, I will spare thee so great a crime. That heart must
be hard indeed, that, for the sake of a few paltry pieces of silver,
would yield up an erring fellow-creature. Go! I neither want such
advice or assistance.
As Josiah finished speaking, his foot struck against something in
the path, and, on stooping to pick it up, it proved to be the poor
The young Quaker, with his natural humanity, strove to hide this
convincing proof of Lary's guilt from the troublesome groom; but he saw
with grief, by the look of triumph which passed over the other's face,
that he had made the same discovery, as the name of Lary was too
plainly marked on the handle to need any close inspection.
There! cried Simpson, I knew it was Lary: who besides him would
think of doing such a rascally job as this?
I am sure, if Lary had not been disguised in liquor, said Josiah,
he never would have committed so base an action. Daniel Simpson, at
times we are all prone to do ill; and as for the few shillings thou
just now proposed, to give up the culprit, since my loss cannot affect
thee, there is a crown to keep the affair a secret; as the disgrace of
this thoughtless man might deprive his innocent wife and child of
You are a strange young gentleman, Master Shirley, replied Dan;
but your secret shall remain safe for me, though, if I was in your
place, I think I should act differently: and, stifling a laugh, he
tossed the money into his pocket.
He yet held the gate in his hand, when little Rachel, quite out of
breath, came running towards them.
Oh, Josiah! my rabbits! my nice white rabbits; they are lost, they
are all gone! said she, weeping bitterly. Come, dry your tears, my
little cousin, said Josiah, kindly taking her hand, and striving to
comfort her; they cannot be far off, for I am sure they were all safe
Little Miss, I think I know where your rabbits are, said Dan
Indeed! exclaimed Josiah; who could be so mean as to rob this
Only the neighbour who broke your trees, replied Dan; for, as I
passed by Lary's cottage, his little boy was playing with some fine
tame rabbits. They had none yesterday, unless Pat bought them at the
fair; and I dare say he will tell you so.
Now Josiah could not help feeling convinced that they must be
Rachel's rabbits; and he said
Daniel Simpson, I thank thee for this piece of intelligence, and
will step across to Lary's cottage, and learn the truth of these
things; so good day for the present.
Simpson returned to his daily avocations, well pleased at his
ingenuity; and, relating his conference with Josiah to George Hope,
they both enjoyed a hearty laugh at the idea of having deceived the
He is gone now, Master George, said Simpson, to cross-question
Lary about the hatchet; but the foolish fellow is still so bewildered
with drink, that he will never be able to give a correct account of
himself; now I am sure young Shirley already suspects him, and
suspicious thoughts travel fast, when they once get into the head: for
the love of fun, how I should like to hear their conference.
It was true that Josiah sought the cottage of Lary, but he was
actuated by feelings of the most noble and benevolent kind. He hoped,
by reasoning with the Irishman, to point out to him the error of his
conduct; and, by showing him the ill effects of intoxication, to
persuade him from falling into the like follies for the future: and,
full of these laudable intentions, he walked across the meadow, and
rapped at Lary's door.
For some minutes the knock remained unanswered, and, whilst Josiah
stood waiting for admittance, he saw, through their garden pales, young
Lary playing with a fine white doe, which he instantly recognised to be
the property of his cousin Rachel.
This circumstance did not fail to strengthen his suspicions; and,
knocking again at the door, it was opened by a very neat young woman,
who seemed rather confused at the sight of Josiah; and, holding the
door in her hand, she asked him, in a hesitating manner, What he
To speak to Patrick Lary. Is he at home? said Josiah, in his usual
The woman, who evidently had been weeping bitterly, paused a moment,
Yes, Master Shirley, my husband is at home, but really he is not in
a fit state to speak to any one; but, if you will excuse the disordered
condition of our house, please to walk in: perhaps the sight of you may
warn him against giving way to drink for the future; for we well know
what a good, kind-hearted young gentleman you are.
Josiah felt grieved at the poor woman's panegyric, when he
remembered the cause of his visit, and was almost inclined not to
proceed in the business; but the hope of persuading Lary to renounce
his evil habit of drinking induced him to conquer his reluctance, and
he silently followed Mrs. Lary into the cottage.
The first object that met Josiah's eyes, on entering the room, was
the Irishman, seated on a low stool by the fire, with his head bound up
with a red handkerchief, and resting on his hands, which bandage served
partly to conceal two black eyes he had received at the fair.
His shirt was bloody, and his dress rent in several places, and
covered with dirt; and his whole appearance bespoke one suffering from
the effects of recent intoxication.
On hearing some one enter, he said, without attempting to raise his
headWife! who's there?
It is Master Shirley, Patrick, who wants to speak to you.
On hearing the name of the visitor, Lary staggered up, and begged
Josiah to be seated.
No, Patrick, replied Josiah, as my business is one of a very
unpleasant nature, I prefer standing.
With all humility, I suppose, Master Shirley, said Pat, striving
to be facetious; but please yourself, you are a dear, good young
gentleman, and must have your own way; and, unable to keep his legs
any longer, Lary sunk down, a dead weight, into his seat.
But what do you want with Pat Lary, Master Shirley; some job in the
garden, I suppose?
Nay, Patrick, returned Josiah, not a little provoked at this
speech; thou wast determined to provide a long job at my expense, when
thou left this hatchet in my garden; and he produced the hatchet, and
gave it into the hand of the bewildered Lary.
This is my hatchet, sure enough, Master Shirley; but I am pretty
certain I never left it in your garden.
Doubtlessly it was done unintentionally, returned Josiah. Those
who commit bad actions seldom willingly leave a witness of their
The Irishman coloured deeply, and, turning to Josiah, said, with
I should be sorry to use unbecoming language, Master Shirley; but
really I cannot comprehend what you mean.
Josiah then proceeded to inform him of the whole affair, from
beginning to end; and concluded by saying, he supposed Lary was in
drink, and therefore unconscious of the mischief he had occasioned.
The poor Irishman seemed lost with surprise at this strange account;
and he tried in vain to remember the events of the night; and, after
having turned the hatchet round and round, and carefully examined it at
all points, he turned to his wife, and said
I surely did not take this hatchet with me to the fair; did I,
I cannot answer for what you did at the fair, Patrick, said his
wife, sorrowfully; I know I left you at midnight in a very
questionable state, with some worthless idle fellows: did you stay at
home, and mind your business, you would not get into such disgraceful
scrapes as these.
Pat shrugged up his shoulders, and sighed heavily; then, turning to
Your honour, I drank too much last night, and behaved like a
madman, as these blows will sufficiently witness, though I cannot
remember how I came by them, or what I did last night; but if this is
my hatchet, which I see by the mark it is, why I know 'tis no use
denying the fact. I am heartily sorry for it, and, if you will forgive
me this once, I will devote all my leisure hours in restoring your
garden to its original neatness.
Josiah accepted his submission; and, after a long lecture on the ill
effects of drinking, he said:
And now, friend Lary, I would thank thee to restore my cousin
Rachel's rabbits, which I suppose thee took by mistake last night.
Rabbits! exclaimed both the inhabitants of the cottage at once.
Master Shirley, we have seen no rabbits.
It is useless to deny the fact, said Josiah; I saw them just now
with my own eyes, in thy son Roderick's arms.
Saving your honour's presence, then your two little eyes must have
seen a great story! cried Pat, colouring deeply. I am a true-born
Irishman! and no thief, Master Shirley!
At this moment the door opened, and Roderick entered, with the white
doe in his arms.
Lary started up, then sat down again, his face scarlet with
agitation. He turned his eyes from one to the other, and looked like a
person just awakened out of sleep, who as yet scarcely knew whether the
objects that met his eyes were real or imaginary; till, turning to his
son, in a voice trembling with passion, he said:
Roderick, if you have stolen the gentleman's rabbits, I will beat
Hold, friend! cried Josiah, stepping in between the enraged
Irishman and his son, remember thy own offence, and calm this
unreasonable passion: then turning to the boy, he said,Roderick,
how came thee by that rabbit?
The boy boldly replied, I found this, and some more with it (nice
white dears), feeding in the meadow, early this morning. Daddy says
every thing we find we may have, and I found these rabbits.
My little fellow, said Josiah, as he took the animal out of his
arms, never appropriate property that does not belong to thee, without
first diligently inquiring to whom it may appertain; for, though
certainly it is not so bad as stealing, it falls little short of the
Then earnestly entreating Lary to abstain from drink and bad
company, he took his leave, firmly persuaded in his own mind, that the
Irishman was the author of the mischief.
How often, following our own suspicions, do we condemn, on
circumstantial evidence, persons who may be perfectly guiltless of the
crimes laid to their charge. Yet, though the gardener and his son were
innocent of the faults they were accused of, had Lary staid at home,
instead of joining in a scene of riot and folly, he would not have
returned in a state which rendered him incapable of saying where he had
been, or what he had done, on the preceding evening.
After this circumstance, nothing happened to disturb the young
Quaker's peace; the Hopes returned to Eaton school; and, till after the
Christmas holydays commenced, Josiah and his little cousin enjoyed
The new year was ushered in by a heavy fall of snow, which was
succeeded by such severe frosts, that the young gentlemen, unable to
keep themselves warm within doors, had recourse to the healthy
diversion of skating; and a fine piece of water, opposite Mrs.
Shirley's dwelling, was chosen for that purpose, where all the young
people in the village assembled to try their skill at this active game,
and the young Hopes came with the rest.
Josiah was quite a proficient at this sport, and took great pleasure
in practising with a young gentleman, a friend of his, who was the only
son of their good Vicar, Mr. West, who entertained the highest opinion
of Josiah's moral character; and, though differing so widely in their
religious principles, Shirley was always a welcome and favourite
visitor at the parsonage.
When the Hopes made their appearance on the ice, knowing their
quarrelsome disposition, Josiah would have returned home, but Henry
West prevented him, by saying
Never give way to their airs, my dear Josiah; I know they are
cowardly fellows (as the bad generally are), and will never dare to
insult you, surrounded by your friends.
Henry was perfectly right in his conjectures; for the Hopes, seeing
Josiah so well supported, confined their malice to a few contemptuous
George was an admirable skater; and for some time his skill and
dexterity, and the ease with which he performed the most difficult
movements on the ice, added to the advantages of a tall and graceful
figure, drew forth the admiration, and in some instances the envy, of
his young compeers. Josiah, with his natural goodness of heart, paused
to extol the fine execution of his ungenerous persecutor; when George,
venturing too near a part of the pond which had been broken for the
cattle, and slightly frozen over again, the young Quaker mildly warned
him of his danger.
I suppose, Mr. Shirley, I have the use of my sight, and know how to
skate as well as you; therefore, I beg you will keep such impertinent
advice to yourself, was the ungracious reply of the insolent boy; and
immediately, out of bravado, he directed his course towards the
The next moment a piercing scream informed the terrified party that
the daring boy had too surely tempted his own fate. All eyes were
instantly turned to the spot where George Hope had stood. One hand
alone was seen above the water, which continued to grasp one of the
immense masses of floating ice with convulsive agony; and, being
covered with a thick worsted mitten, for some minutes retained its
Whilst the young people ran shrieking away, and calling for help in
all directions, Josiah, who was an excellent swimmer, never paused to
consider the danger, but plunged boldly into the water, and, with the
timely assistance of Lary, who came with a rope to his aid, he
succeeded in bringing the senseless boy in safety to the land.
Dan Simpson happened to be passing at the very moment George fell
into the pond; and, on Henry West imploring him to come and rescue his
unfortunate young master from a watery grave, he had the brutality to
No! no! Master West, I am not such a fool as to risk my life for
any one, much less for George Hope; but here comes Lary with a rope,
who will do the job much better than I.
Unfeeling man! exclaimed Henry, turning indignantly away; you may
one day know what it is to perish for want of assistance.
[Illustration: The little Quaker plunges in the water to save
George from drowning. p. 52.]
But to return to Josiah Shirley; when he beheld the pale ghastly
countenance of the youth for whose life he had so nobly risked his own,
the first idea that entered his mind was that George had already paid
the debt of nature, and, turning to Lary, in a hurried voice, he said
Oh, Patrick! he does not breathe or move! I fear he is quite dead!
I doubt, Master Shirley, said Lary, as he raised the body in his
arms, he is quite gone: his poor father will be distracted at his
loss; for, in spite of his faults, 'tis a fine youth.
Oh! think not of his errors now, said Josiah; he has most likely
dearly paid for them. Carry him to our house directly, and let some one
run for Mr. Carter, the surgeon!
His own father's mansion is as near, Master Shirley.
Do not carry him there, Patrick; Mr. Hope is in London; those
servants hate him, and will not take care of him: but my dear Mamma
will pay him every attention.
They had now reached Mrs. Shirley's door, who, hearing the tread of
many feet, came out to inquire the cause, and, though greatly shocked
at the sight which met her eyes, she had courage sufficient to give the
necessary orders for George's recovery, and sent one of her servants
directly for Mr. Carter.
That gentleman soon arrived; and Josiah, anxious to know the fate of
George, was going to follow him into the room where the poor lad was;
but Pat Lary, in his rough honest manner, prevented him.
Excuse my want of manners, my brave young gentleman; but you shall
not stir a step till you have changed these wet clothes; and, if you
will not take my advice, you may chance to be in a worse plight than
Mr. George himself.
So deeply was Josiah interested in the welfare of George, that he
had totally disregarded his own wet, miserable condition; and, thanking
the blunt Irishman, he instantly retired to make the necessary change.
He had scarcely completed his task, when the dreadful cries of poor
George, who was returning to a state of feeling, and that accompanied
by exquisite pain, filled the house; this, added to the exhaustion he
now felt from his late adventure, so completely overcame the mind of
Josiah, that he sank down into a chair, and burst into tears.
At this moment, Henry West entered the room; who, kindly taking his
Compose yourself, my dear Josiah, George is in no imminent danger;
Mr. Carter has succeeded in restoring him to sensation; but, he says,
the reanimation of a body taken out of the water in frosty weather is
always accompanied by great pain.
Oh, poor George! exclaimed Josiah, shuddering, I can feel for the
anguish of his present situation, when I consider what pain a thumb or
finger produces, numbed with the cold. How a whole body must suffer in
the same state.
He is quite delirious at present, replied Henry; and, when his
senses return, he will have little recollection of what he now endures:
but, my dear Josiah, your hands are as cold as ice; had not you better
take something to prevent any ill effects arising from your late
Entertain no apprehensions on my account, Henry, said Josiah: I
am strong and healthy; early rising and exercise have inured my body to
the slight inconveniences of wet and cold. I only feel for poor George;
and, in contemplating his sufferings, such trifles are disregarded by
Dear Josiah, the longer I know you, the more I esteem and love
you, cried Henry, warmly pressing the young Quaker's hand. You have
performed a great and noble action to-day; you almost make me guilty of
that wicked passion, envy, for I wish this day I was Josiah Shirley!
The gentle boy shook his head. Do not flatter me, Henry; I have not
merited such praise for performing a mere act of duty, which we all owe
to each other. Has not God himself commanded us to succour a
fellow-creature in distress; even if it were an enemy that stood in
need of our assistance. Let us, therefore, bestow our praises and
thanks on that great and awful Being who has wrought this act of mercy
through our feeble hands. Let us earnestly entreat him to shed his
divine grace upon the darkened mind of this deluded boy, and finally
recall him from the error of his ways.
George Hope could scarcely recover his senses sufficiently to
remember the accident that had nearly deprived him of life, before he
was attacked with a violent fever, which required the greatest care and
attention from his kind friends; indeed, they spared no pains to
relieve his sufferings. Josiah seldom left his bed-side: he gave him
his physic, adjusted his pillows, and cheerfully performed for him
every little service. Mr. Hope came every day to see his son; and
expressed the warmest gratitude to the good Quakers, for their
unremitting kindness to the unconscious sufferer. William always
attended his father on these visits; and the state in which he saw his
brother had such an effect on his mind, that, before he returned to
school, he promised his excellent parent, that he would obey his
injunctions for the future, and never more give him cause to complain.
Already, my dear Josiah, said Mr. Hope, taking the hand of the
young Quaker, as he stood by the bed-side of his son, to your goodness
I owe the reformation of one of my children, the life of the other;
and, oh! if it should please God ever to restore this unhappy boy to my
prayers, use your utmost endeavours, my good Josiah, to turn him from
his present forlorn state of mind: and your virtuous endeavours will be
repaid by the blessings of a grateful father.
Oh, Sir! returned Josiah, his eyes filling with tears as he spoke,
I have little doubt of his amendment. A bed of sickness brings an
awful picture before our eyes. When George comes to reflect on his late
providential escape from death, his heart will soften, and he will
remember his past conduct with feelings of painful regret; and such
reflections, I trust, will bring with them a sincere and lasting
God grant that your words may prove true, my excellent young
friend, said Mr. Hope; and rest assured, that your noble endeavours
to reclaim an erring fellow-creature (and one who, I am sorry to say,
has given you such just cause of displeasure), will meet with a reward
both here and in another world.
A few days after this conversation, George Hope was declared out of
immediate danger; and, when recollection returned, he found himself
supported in Shirley's arms.
A sense of his situation rushed over his mind. The strange room, the
strange bed, all confirmed the idea that Josiah was his preserver, and
that he was in the house of Mrs. Shirley; his heart, by nature not bad,
though by the force of evil example so sadly perverted, softened into
remorse and gratitude, and, burying his face in Josiah's bosom, he
burst into a flood of tears.
Is it to you, Josiah Shirley, that I owe my life, whom I have so
basely and cruelly injured. Oh! if you did but know what a worthless
wretch it is you support thus tenderly in your arms, you would fling me
from you with disgust and horror.
Calm these agitating feelings, my dear George, said Josiah,
attempting to sooth him; and forgetting, whilst he did so, his usual
precision. I have long ago forgotten and forgiven our foolish dispute
in the meadow; let not the recollection of such trifles discompose thy
mind in an hour like this. Remember the past only as it refers to the
improvement of the future; and believe that Josiah Shirley is thy
sincere and lasting friend.
God bless you for that word, Josiah! exclaimed George, in a feeble
voice, as he sank back exhausted on the pillow. How little have I
deserved this kindness from you. Oh, may I never be tempted to forfeit
your esteem for the future!
After this worthy resolution, friend George, said Josiah,
playfully putting his finger on his patient's lips, I must insist on
silence, for it cannot be very prudent for thee to converse on any
subject in thy present weak state.
George smiled at this restraint on his tongue; but he very patiently
submitted to the young Quaker's request.
Most sincerely did George promise amendment for the future; and
Josiah was not backward in assisting him in the arduous task of
Whilst watching by his sick pillow, for George was confined to his
bed many weeks, Shirley read to him passages from the best of our moral
works, and daily portions of the divine gospels, whilst, in his simple
language, he set before him the dreadful consequences which generally
followed disobedience to parents, and keeping company with vicious
Every day added to young Hope's mental improvement; but his health
remained in so precarious a state, that a decline was apprehended, and
Mr. Hope granted Josiah's earnest request to let his son remain with
them till he should have gained sufficient strength to return to
Indeed, George had grown so fond of Josiah, that he could not feel
happy a moment out of his company. Often, when Shirley was busily
employed in his studies, George would silently watch his mild sweet
countenance, till he felt the tears tremble in his eyes, when he
recalled the unworthy treatment the noble youth had experienced at his
Yet, though he deeply repented of the past, George could never
summon up courage enough to inform Josiah of his baseness in destroying
his trees. A hundred times a day he was on the point of declaring his
guilt; but false pride always hindered him from confessing so degrading
As the spring advanced, he would rise early in the morning, and work
with Josiah in the garden, and help little Rachel to feed her rabbits,
and plant and tie up the flowers; and these small jobs he did with
greater alacrity, hoping that the earnestness with which he performed
any little office towards the re-embellishment of the garden would, in
some measure, atone for the wanton mischief he had been guilty of in
the summer; but he never entered the garden without a secret sigh, or
saw Josiah labouring to restore it to its former beauty, without bitter
feelings of self-condemnation.
Pat Lary came every day to inquire after the young Squire's health,
and George never shook hands with the honest creature without the
keenest remorse, while Simpson, who had been the author of all his
vices, was heard to say in the village, that it was a pity young
Shirley saved him from being drowned; for he was a wicked lad, and he
was sure he would never come to a good end.
The spring came, and passed away, with all its flowers and verdure,
but George remained so feeble and dejected, that he was not able to
return to school that quarter. Mr. Hope was greatly alarmed at the
increasing debility of his son, though equally delighted with his
mental improvement; and was not behindhand in making handsome presents
to Mrs. Shirley, for the kind attention she payed to the suffering
He likewise presented Josiah a beautiful pony, and a small library
of choice books, as a testimony of his gratitude and esteem, which the
young Quaker received with unfeigned pleasure; and, as he went to turn
his new favourite into the meadow, Mr. Hope followed him, and, taking
his arm, thus addressed him:
In spite of all your pains, my good Josiah, I fear my poor boy is
fast hastening to the grave. Mr. Carter told me this morning he could
assign no reason for his lingering illness; he thought it now rested
entirely on the mind of the patient. You have many opportunities of
noticing him, what is your opinion on the subject?
I agree with Mr. Carter, Sir, replied Josiah; though I cannot
discover the reason of my friend's obstinate grief. I have often
questioned him, but to no purpose, as he only answers me on this head
I fear, my kind lad, said Mr. Hope, sighing heavily as he spoke,
that it is some bad action he has committed before his illness, that
lies upon his conscience; which, if once removed, would restore his
health and spirits. If you can, my dear Josiah, possibly discover the
cause of his dejection, I shall be greatly obliged to you. Josiah
promised to do his best, and Mr. Hope wished him good morning.
It happened that day, that George was in better spirits than usual;
and Josiah, as he watched the bright glow which at times flushed his
pale cheeks, hoped he was fast improving in health. The evening was
uncommonly beautiful; and, after they returned from their accustomary
walk, Rachel invited them to take a turn in the garden, and eat some
nice ripe strawberries she had gathered in their absence.
They gladly accepted her offer, and retired to a bench at the bottom
of the garden, which was overshadowed by a noble oak, which, in the
language of that delightful poet of nature, Bloomfield
Had reached its full meridian height
Before our father's father breathed.
Hark! how merrily the Reading bells are ringing, said Josiah.
Listen, Rachel and George, how delightfully the sound, softened by
distance, floats over the woods.
Yes, they sound very pretty, replied Rachel; but I wish they were
not ringing, for we shall not hear the nightingale, as we did last
night; and I prefer her sweet melancholy notes to the sound of those
I wonder what they are ringing for? said George, thoughtfully. I
shall never hear the sound of bells with pleasure again.
Why not, my dear friend? asked Josiah, not a little curious to
learn the cause of his dislike.
Indeed, Josiah, I have not fortitude enough to tell you, returned
George, hiding his face with his hands. I once heard them ring as
merrily as they do now, on as beautiful and calm an evening as this;
but I have never been happy since, and, whilst the events of that
night weigh upon my mind, I shall never be happy again.
And will not George reveal to his friend the cause of his grief?
said Josiah, kindly taking his hand. Whence is this want of confidence
and affection; surely I have deserved neither at thy hands?
George flung himself into Shirley's arms, and the long-concealed
truth trembled on his lips, when little Rachel cried out in a joyful
Oh, here comes Henry West! he will tell us what the bells are
And that I will, and give you a fairing to boot, pretty Rachel,
said Henry, as he stooped down to kiss her rosy cheek. Why, what's the
matter with Josiah and George? I thought I should have seen you both at
Nay, Henry, I am sure such a thought never entered thy head,
replied Shirley, well knowing my aversion to such places of
Well, I will own I did not much expect to see you there, Mr. Prim,
said Henry, laughing; but George has no such scruples of conscience, I
He turned to young Hope as he finished speaking, but was astonished
and frightened to see the ghastly paleness which had overspread his
countenance. Josiah! your friend is ill: I think you are very
imprudent to expose him to the evening air.
Josiah started up, and regarded George's varying countenance with
interest and commiseration.
Oh! no, no! I am not ill, exclaimed George, in a hurried voice; I
feel much better in the open air: then, in a mournful tone, he added,
Are you sure, Master West, that to-day was Reading fair?
I am certain, said Henry, smiling, for I am just come from
thence; Mrs. Wilson took me in her carriage, and I was very well
entertained by all the fine things that were to be seen, which my good
friend, Josiah, will allow to be very babyish in a great fellow like
me. But, Joe, to make my peace, I have brought you two small copies of
verses for your scrap-book; and, as the subjects are serious, perhaps
you will edify us all, by reading them aloud by the light of this
With all my heart, said Josiah, unfolding the paper, and, hoping
to divert George from his present state of dejection, he read the
Awake, lute and harp, all thy melody pouring
To heaven with the wild notes of triumph ascend;
While the children of earth, their Creator adoring,
The sweetness of song with their thanksgivings blend.
On the breezes of night, when the anthem is swelling,
With shadowy splendour the air seems to glow,
While fancy could hail each bright star as the dwelling
Of spirits released from their bondage below.
When o'er the raised soul high sensations are stealing,
The glorious spark immortality gave
Seems to lose, in the glow of devotional feeling,
Its portion of suffering, and soar o'er the grave.
To those regions of gladness, eternally glowing,
With the glory of Him who created the spheres,
From the light of whose countenance blessings are flowing,
To wipe from the eyes of the mourner all tears.
Where glorified spirits, each other outvying,
The praise of the Godhead triumphantly sing;
Such strains as might steal on the Saviour when dying,
As angels supported their crucified King.
To those mansions of bliss, for the faithful preparing,
Who the ordeal of suffering undauntedly tried,
With their master and king in his glory are sharing,
And exult that, to live, they in agonies died.
On the soul while such visions of splendour are burning,
It sighs for that peace the world cannot bestow;
Till the shadows of night, on the spirit returning,
Awake it again to its portion of woe.
There was something in these lines that greatly softened the heart
of George Hope; and, turning to Josiah, he said with a deep sigh:
Josiah, does God always take vengeance on our crimes?
Not if we sincerely repent of them, and faithfully promise to sin
no more; returned Shirley; and, should we again fall into temptation,
God knows the weakness of our nature, and is ever more willing to
forgive than we to implore his mercy.
I have deeply repented of my past errors, said George; and yet I
feel as if my transgressions were not pardoned.
You must banish such thoughts as these, my dear George, returned
Henry, or you will never be happy. I have heard my Father say, that if
we sincerely repent of any crime we have committed, we must not doubt
the mercy of our God. Surely you have every reason to be more cheerful
than you are. Do but contrast your present character with your idle
pursuits last year; and I am sure you will rejoice at the change.
George shuddered, while Henry continued
You were universally and justly despised by the whole village; and
I will frankly own, I felt for you the most hearty contempt. Now, every
one mentions you with interest and commendation; and you have gained
the unfeigned love of Josiah and myself. Such a change in your favour
should raise, not depress your spirits.
I am perfectly sensible of your goodness, my kind friends,
returned George, and feel that gratitude towards you which no words
can express. To-morrow I may feel in better spirits; but I cannot
conquer the depression that clouds my mind to-night. But I see Josiah
is going to read something else to us.
It is a paraphrase on the twenty-ninth psalm, said Josiah; and,
though the author has failed in conveying the awful grandeur of the
original, I think the verses will please my friends:
Ye sons of the mighty, a sacrifice bring
To the footstool of power, and your thanksgivings raise;
For the Lord is your strength, your Creator, and King,
Who demands from his children the tribute of praise.
Yea, the voice of our God, in its fury, controls
And stills the wild waves of the tempest-swoll'n deep;
When borne on the thunder as slowly it rolls,
We hear midst its terrors Omnipotence speak.
The voice of our God is a glorious sound:
When it moves on the waters, or speaks through the storm,
The cedars of Lebanus bend to the ground,
And the mountains and hills from their fabric are torn.
The voice of the Lord, in his wrath, can divide
The red rushing flames, and their fury awake;
When forth on the wings of destruction they ride,
And beneath them the powers of the wilderness shake.
Yea, the voice of our God is mighty in power
On his bounty the wild tribes of nature depend:
The hind rears her young in the green forest bower;
From his altars the prayers of his children ascend.
The voice of the Lord, in his glory, shall bring
To his people the fulness and blessings of peace;
The Lord o'er the water-flood reigneth a King,
And his portion, eternity, never shall cease.
Josiah had scarcely concluded the psalm, when Mrs. Shirley came to
fetch the young people from staying out longer in the night air; and
Henry, bidding Josiah good night, and shaking George heartily by the
hand, hoping to see him in better health and spirits the next day, took
The sun was scarcely up the following morning, when George tapped at
Shirley's door, and proposed a long walk into the country before
The young Quaker was already dressed, and he accepted the invitation
with pleasure, hoping, by the way, to induce his friend to reveal the
cause of his grief. In the parlour they were joined by little Rachel,
who begged so earnestly to accompany them, that George insisted on her
request being granted.
The morning was delightful, the dews sparkled on the grass, and the
blackbird poured his merry lay from among the high hawthorn hedges that
rose on either side of them.
The spirits of the little party rose in proportion to the beauty of
the morning; and they directed their course down a long, lonely, but
very romantic lane, over-arched with old oaks, that formed a rich
canopy over their heads.
Rachel ran laughing on before, filling a little basket she had in
her hand with flowers; then, having passed a sudden angle in the lane,
the friends were alarmed by her giving a loud scream.
What can have happened? cried Josiah, hurrying forward. I am
afraid she has trod upon a snake among the flowers.
He had scarcely finished speaking, before Rachel came running
towards them, out of breath, and very pale; and, flinging her arms
round Josiah, she sobbed in the most agitated manner.
Turn back! turn back, Josiah! There is something dreadful in the
Do not be alarmed, Rachel; it shall not hurt thee, said Josiah,
still fancying she had seen a snake.
Oh no, it is dead! and the ground is all bloody! and it looks as
pale as George did, when they took him out of the pond.
Frightened in his turn, Josiah burst from the hold of the terrified
child; and, bidding her sit down on the bank till he returned, the two
friends, with faces almost as white as Rachel's, proceeded to the spot
What language can describe the horror they felt, when, on turning
the projection of the lane, they beheld the mangled body of Daniel
Simpson, lying dead across the path.
This wretched young man had stayed drinking late at the fair; and,
returning home in a taxed cart, in a state of intoxication, the horse
took fright, and, turning suddenly down this narrow lane, Simpson lost
his balance, and fell out of the cart, with violence to the ground;
and, the wheel going over his head, he was killed on the spot.
Thus did this wicked young man come to a deplorable end, on the very
night that a twelvemonth before he had so successfully plotted against
the peace of the poor Irishman and Josiah Shirley.
George was so dreadfully agitated at this shocking sight, that
Josiah could scarcely keep him from fainting; and, calling Rachel, he
bade her lead George home, and fetch assistance from the village,
whilst he remained by the body.
Pat Lary, with some working hands, immediately ran to the spot, and,
raising the mangled remains of Simpson on a hurdle, they were conveyed
to the next house, there to remain till the Coroner's inquest could be
held on the body.
When Josiah returned home, he found George leaning against the
window in the parlour, pale and in tears. Knowing his unfortunate
association with the deceased, Josiah was not surprised, that the
untimely death of this unfortunate young man should deeply affect his
friend; and, kindly taking his hand, the amiable boy strove to comfort
George! dear George! pray dry these tears: they really distress me.
Though Simpson merited his death, remember that God is merciful, and
all-sufficient to save.
Oh, Josiah! I, too, have merited death! exclaimed the agitated
George, burying his face in Shirley's bosom, and giving way to a fresh
burst of grief.
We are all liable to err, George, and merit death every hour in the
day, if it were only for our vile ingratitude to that great and
munificent Being from whom we received the principles of our existence,
and upon whose bounty we depend from day to day. We cannot be saved by
our own righteousness; did not we read together last night, in the
PsalmsThat God did not find one perfect amongst the children of men.
Then dry these unavailing tears, and return thanks to that divine
Providence that has saved thee from a similar fate.
George returned no answer to this speech for some minutes, but
seemed to be struggling with intense and overpowering feelings; at
length, turning toward Josiah, with a face burning with conscious
shame, he said
Yes, Josiah, God has indeed called me to a sense of my past
wickedness; and I will no longer withhold from you the base cruelty
with which I suffered an innocent fellow-creature to bear the disgrace
of my own infamous conduct.
Then casting his eyes to the ground, in faltering accents, he
Josiah, you suspected that poor Irishman of having broken your
trees. The dear, honest creature is innocent. I was the perpetrator, in
conjunction with that wretched Simpson.
Josiah started back, whilst the surprise he felt was strongly marked
on his countenance.
Thee, George Hope! Oh, poor Lary, how basely I have injured him.
Oh, do notdo not say so! cried George, weeping bitterly. I only
am to blame. Ah, Josiah! dear good Josiah! I fear you will never love
me, or call me friend or brother, after this disgraceful disclosure.
Yet do forgive me? and I will never act so unworthily again. He would
have thrown himself at his feet, but the noble boy prevented him, by
raising him in his arms.
Indeed, George, I did not suspect thee of such a crime; but I
forgive thee, from my very heart. But poor Lary! I cannot pardon myself
for having suspected him, without being certain of his guilt; and then
the circumstance of the hatchet being found in the garden, and Rachel's
rabbits being in his son's possessionhow could all that come about?
Oh, Josiah! replied George, the more I reveal of this dreadful
business, the more shocking it will appear; but, as I have commenced
the narration, I will continue it to the end.
He then faithfully informed the young Quaker of the whole
transaction, not sparing himself at all in the relation. Josiah was
shocked and astonished at the depravity of heart, and the depth of
dissimulation, that had been shown throughout this disgraceful affair;
and, when George finished speaking, he grasped his hand firmly, and
Bless the hour, George, when the waters ingulfed thee, and the long
and lingering illness which bowed down thy exhausted frame, if they
were the means of snatching thee from guilt like this.
And, above all, cried George, pressing Josiah's hand to his heart,
the kind friend who not only forgave the injuries I had so
undeservedly heaped upon his head, but saved my worthless life, at the
peril of his own, and, by his unremitting care and advice, has brought
me to a full conviction of my past guilt.
Say no more, George; I have only one request to make, which will
sufficiently repay me for all my trouble. Let us go instantly to poor
Lary and state the case to him; I cannot be happy till I have asked his
pardon for the unjust suspicion which I have attached to his name. I
know the honest creature so well that I am sure we shall never have any
reason to repent trusting to his generosity.
This George willingly consented to do; and he felt so much happier
since he had opened his mind to his friend, that he no longer dreaded
the interview with Lary; and, after breakfast, the two friends stepped
across to Lary's cottage.
They found the poor Irishman sitting on the bench before his door,
trimming some plants to put in 'Squire Hope's garden; and, taking a
seat on either side of him, the young gentlemen informed him of the
cause of their visit. The Irishman listened to them with surprise and
wonder; but, when they proceeded to ask his forgiveness, Pat
interrupted them, by saying, That it was not fit for young gentlemen
like them to ask pardon of a poor fellow, such as the likes of Pat
Lary; and that he forgave them from his very soul; and as to the poor
lad that's gone, he has been punished enough, Heaven knows; Pat Lary
bears no malice against him.
But, Patrick, why did not thee boldly deny the charge I brought
against thee? said Josiah.
Why, your honour, I was not sober, and I thought I might have done
it, replied honest Pat; besides, was there not my hatchet staring me
in the face, as much as to say, 'Pat Lary, you know you did it?' Would
it have been right, Master Shirley, to have denied my own? However, I
always thought one day I should find out I did not do it.
This speech would have upset the young gentlemen's gravity at
another time: and Josiah could scarcely forbear smiling, as Pat
And since you gave me that good advice, Master Shirley, I have
never been intoxicated since; and, now I have seen the shocking end of
that poor lad, I think I shall never give way to strong drink again.
In truth, friend, said Josiah, shaking hands with him, if thou
hadst been soberly inclined, Simpson never dare have taken thy tools,
and I never had suspected thee.
They then made the poor gardener a handsome present, and returned
When once this painful load was removed from George Hope's mind, he
rapidly improved in health and spirits; and, before the midsummer
vacation commenced, Mr. Carter proclaimed him sufficiently recovered to
return to school.
The young friends parted mutually attached to each other; and, on
leaving the house of the good Quakers, George grasped Josiah firmly by
the hand, and said
Accept, my dear Josiah, my boundless gratitude and affection. You
have taught me a lesson I never shall forget during the remainder of a
life I owe to your care,that moral virtues are confined to no rank or
station in life; that such exist among every class and sect of people;
and that the greatest of all weaknesses is that of despising any one
because he may differ in opinion from ourselves.
For your sake, I will never judge any one before I have gained a
thorough knowledge of his character; and, whatever my prejudices may
have been, I frankly own, that to the day of my death I shall have
reason to bless the name of a Quaker.